Score One for the Haters and Trolls

Comments

1
What was that about heat and the kitchen?
2
and nothing of value was lost
4
wow.

Did she fail to support homosexual "marriage"?

Cause in the Qunited States of Gaymerica that will get you burned like this
5
Man, that sucks. I've been reading her blog and Pharyngula for a while and growing increasingly dismayed at the attacks I've been reading about. Best of luck to her.
6
Pope Peabrain. What an aptly-named jerkoff.
7
The internet is just another demonstration of how primitive and unevolved humans are.
8
Someone should start a company that will delete shitty comments and emails and such, so the OP never has to see them.
9
@3--true, but I cannot blame anyone who decides it simply isn't worth it. Particularly for someone who is trying to build a career in something other than blogging at the same time.
10
Yeah, that broke my heart when I read that. I can only take comfort in the fact that she lives in Seattle, and I stand a slight chance of getting to meet her someday. I will do my best not to stare at her world-famous boobs.
11
There has been a long-running debate about whether female blogger/internet personalities should maintain some level of anonymity to avoid personal attacks by the unhinged fringe. I've never been able to decide if that's wise or not (it is certainly depressing), but what can you do? How does the mostly progressive and supportive online community relegate the haters?

And commenter/vile-spewer anonymity itself is such a double-edged sword. It has allowed for an unprecedented level of free speech, but removes the social shaming stigmas that keep most people from going totally bananas in meat-space.

This is so depressing. Why don't you ask Jen to write an occasional atheist or feminist piece for slog or something? Bundle the hate with all the vitriol the stranger already laughs off.
12
It's a good thing she didn't ragequit before finding out that she could moderate or even *gasp* disable comments! Also, welcome to the internet Jen!
13
This goes especially for dan, Internet trolls are less people than you think. One enterprising psycho can appear to be a host. I don't want to be scare tactic guy but the above account sounds like one to 5 people are stalking that lady. She should be aware of this and always have in her brain a plan for them. We live in an increasingly desperate time, with lots of crazies and really easy to get murder tools, It's a good idea to be prepared for what is sadly becoming inevitable. Quitting will probably stop it, but if it doesn't stop you got yourself one crazy stalker who is trying to destroy you! Don't let them!
14
Don't give up, Jen! I kind of hate to suggest this, but maybe she should switch to Facebook only comments or a thumbs up/thumbs down system where comments are hidden due to low ratings. I've got to think that some of the vitriol-trolls (or vitrolls) would move on to easier, unfettered blogs.

Or, at least do as The Stranger does and make it to where you have to click on the "unregistered comments" to view them. I've learned not to bother, since it usually entails a bunch of attention-seeking nonsense and ellipsis abuse.

15
Atheist Barbie: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_-dxg8gReUqE/S7…

You're awesome, Jen. And you'll be greatly missed.
16
Oh, look, some of the dipshit trolls in question found this thread.

Hey guys. What's up? I notice you're not writing your own blogs. Too busy commenting on other people's work? About how they're fat useless cunts? While you do nothing?

Carry on, I guess.
17
@13, in the case of Slog, that one enterprising psycho only thinks he looks like a host. It's pretty obvious to the rest of us that 90% of this site's unregistered comments come from one closeted obsessive.
18
It sounds like she's more upset about harassment in her personal life (people calling her boss, etc) and less about hurtful comments. The shitty comments may be part of it, and may be where it began, but it sounds like she wouldn't have quit if they hadn't spread their slime into her personal, offline life.

LOL about people thinking her feminism makes her a "bad scientist." This is a position largely held by people who get most of their science from comic books, who think that "science" is nothing more than wearing a labcoat while reciting pseudo-logic in an authoritative tone, people who think being a software engineer is the same as being a research scientist. People like this is tend to be particularly susceptible to all the fake evo-psych that drones on about how women are evolved to be submissive (because CAVEMEN) with no real evidence.
19
The freethoughts sites are all down (probably DDOS) but from googling the issue it seems like this is part of some internet atheist schism/civil war?
20
@18, yeah, people who haven't been following the issue are probably picturing her crying over some negative comments on the blog, but it's more a matter of an unceasing torrent of slurs and rape threats over every possible public and private communications medium. The blog, Twitter, Facebook, public and private emails. Multiple individuals have even contacted her department here at the University to attempt to get her fired, because I guess having a blog is a disciplinable offense? Or something? It's not just "nasty blog comments."

@19, a lot of younger people in the atheist community lately - online and offline - have been trying to have a talk about the fact that the voices of the "community" consist almost exclusively of old white men, and a lot of people have been extremely, sometimes violently resistant to having that talk. For whatever reason, a lot of (white, male) individuals have decided that a torrent of rape threats and a variety of attempts to silence atheist women are the appropriate response to being asked, "Hey, you guys, can we address sexism and racism in our community?"

I wish I were exaggerating with that account, but I'm genuinely not. You could call it a schism, I guess, but the matter over which there's division is whether or not sexual harassment is a problem, and since the overwhelming response from one "side" consists of sexual harassment, I don't see as it's much of a question.
21
What I find completely ironic about affairs such as this is that quite frankly, just about everyone is really a feminist: all that means is that you think women should recieve equal treatment. Everyone pretty much believes that on a basic level.

The 70's era, BITCH manifesto, second wave feminism is what made the word dirty. This is why, paradoxically, very few women will say they are feminists. Not saying that this brand of feminsim was not necessary or even a bad thing, but it really created a radical image that most people were pretty uncomfortable with.

But we all mock people based upon what society has deemed worthwhile, fair or not. Men are supposed to be financially and physically powerful, and women are supposed to be nurturing, gentle, and beautiful. So men get mocked for their percieved lack of power (being poor, cuckolded, physically weak, etc) whereas women get mocked based upon their looks/weight and quite frankly, independent actions.

Think about it: when is the last time you heard a women get mocked for "living in their mom's basement" and when was the last time you heard a man get mocked for being bold and commanding?

As long as we fuel a society which holds such stark gender ideals, this is always going to happen. The haters and trolls are simply the darkest parts of this reflection.
22
@17, and that obsessive is actually Seattleblues, who sometimes prefers not to use his account to harass people and fill the gaping void in his life.

In general, 90% of troll activity comes from a very small number of people with very serious issues. Some places manage to handle them better than others. I'm always impressed by how well the Slog handles disruptive posters - you're all much better at not rising to them than most commenting populations are.
23
@6 She did exactly what the haters hoped she would do- wimp out. She is about ideas and they are about words. Can you imagine what would have happened to women's rights if other feminists went slinking off the moment some right wing savage called her a whore? I am profoundly grateful that Hilary Clinton didn't throw up her hands and say "I'm outta here" the moment she was called filthy names. Get some guts and get back in the fight or stay home and cry yourself to sleep.
24
She thinks she gets hate mail? Imagine what politicians or other more famous pundits get.

Good trolls know which buttons to push, for women bloggers it's misogynistic name calling and threats. Sadly this time it worked (for now).

Being a pseudo-web-celeb is not for the thin-skinned. If you write controversial things (and what else is worth reading?) then you'll get people who are outraged and angry coming back at you.

Freethought Blogs is partially to blame. Seems like they can't go a week without some internal squabble.


Some troll has been imitating me and other frequent commenters (including our user names and avatars) to derail a thread into sexually explicit discussion about my personal life.


This seems like a technical issue with the website in general. The software itself shouldn't allow this and ft bloggers should have some indicator showing them as 'official'.

25
Registered and approved comments only. Bam.
26
@24,

It's a verifiable fact that women get more hate directed at them on the Internet than men do. Simply using a handle with a feminine name opens up commenters/bloggers to attacks regardless of what they say.

In other words, fuck you for blaming the victim.
27
all that means is that you think women should recieve equal treatment. Everyone pretty much believes that on a basic level.


You really need to get out more.
28
@21, the entire point of this discussion has been that, while they may pay lip service, transparently, a lot of people do not believe that people deserve to be treated equally, and are unwilling to listen when they're being told how people are in fact not being treated equally, and will moreover proceed to discriminate against people rather horribly in response to being told that they're acting discriminatory, which is just about the stupidest fucking thing.

In fact, that's what most of your comment says, as well. What are you even talking about?

And when was the last time you heard of a man being tracked to his home address and sent death threats just for pointing out that he wasn't being fully included in a female-dominated community, as if there were such a thing? Because that shit is happening to women.

Denying that there's still a problem isn't feminist; it's actually rather the opposite.

@23, I'm curious how long you'd keep up a hobby - not a career, but something you do in your minimal free time while in grad school - if you were constantly receiving threats of physical violence, being stalked at home and at work, and even having your actual career damaged by people think that all of that is an appropriate response to a disagreement on the internet. It's not about someone who "called her a whore," and you talk a pretty big game for somebody who's likely never had to deal with any kind of discrimination.
29
I'm fairly ignorant about internet matters, but why not write under a pseudonym? You know how violently hateful consevatives (and a few liberals) can be. Why expose yourself? Do what controversial 18th Century writers did when dealing with the same issue - make up a new name.
30
Fuck me. This woman (kid, really she's like 25) has had a HUGE impact in the circles of feminism and atheism. She created Boobquake, She called out Richard Dawkins on his bullshit. Her latest concept, Atheism Plus, is a game changer. I am hoping that once she gets her education finished and her career solidified, she rejoins the ranks of bloggers. Her voice is clear, insightful and original. She will be missed.
31
Several prominent young-ish women in the atheist community have been receiving belittling comments and rape threats from very vocal opponents for several years now. Even Richard Dawkins jumped in after Rebecca Watson's "Elevatorgate".

Some minority voices and women in the community are being told their complaints of sexism and harassment are unfounded, and Jen started the Atheism+ movement (Atheism + social justice, etc., which differentiates itself from humanism because not humanists are atheists).

When you're addressing a group of like-minded people in a semi-formal and formal setting and someone yells, "TITS OR GTFO", it gets frustrating.

I can't fault her for not wanting to open herself up to the threats being made against her career and personal life. She put up with the internet haters like a champ.
32
@1 has a point, but Ms. McCreight should not give up. She's letting her opponents win. They have driven her from the Internet.
34
For everyone saying that McCreight shouldn't give up, or she's letting the haters win, or she's a wimp, or she's a quitter or whatever:

Why is it so important to you that she stand up to this nonsense? Why isn't it more important to call out the poor behavior of the haters and trolls? In other words, why not say, "Those bastards just silenced another voice!"
35
@34 - I'm not going to call her a "quitter" - I get that it's a _lot_ of shit to take, and I don't blame her for deciding it isn't worth it.

But the reason people focus on her rather than the trolls isn't just to blame the victim. It's that trolls on a public blog just aren't an easily resolved problem, and never will be so long as millions upon millions of people have Internet connections. You can do everything you can to Call Them Out and try to shame them, but if your blog is public then someone, somewhere, is going to be able to act like an asshole, no matter what, and that one asshole can cause a lot of trouble.
36
35, I get your point. I'm just a little tired of the argument of "Well, it's the internet!" as some sort of excuse for tolerating horrible behavior.
37
I hope I'm not the only one who finds it a little weird that this is posted in The Slog, a place known for singling out female Stranger writers for bonus helpings of emotional abuse.
38
@12: some one still has to go through comments to moderate them. She did institute registration. Then she got threats at home.
@23: Which brings me to you. Hilary Clinton has a security detail. Jen does not. Jen is not a professional politician. She is a grad student.
Free speech is in definite danger on the Internet. Voice after voice is silenced. Jen's is the latest.
39
@37, that's because Slog is part of the internet, which is a place known for singling out female anythings for bonus helpings of emotional abuse.
40
It used to be, back in my day, if you disagreed with a reporter or editorial, you could get out the typewriter, type up a letter, and mail it off to someone who would most likely throw it away before the recipient ever saw it.

I miss those days. The general public, as represented by the average troll at least, is stupid. Who cares what they think?
41
Ms. Catalina, it's never happened to me, but I imagine that when they publish your address, threaten murder and rape, and target your workplace, one would start to care about their actions.
42
My point, Clashfan, is why allow comments? Why allow an email? If they want to contact you, have them write a letter to a published PO box somewhere.

Make it difficult for a stupid person to do a stupid thing, and they probably won't do it.
43
@26

Keshmeshi, you assume that "politicians or other more famous pundits" have to be men? Sexist.


It's a verifiable fact that women get more hate directed at them on the Internet than men do.


Ok, then verify it...(I'll not hold my breath)

Ugh, you're so sexist. You think Dan doesn't get his share of hate?

Yes, certain people, groups, and topics get targeted more and they get bigger floats in the pity parade but the same problem exists for all public figures large and small: haters gonna hate and anonymous haters gonna hate real ugly.

If you put yourself out there as a public figure you're choosing to accept the risk and rewards and the bile.

I took a small risk by putting my opinion here and got my words twisted and an unwelcome "fuck you". See, keshmeshi, ugly haters are everywhere no matter what's going on in your underwear.

Besides, I can't feel too bad for BlagHag. From her website:


Maybe the horde of haters will take up knitting as their new hobby, or a time machine will be invented and I can go back to when we were all happy giggling at creationists together without hurling slurs at any woman who dared to be too uppity.


She wants to ridicule people yet is insulted when she gets it back? That's some real "the rules shouldn't apply to me" bullshit right there.

I think it's fine to ridicule people's stupid ideas but you have to expect that you'll get some serious blowback when you mock people's belief system.
44
@11 - Yes, please. Someone give Jen posting rights on Slog.
45
@43, what part of "death threats and stalking" is unclear? Or are you just perfectly content to equate that with "ridicule" as long as it's happening to someone from the internet?

And for fuck's sake, I don't even feel up to the task of taking apart the victim-blaming you're getting up to.
46
Keshmeshi, you assume that "politicians or other more famous pundits" have to be men? Sexist.


No, I don't. Like all misogynistic trolls, you are a fucking idiot who can't figure out who said what in a comment thread.

And for your proof:

Women, Girls Draw 25 Times More Malicious Chat Messages

Internet chat room users with female names are 25 times more likely to receive threatening and sexually-explicit private messages than those armed with male or ambiguous monikers, a university study reported Tuesday.


How about you fuck off now, scum?
47
Here is another incredibly depressing example of online harassment in the blogosphere recently, concerning two female DC Comics artists:

http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post…

Another example of how pervasive misogynistic trolling is.
48
Here's the thing: if this was just about trolls commenting on Jen's blog she wouldn't have decided to stop blogging. That sort of thing is par for the course and easily dealt with. It's the stalking and threats that are the issue. Unless you've been on the receiving end of that you should shut up.

I had someone threaten to behead me on Twitter because I'm an atheist. Now this was a well known individual who was harassing a lot of people with the same message and I knew exactly who he was and that he wasn't in the US. Despite this it was still very disturbing and unsettling. If it was a constant stream of that sort of thing and it involved stalking as well? That would be many, many times worse.
49
43:

" you assume that "politicians or other more famous pundits" have to be men? Sexist"

They don't have to be men, but a hugely disproportionate number of them (especially in the USA) are men. To believe otherwise, or to believe that this is nothing more than coincidence, is to be either willfully obtuse or just plain stupid. Which one are you?
50
@43

that was a lot of words to say absolutely nothing of substance.

51
If you look at Jen's blog, it seems that a lot of people are upset with her creation of the Atheism+ thing, especially why she wants to use it to highlight certain issues and not others, and how exactly it relates to atheism in the first place.

So, I don't think her recent hate mail has to do with her longtime support of evolution and feminism, etc, but how she's trying to fit all of her beliefs and promote them under the umbrella of Atheism+.
52
@51 This has been going on a lot longer than since she proposed Atheism+, well over a year actually. The posting of her address and contacting her university to try to get her fired happened BEFORE she ever wrote anything about Atheism+.

For that matter even if it was only about Atheism+: Why would that matter? Why is creating a new subset of atheism that focuses on social justice issues such a horrible thing that is warrants stalking, attempts to get her fired, and threats of rape and murder?

You know what the reasonable response to Atheism+ is if you don't agree with it? Make a reasoned argument against it instead of calling the person who proposed it names and say she should be killed or raped.
53
48

wow

that's terrible.

sort of like when Danny wished all Republicans were dead.....
54
@49: Oh now, now Bonefish. debug seems like a versatile young thing. Surely he could be both don't you think?
55
@53

Christ-like!
56
@53 No jackass. Dan made a stupid foot-in-mouth comment about his frustration with Republicans, he did not say he would personally kill every Republican in a gruesome manner. If you can't see the difference you have a problem.
57
@51

I'm astounded at the lengths some of you are going to blame the victim here. so she starts her own website where she talks about her social views and how they relate to her atheism and calls it Athiest+? because other people project their own views ONTO HER WEBSITE, which she rightly ignores, it gives them a pass to not only harass her, but also threaten her and try to ruin her career? wow.

by this logic, if you start a website called Dipshit+, I would expect that you'd want to occasionally write about more than just being a dipshit. that's what the inclusion of the plus sign indicates. maybe sometimes you want to break free from the constraints of writing about how you approach life with a total lack of curiosity, make excuses for reprehensible behavior, and masturbating with a bowl of partially refrigerated Jell-O... maybe this time, you want to talk about a book you read, or your shitty day. well, fuck you sir! I'm gonna burn your house down for playing fast and loose with the word Dipshit.

see how this game works?
58
How sad, this reminds me of the atheist student who wanted that religious banner taken down in her school and she got the same death threats and rape threats. She was very brave and didn't back down; I don't think I would ever be that brave.

I don't hear major conservatives/ religious pundits receiving these levels of threats that women/atheist/gays receive continuously.

I think the atheist movement will on increase in power as corners of superstition continue to be whittled away at, and science and people who don't define normative standards of straight or god fearing start coming out.
59
@45

death threats and stalking?


They're emails from angry dopes who know how to google. All you're doing is giving them more power than they have or deserve. You're conflating this to Salman Rushdie levels to make a cheap argument. You're being the 10 o'clock news trying to drum up irrational fear.

What she says she's gotten is disturbing and vile but do you really think those internet wimps are going to do anything real?

@46


Like all misogynistic trolls


Keshmeshi, you don't seem to know the meaning of the words you use:

Misogynistic doesn't mean someone who critiques someone who happens to be a woman. I don't hate women and have a clean voting record for equal treatment, birth control rights, etc. I treat women with respect in my daily life and have never been accused of misogyny other than by silly commenters in forums who use it as a kludge to shut down conversation when they have nothing interesting to say.

Because I find Blaghag's quitting a bit over-dramatic due to the nature of her past writing does not mean I hate her or think she deserves to get anonymous threats, name calling, etc. Should she be surprised? Probably not. The internet is full of ugly-minded people and public blogs are an open invitation to them.

Also, I'm not trolling. See trolls throw around childish phrases like "fuck you" and "you're an idiot" to try to shut down conversation. I'm calmly refuting some of the baloney while taking my lumps from those who don't like what I think.

Finally, keshmeshi, your proof is not exactly definitive. There is a difference between chat-room users and bloggers.

If you're asking me if I think that female bloggers get more sexually suggestive hate mail I'd say, of course, that's what presses women's buttons so that's what the trolls use. Male bloggers get different kinds of hate mail, more along the lines of physical assault.

I've conceded already that some groups get more shit than others, so what's your point? I'm calling you sexist for assuming the 'more shit' line is always drawn upon genitalia.

I'm sure even lumps-of-shit like Rush Limbaugh get their share of vile hate mail.

@49 Try to stay on topic. Nobody here is arguing that women are underrepresented in politics.

Keshmeshi made it seem like I was saying men had it worse when I was saying that more-famous people have it worse, with the point being that every public figure has to deal with this kind of bile. It's unfortunate but should be expected. Apparently that truth is translated to "blaming the victim" here. Go figure.

@50 what a zinger!
60
@debug: Yeah and internet stalking NEVER leads to real world violence. Except when it does: http://www.blogher.com/murder-asia-mcgow…

Oh yeah, victim blaming is not cool. Maybe you're an equal opportunity victim blamer and would do the same to anyone, not just a woman. That's not exactly much better than being a misogynist.
61
@60: But, but debug knows best!
Debug. Whatever. You'd a done it different. Good for you. Why don't you then? Start your own blog and run it how ever you'd like, and much joy may it bring you.
62
to be honest, my main take home message (and I say that as an atheist and - I guess - skeptic) is that it confirms all of my worst conceptions of the atheist "movement" - they're splitting into factious groups and attacking each other with a vengeance and hostility that was last seen when the Judean People's Front fought the People's Front of Judea.

(For those who don't want to go through the trouble of crawling through some of the blogs: contrary to what I initially though, Jen wasn't bullied by crazy right-wingers and creationists, but by fellow "skeptics" and "atheists" who were part of one (or various?) splits within the "movement").

I'm sorry for Jen, though. My sense is that she was one of the good ones.
63
@59, try to keep up, okay?

On multiple occasions people have contacted Jen's department at the University to try to have her disciplined or ejected from her program. For things she said on her blog.

They tracked her down, in real life, in person, and found her workplace, and tried to get her thrown out of graduate school.

You ass.

And that's ignoring, just because I don't want to try to explain it to you, the incredibly corrosive effect that a constant stream of threats and insults has on one's mental and emotional health. But hey, tough guy, you're pretty sure that wouldn't bother YOU, if it ever happened to you, which is hasn't, and wouldn't because you're a white fucking male in America. Right? Right.
64
Anyone trying to argue that there is no proof that women are treated much worse than men on the internet might as well argue that there's no proof that the amount of homophobic. racist, and sexist comments on XBOX Live are any more common than what you generally hear in real life.
65
@60

Except when it does


Can't argue with that. Public figures (even minor ones) are more at risk than the general public for hate mail or worse. Looking at her article I'm not seeing any threats of assault (unless she brought it up elsewhere).

It sound like it was just the sheer volume of bullshit that was bothering her and the fear that it was leaking into her non-blog life. Are you sure you aren't pumping up the 'danger factor' to make the story more exciting?


Maybe you're an equal opportunity victim blamer and would do the same to anyone, not just a woman.


You and the echo-chamber seem to need to cast her as Jodie Foster in "The Accused" when she's really more like Jodie Foster in "Silence of the Lambs".

She's not a victim who needs you to save, pity or fight for her.

She's an intelligent, capable adult who chose a hobby that exposed her to some real creeps and she got creeped out by it.

Instead of putting words into her mouth, I'll take her word that she's just tired of the battle because it was getting too personal and now is (sensibly, do to her health and happiness) choosing to leave to do something else less controversial.

She seems in charge of her life to me, does she not to you? Where is this victim I'm supposedly hating on?

@61 You flirt.
66
@63


They tracked her down, in real life, in person, and found her workplace, and tried to get her thrown out of graduate school.


I never made the claim that it didn't get personal for her or that's the reason why she chose to quit.


And that's ignoring, just because I don't want to try to explain it to you, the incredibly corrosive effect that a constant stream of threats and insults has on one's mental and emotional health.


I never made the claim that it didn't get personal for her or that's the reason why she chose to quit.


But hey, tough guy, you're pretty sure that wouldn't bother YOU, if it ever happened to you


I never made the claim that I'd like it any better than she did or would handle it differently. The only claim I made is that someone who writes controversial blogs will get haters. Apparently that's too tough pill to swallow for this crowd.

You seem to have no sense of irony that you're writing like her haters: sexist, racist, twisting words, name calling, ranting....
67
@62 I agree with your assessment of FreeThought blogs and the atheism movement. (Hope that doesn't tarnish you too much)

The group turned on itself around "elevatorgate", which spawned a lot of reactionary, and not always well-thought out, articles. Those got posted on aggregators like Reddit, which in turn attracted an influx of new commenters, many very opinionated and unforgiving.

I doubt seriously that BlagHag will be the last one out the door there. The community seems pretty decimated.
68
It's always interesting in general/public forums to see how my treatment shifts when people realize I'm female. Once I figured that out, I tend to get that out there right away so that the assholes identify themselves (which they're quick to do) and I stand out as a female voice (even though I know that discredits me and what I have to say).

I recall one conversation on Slate that was particularly stark. I was having a stimulating and vigorous intellectual debate with a guy on some fine moral point when I referenced my gender in some off-hand way. His next post was something like, "You're a woman?" when we'd been exchanging these posts of hundreds of words of argument and counter-argument. His follow-up when I confirmed was something like, "Well, I should have known. That's just what I'd expect a woman to believe!" Then he started calling me "Turkey Hen", making fun of my alias. The intellectual discussion was over, like turning off a spigot. Just ended. Bam.

I was shocked at what a difference it made to him that I was female.
69
@27:

My time zone difference probably means no one will read this, but keep in mind in a conversation when someone says "everyone..." they never literally mean every single person on the planet.

If you ask 100 people if they feel women should be treated the same as men when it comes to the institutions of law and business, I would imagine you would get at least 99 yesses, as long as you have a representative sample of Americans.

This is why the current battles of modern feminism seem to revolve around media images and misogynistic comments. The major struggles have already been won.

70
I'm reminded that I need to show the love to those I love. Dan... I love your work. You make the world a much much much better place. And while I know there are those who go after you, I hope with all my being that your strength endures, that you are unshaken by vitriol, because you not only lift my middle-aged straight spirits, but you save lives. I have four kids, and I know that you or someone like you will inspire their love of life. I'm so grateful that world has you in it.
71
@21 Backlash is backlash. It doesn't matter how careful your message, how much you emphasize that all humans benefit from gender equity and minimized attention to gender roles, no matter how much you discuss how men too suffer from expectations around what it means to be a man, no matter the data you have about rape/domestic violence/eating disorders/whateverthefuck, no matter your rage, no matter your calm.... backlash is backlash.

There will always be those who react in violence when their privilege or sense of superiority is challenged, no matter the nature of that challenge.

This logic, btw, was how southern white "moderates" resisted the Civil Rights Movement while being able to tell themselves that they were noble in their resistance relative to, say, the KKK. "If you just stopped pushing so hard or so fast..." Uhhuh. Bullshit. Backlash is backlash.

I don't care if it's the BITCH manifesto or the rantings of Shulamith Firestone (she just died, btw); no member of second-wave feminism is "responsible" for the misogyny the movement exposed. All social movements have radical elements and all social movements coalesce around some kind of collective anger--to focus on those to dismiss the nature of the grievances is emotionally dishonest.
72
@68 That had to be frustrating. Sounds like you won the debate and he looked for an excuse to dismiss you.
73
@72: debug Gamebird used this particular example as one of many in her own life indicative of a systemic problem.
In the interest of scientific inquiry I propose that you start two blogs of your own rather than just the one I suggested previously. Both with an open commenting system and regarding a relatively innocuous topic to filter for the high feelings that a more "controversial" topic may engender, but one of which you feel you have some measure of knowledge. In one present as male, in the other as female. Track the comments and get back to us.
74
I'd like to echo what @70 said. Dan is an inspiration and I'm thankful for it.
75
@71: Never did I say that second wave feminism was "responsible" for misogyny, simply that it is the reason people resist the term "feminist." Ask women if they consider themselves feminists. Almost all of them say no, which makes no fucking sense whatsoever, and is quite ironic, which is all I was saying.

But your second paragraph does a good job of summarizing exactly the point I was making. Quite frankly, I have no idea what you mean about the whole "backlash is backlash" thing, and I can not make a connection between that and anything I said.

My point is, we can talk about how mean trolls are, and we can fling back and forth who has it worse when it comes to gender roles, but none of that really matters. I am glad women are finding a stronger voice everyday, and I would never dream of trying to silence anything anyone was saying, really.

I am not dismissing any grievance, I am merely saying that as long as we as a society continue to reinforce these gender roles with our power structures, the "trolls and haters" will continue to follow that lead. It is all they ever do. We have met the enemy, and he is us, as it where. It is convenient and easy to blame a handful of bad apples, but we as a society but them in the bunch. It is so much larger then a bunch of mean guys on the internet.

Quite frankly, this is the kind of thing that you pretty much just have to wait until a new generation grabs the reins of power (much like slavery/civil rights and marriage equality), but that only takes longer when people are silenced and free speech is squelched. The best thing women can do is try to get more powerful governmental roles. You guys are already transforming academia and climbing quite quickly on that corporate ladder. Keep it up.
76
No one deserves unwarranted personal attacks and it's sad to see it came to this for Jen.

That said, regardless of the role Jen did or didn't play in this reality... feminism needs to be more positive, with less "who deserves blame for our problems" finger-pointing and bile, as a whole. Negatively and pessimism towards all men because of the particular actions of a particularly shitty few will not solve the problem.

Yes, and this goes for the internet trolls who chose to compulsively attack her as well. It's shitty all around, but we all have a responsibility in the face of an often-shitty world to try and make it a better place by taking the high road and being the better person. Today's feminism doesn't seek to do that. It seeks to blame and hate and villainize men while disowning any sense of personal responsibility for actively, positively improving the state of womanhood in a fractured reality.
77
@24 Politicians and celeb pundits also have the money for security. Do you think they just walk around like the rest of us? They take security details with them when they go to the grocery story, and employ people to guard their homes 24/7, because of all the crazy fucks out there. Unless Jen is sitting on a couple million dollars she can use to protect herself, her situation isn't remotely the same as that of a senator or Rachel Maddow. The police can't even protect people *after* they file restraining orders against stalkers; I think Jen is perfectly justified in her concerns, and, as much as I'll miss her, I support her decision.
78
I don't know who she is, but that's some bullshit. Look at the commenters here and at other blogs. When the trolls strike, the faithful attack and do so swiftly so there's no problem. Where is this lady's army of faithful followers? She shouldn't have had to deal with the haters by herself. She isn't a wimp or a failure, her supporters who comment and yet ignored the trolls are the ones who failed her. Sure you get a lot of hate, but with a strong base, you can make it through and it seems she didn't have that. That sucks. :(
79
I'm currently suffering a much, much milder form of the same thing. It's still completely dispiriting.

The people who say "if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen" are applying a standard that, in all probability, they themselves couldn't reach.
80
@73

Track the comments and get back to us.


There's no need for me to take on the task. We have an entire world of blogger-history we can just look at.

I've conceded already that different groups get different kinds and amounts of hate: Physical appearance, gender, sexual characteristics, minority-status, financial situation, education, popularity, belief system, politics, writing style, topic, controversial nature, etc.

Do white women writers get more shit than jew writers? Do hispanic writers get more shit than black writers? Do republican writers get more shit that democrat writers?

Would Ann Landers today get more hate than Dan Savage?

But, for sake of argument, let's just say that women bloggers have it worse, all the time, no matter what topic, period.

So what? Does being crowned queen of the shit-hill make any of the following less true?

That putting yourself out there publicly is a known risk?

That controversial topics draw more hate than non-controversial?

That by going out of your way to ridicule another group (no matter how much they may deserve it) any adult should understand that they'll get blowback and hate and should be prepared to deal with it?

That these risks are a known part of the interent-game and an adult person should know that going in?

No, on this comment thread, those are all blaming-the-victim statements.

Yet, how can we even start thinking about solutions if simply discussing the risks and reality of blogging (or other pubic works) is off the table?

I think her experience is a learning opportunity and it shouldn't be off-limits to discuss it objectively, without hyperbole and name calling.

Instead I'm reminded that so-called liberal SLOG can be just as closed-minded, shallow, and hateful as any other internet forum.

Maybe I will go fuck myself now, LOL.
81
Debug: It doesn't matter whether she's as big a victim as people who have been through [insert heinous strawman crime here]. The point is that she suffered enough harassment that it's unfair to simply dismiss her as a wimp for quitting (especially since there is a genuine difference between career activists/politicians vs. hobbyist bloggers, and it's disingenuous to imply that both should tolerate the same amount of harassment in their personal lives). It's also disingenuous to claim that your only point was that "bloggers sometimes get harassed." That wasn't the extent of your point and you know it.

In your past few posts, you've tried to reverse your ridiculous posturing from all your earlier posts and finally conceded that it was sensible, if unnecessary, of her to quit, and instead changed your argument to something along the lines of her not being a 'proper' victim because nobody has physically harmed her yet, and they probably won't follow through on their threats.

Our point is that it's still reasonable of her not to want to take any chances with probabilities concerning her health and her career, and calling her out on this is, at best, useless. Especially when it's not being done by the long-suffering politicians and hero activists that she's being compared to, but by someone who has suffered no such harassment. It shouldn't be a mystery why people might find this obnoxious.

It's like you got our point and completely missed our point, all at the same time. Congratulations.
82
@80: I see. You have decided to pass on the unique opportunity to see what it is actually like to be a woman in this context. You have decided you know best, and are not interested in the possibility of having your assumptions challenged. That is certainly your right, but I hope that you will forgive me when I say that it makes your pronouncements of If You Can't Take The Heat It's Chinatown that much more full of Derp.
84
@83: Are you going to cut and paste in every thread? If so, please remember to pace yourself, and drink enough water. Spamming can take a lot out of you!
85
@78: I'd totally agree with you if all she was dealing with was people saying mean stuff about her on the internet. Once things escalate to real life, it's a whole other ball game.

Let's try a hypothetical situation. Let's say that Jen soldiered on through, only to be attacked by some severely deranged person. What would the response be then?
86
@76: Really? Really most of the time I read things from today's feminists I don't get that impression...
87
The barrel-bottom level of exchanges on most comment threads is a shame -- coarsening of society etc. The thing is, Freethought Blogs creates, encourages, and engenders that level of discourse. There's an Us/Them thing going on there that brings out the worst in people. Hopefully once McCreight gets a chance to catch her breath, she'll strike out on her own, away from the FTB horde.
88
86. You're probably so used to the tone and tactics used that you take it for granted as normal behavior.