Saying the F-word in church

I want to highlight an exciting event this week in part of the evangelical Christian blogosphere: the Feminisms Fest series hosted by Danielle at From Two to One, Preston Yancey, and J.R. Goudeau.

What makes this extraordinary is partly the substance of this conversation, but more than that it’s the location of this conversation.

This is taking place within the evangelical Christian world — a part of the church where feminism is often presumed to be a threat, an enemy, or at best a dangerously “controversial” idea. In much of the evangelical subculture, it’s not considered necessary to argue that feminism is bad, or to defend the assumption that feminism is bad, that’s just a given. In that subculture, describing an idea, or a policy, or a person as “feminist” is a form of condemnation.

And yet it’s there — within that subculture — that this Feminisms Fest conversation is taking place. That’s a beautiful thing. So is the bottom-up, not-waiting-for-permission aspect of this conversation. It only takes a spark to get a bonfire going.

This is kind of a big deal.

Here are a handful of links to some of the Feminisms Fest posts that have come through my RSS reader in the past few days. These link to dozens of others by a host of other wonderfully dangerous women writing from within and around the evangelical blogosphere. Give ’em a read.

This is good news. This is a kind of Jubilee.

• From Two to One: My Feminist Coming of Age Story

• From Two to One: Why Wouldn’t Feminism Matter?

• From Two to One: Mainstream Feminists Need Religious Feminists

• Love Is What You Do: Feminisms and Me

• Love Is What You Do: An Empowered Woman Is a Sight to Behold

• We Mixed Our Drinks: Ten years of feminism

• We Mixed Our Drinks: Feminism: what’s at stake?

• Christ and Pop Culture: The F-Word: Why Feminism Is Not the Enemy

• Unchained Faith: What Feminism Means to Me

• Unchained Faith: A gift for my children

• Unchained Faith: The Road Behind and the Road Ahead

• See Preston Blog: When the poet prophet @sarahbessey made me a feminist

• Sarah Over the Moon: I need feminism because there is no love without justice

 

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  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Hey, vaginal worship was at the center of some of the earliest religions on Earth.  

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    You’re projecting a lot of assumptions onto a little figurine.

  • P J Evans

    That’s been a common view for at least 40 years.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

     Indeed. So people have been projecting a lot of assumptions onto a little figurine for 40 years. What’s your point?

  • flat

    well there was something called the goddess movement during the seventies:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goddess_movement

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Old≠true.

  • Antigone10

    I’m fairly certain that comment’s going to get deleted as soon as Fred’s aware it’s there, but I have to admit, rather than being contemptuous  I’m mostly just condescendingly amused.  There, there little troll- nothing like an insulting, useless comment on a blog of an unfailingly polite, well-spoken and admired author.  I’m sure you showed him and his little community up.

  • AnonymousSam

    Fred almost never deletes or acknowledges comments at all. That’s what makes this trolling even more pathetic.

  • Rebecca

    Vaginas also make excellent decoration for church doorways. See also: sheela-na-gig.

  • guest

    Surprised the heck out of me to see one in Sheffield Cathedral.  Disappointingly, there don’t appear to be any images of it online.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

    Vagina worship makes some sense – they do accomplish some wonderful things.

  • John (not McCain)

    You’re making all us homos look bad.  Cut it out.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    You’re making all us homos look bad.  Cut it out.

    Huh?  On what are you basing the assumption that he’s gay?  Or is this some sort of humor I’m missing?

  • JustoneK

    He’s (monsieur eric) added random gay pejoratives in his attempts at trolling round here, thus-

  • John (not McCain)

    Well, he finds “vag worship” to be unpleasant, so I’m just going with the odds.  He could be asexual (my SO is).

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    If someone so vociferously hates vaginas, one has to assume…(He don’t like the hole, so it must be the pole).

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    If someone so vociferously hates vaginas…

    Unless you’re going by another post in another thread, eric the red didn’t say he hated vaginas.  He said he hated vagina worship.  You can want to stick your penis into a vagina without wanting to worship it.  Furthermore, he implied that he sees feminism as nothing more than the worship of vaginas, which to me suggests that he probably reduces women to nothing more than their genitals.  Heterosexual men can take such a misogynistic view of women as easily as gay men, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve been doing so for centuries.

    Also, I really dislike the framing of male homosexuality as rooted in the hatred of female genitalia (or women, in general).  Also, there seems to be a bit of “let’s call the troll gay in order to chase him off  because it’ll bother him” behind the whole thing, which also bothers me.

  • Carstonio

    Was the insult about accusing the troll of being gay? I read it as the troll being such a repulsive being that no woman would ever sleep with him. I would have chosen a wording that meant that no one of any sexual identity would sleep with him.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    I read it as the troll being sucha  repulsive being that no woman would ever sleep with him

    Is it even necessary to say that?  I mean, whatever happened to, “What you said is garbage and adds nothing of value in terms of discourse”?  Why resort to personal insults at all?

    Granted, the insult you’re suggesting don’t have the added problems of suggesting that “being gay” is an insult or that “woman-hating” automatically implies homosexuality in men, but still.

  • Carstonio

    I mean, whatever happened to, “What you said is garbage and adds nothing of value in terms of discourse”?  Why resort to personal insults at all?

    While that’s obviously the best course, it doesn’t feel strong enough for me. I suppose I think of a troll as pushing people around, where the self-defense response would be defeating and humiliating the troll.

  • MikeJ

    Some of those buttons actually say “s”, not “f”. But it’s a nice project, even if the artwork is off.

  • P J Evans

     All the ones I see are ‘f’. Which one is an ‘s’?

  • Lee B.

     Maybe he’s never seen an italic ‘f’ before?  Or perhaps he’s confusing them with the archaic long ‘s’?  Both may be drawn with a spur on the left side of the stem, but long ‘s’ never has a bar on the right of the stem, while ‘f’ always does.

  • P J Evans

     Maybe he hasn’t. Not that italics are all that rare. (I met ſ in first-year German. where all the German parts were in fraktur.)

  • The_L1985

    I’m not the only one who noticed! :D

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    “societal decline” is such a pathetic, empty phrase. 

    Does it refer to standards-of-living, like life expectancy or crime rates? Does it refer to gross national product or gross domestic product? Distribution of wealth in a society? Median income? 

    Is this concept relate to our society as a whole, in aggregate, or when someone says “societal decline”, are they really only talking about part of society, some narrow wedge that accurately reflects only the speaker’s values and ignores the well-being of vast swathes of others? 

    It’s a pathetic, empty phrase that will never be backed by evidence, never supported with citations, and always be subject to a shifting of goalposts.

    We live in an age of longer lifespans, fewer preventable deaths, miraculous medicine, unbelievable opportunities, and all of which have never before in history been equaled, let alone surpassed. Decline? Please.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Is this concept relate to our society as a whole, in aggregate, or when someone says “societal decline”, are they really only talking about part of society, some narrow wedge that accurately reflects only the speaker’s values and ignores the well-being of vast swathes of others?

    If the part of society that is in decline is patriarchy, then I for one am happy to be a useful idiot complicit in accelerating its dissolution.  

  • http://vicwelle.wordpress.com victoria

    Shameless plug for another feminist project happening online next month:  March 15, Feminists Engage Wikipedia (hashtag #tooFEW), where folks from all over “edit certain entries and add new ones to counteract the very white straight cis able bodied western dude nature of the site.” 

    See http://crunkfeministcollective.tumblr.com/post/44087150061/feminist-poc-wikipedia-takeover-3-15-11-3-est   or  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Feminists_Engage_Wikipedia  for more info.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    I think the thing that amuses me most about MRAs is that, quite obviously, their real animus is against the patriarchal structure, insofar as I’ve never ever met one who was actually possessed of any power or influence in that structure- powerful men are often personally misogynistic and almost inevitably structurally misogynistic, but it’s such a part of that world that there’s no need for pitiable little analyses about how everything’s soooo great for women because of sitcom dads and holding the door open and and and boo hoo.

    It reminds me of growing up in the South, insofar as the most vocal racists were absolutely and universally the white guys with three teeth, seven fingers, and no education- the only ones who could sincerely believe that the whole system wasn’t designed around them, because the system had demonstrably failed them. There’s a tragedy there, though, whereas the MRAs are far more likely to be middle class and just hopelessly charmless and boorish, rather than victims of generational poverty.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    I’ve heard it said that if MRA’s really wanted to gain some credibility as a “rights organization”, they could do so fairly easily by taking on what should be an easy win: prison rape.

    It’s an issue that overwhelmingly affects men more than women.
    It’s widely viewed by educated persons as a human-rights violation.
    Given the infection and transmission rates of STI’s in prisons, it’s a public health issue, and if prisoners are contracting AIDS in prison, it’s also an issue of justice. (Sentenced for three years, but contracting a fatal disease on those three years as a predictable consequence of incarceration is simply a death sentence in disguise)

    For that matter, ending the drug war would be an easy pick-up, given how many (black) males are incarcerated for minor drug offenses, a category of crime that veyr disproportionately harms (black) men over women. 

    Of course, both of those propositions assume in good faith that the “Men’s Rights Movement” is about anything other than hatred and contempt for women. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    MRAs, like Holocaust deniers, seem primarily interested in muddying the waters of scholarship, rather than actually having any good points- they’re playing to the ‘equal and opposite’ fallacy, and trying to discredit feminists by creating some semblance of masculinism with just enough substance that people can say ‘well there are passionate people on both sides, so the right place must in the middle!’

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think you’re giving them too much credit for having some kind of strategy. They’re just misogynists who are deeply insecure about their own masculinity and can only quiet their fears by puffing out their chests and accusing other men of being unmanly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    That’s probably true of the hangers on and trolls, but I suspect the people who actually write the blogs and attempt to get things published are more like what I described- there’s frequently a psuedo academic tone to them that reminds me of Jonah Goldberg, the guy who spent years railing about how the liberals were the real Nazis, and I think there’s definitely a conscious intent to muddy the waters of discourse in both cases.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think the thing that amuses me most about MRAs is that, quite obviously, their real animus is against the patriarchal structure, insofar as I’ve never ever met one who was actually possessed of any power or influence in that structure- powerful men are often personally misogynistic and almost inevitably structurally misogynistic, but it’s such a part of that world that there’s no need for pitiable little analyses about how everything’s soooo great for women because of sitcom dads and holding the door open and and and boo hoo.

    The revolution will be fueled by dudebro tears.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Using the F-word in church… am I the only one who was thinking of another commonly used word starting with F, which is even less appropriate in church, or for that matter in several other places?

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    No, you’re not.  In fact, I assumed Fred chose his title specifically to evoke that association.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    What would be no less interesting than the feminism issue is if there was a discussion about the use of THAT particular word in the church.

  • Andrea

    Nooo, I’m pretty sure that would actually be less interesting, and definitely less useful, than “the feminism issue.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think Fred’s point is that it is wrong to consider ‘feminism’ inappropriate at all in any circumstance, never mind as inappropriate–especially in churches that follow Jesus, with his radical notions of social justice–as ‘fuck’.

  • Baby_Raptor

    No. I was all prepared for some story time.

    Not that I’m any less pleased with the actual content….This is a Very Good Thing. But story time around here is also always a good thing. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    You should reserve judgment on vaginas until you’ve actually seen one.

    ETA: Consensually.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Could we possibly not disparage EtR by implying he’s a virgin?

    …especially given that, as a virgin, I don’t really like the implication that all virgins suck.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Seconding, with the addition that having had consensual sex with a vagina person does not actually permit one to disparage women and/or vagina people.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Accusing EtR of not having had consensual sex is markedly NOT implying he’s a virgin. The implication is more that of rapist, which still isn’t true.
    I would consider hiring prostitutes neither rape nor consensual. 

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    “Until you’ve seen a vagina” is very definitely implying he has not had sex, consensual or otherwise, with a woman.

    It’s the classic “grow up, virgin” slur.

  • Victor

    (((In much of the evangelical subculture, it’s not considered necessary to argue that feminism is bad, or to defend the assumption that feminism is bad, that’s just a given.)))

    I don’t agree Fred! I went to church today and received The Bood of Christ from  a woman and my 7% “Jesus Cells” still have not told me to stop butt “I’M” sure that for a few dollars, my 92% so called sinner vic  flesh cells could be convinced that “IT” is wrong even though he honestly believes that he’s god NOW! As far as why my wife giving “IT” ALL UP, all me, myself and i can say is that “IT” is her choice and “I” certainly won’t go buy a polar bear if she so choses to go back again.

    I hear YA sinner vic! We gods think that YA are crazy and should get off  “The IN HER NET”  cause you’re getting WAY too close to “IT” if YA know what’s “I’M” talking about NOW?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtPKI43TEiE

    Very Funny sinner vic! :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_tfgNlzh5s

    Go Figure MAN!? :(

    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=18142394&postID=7314539797199361033

    GOD HELP U>S (usual sinners)

    Peace

  • flat

    ladies and gentlemen we got two new trolls here: victor and eric the red, it has been a while that we had some on slacktivist so fellow slacktivites be nice to those two.
    No name calling, no gossiping behind their backs, and please do not insult their families.

    so let’s welcome them on slacktivist.

  • Jim Roberts

    Victor isn’t new. He’s been around for a good long while and is less a troll and more a . . . well, I’ve categorized him as a “sinner vic.” If it’s good enough for him . . .

  • flat

    Yeah I know but I thought it would be nice to welcome them both at once so they don’t feel shy here.

  • Jim Roberts

    Ah, yes, it would be nice if they felt comfortable telling us how they really feel . . .

  • Victor

    Thanks Jim for the support….Just read “IT” NOW! :)

    Hey if “I’M” right about YA, our Canadians are doing great but our Canadian Maple Leaf are going to have to change their name cause after teasing them for years, that the leaves always fall in the fall in Canada and long story short, last year I would have bet at the starting of the year that they would have made the play off!

    Hey Victor! The Canadians beat the leaves last night and that’s cause they’ve got their Her Cheerie back whom players love to ride if ya get my drift NOW?

    sinner vic, ya mean Michael Ryder, the new old player like Jim Roberts, don’t YA NOW?

    Better stop NOW! :)

    Peace

  • The_L1985

     I don’t think Victor ever has felt shy here.  (Hi, Victor!)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Victor isn’t new. He’s been around for a good long while and is less a troll and more a . . . well, I’ve categorized him as a “sinner vic.” If it’s good enough for him . . .

    I tend to think of Victor as being something akin to a forum dada artist.  He takes an opposition stance relative to Fred, but does so in a form of friendly language.  The non-sequitur’s of his posts and links serve to divert the mind and by doing so act as a foil for his meanings.  As for the meanings themselves, I get the feeling that they are buried somewhere deep within the text, his explanations and allusions pointing at something buried deep between the lines rather than in the text itself.  

    It is a fascinating study of an artist.  

  • JustoneK

    Whatever else Victor is, he’s civil.

  • Victor

    (((It is a fascinating study of an artist. )))

    You really are a Fearles Son but YA better stop cause trust “ME”, “ME” and “ME”,  YA don’t want sinner vic to go there NOW!

    Piece. :)

  • flat

    No offence but I don’t know what the hell victor is talking about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Neither do I, but he is entertaining. I’ve run into him before on the Splendor of Truth website: http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    No offence but I don’t know what the hell victor is talking about.

    Ah, but that is the beauty of his art!  The confusion is intentional, something to stoke the flames of the mind in a vain attempt to find meaning, and be enlightened by the doing.  

    Think of it like a Zen Koan, something to meditate on that has no definite solution or meaning, but imparts a lesson by the consideration all the same.

  • Victor

    ((((No name calling, no gossiping behind their backs, and please do not insult their families.)))

    Flat! You know what YA can do NOW!

    I hear YA! Go “F” myself? :)

    For the record, I’ve been visiting Fred’s blog since my first two blogs and although I’ve closed both of them because, I honestly believed that I was too hard while being too honest, butt Flat, I ask you where do you come from? Really NOW!

    You know what they say Victor about “IT” being too hot in the kitchen!?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE6iAjEv9dQ

    Go Figure! “I” think that Victor is his own worst enemy NOW! :)

    Who’s laughing? :(

    Peace

  • The_L1985

    I know this may shock you, but female organs don’t actually have teeth. ;)

  • AnonymousSam

    A suggested choice of rephrase: “It’s no surprise Eric doesn’t think much of women. It’s not like women have any reason to think much of him.”

    That can mean many things to many people. Choose what you find most damning. For me, it’s simply that being a disrespectful shithead has a way of making people think you’re a disrespectful shithead. Imagine that!

  • MaryKaye

    Folks, you’re allowing feeding the troll to choke off actual discussion; please don’t.

    Why do you think the blog-fest Fred links to is happening *now*?  Is it a reaction to recent politics?  To the “there really aren’t many Christian women bloggers” controversy?  Just a change in the Evangelical weather?

  • AnonymousSam

    Are you kidding? We can go wildly off-topic from a misplaced comment on Equestrian politics. A troll is nothing but entertainment and an opportunity for some navel gazing. ^^

    I’m thinking it’s just an isolated example, but it’d be nice to see them get with the times and stop insisting that feminism must be some kind of bogeyman on a level with Sathaneism. It’s sad to see so much objection to people wanting to be treated as equals.

  • reynard61

    “We can go wildly off-topic from a misplaced comment on Equestrian politics.”

    So, does anyone else think that Princess Twilight should get to create her own Principality? (For the record, I do. If Princess Cadence can take over the Crystal Empire pretty much by fait accompli, then Princess Twily darn well deserves some lands of her own.)

  • flat

    I think twilight will start out from golden oaks library and then will work her way up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    I’m still holding out for her taking the Great and Powerful Trixie as a student, and eventually raising her to alicorn status, after which they will declare Ponyville a sovreign principality.
    I can dream, at least. Or write the damn fanfic myself…

    What’s that? On topic comments? Well, ok, I must admit, I was surprised to see a full 100%-clear paragraph by Victor earlier? Oh, you meant relevant to Fred’s post. Well, nice to see feminism being acknowledged somewhere I didn’t expect, but widespread feminism still has a way to go, I fear. In other news, water is wet and Generallismo Fransisco Franco is still dead.

  • reynard61

    “I can dream, at least. Or write the damn fanfic myself…”

    I look forward to reading it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    Look long, I fear. I’m not a good writer, and I lose motivation fast :/. I think we’re better off finding someone with actual skill to write it.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    So, does anyone else think that Princess Twilight should get to create her own Principality? (For the record, I do. If Princess Cadence can take over the Crystal Empire pretty much by fait accompli, then Princess Twily darn well deserves some lands of her own.)

    On this subject I have some confusion.  Since when did Twilight Sparkle become an Equestrian princess?  True, her brother married into royalty, but I do not know if that grants her a royal title under Equestrian law.  

    I think that it is somewhat moot anyway, as Princess* Celestia is effectively immortal, as is Princess Luna.  Should either one be killed, the other would probably be next in line to assume total power.  It would require some kind of coup and execution before the next in line to rule is even considered.  

    * Incidentally for those unfamiliar, Lauren Faust initially wanted Celestia to have a grander title more in line with her actual position, like “Queen” or “Empress”.  However, the Hasbro executives vetoed that idea, saying that generations of Disney and other media have left little girls with the impression that “princesses” are good and “queens” and “empresses” are bad, so they needed to make her a princess if they wanted the toys to sell (which is the whole point of their funding a show in the first place.)

  • reynard61

    “On this subject I have some confusion. Since when did Twilight Sparkle become an Equestrian princess?”

    In the last episode of Season 3, Gjvyvtug vf ghearq vagb na Nyvpbea naq vf pbasreerq gur Gvgyr.

    Perhaps Princess Celestia could; with Luna’s approval of course; give Twilight Ponyville, the Everfree Forest, the old Castle and some of the surrounding land? (Negotiating the necessary treaties regarding economic aid and commerce should be…interesting. There’s probably some great fanfic material in there if anyone wants it. I’m too busy, myself.)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Ah, fair enough.  I have only watched up through the end of Seasons 2.  

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Twilight Sparkle has a brother?

    …I am so behind.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Twilight Sparkle has a brother?

    …I am so behind.

    The rest of the mane cast did not know either.  Her older brother lives in Canterlot, and was the only friend she had prior to meeting the rest of the mane cast.  He is captain of the Royal Guard, who protect Canterlot, Celestia, and her relatives.  His name is, appropriately, “Shining Armor”.  Twilight was frustrated to learn that her only information that he was getting married came when she got a mailed invitation, but the lack of information was due to a communication and travel embargo imposed on Canterlot as a security measure due to a threat until the nature of the threat could be ascertained.

  • Wednesday

    I’m not sure how I feel about Twilight taking over a region to rule — founding a new Princessipality in otherwise-empty land and inviting ponies to move there would be fine, but it’s a little weird to me for her to just take over a group of ponies who don’t currently have a ruler. (Granted, princess in Equestria seems to be a little like a D&D class, so maybe it comes with a +5 to all charisma checks with your potential subjects?)

    I’d be happy with her founding a university/university town, though. Not that Celestia hasn’t founded schools herself, but Twilight is such a learning geek that I think she’d make a good Patron Princess of Learning Stuff.

    Side note: I am sad that Earth Ponies don’t get anything special, and Dr. Whooves is an Earth Pony, so in my headcannon Time Lord is a secret analog  to the alicorn royalty, but open only to Earth Ponies. The alicorn royals deal with overt threats and governance, and Time Lords deal with more covert things — encroaching parallel universes, alien invasions, etc.   Pinkie Pie is on the list of candidates for promotion, and the parasprite invasion was allowed to happen by the local Time Lord as a test to see how she’d handle it.
    end{fanfic}

  • Lori

    Why do you think the blog-fest Fred
    links to is happening *now*?  Is it a reaction to recent politics? 
    To the “there really aren’t many Christian women bloggers”
    controversy?  Just a change in the Evangelical weather? 

    My guess is that it’s largely a reaction to recent politics, even if some of that reaction is subconscious. It’s really hard to look at the last few years of Right wing policy and fail to grasp on some level that Christian men really don’t have women’s best interests at heart. Once you notice that you tend to also notice that nothing good comes from women keeping silent.

  • Cortney Stone

    Adding another link here, this time about feminism at a Southern Baptist university (in the interest of full disclosure, I wrote this blog entry): http://saveobu.blogspot.com/2013/02/thy-daughters-true-feminism-at-obu-part.html

  • reynard61

    “Doubling down on the vag worship, I see. Good for you.”

    And thou art not of Woman born?

  • MaryKaye

    There’s a classic _Far Side_ cartoon where the dog owner is saying “You peed on the sofa, Ginger!  Bad dog, Ginger!  Bad dog!” and the dog is hearing “blah blah Ginger! blah blah Ginger!  blah blah” and doesn’t mind in the least.

    It’s very likely that responses to trolls have much the same effect.  If someone is hyper-aggressively rude they have heard a *lot* of comebacks in their life.  They probably don’t care.  The idea that a sufficiently humiliating comeback will make them stop is a pipe dream:  it just goes into the “Hey, someone responded!  I win!” bin.

    (There is also a cat version of that cartoon, where the owner says the same thing to Fluffy, and Fluffy hears….nothing.  Having four cats myself, I can relate.)

  • Cathy W

    I’ve started just flagging his comments as inappropriate (since he’s not attempting to do more than make drive-by personal attacks) and getting on with my life. Thing is, I don’t know if it’s doing any good…

  • Lliira

     Your not responding to him is doing good.

    Two pages of most everyone lavishing attention on a misogynist troll. No discussion of the topic at hand. Because “look at the ludicrously misogynist things the misogynist troll is saying” is, at best, not conducive to discussion. At worst, it’s just throwing those things in everyone’s faces over and over and over again.

    No one is going to come to Fred’s blog and think that our not dogpiling a misogynist troll who rarely comments means we agree with him. Many people will roll their eyes and walk away, knowing this is a place that feeds trolls. A few people will realize that this blog feeds trolls, and that Fred hardly ever bans anyone, and so this is an absolutely glorious place to troll.

  • Victor

    (((No one is going to come to Fred’s blog and think that our not dogpiling a misogynist troll who rarely comments means we agree with him. )))

    To be honest, “I” love comming here but that little retardo “ONE” cell soul of Victor thinks that he’s better than we 92% godly cells who have tough skin and keep his so called 7%”Jesus Cells”in honest check until we can take full control of His Milky WAY once and for ALL TIMES if YA get my drift and buy, I mean by the way, Victor also says high, I mean by the way Victor says “I” to you too LLiira! :)  

    Not funny anymore sinner vic! Let’s move on Christians cause after all “IT” is LENT NOW! :(
    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/pat-archbold/the-catholic-owners-manual

    OH Lighten UP Victor cause we won’t shut Down until you shut UP NOW!

    Go Figure folks

    Peace

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Aw Victor, no one is telling you to shut up.  We love you too!  :)

  • Victor

    (((Aw Victor, no one is telling you to shut up. We love you too! :)FearlessSon, I just came back from church and believe “IT” or not “I” brought sinner vic with me to a mock crucifiction of GOD’s ONLY BEGOTTEN SON and long story short, sinner vic told me that if we’re not careful, our soul, that little retardo “ONE” of mine might need to repeat “IT” in Reality if me, myself and i don’t smarten UP NOW!I hear YA sinner vic! Some things are BEST not repeated here if YA know what “I” mean Victor NOW?We love you too! SCARRY NOW!WHO SAID THAT? :)Peace

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Reporting is utterly useless, unfortunately. Winston Blake proved that.

    @ac97e522d58be162ad1e03f69676dae6:disqus : That’s a great visual aid; I’ll need to steal that in the future. They’re after attention and they probably prefer negative to positive attention anyways.

    @fd03798c4a89342e888e5ab07b211dc4:disqus : Seconding everything you said, three times over. I really wish people here would stop being so eager to feed our trolls; you’d think some of them had never been on the internet before.

    That being the case, and in the interest of making this a better place to post, I think we need to just get Fred’s attention and let him know that his police of never banning people isn’t going to work on Patheos.

  • JustoneK

    If there is something to actually deter them, I’d love to hear it.  As it is, taunting the fear demon is something I generally find vaguely amusing and slightly less than nothing – and as I understand it, letting trollish comments pass as if normal also sends the message that they’re worth tolerating.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I agree.  I tend to think that feeding the trolls involves giving in to the anger they are trying to provoke.  But to pick apart their arguments, and give the absurd parts of it the mocking such absurdity deserves, is I feel an entertaining way to fill up comments on a thread.  

  • vsm

    That only applies if there’s lots of troll replies. In the sea of progressiveness that is The Slacktivist’s comments threads, no one would think our friend’s views are considered acceptable. Lliira is absolutely right here.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    I really wish people here would stop being so eager to feed our trolls

    FWIW, I agree with the “starve the trolls” strategy, but after being
    told repeatedly and heatedly by a few of the more active posters at the time that not paying  attention to trolls here was seen as a way of endorsing their wrongness and Very Very Bad, I ultimately accepted that feeding the trolls was a Slacktivist-comment-thread policy and switched to different strategies.

    These days, I take as the sign that I’m engaging with them usefully that they don’t reply to my responses.

    That said, I’m willing to switch back, if the prevailing winds have changed, which it sounds like perhaps they have.

    I wish there were some way to poll the community on questions like this, but given that it only takes one or two active troll-feeders to make troll-feeding the local policy no matter how many troll-starvers there are, I guess I’ll just ask whether anyone currently believes that paying attention to trolls here (e.g., by yelling at them, engaging with their arguments, etc.) is something we actively ought to be doing?

    If nobody says “yes, I do, and I’ll keep doing it!” I will switch back to troll-starving and see what happens.

  • Cathy W

    The thing is, not all trolls are created equal.

    I figured “Eric the Red” is a drive-by – from what I’ve seen he rarely, if ever, posts more than once on any given thread. He comes in, takes a dump on the living room rug, and then runs off to watch the chaos. He’s not derailing the thread – he’s making us derail it for him, and probably takes us calling him names as a sign that he’s “doing it right”. In the meantime, Obvious Troll Is Obvious; I don’t think anyone will mistake him for a valued community member.

    I don’t think there’s a damn thing we can do to make him stop, unless someone with the keys to the ban-hammer becomes bothered enough to use it – so we need to make him lose interest.  

    (If I can make a suggestion – wasn’t there a time-honored tradition in some corners of the Internet involving sharing a recipe if you just couldn’t let Obvious Troll pass un-commented, feeding the community rather than feeding the troll?)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Obvious Troll Is Obvious; I don’t think anyone will mistake him for a valued community member.

    Well, yes, agreed.
    Are there trolls around you think might reasonably be mistaken for valued community members?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     The thing is that the whole “don’t feed the trolls” thing is pretty much exactly the same as “Just ignore the bully and he’ll get bored and go away.”  It’s (1) Only sometimes true and (2) never advice given out of a sincere desire to stop the bully from hurting people, only out of a sincere desire to stop your* problem with the bully from becoming my** problem with “The interaction between you and the bully being a disruption”

    Sometimes the bully gets bored. Sometimes he escalates to hitting you with a two-by-four.

    (* “you” being the person being told not to feed the troll/bully)
    (** “me” being the person saying “just ignore him”)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I will leave aside your assertions about my motives, which are largely irrelevant here, and I will take this as an instance of “yes, I do, and I’ll keep doing it!”, which is of course your right. Thanks.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I wasn’t trying to speak to your motives specifically, but to where that piece of “conventional wisdom” originates. Not from any real basis to believe that trolls leave when ignored, but from the belief that one troll spewing shit is less disruptive than a full-on flamewar. Which is true, but ignores the bit where the person being trolled is expected to just suck it up and live with the abuse.

  • vsm

    Well, trolls certainly aren’t going to leave if they are engaged, and sometimes they spread the word. It’s not very fun when your online community gains a reputation for lax moderation and guaranteed replies. Then again, grinning and bearing isn’t that nice either. The best solution would stricter moderation, at least for the really obvious cases like Winston Blake and Eric here.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     @vsm:twitter : Really? Have we not seen that time and again, trolls lose interest not because we ignored them, but because we publicly humiliated them?

    Or do you mean that every troll we’ve ever seen and engaged is still here?

  • vsm

    I don’t think you can humiliate a troll, since negative responses is exactly what they’re trying to get. Eric here knows exactly what kind of a response he will get and enjoys it. Those who are sincere enough to be humiliated probably aren’t trolls, like the weirdass Lutherans a few threads back. Engaging people like that is a different matter and might even be useful.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    For my own part, I often observe that when Internet commenters say something abusive, and are engaged with, they respond by repeating the abuse.

    I understand that for many people, that’s better than if the trolls aren’t engaged with in the first place… the resulting struggle makes them feel supported and safe and defended. And I endorse them being made to feel that way, and if engaging with trolls is the best way to do that, then I endorse engaging with trolls, because making the people in our community feel supported and safe and defended is really important.

    I’m not one of those people. If MrX drops by and starts abusing queer people, and fifteen people engage with MrX in consequence, I typically feel much worse than if MrX is ignored. The fact that people are insulting my abuser doesn’t actually make me feel any better.

    Perhaps that’s wrong of me, and I ought to feel better, but in fact I don’t.

    Which is fine; it’s not about me, and there’s no reason to prioritize making me feel better over making other people feel better. Different people need different things, and I endorse making the people in our community who feel supported and safe and defended when their abusers are attacked feel supported and safe and defended by attacking their abusers, regardless of how that strategy makes me feel when my abusers are attacked.
    never advice given out of a sincere desire to stop the bully from hurting people, only out of a sincere desire to stop your* problem with the bully from becoming my**
    problem with “The interaction between you and the bully being a
    disruption” – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/28/saying-the-f-word-in-church/#comment-817457793

  • Carstonio

    My frustration is that these folks can push others around and remain beyond the reach of justice. It’s not like we can cause their keyboards to give them painful shocks, or remotely melt their motherboards into slags.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I guess I’ll just ask whether anyone currently believes that paying attention to trolls here (e.g., by yelling at them, engaging with their arguments, etc.) is something we actively ought to be doing?

    Yes.

    Largely because, when men say out loud that women ought to shut up (and so forth), I feel like crawling away, hiding in a box, and hugging my knees. Despite knowing how wrong they theoretically are, the only way I feel that they actually are wrong is when I see other people actively tell them how wrong they are.

    People engaging with trolls here makes me feel safer.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Cool. Thanks for replying.
    Incidentally, I’m sorry this is true, but given that it’s true, I endorse you getting what you need in order to feel safer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Two of my favorite Far Sides. Me, I’m allowed to live in my house as long as I play doorman for my maste–cats. There’s five of them. I have very busy days.

  • cyllan

    Fred does not never ban people. He has banned three that I am aware of.  I do wish he would swing a mallet a little more frequently, but his policies (and it is entirely possible that there is behind the scenes activities that we never see) seem to generally provide him with the commentators that he wants. So, as much as I would love to see him delete the really obvious trolls and jerks, I can not say that he should change because I do not know what he wants for his blog.

    I keep waiting for it to descend into mass chaos, and yet…it hasn’t yet.

  • AnonymousSam

    Somehow, I don’t think Fred had a grand purpose in allowing Winston Blake to spam pornographic youtube links for several weeks, even if his occasional deigning to call us all “religious phucks and phaggots” was supposed to be an opportunity to reach out and embrace him as a brother in Christ. :p

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    We get some occasional chaos, but it seems to blow over eventually, like a storm.  

    I suspect Fred only intervenes if he suspects that the issue will not end without his intercession.  He does seem to sooth particularly flamey threads by addressing concerns in follow up posts though.  

  • http://www.fromtwotoone.com/ Danielle | from two to one

    Well, this comment section sure is interesting, but I just stopped by to say thank you, Fred, for linking to #FemFest this week and some of our posts.

  • AnonymousSam

    Sometimes it’s useful to respond, sometimes it’s useful to ignore, and sometimes it’s completely irrelevant. I’m not really convinced that this thread would have reached three pages of discussion had everyone decided not to respond to one thing in particular.

  • Andsstudy

    Wow. Lots of very rude people comment here. Chill out folks.

    Did think though that it’s a bit cheeky of the author to write that in evangelicalism feminism is presumed to be bad and never argued against. Lots of thoughtful evangelicals, both men and women, have produced all sorts of arguments (good and bad) against it.

    Suggesting they haven’t is doing to others the very same thing you’re accusing them of doing to you.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fred Clark and …crap, what’s her face, Year of Biblical Womanhood. They exist and are evangelicals arguing in favor of feminism, yes. What’s your point? If it’s that Fred Clark and YBW author are considered evangelicals by the rest of the evangelical community, present your evidence, please.


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