Dear Guy Who Wants Me to Stop Talking About Feminism

Earlier this morning, I saw the following tweet directed toward me:

I can think of no better introduction for this week’s video. Enjoy.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon mstdn.social/@rebeccawatson Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky @rebeccawatson.bsky.social

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  1. Before listening to your videos I had no idea what jerks guys are a lot of the time. I have now talked to many women who pretty much all confirm what you have said. Somehow hearing it from Pamela Gay of Astronomy Cast made it all even more concrete. Please DO keep going on about this. It is very important for guys to hear.

  2. Right on, sister. I don’t have any extra money as you know, but please accept this high five and microwave burrito as a token of my undying love and loyalty.

    Now everyone else, please go support Rebecca on Patreon! YAY!

  3. I love that there’s already an assclam on the Skepchick Facebook post introducing us to the novel argument that it doesn’t bother him so why should it bother you and that cunt and dick are the same thing. I guess he’s one of today’s lucky 10,000.

  4. As a man, if I were ever in need of a reminder of why Feminism needs to exist, all I have to do is say the word “Feminism” online and I am quickly supplied with more than ample reminders by the reactions.

  5. Skepchick (and I’m looking at you Rebecca!) has been the place that this white, privileged, middle class, cisgender, baby boomer guy has learned more about feminism than from any other source. Learning about and being more aware of feminism and its concerns, and how sexism impacts society and the people I know and care about has made me a better friend, husband, father and person. Thank you Rebecca.
    Now I need to figure out what Patreon is.

  6. Right on! As a father, husband, brother, and son, I for one am glad you’re talking about feminism. My deepest respect to you – for the abuse you’ve endured and for your willingness to return.

    I continue to learn from you. Now — like JacobV — to figure out Patreon.

    Keep videos rolling!

  7. I loved this video right up until 2:40, when you started saying all of the things this guy believes that he didn’t say.

    I’m not sure I know what he meant by saying you “have gone off the deep end on the feminism atheism + front”. There’s not enough information there. He could mean a lot of things, but one of the last I’d expect is that you shouldn’t talk about it at all. But nothing he said even remotely suggested “you think if someone learns about the scientific method it doesn’t really matter if they call women cunts”, “you think if you ignore a problem long enough it will go away”, “you think that my sarcasm and feminism causes misogyny”, and so on….

    And, yes, I know you will say this is “concern trolling” and “tone trolling”, but I know enough about human psychology to say that, no, doubling down on things that piss people off will, in fact, never cause them to realize that you’re right. Not that he said you pissed him off either.

    Now perhaps that I’ve said this you will say I’m worse than a rapist. All I can say is, boy, am I glad the law doesn’t agree with you about that. I like my freedom. Ciao.

    1. This guy is a stand-in for all the assholes, not just his 140 characters. This is fairly obvious. Feel free to grab a clue on the way out. They’re next to the umbrella stand.

        1. I said the clues were next to the umbrellas stand. There are never clues in the banana stand. Not sure why you’re over there.

          1. You aren’t as bad as a rapist, captaintripps. You’re WORSE THAN A RAPIST!

            I pulled that out of your, um, “umbrella stand”.

          2. Are you serious, beartiger? That’s just disgusting, offensive, and uncalled for.

          3. I could not possibly agree more, marilove, and, no, I wasn’t serious. I was being highly ironic. Thanks for asking.

          4. You couldn’t keep the act together for 3 posts? If you’re going to concern troll, you have to pretend to be civil for a lot longer than that. You really have to sell it. Otherwise, everyone’s going to know you’re a raging asshole and just ignore you.

          5. You’re an asshole and a troll. You also have no idea what “irony” means. Fuck off.

          6. Sorry for exhibiting any rationality at all, delphi_ote. You’re right. I should have pretended that asking someone not to talk about feminism is 1000x worse than threatening to rape them. That’s why asking someone not to talk about feminism is a crime and threatening to rape them isn’t.

            When, in Bedlam, try to blend in with the fucking loons.

    2. I don’t know, I’ve heard good things about the effectiveness of not being nice. Some people seem to be having a lot of luck with constant streams of rape threats. Many would argue that rape threats are not nice.

      Rebecca did not do this video for you. She is not interested in convincing you. Your permission is not needed, and your support or opposition will never matter to this movement either way. We don’t need converts, We just need those of like mind to know we have their back if they speak up. In the end, you have to make your own choice, and the only person that will ever really care about which choice you make is you.

    3. I thought much the same thing. I wondered why the video wasn’t addressed to the people who actually called her a “C” and such. The first thing that occurred to me is that the title is addressed to the guy who wants her to stop talking about feminism. Yet, the communication from him did not say she should stop talking or evince a desire that she stop talking. It is addressed to both her and SGU in general, and says they went over the deep end.

      I hesitated writing anything about it, because I feel similar to you about the reaction that I anticipate receiving.

      1. Because there are two separate groups of problematic people:
        1) The rape threateners
        2) The people who complain that Rebecca talks too much about feminism (re: rape threateners)
        This video is addressed to the people in group 2), such as the tweeter who said she had gone off the deep end on feminism. I mean, you can pretend that “you’ve gone off the deep end on ‘x’ ” doesn’t mean “Stop talking about ‘x’ “, but it’s not very convincing.
        There are other ways of addressing the people in group 1), but we’ve discovered that “Rebecca making a nuanced, logical youtube video addressing them” is not one of those ways. That’s a much larger educational project that involves our entire society making it so that misogynistic jokes as unpopular as we’ve made racist jokes (among other things).

        1. Sure, but the title of the entry above was to the effect of Dear Guy Who Wants Me to Stop Talking About Feminism. Only, the guy she quoted didn’t ask her to stop talking about feminism, at least not in the quoted material.

          Saying you “went off the deep end” on an issue is not saying “don’t talk about the issue.” It’s saying that you went too far in what you did say. The more enlightening response to a bald statement that you went off the deep end might be “how so? what did I say that was beyond the pale, over the top, or….incorrect?”

          The comment was also made on twitter which does not present a good forum for discussion. He was some guy who said that Rebecca went off the deep end — actually all of SGU went off the deep end. The thing I’m curious about is not whether the guy wants Rebecca to stop talking, but what SGU and Rebecca said that was off the deep end. What’s he have a beef with.

          The first thing – whether the guy “wants” something is, to me, irrelevant. Who cares what he wants? Who cares whether he wants you, me or anyone else to stop talking about politics, religion, feminism, or puppies? Whether some guy wants Rebecca or anyone else to stop talking is of absolutely no moment. Lots of people want lots of discussions silenced.

          From a skepticism standpoint, the important issue is to discuss what some people seem to think is “off the deep end.” That issue is unrelated to what anybody may or may not want from anyone. It becomes a question of assertion, factual/rational basis, and conclusions.

          To me, the response to a person saying “stop talking about that issue!” is — “no, I will not stop.”

          1. ‘Saying you “went off the deep end” on an issue is not saying “don’t talk about the issue.”’

            Well, aren’t you an tiresome pedant. With people like you in our movement, I wonder why people stereotype skeptics as negative. In the future, we’ll be sure to consult with you on how to do outreach.

            ‘From a skepticism standpoint, the important issue is to discuss what some people seem to think is “off the deep end.”’

            We’ll also be sure to ask your opinion of what is important next time. As an expert on the “skepticism standpoint” (I’m guessing you’re a white male American, of course) you would know better than us lowly uncontemplative types.

          2. “The thing I’m curious about is not whether the guy wants Rebecca to stop talking, but what SGU and Rebecca said that was off the deep end. What’s he have a beef with.”

            So have you asked him? His twitter handle is right there. There’s nothing stopping you from this noble pursuit of knowledge that interests you so deeply. Be sure to report back on your findings.

    4. What? No, the video is not about that tweet if that was what you thought. It’s just vaguely related to it, which is why she said that it would be a good introduction to the video.

      And she never said “worse than rapist”, she said “worse than rape threats”, and that makes a huge difference. Which comments are worst for her is an entirely subjective thing, in which Rebecca is the only authority.

      Try using your empathy and understand _why_ she says what she says and _why_ she thinks those comments are worse etc. (Hint: It’s not _just_ to annoy you.)

  8. Keep on rocking Rebecca!
    You and Skepchick as a whole have done tremendous work highlighting a side of the internet – heck even of communication as a whole – that I would wager most men would be completely unaware of otherwise. Yes it’s uncomfortable, demoralizing, and disgusting that we need to talk about the things women put up with, but it’s necessary to gain a view of the world that is far more rational and closer to the truth we claim to be seeking.

    The men you’re responding to here have difficulty conceiving that their viewpoint is not the default – I can empathize since I’m also a white, straight, cisgendered, and able man – but the time when it was acceptable is long over. The media still presents men as a default and women as something separate (hence calling things like this women’s issues, as if it doesn’t affect everyone). These are serious societal issues and we finally have a place like the internet where the worst comes out, but can also be highlighted and criticized.

    Keep it up!

  9. Well said! I especially enjoyed your analogy that claiming sarcasm and feminism causes misogyny is like claiming birds fly south for winter causes it to snow. Keep up the great work!

  10. Thanks for the monumental perseverance and effort it takes to wade through the bullshit and keep speaking it out. And, speaking as a white, straight, educated, privileged male who tries his best to be a feminist–thank you for continuing to make feminism an active topic in the skeptical community. Because–and this is horrible, but true–if you and women like you do not keep telling us what men do on a regular basis… we will forget. I seek out your work because I know it will force me to pay attention, even if the rest of society is telling me not to.

  11. Hmm, so I made this video about BitCoin. The BitCoin community does not seem to like me very much. These guys have lost a half billion dollars in one go in a ‘currency’ that has supported maybe $50 million in trade. But they are still absolutely convinced BitCoin is the second coming of the messiah.

    I think the type of obnoxious attacks we get online do seem to come almost exclusively from males. But the sexist and overtly sexual attacks are just a tactic to suppress ideas that conflict with the ideological blinkers they wear. So they attack Rebecca for not having a science degree when she has a go at evo psych and decide not to listen to anything she says (at incredible length). They don’t want to have an argument or risk thinking about their beliefs because that might expose them as irrational.

  12. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment of the tweet (hear me out!). It gets really tiresome hearing about sexism in the skeptical community. I want to talk and hear about awesome science stuff, and stupid irrational human behavior and so forth. HOWEVER, this ISN’T an argument in favor of Rebecca STFU-ing about gender issues. It’s an argument for A) Rebecca and others continuing to speak up about the problem until B) the entire community understands that it’s an issue and C) we fix our shit.

    Full disclosure, I’m a man. I like hearing and talking about awesome science stuff. I get tired of hearing about the gender issues in the community. I’ve said and done stupid sexist stuff in the past, and will probably do more in the future, so I’m part of the problem. I dislike that about myself, and want to improve. This is part of why I read Skepchick, and value the vocal feminist friends I have.

    Don’t like hearing about a problem? Don’t tell people to STFU. Don’t ignore it. Fix the damn problem.

  13. You’re a great teacher, and I’m glad I’ve had to opportunity to learn from you. I hope I have that opportunity for a long time to come.

  14. You’ve persuaded me to donate what I can. I am so proud of you for having the courage to continue to fight. For my part I will continue to give a very corrective lecture (I had to write those last 4 words 3 times over to get all the profanity out) to any guy who has the audacity to get all weepy over having to listen to pretty much anything about feminism. You are a real hero and I’m real grateful for the courage you showed in sharing your story.

  15. By my own admission I am a well intentioned liberally minded guy who would rather read or watch something about general science and skepticism rather than feminism. That isn’t to say I want feminists to stop talking about the struggles society burdens them with. I want to promote equality, especially gender equality. Unfortunately I don’t think feminism in its current state has the gravity to pull that tide in. It seems to me that too many feminists go into discussions of feminism too emotionally charged. There is an accusatory tone and militant tension that alienates many people, myself included. Feminists would do well to remember that not all men or men outside of the feminist movement are misogynistic dicks. I don’t doubt that feminists have to hear vitriol spewed at them from small minded people on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean they are all of what’s out there, it just means they’re more vocal and they seek you out. The world has no dearth of assholes, but using ad homonym attacks on a whole group of people only makes you one of their peers.

    Being on the right side of an argument is not necessarily enough to win it, as evidenced by the fact that there has to be a feminist movement in the first place. Having too much zeal can poison your words to the ears they most need to reach. Yes, it is immensely difficult and sometimes painful to detach yourself emotionally from something you are passionate about, but doing so can give you a levelheadedness that will help you reach a wider audience. Lecturing people on the evils perpetrated by men often feels like hate speech or the kind of thing you might tell an angry mob with torches and pitchforks. It isn’t hard to understand why this tone might distance people. Perhaps it would be more useful to guide the feminist conversation towards what society can do to homogenize the roles of women and men in society. Perhaps there are more creative and impactful ways to share the struggles of women. Don’t tell us, show us what you face and you will be impossible to ignore.

    I want to see feminism continue to break down barriers. To gain the traction required to do that feminists need to develop a thicker skin. This in and of itself is an injustice, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Also, pinning all of your woes on the buzzword ‘patriarchy’ is a quick way to get people to tune out.

    Good luck Feminists, I want to see you thrive.

    1. Zeal in a good cause is rarely a bad thing given the level of harm that has been and is being caused. And you can call yourself a feminist, really. If you agree that there is an endemic system of sexism that places women at risk of serious harms from disadvantaged education and employment opportunities to real psychological and physical harm, including death is some situations, and you think something needs to be done then I’m fairly sure you deserve to be called a feminist.

      1. Zeal for a just cause is vital to its success. But as a cake with too much frosting is saccharine sweet, someone with too much zeal for their cause risks coming across in a tone that only people who are already deeply invested in your cause will lend an ear to. I don’t deny that there are systems of oppression that threaten women’s livelihoods, educations, safety, and sense of security. I don’t deny that action needs to take place, I am just providing what I hope is constructive criticism. I don’t consider myself someone who contributes enough to the feminist community to call myself a member of it, merely a friend of it, as I feel it is the duty of friends to give us their honest opinions when withholding it might harm us in some way.

        1. Could you BE any more condescending?

          Great. You “don’t deny that there are systems of oppression that threaten women’s livelihoods, blah blah blah bla blah” but you are just “providing what I hope is constructive criticism” by telling us how YOU feel about how we should express ourselves when dealing with that oppression.

          Why do you think YOUR criticism is constructive, and what authority do you have on this subject, anyway? Except that you’ve been annoyed at some feminists you heard talking at a party.


          1. OF COURSE, doing things deliberately to piss people off BECAUSE they piss people off is just a great way to promote your cause. Saying anything that might even begin to question that is “CONCERN TROLLING”.

          2. This escalated quickly.

            I’d like to point out how the latter two commentators’ reactions to the former’s “condescending” criticism quickly shows how divisive these discussions and VLOGs can be.

            Shaming viewers for allowing misandry to happen is probably not the best way to combat misandry. I’m no expert, but from what I can tell no one likes being shamed, in fact, it usually deters people from whatever stimulus is causing the shame, and rejecting outright anyone who disagrees with even the tone or tactics used in to bring about these discussions is of similarly questionable effectiveness. I’m personally disgusted that the commonplace immediate reaction to someone who disagrees in the slightest with anything associated with feminism is often an allusion to a pervasive with us or them mentality that seemingly divides everyone into like-minded, feminist atheists or people you could give fuck all about. And in this case, binturong probably was made to feel slightly contemptuous by the “worse than a rapist” label that he might have felt applied to him because he found himself having thoughts similar to those decried in the video.

            I would have loved to see someone actually engage binturong for what he thought was a legitimate concern. This user obviously was moved enough to join the conversation. Instead, someone makes a half-assed defense of too much zeal being a good thing (insert reductio ad hitlerum counterargument here), and someone else call binturong a condescending, authority assuming prick.

            Nowhere in binturong’s comment does he claim authority on the matter. Instead, he shares his take on what might be a point worth discussing that the same liberal-intellectual-guys this video decries might be getting at. This is a failure of communication. What binturong puts forth as a conversation starter another user mistakes for instruction and a rejection of one another’s perspective ruins what could have been.

            No one appreciates being attacked. The way this escalates to flame wars on the internet makes this super obvious. Attacking people is also rarely productive, unless the intent is to get those people to go away or attack you back.

            I personally think that if someone were able to give this guy a reason why he is wrong, being the intellectually minded liberal dude he claims to be, he’d have to accept it or be exposed for being the type of misandrist he claims to disdain.

            My take on the matter is that I want to figure out how to get people to care about feminism who aren’t immediately turned off by videos like the one posted above and also how to get people not to to not tune out after hearing the word patriarchy.

            I doubt that videos like the one above address these problems. Just like I don’t think Dawkin’s atheist videos advance the cause of atheism. It’s a big circle jerk, everyone who already agrees has a good time.

            Telling activists to get thicker skin seems similarly ineffective. Societal change of mindset is required to allow these videos to not be divisive and individuals on the edge who are getting outright rejected need to be engaged inclusively and educated as to why these problems need be discussed.

    2. Feminists do have a thick skin. It doesn’t seem that way for the same reasons Atheists sound so whiny. It’s because everybody is used to them saying nothing. Rebecca receives a slew of rape threats and delivers only polite responses and that’s rude. But nobody will be shocked by a guy that reacts to Jennifer Hepler saying that video games should let you skip combat by getting a bunch of his friends together to call her at her home and tell her to kill herself.

      I’ve been around long enough that I can tell you that no matter what you think a Feminist should have done, there is someone that did everything exactly the way you suggested and got the same overreaction. I’m less convinced that the “pinning all of your woes on the buzzword patriarchy” thing actually happened though. Who said this? If you know about it second hand, it’s probably not accurate.

      In my experience even staunch Liberals tend to base their entire understanding of Feminism on stuff that originated from Rush Limbaugh. Guys tend to listen to other guys about stuff, and they tend to view what women have to say about Feminism as biased, and as such there is this popular understanding of Feminism that is completely divorced from contemporary Feminism. Name three famous Feminists. If Andrea Dworkin came to mind and you are not old enough to have a few good Spiro Agnew jokes then your knowledge is almost certainly heavily influenced by Rush Limbaugh.

      1. I don’t doubt that feminists do have a thicker skin than most. When I watch a feminist video on youtube or listen to a conversation about feminism at a party though, those arguing for feminism often adopt a very bothered tone. I don’t want them to be silent or worse, to seem so upset that they are easy to dismiss. I want feminists to present themselves in a way that leaves their words echoing in peoples’ heads, not dismissed as some vengeful tirade from some angry woman on a soap box (This video is not an example of this).

        You have been a member of the feminist movement for a long time. I have only ever coasted in and out of its fringes when passing by it. I know it only as an outsider and only by its skyline. I offer my unsolicited thoughts because of the value others’ outside perspectives have had for me in the past. I see potential in the feminist movement in productions like this http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4920840

        By my own admission, the ‘pinning of woes on the buzzword patriarchy’ is not in reference to anything that happened here, and was very sloppy on my part. It is in reference to someone I have discussed feminism with in the past.

        As an admitted outsider to the larger feminist movement I can’t list any widely known feminists off the top of my head. As for a bias, I think everyone is biased about the things they care about, and that’s not always a bad thing. It can become a bad thing if they refuse to acknowledge it or let it cloud their judgement.

        1. “listen to a conversation about feminism at a party”

          LOL so you are only =listening= to conversations about feminism. I mean, that was kind of obvious from your other statements, but I’m glad you typed it explicitly in words so that everyone could see it, and there is no room for interpretation. You only =participate= in conversations about feminism when you disapprove of the tone of voice that feminists are using, in this conversation that you are just watching, like you’re some kind of anthropologist.

        2. Shorter binturong:

          “When eavesdropping on women discussing the awful shit they encounter and talking about how to stop it, I am put off because they do not treat it like an intellectual exercise and instead express valid emotions.”

    3. Just so you know: this is a tone criticism. Women, people of color (especially women of color), trans* people, gay people, etc. etc. etc. etc. insert whatever disadvantaged group you choose … are CONSTANTLY criticized for their tone.

      Here’s the thing: disadvantaged groups are not actually obligated to be gentle with the tender feelings of privileged groups. The tone of feminism feels “militant” to you, or “emotional,” because you’re accustomed to women being super-careful of men’s feelings, tiptoeing around you and taking care of your emotions for you. Women of color frequently have the label “angry” flung at them, because they come across as angry when you’re accustomed to women of color being deferential and minimizing themselves, and then one doesn’t do that and instead talks to you like a normal human being.

      I know, I know: your argument is that people will be more inclined to listen if women are gentle with their listeners’ tenders feelings. However, that’s not actually true. Women who are quiet and careful, and avoid sounding “militant” are not heard. So, combine that with the fact that you are not actually entitled to go through your life un-offended by the people you are (probably inadvertently) disadvantaging, and a tone criticism flies wide off the mark.

      Just FYI from me to you.

      1. While this may be a tone criticism, it is also constructive criticism. Put more bluntly than before, I am not asking anyone to tiptoe around anyone else’s “tender feelings” I am asking you not to be boring and whiney. That isn’t to say that I think that the never ending geyser of bullshit women, and other groups who feel oppressed have to put up with isn’t bad, its a never ending trainwreck. Tone carries implications though. For instance the tone in your reply implies that you think you can be terse, rude, and downright patronizing to to anyone whom you deem ‘privileged’. That doesn’t win anybody over. If anything it only entrenches people in their opinions and gives them more fodder they will only use to judge you. One might even deduce from your tone that you think you and yours might have a monopoly on having to put up with bullshit, and that anyone you deem ‘privileged’ lives a life free of bullshit. Guess what, you aren’t alone.

        I criticize because I care and because I see room for improvement. Every movement has to deal with people new to their cause. If you want to be abrasive, go right on ahead, drive people away from your cause and reinforce outdated stereotypes. It’s not about tiptoeing around others’ feelings, it’s about rising above the bullshit and learning not to fling it at anything that you don’t like. Slinging shit in response to shit flung only spreads more shit.

        You make too many assumptions, and they are so far off I have to wonder if you’re sober.

        Angry is polite for crazy.
        You don’t have to be polite to be heard.
        Just because you’re loud doesn’t mean you’ll be listened to.
        I don’t think anyone has the right not to be offended.

        1. You aren’t very self aware if this is your response to a quick joke (in the original video), a calm explanation (in this video), and a very patient reply to your comment. There’s nothing more boring and whiny than 300 words defending tone policing. If you see Rebecca’s arguments as “boring and whiny” I doubt you’d be satisfied with any presentation of feminism–not because there’s anything wrong with the presentation, but because on some level you don’t like the content.

          1. In another part of the thread I post a link to an example of more compelling feminist media. It’s disturbing, sure, but it will stick in peoples’ minds and does a better job of showing people the reality of the struggles women face. It’s the old writing adage ‘show, don’t tell’. George Lucas made this mistake in the new 3 Star Wars movies, it’s a large part of why they’re so hated by so many people. I don’t think that the video is boring per se, I was levying that response more at the commenter, skeith.

            And I don’t see what is wrong with a “tone criticism” (I have never seen that phrase used before). In personal exchanges I have found certain kinds of tone garner better responses from people or for building rapport. Maybe my 2¢ is misplaced, maybe YouTube soapbox preaching and rapport building have a lot less in common than I imagine. I’ve never hosted YouTube videos.

            Contrary to what you declare, I don’t have a problem with the content. If you read other posts in the thread you might see it has very little to do with the content. It comes back to George Lucas. My exposure to feminism has been like the Star Wars episode 1 of Feminism, I’m looking for the Episodes 4 5 and 6 of feminism. I want higher production feminist messages that are in a visual language nobody can deny. If it is interesting and compelling it can be as strident and as loud as you want it to be. Other wise it is easy to move on. I find bits and bobs of it around online but it is few and far between.(though this is becoming less so, I guess I just want to see this happen faster) I retweet it or share it on Facebook when I do find it, and the feminists among my friends will like it, as will a few others, but that is it. I guess what boils down to is that I find those forms of media very compelling, and I think others would too, and feminists need to be making more of those and showcasing them. I don’t make films so I am ill equipped to help on this front.

          2. You do realize that over-rated pseudo-messianic fairy tales with very few likable characters are not everyone’s cup of tea right? What you have said here is the equivalent of saying that since they don’t make movies like Star Wars any more you don’t watch movies, proving that you do not actually know if they indeed make movies that impact people like Star Wars.

            I get it, you want the messages presented in the way you think will be most effective. But you know what? You are not the only, or even the primary, target of these messages. What makes you think you really have any idea what “tone” might get through to those that it needs to get through to since it IS NOT YOU? Tone trolling never works for that reason.

        2. Despite the fact that you don’t at all deserve it, I’m going to give you a detailed breakdown of why this response is bullshit. Not for you, because it’s clear you won’t hear it, but for anyone else who may wander by.

          “While this may be a tone criticism, it is also constructive criticism.”

          No, it isn’t. Tone criticism is never constructive. It’s just you stepping on someone’s foot and then having a beef with the way they tell you to gtf off it.

          “That doesn’t win anybody over.”

          Let’s unpack this. The important sentiment within this statement is that you think you need to be won over. In other words, you have something to grant that other people want or need, and it’s their job to convince you that it would be a good idea for you to grant it.

          What exactly are we talking about here, that you might (if you are won over) grant? It’s not a trick question: the answer is BASIC HUMAN DECENCY. What you are saying here is that you will, if people are polite enough and nice enough and careful enough not to offend you, grant BASIC HUMAN DECENCY to the disadvantaged group. I would like you to think about that a little.

          To abuse a cliche, you’ve stepped on someone’s foot, and it’s YOUR job to get off it as soon as they alert you that you’ve done it. It’s not their job to ask you politely, offer a complete philosophical argument, and be super-careful not to offend you. If they yell at you and say GET THE HELL OFF MY FOOT YOU JERK, it’s still your responsibility to do it. It is NOT your responsibility to police that person’s tone. The one at fault is YOU.

          “If anything it only entrenches people in their opinions and gives them more fodder they will only use to judge you.”

          If someone decides to judge me, that’s an action they take. It’s not something I can control. I don’t actually have mind-control powers that I can exert through my actions, to prevent people from doing things to me that no decent human being would do. You sound like someone who might say, “Well, if you just dress a certain way, you won’t be raped.”

          “One might even deduce from your tone that you think you and yours might have a monopoly on having to put up with bullshit, and that anyone you deem ‘privileged’ lives a life free of bullshit. Guess what, you aren’t alone.”

          And now we learn that you actually don’t comprehend the word “privilege.” Guess what, you’re doing it wrong. Privilege 100: Someone who is privileged in one respect can be disadvantaged in another. If you are white, you are privileged in race. If you are a woman, you are disadvantaged in gender. If you are a white woman, guess what! Oh, oh, I have this one! That means you’re privileged in one respect but disadvantaged in another!

          This is why you are a dolt: because you, personally, are not ultra-privileged in every possible respect, you think privilege is not a thing. It is a thing, and only someone with zero self-reflection believes otherwise.

          “I criticize because I care and because I see room for improvement.”

          Translation: “I’m a concern troll.”

          “Every movement has to deal with people new to their cause. If you want to be abrasive, go right on ahead, drive people away from your cause and reinforce outdated stereotypes.”

          Translation: “I’m also a mansplainer.”

          “It’s not about tiptoeing around others’ feelings, it’s about rising above the bullshit and learning not to fling it at anything that you don’t like. Slinging shit in response to shit flung only spreads more shit.:”

          Translation: “I’m a hypocrite and completely unaware of it.”

          “Angry is polite for crazy.”

          Good to know that you think women of color are crazy!

          “You don’t have to be polite to be heard.”

          Are you hearing Rebecca? Actually Rebecca was 100% polite, and yet you came here with a big tone criticism. Are you hearing me? I’m not as polite as she is. You’re not actually hearing anyone, polite or otherwise.

          “Just because you’re loud doesn’t mean you’ll be listened to.”

          I don’t recall saying otherwise. Your logic is bad, too. I’m shocked, just shocked!

          “I don’t think anyone has the right not to be offended.”

          Except, apparently, you.

          1. You are such a blind ideologue. Your point-by-point rebuttal to his reasonable post isn’t the devastating reply you seem to think it is. It’s just bat-shit crazy.

  16. Well I think what most of these dudes really want is for their female counterparts in atheism and skepticism to be pretty cool guys. Feminism is however a bummer. It’s one thing that makes you a very uncool guy. That’s all they’re trying to get you to understand. Joining the boys club is easy, it just requires being quiet and letting boys be boys!

  17. Your joke was pretty funny (I laughed out loud when I first watched it). As a cismale I’ve not experienced much online abuse from MRAs and related individuals. In fact, there have been two (one threat of a punch to the face, one threat of my family being firebombed). I admire your strength and tenacity in still going when you have to put up with orders of magnitude more each damn day. And I find the snark with which you do it entertaining to boot.

    On top of that, I can echo the voices of some of the other guys that have posted in this thread. Your message is getting out, and it’s inspiring some of us who would otherwise be ignorant to do our best to be allies (actual allies that listen, not the Piers Morgan variety). If it wasn’t for you and Skepchick I would never have gone down the path where I call myself a feminist. There are definitely other people to be reached with your message, so why the hell should you stop making the world a better place?

    Also, I think a lot of people are just annoyed that you’re actually funny while having the audacity to be a woman.

    If/when I’m in a position whereby I can afford to support what you do, I certainly intend to. In the meantime I’ll do what I can by confronting the BS where I find it, and offer you thanks.

  18. It takes a lot, sometimes, to get through a thick skull. I like to think of myself as a fairly empathetic sort of person, but it still took me a long time to get past the things I had been taught about feminism and put myself in the shoes of a woman – whether she’s crossing a dark parking lot, navigating the narrow strait of employment between “wall flower” and “assertive b&^#!” or trying to date without being either a prude or a slut.
    Websites like this, and people like Rebecca, did this for me, so I’m very grateful for that and I think I’m raising my sons better than I would have otherwise.
    So, yeah, keep talking the talk.

  19. I love this video. I mean, the thing is, rape threats are just easy to dismiss as clueless losers. People who defend rape threats aren’t so easy to dismiss. (Having dealt with online stalkers before, who loved to quote me out of context, yeah.) And yes, DO keep talking about political and social issues.

    And don’t worry, I’m also very sarcastic.

  20. “. When I watch a feminist video on youtube or listen to a conversation about feminism at a party though, those arguing for feminism often adopt a very bothered tone.’

    Oh my fucking hell, are you kidding me? Just because you think something is “constructive criticisms” doesn’t actually mean it is.

    It’s really convenient that these women aren’t here to defend themselves, isn’t it?

    I read none of your other points. What an utterly stupid, judgmental, irrelevant comment about random women at a party you just happen to hear talk about feminism oh-so-much and who have shitty tones (according to you, of course, because you’re the King of Proper Feminist Tones, right?!) “argument”.

    Now that is some constructive fucking criticism.

    1. I don’t claim to be the king of anything. I claim to be a faceless passerby throwing in their two cents and nothing more. Perhaps that’s something you’re bringing to the table.

      1. There are some concern trolls that might think they mean well. And then there are those with seething terribleness that boils to the surface at the slightest provocation. Like beartiger, this pus-sucking worm here.

        1. The pus-sucking worm is marilove, who started telling me to FUCK OFF when I replied politely to her above, asshole. But why check your facts, you juddering pile of shit eating slugs? FUCK. YOU.

  21. Aren’t the bottom-feeders who make rape threats worse individually? Since there’s more of the enablers I definitely agree they are the worse problem as a group. Maybe it’s not that important a distinction, but I’m curious if anyone has thoughts on that.

    1. The bottom-feeders are easy to dismiss. Unless they live near Rebecca, they can only fantasize, and even if they do live near Rebecca, rape by strangers is really rare.

      The problem with rape culture isn’t that it says how s00per-awesum rape is. The problem with rape culture is that it finds ways to say something isn’t rape. In the DSM-IV-TR, this is considered a common symptom of a paraphiliac. A pedophile will convince himself sex is good for children. A flasher will convince himself onlookers’ expressions of shock and laughter are really orgasms.

    2. Here’s a thought, faradn, how about you take your thoughtful dissent and choke yourself with it? RW is ALWAYS RIGHT. If you disagree, you’re worse than a rape terrorist.

  22. Fun story, Rebecca: A while back, one of the MRA-wrangling crowd on Tumblr (bloggers who apparently think feminism consists entirely of making fun of misogynistic idiots online) said that my mentioning being molested by a woman ‘erases’ ‘real’ rape victims.

    I’ll continue to talk about how sexual abuse impacted me.

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