Yes all men

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know about the horrible events of last friday. A misogynistic creep killed a bunch of people, because he believed that women owed him sex and affection, because in his own opinion, he was a terrific guy, an absolute prince. But they didn’t give him what he deserved, and so, he decided to punish them for their “crimes”, and went off on a killing spree.

Seven dead people and a dozen injured ones later, people started reacting. Many women, quite appropriately, pointed out the misogynistic venom of this guy, and how common it is among men. And predictably, tons of men got annoyed at that, and replied saying “Not all men are like that”, and therefore, not all men are responsible.


Yes, we are responsible. We live in this culture. We sit here, day after day, watching this shit, and doing nothing. Because we maintain that we aren’t guilty. Women on the internet are regularly threatened for the crime of speaking, and we sit by and watch, without doing or saying anything about it.

We are part of the problem, because, for the most part, we don’t care. We aren’t the targets of the abuse. We aren’t the ones who can’t walk down the street without getting harassed. We aren’t the ones who can’t speak without being threatened. And so we just don’t care.

When a man like this guy goes out and murders people because of his hatred of women, our main concern isn’t how common people like him are. It’s not how many women are threatened by people like him, or how many women are actually killed by people like him. It’s about how unfair it is that women talk about the kind of hatred they face from men, without making a specific exception for guys like us. What we worry about isn’t the threats they face – it’s how their reaction to being threatened with actual violence hurts our poor, precious feelings.

Yes, it’s all men who are responsible. Let’s face it: we live in a culture where we are the dominant group. If we got together, stood up, and said “We’re not going to tolerate this shit anymore” – if even a decent-sized minority of us were willing to stand up and say it – the hateful assholes would be driven underground. If we stood up and said “No”, and made sure that any shit-headed bigoted woman-hater actually paid some price in standing in our communities, the threats would end.

If we acknowledged that the violent hatred of women was not just a sickness; that a threat to women is a real threat to other human beings that was serious; that those threats are crimes. That the everyday threats against women are more serious that the threats of terrorism that we’ve used to justify war. If we did that, we’d have to admit that we need to do something about it.

But we don’t. We sit and watch, and downplay the threats. We say that they’re not really serious, that’s just how people act on the internet. We say that the threats don’t matter – those fragile women just need to “man up”, and grow thicker skins. And when women die – as they do every day – we just say it was a crazy person, there’s nothing we can do about it.

3000 people died in a terrorist attack 13 years ago. We were so horrified by it that we started two wars, and virtually rewrote our entire legal system, because it was such a horrible, terrifying threat! We needed to do something to protect ourselves from the terrorists!

The men who threaten women are terrorists too. They’re working from exactly the same motivations: the use of fear to control behavior. Men who threaten women are making threats to force women to behave the way they want them to.

We’re willing to make insane sacrifices to protect ourselves from the threats of terrorists. But we’re not willing to sacrifice anything to protect women from other men.

Until that’s not true anymore – until we stand up and say “Enough!”, and make the behavior truly unacceptable – then we are guilty. All of us.

91 thoughts on “Yes all men

  1. Wyrd Smythe

    It would be nice to believe that an act of will and participation by right-thinking people would be successful, but it’s going to take a whole lot more than that. I wish I knew what that was — education is a big key, I’ve always thought — but ultimately it requires trying to change elements that are deeply embedded and very pervasive in our society and biology.

    Trying to eradicate racism is an unsolved challenge (as recent events have shown), and there isn’t quite so much biology to fight in that case.

    Some of us have been fighting that fight for decades, and it’s disheartening to see how little progress has been made. In fact, we’re in what I call a post-post-feminist world now in which some of the gains made seem to be in decline. Just ask mothers how hard it is to find non-sexualized clothing for their very young daughters. Many young women today seem unaware of, or even in disdain of, feminist concepts.

    For men who disbelieve the existence or degree of vitriol and rage and hate, a trip though most pornography catalogs can be instructive (and deeply horrifying).

    1. markcc Post author

      For the most part I agree with you, but…

      A big part of the problem is that we, men, keep taking the problems, and assigning them to someone else.

      For example: “Just ask mothers how hard it is”..

      Why is it only a mothers job to worry about how hard it is to find non-sexualized clothes?

      I know it’s not intentional – but we *must* become aware of how we’re constantly doing that. It’s not a problem for mothers, it’s a problem for parents. This stuff isn’t a problem for women, it’s a problem for people.

      1. Wyrd Smythe

        Point taken, and I actually considered using “parents” but it’s usually mothers that buy clothes for their daughters, and it’s the complaints about those clothes from mothers that I’m familiar with (a case, perhaps, where being overly precise — a common geek flaw 🙂 — was misleading).

        That said, there’s no connection between suggesting that one group of people is more familiar with a problem and the idea that it’s their problem to solve. Of course this is a problem for all of society.

        If you’ll (hopefully) forgive me, this actually illustrates an issue that feminists need to be a little bit aware of: the tendency of a hair-trigger for perceived “wrong thinking” on the part of those who really are fully on their side. This contributes to the sense of divide and can drive away men who really do want to help.

        1. markcc Post author

          The issue isn’t that you were overly precise. It’s that we assign certain issues to women, and accept no responsibility. Women complain more frequently about problems with children’s clothing, because we’ve designated it a women’s issue.

          But your last paragraph really upset me. It’s exactly what led to this post.

          We – men – are the ones who are in a position of power and privilege. We should not be playing the game of demanding that those nasty feminists protect our fragile feelings.

          We’re not the ones getting threatened with rape. I can write a post like this, and I’ll get plenty of hate mail – but I won’t get the threats of rape and violence that a woman who said the same thing would.

          We need to get the fuck over ourselves, and stop looking for reasons to get offended. I know that you didn’t intend it this way, but you pushed my buttons on this. When women are fighting for the simple right to exist in our communities without being threatened, we can’t throw mini-tantrums over the fact that they weren’t nice enough to us even though we meant well.

          1. tristan

            To everything you’ve said. Glad to see more people saying this (and much better than I can).

          2. Wyrd Smythe

            The way you are misinterpreting my words is demonstrating the very point I was trying to make. Which is that any kind of iconoclasm is viewed as dissent or even as an attack. That attitude pushes away both men and women who might otherwise participate in the discussion.

            Let me be very clear: I’ve been part of this discussion, squarely on the side of women, for over 40 years. I was part of what’s called Second-wave Feminism, which centers in the 1970s. The only yardstick I use to measure people with is intellect (and I will confess to some degree of bigotry in that area).

            Let me also be very clear that I’m not talking about “nasty feminists,” or “fragile feelings.” I’m not “offended” or throwing any “mini-tantrums.” Those don’t represent my opinion in any way, and such phrasing does me a disservice.

            Above I wrote “be a little bit aware of” meaning this is a small (but I think important) part of a much larger puzzle. There is a tendency to polarize the issue into a “men==bad; women==good” stance that suggests men are solely responsible for the imbalances.

            Or worse, that suggests it’s up to men to fix the problem. That commits the sexist error of “oh, those poor women — we’d better rush to save them.” That implicitly suggests that women are, indeed, the “weaker sex.” They totally are not!

            The goal, I think, is to stop seeing women as second-class citizens or as “goddesses.” Women don’t want to be on a pedestal; they just want to be people. Which is exactly what they are.

            The problem is a true Gordian Knot, because of the biology involved and because it directly affects half the population. But unlike Civil Rights or Gay Rights, the consensus on what Womens’ Rights are isn’t nearly as clear. There are those in the Gloria Steinem camp, but there are also those in the Phyllis Schlafly camp. (Personally, I’m more in the Camille Paglia camp to the extent I camp.)

            I think it’s only when we begin to appreciate the full complexity of the problem and resist polarizing the situation into “us” and “them” that we have a hope of solving it. This is a “we” problem, and working on it need to include all points of view.

          3. markcc Post author

            The problem that I’m angry at here is that in my experience, every time a group of men tries to talk about what we can do to help eliminate violence against women, the discussion gets derailed with what amounts to “But you’re hurting my feelings”.

            I know that you mean well. But the way that you’re responding is a big part of the problem. What we’re talking about here is the fact that women can’t speak up online without being threatened with violence and rape; that men can, with absolute impunity issue those threats; and that we sit by and watch without saying or doing anything.

            Think for a moment about that. We’re talking about people being threatened with violence every single day. We’re talking about women getting raped and murdered every day. And for so many people, so many people who really, truly, genuinely mean well – the response is to say something like “Yeah, that’s important, but we also need to make sure that we don’t hurt anyone’s feelings”.

            I’ve said that, too. Until I was confronted with the fact that what I was doing was saying that protecting my feelings from being hurt was as important (if not more important!) than the women who are being hurt, abused, raped, and murdered.

            That’s not acceptable. We need to get over our need to defend ourselves and our feelings at the expense of the bodies of other human beings.

          4. Wyrd Smythe

            You have the outrage part down, but other than sweeping generalizations and attacking people you feel “don’t get it,” what are you doing to really move things forward? Do you think your anger will sway the assholes out there? This isn’t about “hurt feelings,” but about political and social realities. The danger is that all you will accomplish is becoming another data point on the “angry feminists — ignore” lists of people who want to ignore the problem to begin with.

            I’m trying to make the point that you can give in to your (utterly justified) rage, or you can try to approach the problem in an effective way that might get people thinking or even acting.

            To that end, I wrote what turned into a very long response that I decided to post on my own blog:

          5. Deb Weyrich-Cody

            I have barely begun to read through all of the comments, but this seemed like a good place to interject…
            Love that you’re asking men to think about this topic; but thinking that there would be a lot less trouble for everyone if we all simply followed the Golden Rule – which is, btw, present in all cultures – and “do unto others…”
            Public Opinion can and has had a huge influence on many things down through time as to what is and is not acceptable behaviour, so thank you for this: )

        2. twalker

          ” feminists need to be a little bit aware of: the tendency of a hair-trigger for perceived “wrong thinking” ” – you mean, they object to your perpetuation of stereotypical gender based roles? Yeah, they must really be over-reacting,
          Check your privilege regarding this at the door please.
          See also “gaslighting”

          1. Wyrd Smythe

            No, I said exactly what I meant. Had you quoted the rest of my sentence, it might be more clear: “…on the part of those who really are fully on their side.

            I refuse to be a stereotype on either side, and that seems to hard for many to grasp.

            What’s tragic is how not marching in exact step and singing the same song is seen as proof one is on the opposing side.

            Do you believe Feminism is perfect and that no one — especially a man — can offer ideas on how it might be made stronger?

          2. wakemenow

            Twalker: “Check your privilege regarding this at the door please.”

            How incredibly condescending to speak to someone like that. There’s no real reason to go there, and I’m not just saying that in defense of Wyrd — I read that same sort of comment all over the internet and it just shuts down communication. Very unhelpful and unproductive to automatically assume someone you disagree with is operating with some sort of “privilege.” That’s a really shallow and dismissive way to handle differences of opinion.

      2. Anonymous (a woman none the less)

        It is a woman problem. Because the fact is, it’s not just the hardship that the “mother” faces, but also the little girl herself, what, do little boys have problems finding clothes that cover up their genitals? If they do, please share, because this country at that point, has definitely hit rock bottom (not that girls being degraded isn’t that bad but at that point it would be not just one gender but both being degraded.). But being that I’m almost sure that is not something a parent nor guy faces, it is a woman problem. And without being a woman, you have no idea how offensive that is, you can only look from the outside, whether a parent or not. But for a man to be able to look from the outside in, it still should not be very hard to recognize the issues. Unfortunately though, that is not the world we live in- where any one else seems to see our problem.

  2. Joe

    No. Not all men. This man was insane and by definition does not think like other people. His inability to cope with basic social situations led him to a unrealistic fit of rage where he killed people. His inability to take responsibility led him to this. This has 0 to do with any kind of societal problem with societies gender differences.

    People like you will force feed this event to fit whatever cause you want to force feed the general public. We have to stop the guns! Why was he allowed to have a knife anyways! Ban all BMWs as they can be used as weapons!

    What was needed here was someone to step up and get this kid help before he did something. But in the end the sad truth is you can not catch every wacko or nutjob out there. The police do their best but there will always be mistakes.

    There are not more people like this these days. We just hear about it more because of our access to technology. Thick skin? Yes and no. We need the thick skin to keep on living life without breaking but the rage and the emotion is understandable.

    What we need to do is stop trying to over analyze a crazy person. It will not make any sense and it will not provide the answers people are looking for.

    1. markcc Post author

      Yes, this man was insane.

      So was the man who did the same thing the day after.

      So’s the man who beat the crap out of his wife last night.

      So are all the guys who sent rape threats to women who’ve talked about this.

      And on, and on, and on.

      At some point, we have to take some responsibility, and admit that while yes, these men are crazy and evil, there’s more to the problem than that.

      *Every* woman who dares to speak, online, gets threatened with rape and violence. I don’t. I get some angry commenters, but I don’t get threats. Why? Why is that?

      The answer is *us*. We make excuses for the men who do these things. We don’t say “It’s unacceptable to attack women” – we say “Oh, there’s no problem, he was just crazy”. We don’t say “If you threaten women, you will be fired, shunned, and sent to jail for harassement”; we say “Oh, those radical feminazis deserved it”, or “That’s just the price you pay for speaking in public”. What that does is say that these behaviors – threatening, attacking – are acceptable as long as they’re kept below a certain threshold of visibility.

      And then you have the good old window phenomenon: there’s a range of behavior that’s acceptable; there’s a range that’s just a little bit outside the acceptable; and there’s the crazy. By accepting so much, we shift that window – so that things that even a crazy person wouldn’t do become something that happens every day.

      Just pay attention, and you can see: serious threats against women, and serious violence against women happen every day.

      And we sit by a make excuses for why it’s not our fault.

      1. wakemenow

        “*Every* woman who dares to speak, online, gets threatened with rape and violence.”

        Untrue. I am a woman who’s been active online most especially since the year 2000, though also a bit in the mid-90s too, and I am NOT threatened with rape and violence online. In fact, the last person who threatened me was several months back and proved to be an isolated incident. For the record, I post some pretty controversial ideas about feminism and gender relations on a regular basis and argue with men almost daily online. YET, they do not threaten me with violence or rape. Called me a “cunt” countless times and can be rude as hell, but that does not constitute a threat on my person.

        So no, you must’ve drank some weird feminist koolaid before typing this post up, sir. I’ve read where feminists online like to claim they’re being threatened, but rarely do I see this directly in their comment sections. Instead, they’re usually screenshots of comments with the usernames marked out, causing me to wonder why this is the only evidence we’re typically handed to support these claims. Maybe it’s because I don’t hang out on Tumblr or Instagram, but I am on youtube daily and have spent a good bit of time the last couple of years watching, reading, and interacting with men’s rights activists and their ilk (despite having my problems with plenty I’ve come into contact with). Even there and on the feminists’ videos they troll I so rarely see an explicit threat posted in the comment section. Lots of insults, yes, but not threats of violence. Even when I track back to these woman-bashers’ personal blogs I don’t find threats of violence. Again, lots of insults and degradation (that being problematic in its own right, granted), but not threats.

        So where are these women you speak of who are being harassed daily? I don’t doubt some do exist, but to say it is *EVERY* woman is untrue, flat-out.

        As for your debate above with Wyrd Smythe, I’ve gotta tell ya that, IMO, yes, you did freak out prematurely and without just cause toward someone who was trying to communicate in a supportive manner with you. He’s not women’s enemy, and neither are plenty of other men out here. Some are, that’s true, but to say it is ALL men who are responsible for protecting ALL women from mistreatment from other men isn’t fair. Some men DO stick up for us when we’re being given an unwarranted hard time by other men or even women. And that’s an important point right there: I’ve found other women to be quite harsh and cruel toward females, particularly feminists when one of us disagrees with something they’re claiming as unequivocally True for ALL women. They block our posts and tell talk over us and call us deluded and crazy, simply for sharing an alternative perspective. That’s not helpful either.

        So yes, this is a people problem, not something capable of being remedied by one sex alone. Women aren’t all a bunch of damsels in distress needing men to protect us from other men online. Want to be a real help? Engage with men who harbor negative attitudes toward women and try to befriend them so that maybe they’ll have a change of heart if exposed to a different way of looking at things from someone they share a connection with. It’s an idea anyway. Likely to work much better than simply trying to shame all men for the actions of some. Those men who turn violent and corrupt and mortally destructive became who they are in part due to their own upbringings and what they were exposed to, which oftentimes included abuse from both males and females in their own lives. Women play a role in that too, and I can attest to that from my own family.

        This is a difficult set of problems we’re faced with today, and there are no easy answers. But all this animosity and casting of blame onto people categorically is just proving more divisive and causing people to tune out. That’s not helping. Men and women have problems, and neither sex can solve them alone.


        1. markcc Post author

          FWIW, I’m pretty sure that the commenter is a fake.

          In a truly amazing coincidence, this commenter suddenly showed up right after someone posted a flame in the reddit mens-rights forum with a link to this blog entry. And this commenter seems to hit the usual tropes of any MRA who wants to pretend to be a woman.

          In short: sockpuppet fraud. Anyone surprised?

          1. Wyrd Smythe

            What’s surprising is how blindly obstinate you’re being in refusing to even consider you’ve gotten the wrong end of the stick here. It’s hard for me to understand how someone who works with software and mathematics can be so immune to reason.

            For the record, I’ve known the blogger behind the “WakeMeNow” blog for years. I asked her to come by and do a reality check on what I was saying. See, unlike you, when people suggest I may be wrong, I like to double-check my thinking.

            There’s a saying I love: “Evil doesn’t question itself.” To that end, I check myself constantly, as any good scientist should. I truly cannot believe how you’re acting here. You owe us both an apology.

            Here’s an idea: Google for [“wakemenow” and “Logos con carne”] and you’ll find her comments on my blog. If you just Google for “wakemenow” you’ll find her blog, but it’s a private one, so you won’t be able to access it unless you ask her permission.

            Conversely, while we’re talking sock puppets, if one Googles for “medivh123321” one finds… only its appearance here. In this thread. It doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else on the web.

            So why aren’t you complaining about an obvious Troll and fake in that case?

          2. Bill

            Now you’re having your friends defend you and calling it science? This is getting ridiculous and however well your intentions were and are, you seem more concerned with showing how enlightened you are about “engaging” in a “dialogue” than anything else. It wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t accuse others of religiously repeating the party mantra (all words you actually used, apparently unironically).

            I just don’t think anybody here cares about your blog or whatever it is you’re trying to do.

          3. wakemenow

            Markcc: I’m not a sock puppet account and am somewhat humored that that would be the position you’d take in reply to me. I don’t visit reddit but was invited to check out your blog by my buddy — what’s the problem with that? And I’m not an MRA and actually feud with them quite frequently.

            Want proof? Okay. My youtube username is Byenia. Here’s one of my videos:

            Sounds so incredibly anti-feminist and pro-MRM, huh?

            Here are a couple more:



            What a sock puppet waste of time I must be. 😛

          4. markcc Post author

            I apologize. But given what I knew when I said that, the case that you were a sock puppet *seemed* compelling.

            You posted within the first five minutes of a wave of referrals from the reddit mens-rights forum. And in your comment, you hit two of the points that, in my experience, are major tells for the MRA gang: the “straw feminist”, and the “women are lying about threats” claims.

            Given the timing, it seemed probable.

            I still find the claim that women are lying about threats to be utterly despicable. I’ve seen some of those threats first-hand – I used to be the site admin for, and I got to see the comments trashed by other bloggers, and got CCed on a couple of emails. So I’m not just going by screenshots.

            Also, when it comes to releasing information, there’s a huge catch-22.

            If you blur out the names, you get accused of lying: “*Why* are you blurring the names? I’ll bet it’s because it’s all a fake, and you’re trying to make it impossible for us to check that you’re telling the truth, because you’re making it all up!”

            If you don’t blur out names, you get accused of unfairly slurring people: “You don’t know that they really did that! It was probably some *feminist* pretending to be them! You’ve ruined the life of an innocent person!”

            There is no response that won’t get the victim of the threats accused of something awful. No matter what, people determined to attack them, and any possible path they take, short of shutting up and taking the abuse quietly, leads to more attacks.

            My position is still the same. Attacks against women aren’t just women’s problems. They’re everyone’s problems. And one of the biggest reasons why that problem has persisted so much is because men refuse to acknowledge it and act on it. If we truly decided that attacks against women were unacceptable – if we actually cared enough to open our mouths and do something about it when we see it happening – things would change, for the better.

          5. Wyrd Smythe

            @Bill Wow, that’s so logically convoluted I don’t really know how to respond, and it clearly would be pointless in any case.

            I invited a woman I know to provide her views. Y’all claim to be supporting woman’s voices, so why not trying listening to one?

          6. wakemenow

            Twalker: How can you still be calling me a sock puppet account when I’ve provided proof that I am real? Fine, go to my blog (attached to my yt channel): And I’ll post up something right now directly in reference to this comment section so you people can see that I am indeed a real-life woman.


          7. wakemenow

            Markcc: Just because a couple things occur simultaneously doesn’t mean they’re linked in any way. As stated already, I don’t deal with reddit. Never have and never intend to. Even if an MRA did wander over to your blog, that provides no good reason for assuming they’re “sock puppets” right off the bat.

            >> And in your comment, you hit two of the points that, in my experience, are major tells for the MRA gang: the “straw feminist”, and the “women are lying about threats” claims.

            No, I didn’t. You obviously misread me, because I did not construct a “straw feminist” argument, nor did I ever state that women are all lying about threats online. Rather, I said that YOU have your own information incorrect, especially where you made the sweeping claim that *all* women online receive death and rape threats. That was what was untrue. I’m one example of someone who doesn’t deal with that (other than a couple rare exceptions over my 15+ years online), and I know plenty of other women who would tell you the same. So, apparently the problem has to do with SOME women receiving threatening messages online.

            But who do they receive those threats from? From the hostility I’ve read online, I’d say from both men and other women. In fact, we women can be especially malicious toward one another, and again, plenty of other women out there will tell you this. So it’s not just an issue of neanderthal men behaving badly online — people, under the guise of anonymity, can behave badly online. Women are certainly no exception.

            As for women broadcasting insults and threats they claim to receive without providing the usernames of the people who sent them, I feel you made a very weak argument there. Yes, if people want to give someone a hard time online, they’ll do so over anything. So then, why protect them? If someone wishes to be so bold as to blatantly state that they’d like to see someone else raped or murdered, what good reason is there for protecting their identity, especially if the original comment was posted publicly to begin with? If that somehow negatively impacts the insulting commenter, well then, they should think more carefully before sending people threats. And if their usernames are associated with a particular site where these people have posted various comments, I don’t see how their names can be fabricated identically by some sock puppet account. This just doesn’t make sense.

            It’s not doxxing someone…it’s simply showing the username of the person who sent threats. It’s a credibility concern at this point, and yes, we outsiders do deserve enough information to assess if the threat is real if we’re being asked to take it seriously. Because we’re all a bunch of strangers online, feminists included. I’ve known enough feminists over time, having considered myself a feminist in the past, to where I recognize they’re not automatically a more moral and honest bunch of people than others out here on the internet. Sometimes they exaggerate in an effort to promote their own cause, as is common for members under any political affiliation. And sometimes that exaggeration isn’t necessarily intentional, but rather they’re operating with a biased outlook that can lead to hyper-sensitivity over everything said by those they view as in opposition. Again, feminists hold no monopoly on behaving that way, but nor are they immune to doing so.

            You conclude that this isn’t just women’s problem and is indeed everyone’s problem. Okay. But what do you realistically think people are capable of doing about it? There are lots of jerks on the internet, both male and female. Pointing out where people are being unfair and stepping over the line is probably a decent start, but we don’t have the power to police one another in all venues. And just because a person disagrees with someone else, even in a rather hostile fashion, doesn’t make it a threatening situation that others need to barge in on. It’s good to give positive support though.

            I’d be most concerned in cases where actual doxxing has occurred since that is inviting people to step off the internet and approach that individual in person, which can create a very volatile situation. But words passed back and forth online alone don’t constitute much of a threat. It’s nice to receive support from people, especially when we’re being given a hard time that’s unwarranted, but men can’t just band together and take over the internet and force all males they take issue with underground. That’s not how this medium works.

            So I guess I’m asking you what realistic strategy might you have for addressing online harassment? And make no mistake, harassment doesn’t just flow toward women and from men online. No, it runs in all directions. Both the online feminist and MRM camps can be quite ugly toward one another where they think they can get away with it. So what are the rest of us supposed to do about it? I ask since you created this post lambasting men for not doing more, but what can they realistically do that might help gender relations online?

      1. Bo

        One in which I don’t care if you are a guy or a gal. Gender is no different than hair color.

        I am not responsible for my fellow redheads. I am not responsible for my fellow males.

        I will not tolerate people saying all redheads are quick to anger. I will not tolerate people saying all women should be northers.

        What planet do you live on?

        1. markcc Post author

          If you believe that there is no difference between being a man and being a woman, you are insane.

          If you believe that there is no difference between how men and women are treated, then you’re so insane that you’re not living on the same planet as the rest of us.

          If you watch what happens to women *every day*, and you don’t feel any need to stand up, and do something about it? Then you’re guilty.

          1. Bo

            I believe there are differences. I believe there shouldn’t be any.
            I don’t believe that gender is a *defining characteristic* of who we are. It is merely a description.
            Read what I wrote. I never said women aren’t treated differently.
            We need to stop people from defining themselves or others as a gender.

          2. markcc Post author

            Nice to say, but utterly at odds with the reality of the culture we live in.

            As a wealthy white guy working in engineering, I can say damned near anything I want on this blog, and while people may get annoyed at me, no one will threaten me. I’ve been writing this blog for something like 7 years now, and I’ve said a lot of things that upset people. I’ve been threatened with lawsuits, but I’ve never been threatened with violence.

            But every woman in technology that I know who’s ever spoken up – every single one, without exception has received regular threats of rape. Most have been threatened with beatings. Some have had their homes vandalized, their personal information given out.

            This is reality: in our culture, men and women are treated very, very differently. And until we accept that, we can’t change it. Every time that we, as men, say “everyone *should* be equal, so I’m going to ignore the fact that we aren’t”, we become part of the problem. Every time that we put our own petty self-interest ahead of the safety and security of others who don’t have our advantages, we’re guilty.

  3. Brian Slesinsky

    I like this slogan better: “this is not our fault, but it *is* our problem.” Collective blame is unfair and unnecessary. Follow that line of reasoning and you end up with absurdities like implicitly blaming anti-war protesters for two wars.

    Furthermore, blame is irrelevant: even if we did grant that some people might possibly be blameless, it doesn’t mean they’re off the hook! When an earthquake or some other natural disaster happens and your neighbor needs help, that’s not the time to say, “hey, not my fault!”

    So the blame question is irrelevant; let’s set it aside. The reason you (anyone) should care about fixing this is because you live in a society that has problems, they affect people you care about, and they aren’t going to go away by themselves.

    And now we can move to the next, harder step, which is figuring out what to do to fix the problem.

    1. kuroikaze85

      Yeah, by “you could stand for it and didn’t” reasoning men are responsible for almost any problem on this planet. It’s not a constructive thing to say.

    2. wakemenow

      “I like this slogan better: “this is not our fault, but it *is* our problem.” Collective blame is unfair and unnecessary.”

      Good call, and I appreciated your comment.

      1. twalker

        I appreciate the care in your phrasing, but I believe the OP is not saying blame is equitable – he is saying failing to take any action makes one complicit.

  4. Hector

    I’ve got to say, as a person who has a penis and XY chromosomes and types or circles “M” in the gender field on a form, I take no responsibility for what “men” do to “women” and just want to stay the f*** out of this. Vilify me for being a misanthrope. I’m hating both genders right now, because everyone is sounding like a complete as*hole.

  5. Jonathan Badger

    My favorite comedian, Phil Hartman, was shot by his wife. The whole point of gun violence is that it doesn’t require manly strength. Literally anybody, man, woman, or child can kill effortlessly with a gun. There’s lots of places where the “men suck” meme works — there’s a reason why “battered women” is a concept and “battered men” isn’t. But gun violence just shows that we need to get guns out the hands of unstable people, whether the NRA likes it or not.

    1. Bill

      Well, that youtube video where women were the only ones to intervene in either assault while men sat idly by both times sure is effective. Especially enlightening is the thumbnail of the man who came in after several women intervened, making it look like he’s protecting all the women!

      The real clincher is at the end where, even by no doubt wildly artificially inflated numbers, women are still the main victims of domestic violence. Sexism doesn’t exist sheeple!!

      I will say, though, that the video perfectly displays the problem with MRAs complaining about feminists not building them shelters: several women helped the woman while every man stayed clear, and while no women helped them man, NO MAN DID EITHER. And this is cherry-picked footage, too! MRAs don’t actually care about male domestic violence victims, they just use them as another of their weak arguments in their attack on feminism, and women in general.

      1. wakemenow

        Bill, I wondered about that too. Because it is common for women to want to stick up for other women, but do a lot of men prefer to stay out of the fray until perhaps it’s escalated beyond a certain point? Not sure. Either way, it doesn’t really help MRAs case much, that’s true.

  6. Michael Chermside


    I have a problem with the way you present your case here. Not “have a problem” in the sense that I think there’s anything wrong with you holding the opinion — you are welcome to your opinion and welcome to express it any way you like! but “have a problem” in the sense that I find myself unable to agree with you. And normally persuasive writing is intended to change others’ opinions or behaviors. (Perhaps this one was intended just to express an opinion without persuading.)

    Let me try to explain my problem. To quote what I think is the heart of the point you are making:

    > And predictably, tons of men got annoyed at that, and replied saying “Not all men are like that”, and therefore, not all men are responsible.
    > Bullshit.
    > Yes, we are responsible. We live in this culture. We sit here, day after day, watching this shit, and doing nothing.

    My problem is that I do NOT sit around watching this and doing nothing. And neither do most members of society. We as a society have passed laws prohibiting rape as well as abusive and misogynistic behavior and occasionally we even enforce these laws. Many of us HAVE stood up and said “Enough! That behavior is unacceptable!”. We have spoken out in particular cases and we have voted for politicians who appear willing to take on these issues. These are not “doing nothing”.

    What they are is “not doing enough”. And when I read your essay I come away feeling like your main purpose was to indite everyone — to pin the guilt on each of us because none of us has taken enough action to fully solve the problem world-wide. And that is despite the fact that women can now vote, can now work and own property in their own name — none of this *remotely* sufficient, but all of it a change from just a few centuries ago and now practically universal in my country.

    Putting the blame on every person because a problem is not FULLY solved seems non-productive. No social problem I know of has ever been “fully solved”, we just get incrementally better. So I think a more productive statement would be to stop worrying about whether all men are guilty (and perhaps all women also since they, too, “permit such a culture to exist”?), but instead to focus on the fact that we are not doing enough — and we clearly aren’t since the problem still exists and, in fact, is of huge proportions.

    Then we can move beyond the finger-pointing to the question of WHAT extra things we should be doing. Because that is a concrete, actionable question. Things like speaking out when you observe even minor, unintended cases of sexism. Things like permitting people to engage in anonymous speech when they want to. And so on. If I read an essay with that as a focus, I would be much more likely to change my behavior.

  7. Pingback: Violence Against Women | Logos con carne

  8. Yiab

    Mark, ordinarily I appreciate your work and your opinions, and in its intent I don’t see this post as diverging from that generality. I do have a few nits to pick, though.

    – Culture is composed of all sexes, not just men. Part of the problem with sexism is thinking that society consists entirely of men, and pinning the blame on “all men” as opposed to “all people” only serves to perpetuate that falsehood. What is acceptable for a man to do in society is not simply the domain of other men, and the myth that it is only serves to further insulate misogynists from having to consider what women think and feel when evaluating their potential actions.

    – “for the most part, we don’t care.”
    True. You aren’t blaming only those people who don’t care though, you are also blaming all men who do care and those who do act against it.

    – Generalizing something done by a proper subset of a demographic to the entire demographic is another integral facet of bigotry. The complaint that “not all men are like that” can certainly be used as an excuse to get an individual man out of feeling responsible for the things other men do to women, but it can also mean several other things. For example, it can mean “I’d like to help you, but if you honestly think that I’m just like that murderer then you probably don’t want my help. Do you actually want my help?”

    – “This stuff isn’t a problem for women, it’s a problem for people.”
    Yes, this is a problem for people – all people – and blaming all men and not women is simply a reversal of the problem you’re trying to fight against here.

    – “We – men – are the ones who are in a position of power and privilege.”
    By and large, yes. Never forget that this is not a universally true statement when applied to individuals, though.

    “We should not be playing the game of demanding that those nasty feminists protect our fragile feelings.”
    I’m sorry, but when I’m told that I must not do something because it might hurt a woman’s feelings, I feel that some consideration should be taken not to hurt a man’s feelings, too. I can only speak for myself here, but nobody, anywhere, ever outside of my immediate family, close friends, and therapists, have ever expressed one iota of caring about whether or not I found something offensive, whereas I generally try my best to take the idea of offense into consideration for all people in my immediate surrounding. When I therefore am told that I need to be more considerate of others’ feelings, this only deepens my alienation from the rest of society. (And before you start saying that I am just another example of someone who needs to learn to just put up with it, please take into account that I have suffered from depression and social anxiety for as long as I can remember. Also, I do put up with it constantly, which is why I get so annoyed when others say that they shouldn’t have to, but I still should.) Those who demand their feelings be protected must be prepared to protect the feelings of others in turn.

    – “When women are fighting for the simple right to exist in our communities without being threatened”
    To get back on point “our communities” may not be meant this way, but it sounds an awful lot to me like you’re talking about communities which belong to men. I would argue that this is also a part of the problem – these communities belong to all people, and the fact that many women are being excluded from their own communities is why it is a problem in the first place.

    – “We don’t say “If you threaten women, you will be fired, shunned, and sent to jail for harassement””
    You’re right, we don’t say that, and we shouldn’t. We should say that “if you threaten anyone including but not limited to women, you will be fired, shunned, and/or sent to jail for harassment”. If we keep implicitly separating “women” from “human beings” it only serves to reinforce the idea that women are not in fact human beings. It should not be acceptable to threaten anyone (I expect you’ll agree), and since women recieve the vast majority of such threats, making it unacceptable to threaten anyone will overwhelmingly help women without at the same time treating those few men who are likewise threatened, beaten, raped and/or murdered as if they’re not worthy of even mentioning.

    – “This is reality: in our culture, men and women are treated very, very differently. And until we accept that, we can’t change it.”
    Yes, and in our culture people of color are treated very differently from white people. Does this mean that Melinda Gates is guilty of the murders committed by Anders Breivik?

    – Lastly, It is good to see that you are willing to decry the murder of women (not that I expected you wouldn’t be). Also, I agree that the major problem with this particular murderer was his absurd belief that women owed him sex, and that this clearly is an issue that affects women en masse. It would however be nice to see you spare at least one sentence for the other two thirds of his murder victims, to whom I’m sure you bear no ill will. In this vein, I would also like to comment on the fact that the practice of “victim blaming” should never be said to be unique to the crime of rape – you have engaged in it a little bit here.

    Sorry if that sounds like it was more than “a few nits to pick”, but I do consider most of these to be likely a question of word choice rather than a question of intent. However as someone well-versed in mathematics, I expect you already know that sometimes minor changes in details can result in major differences.

    1. Bill

      Perhaps Mark’s sixth paragraph deserves a reread. At no point did he or anyone else say you’re “just like that murderer,” which is why it’s relegated to a fictional conversation of yours. If you really only have some quibbles over word choices, it seems that you’re willfully missing the forest for the trees.

      Pointing out that the silence and the implied consent of a certain demographic plays a key–even primary–role in maintaining the social order is hardly new. There have been some comparisons to the Civil Rights movement in the comments (which of course included women’s rights as well), so it’s worth noting that Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X all made a point to mention how devastating this silence can be, and that’s just off the top of my head. Now, anticipating a possible response: of course not *all* men are silent, just like not *all* white people were and are silent. We’re talking about *groups* here. The fact that every single discussion about violence against women is almost guaranteed to be sidetracked and dominated by defensive men is one of the main points of his post.

      1. Wyrd Smythe

        So is the problem that men are silent, or that men do participate in the dialog, but you don’t like what they have to say?

        How is dismissing contributions as coming from “defensive men” any different than dismissing contributions from “angry women”? Why does one group’s opinion have more validity in the dialog?

        For that matter, to call someone’s input “defensive” is a false ad hominem argument solely intended to devalue that input without engaging it.

        The inability to be capable of a dialog on this issue is really no different than the inability to have a dialog on most social issues. We’ve become utterly polarized and fundamentally incapable of discussing the issues on their merits rather than our prejudices.

        If you really want to begin solving these issues, you need to welcome everyone to the table, hear what they have to say, and engage them in a dialog.

        1. markcc Post author

          No. If we really want to begin solving these issues, then we need to actually start focusing *on the problems*, instead of obsessing about whether the way people phrase the problem hurts our poor, precious feelings.

          I know I keep repeating this; but what we’re talking about here is the systematic targeting of women, from threats of rape and violence up to actual rape and violence.

          And all that many people can focus on, when we try to talk about that, is how the words we’re using hurt their feelings.

          1. Wyrd Smythe


            …we need to actually start focusing *on the problems*, instead of obsessing about whether the way people phrase the problem hurts our poor, precious feelings.

            I agree. Yet it seems that’s exactly what you’re doing here.

            Read my very first comment. Read your response. It starts with a ‘Yeah, but’ and then misinterprets a phrase that was nothing more than a reference to a knowledgeable, experienced source of information. I bring up for discussion what many consider an important point and you deflect it. If you listen to women you will hear many of them complain about this issue. It’s part of the casual sexualizing of women — of even very young girls — that creates the atmosphere that leads to thinking of women as mere sexual objects.

            I responded by acknowledging your point, clarifying the misinterpretation and then pointing out a common problem in discussions like this of having a hair-trigger with regard to views that we don’t find quite to our taste. You respond by again dismissing my words and then demonstrating the very problem I tried to warn you about.

            Others have spoken more eloquently than I have, but have you engaged any of us on the points we raised? Have you responded to @Brian Slesinsky or @Michael Chermside or @Ylab, all of whom made excellent points? Have you even acknowledged these points? You deflect and dismiss, often with pejorative language, so whose feelings seem to be hurt here? And who’s trying to find common ground here?

            Did you read my post/comment? I provided the link above. Which post digs into the issues? Which post suggests practical solutions? (Less than 24 hours since I posted it, and it’s gotten four Likes from women (on a blog with extremely low traffic), so maybe I posted something useful.)

            Did you — who works with numbers — present any statistics illustrating the problem? Did you provide any links to resources? Have you suggested any course of action other than vague, sweeping generalities involving ‘stand[ing] up and say[ing] “Enough!”‘

            Okay, we’re all standing and yelling. Now what?

            I know I keep repeating this; but what we’re talking about here is the systematic targeting of women, from threats of rape and violence up to actual rape and violence.

            Yes, I know. For an awful lot of us that was a given a long time ago. You’re in the foothills of mountains we’ve already climbed. These problems aren’t new; they’re as old as society. I’ve understood the problems since I was in high school.

            Consider a variation on your words: “What we’re talking about here is the systematic targeting of gay people, from threats of violence and murder up to actual violence and murder.” We can include people of color or nationality, as well. In all cases, these are crimes based on ignorance, hatred and bigotry. So what practical solutions can you offer for addressing these? Do you even have the same sense of outrage with regards to them?

            You’re absolutely right that we need to stand up and say, “Enough!” But (A) that’s just the very first step, and (B) what we need to say, “Enough!” to is the violence that permeates society and affects everyone. This is a problem for everyone and a problem everyone needs to solve.

            And that means engaging everyone and rationally discussing the facts and issues — not dismissing them because you don’t like the way they’re stated.

        2. Bill

          You and Mark can have a disagreement within the context of a greater dialogue and that’s fine; I wasn’t thinking of you at all when I posted that and I genuinely respect your experience. But I don’t see what your disagreement with me is. I responded to a post that criticized Mark’s phrasing, and obsessing over phrasing at the expense of the big picture is what you have a problem with.

          You keep asking for concrete actions that can be taken, but the fact is that something as simple as more men speaking out *is* an action. As much as I respect your experience, I respect women’s more, and for the most part they seem to really want men to do this. They don’t want us to complain about logical fallacies that result from the strictest possible interpretation of their wording. That’s insulting, although since I still have Frederick Douglass in mind it has me imagining John Brown pulling him aside to explain the logical fallacy of saying that *all of* his “white fellow-countrymen” are the cause for the continued existence of slavery and then abandoning his plans. I know that comparing social causes to one another is overdone and not always welcome, so I’ll stop now.

          So I have no disagreement with you except that maybe you’re giving too much credit to posts that don’t actually contribute much to the dialogue at all. It’s all too easy in online discussions to latch onto minor disagreements (I’m thinking of just me, you and Mark here), and I’d rather not have that happen here.

          1. Wyrd Smythe

            @Bill I was mainly addressing the common deflection summed up by your closing line, “The fact that every single discussion about violence against women is almost guaranteed to be sidetracked and dominated by defensive men is one of the main points of his post.”

            Everyone has a right to participate in the dialog, and if others are able to “sidetrack” or “dominate” it, maybe the fault is in not engaging them properly or not bringing the right tools to the discussion.

            If you want a safe and sheltered place to talk without interference, the interweb is a poor venue. The same principle that lets people flip you off from the safety of their cars operates in how interweb idiots behave. (That plus our rejection of the concept of courtesy and politeness.)

            Get most of these assholes in a room and they’d sit there mute, because they really have nothing to offer. Why do you let them be such a distraction?

            And what’s a bit ironic is that women have been getting the message for ages to, “Sit down and shut up!” Now the worm has turned, and the shoe seems to be on the other foot.

            As for speaking out, of course, obviously, been there for ages, doing that for ages, bought many of the tee-shirts. But it’s not an either/or thing. I can be fully on the side, speaking out and actually doing things (like mentoring young women or donating funds), and I can also speak my mind on the issues.

            Society has become terribly polarized about nearly everything, and we’ve got to overcome that and recognize that being fully on board doesn’t mean marching in lockstep and singing the same tune the same way.

          2. Bill

            @Wyrd Smythe

            I think our comments are nested as far as possible, so hopefully this shows up in the right place.

            I don’t know if I implied that I want some sanitized echo chamber in any of my posts, but that’s not the case. Of course everyone is entitled to speak up, but I’m also entitled to explain that they’re missing the point (and I know this because I listen to the women that tell them the same thing and try to understand why the women are saying that). To blame this on some failure to engage people correctly is essentially putting the onus on women to correct all their rough drafts until they’re returned with no red marks before anyone will listen to them.

            Do you really think all these people splitting hairs over wording truly want to help, and will do so as long as women are sure not to hurt their feelings? Or is it more likely that they’re finding an excuse to ignore the issue (or make it about them)? At some point you have to tell people that they’re wrong, which isn’t the same as “sit down and shut up.”
            If they want to help, they’re not going to be pushed away by this.

            I’m also not sure what you mean by me letting such deflections become a distraction. They are a distraction and they’re meant to be. One of the ways to deal with them is not to ignore them but to point out what they’re doing.

          3. Wyrd Smythe

            Of course everyone is entitled to speak up, but I’m also entitled to explain that they’re missing the point…

            Absolutely; I agree completely. We’re enacting that right now!

            …(and I know this because I listen to the women that tell them the same thing and try to understand why the women are saying that).

            At the risk of being completely misinterpreted, is there an implicit bias here? Do you assume the women are 100% correct and those others are 100% wrong? That may very well be the case, but are you examining what’s being said or taking a party line?

            Before you respond that, of course women know what they’re talking about, consider this: does anyone? When it comes to complex social issues, does anyone have the full picture? Is there even a single full picture to get?

            To blame this on some failure to engage people correctly is essentially putting the onus on women to correct all their rough drafts until they’re returned with no red marks before anyone will listen to them.

            That’s not what I said. What I said was there is a need to listen to and engage all interested parties. It’s always a mistake to think one side has it 100% right and the other has it 100% wrong. Finding solutions is an iterative process. If you don’t listen to dissenters, you can become mired in your own error. Even people who are 99.9% wrong are still 0.1% right.

            Do you really think all these people splitting hairs over wording truly want to help, and will do so as long as women are sure not to hurt their feelings? …

            What is the fascination with “hurt feelings”? I hear that so often it sounds like a mantra. To me it’s a non-response that seems intended to deflect engaging someone on the merits of what they said.

            Look, there’s hurt feelings on both sides (because we’re human and there’s a lot of history, biology and rage on both sides). We can figure out the wording as we go. Let’s move on to talking about actual problems and real solutions rather than (endlessly) discussing how we’re not discussing this the right way.

            …Or is it more likely that they’re finding an excuse to ignore the issue (or make it about them)?

            No doubt that’s true, but how exactly do you think you’re going to reach those people, anyway? Which is more likely to be effective: dismissal or engagement (assuming either has a chance with some people). The danger is that in grouping any dissent into some convenient trashcan, you lose the very thing that makes science so powerful: self-correction. When a movement consists of dogma that all must adhere to, it becomes like a religious movement rejecting heretics.

            I’d rather be a part of science than religion.

            I’m also not sure what you mean by me letting such deflections become a distraction. They are a distraction and they’re meant to be.

            In some cases, I’m sure that’s true, although — again — be careful of the baby as you throw out the bathwater.

            Here’s an analogy: Pitcher on the mound, batter in the box, the crowd screaming their lungs out. Some guy in the seats directly behind home plate is waving his arms like an ape trying to distract the pitcher.

            What does the pitcher do? Try to make the crowd behave? Complain to the umps? No, he focuses on the job at hand and does his best to get it done. Would he prefer to work without those distractions? Clearly! But they’re part of the real world, so you’d better learn to throw the ball regardless.

            I think I’ve reached the point of diminishing returns with regard to discussing how we discuss this. Other than the idea of standing up (which is a fine start), most content here seems to be about the discussion, not the actual issues. If you want to discuss those issues, I invite you to drop by my blog post or respond to any number of them I’ve raised throughout this discussion.

      2. twalker

        “The fact that every single discussion about violence against women is almost guaranteed to be sidetracked and dominated by defensive men is one of the main points of his post.”

        *cheering madly*
        This, yes this. In spades this.

  9. Wyrd Smythe

    Food for thought:

    How did “bitch” become an acceptable word for a woman? How many of you have applied that label to a woman you didn’t like? (Wouldn’t “asshole” do just as well?)

    Why do we hold beauty pageants for pre-teen and younger girls? For that matter, why do we hold them at all?

    Why do we call adult women “girls”? How do men feel about being called “boys”? (Wouldn’t “gals” and “guys” work better?)

    Why do cheerleaders even still exist?

  10. Wyrd Smythe

    Serious food for thought:

    The word “rape” appears above more than a dozen times, so let’s talk about it.

    A common feminist statement is: “Rape is not an act of sex, it’s an act of violence.”

    Do you agree or disagree? Explain your answer.

    1. markcc Post author

      Are you fscking serios?

      The notion that a group of men should sit around and debate the meaning of rape is, quite frankly, offensive beyond words.

      1. Wyrd Smythe

        What single thing makes violence against women different from violence against people in general? Are you really suggesting that men can’t even discuss a central, extremely important aspect of Feminism? How do you expect men to raise their awareness and understanding if it’s a verboten topic?

        1. markcc Post author

          The motivation for why someone commits a violent crime is not some abstract question that can be decided by a bunch of geeks on a blog. It’s a serious question that requires serious expertise in psychology and direct interaction with the perpetrators of that crime, to determine their motivations.

          I’m a computer-science math geek. I get annoyed at people on TV making up bullshit stories about things that computers can supposedly do that make no sense. I’ve frequently used this blog to mock morons who make up stupid mathematical statements that the genuinely believe to be true, but which are blatantly ridiculous to anyone who’s ever bothered to study math.

          What you’re trying to do is take a subject which is a subject of real, important science, and do exactly the same thing as those mathematical idiots. Pretend that somehow, it’s not something that actually requires scientific study, but that it’s a study for pseudo-intellectual debate by a blue of clueless nebishes.

          I don’t think we should be sitting around and having faux-intellectual debates on why people commit murder or assault of any kind. It’s not something that a bunch of people with no background, no experience, no expertise can meaningful hash out in a blog comment thread.

          1. Wyrd Smythe

            By that logic we can’t discuss politics without a political science degree? How about civil rights or economics? How about the women the topic of rape directly affects? Are they allowed to discuss it? Given your obvious horror with regard to rape, you seem to understand that it directly affects us men, too… but we can’t discuss it?

            Discussions don’t need to be about deciding anything, and often with complex social topics there are no specific answers. But discussion can bring topics out of the darkness and into the light. Discussions can be about raising awareness and getting people to think. Intelligent, rational, adult discussion is always valuable!

            Yet once again we’re mired in talking about talking about something. How useless is that?

          2. wakemenow

            Markcc, are YOU serious? “offensive beyond words” for men to discuss the topic of rape? Why is that? I’ve known 4 men in the past who were sexually victimized as children or teens by older men (in 2 cases, by a father and an older brother). Were they too not at liberty to discuss the topic of rape due to some lack of expertise? How arrogant that is of you to say. Seriously. That floors me.

            Females are not the only people who experience rape, though as adults we come up against a different sexual climate than most men do. And I say most since the prison environment is notorious for same-sex rapes (and that also goes for women’s prisons too, though reportedly not to the same extent, but there are some horror stories out there of women using objects to do grievous bodily injury to other women). Then there’s the gay community and the rapes reported there. Beyond that, in many cases males are perpetrators, so some have experience from that angle, which some expert might have read about but cannot fully grasp on an experiential level.

            So why not open up the topic of rape and what it is? What’s so incredibly offensive about doing so? Because we’re not all in possession of Ph.Ds in Psychology? Have you met all that many people with degrees in psychology? Because plenty of them aren’t necessarily in a better position to understand these atrocities than the rest of us are, useful as their perspectives might be to include in such a discussion. I guess I don’t grasp this need for expert overlords to preside over discussions of social issues we’re forced to personally deal with and/or know and care about others who’ve been traumatized in these sorts of ways.

            With that in mind, I’d like to say that the term “rape” has been bandied about so often, particularly within feminist and MRA communities online, to where it’s creating a tricky situation. On one hand, there’s one’s subjectivity in interpreting and labeling intimate transgressions. On the other are concerns of each parties’ roles in a given scenario and what choices, if any, might have reduced the likelihood of mixed signals or produced a different outcome. Very controversial topics there, but still useful to consider. I, as one woman, am forced to consider these things and always have been.

            This can lead to thinking about the need to be more assertive and even aggressive where it may ward off potential threats. Plus, it opens up the question of weaponry so as to defend ourselves against physically stronger assailants. But it also weaves into all sorts of topics, including false allegations, which are a concern in a society that celebrates victimhood to the extent that ours does. Not pleasant to think about maybe, but still important to take into account. What do we do in situations where evidence is hazy and both parties were intoxicated and neither remember many details of how sex began? That seems to be a big problem within the youth hook-up culture that’s grown so popular, and we hear about these indeterminate cases pretty frequently nowadays. Some claim that a woman who’s drunk is *unable* to provide consent for engaging in sex, and others out here (like myself) reject that claim except in extreme cases where a person is blacked out unconscious. But these are topics being raised by lots of people today, especially those around college-age and teenagers. I think it’s very important that we as adults delve into what’s happening and consider why, because this isn’t merely about a few criminal bad apples.

            Anyway, I’d be interested if others had more to share on the topic of rape.

        2. twalker

          Here is one reason violence against women is deserving of its own conversation: a woman who is precisely the same size as a man and in the same physical condition has half his upper body strength. Most women are smaller than men, in general. Hence, your average woman has less than half the upper body strength of the average man.Picture if you would, a man beating on a 5 year old.
          Here’s another reason: she must have asked for it.
          Here’s another: Men do most of the killing of men. Men also do most of the killing of women. But the reasons are very different. Men kill other men for money, for power. Men kill women because they are women – specifically, women they have had sex with or want to have sex with. Women are killed by their current or ex relationship partner a frighteningly large percentage of the time.It is about sexual control, or gender based control.
          * “More than twice as many women were shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance than were murdered by strangers using guns, knives, or any other means. Although women comprise more than half the U.S. population, they committed only 14.7% of the homicides noted during the study interval. In contrast to men, who killed nonintimate acquaintances, strangers, or victims of undetermined relationship in 80% of cases, women killed their spouse, an intimate acquaintance, or a family member in 60% of cases. ”

  11. Brian Slesinsky

    Yes, it’s frustrating. I’d guess this discussion is pretty much at an end, but if you want to start fresh or steer some future discussion towards a better place, here are some rules of thumb I’ve found helpful:

    It’s useful to tell stories, from personal experience or second-hand. Some stories are powerful.

    It’s useful to share interesting links where other people report their experiences or have gathered data.

    It’s useful to listen to other people’s stories and ask questions.

    It’s useful to try to make sense of any of the above.

    It’s very rarely useful try to reason from first principles about things we have little experience of. That’s generally true of most of what we read in the news. When I have no expertise (that is, in most subjects, and in particular in crimes against women), I find that selective link-sharing works better than pontificating.

  12. Daniel

    I don’t know if I am repeting someone here, but I see that the problem may be a little more gender neutral.
    Problem is, certain people just can’t be denied of what they want, be it sex or a new toy. And to this guy, women were just toys, toys he couldn´t have.
    I am not saying we are an incredible society. I want just to point it out that some parents don’t teach their children to cope with denial.

  13. medivh123321

    Wyrd Smythe: It’s your job to make yourself clear. It’s not any feminist’s job to stroke your hair and tell you it’s alright, it’s not *you* we’re mad at. It *IS* you we’re mad at for letting this shit happen by derailing with whingeing on and bloody on about how, if you’ll permit me a very loose paraphrase, bitches need to be less bitchy.

    It’s you, Wyrd. It’s me. It’s Mark. It’s every man at this point, because there aren’t enough of us that have a tough enough skin to weather some hurt feelings so that this can be put right. And this? This post by Mark? This comment thread? This isn’t outrage. This is the absolute bare minimum that anyone needs to do to be decent. Anything less than what Mark is saying is justifying why your bad behaviour isn’t bad.

  14. Wyrd Smythe

    “Bare minimum” is correct; I agree completely

    It’s your job to make yourself clear.

    I’ve always considered communication to be a two-party affair. Very few people are perfect communicators, so I think it’s also up to the other party to make some attempt to understand what’s being said.

    It’s not any feminist’s job to stroke your hair and tell you it’s alright,…

    I agree completely and have never said otherwise.

    And here we go again, as you put it, “whingeing on and bloody on” about how we discuss these issues rather than actually discussing these issues. I’d rather talk about issues and solutions; how about you?

    1. medivh123321

      When what you’re focused on doing is talking and talking and whingeing and whining about how we’re not talking about this and acting as if that’s all we need to do? No, I’d rather not discuss. I’d especially rather not discuss issues that I have no first-hand experience of with someone who has no first-hand experience. I will, instead, use my unfairly strengthened voice to make sure that voices that are unfairly weakened get a say. I will not try to add my own views because my views are irrelevant. As are yours.

      You’re acting like a subtly hostile congress committee. Time to shut up and listen rather than preaching discussion that leads nowhere.

      1. John Fringe

        I have to agree with medivh123321 on this.

        Raising awareness is useful, but taking about how we should be talking to solve a problem (a very serious problem) is completely useless.

        1. Wyrd Smythe

          You’re agreeing with someone who, by their own words, has said they’re incompetent to discuss this and who feels their view is irrelevant.

          I agree that meta-discussion is completely useless and have said so repeatedly, and yet that seems to be mostly what’s been going on here. There have been no useful responses to any of the substantive issues I’ve raised — just a lot of shooting at strawmen that don’t even exist.

          Have you read my own blog post on this?

      2. Wyrd Smythe

        You’ve apparently not understood a word I’ve said. What makes you assume I have no first-hand experience? What makes you assume I haven’t been participating in real-world solutions for over 40 years?

        Where have I ever suggested that talk is “all we need to do”? The very first sentence I wrote in my first comment says exactly the opposite.

        No one’s view is irrelevant. How do you expect to solve a major social problem you can’t or won’t discuss?

      3. wakemenow

        “You’re acting like a subtly hostile congress committee. Time to shut up and listen rather than preaching discussion that leads nowhere.”

        How the heck did you read that into what Wyrd said? And “time to shut up and listen”?? That is so rude. He does try to listen, and he’s been reasonable with you people, and yet you’re knee-jerking against this guy? Why? A man’s thoughts and opinions are automatically “irrelevant”? What kind of extremist nonsense am I reading here? You don’t know what any individual has or hasn’t gone through, so who are you to tell them to *shut up* because their own views don’t matter? That’s gestapo weirdness, full-on.

        Men and women need to come to the table together and listen to one another. This has to be a give and take. It is unfair for one group to speak over and subjugate the other. And why would men sit here barking at other men about shutting up when it comes to acknowledging and discussing these serious problems? How is anything ever to be done if men stick their heads in the sand and refuse to engage? We need to be listening to one another, not just to one group instead of the other.

  15. Wyrd Smythe

    Here’s a practical thing men can do to be part of the solution:

    If you’ve paid attention in groups consisting of mostly men, especially in a work context, you may have picked up on how sometimes a woman says something and the men keep on talking as if she hadn’t spoken. A common complaint women have about work (and life!) is that men don’t listen to them.

    Because the behavior is often deeply ingrained, you get better traction by handling it subtly. I’ve found it useful to lean on my poor hearing and to say something like, “I’m sorry, Alice, I didn’t quite hear all of that. Could you say that again.”

    (Sometimes you get the added kick of watching the men squirm a little!)

    1. twalker

      That would be incredibly helpful. I cannot count the number of times I offered a solution in a work group only to be ignored or dismissed, and then in the /same meeting/ a few minutes later a man says precisely the same thing, as though it were his idea, and it was accepted as the correct solution. Only once (and I’m in my 50s) did anyone ever say “Isn’t that what she just said?”

      1. markcc Post author

        I’ve been on a different side – being in a meeting where a woman’s suggestions were getting ignored, and saying, “Hey, P just suggested X, and that sounds good”. Of course, when the man acknowledged it, suddenly it was worth considering.

      2. Wyrd Smythe

        Yep. Seen it happen many times myself. I call those “glass ear plugs” (in reference to the “glass ceiling”). Invisible, and apparently very selective, sound blockers.

  16. medivh123321

    You’re not a woman, so you’ve no experience of being a woman online. You have no first-hand experience of being harassed because you’re a woman. You’ve never been told that someone would like to murder you because, in the threatener’s opinion, you’re a woman who doesn’t know that she’s not allowed online.

    You talk a good game for a few words and then you talk some more. And you say things like, again a loose paraphrase, weeeeeeeeeeeerl there’s a lot of violence against women, but men get killed too! Or, if you prefer the direct quote: “Bottom line: is murder of women a problem? Absolutely it is, but many times more men are murdered, and sex — overwhelmingly — has very little to do with it.”

    You say you understand and then you imply that sex has nothing to do with murder. Because it’s not like there was a guy who tried to murder a house full of women because they’re subhuman due to their sex or anything! Certainly not one that was the cause of this post!

    Most of all, Wyrd, you’re beyond parody. I seriously can’t imagine a mansplainer more ‘splainy than you.

    1. Wyrd Smythe

      Your Ignorance Shields are apparently set to “Impenetrable” because you continue to completely fail to understand who I am and what I’m saying. You also appear to live in a fact-free zone.

      It is a simple fact that men are three times more likely to be murdered. It’s tragic that you read the entire post, and that’s all you came away with, since that was a minor point in passing. Do you have the courage to come and discuss it on my blog?

      You do realize that, of the six people Elliot Roger killed, four were men? And of the four identified wounded, two were men? (The other nine wounded have not yet been identified.)

      I realize you believe you’re on the side of women, so while you seem completely unable to realize that I am too, I’ll just leave you to inhabit your dark little fantasy world.

    2. Wyrd Smythe

      And by the way, funny how selective your quoting of my post was. Why didn’t you quote the very next two lines?

      You’re far more likely to be murdered if you’re a male, so when we start talking murder, there needs to be some perspective. Sexual violence, on the other hand, is an enormous problem for women (and by extension, society).

      I suppose that would have revealed that all you’re doing here is posturing. You may look like an elf, but I’m beginning to think you’re actually Troll. It’s hard to believe anyone could completely fail to get the point as much as you seem to.

    3. wakemenow

      medivh123321: But it’s not as if men don’t know any women and never hear about our experiences online. And who says we women aren’t allowed online? We’re all over the internet, in case that isn’t obvious, and we’re to stay.

      It’s simply a statistical fact in this country that more men are murdered than women. So…how can we spin this to somehow play it up as if women are the primary targets of lethal aggression? Because that’s what you’re aiming to do, otherwise you wouldn’t be so averse to data that contradicts the narrative you’re supporting.

      Can sex play a role in particular cases? Of course it can, and no one is denying that. But it’s not as if we womenfolk are all running scared because we’re being massacred in great quantities by evil men. Men have more to worry about in terms of being recipients of lethal attacks from other men than women generally do. That’s just how it is at this point in time, and there’s nothing wrong with accepting this.

      “Mansplainer”? Surely you jest in pulling out that card.

  17. medivh123321

    Man, the threading around here is weird. That last was supposed to be a response to “You’ve apparently not understood a word”.

    wakemenow: I’ll take your concern with the appropriate consideration.

  18. medivh123321

    Call me back when you’re not complaining about the menz because a more general issue affects them more.

    Or, IOW, you’ve used generalisation as a red herring.

    1. wakemenow

      medivh123321: Who are you talking to there? Isn’t everyone on this post and comment section working with generalizations? How is it distracting from the issue at hand to acknowledge that this argument being presented is too black-and-white and not truly representative of ALL women’s experiences online (which was the OP’s original claim)?

      Did ya’ll prefer to state your piece and that be that? Was no one supposed to disagree on any of this? Are differing viewpoints not welcome here? You guys tell me, I’m curious.

  19. Pingback: “Yes All Men” - Wayward Blogging

  20. Wyrd Smythe


    It’s ironic a mathematician would confuse correlation with causation. A woman shows up to speak her mind, and you assume she’s a fraud just because of some correlations you notice?

    It’s surprising a mathematician would not seek proof to support his guess. It’s surprisingly lazy you wouldn’t take 60 seconds to verify your assumption.

    It’s rude that you wouldn’t treat any new visitor here with a bit more respect when they provide thoughtful input. “Innocent until proven guilty,” is a good rule of thumb.

    But it’s mind-bendingly hypocritical of you to continue to treat that woman with a giant, “Yeah, but…” Wasn’t your main point about what a shitty thing that is for a man to do to a woman?

    Your lack of self-awareness is astonishing. The first three words of your 347-word reply are: “I apologize. But…” and the rest all serve to say why she’s wrong and you’re right.

    That is exactly and precisely the kind of attack response that you’re supposedly so bitterly against.

    Go directly to Jail. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

    1. markcc Post author

      Do you have any clue of how much bullshit I get from a post like this? You see the very small number of comments that I let through – not the vast number that I delete.

      This post received hundreds of comments as part of the MRA flood. Am I supposed to go search out every one of those, to “verify” that they’re not legit?

      This isn’t a paying gig. I pay for the privilege of taking abuse here, and every time I write a post like this, I end up wondering why I even bother.

      I do the best I can. I try to let *any* reasonable comment through. If I’m unsure, I’ll put a comment of my own next it, reflecting what I think. If I’m wrong, I admit that I’m wrong, and I explain how I made the error.

      With respect to wakemeknow: I do think she’s wrong. I stated why in a reasonable and respectful manner, after apologizing for my error, and explaining why I made it.

      My response was not, in any way shape or form, exactly the kind of attack I’m “supposedly so bitterly against”. What I wrote about in this post is *threats*, violent threats, and actual violence against women.

      Please. In my response to wakemenow, explain to me exactly where I threatened her? Where I acted abusive? where I did anything that suggested in any way that I was treating her any differently, or any less respectfully, or any less seriously, than I would treat a man I disagreed with?

      What more do you want?

      If you don’t like the way I moderate comments around here, you are, of course, free to go away and stop reading and commenting on the blog.


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