Google Results – misogynist language used on major gaming sites

Wundergeek is a straight, cis white woman who recently was asked to write an article about sexism in gaming and found she couldn’t shut up about it once the article was done. She’s since started Go Make Me a Sandwich, a blog mostly devoted to ranting about sexist imagery in all areas of gaming. In addition to being a cranky feminist blogger, she is an artist, photographer, and somewhat half-assed writer living in the wilds of Canada with a wonderful spouse and two slightly broken cats.

[Trigger Warning: Misogynistic language and references to rape]

Rather than diving back into things here with something easy, I decided to try something I haven’t done before. While browsing my Google Alerts for Jim Sterling, I had an idea inspired by the awesome troll data analysis done by blogger kirbybits in the wake of the whole dickwolves fiasco. I decided to see how many search results for common misogynist language I could get for major gaming sites. I was curious – is my growing hate for Destructoid simply because of Jim Sterling? Or is it really more misogynist than other major gaming sites?

The first thing I did was draw up a list of sites to search from: Destructoid, Kotaku, Joystiq, Team Liquid, 4chan/v/, Reddit/r/gaming, the official WoW forums, and the official StarCraft II forums. (Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that Kotaku doesn’t allow Google searches. I don’t know if there’s a way around it, but I was feeling too lazy to find out.)

The next thing I did was draw up a list of search terms. I did this mainly using the word maps in kirbybits’ troll data analysis. The searches I ran were: slut, whore, fat slut/whore, feminazi, feminist/feminazi bitch, cunt, and rape. For the two word phrases, I searched for both with “or” (eg: “fat slut” OR fat whore”). I had initially planned on including “bitch” as its own search term, but I discovered that bitch by itself was a problematic term because of it’s varying uses – it wasn’t possible to easily separate the verb from the noun, and so I dropped it from my list.

The results were… well…. not too surprising, but I went to the effort of making them pretty anyway using IBM’s ManyEyes. Unfortunately, while ManyEyes makes things pretty, it doesn’t make them terribly readable at smaller sizes – so I wound up making ugly charts in Excel. (If you’d like, you can click this link to see the visualization itself.)

Just to amuse myself, I’ve decided on a tournament style ranking to determine which gaming site “wins” the prize of using the most misogynist language. The “winner” will get three points for each top result, second gets two, third gets one. The site with the highest total “wins”.

Chart depicting results for the google search term "slut" with Reddit in the lead, Destructoid second

Chart depicting results for the google search term "whore", with Destructoid in the lead and Team Liquid second.

Chart depicting results for the google search term "fat slut/whore" with Destructoid first and Team Liquid second.

Chart depicting results for the google search term "feminazi" with Destructoid first and Team Liquid second.

Chart depicting results for the google search term "feminazi bitch" with Team Liquid first and Joystiq second.

Chart depicting results for the google search term "cunt" with Destructoid first and Team Liquid second.

Chart depicting results for the google search term "rape" with Destructoid first and Team Liquid second.

 

The results:


Although Destructoid didn’t win every search term, they still managed to completely dominate the competition with a whopping 19 points, winning in five of the seven categories. Team Liquid, though, put in a solid showing as well with a solid 14 points – proving once again that their reputation for sexual harassment has at least some basis in reality. Joystiq managed to come in third with 5 points, just barely edging out Reddit/r/gaming/’s 4 points. And 4chan, a supposed hotbed of anonymous internet fuckwittery, barely even managed to make the list with 1 point. Better luck next time, guys.

Now to be fair, I do imagine the terms feminazi and cunt were edged in Destructoid’s favor, given the recent Jim Sterling twitter fiasco in which he called twitter user Daphny a “feminazi cunt” – something for which he received a lot of backlash. But given the huge gulf between Destructoid and its nearest competitors, I feel confident in saying that Destructoid uses the most misogynist language of the group. (Which makes me regret being unable to get search data for Kotaku. Now I really want to know how they compare.)

None of this, of course, considers the context of the usages, so I’ll look at that next time.

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67 Responses to Google Results – misogynist language used on major gaming sites

  1. Noelle says:

    A point to remember: The WoW forums I know, at least, have a profanity filter that replaces “bad” words (sexual/racial slurs, drug references) with …strings of asterisks, I think? It is so generally applied that people have to dodge their interference in conversation by talking about eating “gr@pes” and using the UI mod “B0ngos” – did the search encompass “barely self-censored” version like “c*nt”, “b!tch” “r@pe”? I bet that might change some of your results…

    • Anna Kreider says:

      Google did catch “r.a.p.e.”, “r-a-p-e”, and “r a p e” in the search for “rape”. Unfortunately, there’s too many variants out there for me to try and get definite numbers using special characters.

  2. Seg says:

    There’s a statistical misrepresentation with these charts as they do not take into account the readership and commenter numbers.

    The way the charts are presented, it assumes that each site has an exactly equal amount of viewers who comment on each site, which is significantly not true. In order for these numbers to give a better picture, there needs to be a weighted average between each site based on commenting viewership and all (commenting & not commenting) viewership.

    This isn’t to say that there isn’t an issue — there most certainly is — but the data presented here doesn’t help in identifying the problem to provide actionable solutions. The data can’t determine if the communities themselves offer an environment more conducive to misogynic language.

    I do believe there is work here that can lead to better insights on this issue, but the data as presented simply states that it exists, nothing to lead into how or why. This would make a good grad research paper.

  3. Shana says:

    I also think that the amount of traffic/viewership affects the “ratings” … hence 4chan’s extremely low showing. I don’t know how you searched the rest, but you can use google to search Kotaku by typing the following into the search box: “site:kotaku.com bitch” to search for bitch, for example. (It’s important not to leave a space after the colon.)

    After a few cursory searches for words on Kotaku in this manner, it blows the competition out of the water — “whore” gets me about 263,000 results, for instance. You might try running all of the searches this way… I’ve noticed a lot of sites have rather cruddy searches… googling “site:ign.com slut” gets me 16,000 results, for example, rather than your 222. (You might also try the Google API variable search tool described recently in the XKCD blog, which is supposed to give a more accurate count of Google’s results.)

    Regardless, this is some very interesting data, and it further cements my refusal to subscribe to their RSS feeds or visit any of the above-mentioned sites. Thanks for all the work you and the other writers do here at Border House! :)

  4. Roger GS says:

    A quick fix for the user/post numbers problem might be to compare the number of offensive words to a search for some more neutral word, like “the” or “game”.

  5. JRz says:

    For those concerned with the validity of the study, Wundergeek did post a follow-up on her blog that clarifies a few things: http://gomakemeasandwich.blogspot.com/2011/03/google-search-results-revised.html

    Because of the limitations of the methodology, it’s really hard to draw any conclusions from the data, but, if nothing else, it shows that such behavior is out there in spades. One thing Wundergeek doesn’t do in either post is gather comment/post counts, which are critical for weighting/normalizing the results. Her revision does include view counts which might be correlated with post count and bring the results closer to ideal. Yet, since it’s not mean to be peer reviewed, it’s not worth stressing about it too bad. I would like stronger caveats in the article relating to the conflation of severity with raw search results, though.

  6. Overmind says:

    I don’t understand one thing. “Feminazi” is a misogynist term? It is a term used against some feminists, not against women generally. Or maybe the criticism (albeit expressed in an offensive manner) of feminism and misogyny is one and the same in your mind?

    • KA101 says:

      Yes, it is. Equating the defense of “women=people” [this does NOT exclude men=people, or $HUMANGROUP=people for that matter, in case anyone wonders] to fascist political ideology is most certainly insulting, and since the particular term targets women it is misogynist. Shorter version: it undermines all women, so one probably shouldn’t use it.

      101:
      http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/03/19/faq-arent-you-all-just-a-bunch-of-feminazis/

      • Overmind says:

        Of course that this term is insulting, but this is not what I wanted to discuss. I wanted to emphasise that a term used to insult only SOME women (in this case only SOME feminists with particular and, as some put it, radical views) cannot be misogynist. A misogynist term targets women as a whole. This one doesn’t, but is used to offend feminists with most “extreme” views; a critique that I’m sometimes inclined to agree with despite resenting its insulting form.

        • Moonshadow says:

          “Feminazi” is a term that is used to slur *all* feminists. It’s got to the point, now, that “feminist” itself is given a negative slur. Anyone seeking equality for women is, by definition, a feminist. How can “feminazi” be anything but a misogynist reaction to those working for a more equal society? Besides, as a married, white male feminist, I doubt the term would ever be thrown at me – but it would definitely get thrown at my wife. Not misogynist?

        • Toitle says:

          “I wanted to emphasise that a term used to insult only SOME women… cannot be misogynist.”
          r u srs?

          Your definition of misogynist is kind of stupid and useless. And by kind of I mean ridiculously, in the sense that it is worthy of ridicule for how stupid it is.

          “Feminazi” is not used to refer to feminists with extreme views, it’s used to refer to any feminist who has the audacity to say anything ever. It’s not a “critique”, it’s a mindless insult used by people who think women aren’t people. It has never and will never criticize anything, it’s just something you say with a sneer as an excuse to dismiss anything someone says because they’re either a woman or don’t hate women enough for you. Even if the person you’re saying it to is literally advocating genocide the term wouldn’t be a “critique” because it doesn’t fucking say anything.

          The term “feminazi” is also part of the greater trend (started by people who don’t think the Nazis were that bad) of people minimizing the Holocaust by comparing everything they don’t like to Nazis/Hitler/the Holocaust. For fuck’s sake it was popularized by Rush Limbaugh, whose hobbies include laughing at disaster victims, abusing prescription drugs, and essentially running the most hateful wing of the American conservative movement.

        • maggie says:

          So, if you use the term “fat bitch”, it’s not misogynist because it only refers to SOME women?

    • Matt says:

      Here’s an analogy:

      At Toastmasters occasionally you’ll hear talk about “toasterbots”, members who have studied very hard but don’t seem to really “get” what they’re doing and why they’re supposed to do it, and so their presentations always feel really rote and artificial. Like, if they’re working on their body language you get the sense that they spent the previous night memorizing exactly what their hands are doing 2m24s into the speech, etc.

      I’ve only ever heard this term/slur by other Toastmasters, and interpret the term as though it were an “inside” term used to critique overly zealous or uncritical members within the group. As such I understand that there are nuances to the criticism and therefore I take it seriously without too much objection.

      If I had heard it originally spoken by someone who, say, is outspoken about the idea that public speaking ability is inherent and trying to learn is a waste of time, my most natural conclusion as to intent is that “toasterbot” is a slur used against any advanced Toastmaster.

      I have never, ever heard “feminazi” spoken by a feminist criticizing an overzealous or fundamentalist peer. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I’ve only ever heard it from people (male or female) who were, at the time of uttering the word, expressing offence at some element of male privilege being attacked. In other words, from an outsider who at least casts doubt on the legitimacy of the basic premise that the target group is based on, with little to no evidence of serious discussion about the finer distinctions between that group’s reasonable members and its crazies.

      In other words, it’s a slur.

      I’m aware that the above may smack of logical rudeness or even tone argument. I should emphasize that I am not saying that anyone who identifies as not a feminist (or Toastmaster or whatever) has no right to critique deficiencies honestly perceived in a given group’s (or a subset of that group’s) ideas. What I am saying, though, is that if you use a pejorative known only to be used by outsiders and generally quite infamous for being used by hostile groups, it becomes a lot harder to differentiate even legit critique from abuse.

      For another analogy, try being a white person addressing a group of black people and complaining about those lazy “niggers”, and see how well they receive your explanation that by “nigger” you only mean a certain subset of black people who don’t work hard.

      • Matt says:

        (By the way, if my premise is wrong and you have read stuff that actually presents a serious, learned critique of feminism that casually, not-particularly-ironically(-or-“ironically”) uses “feminazi”, please let me know and if possible provide a link.)

        (That said: “serious, learned critique of feminism” does not include any article that can be summed up as “Nature has given us these differences, Nature is good, therefore these differences are good” – that argument was burned up in and put out with the first anthropogenic campfire.)

        • Overmind says:

          @Moonshadow

          The term “feminazi” is usually used to describe women because the root term “feminist” is also usually used to describe women. No misogyny here.
          And I have to disagree that feminists by definition work for a more equal society. Some feminist demands lead (or already have led) to just the opposite, and it is those demands that are often referred to with the term “feminazism”.

          @Toitle

          It isn’t only my definition. It is a most common and common-sense definition of this word that can be found almost everywhere, and according to it misogynist words are those that express hatred or contempt towards women generally, as a whole or at least towards the majority of women.
          The same applies to the definition of “feminazi”: it is a word used to describe radical feminists according to almost all sources and in most cased when I encountered this word it was used that way. “Feminazi” cannot be misogynist ex definitione. Don’t forget that words usually have their (relatively) precise uses.
          Even if it was used to describe all feminists, it would still not be a misogynist because feminists constitute only a fraction of female population.
          Oh, it doesn’t matter whether this word is insulting or whether it constitutes valid criticism; this has nothing to do with its alleged misogyny.

          @maggie

          Here it refers only to a single woman. So no, it obviously isn’t misogynist.
          Is “stupid dick” misandric?

          @Matt

          I didn’t say that a word “feminazi” reflects any serious criticism or that it used in serious arguments. It is an insulting term (I have written that twice already). I have only said that it is not misogynist.
          You are right that the use of such words makes proper discussion difficult or even impossible.
          However, your example with “nigger” is wrong: the word “nigger” is an abusive term that can be used to refer to all black people, while “feminazi” can be used only to offend women with a particular mindset.

          • maggie says:

            @Overmind: “Here it refers only to a single woman. So no, it obviously isn’t misogynist. Is “stupid dick” misandric?”

            Yes. Gender-based or genital-based slurs are not right no matter who they are directed at. And all of those fat pricks* should know that it’s not okay to call me a fat bitch even when it’s just me.

            (*Referring to more than one person. Still okay by your bizarro reasoning, right?)

            • Overmind says:

              Could you try reading my posts carefully before replying?

              I have only said that these words are not misogynist. I haven’t said anything about whether they are right. Why then are you implying that I think that calling someone a “fat bitch” is OK? It is an insult and in my opinion all insults are unacceptable, misogynist (or gender- and genital-based for that matter) or not.

              “Misogynist” is not a synonym of “offensive”. They are two quite different things. Although misogynist terms can be offensive.

              And neither “stupid dick” nor “fat pricks” is misandric. They do not refer to men in general.

          • I recognise that you believe your use of the terms is internally consistent, but I think you must also recognise that your idea of how the words work is not lining up with how most other people think the words work.

            In your example, ‘stupid dick’ as an insult against a man would be a misandrist term even if said to only one man, because using ‘dick’ as a slur implies that maleness itself is negative. If it were aimed against an actual penis as opposed to a man, then the situation would be different.

            Using the term ‘feminist’ as a slur is inherently misogynistic, because it implies that wanting equality for women is a terrible thing. It’s impossible for a simple automated search to determine whether, in those articles, ‘feminist’ is being used as a slur, but it’s clear to see that ‘feminazi’ is.

            It sounds like you’re trying to defend the use of the word because you wish to use it yourself and don’t want to see that there’s anything bad about it.

            • Overmind says:

              I seriously doubt that an average guy who calls his obnoxious boss “a dick” thinks about how this words reflects all that is negative about being a man or something similar.

              I think that is impossible to say for sure whether terms like “dick” or “cunt” are sexist or not. One could say that they are sexist because they use words denoting genitals to offend, but I think that they function much like for example “asshole”, i.e. they reflect age-old contempt for some parts of our bodies and for sexuality.

              “Feminazi” has a different range of meanings than “feminist”. As I said “feminazi” is mainly used to refer to radical feminists, not to all of them.

              And about that equality thing: “And I have to disagree that feminists by definition work for a more equal society. Some feminist demands lead (or already have led) to just the opposite, and it is those demands that are often referred to with the term “feminazism”.
              I feel awkward when I quote my own words, but it seem that I have no alternative since so many people don’t bother to read my posts carefully.

              About the last paragraph:

              1. What does that have to do with the validity of my arguments?

              2. If you had carefully read my last replies, you would have noticed the following words: “I didn’t say that a word “feminazi” reflects any serious criticism or that it used in serious arguments. It is an insulting term” and “in my opinion all insults are unacceptable” and many other statements that point to one thing: I am not defending the use of the term “feminazi”.

            • Casual, dismissive sexism is just as problematic as intentional “I hate all men/women!” sexism, and probably more so because it’s harder to get hold of and do anything about. The “average guy” (if such a thing exists) calling an obnoxious boss a ‘dick’ and a cowardly friend a ‘pussy’ is probably not thinking deep thoughts about sex and gender, but he clearly has deeply ingrained notions about “male = aggressive, female = weak” that are clearly sexist in nature.

              I did read the rest of your comments. They gave the impression that you thought the term was warranted and that a substantial portion of feminists are not, in fact, in favor of equality, and have not only pursued an anti-equality agenda but have actually succeeded in making it happen – an idea which will be met with great confusion in these parts. It is, again, an idea usually put forward by the kind of people who intentionally throw such slurs as ‘feminazi’ and claim that women are ruling and ruining the world. That is PRECISELY why I raised the question of whether you wanted to use the word.

              Female supremacists must exist somewhere, because just about everything exists somewhere, even people who think Ronald McDonald is the pope. But I’ve never actually met one, and I’ve _certainly_ seen the ‘feminazi’ term being thrown at people for being even vaguely feminist, or just for being female.

          • Toitle says:

            “However, your example with “nigger” is wrong: the word “nigger” is an abusive term that can be used to refer to all black people, while “feminazi” can be used only to offend women with a particular mindset.”

            That is such a stupid thing to say. Those terms are used in exactly the same way, usually by the exact same privileged douchebags who think “there are black people, and then there are niggers” is biting social commentary instead of the blatant racism that it so clearly is.

            You should really quit while you’re behind, because your exact same stupid argument has been used many times before by pretty much every single pseudo-intellectual blowhard who ever felt the need to mansplain on a feminist blog. The next time you feel the need to write out a long comment explaining why anti-woman slurs aren’t actually misogynist because they don’t refer to every woman, just those bad ones that like totally exist somewhere, put your hand on your mouse, move the cursor over to that little red “X” in the corner of your screen, and fucking click it.

            Your supposed “definition” does not correspond to any reality that exists outside of the same worthless fantasy trotted out by every sexist ass who decides he needs to come around sharing his great wisdom and insight into the world of feminism so he can tell all the little ladies How Things Are. Your contemporaries include a guy who not even a full week ago was mocking Japanese refugees in front of millions of listeners because they were recycling. Your arguments are vapid, shallow, and unwanted.

            • Matt says:

              Your supposed “definition” does not correspond to any reality

              That’s my objection right there. If Overmind or anyone can show me a proper citation of someone who was using “feminazi” actually in that limited sense, and not in a context of defending some (possibly hypothetical) usage of the term, I would at the very least accept that point as far as that person was concerned.

              So far this citation has been about as forthcoming as the scientific phenomenon that can be explained by intelligent design.

          • Matt says:

            However, your example with “nigger” is wrong: the word “nigger” is an abusive term that can be used to refer to all black people, while “feminazi” can be used only to offend women with a particular mindset.

            I shouldn’t’ve assumed other people knew what I was talking about with that example. ^^; I was specifically referring to a distinction some people actually make, an example of which you can find here (warning: gratuitous “n” word and probably a bit of racism too, haven’t read the replies).

            If you don’t catch that distinction, then someone complaining about “niggers” just sounds like they hate all black people. The only difference is that being feminist is generally seen to be more of a choice than being black (though there’s room for choosing that identity too).

            • Overmind says:

              I see now what you meant. This guy whose message you linked is using the word “nigger” simply to write which black people he likes and which he doesn’t. He does that completely ignoring the history and racist connotations of this word. Or maybe he doesn’t ignore them but he simply uses this word to change an otherwise boring message of his (it’s not very interesting to read which people some guy on the Internet likes and which he doesn’t, is it?) into a controversial one in order to gain attention. That’s the way I see it.

              The biggest difference between words “nigger” and feminazi is, as you have said, that “nigger” has been used to offend all black people, who obviously cannot choose their skin colour, while “feminazi” has not been used to offend all women (who likewise don’t generally choose their gender), but to insult a specific group of women (a subgroup of feminists or all of them).

              This doesn’t change the fact that both these words are offensive and shouldn’t in my opinion be ever used.

              P.S.

              I wasn’t able to reply to your comment from March 21 11:26 pm directly so I’ve posted a reply with an example you asked for at the bottom of the page.

  7. AceofOpus says:

    Here is the thing I feel we have to bring up about Kotaku (and I am sure this has been brought up before) is that while they do not actively use as much misogynist language in their posts their content is. I am mostly thinking at Brian Ashcraft when I write this but others have contributed to this in smaller ways.

    One thing I found slightly unclear about the article, and please tell me if this was mentioned at all, did these google searches bring these posts up due to user comments or are these charts representative of the articles by themselves?

    • AceofOpus says:

      Maybe I should rephrase my question: Does anyone know how exactly this search process works? Is it determined by the article itself or everything on the article page such as comments? I am not saying this issue isn’t a pertinent one but I just want to say that if these searches gather information via user comments then this is a different issue. While certain types of people attract this kind of behavior in comments you can’t control everything the readers who respond to posts say.

      • NonCon says:

        You actually kinda can. Most sites moderate their comments. They could just not allow the incredibly offensive comments anymore. Delete them and such.

        • AceofOpus says:

          Ha if any of those sites actually moderated their posts towards this stuff that would be fantastic. It would allow me to find the few good commentators easier. Seriously even on the most puff/non-gaming related pieces on these sites I see hundreds of comments. But alas, maybe one day when gaming journalism on a whole improves. Then again I see this stuff on regular news websites too so it is a much bigger problem. Not the same words mind you but the same sort of virulent nature is applicable.

          I read the GMMAS second post on this subject and I got what I needed on the subject of how the results were tabulated. Still appalling though.

  8. XIV says:

    @Overmind: “I think that is impossible to say for sure whether terms like “dick” or “cunt” are sexist or not. ne could say that they are sexist because they use words denoting genitals to offend, but I think that they function much like for example “asshole”, i.e. they reflect age-old contempt for some parts of our bodies and for sexuality.”

    Cunt is sexist. Feminazi is misogynist. There, see? Not impossible at all. Your definitions are nitpicky and depend on pure semantics that deny the actual reality of these words and their actual use. Everyone has an asshole, only certain people have those sexual organs, so of course you’re targeting them as a group when you use those words. If you call a guy a pussy then you’re doing it to compare him to a woman, to insult him by comparing him to someone you see as inferior. And I tend to agree with WhineAboutGames above, it sounds like you want to be free to use these words without criticism.

    “Feminazi” has a different range of meanings than “feminist”. As I said “feminazi” is mainly used to refer to radical feminists, not to all of them.”

    Proof? You saying it doesn’t mean anything more than someone else saying it (and you happen to be outnumbered in who disagrees with you, so if we were just going off that then you’ve pretty much lost). Especially when actual feminists have dealt with the slur being tossed at them for daring to point out sexism at all. I mean dear lord, pull your head out, it’s comparing feminists to /nazi’s/. That’s not an okay comparison in Any Freaking Context (yes, even grammar nazi is fucked up to keep using). Nothing is like the Nazi’s except the Nazi’s. It’s not that people ‘don’t bother to read your posts carefully’, you’re just wrong. And you are defending it, you’re excusing it by minimizing it into something it isn’t. It’s a misogynist slur, it always has been.

    It’s very obvious this word is so very important to you, because you’re defending it so hard and trying to dismiss it so hard. Otherwise you could just move on and use different words right? You’re not really being very convincing, buddy.

    • XIV says:

      PS: When you’re using a word like Feminazi around /actual feminists/ and they actually tell you it’s woman-hating and you have to go into a long-winded explanation about how it only refers to ‘some’…. Maybe, just maybe, it actually is not a word you should be using anymore. You’re not actually the one who gets to decide if a term is woman-hating or not, intent is not some magical force that erases all issues, especially given the Actual Effect of the word on people around you. Your experience in no way trumps the actual experience of people who have dealt with the slur. Ever. Your definition does not matter more than the definition of the people who actually face it. Overmind, just stop.

  9. Moonshadow says:

    @Overmind:

    “The term “feminazi” is usually used to describe women because the root term “feminist” is also usually used to describe women. No misogyny here.”

    I suggest you refer to your dictionary and re-read that sentence.

    “And I have to disagree that feminists by definition work for a more equal society. Some feminist demands lead (or already have led) to just the opposite, and it is those demands that are often referred to with the term “feminazism”. ”

    Really? Can you take me to this idyllic utopia where women have more power, more pay, more respect than their male counterparts? “Feminazi” is simply a term used to slur /all/ feminists, which is to say anyone fighting for gender equality, and is therefore a classic example of misogyny.

  10. Overmind says:

    The reason why I deny the alleged misogyny of the term “feminazi” is very simple: if someone criticising the feminists and using insults is called a chauvinist then all even polite and legitimate criticism of feminism may be rebuked in the same way and all people criticising feminist movement, as a whole or only some aspects of it, will be put down by calling them “sexists”.

    @WhineAboutGames

    You wrote: “but I think you must also recognise that your idea of how the words work is not lining up with how most other people THINK [emphasis mine] the words work.” so I gave an example of a guy calling his boss “a dick” without thinking about alleged sexism of this word. Whether he has any ingrained notions about that word is a different matter.

    I agree with you that “pussy” has sexist connotations. As you said, calling a man “a pussy” says that he as weak as women. However, this word has a different range of meanings than “cunt” or dick” and I think that it is better to examine such words separately.

    I haven’t said anything about feminists’ intentions, about what they are in favour of. I have only said that some of their actions have, intentionally or not, led to greater inequality.

    @XIV

    “Cunt is sexist. Feminazi is misogynist. There, see? Not impossible at all. Your definitions are nitpicky and depend on pure semantics that deny the actual reality of these words and their actual use. Everyone has an asshole, only certain people have those sexual organs, so of course you’re targeting them as a group when you use those words.”

    Unlike “pussy” words “dick” and “cunt” are used to refer to a person that we don’t like, we are angry with or someone stupid, not to criticise someone for being too “feminine” or “masculine”. “Dick” and “cunt” are essentially equivalents of each other: the main difference between those two words is that they are used to refer to people of different gender. They may be used in different context, however, in which they may acquire sexist undertones.

    “and you happen to be outnumbered in who disagrees with you, so if we were just going off that then you’ve pretty much lost”

    You guys are not exactly a representative sample of English-speaking population, you know.

    @Moonshadow

    “I suggest you refer to your dictionary and re-read that sentence.”

    Could you be more specific?

    “Really? Can you take me to this idyllic utopia where women have more power, more pay, more respect than their male counterparts?”

    You are exaggerating the point I have made.

    • XIV says:

      “The reason why I deny the alleged misogyny of the term “feminazi” is very simple: if someone criticising the feminists and using insults is called a chauvinist then all even polite and legitimate criticism of feminism may be rebuked in the same way and all people criticising feminist movement, as a whole or only some aspects of it, will be put down by calling them “sexists”.”

      Feminazi is reductio ad hitlerum anyway. Not to mention comparing anything to Nazis other than Nazis is plenty anti-semitic too, further showing your ignorance. Your explanation doesn’t really answer anything. In fact, it can be easily turned around. Any woman who criticizes sexism is immediately called a ‘feminazi’ and even polite and legitimate criticism will be put down by calling them ‘man-haters’ and using logical fallacies. Feminazi is a slur, no matter how many excuses you make you have no justification for using that word. Especially not when a number of feminists around you on have told you it’s a slur (Toitle made it especially clear why). If you can’t respect that.. well you better expect some vitriol. Because trust me, I can see why you’d be called some unkind things like sexist and chauvinist from the way you’re acting in this thread, and it has nothing to do with feminists who apparently are deserving of the feminazi label.

      Maybe it’s not them, maybe it’s you.

      “You guys are not exactly a representative sample of English-speaking population, you know.”

      Finally, we reach the end. Neither Are You, but you’re treating yourself as if you are, as if you are the lone voice of reason here. You’re Not. You’re telling people who actually have to face the slurs that ‘this isn’t what that even means’, ‘this isn’t misogynist’. It’s ludicrous, it’s condescending, it’s incredibly pompous (who would be ‘the representative’ sample, the other fauxgressives who agree with you?). As Toitle put it, it’s mansplaining. Also, Cunt = Pussy. They’re the same things, it’s still a part of a woman and you’re still using it as an insult. And I wish you would stop comparing dick as if it’s the same damn thing. The male gender doesn’t have a history of oppression that marks them as inferior/dirty/lowly because of the sexual organs between their legs. They do not have the same impact, nor effect.

      • XIV says:

        PS: “I haven’t said anything about feminists’ intentions, about what they are in favour of. I have only said that some of their actions have, intentionally or not, led to greater inequality.”

        Do not ask others to be more specific unless you can be too. What greater inequality? Elaborate.

    • Coole92 says:

      @ Overmind

      Since no one else has mentioned anything (maybe they didn’t notice), I would like to point something out…

      “I agree with you that ‘pussy’ has sexist connotations. As you said, calling a man ‘a pussy’ says that he as weak as women.”

      I don’t believe you are genuinely grasping why the term “pussy” is misogynist. It isn’t sexist because you’re saying that a man is “as weak as a woman”, it is sexist because you are associating a part of the female anatomy with weakness. In essence, you are insulting women, not men. By using the term “pussy” to describe a man, you are comparing him to a woman in order to degrade and insult him, suggesting that being a woman is something to be ashamed of, something that is intrinsically bad.

      “However, this word has a different range of meanings than ‘cunt’ or ‘dick’ and I think that it is better to examine such words separately.”

      The term “pussy” is precisely the same as using the terms “cunt” and “dick”. For one, “cunt” is the EXACT SAME THING as “pussy” anatomically speaking. Calling a man a “cunt” is equivalent to calling him a “pussy” and it is misogynist for the same reason “pussy” is misogynist. I would also argue that the term “dick” is sexist in that it uses a part of the male anatomy as a means to insult others. When someone typically issues the term, they use it toward someone who is acting in an aggressive or rude manner. Men are often stereotyped as being aggressive and rude in nature, but that is not true for individuals (just as it is not true that all women are timid and nurturing). Using body parts related to a specific gender in order to insult someone is just plain wrong.

      • Overmind says:

        The fact that a word used to insult someone also denotes genitals of one sex is not enough to say that the meaning of that insult is sexist. “Pussy” when used as an insult has a different range of meanings than “dick” and “cunt” when used as insults: “pussy” is used to say that a man is feminine (meaning weak and cowardly) and therefore inferior, “dick” and “cunt” to say that a person being insulted is rude and aggressive or stupid. Being weak and cowardly is supposed to be inherently feminine and that is why “pussy” is sexist, but in my opinion neither rudeness, aggressiveness or stupidity is supposed to be inherently masculine or feminine. A person called “dick” or “cunt” is criticised for being rude or aggressive, not for being too feminine or too masculine.

        Also, in my opinion using any insults is wrong, regardless of whether they are related to genitals or not.

        • Cole92 says:

          “The fact that a word used to insult someone also denotes genitals of one sex is not enough to say that the meaning of that insult is sexist.”

          I don’t think you fully understood what I said, so let me try to explain once more. When using the terms “pussy”, “cunt”, and “dick” to refer to someone, it is an insult yes, but you need to be able to comprehend exactly why it is an insult. “Pussy” and “cunt” refer to the female genitals, and by using parts of the female anatomy to describe someone (especially a male), you are likening them to a female. The insult is being compared to a woman. This is what makes using those terms misogynist. You are using femaleness as the actual insult. The same goes for the term “dick”. “Dick” refers to the male anatomy, and you are using that to liken someone to being male. You may not think anything of it when you call someone “pussy”, “dick”, or “cunt”, but that does not erase the origins and actual meanings of the terms.

          “‘Pussy’ when used as an insult has a different range of meanings than “dick” and “cunt” when used as insults:”

          Yes, each of these terms is not used in PRECISELY the same way, but each of them are used in a misogynist/sexist way, for the aforementioned reasons.

          “‘Pussy’ when used as an insult has a different range of meanings than ‘dick’ and ‘cunt’ when used as insults: ‘pussy’ is used to say that a man is feminine (meaning weak and cowardly) and therefore inferior, ‘dick’ and ‘cunt’ to say that a person being insulted is rude and aggressive or stupid.”

          You are correct about the usage of the rem “pussy”, but missed the target with “dick” and “cunt”. “Dick” I have already went into detail about, “cunt” not so much. Like I said in my first post, “cunt”, anatomically and grammatically speaking, is the exact same thing as “pussy”. While “cunt” is used to insult someone who is being rude, aggressive, or stupid (just like “dick”), you are likening them to a woman by using a part of the female anatomy, and therein lies the sexism. We both agree that there is no one specific way that these terms are used, but that is not the issue here. The issue is that these three terms, regardless of intent or usage, have sexist/misogynist origins and the sexism/misogyny doesn’t disappear when used.

          “Being weak and cowardly is supposed to be inherently feminine and that is why ‘pussy’ is sexist, but in my opinion neither rudeness, aggressiveness or stupidity is supposed to be inherently masculine or feminine.”

          And I completely agree with you. “Masculine” and “feminine” themselves are in actuality misnomers, but this does not eliminate the reasons why the terms pussy”, “cunt”, and “dick” are sexist.

          “A person called “dick” or “cunt” is criticised for being rude or aggressive, not for being too feminine or too masculine.”

          The reasons why someone uses those terms to insult another person is irrelevant, as it does not eliminate the fact that those terms are sexist for reasons which I have already listed. I may refer to someone as a “dick” because they happened to trip me while walking down the road, but the word is still sexist because I was using a part of the male anatomy in order to describe them, and I am using maleness as a negative.

          “Also, in my opinion using any insults is wrong, regardless of whether they are related to genitals or not.”

          Good to see that we agree on something. I too share this opinion. But I do implore you to take into consideration what I and many others have explained to you in regards to why certain terms are sexist/misogynist. I understand that that they are not used with the intent to offend using sexism and misogyny, and are most often not even thought about when being said, but at their core these words are genuinely sexist.

  11. Matt says:

    Five pages into a Google search for the word “feminazi” suggests to me that basically everyone who is using the term rather than just talking about the word (as is here) is either a gibbering right-wing ideologue (seriously, some of these dudes have frickin’ issues, man) or an angry feminist deliberately “ironically” appropriating the term.

    Overmind can be said to be right on one point: much of the usage not specifically misogynistic, but merely appears to be another ugly slur for one of many of the author’s perceived enemies. But I really see no reason to defend its usage, except as a convenient indicator of what a speaker’s most likely weak points are when discrediting them.

    • Matt says:

      (seriously, some of these dudes have frickin’ issues, man)

      Now that I think back on it I was specifically thinking about that Sexual Front site when I typed this, lol.

  12. Overmind says:

    @Matt

    “‘Your supposed “definition” does not correspond to any reality’ That’s my objection right there. If Overmind or anyone can show me a proper citation of someone who was using “feminazi” actually in that limited sense, and not in a context of defending some (possibly hypothetical) usage of the term, I would at the very least accept that point as far as that person was concerned.”

    I’m sure if I am understanding you correctly, but I think that you would like to see an example of someone using “feminazi” to refer to a certain group of feminists, the way I define this word. Am I right?

  13. Overmind says:

    @Matt

    “‘Your supposed “definition” does not correspond to any reality’ That’s my objection right there. If Overmind or anyone can show me a proper citation of someone who was using “feminazi” actually in that limited sense, and not in a context of defending some (possibly hypothetical) usage of the term, I would at the very least accept that point as far as that person was concerned.”

    I’m sure if I am understanding you correctly, but I think that you would like to see an example of someone using “feminazi” to refer to a certain group of feminists, the way I define this word. Am I right?

    Well, here is an example I’ve found on the first page of a Google search into “feminazi”:
    http://www.sexualfront.com/rape.htm

    Here’s fragment:

    “Just as Christian fundamentalists view all sex as sin, feminazis view all sex as rape.
    While for genuine feminists, the agenda is equal rights (especially equal rights to pursue sexual satisfaction), for feminazis, the agenda is the criminal prosecution of men.
    And while for genuine feminists, the motivation is a more fulfilled life in the future, the motivation for feminazis is revenge for a love relationship in the past that didn’t persist the way they would have liked.”

    The author specifically mentions “feminazis” as opposed to “genuine feminists”.

    • XIV says:

      Matt already said he found examples, it doesn’t change the rest of his post and that he pretty clearly said you still shouldn’t be defending the word. (FYI: It’s anti-semitic because it trivializes who actual Nazis were and what they did to the jewish people as whole. Nothing is like a Nazi except a Nazi. It’s inappropriate to use that word in any other context). It doesn’t change any other post here either, nor the fact that you couldn’t even respect the words of the feminists here who told you to your face it was a word that was unappreciated. Yet you continue on, linking to something that blatantly stereotypes ‘feminazis’ as women who are bitter over a relationship with a man. So basically labeling their only possible motivation as something petty.

      You should really stop, each one of your posts just reveals more and more how anti-feminist you really are.

      • Matt says:

        Yet you continue on, linking to something that blatantly stereotypes ‘feminazis’ as women who are bitter over a relationship with a man. So basically labeling their only possible motivation as something petty.

        I’m rather inclined to give Overmind the benefit of the doubt on this one – he’s trying to prove himself right by scanning a bunch of Google results and that particular page might not seem too awful on an initial (confirmation-biased) skimming.

        A bit tangentially: XIV, what would your take on, say, an earnest discussion of whether the Holocaust or the Soviet famines were more evil (presumably based on some pre-agreed set of possible metrics of evil)?

        • Overmind says:

          It was you asked for an example of someone using “feminazi” the way I see this word is used (unless I had misunderstood you), Matt. I’ve provided such an example and whether that guy’s argumentation is “awful”, unsubstantiated or whether it stereotypes feminists (or whether it is even plain stupid) is a completely different matter.

          • Matt says:

            I agree with your assessment from an earlier post:

            He does that completely ignoring the history and racist connotations of this word. Or maybe he doesn’t ignore them but he simply uses this word to change an otherwise boring message of his (it’s not very interesting to read which people some guy on the Internet likes and which he doesn’t, is it?) into a controversial one in order to gain attention. That’s the way I see it.

            Applying that to “feminazi”, I see that:

            a) It’s used – used, not defended – exclusively by misogynists;
            b) the least misogynistic example we’ve both found was Mr. Satyriasis McCreepmongler here.

            If all you’re arguing is that whether or not we can find a citation of an actual distinction being made that isn’t itself an explicit attempt to justify or establish the distinction, then–

            –actually, before I earn myself a Minuteman badge in this Internet Argument, let me take another look at that link you originally gave me.

            Because feminazis are many, and because there is a formulated ideology for them (put down in extremist feminist books and taught in “Women’s Studies” courses at universities), they can pursue their revenge in an organized and sophisticated manner.

            If I take the literal, extremely narrow reading of this, it seems to say that there is a crazy fringe who get their ideas through in some women’s studies courses. If I apply common sense, in context this seems to be saying women’s studies courses are generally this sort of thing.

            Let’s take a look at the context and the substantive arguments to see where he’s coming from.

            Step one is the widening of the legal definitions of “rape”, “sexual harassment”, “domestic violence” and whatever else is defined as sexual crime.

            Rape used to be the insertion of the penis into the vagina by force or under the threat of force, or with a woman who is unconscious.

            Now, the laws of many countries define (and punish) as rape what previously was considered just indecent behavior.

            And a few obscene words (just words) are now considered sexual harassment (and punished in some countries with prison terms), while previously, they were just considered poor style.

            Maybe it’s not that he hates women so much as he hates lawyers, heh.

            If the guy wants to go back to that definition, either he’s got his head way up his ass or… well I guess the less ignorant alternative can be described that way too with “shithead” on top of it.

            It used to be that when women gave sexual signals, it meant they were interested in a sexual relationship.

            Now, when women give sexual signals, men don’t know whether they are interested in a sexual relationship, or whether they are out to trap a man.

            If the guy can’t tell the difference between an indicator of interest and an indicator of consent, I can only hope for his sake that he’s not working in negotiating large-volume sales or anything because he’s gonna get his employer’s tits sued off in numerous contract disputes.

            And now to quote out of order:

            Among the worst transgressions would be what was the traditional idea of rape: a mad man suddenly appears along a lonely walkway and pulls a 13-year old schoolgirl into the underwood where he forces sexual intercourse, taking the innocent girl’s virginity and leaving her bleeding.

            A lighter transgression by common sense would be when the regular sexual partner of a woman[sic] forces sexual intercourse on her in a situation when she doesn’t want it (for example, after an argument).

            I’m going to admit to being wrong about my previously admitting to being wrong: “right-wing”, “gibbering”, and “idiot” all apply.

            Feminazis prefer to fight men in court. It’s easy and risk-free. Even when fabricated charges don’t stick, and a man is not convicted, he will likely be financially and professionally ruined, and so traumatized for the rest of his life that he will probably never enjoy sex again.

            Having regularly dealt with both dudes who’ve been wrongly accused and dudes who’ve been rightly convicted, without denigrating what they’ve gone through I can say pretty confidently that this is a pretty distorted view of things.

            That’s enough of that (and, more importantly, before I quote something that gets me banned from commenting in this blog for failure to put something behind a trigger warning). Let’s take a look at the one part of that one page that makes a feminist/feminazi distinction:

            While for genuine feminists, the agenda is equal rights (especially equal rights to pursue sexual satisfaction), for feminazis, the agenda is the criminal prosecution of men.

            Not enough information. I’ll have to leave that page for the page titled “Genuine feminism“.

            …and now I promptly remember why I gave up reading when faced with this blathering about genetics and destiny. (Issues, man.) Skipping to the first instance of the string “femin” in the text body:

            Genuine feminism will have to deal with the female liberation, which will be necessary to proceed to type 3 societies. And while there has been a period of genuine feminist activism in the 1960s and 1970s, this line of feminism has greatly been muffled.

            Fortunately “3” is the immediately preceding paragraph which the reader can click on and read for themselves. Basically this man’s idea of earthly Paradise is the bottom half of Maslow plus limitless sex. (oh Gawd I have to re-read this site in an Oderus Urungus voice.)

            In all seriousness, I see nothing wrong with the literal and common-sense understanding of these paragraphs. It’s just that the implementation of this meaning as shown in the previous page is naive or perverse or both.

            Or worse than either: completely convinced that one single thing is the answer to everything, and that the answer is his.

            Matters of female emancipation are often discussed from a primarily economic, not a sexual perspective. This is misleading.

            Activists who fight for female emancipation point at the injustice embodied in a social system in which women as a whole largely depend on men as a whole.

            The perspective is wrong, because not economic affairs are the most important matter in life, but sexual satisfaction.

            Okay, maybe he’s not a misogynist but stark raving mad in his libertine fundamentalism.

            I will speculate this: if you actually presented to this guy some honest decent work about privilege and rape culture, it will be summarily dismissed in his mind as “feminazi” propaganda.

            I was about to conclude this post when I realized that I totally stopped reading at that last quote. I’ll keep going and–whoa what is this:

            Because the economic pretext for entering sexual relationships has been removed, many girls and women don’t have a viable excuse any longer for entering sexual relationships.

            Oh fuck eww. That is just nasty. Do not blame your lack of game on your limited opportunities to coerce sex through naked abuse of unconscionability of contract.

            …and with that I can safely say right out that, despite having a clear-cut distinction, this guy’s saying all feminists are feminazis.

        • XIV says:

          While that does sound like an interesting discussion I do believe I wouldn’t be able to take part in it, Matt. Mainly because I worry about talking about such things and possibly offending others since I feel I may not have enough information needed for something that involved.

          • Matt says:

            Neither would I, really. ^^; I was just wondering if your blanket objection to comparing people with Nazis included actual, thought-out comparisons (objection to which I would consider reasonable, since it does risk sliding into the other thing before the conversants even realize what’s going on) and just using it as a slur to win by reductio ad poo-flinging.

    • Matt says:

      Ah, yes, that guy. Yeah, I saw the site but I was in a rush and initially wrote him off as another gibbering right-wing ideologue. I’ll take a closer look now, now that I’ve got time.

      A second (albeit more distracted – listening to a totally unrelated video right now) suggests he’s hardly right-wing and not quite what I’d call gibbering, though he’s got plenty libertine ideology enough.

      Now I’m moving on to this:
      http://www.sexualfront.com/genuine-feminism.htm
      and http://www.sexualfront.com/sexual-violence.htm

      …my God, it just keeps going with the broad sweeping statements about all humankind.

      Anyway,

      http://www.sexualfront.com/spend-money.htm

      I’d say it’s about time that rich men divert some of their resource away from buying luxuries towards supporting political causes which are in their genuine interest: men’s rights causes.

      Unfortunately, so far, when it comes to gender issues, men, unlike women, seldom act in solidarity. This is the case because men are much more used to compete against each other, rather than defend shared interests.

      Here a list of political causes, which rich men may want to support with funds:

      – A relaxation of sexual harassment laws. Only in grave cases should sexual comments be an issue for the courts. Sexual comments may sometimes be bad style, but sexual language is necessary in the pursuit of sexual happiness, and sexual happiness is so close to the core of the meaning of life, that governments ought to impose as few restrictions as possible. Governments may recommend that women who are easily offended by sexual comments wear a type of clothing that sends as few sexual signals as possible. Or why not where a T-shirt or hat that states: No sexual comments, please.

      – A return to a definition of rape as sexual intercourse through physical force or the thread of physical force, or with a person who is unconscious. Sexual intercourse obtained by a man by means of promises that later are not kept, may be immoral, or even constitute deceit, but such sexual intercourse is not rape. Laws in various countries (passed after extensive lobbying by feminazis and Christian fundamentalists), where rape meanwhile is defined as sexual intercourse with a woman who later decides that the man does not meet her expectations, should be changed back to previous definitions. Women have a responsibility to judge promises like “I love you forever” as an expression of a current mood on the part of the man, and should not be allowed to file rape charges if a man changes his mind at a later time

      – Definite punishment for women who file frivolous rape charges against men. Unsubstantiated rape charges typically ruin the careers of men who are accused, even when a court returns a “not guilty” verdict. Women reporting rape all too often speculate on financial damages, or just seek revenge, but risk practically nothing if rape charges are later proven to have been unsubstantiated.

      – Prison terms for the members of NGOs who accuse men of criminal sexual conduct if such criminal sexual conduct can not be proven in court.

      I hesitate to classify the men’s rights nutters as “right-wing” as I feel their ideology’s structure and roots seem better suited to be a part of the fringe left.

      As such, I’ll admit my “right-wing” part is wrong but between the gross blanket statements about everything the guy disapproves of, the hatred of any named establishment and the general I-read-a-bunch-of-old-books-in-the-library-without-knowing-their-context-and-now-I-think-I-know-everything* this site oozes (check out the title of the last link – he actually follows that stupid preposition rule!) this really reads like a dude who might have his heart in the right place but has his head up his ass.

      Back on topic, the usage seems to be to basically define feminism as that subset of it that the author agrees with and feminazi as the subset that he disagrees with + the straw Dworkinite that says all sex is rape.

      But again, clearly an outsider with some… issues… about the group being referred to. My earlier dismissive “gibbering right-wing ideologue” description is inaccurate, but I think the original point still holds re: hostile, inflammatory usage.

      *Been there, done that, second year of my undergrad. Thought I would help kickstart a movement to bring Real Manly Classical study back to the campus. It is very embarrassing to contemplate those years in context and I can only console myself in the fact that no one else cared.

  14. Daniel says:

    “The reason why I deny the alleged misogyny of the term “feminazi” is very simple: if someone criticising the feminists and using insults is called a chauvinist then all even polite and legitimate criticism of feminism may be rebuked in the same way and all people criticising feminist movement, as a whole or only some aspects of it, will be put down by calling them “sexists”.”

    Well, if comparing feminists you disagree with to Hitler and an ideology which murdered millions of people is “polite and legitimate criticism of feminism”, you might have a point. Otherwise, that’s a slippery slope argument, and not a very good one.

    “As such, I’ll admit my “right-wing” part is wrong but between the gross blanket statements about everything the guy disapproves of, the hatred of any named establishment and the general I-read-a-bunch-of-old-books-in-the-library-without-knowing-their-context-and-now-I-think-I-know-everything* this site oozes (check out the title of the last link – he actually follows that stupid preposition rule!) this really reads like a dude who might have his heart in the right place but has his head up his ass.”

    I… don’t know how that could possibly be said to be the words of someone with their heart in the right place. He wants women to have to wear special garments to indicate that they don’t want to be sexually harassed, without which they are fair game. He wants punishment and jail sentences for women who bring rape charges and fail to secure a conviction – which I can’t help but feel might have a chilling effect on reporting rates.

    You didn’t quote far enough, but he also really doesn’t seem to like the age of consent, either, or extraterritorial restrictions relating to the age of consent (although he is badly misinformed on these matters). You’re basically looking at a platform that would make it easier for men to indulge in sexual harassment, sexual assault and sex tourism. If that’s the kind of person who uses “feminazi” to describe women who disagree with them, then we’re down to the question of the difference between a misogynist term and a term that is used exclusively by misogynists.

    • Matt says:

      I… don’t know how that could possibly be said to be the words of someone with their heart in the right place.

      His heart being in the right place: he wants to get rid of our irrational hangups about our sexuality, both culturally and legally. His head being up his ass: Erm, pretty much everything he says that flows from that. :/

      Yeah, it was just me trying really hard to sound charitable and objective and what you describe pretty much is in line with what I read.

    • Matt says:

      Also

      If that’s the kind of person who uses “feminazi” to describe women who disagree with them, then we’re down to the question of the difference between a misogynist term and a term that is used exclusively by misogynists.

      Beautifully put.

  15. Overmind says:

    @Matt

    I think that we are in agreement about the main point of this discussion: “feminazi” is offensive and inappropriate but not misogynist.

    I also wouldn’t say that this guy is a right-winger: his contempt for material goods and the fact that he wants to ban guns and tell rich people what they should spend their money on indicate that his a leftist. Moreover, I don’t think that any right-wing ideologue would claim that sex is most important in life. Nevertheless, some of his points sound quite reasonable.

    @Daniel

    “Well, if comparing feminists you disagree with to Hitler and an ideology which murdered millions of people is “polite and legitimate criticism of feminism”, you might have a point. Otherwise, that’s a slippery slope argument, and not a very good one.”

    Oh dear, here we go again.
    I’ve written like five times that “feminazi” is an insult, ergo it cannot constitute polite and legitimate criticism. It is apparent even in that sentence you quoted: “someone criticising the feminists and using insults” is guy using word like “feminazi”, “polite and legitimate criticism of feminism” means criticism without word like “feminazi”.

    • Daniel says:

      “Oh dear, here we go again. I’ve written like five times that “feminazi” is an insult, ergo it cannot constitute polite and legitimate criticism. It is apparent even in that sentence you quoted: “someone criticising the feminists and using insults” is guy using word like “feminazi”, “polite and legitimate criticism of feminism” means criticism without word like “feminazi”.”

      Exactly. And therefore you are advancing a slippery slope argument, and not a very good one. QED, I think.

      • Overmind says:

        The problem is that it was intended to be an argument at all. I’ve written these sentence to explain my intentions (many people here were speculating about why I claim that “feminazi” is not misogynist instead of addressing my arguments) not to support any of my points. It’s not a part of my argumentation.

        But if we were to treat that sentence as an argument starting a different discussion…. I don’t think that slippery slope arguments are inherently bad: some of them can be valid. As to whether this “argument” of mine is not a good one, well, it would be nice if you justified your opinion.

        • Daniel says:

          I don’t see a lot of point in attempting to do so, to be honest. You are not going to buy that “feminazi’ is a misogynist term, and you clearly have the leisure to keep at this indefinitely. As long as you only use it around misogynists, you can expect considerable agreement. If you want to call a woman a feminazi outside primarily misogynist spaces, then there is no way you can do it without looking like and being responded to as if you were a misogynist. You will both look and quack like a duck.

          Your slippery slope argument is poor precisely because calling people “feminazis” is so far from polite disagreement that identifying it as a misogynist term will have no chilling effect whatsoever on polite disagreement.

          As I said, we’re down to the question of the difference between a misogynist term and a term that is used exclusively by misogynists. If someone is so horrified by the idea of women holding views they do not share that they have to compare them to Nazis, then they are probably just going to have to accept that they have a problem. Call that misogyny, call it gynophobia – whatever you want, really. But it’s a hateful term and it’s a hateful term directed solely at women who are seeking to advance a cause the person using the term disagrees with. Quod, again, erat demonstrandum.

    • Matt says:

      I think that we are in agreement about the main point of this discussion: “feminazi” is offensive and inappropriate but not misogynist.

      I don’t think we quite agree on the last one… between “but not misogynist” and “we’re down to the question of the difference between a misogynist term and a term that is used exclusively by misogynists” my view after reading so much of that guy’s drivel is closer to the latter.

      Within the latter, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree as to whether those two categories are all that distinct.

    • Matt says:

      I think that we are in agreement about the main point of this discussion: “feminazi” is offensive and inappropriate but not misogynist.

      Re third point: what Daniel said here.

      we’re down to the question of the difference between a misogynist term and a term that is used exclusively by misogynists.

      Between those two options I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree as to whether that distinction makes a difference. (I don’ t think it does.)

      • Overmind says:

        @Matt

        I have to disagree then: the meaning of any given word and who the person that uses this word are completely different things. Of course a person who is misogynist is very likely to use misogynist language, but the meaning of any given word is determined by how it used and not by who uses it. A word like “feminazi” can be misogynist if it used in misogynist contexts, when it a part of anti-women speech or misogynist article or a paragraph whose message is clearly sexists. Misogynists are more likely to use “feminazi” as well as similar words in this way, but that doesn’t mean that they do it. We need to examine their particular utterances to say for sure that they are using a given word to express their misogynist views.

        Moreover, is “feminazi” really only used by misogynist?
        As you wrote yourself not so long ago it is often used “ironically” by feminists.
        Also, I don’t think that guy from sexualfront we’re quoting is a misogynist.
        Some of the solutions that he proposes to certain problems and his view on rape in marriage are quite absurd and can lead to discrimination of women, but looking on his views in general, his world-view, it is clear that he supports (theoretically at least) equality between men and women. Furthermore, there’s no hatred or contempt towards women in his writings so I wouldn’t say that he is a misogynist.

        @ Daniel

        “Your slippery slope argument is poor precisely because calling people “feminazis” is so far from polite disagreement that identifying it as a misogynist term will have no chilling effect whatsoever on polite disagreement.”

        I may have an effect or not. It’s hard to say how the situation will develop in the future, but I think that it could be quite useful for the feminist movement if it managed to make it seem that criticising feminists is a sign of being a misogynist.

        Any instance of words losing their meaning can be dangerous. As Confucius put it, “When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom”.

        • Daniel says:

          “It’s hard to say how the situation will develop in the future, but I think that it could be quite useful for the feminist movement if it managed to make it seem that criticising feminists is a sign of being a misogynist.”

          Because comparing people to Nazis is criticism, not abuse.

          And… cut! I think we have our scene.

          • Overmind says:

            Well, it’s kind of a weird thing to say, especially given how often it has been said here that it is insulting to compare people to or to call them Nazis. However, you are of course entitled to your opinion, strange though it may be. I personally think that it is both criticism and abuse.

            • XIV says:

              I’m pretty sure your opinion is the strange one here. Fauxgressives are the funniest people.

        • Matt says:

          Any instance of words losing their meaning can be dangerous. As Confucius put it, “When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom”.

          If we’re going to play the originalist card in this interpretation game, I’ll just remind you and the gallery that it was coined by a right-wing cretin in a throughly poorly thought-out rhetorical attack with no substance beyond reinforcing a few culture-war battle lines. It was designed and deployed as circle-the-wagons rhetoric for identifying in- and out-groups, and the “in” in this case was… well, if we can’t call that misogynistic then the only people who are misogynists are those who actually use that word to describe themselves.

          On the other extreme, if you were to write a single document where you explicitly say you’ve defined “feminazi” as a particular type of purported feminist (or Nazi!), you can do whatever you want.

          The only way to tell what a word means is to look at how it’s used and draw conclusions from that. And from the usage I’ve seen, the most narrow, non-misogynistic use for “feminazi” means roughly “feminist who questions a societal institution that I feel uncomfortable about upsetting (and is therefore an enemy of all that is good)”.

          ~*~

          Side note: That allegedly Confucian aphorism first struck me as being pretty blatantly an American proverb put in the mouth of some random dead wise man by the culture of those who uncritically spew aphorisms they agree with if they’re told they came from random dead wise men, but then I saw comment #5 here which had such a nicely Confucian interpretation I’m actually going to accept that he said it – even if it wouldn’t have meant what the prescriptivist chattering classes wanted him to mean.

          And that latter meaning plays well into our situation now, too: maybe “feminazi” at some point was supposed to create a distinction between true egalitarians and fundamentalist crazies, but those who’ve used the word have polluted it so much with their own abuse and biases that they are no longer free to make that distinction.

            • Matt says:

              …and going through these Google results to see which interpretation is more popular, it seems that while certainly not misogynist, this quote is pretty anti-intellectual (i.e., socially conservative) in its “this word means this and that is that” essentialism in a way that goes hand in hand with that sort of politics.

              (Most of what I see are either apolitical (and extremely irresponsible in citation) collections of aphorisms, or complaining about either the Obama administration, same-sex marriage or reproductive rights.)

              Out of nothing but pure ad hominem (well, that and the rather startling lack of genuine information about the quote’s origins) I am going to assume that its attribution to Confucius is yet another one of those bizarre lies and distortions oozing out of that bizarro world of the American right.

              YOU HAVE ENTERED DEEPLY INTO THE INFESTED
              STARPORT. BUT SOMETHING IS WRONG. THE
              MONSTERS HAVE BROUGHT THEIR OWN REALITY
              WITH THEM, AND THE STARPORT’S TECHNOLOGY
              IS BEING SUBVERTED BY THEIR PRESENCE. …

            • Overmind says:

              “The only way to tell what a word means is to look at how it’s used and draw conclusions from that. And from the usage I’ve seen, the most narrow, non-misogynistic use for ‘feminazi’ means roughly ‘feminist who questions a societal institution that I feel uncomfortable about upsetting (and is therefore an enemy of all that is good)’.”

              That’s more or less what I’ve been saying the whole time since I started this discussion.

              “…and going through these Google results to see which interpretation is more popular, it seems that while certainly not misogynist, this quote is pretty anti-intellectual (i.e., socially conservative) in its “this word means this and that is that” essentialism in a way that goes hand in hand with that sort of politics.”

              Conservatism is ant-intellectual? Could you elaborate on that?

              About the quote itself – I remember reading it in Hayek’s “Fatal Conceit”.

              He started one of the chapters in his book with this quote (but with “liberty” instead of “freedom”) and later wrote:

              “The somewhat simplified quotation by Confucius that stands at the head
              of this chapter is probably the earliest expression of this concern that has
              been preserved. An abbreviated form in which I first encountered it
              apparently stems from there being in Chinese no single word (or set of
              characters) for liberty. It would also appear, however, that the passage
              legitimately renders Confucius’s account of the desirable condition of any
              ordered group of men, as expressed in his Analects (tr. A. Waley, 1938:XIII,
              3, 171-2): `If the language is incorrect … the people will have nowhere to
              put hand and foot’. I am obliged to David Hawkes, of Oxford, for having
              traced a truer rendering of a passage I had often quoted in an incorrect
              form.”

            • Matt says:

              Thanks for the cite. (Funny enough, once I do a phrase search using “liberty” instead of “freedom” the quality of the discourse in the results shoots up dramatically – I stand by my judgment re: essentialism only with regards to the “freedom” variant.)

              Could you elaborate on that?

              I meant to single out social conservatism, by which I meant the family values, barefoot-and-pregnant-in-the-kitchen, don’t-need-your-egghead-crap-just-common-sense-and-the-Bible, cut-all-funding-for-evil-scientists-studying-fruit-flies-in-France sort, not being aware of any other kind.

              That said: At least in general principle and practice in real life, I have no objection to the idea that a society should have certain norms, maintained through tradition and capable of evolving naturally along with that tradition, which work towards the greater good of the people who live in that society, and some of which may well be, absent the usual built-in economic and social incentives to comply, deserving of enforcement by the state itself. I just happen to also think that a lot of existing traditions are misguided, superstitious, or grossly inferior to what we can develop with more advanced modern knowledge, and there’s so much emphasis on preserving the status quo or reverting to a mythical golden age in most discourse labeled “conservative” that it’s best to avoid adopting any similar label altogether in my own thoughts.

  16. XIV says:

    And after all has been said, Overmind would not even say the man quoted by Matt at length is a misogynist. Even after that one line about the ‘regular sexual partner’ raping a woman he’s with is apparently ‘not as bad’. ‘Stranger rape is bad, acquaintance rape is A.OK’. The implication is that because she has been with that man regularly and so that it somehow different. That’s not ‘theoretically’ supporting equality between men and women, that’s treating women like objects for men to use when they please ‘as long as they are regular sexual partners’, that it’s ‘okay’ to completely ignore the woman as a human being in this scenario and her consent. Overmind has come to the conclusion that this is /not/ contempt for women somehow. Honestly, you’d have to ask Overmind what it takes to actually be a woman-hater if even after all that it’s ‘still not clear to him’ that someone like that isn’t ‘so bad’.

    Overmind, I don’t really care about your intent anymore, it’s pretty hard to come to any other conclusion than you being a horrible person with the stuff you’re saying. Seriously. No matter how much you cloak it in polite-speak or ‘concern’, you’re really not looking better. If feminists have called you a sexist or misogynist in the past, it was most likely well deserved.

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