Thursday, August 03, 2006

 
I may have covered this before, back in May or June, but the idea has cropped up in comments recently, so I thought I'd take another look.

"You sound like a bunch of men".

"This sounds like men talking."

"You're probably a man."

What does that mean, to sound like a man? How does masculinity come across in an online forum?

Is it simply a pejorative or are there qualities of written speech which read masculine-ly? feminine-ly?

how can we be sure that we're not all twelve-year-old boys?

Not sure where I'm going with this but I'm just sort of curious - what kind of gender markers stand out in an online environment? Or is it not a matter of gender markers, but that the term "man" is shorthand for "I am using the worst possible insult I can come up with in order to convey my boundless contempt for you"?

Any thoughts?

Comments:
(Before I even start - I've been reading your blog for about a week now, and enjoying it immensely - to the point where I've created a blogspot account just to have an easy way to access you!)

I think it's a little bit of both, really. I know that I can generally tell gender if someone falls into an obvious category (trans or genderfluid folks tend to be a bit harder, but seem to be closer to their gender-of-birth). Of course, there's always exceptions, and I wouldn't want to place bets on it.

But usually shorter sentences, more "extreme" feelings, more certainty (positive)/refusal to budge (negative) out of men, I think. Again, it depends on the man/woman/person.

But in this context? They're using it perjoratively. Definitely.
 
I've wondered about this, too. What do people mean when they say this? To me, it sounds a little too familiar - e.g., "stop acting like a girl," and similar insults traditionally thrown at boys.

So is this what feminists should aspire to? To be no better than traditionalists (teh patriachy!!1!) reinforcing gender stereotypes and always having one viewed as better than the other?

Count me out. I kind of want to be a little more enlightened than the mentality we're supposedly fighting against.
 
don't recall the original context, but i've often been thought a man online. even when i'm quite obviously engaging in girly talk. this has come from people who weren't angry with me or arguing with me.

there's some test you can put your writing through that is supposed to gauge how much you write like a male or female. obviously, this has little to do with biology or genetics and is a learned trait. E.g., men use more "thats" in their sentences and are less hesitant, making more declarative sentences, etc.

otherwise, honest? no one's ever called me that as an insult, even on line, not even a radfem.
 
hi alex - how did you find me?
I am glad to meet you. (preen, preen)

I wish I could remember where I read this, but I seem to recall that someone once observed that women in Japan were discouraged from participating in the business world because it was thought that women were far too competitive and cutthroat to sustain a successful business concern.

Which is funny, because we in the west all know that to succeed in business you need that "killer instinct", which it was assumed for so many years that women just didn't have, 'cuz we're all so cooperative and nice...

So what is truly masculine? truly feminine?
 
b/l - it happens to me with disturbing frequency. and I get really upset about it.
 
I like figleaf's post from a while back (can't visit his site right now to link to it, since I'm at work) where he addressed the strangeness of the femiliar language of "be a man" or "acting like a girl" and so on. His point was, if you are a man, then you are acting like a man. (and vice versa for women.) Duh!
 
Hell, I get accussed of being a man all the time (and not just because of that whole pro-porn thing). I've asked why a few times and the response I usually get is because I tend to combine a lot of bluntness with a sorta fine line of sardonic humor/ rage. Now, I never realized that "blunt, angry and sardonic" are male type things, but apparently they are...

And yeah, when I get the whole "you MUST be a man" thing, I am positive it is meant as an insult.
 
Now, I never realized that "blunt, angry and sardonic" are male type things, but apparently they are...

dude - I am so rarely blunt/angry/sardonic. How come I get "manned"?
 
A really long and convoluted path, actually... short answer is "via Belledame".

Long version goes like this: a friend wrote a screed about BDSM and those who participate, referencing some, er, rather rabid my-national-animals. Basically said "you can't be a decent human being if you're in the BDSM community, because you're contributing to the oppression of all women everywhere".

Despite (or possibly because of) her previous involvement in said scene.

Which, uh, as someone who enjoys many of the activities that fall into said kinky category, I took umbrage to.

So.

I went looking for the post she referenced. And came across Belledame, talking about the whole debacle (I am so grateful I came across her first, because I would probably have a broken face from smashing it into my keyboard otherwise).

From her, I have been hopping around the blogosphere, making note of those I enjoy (you, Belledame, B|L, haven't gotten around to checking out some of the other names I see around here frequently but I imagine the list will grow). :)
 
:-)
 
per the question: i dunno. at this point, i just keep thinking, as happens with me frequently, of a Monty Python sketch:

ANNOUNCER: Well, let's ask the man in the street what -he thinks!

SULTRY LOOKING WOMAN: I am not a man, you silly-billy!

SURLY LOOKING CONSTRUCTION WORKER: I'm not in the street, you (slur)!

NERDY LOOKING MAN STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD: Well, speaking -as- a man in the street, I--WLAHHHHHH!!!

(as a truck hits him)
 
-wait, wait! so was this chick referring to one of my posts? i've been DISSED? damn. at long last, i have no decency!! schweet. makes life simpler...
 
>Now, I never realized that "blunt, angry and sardonic" are male type things, but apparently they are...

which is hilarious, considering the personalities of at least several of the people I've seen using this particular insult...
 
Oh, gender stereotypes, will you never die?
 
Nah, she obliquely referenced Shady Basement, I went looking for that post, Google likes you better. (Although, indirectly, yeah, you got dissed.)

It just infuriated me so much that she couldn't SEE how offensive she was being - to the community in general, to me personally - but that's an old story to you guys, I think *sigh*

Especially since I have access to my uni's online psych article database still, and I went looking for, you know, actual facts (or at least some research) about those in the community... and couldn't come up with shit that supported her, save one that posited that BDSM could lead to rape, abused people get into it to "make sense" of their abuse and repeat the cycle, etc. - but it was lots of quoting of Dworkin, not a whole heckuva lot of actual, you know, research.

What I DID come up with was studies that indicated lower sexism in male dominants than average. Lower rates of reported rape. Women with MMPI scores that noted lower neuroticism (with slightly higher psychopathic deviation, but still well within normal bounds).

Not a lot that indicated otherwise, as I recall, but I don't have them in front of me right now.

Her argument (which targeted the rape stat) was that BDSMers wouldn't report rape because it would look egg-in-the-face.

Well, yeah. That happens to queers. That happens to 'promiscuous' women, or even 'provocatively dressed' women. That happens to trans folks, or people in the sex industry, or -- oh wait, so the issue is "police sensitivity", not BDSM?

I'll stop hijacking the thread now! Maybe I'll post about it in my own blog, but it does seem a little like talking about it behind her back (the original blowout happened on LJ). But I guess I'm doing that now. Hm.
 
Oh for fuck's sake.. has anyone seen this post yet?

And I was supposed to be working today, not getting distracted...
 
yeah, I caught that.
 
LOL. I just now noticed she linked to a post I wrote back when I was cross-posting on Enter the Jabberwock. Aww, she thinks I'm "a lovely woman!" Well shucks, hon, so do I!
 
Amber:

yeah, I caught that one too...
and decided chewing nails would be more productive than responding...
 
well, all i can say is "prude" isn't the first word that occurs to me. never has been. "prudery" isn't the problem here. never has been.

and i don't believe i called anyone a 'liar" (she's referring to a post of mine, of course). but whatever.
mirror mirror on the wall, you're the most oppressed of all. o.k. and welcome to it. i'm off.

per Shady Basement: purleez, anyone who thinks that dude is more of a Friend Of Women than...

well.

first of all the very basic problem of some dude telling women what their sexuality is or should be. oh and gayfolk too. yeah i remember that post, rather vividly.

seocnd: i swear every time i read one of his image-laden posts "reviling" whatever bad bad thing is the outrage of the day, i feel dirtier than i've done reading any number of more straightforwardly misogynistic/pornographic screeds. he makes my skin crawl.

and i know i'm not the only one who thinks he's got a serious problem with women.

the term "undoing" comes to mind.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
..my mistake there, of course, besides responding on her board at all, was that i used the "nobody" formulation when i was very specifically expressing my annoyance with her own downplaying of "you're not a feminist." and then the mischaracterization of exactly what my (and others') problem is with w-w saying that (in so many words).

for the last goddam time: i (personally) don't CARE if you like sex or not. stop frigging trying to appropriate all of feminism for yourself. stop trying to bully/shame people into agreeing that you have the One True Way. it's really not that bloody complicated.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
...oh, for heaven's sake. I just clicked on a couple of the links she provided. "International Female Girllove??"

lady, you know: at *minimum* would it have been to much to ask that you assume that i meant no "sex-positive feminist" in this round of blogwars is calling you a "prude?"

because if you're lumping what's apparently the womens' equivalent of NAMBLA (where the fuck does one even *find* such people?) along with the feminists who've been ccomplaining about your rhetorical tactics recently...

goddam, and people complained that RKB's lumping Schmuley Boteach along with radical feminists was disingenuous.

piss off, really.
 
Yeah, I thought the same thing about the "girl love" site. Seriously, WTF? Let's pick the most wacko people we can find and lump 'em in with bloggers who have a legitimate disagreement!

She also linked to someone in the comments on Feministing. Well, if we're getting into comments as fair game, then I guess the trolls should finally have the field day they've been wanting!
 
...which is the link they're all citing in the comments, of course. yes. never mind that a five second glance at that ewey "butterfly kisses" link (-where- did she find it?) dates it as being from 1992. and is probably the work of like one or two people writing from their basement.

but so now the assumption is that there is a link between lesbian pedophiles and anyone who has a problem with any aspect of their position on "pornstitution."

and of course now any comment to that effect will be deleted henceforth.

nice one.

as far as i'm concerned, any person employing such tactics forfeits the right to bitch about her own brand of feminism/position being misrepresented ever again.

or for that matter to complain about being marginalized. you know what: maybe in some cases there's a REASON why some people/theories are marginalized. and it isn't necessarily "YOU CAN'T HANDLE TEH TRUTH!!1!1!", either.
 
and another link is apparently a field guide for men who want sex tours or something. yes, i'm sure that's a "sex-positive feminist" site. ass.
 
...and back on topic, more or less: how interesting that -that- site, the pedo link, is accepted as being written by a woman and on the level. because see if -that- one were written by a perverto MAN/troll, then it would tend to undercut the apparent proof being assembled here that "sex-positive feminists" say all kinds of wack shit.

i guess it's whatever suits your needs at the moment.
 
aw, come on ladies, surely you have figured it out now..."normal, healthy, sex-pos folks" do not inspire the desired reaction, therefore, hunting down the oddballs and sickos is MUCH better...

Don't they teach that one in emotional terrorism 101 anymore?

(meh, it is 100 degrees here and my sense of humor is wearing thin...)
 
per Shady Basement: purleez, anyone who thinks that dude is more of a Friend Of Women than...

well.

first of all the very basic problem of some dude telling women what their sexuality is or should be. oh and gayfolk too. yeah i remember that post, rather vividly.

seocnd: i swear every time i read one of his image-laden posts "reviling" whatever bad bad thing is the outrage of the day, i feel dirtier than i've done reading any number of more straightforwardly misogynistic/pornographic screeds. he makes my skin crawl.

and i know i'm not the only one who thinks he's got a serious problem with women.


Oh, God, yes.

It's entirely gratuitous, and I can't help but wonder if he's doing it on purpose to silence the women he's talking to--especially since he must know that at least some are survivors.

I hate to succumb to the same stereotypes that occasioned this post, but...the competitive driving ethos of his feminism sets off all my "Misogynist! Misogynist!" alarms.

As far as gendered assumptions...I've had people misguess me a great many times. I don't know if it has to do with my posting style--if anything, I feel like I'm a bit too abrasive and argumentative. It might be because I have an anonymous (possibly twee) name and am posting to feminist blogs and message boards. I know that in some cases I've outed myself as having a female history by talking about periods and sexual harassment as though I've been there.

I think I assumed that antiprincess was a girl because of the ironic name--if someone went by, "antigirlie," I wouldn't think "man," I'd think, "butch," or, "feminist."

RE, do you think people might be misguessing you because of your name? Rightly or wrongly, I tend to associate wordy handles with men. Acephalous, Creative Destruction, The Argument Clinic.
 
piny - over at the Den, RenEv used her name as her handle and still she got hassled - know any guys named "Miriam"?
 
piny:

"RE, do you think people might be misguessing you because of your name? Rightly or wrongly, I tend to associate wordy handles with men. Acephalous, Creative Destruction, The Argument Clinic. "

Eh, could be, though I never thought of it that way...and well, my first few comments and what have you around here, I signed in as Miriam, but that did not stop people from, oh, saying things like "I suspect your a man masquerading under a woman's given name..."

Heh, that attitude is part of the reason I picked the handle I did :)
 
BD: What do you mean by "undoing"?
 
In the psych sense:

http://www.rider.edu/suler/defenses.html

Undoing: You try to reverse or undo your feeling by DOING something that indicates the opposite feeling. It may be an "apology" for the feeling you find unacceptable within yourself.

"I think I'll give that professor an apple."

Also see: projection, reaction formation
 
...the gentleman in question of course has described himself as a "former" misogynist; I don't think it really requires Freud to say that what he's doing now is meant as a form of atonement, of sorts.

whether that approach works real well--any better than oh say GW Bush going cold turkey with the booze and turning to a rigidly punitive form of Christianity for both structure and atonement, as opposed to a more therapeutic approach--is of course another question.
 
I'm sorry--I misunderstood the context. I figured RE was talking about people assuming she's male, not insisting that she's male. What with the ultrafeminine "Miriam," I'm surprised she didn't get people insisting she was a transwoman. Clear case of overcompensation, that.

I'm gonna call myself Bubbles from now on.

In the case of insisting, I think it is a clear attempt to silence people. In group discussions, it's meant to nullify whatever the alleged dude is saying, to place their words beneath notice. I don't think anyone seriously believes it--I mean, I hope not. In W-W's case, she doesn't think she can bring any peer pressure--she's just giving shorthand for, "I'm not going to hear another word you say." Which, whatever. She's a man.
 
anyway, back to trolls and their legion of deceptive ways: it's not like i don't think it ever happens. just recently i was reading over at a woman's blog where she'd ben talking about the politics of hair. someone claiming to be a white high school girl said something which looked almost on the level but was in fact quite provocative, containing a truly nasty slur couched in what was supposed to be wide-eyed naivete. the woman kept responding to her patiently; as the conversation continued the "girl" started sounding more and more like Michael Savage. not only all kinds of creepy racist slurs but surprisingly sophisticated with the book larnin' for a supposed high school student--some relatively obscure book about Hitler, for instance. the tone changed rather dramatically, too.

In that instance it doesn't seem too far-fetched to assume: troll. and indeed someone else called it. but as the woman whose blog it was pointed out (really astonishingly gracious and patient, she is), ultimately it doesn't much matter. Live by the online persona, die by the online persona. And if your persona turns out to be that of a nasty, abusive troll, then it doesn't much matter who you -really- are in real life, i think, that's quite true. If it isn't, well, it's just basic netiquette and good sense to at least *start* with the assumption that the person is who sie says sie is; and respond to what's actually being said.
 
--hah, now I'm once again thinking of Little Britain, and the character who's been living at a luxury spa for six months without paying her bill.

"Call me Bubbles, darling."
 
>I'm surprised she didn't get people insisting she was a transwoman.

I'd be more surprised if half the people in question even knew what a transwoman was.
 
anyway, speaking of "taking one's word for it," maybe this is the point where I do just that for the people who say they're totally marginalized and have no real influence.

went out to the dinner arranged by Amp (he is a genuinely sweet guy). fun time. sooner or later, inevitably the subject wound around to some of the more erm colorful characters on Alas and off. the formerly known as Dim came up. i mentioned the "please fantasize responsibly" business.

the response: BAHAHAHAHAHAHA

one guy literally did a spit-take, or close to it, I swear.

I think a lot of people simply don't get around to the erm quirkier fringes of these discussions, you know.

which leads me to start thinking that maybe in fact spotlighting this insane shit -is- the equivalent of dredging up rabid ferret fancier porn or whatever it is some people want to use to prove whatever point they have.

or, well, no, but; i can see where the whole thing might just make a lot of people just go *blink* *blink* *blink*
 
...then again again, of course, now i'm remembering, somewhere in the context of all that was one guy talking about trying to bring a program to "eroticize consent" to the overall sex ed program at his campus.

apparently (apologies, probably distorting this somewhat, this is all from memory and second-hand) the woman who would be in charge of such things adamantly refused, on the grounds that "eroticizing consent" was what pedophiles (again with the pedophiles) did to seduce kids.

something. apparently it was some kind of buzzword, something that would've made sense in the context of the field she was coming from (preventing child abuse, one presumes) but made -no- sense in the context that the guy was talking about (not children, hello?) The disconnect couldn't or wouldn't be resolved. So, upshot, apparently: never went through.

And no, I don't know that the woman in question was a "feminist," either--like i said, just recapping someone else's story.

but I do think the whole notion of "sex panic" is still relevant, yes, on the whole.
 
Ah, OK. The individual in question has basically openly said that this is what he's doing anyway...
 
like i say
 
...and back to the "creds" business which started all this, I now spy, in an archived Alas thread I've been reading for my own morbid interests:

Kim (basement variety!) Writes:
December 31st, 2005 at 7:09 pm

...has been a hotbed of discussion about what to me seems like the difference between acting like a radical feminist and acting like a complete jerkwad. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m seeing more and more the tendency of some radical feminists (not so much from our current radical fem’s here, but more on some of the different radical feminist blogs) to feel they have the right to give or take away someones ‘feminist’ credentials. I in fact lost mine this past week! Go figure. For me, it was meaningless because I know what I am, where I am and how far I’ve personally come, but it’s worth not outright ignoring, because it poses a very serious problem within the feminist community itself. How is it any different for radical feminists to attempt pushing around less radical feminists, than men doing the same? It all ends up amounting to ’sit down and shut up little lady, we know what’s good/better/best for you’.

alsis39 Writes:
December 31st, 2005 at 8:25 pm
Basement Kim:

Heh. Oh, believe me. There’s nothing new there. I’m guessing that mine were officially revoked some time between the 2000 election and my being kicked off the Ms. Boards. Certainly those of us who got the short end of that particular stick are well-aquainted with the way that a certain subgroup of radical feminists can influence a supposedly moderate institution to use one very specific criteria of what “feminist cred” is– and then revoke status accordingly.

But, you know, life goes on. I will never give those clowns another dime of my money. And in the unlikely event that I someday manage to sell even more cheaply-produced, useless ephemera with my name on it than either Martha Stewart or Thomas Kinkeade, I will take great joy in telling them to kiss my ass when they call me up to request an interview. :p

***

lather, rinse, repeat, I guess.

o well back to the drawing board...
 
BD:

That was beautiful, thank you for sharing with the class :)
 
Alsis got kicked off the Ms. boards? Whoa. I'd love to know that story.

Never mind me and my drama hound ways.
 
apparently (apologies, probably distorting this somewhat, this is all from memory and second-hand) the woman who would be in charge of such things adamantly refused, on the grounds that "eroticizing consent" was what pedophiles (again with the pedophiles) did to seduce kids.

...wow.

I'll keep this in mind. Next time someone wants to argue with me, I'll insist that any word they use has one meaning and one meaning only. Which will be problematic, I figure, by about the second or third word in. Oh, the havoc I could wreak by being deliberately obtuse and not using context!
 
I know how can ppl get the grunts across online? lol
 
Look! A kitty!
 
Look! A kitty!

just like a man to be obsessed with pussy...

(bad joke)
 
As long as we're on the subject:

http://pandagon.net/2006/07/23/leave-the-internets-for-a-few-days-and-everything-turns-to-shit/

...a woman named KH is rather magnificent on the whole, responding to astonishing levels of fuckwittery on several fronts. Here, though, I would just like to single this out for individual consideration:

>...And don’t call me a man, idiot.
 
I'm reading that thread and getting annoyed all over again.

...Oh, look. Apparently Ms Xeno thinks I made her a casualty of the sex wars.

Whatever.
 
oh, I wondered who she was talking about. i thought mebbe she meant me since I know I've expressed my annoyance at the "prostitutes are women! johns are men! no other configuration is worth ever even mentioning!" thing. apparently this is now being interpreted as "therefore, there's no sexism to be witnessed in prostitution as a whole!" (more or less) uh, no, that's not remotely what i or as far as i know anyone said; but, well whatever.

and I had to say something to R Mildred; that shit was out of control.

i can't make myself go back for any more right now, though, so if she responded it's just gonna have to wait.
 
and yeah, the martyred act was a bit rich all things considered. so, what'd you, call her "transphobic?" well, deal with it lady; maybe you are, at that. it's not like he called you oh I don't know a "bloated parasite" or anything. ever call out a man on his sexism? do you assume when you do so that that means you've written him off as inherently hopeless and evil and vile, certainly not capable of oh i don't know -doing- something about it?...oh. well. I don't know her that well, mind; these are genuine, if rhetorical in this space at least, questions.
 
I was mostly annoyed with the inability to separate out my very specific, relatively minor issue with her from the sex wars proper. It was like, "Can you forget about Tekanji for one second and listen to what I'm saying? Please?" Feh.
 
ah well. i think sometimes once yer sucked into the shitstorm that is intrablog/major blog thrash, there's just no avoiding people getting conflated with each other. even if the people are actually reading it; it's like, everything starts to run into everything, you know?
 
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