Sexist photo makes Facebook joke 200 times more popular, and prompts rape comments

by Michael Nugent on February 24, 2013

A joke was shared yesterday on a Facebook Page that I help to moderate, about a drunk woman coming home after a night out with her friends, and trying to imitate a cuckoo clock to avoid waking her husband.

It’s an old joke that I first heard decades ago, although then it was about a drunk husband trying to avoid waking his wife. So why were the genders in this old joke reversed?

It might have been to enable the poster to illustrate the joke with a random photo, taken from an up-skirt angle, of an unconscious woman lying face down on the floor wearing a very short skirt.

Whatever the reason for reversing the genders, the joke with the sexist photo has received more than 43,000 likes and 24,000 shares.

But the exact same joke has also been posted on a different Facebook Page, without the sexist photo, and has received only 53 likes and 18 shares.

Taking into account that the first page has nearly four times the audience as the second page, that means that the joke is 200 times more popular when accompanied by the sexist photo.

Sexist comments about the photo (trigger warning)

Both men and women are liking and sharing the joke, with or without the photo, and the vast majority of the comments are simply people laughing at the joke.

However, on the version with the sexist photo, a small minority of men have posted comments that range from creepy to disturbing:

  • She was out suckin dick prolly
  • Just look at the tange of her pussy.I’m gonna have to do something about it.
  • if was her husband i would have her nickers off by now
  • If it had been my ex wife she would have smelled like cock too
  • And her panties on backwards and smelling like lamb skins
  • Least she remembered to put her underwear back on before she came home.
  • Another bottled blonde tramp
  • I Like the View better then the story!!! :)
  • nice panties love to take them off
  • haha , it’s good !! The girl on the floor – love to hit that stuff
  • dang , love to hit that right there , just the way it lays !! No need to remove anything , it’s a small car cover . just push the cover aside , jump in and go for a ride !! ” you’re just dreaming gorgeous , stay asleep a little longer ” oh yeah !
  • Time for a new wife, lying drunken B
  • I would put it In her!!
  • Id wake her up the HARD WAY and later say it wasn’t me !!! ;)))) lmao
  • She also would have woke up feeling sticky and used!
  • Whuts da ho’ doin on da flo’ ?
  • That’s so funny I laughed until I cried I see she made it home with some of her pants still on.
  • The picture was better than the joke….lol
  • And these are the type of females who complain that they can’t find a man.
  • been there…hubby should take advantage of this.. :)
  • I would of kicked the crap out of her
  • I would of hit it!
  • She made it home with her panties on
  • She’s a hoe. I’d dump her!!! Plain and simple
  • I’d love to wake up with her on my living room floor…
  • Looks like its one of them” hunny I’m help yourself poses haaahaaa
  • An found a used codom in side of her
  • Least she still got her nickers still on – inside out but still on LOL LOL
  • not one of my ex’s, she’s still got her pants on
  • Got any more jokes with pics like this ???!!!!
  • At least she is wearing panties. If not it would be a perfect picture
  • He needs to lay the smack down and not let her go out anywhere dressed like that. Nuff said…
  • perfect opportunity to have sex with your wife
  • any man worth his salt would fuk it now
  • What no thong (what a waste )

What type of men are making these comments?

What type of men are publishing comments like this, on a public Facebook page that can be read by men, women and children, among comments that are overwhelmingly not of this tone?

Based on their Facebook profiles, they include, in no particular order:

  • A supporter of a charity that campaigns against violence
  • A man who likes science and yoga and Buddhism
  • A man who likes classical music and his local church
  • A man who likes good grammar and atheist quotes of the day
  • A man asking for prayers for a relation having an operation
  • A husband who has served in the armed forces
  • A husband with a teenaged son and daughter
  • A husband who works with a Christian Ministry
  • A father who wants to always be there for his children
  • A father who campaigns against animal cruelty
  • A father seeking support for special needs children
  • A grandfather who is proud of his daughter and grandchildren
  • Several high school and university students and graduates

I assume that most of these men do not consider themselves to be sexist. I assume that they would not talk in this way to their own children about this photograph. I assume that they would dislike the comments of others if the photograph was of their mother, partner, wife or daughter.

So why do they feel comfortable publishing these comments on a forum which their own mothers, partners, wives and daughters might read, and which other women are certainly reading? Do they believe that posting on the Internet is more like thinking something than saying it out loud?

Challenging online sexist comments

Because most men do not face the same kind of sexual abuse as most women do, most men have no idea how harmful comments like this can be, and how much more harmful is the cumulative impact of constantly reading comments like this on multiple websites.

Encouragingly, some people have challenged the worst of the comments, that expressed a desire to have sex with the women in the photo while she was unconscious:

From Michelle Greener: That would be called rape then [name of commenter]… not funny!!

From Erik Seltzer: Came to read the rest of the joke, it was funny enough for a light chuckle. Then I decided to read some comments and that mirth is more like anger now. Seriously, [name of commenter], what the hell? Do you not recognize that you just said you wanted to rape someone? Like that’s a perfectly acceptable thing to do? I feel sick now. That’s just wrong, even if it was meant as a “joke.” Rape is never a joke.

From Kenneth Grewing: I like the joke.Not the comments about raping someone.

From Gaylene Reitenbach Wetzel: It’s a funny story. But really? you guys think it’s okay to rape someone? That’s not funny.

From Dan DiPaolo: Ha. Funny up-skirt near rapey photo. Posted with total consent. Cause, you know, violation only occurs because they let it.

The first two of these comments received 26 and 32 likes, more than any of the other comments did, but it is still a small minority of the likes on the main post.

So we seem to have a small minority of sexist comments, a small minority of active challenges to the worst of them, and a large majority of people who are not publicly involved in either making or challenging the sexist comments.

The more of us that publicly challenge these sexist comments, the more likely they are to subside. We may not in the short term influence hardcore sexists, but we can immediately help people who do not even think about the sexism of their comments to reconsider what they are saying and its impact on others.

Michelle and Erik and Kenneth and Gaylene and Dan’s comments above are great examples of how to do this. We don’t have to get into an angry exchange. We can just point out that the comment is harmful, and explain why. And the more frequently that more of us do this, the more comfortable other people will feel doing so also.

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ophelia Benson February 24, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Yes x 1000. Thank you.

2 EllenBeth Wachs February 25, 2013 at 1:43 am

Every time I read you, I like and respect you more and more.

3 Mary - Canada February 25, 2013 at 1:55 am

I have to say that I’m not at all surprised. Anonymity seems to bring out the worse in some individuals and these ways of thinking are still very prevalent. By reminding those who endorsed the rape of this female, that there is a possibility that in some future circumstance, this young female could be their daughter, sister, mother, wife, grand-daughter, niece, etc … may help put things into perspective. It’s comforting to hear a male speak out against this.

4 Gaylene Reitenbach Wetzel February 25, 2013 at 2:10 am

Thank-you so much for writing this. I find it so frustrating that people think this type of behaviour is ok online. They might not talk this way to the people in their lives – but clearly they’re thinking it.

5 anon February 25, 2013 at 3:27 am

Honestly if you’re too arrogant or cowardly or protective to post a link to the two facebook pages, so that your reader can determine what’s what for themselves, then fuck you and your cowardice and your arrogant and your patronizing bullshit.

6 Michael Nugent February 25, 2013 at 3:42 am

Ophelia, EllenBeth, Mary and Gaylene, thanks for the kind comments. I think it is all part of an ongoing process, and that it is a combination of problems related to both sexism and communications technology, but I think we are gradually making progress.

anon, thanks for anonymously calling me cowardly :)

Here’s another way you could have approached your question: “Michael, I’d like to see the pages so that I can make up my own mind about them. Can you please publish the links?”

I didn’t link to the Facebook page because I don’t want to encourage the posting of such pictures. I am aware that by not doing so, I am losing the advantage of people being able to contact the poster directly to let them know what they think of the post.

I am open to changing my mind on this if I get civil suggestions about the relative merits of these advantages and disadvantages.

7 Ash February 25, 2013 at 7:16 am

Michael, I am left wondering why the people making rapey comments get to remain anonymous, yet you posted the names of people who spoke up against them?

I’ve seen this inclination a few times; [NAME REDACTED] for privacy reasons says horrible things, Mr/Ms X from Town, Country (aged Y) responds. Does this not strike you as a little bit backwards?

Unless you’ve already asked permission of the named commentators, could you at least please just list them under their initials or something? I have some personal experience with receiving unsolicited backlash for speaking up; it’s not a pleasant experience, and, in my case, has made me less willing to combat vile opinions in future…

8 Maureen Brian February 25, 2013 at 7:44 am

Well done, Michael!

Ash, I think you’re missing the point of the whole exercise. Try again.

9 Ash February 25, 2013 at 7:50 am

@Maureen, maybe so; can you elucidate?

10 Jerri February 25, 2013 at 7:57 am

Thank you for some sanity in the midst of this. I truly appreciate it. I am sickened by comments such as I’ve seen over this photo. Again, thank you for standing up for us.

11 Maureen Brian February 25, 2013 at 8:47 am

My point, Ash, was that people who do kind things deserve praise as a first priority. In my experience, they may blush a little but they are not usually angry to have their good sense quietly noted.

As for the people who write vile, abusive (and usually illiterate) comments in places where there is no obligation on them to say anything at all – they present a problem. For a start there as so many of them, they have so many ex post facto rationalisations for their abuse and there’s probably not enough energy in the world to get through to every last one of them. So a tactic which praises the behaviour which is clearly the opposite of theirs will get through to the 1% who are capable of quickly grasping why rape jokes are not a joke. The other bits we will do later.

If, though, we devote all our resources first to hosing down the creeps and re-programming them then the good people will think they are not appreciated and, in time, the supply of sensible people – for whom there is now no praise, no reward, no attention – will dry up.

Are you with me now?

12 Ash February 25, 2013 at 9:18 am

@Maureen, ok, getya, the problem is we fundamentally disagree on what constitutes praise and reward, which is why I offered my own experience. Unfortunately, I believe that whilst what you say would be entirely appropriate in a fair society, I am in no way confident that it works in our current, overly and overtly, patriachal, very often outright misogynistic society. I recognise your name from a few forums I visit (FtB?) so I presume you’re aware of what often happens to the people who regularly call out this kind of sexist bull@#!? (no idea if swearing’s allowed here) – they get targeted. Yes, they receive praise, but they also get abusive messages and email designed to shut them up. Leaving the sexist commentators’ names off means they run zero risk of public attention – whether that’s for better or worse. I somehow doubt they’d be pleased to have their friends/family/employers find their names linked to a blog that highlights their ‘rape is funny!’ comments. My point is any such attention should be a matter of choice (reward) for those railing against the rape-apologists, and not (deal with the consequences) for the scum.

I suspect our difference in opinion rises from us being different people (obviously!), but it would suggest Michael would need to contact these people (if he hasn’t already) to see if they personally wanted their names published here. Not much of a reward if it makes you uncomfortable.

13 Maureen Brian February 25, 2013 at 9:35 am

Yes, Ash, there is a decision to make here but I’m prepared to trust Michael’s judgement.

Imagine if, in an an entirely different circumstance, I were to say to 4 or 5 people, “Look, I want to point out how well you did there. If I do, you will be set upon by abusers who will use any technique up to and including death threats in order to silence you. Now, may I please use your name and please be sure you are prepared to take that risk?”

Most would say no, the moment would be lost and the silencing tendency would have chalked up another victory. And the next time it happened ….. well, you can guess!

There’s also the point that these people have already said the things which MN praises, said them publicly and said them in their own names. They have already decided to go on the record as people who object to abusive behaviour. We shouldn’t be encouraging them to crawl back under the duvet.

(You probably have seen me around at FtB.)

14 Ash February 25, 2013 at 9:55 am

Fairy nuff. We just disagree on what encourages people to crawl back under their duvet, and whilst Michael’s judgement may be sound, I prefer personal decisions to be left to the person it actually may affect. However, as you rightly point out, they already chose to publicly comment. More than fair point.

In my case, this reinforces my decision not to comment on public discussions on FB, but I will still choose to call out sexist (and all the other -ists) comments where I can protect my anonymity as much as they can. Personal choice.

15 Ash February 25, 2013 at 9:57 am

Oh, and because I haven’t mentioned it; thanks for the post + to all those that can and will combat this kind of thing publicly (and under their own names!).

16 throwaway February 25, 2013 at 10:14 am

I call it out on FB when I see it. But don’t think me brave. I’m too privileged to be considered brave. The potential targets who speak up? They’re brave. I’m just compassionate.

17 Bill February 25, 2013 at 11:35 am

It’s all too easy to look for ulterior motives and perhaps the web sometime encourages that, but a quick web search shows that female versions of that joke have been around for years.

18 Pitchguest February 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm

First of all, by not linking to the offending Facebook page or at least taking a screenshot of it and posting it here, you’re not allowing bystanders to make up their own minds thus making your statements here basically hearsay. So I would advise to do the latter to provide an objective standpoint.

Secondly, while the comments on that Facebook page are abhorrent and stupid, and while opposing those comments publicly may be a good thing (that goes without saying) and may provide a long-term conditioning, your post is just telling us what we already know: there are assholes, trolls, sexists and stupid people on the internet. Thirdly, writing “most” about anything betrays a sceptical viewpoint. Better to write “many” to avoid that trap.

As for how “harmful” these comments are, that’s subjective. Don’t kid yourself that it’s not. To put it objectively, some people would find them hurtful and some people would realise what they really are: assholish and immature; trolling. It’s likely that many, if not most, of the likes are for the actual joke, and not the comments that it’s received. However, again, the severity of the comments pertain to each individual’s mindset. Some people will take them seriously, some will not. Some will not care.

And on a smaller point, the photo does not become sexist unless you make it sexist. (Like some people in the comments.)

19 SueinNM February 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

“As for how “harmful” these comments are, that’s subjective. Don’t kid yourself that it’s not. To put it objectively, some people would find them hurtful and some people would realise what they really are: assholish and immature; trolling. It’s likely that many, if not most, of the likes are for the actual joke, and not the comments that it’s received. However, again, the severity of the comments pertain to each individual’s mindset. Some people will take them seriously, some will not. Some will not care.

And on a smaller point, the photo does not become sexist unless you make it sexist. (Like some people in the comments.)”

Says the (presumed privileged white male who has never been raped or sexually threatened.)

20 Tim Clark February 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm

“How dare you not post to the link and picture so I can look up a woman’s skirt laying on the floor.” Seriously guys, grow up. If you really care so much about seeing it, go search for it on facebook. I don’t know how you think you can attempt to justify rape jokes by seeing a picture and reading a joke.

21 MaudeLL February 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Many times, calling out such comments ends up in the “caller out” being aggressively piled up on. It’s actually an improvement to see the women calling it out didn’t become a target. (Example: NBC comments on their morning show part about women speaking way more than men)

22 James Sweet February 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Honestly I think this post would have been stronger without the “200 times more popular” bit. My outrage that people think this sort of thing is funny, that they would make such sickening and horrible comments and think nothing of it, all of that is somewhat tempered by how distracted I am thinking of all the reasons why I don’t even remotely buy that quantitative assertion. Heh…

Especially because you make a much more supportable quantitative assertion later on that pretty much nails it in terms of what people can do to start to address this problem:

So we seem to have a small minority of sexist comments, a small minority of active challenges to the worst of them, and a large majority of people who are not publicly involved in either making or challenging the sexist comments.

Bingo. Talk about burying the lead! ;p That’s the most important thing, is to just SAY SOMETHING.

23 James Sweet February 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

To expand on the “saying something” theme… people really will respond, even if it’s a relatively small number at first. For a period of time, I followed a Facebook page that had some relatively edgy humor, that occasionally verged into racist/sexist/sizeist/etc territory. It usually was relatively mild, and most of the time the humor wasn’t like that at all, so I was at first inclined to ignore it… but then there came there series of posts to the effect of, “For those who are saying our content is racist/sexist/whatever, get over yourselves! We are equal opportunity offenders, so therefore none of it is racist/sexist/etc.!”

Before I lost patience and unfollowed the page shortly afterwards, I started making comments to the effect of “Look, it’s obvious you guys do edgy humor, but at the very least own it. Don’t post some sexist bullshit and then say it’s not sexist. Some of this stuff is blatantly sexist. The VERY least you can do is admit it.” I got a small backlash, but a huge number of likes.

Now, I probably should have been even stronger, but like I say, the sexist/racist stuff was in the minority of what was posted, so until they started actively defending it, I have to admit I hardly noticed it. (Yep, there’s privilege workin’ for ya again… Sorry, what can I say other than to admit it?) But my point is, even among the people who are followers of a Facebook page that posts blatantly provocative humor, there are a LOT of people who are fed-up with the sexist/racist bullshit, and are just waiting for somebody else to speak up.

24 Finisterre February 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Pitchguest wrote:
“As for how “harmful” these comments are, that’s subjective. [...]
what they really are: assholish and immature; trolling. ”

LOL. ‘This is a subjective topic, OK? So here’s my Fully Objective mansplanation, aka REALITY! These comments about how fun it would be to rape a passed-out woman *really* didn’t affect me personally. Therefore they’re not *really* harmful! Unless you’re a passed-out woman, possibly, but then your opinion is (obviously) subjective!’

Gotta love the Great White Arbiters and their pure masculine wisdom.

25 Pitchguest February 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm

SueinNM:

Says the (presumed privileged white male who has never been raped or sexually threatened.)

Yes, that’s exactly right. Although if I had or I hadn’t, that wouldn’t make what I say less or more correct, would it? Or do you judge the validity of someone’s comments based on their gender, race, political background, or whether they’ve suffered sexual abuse, regardless if their arguments have merit?

Having said that, am I wrong? Is the severity of the comments not subjective? Is the photo itself sexist? I have no idea what my “race” (I’m white European) or my gender has to do with the validity of my arguments.

-
Tim Clark:

“How dare you not post to the link and picture so I can look up a woman’s skirt laying on the floor.” Seriously guys, grow up. If you really care so much about seeing it, go search for it on facebook. I don’t know how you think you can attempt to justify rape jokes by seeing a picture and reading a joke.

Nice strawman there to start with. However (I’m not sure if you’re referring to me specifically, or in general), I wasn’t saying he should have to put up a screenshot. I was saying that without providing proof then it’s no different from hearsay. Also, a couple of points on the Facebook thing: 1) I don’t have a Facebook account, 2) I have no interest in making a Facebook account and 3) you expect me to find a specific post about an up-skirt photo on Facebook?

-
Finisterre:

LOL. ‘This is a subjective topic, OK? So here’s my Fully Objective mansplanation, aka REALITY! These comments about how fun it would be to rape a passed-out woman *really* didn’t affect me personally. Therefore they’re not *really* harmful! Unless you’re a passed-out woman, possibly, but then your opinion is (obviously) subjective!’

Gotta love the Great White Arbiters and their pure masculine wisdom.

And what is it with feminists shutting down conversation with accusations of ‘mansplaining’ and injecting the importance of gender and race? Of course, I don’t know if you’re a feminist, I’m only assuming, just as you assumed I’m white and male. But I digress. It might surprise you, but I don’t care what gender or race you happen to be. I judge arguments, not people. Besides, wasn’t the opening post authored by a man, in effect ‘mansplaining’ the effect those comments on Facebook have on women as a whole. Does he represent all women?

Anyway, what I was saying about the comments being subjective is that their impact depends on each person. It’s also certainly subjective to say that they are “harmful” in that they create a feeling of harm, when some people may simply shrug them off as nothing. But I’ll rephrase: to put it objectively, some people would find them hurtful and some people would see them differently, or simply as assholish, immature or trolling. In my opinion, these commenters are not serious in the least. They’re joking around in a manner they find amusing or in a manner to upset and stir up an emotional reaction. In other words, trolling. By the way, isn’t it difficult to ‘mansplain’ something to another man, or is this something from the handbook that I’ve missed?

As for the photo not being sexist, it’s true, isn’t it? I haven’t seen the photo in question, but an up-skirt photo on its own is no more sexist than, say (to hit it out of the park), a black man eating a watermelon is racist. Not in the slightest.

26 oolon February 26, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Ignoring the daft hypersceptic crowd desperately trying to win some minor semantic point about it in some way not being sexist. Why not link to the post? I think the people on there could do with a little criticism for their views… Likely brave bat-man thinks it is far worse to accuse someone of misogyny than it is to make rape jokes, personally I don’t see it.

27 KarenX February 26, 2013 at 5:16 pm

And what is it with feminists shutting down conversation with accusations of ‘mansplaining’ and injecting the importance of gender and race?

The conversation, per the topic of the blog post, was supposed to be about the effectiveness of calling out inappropriate remarks in an effort to squelch such behavior. And yet here you come, pitchguest, to change the topic to how the comments really aren’t that bad it depends on the person you’re the one who’s sexist I treat all arguments equally. YOU are attempting to shut down the conversation. And clearly you don’t treat all arguments equally, because if you did you would be discussing the topic at hand instead of explaining the appropriateness of people’s reactions to the people reacting.

And here’s a page from the Mansplaining Handbook to help you out if you think you’ve missed something:
http://morewomeninskepticism.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/mansplaining-flow-chart3.png

28 EvaO February 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm

This article is great, but based on the content, I’d add a trigger warning to the top. These examples can be VERY triggering for victims/survivors of rape/rape attempts. But content-wise GREAT article!

29 Pitchguest February 26, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Oolon:

Does this look like a bat to you?

http://sv.gravatar.com/pitchguest

And as per usual, you’re wrong all counts. But at least you’re consistent.

-

KarenX:

The conversation, per the topic of the blog post, was supposed to be about the effectiveness of calling out inappropriate remarks in an effort to squelch such behavior. And yet here you come, pitchguest, to change the topic to how the comments really aren’t that bad it depends on the person you’re the one who’s sexist I treat all arguments equally.

Look, it’s really difficult to parse that last sentence without punctuation. Are you saying I’m saying you’re the one who’s sexist, or are you saying I am? If it’s the former, I suggest you read my comments again because you’ve either misunderstood or misinterpreted them. And if it’s the latter, I don’t know what I’ve said or done to give that impression.

I’m not attempting to shut down any conversation. When have I made any such attempts? I gave my opinion on the topic and I was accused of ‘mansplaining’. Did I accuse someone of doing the same? Who, then, is really the one trying to shut down conversation because I happen to possess, or lack, certain attributes?

And was I explaining the appropriateness of people’s reactions to people reacting? When did I do that? Seriously, Karen. Thanks for the link to the Mansplaining Handbook. I don’t think I’ll ever peruse it, but thanks.

30 KarenX February 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm

This is the topic, lifted from the end of the blog post:

The more of us that publicly challenge these sexist comments, the more likely they are to subside. We may not in the short term influence hardcore sexists, but we can immediately help people who do not even think about the sexism of their comments to reconsider what they are saying and its impact on others.

Michelle and Erik and Kenneth and Gaylene and Dan’s comments above are great examples of how to do this. We don’t have to get into an angry exchange. We can just point out that the comment is harmful, and explain why. And the more frequently that more of us do this, the more comfortable other people will feel doing so also.

This, pitchguest, is a summary of what you’ve posted about:

Comment #18:
Your article isn’t objective.
Bad people are online.
Nitpick a word choice.
Humor isn’t suggestive.
That photo wasn’t sexist.

Comment #25:
I don’t think race or gender provides meaningful context.
Again, humor is subjective.
I need proof this even happened.
Feminists always are shutting down conversation.
I only judge arguments, not people.
And come on, I mean, that photo isn’t even sexist, right?

Neither of your posts actually addressed the issue of calling out bad behavior when it occurs, which is why I said you aren’t treating arguments as equal and why I said you were the one trying to shut down conversation. And you still didn’t address the topic in your follow-up post to mine, either.

Of course, at this point, I haven’t addressed the topic either, so look at me. I’m a big hypocrite. So I’m ducking out of this conversation here after saying that Nugent makes good sense and I hope people heed his advice.

Telling people that they are not correctly interpreting the comments on that Facebook page as a joke and that humor is subjective and maybe not harmful is an example of you remarking on the appropriateness of people’s reaction to this problem. You actually tell commenters not to “kid themselves.”

Seventeen comments before yours were directly engaged in the blog post topic. You showed up and told them they were all doing it wrong. That is an attempt to shut down a conversation by redirecting it to something you consider more important to discuss (see summaries of comments 18 & 25 above).

31 doubtthat February 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Let’s examine Pitchguest’s profound insights one by one:

1) Didn’t link to the facebook page. In the mind of the paranoid, I suppose this leaves open the possibility that it was all just made up. For our “skeptics” like Pitchguest, this provides two avenues for respons-
a) lazily point out the obvious hoping that the implication will somehow stand against the obvious truth of the post or
b) go find a similar place on facebook, run your own study of the nature of people making sexist comments, and let us know what you find.

SHOCKED to see PG opt for (a)

2) After arguing that we can’t trust the results, move to arguing that the results were so obvious they weren’t worth making. Seems like you need to roll with 1 0r 2, but not both. If it’s obvious, why the need to let you see the underpants pic?

3) The harm of the pictures is subjective. No shit, really? Like possibly it doesn’t harm the idiots that made the comments in the first place? Derp, great observation.

But this is my favorite part, after noting that it was subjective, PG says, “…some people would find them hurtful and some people would realise what they really are: assholish and immature; trolling.”

So it’s subjective, except it’s not, PG knows what it “really” is.

To sum up, how dare you not give us evidence for something so obvious that it doesn’t even need to be pointed out, and let me tell what the real interpretation of this subjective event is.

Good stuff.

Offense taken at the N-word is subjective. I’m not directly harmed by it’s use, yet I can simultaneously understand how harmful it is to others. Isn’t that amazing?

32 EvaO February 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Pitchguest:
SueinNM:

Says the (presumed privileged white male who has never been raped or sexually threatened.)

Yes, that’s exactly right.

She could tell you had white male privilege based on the content of your comment. I have yet to see anyone who has been sexually threatened make comments anywhere approaching the type you’re making. I don’t think it’s absurd to assume that a rape victim/survivor knows more about rape than you. At the very least she/he/ze does not know less.

Pitchguest:
Although if I had or I hadn’t, that wouldn’t make what I say less or more correct, would it? Or do you judge the validity of someone’s comments based on their gender, race, political background, or whether they’ve suffered sexual abuse, regardless if their arguments have merit?

Since you’re so certain the value of a comment doesn’t change based on someone’s gender, race, etc. (which I don’t disagree with that specific assertion in the way it’s worded) then you wouldn’t have a problem with analyzing your comments for whether you would still say them if you were female, a rape victim/survivor, basically anyone who’d have actual FIRST-HAND experience with what you’re discussing. The value wouldn’t change, but I think the content probably would.

33 Pitchguest February 26, 2013 at 8:37 pm

doubtthat:

I already said that was bad phrasing. But really, you can make a career quote-mining people into oblivion.

Both the “harm” of the picture and the “harmful” comments are what’s subjective, yes. Of course they are, and it’s not black and white as you make it out to be. Honestly, why is it that the regulars at FTB are so hellbent on making strawman arguments and insult rather than engage? If you’re not interested in discussion, then by all means, head back to your echo chamber.

34 doubtthat February 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Ah yes, the plaintiff wail of the poor arguer: “Strawman! Strawman!” I read your arguments, they were silly and irrelevant. What is their to discuss? Your abjectly ridiculous claims?

As for the harm being subjective, I think it’s obviously true. I think it’s trivially true. Clearly, for instance, the abusers don’t find anything wrong with the abusive messages — that’s why there’s a problem.

The difference is that I can understand that even though a certain statement may not be personally harmful (as in the N-word or someone calling me a “faggot”), the harm it causes others is significant enough and the value gained from me or others using those terms is so insignificant, that I may go out of my way to accommodate them.

Beyond that, the picture and the comments reveal a certain disturbing attitude. The fact that people would gleefully say such things with their names and pictures attached reveals something about our society. Hell, the Klan wears hoods, but these assholes are happy to let everyone who they are.

35 doubtthat February 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Should say, “plaintive wail,” of course — in my defense, I was taking time away from writing a brief, so as stupid as it looks “plaintiff” was in my brain and my fingers are conditioned to moving that way.

36 Michael Nugent February 26, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I’ve added further analysis about this in this post, and in the accompanying comments.

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/02/26/thank-you-to-jeremy-stangroom/

37 DeeWriteful February 27, 2013 at 9:17 am

Maureen. I wanted to just quickly draw attention to the tone in which you approached your conversation with Ash. “You’re missing the point. Try again”, “Are you with me now?”. I am sure you didn’t mean it to sound condescending, but I sort of cringed when I read it, it seems rather an abrasive/patronising way to initiate a discussion. Incidentally, I felt that Ash made a very good point which you did not address. I have spoken out against online misogyny and racism, and have received quite a bit of abuse over it.

I don’t need praise for doing it, I’m not looking for a cookie. I will do it anyway. Good people who are good people do not need public validation to be good, and they won’t ‘dry up’ if we don’t pat them on the back enough. What I would appreciate much more than a ‘kudos’ would be someone asking my consent to use my name in their blog, just as a token gesture of respect.
You mention that getting through to the 1% of people who realise that these jokes are damaging is important – but actually, they are NOT the ones that need to be educated (also, I think 1% is a little pessimistic!).

You also mention what you think might happen if you asked people to use their name, knowing they may well be abused. They would say no. Surely this is the crux of what Ash was saying? That they may very well not consent? Therefore it is better to be sure. Although I really do take your point that their names are already in the public domain.

38 Anthony February 27, 2013 at 3:44 pm

could not agree more

39 Michael Nugent February 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Dee, decisions like this are of course judgment calls, but as a general principle I don’t think you need to ask people’s permission to commend them publicly for something they have said publicly under their own name, particularly when they had already received positive feedback (in the form of likes) in the forum where they originally said it.

As it happens, comment #4 above is from Gaylene Reitenbach Wetzel, who is one of the five people I quoted. She wrote here:

Thank-you so much for writing this. I find it so frustrating that people think this type of behaviour is ok online. They might not talk this way to the people in their lives – but clearly they’re thinking it.

40 DeeWriteful February 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Hi Michael,

Yes absolutely, the comments were already in the public domain and as such it’s not wrong of you at all to post the names. I think I took issue more with how Maureen approached the conversation with Ash, and her reasons for saying what she said (the good people will ‘dry up’).

I’m personally delighted to see anyone standing up to hate speech, misogyny and bullying, and I really respect what you have written here, so thank you :)

41 John Morrey February 28, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Yes, perhaps you should have posted a link, in the interests of letting people decide for themselves. However, linked or not, you should have printed the joke. Along with the description of the image, most would be able too envisage the picture fairly accurately. Either way, the comments celebrating the image and or the joke, simply prove that there are crass morons aplenty online. Big surprise! It also reaffirms the general opinion that FB is the home of said morons. That’s why I use Twitter instead, you don’t get those types unless you go looking for them. If they find you, just block them. Simples!

42 Sharon M. March 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I’m so burned out on the hatred towards my gender. I feel so grateful towards the men who don’t excuse it, who will confort the misogynic attitudes we encounter.
It’s everywhere: from the t.v. commercials that only feature women cleaning house, cooking taking care of children, which helps enforce that we are the sole caretakers, to womens bodies used to sell everything ( I saw a poster on ebay with a near naked woman sans head arched back, selling vodka) to shows like the metal show, which features a dumb slub of a host surrounded by hot girls.
We’re told to stfu, because women in other counties have it so much worse, to lighten up! it’s only a joke.
And the War on Women from the Rethuglician, and women who bash other women to assure guys they aren’t like those man hating bitches.
It’s draining. I sometimes hate men, and I am very hetro. I am careful who my friends are b/c I’ll be damned if I have to listen to my so called friends bash me or other women.
And to all the Man Splainers in the comments? We’ve heard it, you have no idea what we go through, you HAVEN”T A FUCKING CLUE.

43 anon March 3, 2013 at 6:07 am

Ah yes, you allow anonymous comments, but then you feel free to call people that take you up on that cowardly.

That’s just fucking hypocritical on top of the rest of your mess.

That you knew and chose not to link to the photos or discuss why is YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM not mine. My pointing that out does not require my name. Your deflecting your jackassery by whining that I used an anonymous option you don’t have to provide if you dislike anonymous comments is more of your bullshit.

44 Linda March 4, 2013 at 6:22 am

@anon Give it up. Your attitude is uncalled for (not to mention a little weird) and Michael Nugent was clearly correct in pointing that out. He also has an excellent point that anyone willing to call another a coward should be willing to put their name to it. If they weren’t cowardly they wouldn’t have to be forced to, would they?

@Michael Thank you for this wonderful blog post.

45 Alec Toynton March 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Unfortunately the internet does allow some very unpleasant men to make vile sexist comments. Just look at what prominent women such as the historian Mary Beard have had to put up with online. It is perfectly acceptable for people to put across controversial views and to fiercely disagree with others, but they should keep their comments civil and not use foul-mouthed abuse.

46 Fed_Up March 5, 2013 at 1:04 am

If “anon” would have thought for maybe half a second, he (& yes, I will bet everything I won that it *is* a “he”) would have realized that the reason there was no link posted is because of the photo involved. Michael is obviously protecting the privacy of the lady victimized by that photo.

But, as we all have seen by both his language and his points, it’s clear why this will not happen.

47 Arnold M. dry April 14, 2013 at 11:16 am

|

Leave a Comment

{ 9 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: