Robot 6

Gabby Schulz on every Internet discussion of sexism ever

from "How Every Single Discussion About Sexism and Woman-Type Stuff on the Internet (and Real Life) Has Ever Happened and Will Ever Happen, Always, Forever, Until the Earth Finally Falls into the Sun. (Or Until the Patriarchy Is Dismantled.)" by Gabby Schulz

from "How Every Single Discussion About Sexism and Woman-Type Stuff on the Internet (and Real Life) Has Ever Happened and Will Ever Happen, Always, Forever, Until the Earth Finally Falls into the Sun. (Or Until the Patriarchy Is Dismantled.)" by Gabby Schulz

Last week Kate Beaton asked that male comics readers carefully consider their choice of words when complimenting female comics creators, so as to keep a bright dividing line between their work on the one hand and their gender and appearance on the other. The resulting discussion — or maybe the better word is backlash — made me fear for the future of the species.

Apparently I’m not alone in that. Cartoonist Gabby Schulz (aka Ken Dahl) crafted a masterfully mordant satire of the discussion, and countless others like it. Click here to read the whole thing. Then click back here to tell us why it’s ALL WRONG, god help us.

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88 Comments

Almost perfect summary of how shitty the internet is. It’s terrible and we need to change things

have to agree with the comic proving how one can not have a normal conversation on the internet including when it comes to sexism in comics including woman with out it bringing the above comic to life.

Sean T. Collins

November 1, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Laura, I’ve been meaning to apologize to you personally for the nonsense you had to put up with in that thread. Thank you for fighting the good fight.

Saw that strip earlier today. I agree with 95% of what it’s saying (other than the fact that EVERYONE supporting the artist was a woman and EVERYONE supporting the troll was a man). But I still don’t get what the big kerfluffle last week was over.

If I still had a positive view of mankind, that conversation definitely would have ruined it.

That comic is very accurate, it’s more or less directly representative of any internet conversation where there is any issue of sexism raised or especially where the word “feminist” appears, although there are men (such as myself) who argue on the feminist side, and, disappointingly, often women who argue on the anti-feministic side.

The basic problem is that people don’t seem to grasp that Feminism is by no means a unified movement, and assuming that every woman who identifies as a feminist want’s to get rid of men is pretty much on level with seone who assumes, for example, all people who identify as conservative want to tax the poor until they go away and that every person from a country other than their own is probably a commie trying to destroy their country. Yet thinking that about feminism is seen as an utterly reasonable viewpoints. I despair at people…

But here’s the thing. That thread was mostly just two groups talking past each other. “I want to have your baby” is a popular internet meme. Sean himself put up the criteria that if you wouldn’t say it to a male creator it is sexist. Numerous people were reacting more to this mis-characterization of the meme, pointing out that it is indeed frequently used towards guys and gals equally. The absurdity of a guy saying he wants to bear a child is part of the joke. When you make shrill exaggerated claims that this phrase is inherently sexist, a slur, or equivalent to saying the speaker wants to inseminate the recipient you look foolish and undermine your argument. Especially when those mis-characterizations initially formed the body of the argument. Not surprisingly a lot of folks saw it as the boy who cried wolf..or perhaps better yet the boy who cried Pedo Bear. As the thread progressed Sean and others did a better job of honing in on their point but they really shot themselves in the foot initially.

Sure it was quite the failing of those who were unable to see past the meme aspect and realize the context of why a female creator might be particularly uncomfortable with this type of comment or that sometimes the comment may in fact indeed originate in the speaker’s sexism. Its unfortunate that the meme became more the preoccupation than this underlying point. And by the end the thread had devolved entirely. But I really don’t think either side came off as having a reason to crow about how reasonable they were compared to the other. And this just seems like more of the same focus on point scoring and self-congratulation than anything else.

Thanks, Sean, I appreciate that. Honestly, that sort of behavior is in some ways less upsetting to me when it happens publicly, where other reasonable people can at least see it and condemn it, rather than in, say, creepy private emails. At least people are having conversations about it — and in some cases, realizing that sexism is still a persistent issue in ways that often occur outside their line of sight, or that some of their own comments are worth reassessing, and I’m grateful to Kate for her willingness to step into the maelstorm to make that possible.

One of the things that struck me most about many of the reactions I saw was this perception that what Kate deals with really isn’t that bad, and that comment thread was the best rebuttal to that line of thinking that I could have imagined.

@Kodos, those comments may be a “meme” to some people, but to many female creators, they aren’t just a meme, they’re one more creepy comment in a constant barrage of creepy comments. And the problem with how many people reacted is that rather than trying to understand that perspective, they just said that the women in question shouldn’t feel that way, for a variety of reasons that totally ignored that context.

Sean T. Collins

November 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Kodos, the fact that “I want to have your babies” is silly and absurd and probably harmlessly intended when most men say it to men or to women or to whoever isn’t the argument-deflating news flash you and others have made it out to be. Beaton herself prefaced her remarks by saying she knows people mean well. But as Laura, and Kate, and me, and tons of other people have tried to make clear, “i want to have your babies” does not exist in a vacuum. Just like Laura is still, amazingly, trying to explain, to focus on that particular phrase and the way Beaton or I characterized it is ignoring the forest for the trees.

I’ve posted this elsewhere but I thought I’d drop it here too.

This is slightly confusing for me as I and my mates tend to use “have your babies” as a way of praising each other and we’re all lads.

That said I think regardless of what is said or typed, if it makes the person uncomfortable then it probably shouldn’t be said at all. As an example, if I was manning a table at a convention and someone came over and started joking or taking the mick about, Empire or The Troubles for example that would make me feel very uncomfortable.

Now why that would make me feel uncomfortable or unsettled is irrelevent just like all the huge drama about this issue, sexism, etc. It the fact that its putting me on edge that should be a clear signal that I don’t want to talk about that and its making me uncomfortable.

At the end of the day though this tends to go over a lot of people’s heads. And that my friends is a very gender-neutral problem.

Funny pictures of cats is a meme. “I want you to have my babies” is something you say to your wife or significant other. “That was a fantastic piece you did; it absolutely rocks and so do you!!” is something to say to anyone, male or female, when you appreciate their work.

To Gabby Schulz: That was a fantastic piece you did; it absolutely rocks and so do you!!

I wrote above:

“As the thread progressed Sean and others did a better job of honing in on their point’

and then:

“It was quite the failing of those who were unable to see past the meme aspect and realize the context of why a female creator might be particularly uncomfortable with this type of comment or that sometimes the comment may in fact indeed originate in the speaker’s sexism. Its unfortunate that the meme became more the preoccupation than this underlying point.”

In other words I agreed with the point you were making but felt the overstatements in the original post ended up distracting people from that point. I was thinking that maybe some of the people( men and women) who missed or disagreed with that point did so more because of this initial hyperbole and did not deserve to be lumped in as sexist cavemen simply for having a contrary opinion. Ha ha. Joke’s on me I guess.

Bully. An internet meme often refers to a catch phrase. I do not use this particular phrase but I have seen it used by others numerous times. Pretending that it doesn’t exist or that it means the person wants to impregnate the other is ridiculous. It is not “I want you to have my babies.” It is I want to have your babies and is a sort of parody of the devotion shown by certain extreme fans. And since apparently everything has to be spelled out repeatedly…I can understand why given certain circumstances this would make a person uncomfortable and I am not arguing against Beaton request that fans not use it on her.

Man, that short that Gabby Schulz made was so poignant and spot on that it made me want to have her babies. I’m kidding, of course, I don’t even know what she looks like and I’m *much* too shallow to have sex with someone based purely on their skill level. Unless she looks like Megan Fox.

And on that note I’m off to look at pictures of Megan Fox.

eh, i read the first K.Beaton bit, said my piece over at the original robot6 post, and moved on. This is the official mountain out of a mole hill some people were mentioning. I respect Ms. Beaton’s thoughts and even though I’ve never made any remarks like that towards her or her work, from now on, I promise to reserve all of my lewd sexual comments regarding artwork for my fellow male creators.

‘complimented for the quality of her work, and not because she has a vagina’

Dammit, saying, ‘I want to have your babies’, while not something I’d choose to say myself, is clearly nothing more than a humorous remark that takes the idea of LOVING someone’s WORK to the logical EXTREME for COMIC EFFECT.

Get. Over. Your. Selves.

And it’s pretty gender-neutral too. A man could say it to a man, a woman could say it to a man, a woman could say it to a woman.

I can appreciate what it’s trying to say, but dear god that’s a terrible strip, and I’ve already seen it damaging discourse on the subject.

@ffs

I’m in complete and total agreement with you on this. I’ve said similar things to male creators warranting all kinds of facepalms. I don’t see what all the hoopla is about.

What’s odd, though? I’d never say this to a female creator. It’d be too weird and embarrassing and I guess I still carry shreds of misplaced chivalry with me.

Hey so I think what a lot of people are missing here.. well.. there’s two things, but the more immediately relevant is this: context. This is the thing most people seem to miss when they discuss topics related to equality, be it racial or gender or otherwise. Context is important. Better yet, context is *crucial* because context is what defines the environment in which a person feels threatened or uncomfortable or devalued.

So when a woman says she feels as if a phrase devalues her work in favor of emphasizing her gender or reproductive capabilities, or if she says it makes her feel otherwise uncomfortable, then it’s clear there is a context of sexual attention that she is feeling (unless you think she’s lying, in which case, by all means, demonstrate your case).

If that’s how she says she feels.. well.. guess what? Unless, like I said, you think she’s lying, then that’s how it fucking is. You don’t get to argue that she’s silly for feeling that way because she’s not deferring to your authority as to whether it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. I won’t get into the undertones of arrogance and patriarchal authority that come from feeling like you’re being reasonable when you tell someone when it’s okay to feel uncomfortable, but the bottom line is you don’t get to determine that for anybody but yourself. *That’s* where the equality comes in.

So think about that when you mention that it’s just a meme, and that men say it about other men, too. Why does it matter that they say it to other men? Why, because it’s absurd to say it to a man because in most parts of the country guys can’t marry other guys. Also because they can’t reproduce with them, I guess. Wait, no, that’s the important part, isn’t it? But then.. guys CAN have babies with women. It’s not absurd anymore, then. In fact, it’s actually plausible in that case. So come on, the excuse you’re using to justify it is actually an explanation for WHY someone might not like the comment. Easy stuff.

The other thing about this discussion that worries me is how many people are hand-waving about how “this became a big deal”. So what if it became a big deal? Why are you afraid of big deals? If it became a big deal it’s because people care a great deal about it, and it’s important to them (even if it’s far more fashionable to pretend not to care about anything, or to take anything seriously, or to let on that you are emotionally invested [translation: vulnerable] to anything) . Stuff the meta-talk, it’s a distraction and it’s a really lazy attempt to dismiss the validity of the issue. Who the hell are you to judge how valid the issue is? If it’s bothering someone, it’s valid. If it’s bothering someone that you probably don’t have a lot in common with, then it’s not only valid but it’s probably stupid of you to assume that you have the perspective to understand where they’re coming from, and that makes it even sillier of you to try to dismiss it.

And let’s be honest with ourselves. The meme defense states that it’s an imitation of “extreme fans”. Extreme fans are irrational, crazy, frightening fans. The internet brings out everyone’s inner creeper, so if your choice of flattery is to flirt with the idea of being a creepy dude, and someone turns around and says ‘plz no, thats creepy’ then gosh — I donno I feel like I’m being condescending pointing out something that obvious but we wouldn’t be having this discussion if people had actually realized it, would we?

Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin

November 1, 2010 at 6:39 pm

@Westlake

Here’s what the hoopla is about. Kate Beaton issued a complaint regarding the sexist compliments she kept receiving for her work. She mentioned the ‘I want to have your babies’ line as one of the exemplary compliments. Yet, for some unknown reason, many people took this exemplary line as the main point of her argument, saying that she misunderstood it and that the line was meant in a humorous fashion. They believe that the problem is blown out of proportion.

The thing is, they are wrong. They failed to see beyond the ‘I want to have your babies’ line and manage to overlook the main point of the argument. They have completely derailed this discussion into unimportant waters.

People, whether you acknowledge it or not, Beaton’s argument is valid. Sexism is a problem which needs to be discussed about and not swept under a rug.

I would not care to have read either the original thread, nor its cartoon response above. Nor do I believe female characters are automatically written better by women. I just want to read good stories, genders should not be an issue unless that so happens to be the topic. Women are just people, and so are men.

Oh and the net is full of jerks, of both genders. Deal with it.

I saw that this story had 25 comments and my first thought was literally “OH SHIT” but this is so far not totally heinous.

Thanks, internet, for…not being totally heinous.

Hrm.

okay, here’s my problem with this…

I’ve heard the phrase “I want to have your babies’” for a long time, and it was mostly from women. “I love you, I want to bear your children!” was the catch phrase of Lola Heatherington on SCTV. It’s also a line in the song “Whatta Man” by Salt N’ Pepa. And KAte Beaton’s comments sounded a little scolding. Just saying..

Oh, and one of Beaton’s comments: ’ No one makes comics looking for sexual attention. ” Clearly she hasn’t heard of R. Crumb.

R. Crumb, known for his distinctly feminist stances on gender issues.

If a woman feels threatened and uncomfortable about the sexual nature of comments made to her then maybe you should have a thicker skin than to get upset when someone sounds “a little scolding”, cuz seriously that just makes you sound really incredibly whiny :/

Spiteful and full of falsehoods, but if it puts down people you don’t like it’ll pass for humour.

I didn’t say it last time, but as a man I always thought that the phrase “I want to have your babies” meant “I want to be impregnated by you” rather than “I want to impregnate you”. I don’t know if that’s any less sexist in the long run and I left that back in adolescence along with mohawks and The Smiths but I thought I should put that out there. I can definitely see why that would get old either way.

But Kate Beaton gets kinda mean and snarky when you compliment her on how well she draws and ask if she has any tips so it seems like you can’t win either way.

You know, I’m totally with Sean T Collins and co on avoiding compliments that make their intended recipients uncomfortable, but on the score of the meme “I want to have your babies,” I’m not sure “sexism” applies.

First, I always thought the phrase was supposed to be ironic for males, as in “I want to gain somehow the ability to become pregnant so that I may bear your children” NOT “I want you to mother my child” as the other thread seems to suggest.

Secondly, as commenters have repeated ad infinitum in these threads, the phrase is used by men and women alike to “praise” members of both sexes. So, it’s a kind of a stretch to categorize it as specifically anti-woman.

I was listening to Jon Stewart’s closing remarks at the Rally to Restore Sanity yesterday, and thinking about them now, I find them to be especially relevant to the discussion. Calling someone a “sexist” or “oblivious sexist” or even to allege that their remarks are sexist is a serious charge in today’s society. Under ceratin circumstances, people lose their jobs over that type of thing (Stewart cites the way Rick Sanchez got sacked after some allegedly bigoted remarks of his were blown way out of proportion). While I agree that it is the responsibility of every member of polite society to be respectful of his fellow man, regardless of race, creed, sex, gender etc, it is also the duty of the commentators on society – the Kate Beatons and Sean T Collinses of the world – to pick their battles, to ask themselves before lighting a fuse “is this really hateful or does it just make me uncomfortable?”

Because, for example, on the one hand, a qualified black man complaining of racism after being turned away by white employer after white employer will likely have a net positive effect on society, whereas on the other hand, a black man crying bigotry because white people are stepping on his toes in a crowded bus is likely to incite a commotion over something that was almost certainly unintentional. The line has to be drawn somewhere between those two, and to me it seems like the Beaton/Collins “sexism” complaint skews closer to the toe-stepping example.

Again, I think no one would take issue if Beaton simply said that the “compliments” in question made her uncomfortable and that she would prefer if fans refrained from making those kinds of remarks (just as no one would take issue if the black man on the bus had said “Excuse me, please watch my toes”). Heck, I don’t even think her comments would’ve caused this much of a stir if she had said that most women wouldn’t respond well to that kind of “compliment.” What really raised people’s hackles was the implication of sexism, an implication that kind of demonizes these – most seem to agree – awkward, overly-gushing, but ultimately well-meaning fans of hers. I don’t know, I just think there were many more effective + less divisive ways to get her fans to retire this awful “have your babies” meme.

If what you said seems sexist or bigoted to someone, then it most likely made them (or somebody) uncomfortable in some way, too, so it doesn’t make sense that you get the benefit of having your sensibilities pandered to while other people do not. If someone tells you that you said something bigoted or ignorant, then ask them why they feel that way and come to an understanding. Getting grumpy over someone using the correct words (in their mind) to describe what you did is a distraction from what you actually did, despite whatever John Stewart the Comedian tells you, is not going to magically act as the catalyst for rhetorical progress.

Also, relating to “First, I always thought the phrase was supposed to be ironic for males, as in “I want to gain somehow the ability to become pregnant so that I may bear your children” NOT “I want you to mother my child” as the other thread seems to suggest.” – That’s great but Kate Beaton is not a male, so how it’s intended for males is irrelevant.

Sean T. Collins

November 2, 2010 at 4:45 am

Akaky:

Here’s what the hoopla is about. Kate Beaton issued a complaint regarding the sexist compliments she kept receiving for her work. She mentioned the ‘I want to have your babies’ line as one of the exemplary compliments. Yet, for some unknown reason, many people took this exemplary line as the main point of her argument, saying that she misunderstood it and that the line was meant in a humorous fashion. They believe that the problem is blown out of proportion.

The thing is, they are wrong. They failed to see beyond the ‘I want to have your babies’ line and manage to overlook the main point of the argument. They have completely derailed this discussion into unimportant waters.

Yes, yes, a bajillion times yes. Forest, trees, etc.

“R. Crumb, known for his distinctly feminist stances on gender issues.”

Not the point. The point is that her comment that “no one” writes comics for sexual attention is simply false.Men do a lot of stupid stuff for sexual attention. Crumb’s sexism has no bearing on the fact that Beaton’s statement was just not true.

I enjoyed Gabby’s comic, for I have indeed seen many conversations like that go like that.

And while I am not being aware of all the feedback Beaton has received for her work, and no doubt some of it has been creepy (there’s lots of creepy comments in the net, after all).

But “I want to have your babies” as a phrase is indeed a meme and not inherently sexist (or when it is sexist it is elaborated in more detail). Of course if a receiver of the comment feels it as offensive she does feel it as offensive…on this point I’d like to mention couple of my relatives who are masters of hearing insults when they want to. They can pick on choice of words, tone of voice, exactly how long it takes for you to give your hand for handshaking…if they have a reason to dislike you there is nothing you can do to avoid offending them. Are all those insults actually there and intentional? History has proven that this is not the case (though some of what they hear is admittedly there).

Perhaps it would be best if nobody ever commented on anything.

I’m sorry, but it was scolding. And you realize that you’re saying that the hypothetical men (note: I was not one who ever said anything like that, or even implied that) need to be both utterly sensitive and mindful of what they say and yet be utterly thick-skinned about what someone says about them. Which is pretty much impossible. And the cartoon doesn’t portray this accurately, because it was Beaton who made the argument public.

Sometimes people need to be scolded.

I think that it’s completely understandable that it might be unpleasant to receive these comments from a stranger. Whatever the intentions of the person making the “I want to have your babies”/”I want to have sex with you” comments, this sort of comment exists in a climate where sexual harassment is a real phenomenon and may very well be one that the artist on the receiving end has had real experience.

It’s simply not something one says to a stranger. Perhaps it’s okay to jokingly say it to a friend (depends on your friendship) but being a reader of someone’s blog, or webcomic, does not make the author my best buddy who gets all my jokes.

Beaton and Schulz are absolutely right to say the behavior is not appropriate. The difference is that Schulz expressed her view through satire, and so deliberately exaggerated certain aspects– which is what satirists do.

Schulz is actually male. But I think it undercuts the satire by stacking the deck towards the female cartoonist.

Maybe some people need to be scolded. But to do it this way – in a public way in which the scolded has no real way to defend themselves without sounding like complainers – is not really playing fair.

And Beaton is also being disengenous by starting this with “Dear Internet,” as if she wasn’t an active part of the Internet, and as if she wasn’t counting on her female peeps to back her up by having it go viral.

If, as Schulz described it, she responded privately and the guy in a dick move made it public, that would be one thing. But she made it public herself, which leaves her open to criticism.

“It’s simply not something one says to a stranger. Perhaps it’s okay to jokingly say it to a friend (depends on your friendship) but being a reader of someone’s blog, or webcomic, does not make the author my best buddy who gets all my jokes.”

…umm, actually it is something one says to a stranger (well, not like walking on a street and saying it to random people, but a stranger whose webcomic one has read and admired).
Basically what is being criticized is that a female creator receives a compliment similar to a male creator. I though it should be the opposite.

Could International Union of Women please give a standardised set of compliments a male reader can give to a female comics creator, so we could avoid nasty situations like these?
Is “that is good” acceptable? Does tempus make a difference (“that is good” or “that was good”)? Should I avoid describing something as “funny” because it sounds like I am trivializing the work? Can I give star ratings or would that imply that the work is distant and full of hot gas?

(still not saying anything on possible other problematic comments Beaton has received, since I don’t know of them).

“(still not saying anything on possible other problematic comments Beaton has received, since I don’t know of them).”
That’s the thing. We are able to assume the worst because she didn’t make it more clear.

And like I said before, I’ve heard some variation on “I want to have your babies” from female fans of male celebrities.

AS, the “International Union of Women”/”is ‘this is good’ an acceptable compliment” business just makes you sound unreasonable and uninterested in the answers to your ostensible questions. If you sincerely can’t figure out what compliments are appropriate to make, I think you might have bigger problems.

Sean – AS is obviously satirically overstating the case. But you know what? I see his point. Some women can be too sensitive. So can some men.

My main problem is the way Beaton dealt with it, and expected it to not be criticized.

Urgh.

It’s an awkward and silly comment that should have never been directed in the first place. Being a man and saying you’d be up for having someone’s babies is silly and sounds really dumb. Then on top of that, you direct it at a woman. There’s the second mistake.

It’s clearly obvious that male thinking and female thinking is completely different. We can be really obtuse and shrug things off when they’re said because we never look at the deeper meaning or significance of things. That is why men tend to attach these silly phrases to feelings of excitement. They’re ‘throwaway’ type tags.

Women often seek more clarity when things like that are said, and when you try to analyze that babies statement, its easily left to interpretation: and in a bad way. Having Beaton’s baby implies you’d have to have sex with Beaton in order for that to occur, which really creeps her out. People who defend the use of that term fail to see that statement can actually be offensive to certain people.

The lack of sensitivity is the deeper issue in all of this.

If what you said seems sexist or bigoted to someone, then it most likely made them (or somebody) uncomfortable in some way, too, so it doesn’t make sense that you get the benefit of having your sensibilities pandered to while other people do not. If someone tells you that you said something bigoted or ignorant, then ask them why they feel that way and come to an understanding.

Ok great, but in what world does this work? You might as well say “If somebody calls you a fucking asshole, then you must have made them uncomfortable in some way, so just ask them why they feel that way and come to an understanding.” The terms “racist,” “sexist,” etc are both insulting and incriminating, and unless you’re actually justified in using them, you can and should expect backlash from people who are offended by your overzealous accusation, people other than just the person you’re accusing.

Getting grumpy over someone using the correct words (in their mind) to describe what you did is a distraction from what you actually did

What are you talking about? The whole issue is about getting grumpy over people using the correct words. You can flip your argument in the complete opposite direction and say that Kate Beaton should see past her fans awkward phrasing of a compliment to what they actually did, which was praise her work. Obviously I’m not saying that this is what she should actually do, but I am saying that correct words matter, on both sides of the fence. Otherwise, you have a double standard where, to quote poster DP:

the hypothetical men (note: I was not one who ever said anything like that, or even implied that) need to be both utterly sensitive and mindful of what they say and yet be utterly thick-skinned about what someone says about them.

It shouldn’t be too much to ask that Beaton (and for that matter everybody else in the world) be responsible about using the word “sexism” (and “racism,” “bigotry,” etc), especially when the issue at hand is asking fans to be more mindful of their speech.

Drezz… but surely there’s a better way to express that than she did. It might be a sexist comment, but to call it “shitty” is a bit of a stretch.

And like I said before, Beaton was the one who made this public. If it went “viral” the other way – i.e. embraced by feminist bloggers – she would have no problem.

Sean T. Collins

November 2, 2010 at 9:36 am

Loath though I am to continue to discuss the baby-having phrase as though it were the be-all and end-all of Beaton’s complaint, or even all that important to the complaint at all, Drezz raises a very good point:

“Having Beaton’s baby implies you’d have to have sex with Beaton in order for that to occur, which really creeps her out.”

Right. Even though it’s impossible for a man to have babies, the implication (however facetious it may be) is that you’d like to give it the old college try anyway. This may be completely harmless when you’re a straight dude saying it to another straight dude and both of you understand that sexual attraction is a total nonfactor. But when you’re a dude saying it to a woman, it becomes a different story.

That being said, the myopic insistence on parsing words instead of attending to the general climate to which Beaton was responding is a better indicator OF that general climate than the initial comments themselves.

@ DP – her reaction was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back. She had been getting those comments for a long time, and didn’t feel they were appropriate and just had enough.

Everyone does the same thing when they reach a breaking point. No one is at fault for lashing out in anger when they can’t take it anymore. It’s human nature. If anything, this exercise proved to some people that they may need to choose their words a bit more carefully around women in general. If it changed even ONE person’s mindset about that and made them a bit more sensitive, then her statement was justified.

N one is expecting all men to stop saying stupid shit. That’s an impossibility. We’re wired for stupidity and breaking stuff and looking at boobs. We just need to rein it in every so often.

“If, as Schulz described it, she responded privately and the guy in a dick move made it public, that would be one thing. But she made it public herself, which leaves her open to criticism.”

That is one of the most awful lines of reasoning I have ever seen.

Hoping HTML works, here we go..

Ok great, but in what world does this work? You might as well say “If somebody calls you a fucking asshole, then you must have made them uncomfortable in some way, so just ask them why they feel that way and come to an understanding.” The terms “racist,” “sexist,” etc are both insulting and incriminating, and unless you’re actually justified in using them, you can and should expect backlash from people who are offended by your overzealous accusation, people other than just the person you’re accusing.

No, they are not incriminating, and they’re only insulting if you’re under the delusion that you, as a member of a racist and sexist society (yet still one of the most progressive societies in the world!), have somehow managed to grow up without any trace of those elements in your way of thinking. You and I both think racist and sexist things from time to time, and if you want to be insulted then that’s a personal choice, and it’s a horrible one, because it makes it that much more difficult for anyone to get your attention when you say or do something wrong-headed.

What are you talking about? The whole issue is about getting grumpy over people using the correct words. You can flip your argument in the complete opposite direction and say that Kate Beaton should see past her fans awkward phrasing of a compliment to what they actually did, which was praise her work. Obviously I’m not saying that this is what she should actually do, but I am saying that correct words matter, on both sides of the fence. Otherwise, you have a double standard where, to quote poster DP:

You are ignoring the context thing I talked about. There is no historical context of women complaining about sexism in order to somehow abuse the rights of men. I guess maybe it’s happened somewhere at some time, in some really bizarro twist of the normal trends of reality, but I’ve never seen it. There is *plenty* of context for women feeling like their accomplishments are overlooked in lieu of their sexuality, and if there’s plenty of that, then I’m not even sure what a suitable adjective is (hella?) for the amount of times a woman has simply felt creeped out by what a guy thought was an innocuous (but still inherently sexual, even if he didn’t realize it) ‘compliment’. Furthermore, in that set of instances in which an awkward compliment is given, there is a non-trivial subset in which the woman protests and says “that makes me uncomfortable” and the man or group of men respond that they’re just trying to be nice, and in so doing they devalue the experience and feelings of the woman because rather than accepting that it makes her uncomfortable, the man or men feel as if her complaint is an insult to them (like what you’re doing when you act like it’s worse to be called a sexist than it is to actually be sexist).

the hypothetical men (note: I was not one who ever said anything like that, or even implied that) need to be both utterly sensitive and mindful of what they say and yet be utterly thick-skinned about what someone says about them.

Sorry, no, you don’t get to say something that makes someone else legitimately uncomfortable and then somehow make yourself the victim when you do so. In generic nuance-free terms the urge to do that is an example of gross privilege, but I think I’ve made the nuance clear enough that I’m not just being churlish for pointing that out.

Maybe we should boil this down, because it’s all getting haggled over the semantics.

However you talk to your friends and immediate circle, it’s a good idea to exercise caution and respect when speaking to someone you don’t know who might not know (or who knows and doesn’t appreciate) words that might be misconstrued. Exercise common sense. Be polite. Say what you really mean. You don’t want her to have your babies, you liked her work. Tell her you liked her work. Don’t add in any sexual innuendo. And don’t use your friends of fictional SCTV characters to back up your argument that its a widespread socially acceptable or accepted phrase.

To boil it down further: Be polite when commenting, even when criticizing, ESPECIALLY to people who you don’t personally know.

“AS, the “International Union of Women”/”is ‘this is good’ an acceptable compliment” business just makes you sound unreasonable and uninterested in the answers to your ostensible questions. If you sincerely can’t figure out what compliments are appropriate to make, I think you might have bigger problems.”

Actually I am interested in the answers. But I’m just pointing out that people are perfectly capable of reading too much into things or have numerous private issues which colour how they receive any communication they receive. Both men and women. And if one wants to avoid all of those possibilities one is reduced to “this is good” level of communication which in my mind is pretty much useless.

And we end up parsing individual phrases because that’s what we have available, and apparently there is stuff to discuss even in these individual phrases. To discuss bigger context, we need more points than generalities and individual phrases.

For that, I’ll throw in a non-rhetoric question and I am definitely interested in hearing the answers:
Should the gender of the creator affect the type of comments the readers give the creator? Yes or no?

I say no.

Yes, it absolutely should. If gender were irrelevant we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

I’ve just read the whole thread from last week and this new one and I’m not even sure if I should chime in, but I wanted to simply share one rule of thumb I always try to follow. In my view, if someone feels uncomfortable and/or offended by whatever action, we should always respect their wishes. Period. And this regardless of whether one “agrees” with whether or not they “should” be offended. I know it sounds like a silly, obvious thing, but I believe it is good to always remember it.

That said, from reading the threads, I don’t think anyone actually *disagrees* with that sentiment (or at least no reasonable person does). The brouhaha seemed to stem mostly from people arguing about how truly sexist or not the phrase “I want to have your babies!” is. I think that’s a separate discussion, though, and one that is not particularly interesting. My two cents? It’s a witless, stupid phrase that (like everything else these days) has been constantly used, overused, and abused. I remember hearing it as far back as decades ago during concerts, women fans directing them at male performers. It was obnoxious then, too, but at least had a level of subversiveness to it: the (obviously) joking women sort of mocking the idea of rewarding a man they admire in the most traditionally sexist way possible. Then men starting using it towards other men (get it? men can’t have children! haw haw). And women to women. And so forth. So now it’s come to a point where men are saying it to women. Sure, the meaning has been progressively distorted with each usage and it’s physiologically impossible (comedy!), but when it comes full circle like that, it starts to become rather creepy. Or, at least, creepier than originally intended. I don’t know if it’s truly “sexist,” but it sure as hell is creepy when a man says that to a woman. I don’t know why anyone (woman to man) would originally say it in the first place (it’s neither clever nor funny), but it’s definitely worse when a man says it to a woman.

Of course, all that is irrelevant. Kate Beaton says she doesn’t like those comments. That should be the end of the discussion. Not only as a rule, but more so in light of the fact that it’s pretty obvious that, as a female cartoonist, she has received even worse comments (and some, it seems, triggered by the phrase in question), and this is simply her saying “Enough.” She’s completely justified in saying so.

…as for the comic above by Gabby Schulz….ugh. I feel like it doesn’t elevate the discourse and it’s only going to make things worse.

“That being said, the myopic insistence on parsing words instead of attending to the general climate to which Beaton was responding is a better indicator OF that general climate than the initial comments themselves.”

Sean, I commented on this thread because I didn’t think the comic you posted contributed to addressing sexism in any constructive fashion. I made a mild criticism that while I agreed with the point raised in the other thread I thought that the manner in which that point was initially made by yourself and Beaton partly contributed to the resulting confusion and tone of the discussion. YOU reacted by focusing entirely on the “having babies” portion of my post, took it out of context and attributed a viewpoint to me that I was not expressing so you could paint me with that broad sexism brush. And even after I pointed this out you didn’t offer so much as a “my bad.”

Now after posting a comic that caricatures the people on the other thread as sexist louts, you are saying that anyone who posts on this thread in a way you disapprove of is even worse. You’ve become the Oprah of sexism accusations. “You’re a sexist, and you’re a sexist..EVERYBODY’S A SEXIST!!”

I’m trying to be good natured and keep a sense of humor about all this but if you think this sort of behavior is an example how to have a reasonable discussion then I really am at a loss here.

““If, as Schulz described it, she responded privately and the guy in a dick move made it public, that would be one thing. But she made it public herself, which leaves her open to criticism.”

That is one of the most awful lines of reasoning I have ever seen.”

How so? So, gosh, nobody is allowed to respond to anything anyone ever says on the internet? Or just in the case of women?

If you’re going to say something in public, with your name on it, be prepared to have someone comment on it. If you make a blanket comment about a particular gender, be prepared that they might respond in turn.

“Sorry, no, you don’t get to say something that makes someone else legitimately uncomfortable and then somehow make yourself the victim when you do so. In generic nuance-free terms the urge to do that is an example of gross privilege, but I think I’ve made the nuance clear enough that I’m not just being churlish for pointing that out.”

So in other words you’re saying to men “be more sensitive,”
Except when they feel hurt, in which you’re saying “be less sensitive.”

In bell hook’s great book The Will To Change, in which she points out that the Patriarchy screws up men, too, she writes about how men are criticized by women for not sharing their feelings, but often when they do, they’re rejected or worse. That’s what I find loathesome about Gabby Schulz cartoon. He is perpetuating the image of men as whiny babies (literally, in one panel) and mocking such signs of solidarity as hugs, which when used by women are considered empowering. (And it’s not true that men always stick by each other on things like that. It has even on occasion led to some bizarre examples in which men tell other men “don’t be so sexist! grow a pair!”)

I think Schulz’s cartoon, in other words, is chivalry masquerading as male feminism, and like some have said, only makes the debate worse.

And I guess what I think AS was getting at, with perhaps a (no offense) clumsy analogy is that people react differently to different things. On another forum, a woman replied “I’ve wanted to f*ck guys because they made something cool, and I’ve told them”. Some women might just laugh at it. There’s no one standard.

I knew a woman who disliked being called “lady” so much that she refused to hire anyone who even used the term in an interview. That , I think most would agree, is hypersensitivity.

I guess what I’m saying is that people are putting an unrealistic standard in which men are supposed to know beforehand what will offend. It’s a slightly classless thing to say (this particular example) but it’s not the same as saying “I wanna f*ck you,” as Schulz implies. But the main point is that the problem is that it’s difficult to tell beforehand exactly what language is offensive. Some female cartoonists might object to their artwork being called “cute,” as it implies it’s less consequential. But “cute” is the word I would used to describe Beaton’s artwork, as I would for her obvious influences (Feiffer, Addams, and especially Gorey).

And Bully, my only point was that it was a common enough phrase to be used on a popular show nearly 30 years ago. And that it has frequently been used by women.

Debating a point of rhetoric while missing the substance of a complaint? Justifying a silly and sometimes inappropriate comment by saying everyone else is saying it, it’s a meme? Sigh….

To be honest also not impressed by mocking the foolish and expecting them NOT to get irate. I suspect Gabby was fully aware of that risk but some commenters seem not to be. As much as i enjoyed the comic. It’s well executed creative satire and fair speech but the point of it being a bit skewed is also fair. Nothing wrong on either count IMO.

Also it’s sad to see people being so upset over the mere existence of fierce debate. Or volunteering an opinion without having read the debate.

And i don’t think we can blame it on the net. None of this is much deferent than conversations once held at a student bar over pints. It’s just that it’s all the more public now, and while i’m sure some are, far too many no longer have the excuse it seems of being students as reason for seeming inexperienced in life’s lessons of etiquette.

Been seeing a phrase making the rounds, ‘the new stupid’? – ha, sigh. yep, same as the old stupid, just more pervasive and outspoken.

But we all start stupid. It’s only a problem when we insist on staying that way. But also don’t put on blinkers. There is so much intelligent discourse on the net as well, if you’re not seeing it i’d suggest it has something to do in part with your chosen web haunts.

To the point – Simple fact. It’s frankly creepy when a woman I don’t know tells me she want’s to have my baby and i’m a 190 pound man. I can a have a sense of humor about it and i have the few times I’ve been so ‘lucky’ and graced. But just the same, it does not endear me to them as much as a simple conventional complement, i don’t find myself marveling at their wit. It’s not clever at all, at best it’s a overstatement and really that never makes anyone on the receiving end comfortable. It’s a gross overstatement and overkill. if i laugh, it’s probably not with.

Given how raw issues of sex and all things related are for them, It’s pretty easy to see how all that would be all the more true for a woman, and then some. And belligerently insisting it’s not is just plain ignorant.

Split hairs all you like about it being strictly sexist or not, the key thing to know? Insisting on doing this despite objections IS sexist.

Saying a woman should just get over it, that she’s being overly sensitive and that’s her problem IS derogatory, bordering on misogynistic in some of the examples I’ve seen, and insensitive on a basic human level.

Fact is, your being a sensitive male, or female, jumping to defend the right to be foolish and ignorant of another’s comfort zones regardless of their gender.

Do i think we should walk in fear of hurting others feelings? No. But when you find you have, don’t try to justify it, intentions or not. The right thing to do is take note of that person’s stated boundary and within reason respect it, and backing off is advisable. If they do have “issues” you are not helping anyone by rudely telling them that. More likely you’re advertising your own.

As for all this ‘it’s a meme, me and my buddies use it all the time’ stuff. This strikes me as juvenile to be honest. Not the joke, the justification.

Don’t mistake something that’s funny to say about someone not present – or to someone you already know well – as something just as fun and funny to say to a strangers face or online [less so] no mater how absurd, or intended as being in appreciation. Save the absurdest statements for comments amongst close friends kids. If you don’t know them, then don’t assume you can take liberties. it’s fundamentally disrespectful.

THINK first, that’s all Kate was really suggesting.

You want to complement someone for their skill, then complement their skill. That was the point. Anything else is missing it.

“To the point – Simple fact. It’s frankly creepy when a woman I don’t know tells me she want’s to have my baby and i’m a 190 pound man.”

Then tell them that. Again, what I found so odious about the Schulz cartoon is that in the guise of being about how men should “treat women like human beings,” he perpetuates the same old sexist stereotypes, as long as they pertain to men.


You want to complement someone for their skill, then complement their skill. That was the point. Anything else is missing it.”

According to someone above (it would be nice to have evidence) she doesn’t even like that.

So in other words you’re saying to men “be more sensitive,”
Except when they feel hurt, in which you’re saying “be less sensitive.”

No, I’m saying men should be more open to being told they said something sexist, because most (all?) men are prone to saying sexist things, even if they’re often minor and inconsequential. It is the culture we grow up in, and we are products of that culture. The list of bad habits we pick up as a result is impossibly long. Growing out of that ignorance is a process. We all have sexist and racist and classist and other -ist tendencies, and I don’t understand how you can sit down and take stock of yourself and the world you grow up in and rationally expect anything else.

Taking umbrage at the mere suggestion that you’ve said or done something sexist is simply not a rational response. Getting mad because the word sexist is “inflammatory” is misdirection. If it’s accurate, then it’s accurate, and there’s no reason for the word to be inflammatory given how common it is.

DP, the cartoon is artful [subjective but i contest it's quite well drawn and observed] satire. he’s not perpetuating it, he’s exaggerating it to make a point. Is it biased? Yes, all satire is. The point, to exaggerate for the sake of comedy, to take the piss out of those who take themselves too seriously. And to draw out into the open those who do just as it has done with you. Consider yourself punked, red handed.

On the other hand, an ill considered complement to a creator that clearly backfires is not satire, deferent rules apply, you can not compare them and it’s ill advised to try.

Kate made an open personal request, reflecting her and some of her peers feeling about a sloppy kind of complement. Being a more personal context i don’t think academic hashing of terms is really appropriate, nor is using an academic counter point to attack her.

As i read it she stated her thoughts with humor and respect and whether or not she’s strictly accurate in her terms she was not what i’d call inflammatory.

Personally I think in the situation it’s quite firmly grey in the initial context. It feels pretty derogatory to be valued for something you don’t hold in high esteem from a stranger. I’ve had my own novel experience with this first hand once being asked to story board a film only to find out the request would never had been made had the director known i had no strong desire to sleep with them.

It’s a subjective thing perhaps, and sure this was a step removed from stating they wanted to sleep with her. But non the less, if she finds it feels sexiest to be related to on that level then the respectful thing to do is respect that, and choose a less confrontational context to discuss the fine points of interpretation. And to ignore that and push on, dismissing her perspective with generalizations about being ‘overly sensitive’ or a ‘feminist’ as many have is firmly sexist.

Gabby is commenting on that fact. Again with a lot of humor if not so much respect. At this point, with some of what had been thrown out there, in the context of a satire, that’s fair comment in my books.

DP – “According to someone above (it would be nice to have evidence) she doesn’t even like that.”

I have first hand evidence that she does. She’s pretty shy when complemented on her work, but done with grace, she’s fine with it. I’d suggest just say your bit and move on, before it gets awkward. All artists have weird relationships with complements. Took me years to learn to just shut up and say thanks. If you have not been in the roll it’s hard to explain, but at it’s root, we’re our own worst critics. The better you get the worse it gets.

If Kate Beaton, or anyone else feels uncomfortable about something a commenter or e-mail correspondent or anyone else has said to her, she is entirely justified in asking that they refrain from it. How about when we make comments on the internet, we pretend we’re talking to the other person face-to-face. If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, don’t say it in an e-mail. Fair? Or if you really need to pick a fight, think hard about what you say, so misunderstandings won’t creep in and make you look like an asshole.

That being said, I’m not sure Kate is right to assume that nobody makes comics looking for sexual attention, since that’s pretty much the only reason MEN do anything, amiright?

Ah…..well not for me. Though i’m well aware i may not be in the majority.

But consistent with what you said Steve, those who are, will probably let you know somehow right? In which case have at it. Just, maybe ask first to make sure they’re down with it.

But it’s a good rule of thumb what you said i think.

Saigood Sam:
Certainly Schulz’ cartoon is fair comment. It’s also my right to be offended, and to feel more than a little pandered to by Schulz’s changing of the facts of the story. (It’s exaggerating for effect, but the effect is to perpetuate the view of all men as sexist brutes and male complaints as whining. In other words, it’s counterproductive at the least).

My point is that Beaton was not just being some timid woman gently responding to a male fan in private and then that male fan brutishly blogging about it. She was the one who took “the fight” public.

“No, I’m saying men should be more open to being told they said something sexist, because most (all?) men are prone to saying sexist things, even if they’re often minor and inconsequential. ”

So you’re having one standard for men and not for women. Isn’t that, well, sexist?

And she didn’t just say “sexist,” she said “shitty,” which is rather inflammatory, as is addressing it to “the internet” rather than “the guys who say they want to have my babies.”

“Taking umbrage at the mere suggestion that you’ve said or done something sexist is simply not a rational response. Getting mad because the word sexist is “inflammatory” is misdirection. If it’s accurate, then it’s accurate, and there’s no reason for the word to be inflammatory given how common it is.”

But sexism is in the eye of the beholder. Kate Beaton’s definition of sexism is not the same as Camille Paglia’s or Sarah Palin’s or Snooki’s.

And again, you are pretty much saying “men have no right to be offended.” Which is not helping things.

I’m all in favour of treating people nicely, and I try to be respectful. I probably would never say that to a female creator. I’m not even particularly offended by Beaton’s remarks (although I can see how they could be seen as picking a fight with some yahoos, and I do think it could have been worded better).

I am, however, annoyed (offended might not be the right word) with Schulz’s cartoon. Like I said, it uses sexist stereotypes to fight sexism, and that seems like a bad idea.

DP – you did not read Gabby’s preamble, he was not telling that specific story, trees for the forest my man. It was inspiration for an exaggerated generalized cartoon caricature of the TYPE of gross reactionary behavior displayed. To quote the tittle, which is very specific about this…

“How every single discussion about SEXISM and woman-type stuff on the internet (and real life) has ever happened and ever will happen, always, forever, until the earth finally falls into the sun. (or until the patriarchy is dismantled.) [an entirely unnecessary comic by Gabby]”

If you can’t see how this IS an absurdest over statement, in every respect, including the earth falling into the sun (the sun will inflate, the earth will go no where) then your missing considerably more than the point.

As for being annoyed, that i do think was it’s point. To provoke those who perhaps resemble his critique too closely, and in the end give them opportunity ideally to consider that.

So you’re having one standard for men and not for women. Isn’t that, well, sexist?

No. Men and women grow up under different sets of pressures in our society, because our society is sexist, and as a result the contexts for both are different. I keep going back to context, because you can’t have a dialogue about equality and prejudice without it. It’s a major fallacy that people make when they first start to dig into the subject to think that equality is just about treating everyone the same. It’s not about ‘the same’ it’s about ‘fair’. The more empowering and supportive society is of both genders, the more those two things start to converge, but we’re not there yet, so we can’t just start acting like we are and figure it’ll all work out.

And again, you are pretty much saying “men have no right to be offended.” Which is not helping things.

Nope, not at all what I said, and if you want to start strawmanning me I can do the same to you but I don’t see how that’s gonna accomplish much.

“She was the one who took “the fight” public.”

That’s just false. Her comments were not fighting words at all.

Sigh…so if they’re under different pressures, then why not object to Schulz’s portrayal of male bonding as whiny and babyish? Why not decry Schulz for his use of the “group hug,” as if to say “look at these whiny guys, taking it personally?” Why not decry Schulz for portraying men as impervious to logic?

No, you did not use the phrase “men have no right to be offended.” What you did write is this:

“so it doesn’t make sense that you get the benefit of having your sensibilities pandered to while other people do not. If someone tells you that you said something bigoted or ignorant, then ask them why they feel that way and come to an understanding. Getting grumpy over someone using the correct words (in their mind) to describe what you did is a distraction from what you actually did.”

You are essentially saying that no one who is accused of bigotry has a right (“benefit”) to challenge that, and then own up to what you did.

By that logic the LAPD owe OJ Simpson a big fat apology.

My point is that just because someone says you did something sexist, racist, whatever, doesn’t make it a fact. And you have come very damn close to saying that men are not allowed to feel insulted when someone calls them sexism.

Let’s put it another way: You are telling men to respect women’s feelings (and feelings, in general, whether male or female, are by definition not rational) and respond to slights against themselves with cold reason and logic. So, in effect, a double standard.

“That’s just false. Her comments were not fighting words at all.”

“It’’s a shitty, disrespectful ‘compliment.”

That may not qualify as “fighting words” (a meaningless concept, in any case) to you, but it’s very different from the timid response that Schulz portrayed. And, which was my main point, it was not sent privately and then blogged by a boorish male. *she* Tweeted it. In a later Tweet, she said she wanted her “20,000 followers” to read it. So she wanted to make it public. People raise a fuss about TYPOs on the internet. Of course this would stir something up.

I’m sure some of the comments fell into the asshole variety, But, as some have pointed out (or tried to anyway) to Schulz not all men toed the party line. And I know that some women thought she was making too big a deal about it.

My main complain is with Schulz’s cartoon, not Beaton’s comments, but if she is surprised that it went viral she is being very naive. No, Schulz’s cartoon is not meant to be documentary, but it was the first I saw of this, and it
played on cheap stereotypes of men as illogical, unfeeling brutes who just care about sex. Satirical? I guess, in the loosest sense. But also meanspirited and not representative of what really happened.

You are essentially saying that no one who is accused of bigotry has a right (“benefit”) to challenge that, and then own up to what you did.

No, I said if you are accused of bigotry, you shouldn’t act like someone just issued a grievous insult to your honor, you should find out why they feel that way and come to an understanding. You can’t do that if you’re going to sit there holding their supposed audacity over their head as if it’s something they should apologize for doing even if they were right.

Again, regarding the cartoon, it is clearly in no way a direct representation of any specific event.

There is no may about it, they are not fighting words DP. The only person who really might have any real right to feel taken back for a moment about them at all, is the one who first proposed to have her child. Even then, the case I’ve made covers that, they may not have intended to come off the way they did, but clearly she was bothered by it and if they meant well the decent thing to do would be to swallow the shock, just say sorry, didn’t think of it that way. Love your stuff, my bad for the foolishness. Thought I was being silly.
That is a gender neutral policy given unintended offence.

Anyone else weighing in on this is projecting hell of a lot to say those words are “fighting words’.

And anyone who does anything that goes viral is surprised, it’s not something anyone can predict. To think otherwise is what’s naive and kind of petulant sounding.

You also wrote “Getting grumpy over someone using the correct words (in their mind) to describe what you did is a distraction from what you actually did.”

Which implies that it must be true because the person said it was true. Which is basically saying “just cop to what you did.” But what if you seriously, honestly didn’t think what you did was sexist?

You seriously can’t understand that calling someone sexist isn’t a pretty serious charge?

But several of your posts are full of stuff like “You don’t get to argue that she’s silly for feeling that way because she’s not deferring to your authority as to whether it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. ”

Who are you to tell anyone what they get to argue? And again, you are saying that men should just defer to the woman, and accept it “rationally,” yet at the same time respect women’s “feeings,” which are essentially undefinable. And yet it’s fine to portray men as simply a bunch of whiny babies. That’s not equality.

You can talk about a sexist society, but sexism is primarily systemic. Kate Beaton has access to the internet, a Twitter account, and fans – all of which are in her favour over anonymous trolls.

But again, my point has been that Schulz’s cartoon has muddied the waters by misrepresenting the situation. I think it *is* important that it was Beaton who brought this forward, rather than the way Schulz presented it.

What bothers me most is the double standard. If a woman’s uncomfortable, or her feelings are hurt, or she’s offended, it’s bad. But if a man says he’s uncomfortable, etc., he’s called a wimp, baby or worse.

I’m sorry, Sam, but give me a break. YOu were the one who said “fighting words.” I wrote that she “took the fight public,” and I stand by that. If she didn’t want to create debate or dialogue, she wouldn’t have tweeted it.

“The only person who really might have any real right to feel taken back for a moment about them at all, is the one who first proposed to have her child.”

Then why not write to them directly, instead of tweeting it publically? no, she didn’t call the guys out publically, but she did address “the Internet” in general, which is again disingenuous – she’s as much part of the internet as anybody.

“And anyone who does anything that goes viral is surprised, it’s not something anyone can predict. To think otherwise is what’s naive and kind of petulant sounding.”

She has 20,000 readers, all of whom can retweet it. You’re telling me she didn’t want it disseminated?

And my point about the cartoon is that it is being hailed as a “great commentary” on the issue, but it’s really just reiterating the same old stereotypes – men as sexist jerks who stick by each other in their sexism, and women as timid little flowers who are thwarted at every turn by the Big Bad Patriarchy. It’s openly insulting to men, and not really very flattering to women either.

I hadn’t heard about it before this, and I hope I would have stood up against the more rude commenters. However, I wouldn’t say that the men in question are uniformly sexist schmucks, and I think Beaton simply could have chosen her words more carefully.

You also wrote “Getting grumpy over someone using the correct words (in their mind) to describe what you did is a distraction from what you actually did.”

Which implies that it must be true because the person said it was true. Which is basically saying “just cop to what you did.” But what if you seriously, honestly didn’t think what you did was sexist?

No, that’s not what it implies, in fact I pretty clearly said the opposite in the very words you quoted.

You seriously can’t understand that calling someone sexist isn’t a pretty serious charge?

Okay, let’s do this your way. Why is calling someone sexist a “pretty serious charge”?

But several of your posts are full of stuff like “You don’t get to argue that she’s silly for feeling that way because she’s not deferring to your authority as to whether it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. ”

Are you saying that you feel authoritative in telling other people when they can and cannot feel comfortable with something?

You can talk about a sexist society, but sexism is primarily systemic. Kate Beaton has access to the internet, a Twitter account, and fans – all of which are in her favour over anonymous trolls.

The internet, a twitter account, and fans do not create some mysterious realm in which Kate Beaton is no longer subject to sexism. No clue what relevance that has, so if you want to clarify it go for it, but otherwise wth?

“No. Men and women grow up under different sets of pressures in our society, because our society is sexist, and as a result the contexts for both are different. I keep going back to context, because you can’t have a dialogue about equality and prejudice without it. It’s a major fallacy that people make when they first start to dig into the subject to think that equality is just about treating everyone the same. It’s not about ‘the same’ it’s about ‘fair’. The more empowering and supportive society is of both genders, the more those two things start to converge, but we’re not there yet, so we can’t just start acting like we are and figure it’ll all work out.”

Sorry, but I disagree on this, and refuse to apply another set of sexism to work against sexism and hope two negatives make one positive.
As far as I am concerned this comes off as slightly milder version of “we The Men must Protect those Fragile and Pure Creatures and not let them bother their pretty heads with such issues like voting or owning property”. And I find that deeply offensive.

“”No, that’s not what it implies, in fact I pretty clearly said the opposite in the very words you quoted.”

Enlighten me, please. How is that the opposite? You wrote “a distraction from what you actually did.”

“Okay, let’s do this your way. Why is calling someone sexist a “pretty serious charge”?”

Sexism is considered a form of discrimination by most people, and in academia and other places even being accused of sexism is dangerous to your career. That’s why I think it’s important to distinguish between sexist acts and sexist speech.

“Are you saying that you feel authoritative in telling other people when they can and cannot feel comfortable with something?”

Not telling…. *arguing*. There’s a difference. You are basically saying that men who are accused of sexism have no option of defending themselves, they should just lump it and take their medicine.

“The internet, a twitter account, and fans do not create some mysterious realm in which Kate Beaton is no longer subject to sexism. No clue what relevance that has, so if you want to clarify it go for it, but otherwise wth?”

Those are things which in terms of the internet (where this is playing out) puts her on a higher standing than anonymous internet thugs. Does it help her in the “real world?” Perhaps not. However, it gives her some authority that some anonymous poster with misplaced romanticism does not. And in the case of Twitter, it allows her to control the narrative.

You’re acting as if nothing has changed since the 1960s. We’re not in Mad Men territory right now. Sexism still hurts women, but to suggest that sexism is so rampant that we have to just accept it every time a woman claims sexism is simply ridiculous. I’m not saying that Beaton was wrong (although I would have worded it differently) but I am saying that to say that the men have no right to challenge her claim (which, again, was a claim about *words* not actions) is plain wrong.

And if you’re in favour of “empowering and supporting” both genders, you have to acknowledge that men are in the traditional patriarchy not allowed to express feelings other than anger and perhaps lust. To say, as you have (and that Schulz makes explicit) that male feelings are something to be ignored or mocked is counterproductive.

Oh god you will never give up will you, no silly of me to even suggest, you’ll probably use this post to fuel at least two more replies hanging yourself all the higher for the rest to see.. DO you have ANY idea how closely to resemble the caricature in Gabby’s comic right now? Right down to being FACELESS.

Writing “Dear internet” is Humor you anal retentive dumb ass. Disingenuous says the one with the anonymous handle. What artifice, what pretense, what BS!

It was clearly meant to be an open request to all, IE “the internet”. as in NOT a “fight” with anyone, not fighting words, and intensionally un-specific you wombat, just a request and statement of how she feels about it.

Kate tweets tons of things that never go viral, “CollegeHumor”, which is trying, posts tons of things that never go viral! What fantasy world do you live in?! By it’s nature no one can predict or control that outcome regardless of their followers you silly semantic troll.

Do you happen to notice how you eventually walk back EVERY single statement after being called on it? Have you not put 2 and 2 together to see how your position has NO SUBSTANCE yet? Or are you truly a troll, and this is all games?

Kate has had the mixed fortune of becoming wildly and unpredictably successful in under two years, i very much doubt, and know she has stated it’s not something she’s used to or totally comfortable with. Neil Gaiman just mentioned in a interview that even after all this time he’s not used to it, that HE forgets that if he posts a link to something on his blog it will crash servers. He’s been at it for over 20 years, in what unreality is Kate supposed to be some fiendish polemicist certain that her words will strike a blow against the patriarchy! That was a sarcastic absurd rhetorical question by the way. Kate wanted her followers to know how she felt, her fans to learn that this was not the way to say they liked her work. That many liker her feel the same way. That much is obvious. The rest is clearly unintended fallout.
Uninterested in your reply, said all i care to about this.
I for one am done waisting my time with you silly anonymous semantic tail chasing goof.

pardon, that was for DP by the way. Annoying hypocrite. Just that word Disingenuous used in this context, totally pisses me off.

“Writing “Dear internet” is Humor you anal retentive dumb ass. Disingenuous says the one with the anonymous handle. What artifice, what pretense, what BS!”

Humor? You mean like “I wann have your babies?”Could you say it was a joke that failed?
So what if I”m anonymous? I’m not anybody special. And I’m just stating my opinion. I honestly am not trying to troll.

“It was clearly meant to be an open request to all, IE “the internet”. as in NOT a “fight” with anyone, not fighting words, and intensionally un-specific you wombat, just a request and statement of how she feels about it.”

It was scolding and condescending. That’s how *I* personally felt about it. So why is that somehow a horrible thing to say about it?

“Kate tweets tons of things that never go viral, “CollegeHumor”, which is trying, posts tons of things that never go viral! What fantasy world do you live in?! By it’s nature no one can predict or control that outcome regardless of their followers you silly semantic troll.”

Yes, College Humor posts tons of things that don’t go viral, but when something does, they aren’t surprised, and they’re certainly not upset. that’s the nature of their marketing.

All I was really saying was that to make this out as some big bad men whining about how the internet is being infected with “gurlz” (which is how Schulz’s cartoon portrayed it ) is a gross overstatement. And that Twitter is powerful.

My main point was that people have the right to criticize other people’s statements on the internet. What is so wrong with that?

“Do you happen to notice how you eventually walk back EVERY single statement after being called on it? Have you not put 2 and 2 together to see how your position has NO SUBSTANCE yet? Or are you truly a troll, and this is all games?”

What have I walked back from? You were the one who came up with “fighting words.” I merely said that she was “bringing the fight to the internet,” by which I meant that she was the one who made it an issue. What’s wrong with being critical of that? I’m sure some of the guys were assholes.But so what? I doubt they’re going to rise up and hound her off the internet.

But from the response on Schulz’s site, there were some men who were quite upset because they *did* defend her. That’s the main thing I objected to: the portrayal of this as a simple gender issue. Men and women, conservative and liberal, black and white – get them in a big enough group and they can be bullies and shout down others.

“Kate has had the mixed fortune of becoming wildly and unpredictably successful in under two years, i very much doubt, and know she has stated it’s not something she’s used to or totally comfortable with. Neil Gaiman just mentioned in a interview that even after all this time he’s not used to it, that HE forgets that if he posts a link to something on his blog it will crash servers. He’s been at it for over 20 years, in what unreality is Kate supposed to be some fiendish polemicist certain that her words will strike a blow against the patriarchy! That was a sarcastic absurd rhetorical question by the way. Kate wanted her followers to know how she felt, her fans to learn that this was not the way to say they liked her work. That many liker her feel the same way. That much is obvious. The rest is clearly unintended fallout.
Uninterested in your reply, said all i care to about this.”

I don;’t care if you’re uniterested, I’m replying anyway. I’m not saying she was a “fiendish polemicist.” I’m just saying that Schulz got it completely wrong when he portrayed it as this meek little woman responding in private and then having the brutish man blog about it. That’s muddying the waters, arguably for “comic effect” but it’s a a dumb way of doing it. That’s my opinion.

I have tried my hardest to keep civil. I haven’t called anyone a name once. (I made a sarcastic response to someone who called me stupid, but the original post was cut) I’m honestly not trying to be a troll. So I’m anonymous? So what? I’m not threatening anybody. I’m not using my anonymity in a malicious way to slander anyone. I’m jsut stating my opinion. I’m not calling anyone a derogatory name.

I’m just making a point that this is a more complicated than “the men are beating up on this poor women,” which, you have to admit, is what Schulz’s cartoon portrayed.

“I for one am done waisting my time with you silly anonymous semantic tail chasing goof.”

Have A nice day.

And the comments section is now closed.


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