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June 19, 2013

I'm a straight guy in my early 30s with an amazing girlfriend of two years. A few months ago, I felt open enough to share my taboo fantasy: father/daughter incest. My GF, to my delight, not only understands the fantasy but enjoys participating in it! Quickly: I have ZERO interest in this kind of thing actually happening. I understand the kind of damage that sexual abuse can do and has done to many, many women, and I would never pursue something like this in real life. Now the problem: We've added the "wrinkle" of me talking to another man on the phone while my GF fellates me. The man-a stranger, someone we found online-has been led to believe that I am being fellated by my daughter while we speak. Of course, he can hear the noises associated with said activity while he and I are talking. We do not in any way lead these guys to believe that they have a chance to meet us. We want to enjoy our sexual fantasies, but we worry that we could be inadvertently encouraging someone to make their fantasies a reality. Any advice?

No Acronym Seems To Yodel

The incest fetishists you meet in chat rooms and get on the phone? For all they know, you could be alone in a room stirring a jar of mayonnaise with a slotted spoon. And for all you know, NASTY, the incest fetishists you're meeting in chat rooms could be police officers looking to bust men who are actually raping their daughters. Just sayin'.

As for your problem, NASTY, most people with incest fantasies insist that they're not turned on by the idea of having sex with their actual parents, siblings, or children. Incest scenarios turn them on abstractly, but they have ZERO interest in their own siblings or parents or children specifically. That can't be true for all incest fetishists—statistically speaking—but any incest fetishists who're turned on by the thought of actually fucking their sibs/parents/children would have a motive and/or the good sense to lie.

But let's set your specific fantasy aside for the moment—which is an upsetting one for most people to contemplate (because ick), particularly those who were sexually abused by family members (because rape)—and focus on the underlying question: Does exploring something taboo through fantasy make someone likelier to go and do that thing in real life?

The evidence we've got about porn points to no.

"Perhaps the most serious accusation against pornography is that it incites sexual aggression," Melinda Wenner Moyer wrote in the July 2011 issue of Scientific American ("The Sunny Side of Smut"). "But not only do rape statistics suggest otherwise, some experts believe the consumption of pornography may actually reduce the desire to rape by offering a safe, private outlet for deviant sexual desires."

What you're producing for the men you get on the phone is a kind of pornography, NASTY, and Moyer demonstrates that the wider availability of internet pornography has correlated strongly with falling rates of sexual violence—and incest between an adult and a minor is sexual violence.

"Within the U.S., the states with the least Internet access between 1980 and 2000—and therefore the least access to Internet pornography—experienced a 53 percent increase in rape incidence, whereas the states with the most access experienced a 27 percent drop in the number of reported rapes, according to a paper published in 2006 by Anthony D'Amato, a law professor at Northwestern University," Moyer writes. "It is important to note that these associations are just that—associations. They do not prove that pornography is the cause of the observed crime reductions. Nevertheless, the trends 'just don't fit with the theory that rape and sexual assault are in part influenced by pornography,' [Professor Christopher J.] Ferguson [of Texas A&M] explains. 'At this point, I think we can say the evidence just isn't there, and it is time to retire this belief.'"

The complicating factor here, of course, is that you're leading these men to believe that you're actually doing it, i.e., the noises they're hearing are your daughter blowing you and not you stirring a jar of mayo. So will the men you talk to want to rape their daughters in real life because you've led them to believe that you're raping your daughter? Hard to say... and even harder to get data on. But the people doing taboo shit in porn are actually doing it, and the data suggests that watching others do it, i.e., living vicariously through porn performers (who are sometimes faking it, but still), leads to fewer people acting on taboo desires in real life, not more.

I'm a 40-year-old gay man who has his life fairly together (career, home, etc.). But I've never had a LTR. I've dated this guy "D" three times, and I broke it off three times. I feel like such an ass. I'm attracted to D, he is sweet, hot, and funny, but he's obviously gay. I worry that my mom might not like him—she has made snide comments about obviously gay guys "advertising it"—and I am very close to my mom. D and I have started hanging out again, and we are having fun. He is not mad at me. The plan is to just hang out, and I just don't know WTF I am doing. Should I just see how things go?

Messed Up Dude

Let me see if I've got this straight, MUD: You like D, you're into D, and D is sweet and hot and funny. But you've dumped D three times because your mommy wouldn't approve, and you're really close to your mommy... and you're worried that D is the gay stereotype in this relationship?

I am a 23-year-old female devotee of disabled men. I have a strong desire to be with men with all types of disabilities, but I mostly gravitate toward severe CP and quadriplegics. But my passions in life involve travel, sports, my bike, camping, overseas disaster aid, and a whole load of other things that are made either difficult or impossible when you can't walk. I have always dated able-bodied men as a result. I would feel guilty fucking a disabled guy—I would see an "expiration date" on our relationship. Would it be wrong for me to seek out disabled guys just for sex? I don't feel guilt for my sexuality being what it is, but I do feel guilty when I think about using disabled men for sex.

Some Chick Who Likes Wheels

Maybe you should let disabled men decide for themselves if they want to be used for sex. Some won't mind, SCWLW, just as some gay guys don't mind being used for sex by bisexual and/or closeted guys who aren't interested in dating other men, just fucking them. Disabled adults are adults, and they're free to make their own choices. So long as they're making informed choices—so long as you're not misleading anyone to get into his pants and/or up on his wheels—you're not doing anything wrong.

On this week's Savage Lovecast, Dan talks with a former stripper about her lurking shame. Also, hear an interview with Daniel Bergner, author of the book What Do Women Want?, about what women want, all at

Dan's new book, American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics, is available now!

@fakedansavage on Twitter


Comments (215) RSS

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Posted by aznchkn on June 19, 2013 at 9:11 AM · Report this
I got the feeling that NASTY was setting up his alibi for problems down the road.
Posted by daledog on June 19, 2013 at 9:38 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 3

Posted by Urgutha Forka on June 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM · Report this
Your answer to MUD is the best ever, Dan.
Posted by Ricardo on June 19, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
I always find the evidence that porn does not lead people to want to actually engage in the taboo fantasies they see in porn to be pretty sketchy. Maybe just because I know in my case, that's not true at all. There are all kinds of fantasies, even creepy fantasies, that I now have because of porn that I would totally enact in real life if I were single. And I consider my self a fairly average, non-deviant-type person.
Posted by I think more research is needed on this on June 19, 2013 at 10:02 AM · Report this
"the states with the least Internet access between 1980 and 2000" is a strange phrase...
Posted by mouseandclown on June 19, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
@5 How is it that we have all this public education and so few people understand how scientific findings should be interpreted?

Dan was rather specific about what the studies showed and what we should be able to reliably infer from the data.

Now, as to your anecdata, I don't believe you have shown what you claim. Sure, I can believe that you are not smart enough to fantasize these "taboo", "creepy" things you say you now would like to do, if you were not otherwise constrained, but you have not shown that you did not have a propensity for such prior to stumbling across porn that some how explores such things.
Posted by B. F. Skinner on June 19, 2013 at 10:20 AM · Report this
smajor82 8
Here comes the correlation police: the association between internet access and declining rape statistics is pretty hard to take seriously. Internet access correlates with so many big things, like income, population density, etc. that it makes a terrible measure of porn access. In other words, it could just as easily be measuring 100 other things.

The cited article points this out (kind of), but to even raise that statistic as some kind of evidence of anything is, to me, unprofessional.
Posted by smajor82 on June 19, 2013 at 10:25 AM · Report this
I like Dan's advice to "Chick Who Likes Wheels" -- honesty, clear communication, grown-up interactions. But ...

She says she likes physically demanding activities "that are made either difficult or impossible when you can't walk" which a disabled partner wouldn't be able to participate in. But does she need her partner to participate with her? She can do her (physically demanding) things, he can do his (less physical) things. As long as they value and respect each other, support each other, are attracted to each other, that could work. For some people, that is. Some people want their partner to share their activities, interests, and involvements. Others want their partner to be a kind of "home base" from which they go out to do what they do, then come home. Maybe "Chick Who Likes Wheels" knows herself to be a shared-activities type.
Posted by m;ysterious-no-one on June 19, 2013 at 10:26 AM · Report this
Maybe most perverts don't act on their fantasies if they can satisfy them with porn, and then there are internet shenanigans like Bernie B's post imploring women to shave their pubic hair because that's what porn has conditioned him/men to be aroused by. It produced this winner of a retort:…
Posted by Tschussle on June 19, 2013 at 10:31 AM · Report this
venomlash 11
I'm going to go ahead and say it:
MUD obviously wants the D.
Posted by venomlash on June 19, 2013 at 10:37 AM · Report this
Posted by PattyCake on June 19, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
smajor82 - could not agree more
Posted by PattyCake on June 19, 2013 at 10:43 AM · Report this
SCWLW might consider being open to an open relationship of some kind. Maybe she could live with & love someone handicapped, but have passionate flings while on disaster relief trips or long bike adventures. Or maybe she marries a more active guy, but one who lets her go have flings with agreeable men w/ wheels. Be honest about what you want, and treat people well, and maybe you can build a great life.
Posted by EricaP on June 19, 2013 at 10:53 AM · Report this
I wonder if there is a difference between rape and between weird-but-consensual fantasies when it comes to porn influencing the likelihood of a person acting them out. Rape unquestionably causes harm to the victim. Even if you find rape/incest sexy, that's a big line to cross.

Studies have shown that only a very small percentage of men rape, and they tend to be repeat offenders. Rape fantasies are a lot more common than that among people of every gender, but the vast majority of people who fantasize about it (and even act out those fantasies with consenting partners) would never rape someone. I think that if porn and fantasy could influence someone to become a rapist, we'd have even more of a problem with rape than we already do.
Posted by just guessing on June 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM · Report this
@8 @13: Correlation porn & less violence: What Dan didn't have space for but indirectly referenced in the article he cited is that there are a bunch of studies that have just looked at porn access by itself (pre-web days) in eastern European countries where porn was banned and then suddenly available, and there was a rapid drop in violence. Same in Northern European countries, so it wasn't just the fall of the Berlin wall but the legalization of porn itself.

Because the same rapid drop in violence occurred in each country, after legalization in each country -- which came at diff. absolute times across the diff. countries. Also read other stuff on this so I might be mixing sources -- but pretty strong evidence that porn leads to less violence.

Plus if porn / fantasies *did* cause sexual violence, we'd definitely be seeing a positive correlation (rather than the inverse) unless major other stuff were countering it. It's not that reporting is going down, because increasing internet access usually comes with increasing income, increasing willingness to report / more rape shield laws / less stigma -- things that would make reporting easier, not more difficult.
Posted by delta35 on June 19, 2013 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Dan you were great on Colbert last night. No one ever gets the last word in on him (let alone be able to actually make their own point which you did several times). You successfully pulled a Colbert on Colbert. Bravo.

Yes I know Colbert is satire of right wing pundits but he does it so well some interviews. Not yesterday.
Posted by What would Dan do? on June 19, 2013 at 11:09 AM · Report this
@4: I second that! MUD sounds like a closeted Norman Bates!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 19, 2013 at 11:35 AM · Report this
OK, never comment here, but the study of internet/porn/rape between 1980 - 2000, that's pretty off. while there was an internet in 1980s, etc there really wasn't much of any graphical interface before 1995 or so. So porn on the net would have been use group type of things, not images or videos, is my guess. So, I really find this report to be completely suspect. Now, if those results were from a study between 2000 and 2010, I would see a little more validity there. What's been going on the past 13 years with regards to porn/rape/internet access. Previous to that, the data just won't be at all relevant.
Posted by RedinSC on June 19, 2013 at 11:47 AM · Report this
MUD has broken it off three times, and this guy is still willing to come back for more? What it sounds like is that MUD isn't "together" at all, but someone with the very definition of mommy-issues, and he's dragging some poor guy along an emotional roller coaster.

MUD, make a decision. Commit to this guy and tell your mom you are gay and your boyfriend is too and to get over it, or break it off with this guy for good and set him free to find someone who won't jerk him around.
Posted by Lynx on June 19, 2013 at 12:01 PM · Report this
porn/internet is media. and i just do not believe that media doesn't influence real life (and vice versa.) BULLSHIT! a vast majority of sheeple who may never admit it outloud are very susceptible to the influence of media. if media influence doesn't work, why does everyone litterally everyone make and use marketing and commercials? our "culture" becoming more sexualized faster and faster has everything to do with porn being more readily available and accepted as normal- as if everyone lives in pornland, and we all have casual sex all the time or remember a time recently when we did. and little girls cant wait to grow up and fuck- no wait they don't have to wait! they can fuck their dads first for practice and pleasure!
Posted by cinner on June 19, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
saxfanatic 22
@18: If Norman Bates weren't closeted then Psycho would have simply been Hallowe'en.
Posted by saxfanatic on June 19, 2013 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Perfect answer to SCWLW. Disabled men are by definition grown men who can make their own decisions. It might be a stereotype, but there are lots of guys who'd be very enthusiastic about a woman who wants sex and nothing else from them.

Question, though. Why didn't this occur to her? Does she see disabled men as powerless victims?
Posted by DRF on June 19, 2013 at 12:54 PM · Report this
Corylea 24
GREAT answer to MUD, Dan.

Posted by Corylea on June 19, 2013 at 12:56 PM · Report this
Ophian 25
From MUD's letter I got that he was out to his mother, but in a very milquetoasty way. She will abide his orientation...but not if he advertises it. As a result he is one of those gay guys that thinks "str8 acting" is the only way to be.

So he either needs to grow some balls and be a gay man like his swishy lover, or spend the rest of his time on this earth as an adjunct to his mother.

Dan nailed it.
Posted by Ophian on June 19, 2013 at 1:12 PM · Report this
AFinch 26
I don't know where NASTY and his GF are carrying on their hijinks, but yow...that seems like just inviting a humiliating prosecution. Keep that between the two of you and nothing in writing.

On MUD:I feel kinda bad for his on-again-off-again...and I seriously wonder if he's even out to mommy.

So, I wish SCWLW could expound upon her attraction to CP men...I'm super-curious because I have a relative with CP...I don't share the fetish and I'm not disabled. I'm just really curious to hear how/what crank it turns in her brain/loins.
Posted by AFinch on June 19, 2013 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Slightly off-topic, but I read another discussion board and tons of women on there are complaining that their husbands would rather watch porn than have sex with them.

So it's possible that porn usage is less likely to lead to people acting out their fantasies because porn has created a whole new problem of people who are too lazy or A.D.D (they can't focus on one person anymore & prefer flipping through videos while jerking off) to actually HAVE sex.
Posted by Just a theory on June 19, 2013 at 1:34 PM · Report this
@26 aFinch - prosecution? Where is talking on the phone about getting a blowjob from your ADULT daughter illegal. If they are claiming she is under 18 that's a different story, but that would be illegal even if they weren't claiming to be related.
Posted by Robby on June 19, 2013 at 1:36 PM · Report this
lolorhone 29
@22: Anthony Perkins was closeted. Norman Bates was just fucking crazy.
Posted by lolorhone on June 19, 2013 at 2:14 PM · Report this
lolorhone 30
@25: At this point, I think his swishy lover deserves better.
Posted by lolorhone on June 19, 2013 at 2:17 PM · Report this
No, people, no - Mr Savage was WAY too kind to MUD. Yes, the major element of this letter is that is does rather resemble Evan Lysacek sniping at Johnny Weir, and I have no fault to find with what Mr Savage said - only that he cut the answer off there. As printed, it almost reads as if MUD could decide to ignite his inner flame, go off with D and live happily ever after, and MUD is nowhere close to deserving a happy ending.

The phrasing speaks to me. D has this good quality. D has that good quality. D has the other good quality. Obviously something is coming - but he's obviously gay. In other words, the problem isn't that MUD is so deeply closeted that he'd never be able to come out sufficiently to be with D. It isn't that MUD can't be attracted enough to a non-masculine man. It isn't that Mumsy, who must be as rich as Miss Crawley in Vanity Fair to inspire such toadying (well, maybe not MUST, but I want her to be so that at least, when she finally pops off during their seventh or eighth go-round, at least D can manage to get away with a full set of Royal Doulton with the hand-painted periwinkles as compensation), will cut D out of the will if he's an open deviant. No, MUD had all those options and he chose to present D as the problem.

If MUD had anything resembling a reasonable motivation, it would be almost like Cranford and how Jessie Brown, on being reassured that Major Gordon has not forgotten her, replies that no man forgets a woman who turns him down twice. But until MUD can demonstrate a clear and convincing understanding that D is not the problem, we should be wishing D in Chindarayabad.

And while it may be a giggle thinking of the pair as kettle and pot, stopping there makes it appear that the complaint would be legitimate coming from a more macho source. No, no, a thousand times no.

I commend Mr Ophian for a highly plausible reading.
Posted by vennominon on June 19, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
NASTY and his GF need to keep their fantasies private, for their own safety. Anything involving even pretend minors is extremely dangerous. If the dude on the other end of the phone turns-out to be a cop you could find yourself on the wrong end of a SWAT team assault rifle followed by a prominent place on a sex offender registry. Say bye bye to ever holding meaningful employment again.
Posted by anonymous_1729 on June 19, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this
To "Devotee" - it doesn't have to be either/or. I am by no means a disability fetishist, but I happened to meet & fall in love with someone who has a disability - in this case, dwarfism. He can't walk more than a few blocks without pain due to arthritis, so long hikes together - something I really enjoy - are out. Instead we focus on what activities we can enjoy together - biking & kayaking, among others. And when we go car camping, I let him sleep in while I go on a long hike by myself. You say that you like men with "all sorts" of disabilities, so maybe some of the men-on-wheels you fancy can do more outdoorsy things than you'd think. I'd also second the open relationship suggestion, and agree with the many people who feel that you oughta just lay your cards on the table & see who thinks you've got an appealing hand: PWDs are just like anyone else - some enjoy casual sex, some don't, & some do only when they're in a particular state of mind or with particular types of people. Make them an equal party to your negotiations instead of deciding what they'd want ahead of time!
Posted by Chiming In on June 19, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 34
Best answer ever to MUD, Dan!
Posted by OutInBumF on June 19, 2013 at 4:02 PM · Report this
harmonyak 35
@28: according to Wikipedia, incest between a father and a daughter of any age is illegal in 49/50 states. So they'd have the burden of proving that they were only acting. I'd say it probably wouldn't be something they'd get arrested for, but I can certainly see a VERY awkward police visit and explanation.
Posted by harmonyak on June 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM · Report this
Ophian 36
lolo @30, too right.

Mr Ven. @31, this is an example of where our culture's rigid gender roles do damage [as opposed to casually hetero-normative verbiage]. It seems that sexual orientation isn't the primary issue here, but gender transgression is.

As a male that grew up with all brothers, but just didn't develop or socialize according to male/hetero norms, and didn't pay a price for it at home or in school, I consider myself very lucky. The men and women that I am attracted to, and feel most comfortable around, are either significantly androgynous, or at least have an appreciation for Yin and Yang characteristics independent of one's plumbing. In fact, I sometimes find it difficult to relate to people who happen to be really "all boy" or "all girl" [often lovely and whole people, but I can't help but thinking of them as missing something].

I have a housemate, who was kind of raised "Missouri Farmboy". He's a nice and sensitive guy, GLBT friendly, but amongst other things has a visceral, negative reaction to musicals [even the recent Muppet movie, put it on and he has to leave the room]. I think there is something about the gender structure he was taught that makes show tunes or other stereotypically feminine/gay things very threatening to him--to his very identity--to participate in.

In MUD's case, he is missing out on much more than musicals. He has internalized social gender norms through his mother, and as a result--even though he can accept his attraction to other men--he cannot accept a man as "unmanly".

I too hope that his wealthy mother dies soon and that he can finally allow himself to love whom he loves...preferably while frolicking on white sandy beaches with the old biddy's filthy lucre.
Posted by Ophian on June 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM · Report this
Mr Ophian - "Casually" gender-norming language is on the spectrum. I did say it was only a ding (though think of a 14-year-old destined to be the next Johnny Weir reading that interview and getting it into his head that he's not All Boy because he prefers figure skating to snowboarding and tell me it's not a ding). This gets much more than a ding.

Actually, MUD now reminds me of Lenox Boynton in Appointment with Death - so warped by his prison wardress of a mother that even the most primal calls can't break through to him. But the mother dying too soon, before he battles and defeats her, won't help. He'll just become his mother then, telling D he'd better butch it up if he wants to keep drawing his allowance from the estate.
Posted by vennominon on June 19, 2013 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Re: NASTY - The only thing that came to mind, while I was still reading the letter, was the possibility of the cops being on the other end of the phone call. That could lead, at the very least, to an embarrassing knock on the door.

As regards the answer, now I wanna go stir some mayo with a slotted spoon just to see how it sounds. Wood or metal???
Posted by gbrooks on June 19, 2013 at 5:10 PM · Report this
On SCWLW: I'm a straight lady with moderate CP, but I grew up around a lot of guys who are more severe. The more severe you are, the fewer sex opportunities you generally have, because most people don't perceive you as a sexual being (not because you're incapable of having sex). Some of the guys she's attracted to would probably be thrilled to have NSA sex, while others would want a relationship. I'd also like to add that the technology allowing folks with severe disability to participate in adventure travel is improving all the time. For an example, google "Steve Gleason Macchu Pichu.". If she is open to working creatively to solve the physical issues, she may be able to have her cake and eat it too.
Posted by Gwen Archard on June 19, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this

As a quadriplegic for 9.5 years, let me offer my perspective. First, as Dan writes, treat us as adults first, and let us make our own decisions. A physical disability, leaves our minds intact; we're able to make our own decisions.

Quadriplegia, can range from Christopher Reeves, who needed assistance breathing, to guys who use manual wheelchairs and play wheelchair rugby, aka. Murderball. Some of us quads, have the same zest for life and thirst for adventure that got us disabled in the first place. I travelled the country playing wheelchair rugby with my team, I've gone downhill mountain biking, skiing, waterskiing, horseback riding and ziplining.

The things you list as reasons for not dating a disabled man, are limitations you have in your head for us. Since my injury, I've traveled to: China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Spain, Portugal, Costa Rica and Myanmar. I didn't stay away because those places weren't listed as accessible. With some creativity and a positive spirit, I can go anywhere.

I have gimp friends who camp and bike nearly every weekend. One of my quad friends is planning on handcycling to Patagonia (10k miles) with his girlfriend. Put aside your limitations you think the disabled have.

With or without the wheelchair, we're dudes first. We still think with our dicks. Watch the documentary Murderball for insight.
Posted by Gimp1000 on June 19, 2013 at 5:35 PM · Report this
@23 A lot of people are squicked out or offended by the idea of someone fetishising their disability, and I expect any vaguely sensitive devotee will be aware of that. I think in that context worrying about not objectifying them in a bad way could make someone lose sight of the fact that sexy disabled men are quite capable of making that choice for themselves. Plus she's pretty young, so benefit of the doubt.

My comment for SCWLW is that I'm a hooker, and one of my clients is a man with severe CP who camps, travels for months at a time on his own, and is into extreme sports. It took him years just to learn to live on his own without carers, but with will and a bunch of gadgets he got there and then went further. I have no idea how many guys like him are out there, but it's possible that you could find someone who gets you hot and can share in some of your adventures.

(Also, a relationship with an expiration date isn't such a bad thing, especially if you're going for guys your age. Most relationships don't end with death but we get something out of it anyway.)
Posted by iiieeeoo on June 19, 2013 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Ophian 42
@40 &41, thank you for your insight, sensitivity, and empowering examples of human potential.

@37, I certainly agree that words can be harmful, and even casual uses can be activating for those who have been beaten with words.

I suppose the distinction I was trying to make was between daily use of normative verbiage [I frequently say/write things that don't include the asterisks and caveats that might be more sensitive.] and explicit value imposition.

MUDs mother made it clear--no matter the words used--that femininity in a man is a thing that should not be.

I think the way that constructions like "all boy" will be changed is not by eliminating them, but re-valuing them. Maybe I'm naïve, but I think we are getting closer to a culture wherein to say "feminine boy" might be as value neutral as to say "blueish green".

@38, wood.
Posted by Ophian on June 19, 2013 at 6:26 PM · Report this
lolorhone 43
Mr. Ven @37:

Let's not lay this all at the feet of MUD's mother. My father was an abusive homophobe and sure, he fucked my head up for awhile. But if I had allowed him to dictate how I treated other people (not to mention how I treated myself), I suspect I'd not only still be fucked up, I'd be LONELY and fucked up. MUD's boyfriend doesn't need to butch up, MUD needs to man up.
Posted by lolorhone on June 19, 2013 at 6:32 PM · Report this
lolorhone 44
For the record, I tell my female friends to "woman up" when appropriate, so no gender essentialism was intended.
Posted by lolorhone on June 19, 2013 at 6:48 PM · Report this
I think there is an important difference between porn and the incest scenarios that NASTY is playing for those men:

These men get off the phone believing that some other guy is having sex with his daughter, and may start asking, "If he can do it, why can't I?" It makes incest seem more "normal", and that is very dangerous.

Porn, even incest porn, has no similar effect. The vast majority of men who watch incest porn know that it is fake, and that it is an outlet for desires they should never act on.

So, I would strongly encourage NASTY to stop.
Posted by Don't do it, NASTY! on June 19, 2013 at 7:06 PM · Report this
Sea Otter 46
The headline made me think there was going to be a letter like the one from years ago (which remains one of my favorites) from the guy whose roommate was taking his condiments out of the fridge, taking them to his room to use as lube for masturbating, and then (shudder) returning them to the fridge.

The mayo reference in this one was pretty funny, though.
Posted by Sea Otter on June 19, 2013 at 8:31 PM · Report this
@44, I've decided to start saying "grow up" or "act like an adult" rather than "man up" (or "woman up"). I don't like policing gender norms, even when it's just an expression.
Posted by EricaP on June 19, 2013 at 8:51 PM · Report this
lolorhone 48
@47: Since both "man up" and "woman up" mean the same thing (handle your business, do what's needed even if it's difficult etc.) I don't see how it's policing gender norms.
Posted by lolorhone on June 19, 2013 at 9:06 PM · Report this
But NASTY isn't creating porn - the guy on the other end may actually believe he's molesting his daughter. And if he thinks it's easy to do, wouldn't that encourage him to turn his fantasies into reality?
Posted by Unsure on June 19, 2013 at 9:33 PM · Report this
Gimp1000 and SCWLW--If I get a vote, I think you two should go on a date.
Posted by milkshake on June 19, 2013 at 9:34 PM · Report this
shurenka 51
Sorry Dan, but the internet rape statistics correlation is quite weak.

In fact, there are many studies which show that exposure to violent pornography is linked to higher levels of violent attitudes towards women. Basically, studies have shown that there is a connection between sexual aggression and pornography consumption, although if one variable is driving the other (or if a third variable is the driving both) is unclear. Yet Malamuth 1998 notes: "This bidirectional relationship (i.e. higher proclivity to aggress resulting in more exposure to media violence, which in turn contributes to higher risk for aggression) is also consistent with research on media violence generally (Bushman, 1995)." Linz 1989 notes that many experiments on the effects of pornography have produced mixed results, but: "however, one finding is consistent for both long- and short-term studies. Those that have included violent (slasher) film conditions have consistently found less sensitivity toward rape victims after exposure to these materials." Unfortunately, scientific ethics mandate that studies on the impact of pornography musst be in controlled laboratory conditions; also, most of the research was done (and forgotten) in the late 80s and 90s when pornography and the "feminist sex wars" were major issues. So new data is needed.

That is not to say that banning porn is desirable (or possible), or that all porn is equivalent, but it is important to evaluate porn (and all media) with a critical eye, since many of the attitudes mainstream porn portrays are objectifying or misleading. All media can influence our attitudes and so it is misleading to say that it is "harmless".

From The Psychology of Women (7th ed, 2012): "Myth 4. Pornography has no effect on men's likelihood to rape. According to research, this myth is false. In fact, pornography that emphasizes violence can definitely be harmful. It can increase men's likelihood of sexual assault, as well as other forms of violence (B. A. Scott, 2008; J.W. White & Frabutt, 2006). Pornography seems to be especially dangerous for men who are high in hostility and high in promiscuity (Malamuth, 1998). Pornography can also provide men with "rape scripts," to show them specific techniques for sexual assault (Bourke, 2007). Pornography is clearly a complex social, moral, and legal issue (B. A. Scott, 2008; J.W. White & Frabutt, 2006). However, pornography is not simply an innocent form of entertainment." (Matlin 435)
Posted by shurenka on June 19, 2013 at 9:56 PM · Report this
I think one thing NASTY is missing is how we react differently to our peers versus "pros," though. Watching porn on the internet puts an obvious barrier between the performer and the viewer. You know this person isn't like you - they're paid, they're professional, they're dick-deep in an improbable plot. It's easy to be the voyeur and still keep reality and porn separate.

We react differently to our peers, though - research shows we tend to normalize things we see our peers do. Our perception of "normal" is heavily influenced by what we see the people around us consider normal. Consider what you thought was a "normal" alcohol intake during college versus what you thought was "normal" in your 30's, for example. (This can be good: lots of former homophobes now see gay people in their lives and see everyone else not freaking out, so they start to normalize it and see gay as non-freakout-worthy.)

This normalization goes double for things that are taboo - we tend to learn about sexual norms from peers, sometimes because it's our only source of info. (Am I really expected to shave down there? Do my classmates look at porn too? Does owning a vibrator make me a slut?) If this man NASTY talks to on the telephone sees NASTY as a peer, rather than a porn star, NASTY is helping this guy normalize incest as "just another thing normal guys do." That's not to say the other guy is going to go out and rape a family member, of course, but it does help break down that barrier a little bit.
Posted by Slartibartfast on June 19, 2013 at 10:25 PM · Report this
mydriasis 53

Why would anyone shave?
Waxing is where it's at.
Posted by mydriasis on June 19, 2013 at 11:03 PM · Report this
@48, because when people say "man up" they don't generally add a qualifier about how it means the same thing as "woman up." So in practice, it sounds like one is telling a guy to be more tough.
Posted by EricaP on June 20, 2013 at 12:54 AM · Report this
lolorhone 55
@54: In practice, when I say "man up" to a man and "woman up" to a woman I mean the same thing. I can't really imagine any instance where both terms would not be identical. Do people really say "woman up" and imply something weaker?
Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 1:18 AM · Report this
lolorhone 56
For some reason, the post deleted some of my sentences so:

-I've never had to qualify what I meant in face-to-face conversation.
-Unless the speaker was purposefully trying to be an asshole, I can't think of a reason why there would be any differentiation.
-I've never witnessed any one use "woman up" to mean something less than or even different than "man up".
Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 1:24 AM · Report this
Mr Ophian - Well, that would be an ideal. But there's no great tragedy if terms with loaded history die out, is there?

The recently-moved-on Mr Ank was quite passionate in his defence of the F word. To give him what I suppose he might have taken as credit, I am ready to believe that he would genuinely feel as much pain at the death of a word as he would at the death of a person. (He did admit that he'd rather be right than kind; I'm being kind in putting it that way rather than saying that he'd be more hurt if the F word died out than if a dozen teenagers killed themselves because the F word was used as a weapon against them.) But I did get him to admit that, despite all his non-F-word-using Adult Beliefs, there was still a tiny core of pleasure going back to when he was an F-word-user.
Posted by vennominon on June 20, 2013 at 4:28 AM · Report this
Mr Rhone - Ah, but was your father someone who became a warder in a prison because it gave him the opportunity to inflict psychological torture on people? I commend you if you had extraordinary powers of resistance (as, apparently, did I; not everyone defeats conversion therapy), but we don't want to victim-blame people whose enemies have greater strength than they do. Yes, MUD needs to marshal greater resources, but, if Mumsy has been as expert as Mrs B (although even Lenox did finally reach the point of rebellion, though he never had to do battle), MUD may need a bit more help than we did. I still maintain, though, that help won't be any use until he realizes that D isn't the problem.

We don't really know what the exact case with MUD; I'm just trying to make D come off looking as good as possible. Although D is by far the sympathetic-appearing character in the letter, he does keep going back to someone who belittles his obvious gayness. It shows D capable of deep and abiding devotion, but I'm sure we'd all wish D a more worthy object.
Posted by vennominon on June 20, 2013 at 4:52 AM · Report this
Ms Erica/Mr Rhone - I'd heard "ovary up" on occasion, but never "woman up" (an improvement, though, much more equivalent).

If we had a site like the one that keeps an ongoing daily count of homophobic terms used on Twitter, we could settle the relative degree of commonality between MU and WU.

Even when there isn't any gender essentialism intended or taken, I shall still maintain that it would be no tragedy for MU to die out. The language would not be impoverished.
Posted by vennominon on June 20, 2013 at 5:18 AM · Report this
lolorhone 60
@58: I don't intend to victim-blame at all. MUD has clearly jerked D around, to an arguably cruel degree. It's one thing to have to contend with personal demons created by a damaging childhood- it's quite another to inflict them on other people, especially people who care about you. I certainly know what it is to struggle against bad programming and past trauma, but not only does MUD know what he actually feels and what he was raised to feel are two different things, he knows that one makes him happy and one makes him crazy. Making the choice to be true to yourself is a steeper climb for some than others, but it's a necessary decision for everybody. Miring someone you care about in the bad consequence of failing to make that decision is not only unnecessary, it's unfair.
Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 5:24 AM · Report this
lolorhone 61
Mr. Ven @59: "The relative degree of commonality between MU and WU"...with regards to their meaning? My contention was that the denotation was identical and the difference between the two phrases only reflected the sex of the addressee, like pronouns.
Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 5:34 AM · Report this
Mr Rhone - I was thinking mainly that it's one thing for everyone who knows you and your verbal habits to be aware of your common use of MU/WU as full equivalents and another for others to expected to assume such a thing in general about the term when used by others.

By commonality, I meant that I suspect that MU is far more common than WU, and, if the difference in common usage is big enough, that creates a different meaning or at least a different inference. Now, maybe in the short term you might notice a trend running strongly to one side that might even out long term. But, suppose you were to observe that, over the course of a year, your use of MU outnumbered your use of WU (or the reverse) by, say, a 4:1 ratio (make it whatever number you'd accept as creating the dichotomy), then one admonishment being common and the other rare could destroy or at least reshape the equivalency. This is an experimental sort of thought.

(I think we agree sufficiently on MUD.)
Posted by vennominon on June 20, 2013 at 6:12 AM · Report this
May I direct the attention of the assembled company to Truth Wins Out and the post titled "A Mother’s Heartbreaking Tale Of Losing Her Gay Son"? Here's the beginning of the part that makes my point:

[The mother describes what happened when her son came out to her over instant messenger, and what came afterward. I’m excerpting a lot, because it’s important. All emphasis is mine:

We were completely shocked. Not that we didn’t know and love gay people – my only brother had come out to us several years before, and we adored him. But Ryan? He was unafraid of anything, tough as nails, and ALL boy. We had not seen this coming, and the emotion that overwhelmed us, kept us awake at night and, sadly, influenced all of our reactions over the next six years, was FEAR. We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible to be the Word of God should say:]

The mother relating her history went on to describe how, over the next few years, she and her husband inadvertently taught her son to hate himself. Despite her reconciling with her son before he died, she still used "ALL boy" to describe how she thought as she proceeded to contribute to his destruction.

Obviously Mr Savage meant it differently. Obviously those among the assembled company who use that phrase use it differently. But the ongoing life and use of the phrase supports the mindset, and I shall continue to ding anyone who uses it for any reason. Nobody will die from my ding. I accept that others will see this differently, but at least feel sufficiently explained.
Posted by vennominon on June 20, 2013 at 6:48 AM · Report this
"Person up" doesn't do it for me. I don't imagine it will catch on.

How about "be a mensch"? The origin does come from "man," but in Yiddish, "mensch" means a person of character, someone not afraid to do the right thing. It carries connotations of courage and conviction. I could see it as a good gender neutral phrase to convey the meaning we all seem to be looking for.
Posted by Crinoline on June 20, 2013 at 8:40 AM · Report this
"Man up" is a stupid expression ANYWAY. No loss.
Posted by Eirene on June 20, 2013 at 8:45 AM · Report this
@61 even if you use man up and women up as identical phrases, the rest of the world doesn't act that way. Which is why you felt the need to explain your usage up @44.

Many people still use "man up" to mean "be a man" (not weak like a woman). You can't wish that context away with rhetoric about how "man up" means be mature like a woman/man/any responsible adult. If that's the message you want to convey, "grow up" conveys it better.
Posted by EricaP on June 20, 2013 at 8:48 AM · Report this
@66 edit: woman up (not women up)
Posted by EricaP on June 20, 2013 at 8:49 AM · Report this
"Mensch" also connotes kindliness -- something sorely lacking in some of the modern caricatures of gender ideals.
Posted by Eirene on June 20, 2013 at 8:51 AM · Report this
Mr.Ven: I just wanted to say thank you. I think you should be made aware of the fact that you are doing a wonderful service to a couple of clueless parents out there(and a really smart young boy). You sir, are pretty awesome.
Posted by tito on June 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM · Report this
@55 "Do people really say "woman up" and imply something weaker?"

In my experience, people don't say "woman up" (or "ovary up", or "man up" to women) at all. You are very much the exception. And when only one of the phrases gets used, to only one of the genders, it's not gender-neutral.
Posted by Old Crow on June 20, 2013 at 9:33 AM · Report this
John Horstman 71
I propose "get your shit together (because despite your claim, MUD, it's clearly not)" instead of "[anything] up". Not all juveniles or adolescents are irresponsible, and not all adults are responsible (as is obvious from the existence of the phrase "grow up": it would be unnecessary if the essentialized correlation on which it relies - grown people are responsible/more responsible than young people - actually was essential). Sweeping generalizations based on age (especially those about behavior) are no more accurate nor less problematic than those based on gender, race, etc.
Posted by John Horstman on June 20, 2013 at 10:26 AM · Report this
My question is, what do NASTY and the other guy talk about over all the noise?
Posted by melmorg on June 20, 2013 at 10:33 AM · Report this
MUD - have you confessed to D the reasons behind your breaking up three times? I think that would be helpful.

First, it would give D a better measure of the character of the person he is reconsidering. He may consider that to be a harmless, if somewhat pathetic reason, compared to some of the other possibilities that have been floating around in his head. (E.g., Oh, I see, still working through Mommy-drama, are we? I can live with that. Better that than being dropped because someone more interesting cocked an eyebrow.) Or he might consider it a deal-breaker; who knows? But the main thing is that it would give him a fair share of the information in the situation, so he can make an informed decision for himself.

The other thing that would do is (hopefully) make you too embarrassed to do it a fourth time, and that you would start standing up to your Mommy rather than throwing your lover under the bus AGAIN.
Posted by avast2006 on June 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
ALWAYS Clear Your Cache!!! 74
I hate mayonnaise and wholeheartedly object to this disgusting concoction being injected into this column. You've gone too far this time Savage.
Posted by ALWAYS Clear Your Cache!!! on June 20, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
@65 & @66 Eirene & EricaP: Hear, hear! Agreed.
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 20, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
@74 Would you prefer ketchup?
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 20, 2013 at 11:17 AM · Report this
NYT had an interesting dicsussion of the phrase "man up" a few years ago; I think it's still relevant. (@Eirene - he even mentions your "mensch" idea)…

Although Mr. Ven's dinging of those who use the term "ALL boy" may seem slightly nitpicky to some, he makes a necessary point, and I, for one, appreciate the consciousness-raising about the implicit, if not intended, male/masculine gender essentialism. Language matters.
Posted by Scum&Villainy on June 20, 2013 at 12:32 PM · Report this
77-- Ahem.
Posted by Crinoline on June 20, 2013 at 1:12 PM · Report this
#52, I totally agree with you. And even if porn itself doesn't help to normalize taboo behavior (which I'd argue it does), the comments on the videos to some extent do.

There was a story on KIRO today about a 16-year-old pedophile who kidnapped an 11-year-old girl, posted photos of her on a site full of other pedos, and asked how he should rape her. He got all kinds of advice from other guys. How much of this would have happened if the boy had no audience or no peer group to egg him on?
Posted by This is problematic on June 20, 2013 at 2:29 PM · Report this
@35 - actually *doing* the deed would be illegal in most states, yes. *Talking about it* in this context would not be, though. Talking about sex with a minor in this context might be considered production of kiddie porn, which can be illegal even if when are no real children involved.
Posted by Robby on June 20, 2013 at 3:21 PM · Report this
jesgal 81
To Nasty and Nasty’s girlfriend your fantasy's are unhealthy and both of you need professional help. I’m positive that your phone conversations have been documented and if not they soon will be. Our society treats the sexually disturbed through incarceration, one phone call in a sting operation and you’re a registered sex offender.

Dan, why do you support the full spectrum of sexuality? Do you remember your column on pedophilia? Incest is wrong, even when it’s a fantasy.

Washington state law requires one to report sexual/physical abuse of children and adults in special circumstances. How often do you receive letters that cross this line? I truly hope “The Stranger” has a policy to address this.
Posted by jesgal on June 20, 2013 at 3:21 PM · Report this
lolorhone 82
@65: You're missing my point. Those who use "man up" often use it indiscriminately- to both women and men. And THAT seemed insulting to me- that you would tell a woman to "man up" as if men or maleness owned the concept of tough or mature. So I made it a point to say "woman up" when applicable- and it not only caught on, three of my co-workers thanked me for making the distinction. You think there's a better phrase- fair enough, that is your right. But let's just agree to disagree. I have no interest in policing gender norms OR language.
Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 3:57 PM · Report this
lolorhone 83
I meant @66

BTW, I was explaining the usage to vennominon. We had just had an exchange about gender essentialism.
Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 6:23 PM · Report this
@82, maybe it's worse to tell a woman to "man up" than to tell a man to "man up." I think they both suck. You're still telling people that they're not acting in the approved way for their gender.

And, no, I don't think me telling you that I don't approve of your word choice ("policing language") has similar ramifications to you shaming a man for not being man enough, or a woman for not being woman enough.

Fighting the gender binary is a core value of mine.

Allowing people to choose whatever words they like without letting them know how those choices affect me and other people -- that's not a core value of mine. I don't think the state should police language, but I think it's okay for people to talk about word choice (beyond the obvious words we all avoid).
Posted by EricaP on June 20, 2013 at 7:50 PM · Report this
mydriasis 85

"You're still telling people that they're not acting in the approved way for their gender."

I think you're missing the point.

I don't think, in the context she meant, that the salient quality of "man" or "woman" is gender. Which is to say, it's not about acting like a man opposed to a woman or a woman opposed to a man, it's about acting like a man instead of a boy, or a woman instead of a girl.

I think even in the archaic usage, "man up" served dual duty as both "don't act like a child" and "don't act like a woman". The idea of adding "woman up" to the mix is that it supposedly negates the second possible meaning, leaving both to mean, essentially, "grow up".
Posted by mydriasis on June 20, 2013 at 8:10 PM · Report this
lolorhone 86
@84: Oh, god. I'm saying that the phrase, as I have used it, means the same thing both ways. And that is not "you are not acting in the approved way for your gender". The point of saying man or woman in this context is to specify the addressee. That is the only purpose. I have never shamed a man for not being man enough, and frankly I resent the accusation. As for "policing language", I meant your insistence upon imposing your own definition of what I meant onto what I said, which is not only presumptuous but inaccurate.

Not allowing anyone besides myself to speak for me is a core value of mine.

Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 8:26 PM · Report this
@85/86, language evolves, but we don't get to decide as individuals what our words mean. When a person says, "man up," that means to most listeners, "you're not being man enough for my standards."

And that is true unless you are sure that everyone hearing you has heard you state: "of course when I say 'man up' I mean the same as when I say 'woman up.'"

@86 I'm not speaking for you, I'm telling you that you don't get to determine how other people understand what you say, unless you only use the phrase around people to whom you have already explained your unusual usage.
Posted by EricaP on June 20, 2013 at 8:46 PM · Report this
lolorhone 88
@87: I never tried to determine how other people understand me. I tell people what I mean. Which is exactly what I did here. And yes you are attempting to speak for me by telling me what I meant by what I said, despite my having explained exactly what I meant by what I said. You literally stated that I shamed a man for not being man enough when no such thing has ever occurred. And I simply disagree with your assertion that "most listeners" would infer "you're not being man enough for my standards". You did, and that's fine, but it's not necessarily definitive, as mydriasis' take illustrates.

To sum up: I never said that I determined how other people interpret my words. I said that I determine what I intend with the words I use, not anyone else.
Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 9:26 PM · Report this
seandr 89
@31: vennominon, that was great.
Posted by seandr on June 20, 2013 at 9:51 PM · Report this
Your and hilarious response to MUD was spot on, Dan.
Posted by jvandaddy on June 20, 2013 at 10:02 PM · Report this
seandr 91
@lolorhome: Since both "man up" and "woman up" mean the same thing

So, basically you're saying that "man" and "woman" mean the same thing. Good god, I hope not. I really like women who aren't the same as men. Without them, we'd all be doomed.
Posted by seandr on June 20, 2013 at 10:08 PM · Report this
lolorhone 92
@92: No. No, I am not. I'm saying the phrases mean the same thing- the noun changes only to identify the addressee. The phrase is an appeal to maturity and responsibility, two qualities that men and women have equal capacity for.

Oh, and it's lolorhone.
Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 10:17 PM · Report this
lolorhone 93
I meant @91
Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 10:19 PM · Report this
seandr 94
@lolorhone: Sorry, seems I'm bad with names even on the internet.
Posted by seandr on June 20, 2013 at 10:48 PM · Report this
lolorhone 95
@seandr: All good.
Posted by lolorhone on June 20, 2013 at 10:52 PM · Report this
@91: I'm STILL trying to understand men. *sigh*
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 21, 2013 at 1:20 AM · Report this
Mr Rhone - But why identify the addressee when the identification is irrelevant? One may not be ready to go quite so far as Mr Horstman, but there seems to me to be no shame in adopting a term more exactly suited to one's meaning. As Ms Eirene suggests, there's no burning need to retain either MU or WU in the general vocabulary, and Ms Erica's suggested alternatives seem closer to getting your exact meaning across without the Humpty Dumpty explanations.

To your credit, at least you're much better than Claude Erskine Brown telling Phyllida to be a man when they're discussing how to end Rumpole's visit to them as a less than ideal house guest.
Posted by vennominon on June 21, 2013 at 5:51 AM · Report this
My thanks to Dr Sean and the others who have appreciated my ramblings in this thread.

As I shall not post again for at least nine hours and perhaps more, I shall leave you all with a thought inspired by Ms Grizelda - that, if conversion therapy really worked, it's straight people (or at least straight women) who'd be lining up for it in droves. (And why are there not many bi activists calling conversion therapy monosexist, or alternatively trying to turn monosexual people bisexual?) If I could do a Linda Richman accent sufficiently well, I'd tell you to tawk amongst yourselves.
Posted by vennominon on June 21, 2013 at 6:04 AM · Report this
78 (Crinoline) - Oy gevalt! So sorry for the neglectful miscredit. What can I say? I'm a yutz.

87/88 - I agree that the term "man up" in general usage (and historically) implies "be less like a woman." We can try to redefine it, but I'd also rather see it replaced.
Posted by Scum&Villainy on June 21, 2013 at 6:56 AM · Report this
@88 (about my post @84) "...telling me what I meant by what I said...You literally stated that I shamed a man for not being man enough"

Apologies for the miscommunication. @84, I was speaking generally, using "you" as one might say "one." Here it is rephrased for clarity:

>> maybe it's worse to tell a woman to "man up" than to tell a man to "man up." I think they both suck. [One is] still telling people that they're not acting in the approved way for their gender.

>> And, no, I don't think me telling [people] that I don't approve of [their] word choice ("policing language") has similar ramifications to [someone] shaming a man for not being man enough, or a woman for not being woman enough >>

Also note that someone can feel shamed by the expression “man up” even if the person using the phrase does not intend for them to feel any shame.
Posted by EricaP on June 21, 2013 at 10:14 AM · Report this
mydriasis @85: >> I think even in the archaic usage, "man up" served dual duty as both "don't act like a child" and "don't act like a woman." >>

I think treating that as the "archaic" usage, rather than the normal usage, is wishful thinking. But that may be a function of our relative age and social circles. In any case, if one wants to avoid telling people "don't act like a woman" while still telling them "don't act like a child," surely "grow up" makes that point more effectively.
Posted by EricaP on June 21, 2013 at 10:18 AM · Report this
@98 vennominon: Conversion therapy?! WHAT?! How did I inspire that?

All I said to seandr is that I wished I understood men better.
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 21, 2013 at 11:39 AM · Report this
@101 EricaP: Once again, well said!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 21, 2013 at 11:41 AM · Report this
lolorhone 104
@97, 100: When did I say there was a burning need to retain the phrase? If you look at the original post, it was essentially a counterintuitive play on concepts (butch up vs. man up). I understand you feel strongly about this, but I've spent longer than I ever had any inclination to explaining a pun. I still contend that MU and WU are fine as intended and explained- they are not, like slurs, rooted in offense. But if one takes offense that is their right.
Posted by lolorhone on June 21, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
Mr Rhone - I have a modest stock of phrases, expressions and comparisons (sorry if this being a little too much like Juliet Stevenson's portrayal of Mrs Elton, disclaiming compliments and simultaneously putting those compliments into the mouths of her friends) used to convey a various number of points. When, as happens on occasion, I come across something that makes a particular point in a superiour way, I make a substitution. Whether there's anything wrong with MU/WU or not isn't really the point if there is a superiour alternative. Similarly, I generally drop things if I find that other people have considered them offensive for tolerable reasons, even if I don't agree.

Now, you can say that you don't think Ms Erica's phrases are as good, or you can say that you find it useful to be misunderstood as that helps you weed out people you wouldn't want to waste time getting to know better, or that you like to see how closely people guess your meaning, or that you support a particular quantity of essentialism; there are a number of answers that bring us to the fork in the road, and that's fine.
Posted by vennominon on June 21, 2013 at 5:08 PM · Report this
Ms Grizelda - And I know many straight women who'd choose to be lesbians if they could, or would convert in a heartbeat if it were easily and effectively done. Most of them frequently lament how little they understand men, as you did. Now, they tend to go on to say a great deal more than you do, but it is one of the biggest points of LG privilege that one has the option of being more or less as separatist as one chooses. Even for those who don't go all that separatist, it can be a comfort knowing that one is voluntarily including a certain group of people in one's life.
Posted by vennominon on June 21, 2013 at 5:15 PM · Report this
mydriasis 107

Are you kidding? You couldn't pay me a million dollars to convert to lesbianism. Men make way more sense than women.
Posted by mydriasis on June 21, 2013 at 6:04 PM · Report this
lolorhone 108
Mr. Ven @105: It's not that deep. MU was used in the service of a pun I made what seems like two thousand years ago. I also (rarely) use the phrase among friends who understood the import and my intent just fine. Not everyone grasped this (or at least felt the need to tell me that not everyone would grasp this) and I'm alright with that. My only point of contention here is that MU/WU isn't inherently essentialist- perhaps connotatively so, but not inherently. That said, with respect, I cannot go any further down this rabbit hole.
Posted by lolorhone on June 21, 2013 at 6:58 PM · Report this
109 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
@107 Wrong. You make way more sense than most of the men on this forum;)
@98 Mr. Ven, A desire to understand men better should not be taken as an indicator that a straight woman desires some further degree of separation from the male gender; some of us who are close to Kinsey 1 understand our own gender all too well and find it much easier to be friends with the opposite gender.
Posted by tachycardia on June 22, 2013 at 12:35 AM · Report this
Will you guys all please put your big girl panties on?
Posted by still thinking about my screen name on June 22, 2013 at 1:51 AM · Report this
*sigh* Hmmm....okay.
I'm NOT trying to convert or sound passive-aggressive here (really, I'm not!). No matter how many times I've sadly stuck out with the opposite sex, I'm shyly about as het as they come.

I'm certainly not a homophobe, but just don't have a lot of male friends, and was wondering. There are plenty of heterosexual men out there willing to just be friends, aren't there?

I'm NOT interested in dating. The current singles' scene reminds me of the Pat Benatar song, 'Love is a Battlefield'.

@111: Like, from Victoria's Secret?
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 22, 2013 at 3:48 AM · Report this
Call me weird, folks, but I just don't feel comfortable with casually waltzing into some meat rack and throwing myself on the first guy I see sitting alone.

Besides, out of sheer curiosity I DID recently survey the personals ads of men in my age bracket in The Stranger---both in Lovelab and Lustlab.
The kind of gal I am and the babe they are seeking (i.e.: many are doms seeking subs) usually aren't the same woman. That's okay. I'm otherwise
not out actually seeking, despite major improvements lately in my health and overall appearance (35 lbs. melted off, and I can eat gluten-and-sugar-free chocolate cake!!!).
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 22, 2013 at 4:09 AM · Report this
Now if only I could acquire a nice, teeny little "Thelma Dickinson" tummy.

Oh, well...I girl can dream!
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 22, 2013 at 4:12 AM · Report this
mydriasis 115

Haha, thanks!

You're not weird, you're the norm. I'm weird.

et al...

If we're talking about friends, most of my friends are female (or gay men) actually. I've had some wonderful friendships with straight guys but they always blew up in the end because the guy wanted to date me. Friendships with straight women are safe from that. Putting up with the less direct, less intuitive way that women go about relationships is a small price to pay to not have to deal with that again. But in the context of a relationship... ugh. God. Plus also most women don't put out nearly enough to be relationship material in my books.

I know a lot of straight women envy lesbians but being with guys is a million times better in my books.
Posted by mydriasis on June 22, 2013 at 5:28 AM · Report this
Mr Rhone - I accept that we have reached the point of diminishing returns.

Ms Grizelda - As I said, they take it much farther than you do. You just inspired the thought; it wasn't intended to try to represent you. I'm glad you're enjoying your cake.

Ms Driasis - This isn't about you. It's much more about women you've made it clear you don't much like. I'll assume that you don't intend to assert that the women using Serena Williams' arguably (for some, arguably not for others) victim-blaming comments about the Steubenville rape case as an opportunity to blame men for her point of view all think exactly the way you do. If anything, I thought you'd be pleased to be the exception.

Ms Cardia - A good many, I grant you. But remember one of the prime cornerstones of Woolfsplaining - Chloe liked Olivia. (Also, I do not claim that there would not be many who would regret the decision, especially if taken in haste.)

Giving the matter a modicum of thought, it would probably depend on the nature of the process. If it required a course of some months, the initial impulse would generally weaken. But if it were a question of taking a pill at night and waking up completely different, there'd be takers.

I'll admit that the original statement mainly seemed like a nice bit of rhetoric.
Posted by vennominon on June 22, 2013 at 5:32 AM · Report this
seandr 117
@EricaP: Fighting the gender binary is a core value of mine.

Really? And how are you doing that - by fighting it out every day in the corporate trenches and boardrooms in order to provide for your stay-at-home husband and kids? Serving as a combat soldier? Getting the door for your husband or carrying his bags? Or by playing dictionary police on the internet while taking full advantage of the gender binary in your enviable feminine life?

Many people still use "man up" to mean "be a man" (not weak like a woman)

The first part is true - "man up" is a call for a person (usually but not necessarily a man) to live up to the speaker's standards of masculinity. This might mean, specifically, to be more stoic, brave, tougher, less complicated. Or it might be a call to provide. Or to protect, using physical force if necessary.

None of this implies that femininity is weak, or that it doesn't have its own means of assuming and wielding power. Masculinity and femininity have such a funny co-dependency between them.

The gender binary certainly isn't for everyone, and it needn't be (and never really was) strictly tied to X and Y chromosomes. I'm certainly open to examining it and changing the terms, but I find calls for its death much more compelling when they come from women who, having "walked the walk", truly appreciate what "manning up" really means.
Posted by seandr on June 22, 2013 at 9:51 AM · Report this
@seandr, since you've already written off my opinions, you can be sure I'm not posting for you.
Posted by EricaP on June 22, 2013 at 1:13 PM · Report this
But just to be clear for others, I'm against social enforcement of the binary, not against people choosing to fit themselves to certain roles they enjoy.
Posted by EricaP on June 22, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
@mydriasis, vennominon, and everybody: Thanks, and bless you all!!
Hey, I just thought of something: @74 says 'hold the mayo'.
I wonder if my quirky late 40ish idiosyncrasies would dissipate further
if I held the meno (mayo I can still have---it's ketchup that's a no-no for me because of the sugar and high fructose corn syrup)?

Sometimes I don't know how my landlady and surrounding neighbors put up with me.
At least I can eat dark chocolate again.
Did I mention being nuts?
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 22, 2013 at 4:34 PM · Report this
@117 Dr. Sean, Is it really "fighting the gender binary" if a woman works so her husband can stay home with the kids? That's the plan, as soon as I graduate (I was delayed by a medical withdrawal last semester), but I thought having everyone doing what they were best suited for and had the most desire to be doing was just a common sense approach to a more happy and harmonious life.Before reading SL, I had never heard of "privilege", "the gender binary",etc. Sometimes I wonder how things, as they are discussed here, relate to the way people actually live their lives and make decisions about stuff. Like, none of the female vets I know enlisted to fight the gender binary, and their idea of gender equality is being allowed in combat, getting the same opportunities for promotions, and not getting raped; "man up" isn't even on their radar as a problem.
Posted by tachycardia on June 22, 2013 at 9:46 PM · Report this
Life is not gender neutral. Nor should our language be.
Posted by Hunter78 on June 23, 2013 at 2:29 AM · Report this
Who care's if someone coins a phrase like "woman up"? That has to be one of the least offensive terms involving the use of gender I've heard in years. Yet somehow it's THE most important topic in 122 comments. Language is a living thing, it's allowed to be changed by the people who use. And if you're too old to keep up too f-ing bad. When I read a book from the 1920's with such wonderful phrases as "niggerly" or "the whitest man I know" I don't call the company reprinting it to have the language changed. I shrug and accept the meaning as used in context so I can go on with enjoying my book. If I can do that I think you can let the younger generation play around with phrases without acting like the comment thread's most annoying aunt, EricaP.
Posted by Really now.... on June 23, 2013 at 6:32 AM · Report this
23 Con'sider that if we take your argument to it's logical extreme, in only a few 'short year's there will be no way to expre's's po's'se's'sion or plural's becau'se every 's will have an apo'strophe behind it whether it make's any 'sen'se or not. It's going in the 'same direction with -ed ending's that u'sed to denote the pa'st ten'se.

My point being that *I* care because vocabulary and meaning are so intertwined as to be practically the same thing. "Care's" does not equal "cares". Niggerly IS offensive, and while I'm not in favor misrepresenting the past, I'm not in favor of letting the offense go by unnoticed either.
Posted by Crinoline on June 23, 2013 at 7:32 AM · Report this
Ms Cardia - I refer you to Mrs Court and Mrs King. In 1971 or 1972, Mrs King was the first female athlete to win more than $100,000 in prize money in a year. In 1973, Mrs Court broke the $200,000 mark. In interviews, she expressed herself as not caring much to have broken the earnings record, which was something she left to Billie Jean and the other feminists. Mrs Court was more satisfied to have a considerable plus in their head-to-head rivalry.

The response from Mrs King was that, while Margaret might not have been a feminist, she was feminism in action. Who, after all, was going around the world and raking in the $200,000? Margaret. Who was watching devotedly from the stands and taking care of the kid? Barry.
Posted by vennominon on June 23, 2013 at 7:53 AM · Report this
mydriasis 126

Sorry, but the whole "this generation will ruin everything if we don't try to force them to do things our way!" argument gets tired after a couple millennia or so.

Don't get me wrong, I do find incorrect use of "your/you're" and "there/they're/their" to be a little off-putting, but I've never encountered a real-life example where I couldn't make sense of it with context.

Also, with the "niggardly" comment, you're missing the point. His/her very point was that it WASN'T the kind of word you'd use today BECAUSE it's offensive in today's context. People who want to preserve language in amber would assert that the word isn't offensive because it wasn't offensive in it's original meaning and historical context, so we should still use it today. Thinking you can manufacture the future into being like the present is no less ridiculous than thinking you can manufacture the past into being like the present.

Language evolves. You can evolve with it, or not. Your choice.
Posted by mydriasis on June 23, 2013 at 8:31 AM · Report this
Ms Crinoline - Please accept my apologies. Until I read comment 123, I thought you had made a typing error while objecting to "niggardly".

Or do you think that's what the poster of 123 really meant, mistaking an old Norse word for a racial epithet and re-doing the spelling?

It's times like these that I wish Mr Ank were still among us. I don't see why one can't just use the root word niggling instead to avoid a word that sounds offensive, but the controversies that have arisen make me despair.

Not quite the same thing, but, as a tribute to David Suchet's completing his ongoing portrayal of Hercule Poirot (which lasted almost a quarter-century) by finally filming the last of the novels and stories this spring, I shall recall the ending of Hickory Dickory Dock. The BBC feature-length episode, having already included scenes in which neither Chief Inspector Japp nor Miss Lemon found an old recipe of Poirot's mother to be appetizing, and in which Miss Lemon's idea of a healthy meal (being more healthful than abundant) failed to impress Japp, ended with Japp giving Poirot a very English lunch of mushy peas and faggots with spotted dick for pudding, forcing Poirot to think on the spot and invent a phobia (or two when pressed).
Posted by vennominon on June 23, 2013 at 9:04 AM · Report this
Dan, your answer to NASTY has put the nail in the coffin. You've lost me as a regular reader. But I'm sure the hundreds of thousands of pedophiles who now believe you heartily endorse their behavior will happily take my place.

Ps I can only think at this point that you put in that letter and responded so ridiculously that you are trolling. I think they're hiring at FOX news. You should apply.
Posted by NOYBASSHOLE on June 23, 2013 at 9:37 AM · Report this
Ms Driasis - Our posts crossed. I infer that you took 123 (and later Ms Crinoline) to be misspelling the Norse word, but I'm not so sure. As 123 pairs it with a racial epithet, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if somebody used the non-word (assuming that technically it is a non-word) deliberately thinking it was a racially based term ninety or so years ago.

Your argument seems more applicable to the racial word. It was once in common use in polite society, and has become (generally) offensive. (INAY - It's Not About You - for those who use it privately with a different connotation.) A word that we choose not to use because it sounds a good deal like an undisputedly (if the stipulation flies) offensive word and therefore can reasonably be seen as likely to produce hurt feelings in listeners who know the proper meaning and etymology of the word is at least slightly a different case.
Posted by vennominon on June 23, 2013 at 9:43 AM · Report this
Dan, you've lost a reader. I can't believe your answer to NASTY. Are you promoting Pedophilia or are you trolling or both?

I'm sure you won't miss my presence which will be replaced by the hundreds of thousands of pederasts who now believe you endorse their behavior.

FOX news is hiring. You should apply.
Posted by NOYBASSHOLE on June 23, 2013 at 9:43 AM · Report this
nocutename 131
@123,124, 126, 127:
The Oxford English Dictionary defines "niggerly" as being an obsolete form of "niggardly." "Niggardly" refers to acting the manner of a niggard, i.e. parsimoniously, stingily, spending money sparingly and grudgingly.

There is no racial component to being a niggard or to acting in a niggardly fashion. I would like to know what book #123 is referring to, what the actual word is, and what context it occurred in.

Language evolves and changes, but no one forces anyone to give up older words or established usage. I often find them more precise and less given to the ambiguity that drives this thread into nit-picky pissing contests. So I prefer to say "coward" to "pussy," or "grow up" to "man up." But I understand what others mean who use those phrases, and I don't feel the need to direct their language usage.
Posted by nocutename on June 23, 2013 at 9:51 AM · Report this
nocutename 132

@131 and those preceding it:
But the OED also defines "niggery" as "of or belonging to, characteristic of negroes." First established use, 1855.

So perhaps that is what #123 was referring to.
Posted by nocutename on June 23, 2013 at 9:57 AM · Report this
When one cannot use a word whose meaning is perfectly inoffensive because it is phonologically too similar to an offensive word, that is the very essence of Political Correctness in all its baleful glory.
Posted by avast2006 on June 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM · Report this
@123 if there's another topic you'd like to discuss, by all means, bring it up. There's no limit on the number of conversations and side conversations people can have on this site.
Posted by EricaP on June 23, 2013 at 10:11 AM · Report this
nocutename 135
@EricaP: I applaud what you are trying to do, and I get your point. But much of language's meaning is connotative, not strictly denotative, and comes from context, as well. If "man up" suggest not simply acting more maturely, but also acting more bravely, more decisively, more in ways historically defined as "male," but is also said to a woman, I think it represents a step forward in traditional sex roles and gender essentialism in a way not achieved by telling a woman to "woman up." And I don't think it would be insulting.

I think that using a gendered phrase across gender lines, so long as the connotations of the phrase are positive and the inference is that the recipient, whether male or female, should adopt some of the characteristics supplied by the phrase is another way of breaking down the gender binary. If a woman can "man up," and get tougher, a man can surely "woman up," and develop some more empathy. And everyone can always be reminded to "grow up." Which is what I want to tell Seandr to do in regards to you right now.

The converse is when gendered language reflecting negative gender essentialism gets used cross-genderdly:

My father used to be very proud of how he got a meeting of all male executives to order when they were bickering about a lot of petty points: he would say, "alright, LADIES, it's time to get back to business." He thought it was SO funny because nothing whipped them back into (male) shape faster than implying that they were acting like women! Wasn't that clever?! I read him the riot act. I respectfully reamed him. He laughed it off. His silly, feminist daughter. But guess what happened? Actual women started to be in those meetings, and when the managers started bickering, he had to come up with a better, less offensive way to get them back on track. His way of expressing itself had to evolve. I wish I could say that his thinking evolved, too, but I doubt it did.
Posted by nocutename on June 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM · Report this
@123, I'll concede that "woman up" / "ovary up" does have the benefit of being unusual, so it might open up a conversation, where "man up" / "don't be a pussy" tends to shut down the conversation.
Posted by EricaP on June 23, 2013 at 10:19 AM · Report this
nocutename 137
!33 (avast2006): I heartily agree.
Posted by nocutename on June 23, 2013 at 10:19 AM · Report this
nocute@135, agreed, too, that using "man up" to a woman (or "woman up" to a man) can also be productive ways to open up the conversation.
Posted by EricaP on June 23, 2013 at 10:21 AM · Report this
nocutename 139
Whoops! That should have read @133.
Posted by nocutename on June 23, 2013 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Taboo 2 is one of the most iconic porns of all time, and has been referenced in the mainstream by anyone from Mick Foley, to Adam Carolla and Jim Norton. It has quite a focus on incestuous fantasies.

Either quite a few people secretly want to nail their moms, or perhaps more likely, a lot of people can understand the kink as an abstract.
Posted by badhabit on June 23, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
mydriasis 141
"When one cannot use a word whose meaning is perfectly inoffensive because it is phonologically too similar to an offensive word, that is the very essence of Political Correctness in all its baleful glory. "

Um... really?

Behold, the generation gap, and race gap, in all their glory!

We're not talking about a super-common, super-useful word here. We're talking about an archaic word that has fallen mostly out of use anyway. I don't think finding a synonym for a bizarre, antiquated word that a lot of English speakers are unfamiliar with (and are likely to mistake for an especially hateful and dehumanizing racial slur) is too much to ask.

And I find it especially interesting that skipping the use of "niggardly" is considered absurdly PC while Erica's objection to the term "woman up" is considered fine. Gives a hint about the demographics of the commenters here, doesn't it?
Posted by mydriasis on June 23, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
nocutename 142
@mydriasis: I don't use the words "niggard," or "niggardly" precisely because I am aware that since they are not in general use (though not really archaic), they might be confused, especially in speech, with "nigger." There are plenty of other perfectly good words I can choose to convey the idea of a person's stinginess, and I don't want to inadvertently hurt someone's feelings.

But I do think it is a bit absurd when people are cowed into not using language because the general population is ignorant as to the meaning of a word. Several years ago, a politician found himself in hot water over just that word. The number of people who were OUTRAGED without bothering to look up the word . . .

The thing is that political correctness is a slippery slope. Words only have as much power as we give them. When people become afraid to utter a word, even in a non-offensive context, they give it a power it shouldn't have. It becomes like Voldemort. When people feel that they have to say "the n-word" instead of "nigger" IN A DISCUSSION ABOUT LANGUAGE (not, obviously, in a name-calling epithet intended to offend and denigrate), it has turned into "he-that-cannot-be-named," as if the very word, spoken aloud, will summon some spectre of racist hatred. That is when mindless political correctness has won.

Posted by nocutename on June 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM · Report this
mydriasis 143
The idea that political correctness is a more real or more damaging spectre than racism is the problem here and speaks to people's priorities. People often use complaints of "political correctness" to enforce and protect racism, so excuse me for not being too worried about the terrifying endgame of the "Political Correctness" slippery slope.

People love to suggest that not using racial slurs will make them "more powerful" (to whom?), with the underlying implication that there will be more relevant effects on fighting racism if white people stop using racial slurs.

What evidence is there for that? Sociopolitical circumstances and power imbalances give words their power, not how much they're used. Do you really, honestly, think the word has more "power" today than it did in the days of slavery? Do you honestly think that calling someone a racial slur means more because of rarity? Or do you think a racial slur means more when the victim of it is especially vulnerable to being exploited/abused/murdered/enslaved/imprisoned by the person using it?

I get that making a word socially "forbidden" adds something to its gravity - for the white people who want to use it. And so it should be. What's wrong with treating a serious fucking word with a serious fucking history... seriously?
Posted by mydriasis on June 23, 2013 at 11:52 AM · Report this
nocutename 144
@143: You misread me.
I don't suggest that the word nigger has more power today than it did it the days of slavery. I am not advocating its use as a racial slur. I treat it very seriously.
And I also think that people should use it, rather that euphemisms ("the word," as you keep saying, or "the n-word" as others say) when they are discussing the very concept of offensive language or history. That is what I'm talking about.

Recently there has been a push to crack down on the words "retard" and "retarded." But the offensiveness of those words being used as slurs doesn't mean that they aren't still perfectly good descriptors of people who are intellectually disabled. We can, of course, either shame or legislate the terms out of existence, and insist on replacing them with the politically correct "intellectually disabled," but over time, people will turn that phrase into some sort of derogatory slur and the pattern will repeat.

We should distinguish between using a word in a way intended to cause harm to another and using it in a discussion about language. That is what I was saying. When we need to allude to a specific word in the context of having a discussion about that particular word because we can't even utter the word or write it under any circumstances because to do so is to be somehow causing offense, we have entered into George Orwell territory.

I teach Sherman Alexie's short story "Indian Education." Sherman Alexie is an Indian. He's also a writer and an activist. He uses the word "Indian" to refer to himself and others who share his ethnicity. Every year, I have college students who, products of their politically correct education, can't say or write the word "Indian," and who want to substitute the term "Native American." I tell them that I am a Native American, having been born in America, but I'm not Indian. It's an imprecise term, used only by "Dances-With-Wolves"-loving-guilty-white-liberals. Furthermore, it is Alexie's preferred identifier. If he can use it, I tell them, it's time for them to man up and use it, too. Not in a derogatory way, but as a simple adjective.

I was going to say "you would not believe the consternation this causes," but actually, anyone who's been following this thread and the "man up/woman up" discussion, should be able to imagine it clearly.
Posted by nocutename on June 23, 2013 at 12:10 PM · Report this
mydriasis 145

"When we need to allude to a specific word in the context of having a discussion about that particular word because we can't even utter the word or write it under any circumstances because to do so is to be somehow causing offense, we have entered into George Orwell territory."

Are you joking?

When you can get stopped and searched just for walking down the street, that's George Orwell territory. When people are being imprisoned en masse for normal behaviour, that's George Orwell territory. Me choosing not to use a word that is offensive when it's not necessary? That's not George Orwell territory. The fact that you knew exactly what I meant illustrates the fact that there was no reason for me to use the literal word.

I think your comparison is honestly absurd, and frankly, insulting in a world where very real, very important rights are being held from people as we speak.
Posted by mydriasis on June 23, 2013 at 12:25 PM · Report this
mydriasis 146
To be clear, I'm not saying that people "shouldn't be allowed" to use racial slurs in limited settings, but I do find it deeply disturbing how strongly people react to the mere suggestion that racial slurs are socially unacceptable. Take a look at the statement I made that even prompted this discussion.

"I don't think finding a synonym for a bizarre, antiquated word that a lot of English speakers are unfamiliar with (and are likely to mistake for an especially hateful and dehumanizing racial slur) is too much to ask."

I wasn't saying that people should be jailed, or banned or anything else, I was simply suggesting that it's not ethical to use racial slurs (or words that sound so close to them as to be indistinguishable for the average listener) and that asking people not to do so is an acceptable request.

Again, I think it speaks to some messed up priorities and possibly some entitlement and privilege issues.
Posted by mydriasis on June 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM · Report this
nocutename 147
@mydriass: I understood you. I don't think you understand me.
I don't know how to be clearer, so I will leave it to someone else to try to clarify the point I was laboring to make with so little success.
I don't use the word nigger as a slur. I have never and would never call a person a nigger. I think that the word itself should be able to be used in discussion of LANGUAGE without the person who used it being branded a racist. I said specifically at my post at 142 that I DO NOT use the words niggard or niggardly because I am aware that many people, unfamiliar with their meanings, and likely to hear the word nigger, would be offended and I like to avoid giving offense, especially when (a) a completely different sentiment is being expressed and (b) I have lots of verbal alternatives.

Reread your Orwell. Specifically his essay "Politics and the English Language."

And brush up on your logic. My saying or not saying the word "nigger" in the context of a discussion about language usage will not right the wrongs perpetuated by people all over the world (I don't know what wrongs you are referring to, but it won't change political policy regarding education or clean up the water, or extend human rights or eradicate the death penalty, or end sexism, or stop the spread of HIV, or whatever you were thinking of).

And of course I knew what word you were using without you using it: we are having a discussion about the use of the word nigger--I am actually writing it--so you have a context from which to infer. Your refusal to write it and your attitude that simply voicing it, no matter the context, contributes to a global culture of racist oppression and that by its correlative, you can eradicate racism if you just somehow don't utter it, is like a child who believes that if her eyes are closed, no one can see her.

Posted by nocutename on June 23, 2013 at 1:14 PM · Report this
mydriasis 148

And if you read what I actually wrote, you'll see I never suggested that anyone else couldn't use language I choose not to, nor have I criticized your current use, I also haven't suggested that not using racial slurs will end racism (but it's a least a less absurd premise than suggesting that using more of them will end racism!). You're arguing against a point I never made.

I'm just commenting at all the pearl clutching that happens the minute anyone says anything even EVOCATIVE of the suggestion that you "can't" use whatever word you want, whenever you want, in whatever context you want.

When it comes to the use of racial slurs, I tend to care more about the opinions of people who are likely targets of those slurs than people who are safe from them... such as George Orwell. Partly because he's dead! But also because he was white. But I have read three of his books, and sorry, not every one of his essays. I sort of have other things to do.
Posted by mydriasis on June 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM · Report this
@myd @145:
"Me choosing not to use a word that is offensive when it's not necessary? That's not George Orwell territory. The fact that you knew exactly what I meant illustrates the fact that there was no reason for me to use the literal word."

I didn't. I thought you were still talking about "niggardly"/ "niggerly".
Posted by migrationist on June 23, 2013 at 1:35 PM · Report this
mydriasis @141: "skipping the use of "niggardly" is considered absurdly PC while Erica's objection to the term "woman up" is considered fine"

There are lots of commentators here, with different opinions. Many people in this thread have said I'm wrong. Not all of them agree with each other on other issues. And, for the record, I said @136 that "woman up" was less of an issue for me than "man up." Attack me for attacking "man up" if you must, but at least pay attention.
Posted by EricaP on June 23, 2013 at 1:57 PM · Report this
151 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
NOW, will someone explain "cowboy up" and/or cowgirl up"?
Posted by ol' gal on June 23, 2013 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Ms Gal - That gets complicated, as a cowboy in the US and a cowboy in the UK are not at all similar.

Ms Cute - Good to see you here, even late in the discussion.
Posted by vennominon on June 23, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Boo, this thread started so well with hot (in my head, at least) adventuring wheelchair guy.

Pedants everywhere!
Posted by Helenzor on June 23, 2013 at 5:30 PM · Report this
Sorry, I was going off of memory so I probably misspelled it, though I could have sworn I saw niggerly in an American book the book I was recalling was actually a British author's comedy; PG Wodehouse's "The Luck Of the Bodkins". And for the fact nit pickers it was published in 1935, once again my mistake for going off of memory. From his other book "Big Money" published in 1931;

"What would I have done without you,' said Lady Vera," I don't know. Some men in your position would have ruined everything by being niggardly."

@124 Considering I've had twelve hours of sleep over the course of three days and work in a labor intensive environment I consider a few errors without a compromise of meaning a victory. Especially one made from rewriting a sentence on the spur of a moment. So go on enjoying(?) yourself, I hope to have some more technical errors you can attack instead of engaging me in a thoughtful argument. BTW, I recommend "Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide To Language For Fun And Spite" By June Casagrande

EricaP, I really don't care that you ARE offended or what you're offended BY, just the fact that you would go to such an extent and in such a rude manner to express your displeasure over something so meaningless as slang. All my life I've been reminded that I'd be judged by the way I choose to speak, and the sad thing is it's always been painfully true, but I will always resent and fight it, if I can't use it to my advantage against the "haters" that is.

@124 again; What you're suggesting (I wouldn't go so far as saying you mean it outright) is that re-definition and alteration are at war with substance and meaning. I think not, because these harmless and usually easily understood alterations have their own history and depth. They can describe our parents, our geography, our lifestyle, and even our beliefs. Why should anyone get to police that?
Posted by Really Now... on June 23, 2013 at 6:10 PM · Report this
And back to the other half of my first comment; how the hell did someone's word choice become the focus point of discussion in the comment thread of a cheeky sex advice column? I mean, we get those three gems directly above us and this is how we entertain ourselves? Lame. Or should I say how disappointing for the sake of the more delicate commenters?
Posted by Really Now... on June 23, 2013 at 6:26 PM · Report this
lolorhone 157
It may have gotten heated between myself and Erica P in the original argument, but I don't think it ever got disrespectful. Let's try to keep it civil, I don't think anybody's heart is in the wrong place.
Posted by lolorhone on June 23, 2013 at 6:51 PM · Report this
@123/155, I apologize. And I encourage you to start the discussion about the letters that you wish we were having. I'm sure others will chime in once you get it going again.
Posted by EricaP on June 23, 2013 at 7:04 PM · Report this
nocutename 159
Thanks, Mr. Ven.

@156: Well, that's our gang: we're all about the word usage.

Although I was interested in the incest letter. Not the legality, nor the mayo angle (though this might be a good explanation for why I have never liked mayonnaise that much), but the "does the representation of something in a fictional way lead to people's thinking it is acceptable in real life" question, which unfortunately I don't think has been adequately or definitively answered yet.
Posted by nocutename on June 23, 2013 at 7:10 PM · Report this
@Mydriasis, Do you think there is ever a context in which it is inappropriate to NOT use an offensive term? For instance, I had a professor who was directly quoting Martin Luther King Jr's Letter From the Birmingham Jail, yet refused to say the word nigger. Dr. King used the word precisely BECAUSE it is an ugly word, he wants the reader to feel shock and outrage, to have a visceral reaction to a grown man being called nigger and boy. Words are powerful, and the sanitized version doesn't have the same impact.While any of the black students might take offense at being called that word, there wasn't anyone present who found it absolutely offensive in every imaginable context except the professor (the Black Student Government plays music with the n-word, the f-word, and God in the same sentence on the front lawn at full volume, heedless of who might be offended by it). I think this sort of thing is what Avast and Ms. Cute are referring to when they mention Political Correctness taken too far, and while it is not as bad as racism, it is harmful when people cannot communicate their experiences because of institutionalized fear of causing offense that is not shared by the speaker or by the audience.
Posted by tachycardia on June 23, 2013 at 7:15 PM · Report this
mydriasis 161

I get what you mean and I think there's some truth to it, it just never ceases to amaze me that people always want to run to obscure exceptions whenever the subject of not saying racial slurs come up - even when the original comment isn't making the suggestion that such words be banned outright. From where I'm sitting it's like one person saying "hey, racial profiling is bad" and then the other person responds "but what if someone had a bus full of orphans hostage and the only way to free them was to racially profile? WHAT THEN?". When someone suggests that we ban derogatory racist terms from academic settings, then I think these anecdotes are pertinent arguments, but until then...
Posted by mydriasis on June 23, 2013 at 7:47 PM · Report this
As 40s comment illustrates it seems Some Chick, even though she says she's a devotee, doesn't really know a lot about the wide range of lifestyles that the type of men she says she's attracted to are capable of having. Which makes me wonder if she just simply overlooked the possibility of finding out more about them online or if the assumption of them being helpless is part of her attraction to them.
Posted by Really Now... on June 23, 2013 at 8:14 PM · Report this
@162, good point. And tying that together with nocutename's question @159, I wonder whether reading stories about people with disabilities is what brought her to her fetish, rather than knowing anyone personally. It's not clear from her letter if she has ever actually dated (or even gotten to know) someone with a disability.
Posted by EricaP on June 23, 2013 at 8:27 PM · Report this
@163 "she" = SCWLW, of course.
Posted by EricaP on June 23, 2013 at 8:28 PM · Report this
MUD, good grief, you two put the "fun" in dysfunction.

Pssttt, at 40 Mommy's not supposed to be making your decisions for you anymore just FYI.
Posted by GG1000 on June 23, 2013 at 10:31 PM · Report this
im intrested in meeting wheels im a disabled guy with C.p.

I'm having trouble finding someone to have sex with. you can message me at
Posted by potteryhead on June 23, 2013 at 11:20 PM · Report this

You can't have adult relationships while you're still latched on Mom's nipple.
Posted by Hunter78 on June 24, 2013 at 6:04 AM · Report this
M? Really - Ah, so you did mean the Norse word after all. I still wonder what Ms Crinoline thought.

It strikes me as helpful to keep a distinction between user-based offence and reader/hearer-based offence, though I appreciate that it's easier just to dump a word or phrase into the Do Not Use bucket and never think of it again.
Posted by vennominon on June 24, 2013 at 6:50 AM · Report this
I'm aware of the niggardly/niggerly confusion. I thought that the commenter in 123 meant niggerly to refer to one who acts as a nigger with nigger used in a pejorative sense. I came to that conclusion because the next example was "the whitest man I know." I could be wrong in my interpretation and leave it to Reallynow to explain.

Here's my larger point. I take for granted that the language will change over time and that the language will be different from one user to the next. I do not have patience with people using that truism as an excuse to use whatever words they want while expecting the listener to assume good will or to figure out what the hell the other is talking about. The effort to communicate has to go two ways.

Often I am able to figure out what a speaker meant to convey. One example is when the speaker is coming to me through time as when speaking to me through the pages of an old book. I'm able to put the words into context and understand them in the way they were originally meant. I expect future generations to do that for me if they should happen on my letters and postings.

I have less patience with lazy communications in the present. I feel like yelling "FIGURE OUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN IT'S AND ITS, AND GET IT RIGHT." That's not because I think there's some high pure standard looking down and grading us all. It's because I find it hard to read when there are those sorts of errors, have to take the time to go back and reread, and resent being required to make the effort. I recognize that I make spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes too, but I don't do it with an air of "oh, you take care of it. I can't be bothered." For that reason, I don't run around correcting everyone unless they, as Reallynow did in 123, pull the I'm-better-than-you-because-I-put-apostrophes-in-cares-stunt.

That said, Mr. Ven, I don't wish to give the impression that I always mind making an effort. I adore your writing style. I look forward to looking up characters' names because so much more can be expressed with a well placed reference. When you do it, it adds to the communication experience rather than detracts.
Posted by Crinoline on June 24, 2013 at 7:30 AM · Report this
mydriasis 170

It's helpfulness is limited by the fact that there's a real trend (especially with racist/sexist/homophobic terminology) for the user to think he/she is the sole arbiter of whether or not the word is offensive.
Posted by mydriasis on June 24, 2013 at 7:40 AM · Report this
My husband loves this column. He was SO angry after reading this one - said that Dan almost always hits it right on the money, but this week he was wrong, wrong, wrong - that I had to come read for myself.
I see his point. Dan, your advice to NASTY is wrong - wrong headed, wrong hearted, just wrong. Some things are all together too common and too tolerated to pretend that they're just a fantasy, and if you don't know by now about this terrible problem, then perhaps you should consider another line of work.
Q: Would you have advised NASTY that it'd be okay to torture his sex slave for the vicarious amusement of someone on the phone? I mean, sex slavery is okay, right??? It's okay to fantasize about denying a person basic human rights for sexual gratification, right?? Right???
It's the same thing.
I understand why my husband says he ain't reading "Savage Love" anymore.
Posted by NorthHeath on June 24, 2013 at 9:10 AM · Report this
If a person likes to fantasize about having a sex slave and finds another adult, mentally capable person who likes to fantasize to be a sex slave, then it is okay for them to engage in mutually satisfying slave-and-torture play.

And if a third person likes to listen in, and they want this third person to listen in, then it makes three people happy!

I'd draw the line, however, at any torture play that leaves the slave permanently damaged, even if the slave would like to be permanently damaged. Just doesn't seem like a healthy idea.
Posted by migrationist on June 24, 2013 at 10:03 AM · Report this
The problem with Nasty is not incest, it's the implicit child abuse. Incest between adults is a crime because we have said it is. The genetic argument against it is too weak to justify imprisonment. We seem to have an inborn sexual indifference to our close relatives-- why else the quick but innocent understanding of "like kissing my sister"-- and hence perhaps little reason to have such laws.

Child molestation is a different matter. We have agreed to take the gloves off here. The lifetime harassment and stigmatization of sex offenders is symptomatic of this. Even cartoons of children having sex are illegal to make, to own. Do we prosecute for pictures of humans killing other humans?

Some of Nasty's listeners could well be cops or vigilantes against child porn. That won't end well.
Posted by Hunter78 on June 24, 2013 at 10:20 AM · Report this
ALWAYS Clear Your Cache!!! 174
Auntie Grizelda ~ I hate ketchup too.

Now good mustard, bbq sauce...
Posted by ALWAYS Clear Your Cache!!! on June 24, 2013 at 12:39 PM · Report this
Ms Crinoline - So, I interpreted you correctly; good. I didn't think you'd have made such a direct assertion about the Norse word.
Posted by vennominon on June 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 176
I'm really confused by all the people who keep mentioning child molestation/pedophilia in response to NASTY. Where does that get mentioned at all?
Posted by Canadian Nurse on June 24, 2013 at 1:19 PM · Report this
Hey, I m a dissbled adult who read the add about "Wheels". I am searching for someone like that as i am a adult with C.P who has a hard time finding sexual partners.

Please write me back at
Posted by potteryhead on June 24, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 178
Oh! I get it. It's because NASTY's in his 30s. OK, so new advice: You can go ahead with it, only if you tell the guy on the other end of the phone that you're in your 40s, and your daughter is 21.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on June 24, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
Ms Driasis - Agreed that the speaker often thinks his/her personal decree is the sole determinant of what is or is not offensive. I was thinking more of where the responsibility would be laid.
Posted by vennominon on June 24, 2013 at 1:23 PM · Report this
"the whitest man I know" was slang used in the book I already mentioned. It was used by one character in a conversation with his cousin who was ending her engagement with his best friend. It was used to describe his friend as a man of good character.

I understand wanting communication to be straight forward and etc. The simple fact is that unless you're asking the person next to you for the pepper shake it's almost never easy or simple. For example;

"For that reason, I don't run around correcting everyone unless they, as Reallynow did in 123, pull the I'm-better-than-you-because-I-put-apostrophes-in-cares-stunt."

Oh, so that's what I was doing! How silly of me. This whole time I thought I accidently left something in a sentence when I rewrote it, but I really just wanted to piss random strangers off with my grammar. Thank you, Crinoline for driving home your point that communication is a two-way long as both parties want it to be.

@168 Yes, I must have misspelled. I was in a hurry and going off of pure memory before my morning cup of coffee. Please forgive me. The larger point was that the word was something that could be taken offense to, but that the desire to understand what the speaker is saying should overcome any squeamishness in the listener to prevent coming to any early conclusions. The merit of taking offense to something like that I leave for everyone to decide for themselves.
Posted by Really Now... on June 24, 2013 at 1:32 PM · Report this
@174 Ketchup and steak. I mean pink in the center, juicy steak with just a dab of ketchup, lots of black pepper and fresh garlic. Go try it. If you can't enjoy that then you can denounce ketchup.
Posted by Really Now... on June 24, 2013 at 1:40 PM · Report this
@174: Good mustard--the real stuff, not djjon or sweet hot--ROCKS!! Dill relish adds zing, too.

@181: Yesssssss! I do LOVE a good, juicy steak! But I have to avoid ketchup, steak sauces like A-1, and other condiments containing sugar for dietary reasons.
Red, red wiiiiiiiiine.....stay close to meeeeeeeeeee.......
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 24, 2013 at 2:46 PM · Report this
M? Really - Actually, your misspelling seems to have enlivened the conversation considerably.
Posted by vennominon on June 24, 2013 at 4:20 PM · Report this
I have the enjoyed the conversation quite a bit. But dare I say, it seems simple to me. To say to a gay man things like "advertising it..." or any variation of that is just plain mean, especially to say to your offspring. And I can only begin to imagine all the other things his mother has said for the last 40 years. Not that that excuses his behavior as an adult. But we shape our children's self esteem and self image. As adults we shouldn't let what others say define us, but it's hard not to, because that is the point. We are being defined by someone else. To pretend words aren't said to make a person feel a certain way is a lie. But context does matter. It should be up to the speaker to have respect for the context, not up to the other person. Unfortunately, I think the only thing that will help MUD is some time away from mom. I took a break from my dad for similar reasons, for about 3years in my early 20s. It worked wonders. MUD doesn't know who he is outside of his mother's opinion. His mother who clearly has an "I love you in spite of" as opposed to "I love because of...attitude.
Posted by tito on June 24, 2013 at 5:34 PM · Report this
The incest taboo has at least two facets. One is the negative health effects of repeated inbreeding. The other is the network of relationships built up when you need to maintain social ties with people outside your immediate family: not just the exchange of genes, but of ideas and goods. When hard times hit it's good to have genetic diversity; it's also good to have a wide-ranging network of extended kin. The incest taboo meant a successful little hunter-gatherer tribe couldn't take a 'stab first, ask questions later' approach to every other group they met, but needed to manage some less lethal social connections.

Ramped over into modern times, the genetic issue is still there. The other one is reflected in the fact that families practicing incest have some seriously fucked up dynamics, and maintaining a strong incest taboo provides some protection to the weaker members: children, handicapped, etc. It says that the people most responsible for forming you through childhood, and for caring for you in times of crisis, can't use you for sex. Rather than consider each incest case on the merits--"I waited until my son/daughter's 18th birthday to fully consummate our relationship and go all the way, per the laws in our state, and of course it is fully consensual on the part of my 18 year old, just ask her/him! I'll sit with you while you ask"--society finds it a lot more useful to just assume this is fucked up. I don't think society is wrong in this instance.
Posted by IPJ on June 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM · Report this
@62- I got what he was saying, it didn't need your stamp of approval, thbaks though.
Posted by Tightrope on June 24, 2013 at 7:19 PM · Report this
I don't get why NASTY can't just tell the men that they're not really related.
Posted by James Hutchings on June 24, 2013 at 11:43 PM · Report this
Still Thinking 188
Hi Aunt Grizelda @ 112 - any big girl panties that float your boat (from 111).
Posted by Still Thinking on June 25, 2013 at 2:34 AM · Report this
I never say "Man up" or "Woman up" or "person up"

I say "Hang in there, we'll get through this"

Mayonnaise - no way -- wasabi
Posted by not.zorg on June 25, 2013 at 4:16 AM · Report this
The key bit seems to me that NASTY pretends it's his daughter.

This makes it different from porn, where we know it's a show.

Agree with the comment about peers' behavior being seen as licensing.

NASTY should reveal on the phone that this is just a fantasy; better yet, get the girlfriend to clearly state this.

Disappointed Dan didn't spot this difference; agree as it is his advice is way off.
Posted by Someone commenting on June 25, 2013 at 5:20 AM · Report this

Just because something may be a bad idea, doesn't mean you should throw people in prison for it.
Posted by Hunter78 on June 25, 2013 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Ignoring the genetics factor, and the general ick factor that the majority of people tend to have, I think from an emotional standpoint incest could be damaging. If you're with someone you're related to, ending things would be incredibly messy. You'd still have to see the person on a regular basis, which would mean seeing them with new lovers. Choosing to keep an ex in your life is one thing, having to is entirely different.
Posted by KateRose on June 25, 2013 at 9:55 AM · Report this
I'm sorry Dan but I think your advice to NASTY is not just wrong but dangerous - Whether or not porn increases or decreases violence doesn't matter because what NASTY is describing isn't porn. The creepy chat room strangers listening to NASTY getting blown by his GF believe (or might believe, if they are overly trusting of people they meet in internet chat rooms) that they are witnessing/participating in actual father/daughter incest, truly happening at that exact moment in time. Witnessing other people engage in a behavior normalizes the behavior - one or more of these guys might think to himself "that guy's doing it, why shouldn't I do it too?" And we're talking about potential child sexual abuse here - even the tiniest chance that their actions might lead someone to believing that it's ok for him to rape his daughter should be enough to convince NASTY and his GF (and any other decent person) that they need to either keep their fantasies to themselves, or bring the other guy in on it and disclose, in advance, that they are not actually related nor do they condone actual incest.
Posted by Episcope on June 25, 2013 at 10:33 AM · Report this
KateRose@192: very good point. That would be my main worry in the case of, say, marriage between first cousins (which is legal lots of places and where the biological risks are pretty small, unless it's double first cousins).
Posted by Eirene on June 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
@188 Sounds good to me!
@189: I'll hold the meno.
Posted by auntie grizelda on June 25, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
mydriasis 196

You most certainly do not "have to" keep your family in your life. Least of all if you're a victim of incest.

I know that's not where you were going with that point, but the socially-enforced presumption that keeping your family in your life is a given.... can be very damaging.
Posted by mydriasis on June 25, 2013 at 8:15 PM · Report this
seandr 197
@EricaP: Perhaps I came off a little harsher than I intended. For better or worse, here's another try.

In my view, your opinions on the meaning of "man up" are about as informed as my opinions on the meaning of "motherhood".

That's not to say I don't or can't have opinions on motherhood. However, motherhood is not something I've directly experienced, it's not a title I feel that I've earned, and therefore, it's not something I would ever lay claim to, nor would I try to gloss over the intense pressure and hormonal changes and emotional and physical exhaustion that so many mothers experience, especially in the early years, by suggesting that they are, in fact, exactly the same thing as fatherhood. (This, despite the fact that I'm a very involved father.)

And yet that's kind of what you're doing with your attempt to redefine "man up" - you're conveniently ignoring what manhood really means and then claiming it for yourself.

Maybe we'll get to a place someday where motherhood and fatherhood are synonymous, and "man up" means the same thing as "woman up". Until then, I think it's good manners to appreciate and respect these different roles and realities and the unique contributions they make, while also honoring and accepting the exceptional people who cross gender lines to step into these roles.
Posted by seandr on June 25, 2013 at 10:49 PM · Report this
@196 My
I definitely don't feel that you HAVE to keep family in your life. However, while I think the ick factor I feel personally would keep me from involving myself in an incestuous relationship (even the legal ones), I would assume that, one who does is meeting the other person at a family event. If the person doesn't have a close family, this is a non-issue. But if you are a person who spends a lot of time with family (for example my family is pretty close) it would be a really difficult decision to make to stop going to family functions just to avoid one person.
I wouldn't want to have to lose out on my family because I couldn't just find someone who isn't related to me to date/sleep with.
Posted by KateRose on June 26, 2013 at 5:37 AM · Report this
To add onto my post @198, I realize you knew what I was getting at, and I would never try to perpetuate the belief that someone had to spend time with family if they had reasons not to (even if that reason is just, "I don't feel like it).
Posted by KateRose on June 26, 2013 at 6:00 AM · Report this
@197, can you provide a sample situation when it would be "good manners" to tell someone else to "man up"? I find that hard to picture.
Posted by EricaP on June 26, 2013 at 10:07 AM · Report this
@197 >> yet that's kind of what you're doing with your attempt to redefine "man up" - you're conveniently ignoring what manhood really means and then claiming it for yourself. >>

Out of curiosity, where do you see me redefining 'man up'? I think I'm using the standard definition. Perhaps you're confusing me with lolorhone?
Posted by EricaP on June 27, 2013 at 9:46 AM · Report this
lolorhone 202
@197, 202:

Neither one of you get it, I couldn't have possibly been clearer with regards to usage (92)and intention (104), there has been quite a bit "claimed" and "ignored" in this ridiculous back and forth, most of it centered squarely on what I did or did not say even though it's printed as clear as day on this thread. This is officially your problem.
Posted by lolorhone on June 30, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
@202, in my view, the standard usage of "man up" has been to mean, essentially, "don't be a pussy," where pussy is slang for women's genitals (and hence a metonymous reference to not being a woman0>……

When you said @48, 55, 92, 104, and 202, that you mean "woman up" to connote the same thing as "man up" (ie, be mature), you are changing the meaning of the phrase. I like your meaning better, but I think it is reasonable to (a) note that it's a change to the standard usage, and (b) discuss whether the phrase is worth reappropriating from its negative connotations. (I think it's not worth it; you seem to disagree.)

It sounds like seandr is arguing for a mild version of the original meaning: "man up" would mean something different from "woman up" but without suggesting women are lesser than men. I don't think that's possible but if he wants to make the argument, or correct my (likely) misunderstanding of his position, he's welcome to.
Posted by EricaP on July 2, 2013 at 4:08 PM · Report this
@203, edit: woman0> should be woman).
Posted by EricaP on July 2, 2013 at 4:11 PM · Report this
seandr 205
@EricaP: It seems I've misunderstood what you were saying above, which was about enforcing gender norms with phrases like "man up" rather than manipulating language in a way that denies that they exist. Your point was apparently too subtle (and intermixed with other posts) for me to grasp. I feel stupid. My sincere apologies.
Posted by seandr on July 2, 2013 at 4:15 PM · Report this
Well, I certainly appreciate you having the balls to come back and apologize. (That there's a joke. Hope I didn't screw it up in the telling.)
Posted by EricaP on July 2, 2013 at 4:20 PM · Report this
seandr 207
@EricaP: ☺
Posted by seandr on July 2, 2013 at 4:36 PM · Report this
lolorhone 208
"...I think it is reasonable to (a) note that it's a change to the standard usage, and (b) discuss whether the phrase is worth reappropriating from its negative connotations. (I think it's not worth it; you seem to disagree.)"

After I established what I intended with MU/WU, I never said anything different than what you stated above. And then I said let's agree to disagree and I was still chastised and drawn into further arguments. I welcome differing perspectives as long as both sides are actually acknowledged.
Posted by lolorhone on July 2, 2013 at 9:20 PM · Report this
Late to the thread, but for SCWLW and anyone else who is a devotee:

The most important thing you can do is *disclose*. Disclose early, forthrightly, and the same way you would disclose any other kink (As Dan says, it's not cancer, it's kink.) Yes, disclosure *will* cause some gimps to run for the hills. (I am one of them.) Here is the thing, though - you don't want to date me any more than I want to date you, because I am not onboard with your kink. You want a gimp who is down with that, right? Right. So don't get all hung up on the guys who go "oh, whoa, hell no, not my thing, sorry, bye."

Here's why disclosing a devotee fetish is different from (and more vital than) disclosing, say, a rope fetish. I love rope, but if I'm with someone who doesn't, I can go fulfill that elsewhere; I wouldn't wait and bide my time and then secretly tie my lover to the ceiling after they've already explicitly told me they weren't into rope, cause that would be creepy and abusive. So taking the rope elsewhere and doing it with other people is both an option and the right thing to do.

If you, as a devotee, date *me*, you can't "take that elsewhere"... you are, by definition, attracted to objectifying me. And that's okay, *as long as* the gimp in question is down with that. If they're not, you are, by definition, *non-consensually* involving them in your kink.

Devotees who *do not* disclose, and who stalk disabled gatherings to the point where my beloved camps and conferences had to tighten security and require medical proof of gimpdom to attend, etc, are why I won't ever date a devotee. I know not all of you are dishonest creepers who do shit like hide my car keys on top of the fridge so that I have to ask you for them and thereby get you hot and wet when I'm just trying to go get a gallon of milk... but the shit like that is the shit most of us see. People like that, who seek us out to *furtively* objectify, are what has made it hard for you to find those athletic, awesome gimps that you don't think exist. Guys like us go the fuck to *ground* because the majority of people *we* know who identify as "devotees" are creepy as fuck.

That isn't your fault, but if you want a healthy, happy relationship:

1) Don't stalk, don't infiltrate, don't crash gatherings that are specifically by and for disabled people. Those are our safe spaces, and because many/most of us have bad experiences with devotees, the quickest way to make us feel threatened is to be sneaky. To be clear, it's fine if you want to go to a *public event* where there are gimps, e.g. a wheelchair basketball game. But a *private event*, or any event where you're misrepresenting your intentions (e.g. "Hi, I'd like to be a camp counselor for disabled kids, cause I love kids!") is not okay.

2)Disclose early. Provided you have a record of non-creepy behavior, it's totally okay to bring up said record, e.g. "I think guys/girls with CP are totally hot, but I know that squicks some people so I do my best to respect boundaries." (If you were talking to me and you said something like that, I would probably still politely decline a date, but not before saying "Your kinks are not for me but I respect your integrity! I'm not up for dating you but I'm happy to meet you for coffee if you find yourself in a situation where you want to run it by a gimp to figure out how to navigate it."

Which brings me to:

3) Educate yourself. I don't mean "look us up on Web MD and jerk off"... you can do that too, it's no skin off my ass, but if you want guys with CP to give you a chance, you need to know about guys with CP as *people*... including the fact that we're just like other guys. It's already been stated here that we can do everything you can do. Not all of us *choose* to be that active or outdoorsy, but not all ablebodied people choose to be that active or outdoorsy either. And I guarantee you, the quickest way to drive away an otherwise fantastic, accepting of your kink, outdoorsy guy with CP will be to say "I like travel, sports, my bike, camping, overseas disaster aid, and a whole load of other things that are made either difficult or impossible when you can't walk." They will say "Er... what? Seriously? I do all those things, is that not why you're attracted to me?"

Read up on little things like the Paralympics (not to be confused with the Special Olympics, which is very different), go to a roadrace and watch the wheelchair division (usually leaves the starting line 20-30 minutes before the bipeds, because we're quicker than the bipeds and we don't want to accidentally clip ankles) rent Murderball, read John Hockenberry's book... *educate* yourself. You will not find many guys who even want a quickie with you if you expect them to have to put up with well-meaning but ignorant statements like "it's difficult to impossible for people like you to be as active as an ablebodied person."

The ones who *will* put up with those foot-in-mouth moments will largely be self-pitying gimps who are depressing as hell to be around, and you will feel dirty when you leave, because self-pitying gimps manage to make *even other gimps* feel like they are horrible uncompassionate people who are somehow "using" the self-pityers.

It's totally okay to seek out guys with CP for just sex... we're people, just like you, and some of us are cool with hookups. But even for the guys who like hookups, it's usually only okay if you're doing it *for the right reasons*, i.e. you want a hookup - not because you're laboring under the delusion that we're not relationship material *solely* because of your own misconceptions about what it is to be disabled.

I know this is stupidly long, but I really do want to help the non-creepy devotees out there.

Signed, A wheelchair athlete since age 4 with CP... whose ablebodied friends *refuse* to play against me, because I will wipe the floor with them.
Posted by seanchai on July 7, 2013 at 2:38 AM · Report this
Personally, I use Native American rather than Indian to, well, avoid *confusion*. Because I know people who are Indian, as in from India...
Posted by Melissa Trible on July 8, 2013 at 10:37 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 211
What the fuck does this have to do with acceptance/rejection?
Posted by Dirtclustit on July 14, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Dirtclustit 212
@52 Go fuck yourself
Posted by Dirtclustit on July 14, 2013 at 12:03 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 213
@15 Go Fuck YOURself,

nobody gives a fuck what any "BS" study has been claimed to show, when the facts are that the majority of men will do just about anything they believe they will not be held accountable for.

Men are about as trustworthy as you can bury the fuckers once you find out they are one of the majority who just don't get it, and likely never will understand the differences between right and wrong in this world. And the ones that truly do understand, understand why it's not OK to go ahead and bury them as that would be taking action that proves there are times that they do not understand.

So if you are going to make shit up, don't do it on the topic of rape until after you've witnessed the before and after effects of one or the worst crimes that can be committed.

The reason rape is one of the worst crimes is because it is so easy to "trigger" the fear and intimidate the victims long after the crime was committed.

There is nothing more abusive than taking power and control over the unwilling who in no way shape or form offered submission.

Posted by Dirtclustit on July 14, 2013 at 12:34 PM · Report this
SCWLW - god, another 'creepy quad girl' as we call them. Ugh. The fact that it hasn't occurred to her to ask her potential partners what they think of her plans tells me everything I need to know about her. They aren't people to her, they're a fetish on wheels. Imma tell you now honey, they aren't as helpless as you seem to think and they don't behave like good little boys who depend on you just because they happen to have a disability.

Signed: someone who has seen far too many Paralympians in action.
Posted by Deerie on July 15, 2013 at 8:55 PM · Report this
The trouble with what NASTY is doing is that they are leading the men on the phone to think there are more people out there acting on their incest fetish. And the more those men think that acting on the behavior is normal, usual, common, or whatever. And THAT might well make them more prone to act on their own desires. This ISN'T a consensual fantasy, which is what porn is. They should stop.
Posted by apatrushko on September 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM · Report this

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