An "Interesting" Weekend

It all started on Friday, when I put up my "Blog for Fair Pay Day" post.

The first thing that happened was that an anonymous source (no, really, a real anonymous source!!!! ZOMG!!! -- just check the comments if you don't believe me!) informed me that "the wage gap is a myth". (Wow. Aren't you relieved?)

I spent a little time (a very little time) addressing this troll commenter, and I must admit that I was a bit perplexed, because my readership here is usually very small, and while my readers sometimes disagree with me, it's very rare that someone comes along spouting Warren Farrel-esque ridiculousity. Occasionally, the stray troll has followed me home from Shakesville (*cough-cough*randyson/jasper*), but usually, it's smooth and responsible communication here at Chez Portly.

A couple of hours later, I got three comments on my "Robbing the Hearts of Men" post (which is nearly 6 weeks old -- don't bother trying to find them -- I deleted them immediately) -- suffice it to say that they were lovely bon-mots such as "fat hairy-legged pervert" (the mildest of the three), and I found myself wondering:

"Hmmm? Have I done anything particularly controversial today? Or yesterday? Or in the last week?"

My regular readers will know that I have not only not done much controversial blogging in the last two weeks, but that I've barely been blogging at all (*fighting the urge to apologize*).

It's times like these that site-meter is your friend.

I checked my visit history, and sure enough -- Robbing the Hearts of Men had been linked to by no less a "Men's Rights" luminary than Glenn Sacks. (And no, I will not link to his site -- not if you threaten me with wild dogs and fingernails on blackboards.)

Mr. Sacks said, in his post, that he does like to compliment feminists when they try to be fair and understanding -- so he began his post with this highly complimentary line:

"Misguided feminists do occasionally acknowledge the problems men face in our society, under the rubric of PHMT (Patriarchy Hurts Men Too)."
Oh goodie.

I visited Sack's post, read through the comments thread (highly NOT recommended that you do that), and left a comment requesting that Mr. Sacks encourage his readers to visit my blog respectfully, or that he refrain from live-linking to my blog.

Sacks emailed me his response (and posted it in the comment thread), and I went back to his blog (didn't I tell you this was highly NOT recommended?!?!), and was treated to the following lovely stuff in comments (these are just the highlights):
In the comments to his post, I was called:

Fallacious, Dishonest, Irrational, Irrelevant, Misguided, Angry, and Morally Superior.

I was told that my perspective is not legitimate, that I "hate myself", that I have a "fundamentally flawed and hateful position", that I "played the race card" (because I stated that I considered myself as having privilege by virtue of being white), and I was suspected of being conniving and dishonest (writing the original post just so I could later say "Hey, at least I tried.")

Here are some choice quotes:

"Yeah, don't you believe it. The first time she's pissed at someone that's been vulnerable in front of her, she'll attack him for it too."

"This writer is making the same assumption that all feminists make. Female = Good : Male = Bad.
All female attributes are good and all male are bad."

"this woman has a purely gynocentric world view."

"this whole essay a backhanded insult"

"I do get annoyed when feminists pretend to be concerned about men. Frankly, it's an insult to my intelligence to expect me to accept mock sympathy and not be able to see their true agendas."

"If she can't take having her fallacies (or dishonesties) pointed out she should go to a girl's site [emp. mine] where she can get highbrow responses like "Wow! Awesome" and "Right On!". With opponents of such low calibre it should be obvious to anyone that the only reason feminism has come so far is because previous generations of men didn't bother fighting back."
One of the most interesting things (to me) was that many of the commenters made the case that men did not display emotion because that's "just how men are".

Even more interestingly, this line of reasoning was nearly always immediately followed up with a sentence about how women won't sleep with men who display emotion.

I hate to break it to them, but if these guys are having a problem getting laid, I think that the problem probably isn't about how much emotion they do or do not express, but maybe, just maybe . . . .

. . . . . it might have to do with how they talk to women?

The ultimate irony in all of this is that I also dealt with some intense reactions from feminists in comment threads on that particular post (and the follow-up post) over at Shakesville.

So, my trip to Sacks-ville was very educational (and, thankfully, very brief). Here's what I learned/got out of it:

I discovered newfound compassion for those feminists I know who dismiss MRAs out of hand in comment-threads, and are unwilling to extend any benefit of doubt to them, because they have experienced precisely what I experienced -- men who deny that misogyny exists -- while simultaneously actively demonstrating it. Some of these feminists have experienced far worse -- from DDOS attacks on their blogs, to death and rape threats in their email inboxes and postal mailboxes. It was a time when I felt very glad that I was blogging anonymously (or as anonymously as possible).

There were a few people who commented at Sack's in a reasoned, respectful tone (seriously -- like, a few -- as in -- three). There were even a couple who defended me, or said something like: "Well, it's a start."

Here's the thing -- Not only do nearly all of the people commenting at Glenn Sacks' site believe that institutionalized misogyny does not exist -- many, if not most, of them believe that women actually have MORE rights than men do in our society.

They honestly believe this.

(And what I wouldn't do for some "Freaky Friday" soul/body-swapping powers about now.)

Now, I'm an optimist. I believe that humans can change. In an instant.

I believe this because I have changed. In an instant.

So, I thought, "Well, maybe I just touched some nerve -- I'll go to the front page of the blog and see if there's anything that I DO agree with." (How Many Times Do I Have to TELL you, Portly -- this is highly NOT recommended!?!?!?!?)

OK, so the front page had a article about a guy who killed his ex-wife and shot the judge who ordered him 50% custody and 20% alimony payments. To his credit, Sacks was posting the video of the session before the judge that preceded the murder and murder-attempt, apparently intending to get some of his readers to stop apologizing for the guy as they had apparently done in a previous comment-thread.

What was in the comments (and in the comments from the previous thread) shocked me to my core. There were MRAs who not only excused the man's behavior, but claimed that violence of this nature was necessary.
"He killed the childs mother and took away both of his child parrents. I have no sympathy for that. If he had killed the judge only I would be sending him flowers and my judges home address."

"It may well take a lot more killings similar to this for the court system and lawmakers to come to the realization that they screwed up and need to make a change.

Simply put one man with a bullet can create more change than a thousand with protest signs.
Take that any way you want."
Wow.

Oy.

As I said, it was an "interesting" weekend -- and my visit to MRA-land taught me a lot (kind of like how wading in the run-off from the nuclear power station can teach you -- not to wade in the run-off from the power station . . . . ever again).

Because I like to understand things, I've been attempting to wrap my brain around this particular group and their philosophy. So far, my brain doesn't seem to be big enough to quite wrap around it (that's prolly cuz I'm a woman, and my brain is so "low-calibre", dontcha know), but I'll update you if I get any insights.


*Disclaimer: If you get all curious and google this shit and end up on that comments thread, I'll just say, I warned you -- Highly NOT Recommended.*

Posted byPortlyDyke at 2:19 AM  

21 comments:

jerry said... April 21, 2008 at 12:43 PM  

There are abusive commenters at many blogs. But you do Sacks a disservice by making him responsible for his commenters just as you might bloggers a disservice that have a "ginmar" in their comments, or other radfem bloggers that dislike transgendered men.

Since you note that Sacks presented the Darren Mack video inorder to support his claim that Mack was an abusive asshole who deserves life in prison, I'll issue this friendly challenge.

Pick a month (in the past year that he has been blogging) at random. Pick any month.

Read through his posts. Click the links he provides. Read the comments threads if you wish, and notice what he says there.

Create a post describing your experience. Is he a conservative or a progressive? Does he speak for all disenfranchised people? Does he acknowledge the problems women face, the problems men give women, and the problems of various jackass MRAs?

Is he relatively straight on his reporting or are do descriptions leave out salient facts?

Does he have a point?

Are his posts worth discussing?

Are feminists maligning him by describing him (as Melissa recently did) as a Mendacious Asshole?

Did Jeff Fecke malign and slander Glenn Sacks in his MRA explainer essyas about 4-6 months?

What is your overall view of his blog after reading that month of posts, and has that changed due to your reading?

Pick any month at random....

Jess said... April 21, 2008 at 12:59 PM  

Oy indeed. Sympathies!

Christina said... April 21, 2008 at 1:27 PM  

Two song quotes, I think, will say it quite well...

"There's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow, there's Klingons on the starboard bow, shake 'em off, Jim!"

And

"It's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it, It's life, Jim but not as we know it, Captain."

jerry said... April 21, 2008 at 1:36 PM  

Those are two very nice examples of "othering", "dehumanizing", "delegitimitizing", "silencing" comments Christina.

PortlyDyke said... April 21, 2008 at 1:59 PM  

jerry -- I'm actually considering your proposal -- don't blow it by lurking at my blog (where you have never commented before as far as I know), and playing "gotcha", OK?

Cuz that just looks -- well, you know -- kind of creepy.

Fannie said... April 21, 2008 at 4:24 PM  

Wow, the comments were... interesting. Just as feminists are often unwilling to give MRAs the benefit of the doubt, many of the posters seemed unwilling to give you the benefit of the doubt as being genuinely concerned about how stereotypes harm men. Their comments indicate that they have this conception of you as a man-hatin', hairy-legged, "feminazi" caricature.

As for Sacks' not being responsible for the comments on his blog, I don't think he is. Instead, his articles often feed into this bitter "wronged male" mentality. I think because some of these guys believe (sometimes accurately) that they have been severely wronged by the family court system they have an inability to concede any point that feminists make. Or, they take the most radical extreme feminist claim (something along the lines of "all men are evil") and wrongly believe that all people who call themselves feminists believe that.

I find it extremely frustrating when arguing with anti-feminists who tell me what I believe about something before I even tell them what I believe about something. It's as though they think they know me and every belief I have based on my label as a "feminist" or lesbian. I guess my point is that dialogue often completely breaks down when each side treats the other as a caricature rather than as a human being with nuanced views.

Sorry for the long-windedness. ;-)

Oh, and since your number of readers here is now relevant to any discussion, I am regular reader, and really enjoy your articles, even though I don't comment much.

PortlyDyke said... April 21, 2008 at 4:34 PM  

Never apologize for long-windedness with me, Fannie -- I'm the Queen of LW! :lol:

pidomon said... April 21, 2008 at 5:42 PM  

I can't believe all you empowered womuns are keeping me down while I try to shake the shackles of my white maleness

*sigh*
Can we have more cat herding videos please :)

Love Ya PD!1!

jerry said... April 21, 2008 at 6:08 PM  

Hi PD, I'm trying to figure out how to respond. We've actually have "spoken" over in the comments at Shakesville, in yet another thread that refused to die even way long past its expiration date.

But I don't think that calling out others on their "othering" tactics is a particularly nasty thing to do, and I do take a bit of an exception at it being referred to as "creepy" as "creepy" like "cyberstalking" is one of those words that often have sexual connotations overlaid on them.

I agree with fannie about how blog posts can encourage commenters to run amuck and I do think that bloggers can be called on that environment if present, though not on the actual comments themselves. But I would claim that if you look through Glenn's comments in the threads and the comments of many, there are many people, Glenn included who call people on their misogyny and other nonsense all of the time.

Do remember though, that just like there are many movements within feminism, there are also many movements within "MRAdom". Some jackasses DO want to put women back in the kitchen, barefoot, and pregnant, just as their are feminists that do think that any sexual interaction between men and women is one of abuse, humiliation, and oppression. But that's not Glenn.

I really do encourage you to "audit" a month of Glenn's posts. You'll either establish once and for all that he is a misogynist, or that he's getting a bum rap.

I've heard it mentioned from time to time that feminists are in favor of equal rights for all, but that they feel that men should fight for their rights on their own, and not piggyback off the feminist movement, and not demand feminists do their lifting for them.

And in fact, Melissa said something similar to Glenn about that. "Develop your own positive movement with concrete ideas for your readers to hold onto,..." Well, if Feminists can't deal with Glenn Sacks as an example of a male blogger trying and doing the right thing without stepping on anyone else's rights, than it's going to be a very long time for any such male rights blogger to arise.

(For what it matters, I disagree with Glenn and many modern Feminists on one particular issue: free speech. I try to take my lead from free speech and civil rights zealots (and feminists) Wendy Kaminer and Nadine Strossen. I agree with Glenn and many feminists that many commercials, etc., are disgusting, sent obnoxious messages, etc., but I do not always agree with the best way to deal with those commercials and products.)

Anyway, over to you.

PortlyDyke said... April 21, 2008 at 10:16 PM  

jerry -- ah yes, I remember that thread well -- since you haven't left a url or profile in your comments, I did not assume that this was the same "jerry".

Calling others out on what you perceive as "othering" language is not, imo, particularly "creepy" -- lurking at a blog where you don't usually post, and running in with a "gotcha" about how men have been dehumanized -- that's kinda creepy, imo.

In your original comment, you said this: "But you do Sacks a disservice by making him responsible for his commenters" -- at no point in my post did I "make Sacks responsible for his commenters" -- I was talking about the community in general.

I do have a question or two for you, which I would appreciate an honest answer to:

1) Do you receive monetary or other compensation from Glenn Sacks in any capacity?

2) Are you associated with his blog in any way other than as a commenter?

3) Do you believe that institutionalized misogyny in this culture has resulted in women being disenfranchised economically, and disproportionately victimized physically?

jerry said... April 21, 2008 at 11:02 PM  

1. No, not at all, not in any way at all, whatsoever.
2. No, not at all, not in any way at all, whatsoever.
3a. Yes(*)
3b. Yes, unequivocally

3a.(*) I think the culture is way fucked up in many ways on how it deals with men and women of different races and economic classes and religions and (genders, gender identity, fat/lean, age, looks, pretty much you name it.) But I do think in the large that playing "oppression olympics" get's us further away to progress rather than closer. And in that degree, I think that everyone has some kind of privilege and its just different from others, so playing the game of "you're privileged you wouldn't know, and you're privileged you should stfu" is just a silencing game.

So for instance, some would say women are disadvantaged economically as a class, and others would say that men are disadvantaged with regards to not being able to be with their young kids because they have to be at a job they hate and a job they fear losing at any moment in order to put food on the table for the mom and kid. And I think both groups are basically right, so in the end, the idea is to be aware of all of those sorts of privileges and just understand them as a way to try to make economic systems that encourage everyone to achieve their best and what they want.

I don't want to go on and on, but in some ways, those are some of the ideas that Glenn Sacks and Warren Farrell by way of Glenn Sacks have "enlightened" me to.

If you do choose to "audit"/"review" Sack's blog, I would add the following question:

What in order do you think are the Fathers' rights activists three main "demands" from society or feminists?

And I purposefully said fathers and not men because fathers are my interest for probably some obvious reasons, and I think and you can disagree that that is Sack's main interest.

4. Without telling you which month or months you should look at, when you're all done, check out the past month.

Mary Tracy9 said... April 23, 2008 at 1:58 AM  

Portly, I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry you had to experience that kind of abuse.

I think you are a wonderful person, and your voice is desperately needed not just in the blogosphere but in the world. So please, don't let this cheap attempts at human beings let you down. There's a lot of people out there who want to hear what you have to say.

BASTA! said... April 23, 2008 at 1:54 PM  

I believe you feminists actually take turns at this.

By "this" I mean engaging men's issues bloggers with either faux-reconciliatory posts or faux-inquiring comments, only so you can then summarize their responses (cherry-picked for the more sincere expressions of understandable offense) with venomous witticisms.

It is transparent. Nobody buys it, not even your own readers I suppose.

It is also time- and energy-consuming.

For these two reasons, please do keep doing it.

PortlyDyke said... April 23, 2008 at 4:02 PM  

"By "this" I mean engaging men's issues bloggers with either faux-reconciliatory posts or faux-inquiring comments, only so you can then summarize their responses"

Wow, Basta! Paranoid much?

I think this is pretty funny, since I wrote the blog for a feminist blog and audience, and wasn't, in fact, thinking about MRAs at all when I wrote it (and now I know why that choice was a good one). If you have a problem with the post, why don't you take it up with Glenn Sacks, who took the time and energy to seek it out at a feminist blog and reprinted it at a Men's Rights blog? Please notice -- I wasn't trying for any "reconciliation" with my piece -- I was writing what I thought. If people don't agree, they can do so respectfully, which many commenters there did not do.

The only reason I visited Sack's blog was to ask him to stop linking to me, so that I didn't get a deluge of abusive comments at my home blog. I spoke respectfully and directly, and received, in return, a barrage of accusations (not unlike this one, that somehow I did "this" to get to MRAs). Believe it or not, my world not only doesn't revolve around you and the MRA movement, but I barely notice it, except when it brings slime to my doorstep.

As to "cherry-picking" -- that's kind of hard not to do -- when you're in a cherry orchard.

BASTA! said... April 23, 2008 at 11:26 PM  

"Wow, Basta! Paranoid much?"

Code White? That soon? You disappoint me.

"I think this is pretty funny, since I wrote the blog for a feminist blog and audience, and wasn't, in fact, thinking about MRAs at all when I wrote it"

And that bridge is still for sale I suppose?

"If people don't agree, they can do so respectfully, which many commenters there did not do."

... and many did, but you chose not to mention it in your "interesting week" summary.

PortlyDyke said... April 24, 2008 at 12:53 AM  

"... and many did, but you chose not to mention it in your "interesting week" summary."

Oh, and read for comprehension much?

Here's a quote from this post, just in case you're interested in what I actually said, rather than finding evidence for your conspiracy theory:

"There were a few people who commented at Sack's in a reasoned, respectful tone (seriously -- like, a few -- as in -- three). There were even a couple who defended me, or said something like: "Well, it's a start."

Yes, that's right -- I consider that exactly 3 people on that thread were logical and respectful in their comments toward me, and that two actually defended me.

Take some responsibility, and encourage your community to "man up" (I believe that's the correct phrase?) and be responsible for the words they choose to use.

I'm honestly astounded by the self-absorption that must be required for you to imagine that I would take the time and energy to write a post just in order to somehow "set up" the entire MRA community -- and if it's not paranoia (unreasoning fear), it must be narcissism, because I honest to fuck didn't give a single thought to how my piece might be received by your "movement". I had never even seen Glenn Sack's blog until the day people like yourself started showing up here.

I realize that it may be difficult for you to grasp that a woman might actually do something which she wants to do simply because she wants to do it, but please, won't you give it a go?

BASTA! said... April 24, 2008 at 5:45 AM  

"Take some responsibility, and encourage your community to "man up" (I believe that's the correct phrase?) and be responsible for the words they choose to use."

Not before you can honestly check all six points I enumerated in my response at Glenn's.

"I had never even seen Glenn Sack's blog until the day people like yourself started showing up here."

Now that I think of it, it is quite possible that many feminists still don't know who Glenn Sacks is. It only shows the true extent of feminism's ideological hegemony. You can live your whole life in the marble palaces of the Empire's capital and never even bother to learn the names of all those barbarian statelets your legions have subjugated, nor why do locals in remote provinces want to spit in your face. Operative feminism has been denying men basic dignity for decades, and now we've got this "compassion fashion" thing among some feminists, which only adds insult to injury.

PortlyDyke said... April 24, 2008 at 8:15 AM  

Ok -- now you're just trying to make me laugh, right? LOL

BASTA! said... April 24, 2008 at 8:56 AM  

Sounds like "then they laugh at you". So far so good.

ouyangdan said... April 25, 2008 at 1:19 AM  

As I said, it was an "interesting" weekend -- and my visit to MRA-land taught me a lot (kind of like how wading in the run-off from the nuclear power station can teach you -- not to wade in the run-off from the power station . . . . ever again).

:lol:

that is the best analogy i have ever heard, PD.

it is time i stopped just lurking here occasionally.

i have always appreciated your humorous take on this sort of thing.

it helps me keep a smile on my face when the MRA whiners show up at my place (which has fewer readers than you i am certain). it is a tired dance of the same arguments again and again. even when we try to show them that feminists are concerned w/ how the institution hurts men too they want to throw our "superiority" back at us.

the thing that scares me is that these MRAs seem to think that violence is an acceptable means to getting what they perceive is their right.

i have a thing or two to say about their rights.

but not here...not derailing your thread.

thanks for this post!

oops...

i mean:

Awesome!

Right on!

did that fill my bingo card?

;)

Danny said... May 6, 2008 at 7:22 PM  

Oh I wish I had seen this thread sooner. Its nice to see that you are still putting your feet in the water of the MRA world instead of just blindly agreeing with what other feminists say (which I see a lot of feminists do).

I've read your "Robbing the Hearts of Men" and "I'll Do It" posts and your words are encouraging.

Keep it up.

Post a Comment