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Ohio girl suspended for long hair... oh, no, wait. Girls can have long hair. Ohio BOY suspended...

Sent to the home-site listed email address of
Kim Redmond, Superintendent
Canton Local Schools
(Staff Directory)
(Board of Education)

One of the first news stories to show up on my browser this morning offered an outsider from across the state a clear picture of the educational environment provided at Canton Local Schools.

Ohio Student Suspended for Growing Out Hair to Donate     

According to the story, Zachary Aufderheide (17) of Canton, Ohio, is growing his hair out for donation to cancer patients.   

The Canton local school district has a dress code which states that boys' hair (specifically boys' hair only) shall not be worn covering the eyes, in a ponytail, or extending beyond the bottom of the regular shirt collar. There is no mention of such a stipulation for girls.    
    
The school is so committed to its code that administrators were willing to deny the student the chance to expand his learning experiences beyond academics to maintaining a dedication to a charitable act; growing out ten inches of hair healthy enough to be accepted by Locks of Love. In other words, these administrators are so sexist, they're willing to deny the student the positive experience of benevolent activism in his community in order to enforce the gender stereotype that short hairstyles are the only hairstyles appropriate for men. As an added bonus, they get to to deny some kid with cancer the comfort that comes with having something to help him or herself look less sick and vulnerable while fighting the disease. What a great policy!

On one hand, the dress code must be very helpful in moderating student behavior.
As we all know from the Bible, read extensively in public schools, cutting a dude's hair takes away the source of the Sampson-like super-strength he might use for unruly behavior, right? Oh, public schools don't follow biblical doctrine, and that's not why?

Well then... as we all know from... uh, assumption, a dude's hair is an extension of his brain cells that can be corrupted if it grows too far beyond his scalp, causing irrational behavior and... no?

Well then... it must be because only sissies have long hair, like these total milquetoasts, for examp...  no, I guess that's not right either.

I know what it is. Guys with long hair are slackers who never amount to anything. Just take these hooligans, for examp... nope.

Darn... I can't think of any good reason why this rule either is merited, or is not sexist.  

At least the harsh punishment involved has had a controlling impact on Aufderheide's behavior. I mean, they did succeed in making him...

Oh. No, they didn't. He's still growing it out. He's attending in-school suspension, but he's not cutting his hair until it reaches the required length. That is a sure demonstration of the effectiveness of the policy. 

On the other hand Mr. Aufderheide can say the experience has been educational. In addition to gaining a deeper awareness of the value and personal reward which comes from using civil disobedience for the achievement of a positive goal, the young man is getting a first-hand lesson in the senseless, ineffective rigidity of bureaucratic adherence to an outdated, unnecessary and nonfunctional policy. Here's hoping he'll take his newfound insight on the power and stupidity of the stuffed shirt into a position of some leadership in his adult life, where he can be the guy who doesn't do something like this to somebody else.

In short, your administration is handing academic punishment (which could impact on the student's academic and employment future) in response to a student's heinous act of charitable giving, because he is a dude.

Yeah, that'll teach him! Congratulations to whatever Barney Fife wannabe made such a well-thought-out and even-handed decision. You should be very proud.

Sincerely,

Another Ohio Mom
  

Violentcensorz: The New Thought Police

According to the post, Wong's entire take on the issue revolves around the use of the term "free speech" to justify inaction on all points in the controversy (outside of that which keeps Reddit on the acceptable side of the law.) The administrators are expected to not ban what Wong refers to as "distasteful content," meaning that regardless of the stated motives of Gawker's writers and Reddit's "fempire," in the long run, their efforts (and in particular, the choice to dox) have accomplished nothing. Even with the violentacrez persona gone, there will continue to be content on reddit which the "fempire" finds offensive.

Except, well, that isn't entirely the case. The administrators have banned some distasteful content. Subreddits begun to replace r/creepshots have all disappeared within days of their creation, even though the content is not illegal, but merely distasteful. It appears that contrary to Wong's statement, at least some content is being censored on that basis. However, voyeur and porn subs with women as the target audience are still all up and running.

Chen also quotes Wong as coming out against the multi-mod boycott of Gawker, with reasons ranging from warning of bad public relations ("gawker exposes creepster; reddit engages in personal vendetta to defend pedophile," an assessment which glosses over the fact that while creepster may have accurate connotations, pedophile is not a fair description of violentacrez) to the assertion that the ban would have little impact on Gawker's traffic. Finally, Wong is quoted as further stating reddit's commitment to free speech, pointing out that "opponents have the right to write about us." He goes on to say that while reddit's administrators do consider doxxing a form of violence, and reddit enforces an anti-dox policy on site, "we can only affect the opinion of others outside of reddit via moral suasion and setting an example." He names journalism as a form of speech that reddit will not ban, and asks that mods explain if they disagree.

I disagree, not that journalism is a form of speech that deserves to be protected, but that Gawker's content can in any way be defined as journalism following this incident.

This occurred after Gawker hosted feminist blog Jezebel stirred up outrage by falsely inflating and demonizing the nature of subreddits which the writers and their feminist readers disapproved because they involved men looking at women and because women as a group were not in control of that behavior. The resulting brouhaha was rooted in a serious, compelling, and frequently discussed men's rights issue: The denigration of male sexuality. While not everything within the controversy can apply to every man, the pared down, unvarnished reality is that the basis for targeting creepshots and by extension violentacrez was that the target audience for the sub was men. There was no equal outrage (or any, that I saw) over similar subs with a female target-audience... and while some women of reddit may rationalize with statements as to how the lady-voyeur subreddits are nicer about it, when broken down to the bare truth those subreddits are still voyeur subs... which didn't even register on Gawker's radar.

The creepshots controversy was exacerbated and further escalated by feminist redditors both contributing and reacting to the initial posturing, largely within the context of their own sexist attitudes toward men.
Then, Gawker's Adrian Chen capitalized on that artificially inspired, Gawker-influinced, falsely inflated outrage by deliberately mischaracterizing the content of several of the subs VA modded (including those he did not even create) and associating that mischaracterization with VA's real name - simultaneously assassinating both VA's reputation and personal privacy for nothing more than page views, and the only reason Chen is getting any support for his actions is that his target was a man. The site used reddit's true sexism against its own members. The "fempire" and its fans got played big time by Gawker. Baker and Chen used the core ideology of feminism to fuel manufactured indignation over an inflated issue, manipulated them into an outraged frenzy of calls for doxxing. Gawker dramatized that, and then delivered... all to garner page views for ad revenue. And those pharisaical, fractious twits fell for it because they were more eager to be victorious than virtuous.

And while all of the creepshots-themed subreddits with their clothed photos of people in public are down... the "no-fusking" fusking sub is still active.

Whether intended to be so or not, the doxxing of violentacrez and several creepshots subscribers was a direct attack on the speech of redditors by Gawker's writers. In building, stoking, inflating, and exploiting the controversy over r/creepshots, violentacrez, and the other subs he moderated, culminating with the doxxing articles, Gawker's writers have communicated to redditors some very specific threats.

They have told us that they can manipulate public opinion unchecked by fact, because their readers do not bother to look for themselves. They have told us that they can lie about us and be believed, because those among our own fellow redditors who may disagree with us will repeat those lies until the lies become common "knowledge." They have told us that they can create distorted characterizations of us, and through promotion on their blogs, enforce those characterizations upon our reputations. They have told us they can raise lynch mobs against individuals they do not like.

They have told us that they're willing to use those capabilities to control our online activity. They have shown us they will use those methods to censor our speech to suit their approval.

Essentially, they have told us that Gawker will now be reddit's content editors; don't post anything the writers of Gawker disapprove, or you will be attacked, slandered, and publicly sacrificed, just like violentacrez. The site is now in position to act as Reddit's Inquisitor Haereticae Pravitatis with Chen waiting to jump into action at the behest of the "fempire's" hysterical finger-pointing... or the promise of web traffic... whichever comes first.

Now, I only wonder how long Gawker's bloggers are going to continue milk this controversy for "content."

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Anatomy of a manufactured controversy (4)

And what was the response of reddit's feminist population to the change at r/creepshots? Was there a decision to celebrate the victory and move on to another subreddit, where further attention may be needed?

No.

The "fempire's" next  step was doxxing, or the publication of one's personal or identifying information online. A tumbler thread was launched for the purpose of compiling and publicizing information on posting members of Reddit's most hated forums, including their real names, other social network profile information, where they live, and any other information the thread's creator could obtain. Also included on the thread is one of Paypal's donate buttons. Doxxing for dollars - sounds like a great name for a new game show.

And of course, on October 10, another Jezebel post was published to cheer "Samantha," (not her real name) guaranteed to steer traffic to her thread.

Shut down creepshots... because now, it was no longer about real predatory behavior, no longer about images of underage girls. It was about control, and about punishing redditors for publishing content which "Samantha" and other reddit feminists do not approve, regardless of whether or not it was actually criminal. Baker's post also introduced a new element to the story - a direct threat to one of the subreddit's moderators - in a link to what appears to be a forwarded message containing a threat and demands.



Also linked in the article was a shitredditsays meta post reminding users that doxxing is bad and lamenting their sub's bad public relations problem.

Coincidentally, that same day, SRS celebrated the takeover of r/violentacrez, calling it "the Fempire's new sub dedicated to calling out reddit's many pedos and pedo apologists."

This combination made it very difficult for other redditors to accept the story that r/shitredditsays had nothing to do with the doxxing threat, or later the doxxing of violentacrez, even after we learned that the blackmail image was from a message sent to another mod, not violentacrez.

On October 12, Adrian Chen published a post on Gawker disclosing violentacrez's real name, the type of business for which he worked, and the state in which he lives. The post sensationalized and expanded every negative characteristic Chen could attribute to violentacrez, even going so far as to pair the image of his face in a red monotone alongside the zombified version of the reddit alien which violentacrez has been selling on t-shirts. The post was a combined biography and indictment of the persona and history of Reddit's violentacrez, with potshots taken at not just him, but also at reddit's administrators, and the overall moderation system.

Chen also described knowing the effect his decision was going to have on the life of the man behind violentacrez, stating that Brutsch told him that he'd lose his job, and that his wife was disabled. He pointed out that his enemies would "start attaching lies to his name because they simply don't like his views." Chen admits in the article that the conversation shook him up. However, it didn't stop him from going through with the dox. Buried in the depths of the article, near the end, he excuses his damaging, personal attack on Brutsch with references to creepshots and a questionable age reference, as if claiming an altruistic motive for the act.

Given Gawker's propensity for similar behavior, I highly doubt that is the case.

In a comment on Reddit, Brutsch offered a rebuttal of the false information contained in Chen's post. Turns out there were several details on which the "journalist" failed to stick to facts.

On October 15th, Chen published another post, in which he briefly reiterated his assertions about Brutsch, gloated over the fact that his original post had, in fact, resulted in job loss for Brutsch, and then went on to whine about the choice of a number of subreddit moderators to boycott Gawker over the dox.


On October 16th, Chen published another post containing a statement to reddit's moderators and administrators from Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, interspersed with some of Chen's own thoughts.


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Anatomy of a manufactured controversy (3)


Reddit's administrators did not cater to the whims of the "fempire" by bringing the ban hammer down on everything they wanted gone. In response, r/shitredditsays went into overdrive with a little noticed and highly ineffective campaign against their parent site, complete with efforts to contact media outlets and even Reddit's advertisers. Another article appeared on Jezabel, this time praising the efforts of r/shitredditsays with the headline "Reddit Users Go Rogue, Revolt Against Sick Child Porn Forums." 

The first half of the post is dedicated to ridiculing reddit in general, followed by a list of the offending subreddits, and a description of the Project Panda effort to bring them all down. Highlighted in the story is a quote from one redditor encouraging others to contact and manipulate the members of churches and local parent-teacher associations, as well as administrators at universities, and to contact media outlets with the story. The quote finishes with an excited tone, "Do you know how BORING local news is? Can you imagine if your local news could run a "IS YOUR CHILD POSTING IN A PEDOPHILE WEBSITE? STATISTICALLY THERE'S AN 80% CHANCE!" story? Holy shitballs they'd be all over it."

Here, we have our first taste of ego-centric sensationalism in the story: redditors planning to use exaggerated to fictional scare tactics on parents and teachers as a means of attacking disapproved posting by fellow redditors.  

Up to this point, the effort was largely about censorship. The SRS outcry over voyeur subreddits included a mix of legitimate complaints and hyperbole. Images of teens in school were protested side by side with photographs of adults. The group tossed around descriptive words in discussion to associate negative connotations with the subreddits they disapprove. Subjective terms and phrases like creepy, sexualized, quazi-pornographic, predatory, and sexually suggestive were applied to photos of clothed people in ordinary circumstances, like this image from one of the demonized subs:
Mom! Reddit is staring at me again! Make it stop!
Reality check: Is it illegal for an adult to look at an ordinary, clothed photo of a teen? No. Was posting photos like the above illegal? No. Was the choice by some redditors to take photos at school and post them online something that should have been addressed in this manner? No. That is an issue for school administrators to address with the students directly, an action which would have followed a properly executed awareness campaign, had one been used.

Were there aspects of these subs which deserved Project Panda's attention?

Absolutely. 


This was actually worth addressing. As the originator of this post, SpencerTracyMorgan (creep shamer extraordinaire, according to the flair that shows up on r/shitredditsays) says in the text, Weagleweaglewde was in position of power - a teacher, in charge of classrooms. Publishing photos of his students online was an abuse of that power. Those involved in Project Panda were right to hone in on that lead and pursue it.

The situation came to a head when a student at a Georgia high school recognized fellow students, figured out who was posting, and alerted school administrators, leading to the teacher's subsequent firing as well as a criminal investigation. A rule on r/creepshots was posted stating that no photos of minors were to be posted; only images of adults were acceptable, and another moderator was brought in to ensure the content was limited to legal images which fit within that rule.

That sounds like a victory. The concerned citizens of Reddit addressed a legitimate issue within the community and inspired a shady subreddit to clean up its act. Time to move on to the next target, possibly to address Reddit's serious fusking problem, right?

Well, no. Not exactly.

Jezebel's post on the successful removal of the creep-shot teacher was more of a complaint about the continued existence of the forum. As if the distinction of legality were irrelevant, author Erin Gloria Ryan blazed past the victory into a feminist rant insinuating that the admonition that public places are public equals an assertion that women are public property.



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Anatomy of a manufactured controversy (2)

Project Panda, SRS's greatest celebration of itself as Reddit's thought police, appears to be an all-out war on the posting of voyeuristic images on reddit.

Announcement of attack on Reddit's Revenue for purposes of imposing the "fempire's" will upon the community.






Call to action with list of Reddit's advertisers, continuing the effort.

Comment from a thread discussing "voyeur" subreddits; an early indication that r/creepshots would bear the brunt of the attack


Since r/creepshots is down, there is no way to judge for yourself how benign or pervy these photos are, right? I mean, you can't see any of them, so how would you know? Well, you can see one. Jezebel was kind enough to highlight teen_in_grocery_store in a post, and clicking on it still leads to the imgur file.
Quick! Naked legs! Avert thine eyes, oh chaste reader!
Oh, the horror, that one's exposed legs might be seen by people when one wanders through areas open to the public while wearing shorts! Such an abuse must not be tolerated. To arms! To arms! Er, or legs. Whatever.

While this is not the most offensive image r/creepshots had to offer (or even offensive at all,) it is fairly representative of what I found upon checking out the thread to see what the big deal was. I learned that apparently, the big deal is that feminists treat looking at people as a form of sexual assault.

The compiled list of disapproved subs was fairly long, including everything from subreddits dedicated to candid shots in public areas to subreddits dedicated to specific sports (because women should be encouraged to participate in sports, but dear God, no one should ever watch us compete!) On the list was the subreddit dedicated to the secret harvesting of nude photos from unsuspecting photobucket users. Also included was the notorious (due to much exaggeration) r/creepshots. Conspicuously absent from that list was any subreddit dedicated to female voyeurism of males.

In other words, guys... the "fempire" says you can't look at us, but we're allowed to creep on you all we want. Nya, nya, nya, dudes. And that's not sexist at all, right? (Do I really need an /s here?)

Included in the lament was the complaint that some forums "are hidden and invite only which makes it impossible to know how many actually exist." Oh, poor SRS - so disheartened by the knowledge that something you abhor might exist online and you don't have the opportunity to seek it out whine about seeing it.

Project Panda continued, with SRS members and the rest of reddit's self-titled  "fempire" compiling lists of disapproved redditors and subreddits, and generally raising a huge fuss over their offense at the knowledge that some people guys might be looking at other people gals without permission. Much attention was garnered by the effort within the gender-attentive parts of the reddit community... so why wasn't this huge movement mentioned in Jezebel's initial article?

Simple. The article predates the outrage at r/shitredditsays. The majority of members hadn't even noticed the voyeur  subreddits until after Jezebel had an article about it. In fact, you can see from Andy Manly's comment that the first attempt to even address the issue occurred on the same day as the first Jezebel article was published.


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Anatomy of a manufactured controversy

Max Read was the first Gawker writer to point out reddit's big fusking problem.

Wow, 8000... that's like, .0001% of the world's estimated population!

The story, published on August 8, 2012, explained how the crafty fuskers in one particular subreddit were harvesting nude images which women had posted of themselves on Photobucket, where they assumed the images would be private. Of course, if the user actually set her album to private, the image will not show on Reddit, and the sub's fusking users would not be able to see it... but that is beside the point.

Photobucket's administrators did not put up with the association of their name with this shady fusking practice. A takedown notice was sent, and the subreddit was removed. Problem solved, right?  
 
Well, no. Not exactly. The users figured out that the effective objection was the use of Photobucket's name. The sub returned, with a new name excluding the word Photobucket, and the practice of surreptitious posting from photobucket albums continued, though now with a new rule dictating the posters go the "no fusking" way. The difference? Well, possibly none, really. How would the moderators actually know, unless they are told?

What an interesting and catchy headline!
While many individuals may immediately shake their heads and point out that anyone who cares whether nude images of themselves might leak onto the open web and be seen by others could and should simply refrain from creating them and sharing them online, for a short time, Gawker's writers decided the practice was a big fusking deal... at least enough for a second story, within which the CEO of Photobucket is quoted as stating that some 50 private accounts had been fusking violated. While reddit isn't directly blamed for that, the statement is placed in conjunction with the only mention the new sub's No Fusking rule.     

Needless to say, the outrage against this fusking invasion of privacy was huge, with Reddit's self-proclaimed "fempire" throwing its weight into protecting the poor, victimized girls of photobucket from their own naivety, successfully taking down the new subreddit in the effort known as project...

project... uh...

Nothing. Nada. Kaput. There was no specific project, little effort, bare outrage. In a conspicuous inaction I think I'll call Fusk You, Photobuckettes, the femosphere seems to have gone strangely silent on the sub... and nothing was done about its existence.

So what were the Thought Police of Reddit and Jezebel working on that was more important than addressing the surreptitious pilfering of private nude photos for public display? What was a bigger deal than that? What idea was more upsetting to the denizens of the  "fempire?"

For that we have to go back in time a bit... to an article posted by Jezebel's Katie J.M. Baker.
The article laments the ability of individuals with camera phones to photograph (clothed) people in public places and share those photos on reddit without anyone's permission. While it is grudgingly acknowledged in the fifth paragraph that the activities of the subreddit's photographers weren't illegal, Baker spends the rest of the article decrying the practice with emphasis on images focusing on body parts, and shots from "strategic angles" which show undergarments... kinda like those shown in Gawker writer Writer Maureen O'Connor's Upskirt post chronicling the deliberate and accidental nudity of Lindsay Lohan... because apparently, it's only okay when Gawker does it. It is interesting (but inconclusive of anything) to note that Baker cites r/feminism, r/feminisms, and r/girlsinyogapants as having complained about r/creepshots, but does not mention r/shitredditsays, the subreddit's most vehement and outspoken group of opponents and their anti-voyeur movement, Project Panda.

  

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Hey Gawker - your slip is showing.

Yesterday I posted a brief note on Adrian Chen's short memory, a reminder that though today he's all about attacking people he does not like at the expense of innocent and helpless parties associated with them, in the past he has condemned that very behavior.

Since then, my view of the situation has been expanded, and I stand corrected.

Adrian Chen is not the problem. His writing is only a symptom of the site's larger issue of hypocrisy and journalistic feculence.

I realize now that Chen's outrage is entirely manufactured, and Jezebel's might be as well. Gawker's theme is Yellow Journalism, internet style; sensationalizing the mundane, demonizing the merely annoying, exploiting and capitalizing on anything that will draw page views.

Why else would the same organization whose various writers so vehemently decry the violation of privacy-in-public publish a sex tape made without the knowledge or consent of the participants? What great logic!

I thought, well, maybe the difference is newsworthiness.

Wrong.

Guess what website has an article full of the very type of photos which were Chen's excuse for doxing violentacrez? Surely it couldn't be...









Gawker Writer Maureen O'Connor has written a post chronicling both the deliberate and accidental nudity of one of America's most famously dysfunctional young women. Which is great... er, wrong. Because exploiting the bodies of young women for the viewing interest of one's subscribers is totally wrong, isn't it?




Oh, the Hypocrisy! (When Gawker Became the Cyberpolice)

In July of 2010, I happened across an article about the effects of the release of the personal information of an eleven year old girl by the users of 4Chan's /b/ message board. I still remember the author's castigation of the perpetrators, titling his work "How the internet beat up an 11-year-old girl," clearly showing his disdain for the way these cruel, vicious monsters had gone after their rival.

Their crime? Well, at the time, I'd never seen a name for it, and one wasn't given by the author. Instead, he wrote:

The Internet started picking on Jessi Slaughter relentlessly. But it was more than just mocking: People started circulating Jessi's real name, phone number, address and links to all her social networking accounts.
Doxing. According to TermWiki, doxing is "gathering and publicly posting the personal information of an internet user online." Doxing is generally done for harassment purposes, as was the case in this story. According to the author, it was pretty bad.   
Someone prank called her. According to Encyclopedia Dramatica, pranksters spammed her Facebook and MySpace accounts, had pizzas delivered to her house and were considering sending call girls off Craigslist to the address. (Encyclopedia Dramatica currently has a three part section on "How to troll" Jessi: 1) "There are pics of her holding her boobs" 2) "Tell her to kill herself" 3) "Tell her dad that we are going to beat her up.") Slaughter's information and videos also shot through tumblr, aided by the blogging platform's reblogging system.
The story described how the situation escalated when the girl's father made a youtube video in reply to the group harassing his family. Unfamiliar with the any area of the internet, and angry beyond measure (as any parent would be, considering some of the material sent to his house and his daughter's email account) he was inarticulate to the point of senselessness. Needless to say, the video coined memes.   

The author went on to dispense parenting advice that would be useful only to people to whom it would already be obvious - those with common sense. He then castigated Tumbler as a community for their participation in the sharing of the girl's personal information, and finally pointed out that the attack had, after all, been leveled against a kid.

An update written just a few days later further documented the harassment which had resulted from the Doxing of Jessi Slaughter, including the fact that it had resulted in the child being
temporarily placed in a safehouse under police protection, and temporarily barred from internet use, and also in police investigation of some of the harassment.

I read every part of the story. I ranted about the stupidity of parents letting an eleven year old surf the 'net unsupervised. I shook my head at the low to which /b/ had sunk, that they would consider an eleven year old worthy of an organized attack. I raged over the stalkerish, creepy act of sharing a private citizen's personal information over the internet. And it struck me that this author was doing everyone a great service, by reporting on the dangers of having one's identity and whereabouts posted in a public forum. 


So who should we thank for this great exposé on the value of maintaining one's internet anonymity? Who should we thank for showing us the villainous nature of doxing? Who has clearly demonstrated that he knows damned well what far reaching and catastrophic effects to one's life can come from having one's personal identity exposed to the meatgrinder that is the internet? Who is this bastion of public concern and journalistic integrity?

 
Oh, that would be one Adrian Chen of Gawker, who recently doxed a man for the clearly heinous crime of being intensely unpopular... and male. Adrian Chen, who clearly demonstrated over two years ago that he knew how pervasive and punishing the effect of publishing that information could be. Adrian Chen, who knew he was endangering the subject of his story, exposing him to the possibility of anything from harassment to assault, to being fired from his job. Adrian Chen, whose actions just led to the removal of the supporting income of not just the guy he didn't like, but an entire family, including a disabled woman, which is ironic as hell considering his choice was made after reading complaints from self-identified feminists on reddit who should at the very least feel protective of her

That's right. Doxing is wrong, unless you're a Gawker reporter with a warped and historically blind sense of self-righteousness. And picking on the young and helpless just for being associated with someone you don't like is wrong... unless you're a Gawker reporter with an inflated sense of social justice.

Way to go, ace. You just walked in your own shit.

To legislate, or not to legislate? Rape complicates the question.


This morning, the following question was raised in Reddit's /r/mensrights:   
"In the VP debate, Paul Ryan said they'd make abortion illegal, except in cases of rape. Wouldn't that result in women, who are no longer able to get an abortion otherwise, falsely accusing men of raping them? "  
(Discuss.)

I began to leave a short comment:

Women already falsely accuse men of raping them. 

That does not change the right or wrong of legalized use of abortion as a means of birth control.

What it does, and will continue to do if the legislation in question increases that behavior, is show that women as a group cannot be afforded an elevated level of trust with the privilege of automatic credibility as accusers. This doesn't mean we're less trustworthy than men as a group. If men were given this kind of power, there would be those who would abuse it, as well. In other words... people cannot be automatically trusted with such an imbalance of power.

However,  that really didn't fully communicate my thoughts on the matter, and they're not going to fit in the space of a single comment.
 
This debate brings out two very important points to me, both of which should be clearly and fully stated.

First, there is the question of why the circumstance of rape would be a reason for exception in a law banning the use of abortion for birth control.

The argument as to why Republicans want to outlaw abortion is that the baby is a living human being with equal right to life to that of any other human.

Does the rape of one parent by the other change the nature of the baby as a living, human being? If so, how? Are we saying that the offspring of criminals are guilty of their crimes? Does that translate over to all rape victims, or is it determined by the sex of the victim?

In other words, if we are going to allow raped women to abort, are we going to allow raped men to demand an abortion as well? If not, how is that not discrimination against men? Are we ready to admit that women's feelings are more politically important than men's feelings, or is there some justification someone can offer me for enforcing parenthood upon raped men? One that does not come across as terribly hypocritical?

What about rapists who commit their crime after parenting children with the victim or with other partners? If the parent of a 5 year old commits rape, do we execute the 5 year old because he or she is made no longer human by his or her parent's crime?  If the behavior of the parent does not change the 5 year old's status as human, the can someone logically explain to me why an unborn baby is so affected? And if you cannot do that, please explain to me why it is acceptable to execute a living human for the crimes of his or her parent, because unless that status is changed, that is the real, unvarnished nature of the act of aborting a rape baby.

Is excluding rape babies from the protection of the proposed law really the right thing to do? Is the law about protecting the rights of the helpless unborn, or is it about enforcing responsibility upon women?
Don't get me wrong - I am pro-life. I oppose a mother's choice to abort and a doctor's choice to perform the procedure, unless a dying baby who cannot be saved is going to also take the mother's life in the process, a rare circumstance that becomes more so with the continued advancement of innovation in the field of medicine.

This is just to say that it makes no sense to legislate control of the procedure on the life-affirming basis Republicans use to argue it, but then make an exception for a circumstance that does not change the applicability of that argument to the protected subject.
 
Second, there is the point on the mangling of due process in rape cases under the guise of protecting women.
If making the use of abortion for birth control contingent upon the circumstance of rape results in false allegations, does that not clearly demonstrate that women will use false allegations for their own personal gain?

And if women will use false allegations for their own personal gain under that circumstance, when there are other options that need not involve lying, does that not indicate the habit among some women of committing that act very lightly?

Does anyone in the legislative bodies of the US really believe that kind of lying hasn't been going on since the start of legislative attacks on men's due process rights in the name of protecting women from abuse?

Does this not show clear justification for the repeal of every law protecting women from being held accountable for leveling of and continued assertion of false allegations of rape and abuse?

If the Republicans really are going to do this - to outlaw the use of abortion for birth control, but make the nonsensical exception that raped women can abort, then they had better be prepared to also legislate heavy penalties for the misuse of that concession by women. By making that exception, they'll have made access to a convenience contingent upon the sacrifice of one's partner. They'll have incentivized malicious prosecution the same way the Violence Against Women Act and other legislative "protection" of women who accuse men of abuse have done. Good-by rape shield laws. Good-bye VAWA. Hello prosecution of perjurers in rape cases, and pursuit of charges against women who file false rape reports with the police. Otherwise, there would be no deterrent to a woman's decision to wreck some poor guy's life just so she can have the convenience of choosing to terminate an individual human life in lieu of the other birth control and custody-avoidance options which are available to her.
 
Republicans, you need to either shit or get off the pot.

If abortion is murder, it's murder regardless of how the baby was conceived.

It's murder regardless of the character of the parents.

It's murder regardless of why the baby might not be wanted.

It's murder regardless of how sorry we might feel over the indignity and pain the raped parent has suffered, or the feelings that might be associated to parenting a rape baby.

And if it's not murder under those circumstances, if our feelings change the nature of the crime... then it was never murder in the first place, and you have no business proposing any legislation based on the belief that it is. 

Any more stupid questions you wanna ask?

This morning I saw this question asked in /r/feminism, and reading the comments, I stumbled across a discussion on gender rolls and parenting. Contained therein was the accompanying comment on the balance and even-handedness of the courts.



The commenter's opinion about "what should be" notwithstanding (because honestly, if feminists really believe that, why are they not fighting for it?) I decided to address the denial of the discriminatory way family court and government agencies handle fathers. Fed up with hearing so many variations on the lies, "courts don't favor mothers" and "courts don't discriminate against fathers" I decided to speak up.

I knew there were a couple of possibilities. There could be debate... kind of. I could have come back later to find a cascading procession of angry retorts, rhetoric, and other renditions of the company line. I could have been told off for posting something the commenter didn't like, or even dismissed as irrelevant because (as you'll see from my comment) I'm somewhat bitter about the shit sandwich my family was handed by the system this commenter claims doesn't do what it did to us. However /r/feminism is not known for being able to handle genuine debate. They certainly can't handle the knowledge that advocacy of the ideas and ideals they express in their vacuum of communal validation and emotional appeal is actually damaging to others. The denizens of /r/feminism do not have big girl panties, and I did question the validity of their beliefs. I suspected I would be banned from the sub, but if so, that would simply make my point all the more. Feminists throw women like me under the bus to get and maintain their social power.

In the end, that is what happened, though not as I expected. I was not banned. I was a little surprised to return and find the comment deleted without communication. No message was left in my inbox to explain why. In fact, I would not have known about the delete at all, had I not asked a friend to read it, because when I'm logged into reddit, it still shows. It's interesting to learn that, because it means /r/feminism's mods can censor without the cut commenters knowing unless we visit the thread while logged off, or someone else tells us. I wonder how many voices they've silenced that way.

I decided not to be silenced by some self-important twit who can't handle making the choice to either counter what I said, or accept it and let it stand, so I'm posting it here. In response to the above commenter's glowing praise of our nation's broken legal system, I wrote the following.

If you want evidence of how family courts look at gender roles, I have an example for you: My husband.
His ex-wife wanted a career. She wanted to be unfettered by the role of primary caregiver. She was earning $40,000/year in a full-time management position in 1997. She was rarely at home, and did not spend much time at all with the kids because when she wasn't working during the week, she was partying with friends on the weekend, often 100 miles from home (living in the northern part of Ohio, driving to the southern part.) Her (then) husband was a stay at home Dad, in part because he lost his job from having to call in on weekend days when she was supposed to come home, but he couldn't find her.
When she left - breaking up her family for the other man with whom she was cheating - she was still deemed the primary caregiver, still deemed the victim in the divorce, still treated as having full custody of the kids despite a shared parenting agreement... and still awarded child support based on a fictional income applied to his end of the equation, defined by what a social worker thought he should be making so he could support his poor, helpless, (middle-class) ex-wife. After years of barely even paying attention to the kids, she decided she must keep them with her, because it would look bad for her new man, a lay preacher, if his wife's kids not only were not his, but lived with her ex... and even though the actual, factual primary caregiver was the husband, the state treated the wife as holding that right and responsibility merely because she is a woman.
 
I have been with him since about 8 months after the divorce, which occurred in 1997 while she was middle class and he was not a wage-earner (by her design.) Prior to dating him, I watched with our other friends as he tried everything he could to save a marriage the other partner had stopped wanting, then to salvage at least his relationship with his kids in the face of her selfish efforts to cut him out of their lives (but keep his wallet in hers) to facilitate her new lifestyle. There has never once, in the entirety of the relationship between my husband, the ex, and the legal system... not once been equal treatment under the law. Government agencies and the courts have bent over backward for her at every turn, allowing her to extort additional money from him for every lifestyle decision she's made, from quitting her $40,000 a year job, to having more babies who were not even his, to fleeing across the state to keep his children from him so could she try to hide her past by forcing them to falsely use their stepfather's name.

Excuses given for the discrimination ranged from the simply sexist (the tender years doctrine, the assumption that he had abandoned her, treatment of him as a deadbeat for not making more money than she did, treatment of him as irrelevant to the children's well-being aside from money, because he is a man) to the outright antagonistic ...the child support case worker screamed at him on the phone so loud that when he pulled it away from his ear, I could hear her from across the room... shouting that he had no right to interfere with his ex's "new life" by attempting to stay close enough to her kids (yes, hers, and only hers, because he was the irrelevant father) by daring follow her when she fled with them to an isolated little berg near the southern border of the state. She called him a stalker and an abuser for the heinous act of attempting to avoid losing all contact with his own kids... not because he had actually done anything violent or even inconsiderate to his kids or even his ex, but simply because he had the gall to be there for his family.

How dare he.

I listened to this same woman castigate my husband for "making" me pay the overflow of his child support while she simultaneously threatened that if I didn't do it, he'd go to jail.

Then she made me sign a paper saying I wasn't coerced... also under threat that if I didn't, the man I love would go to jail.

Because, you know. That isn't coercion at all.

And the excuse? She needs the money, because she's a mom.

Meaning that I am not a mom.

Because, you know, my son does not count as a child.

I'm the second wife.

I am married to the father of my child.

As such, my son and I don't count for anything to these people, so that case worker was willing to break my back to prevent the ex having to even use hers.

Even if my husband's case were isolated, even if I'd never seen the same treatment handed to other men in my life... friends, relatives, coworkers... I'd still say this is a symptom of the larger issue caused by feminist advocacy. Laws governing family court and policies followed by health and human services agencies are based on the idea that women in divorce, and unwed mothers, are the victims of the fathers of their children. For 25 years, I have watched laws and policies treat efforts of fathers to remain active in their children's lives as an intrusion on the mother's life, while simultaneously facilitating mothers in using the child support system to fund their own life choices. Stories I could tell you range from being just like my husband's experience to many times worse.

Women who don't take advantage of that system and don't marry divorcees with kids don't see it happening.

Women who do take advantage, don't admit it.

Women like me, who see it, are often afraid to speak up because when we do we are beaten down by other women for our trouble.

That doesn't mean it isn't happening.

It means most women aren't invested in trying to fix it.

If someone among the readers and commenters here wants to tell me how the system as it works now constitutes equal treatment, how if he were a woman, the case would have gone exactly the same way, I would be interested to hear your
reasoning excuses.

You might even be able to offer me some case or another, an exception to the 25 years of discrimination I've witnessed, and treat that as the counterbalance for the many, many cases which go the opposite way.

If someone wants to tell me how justified and reasonable it was to take away the focus of my husband's life because his female ex wanted to look respectable to church people after cheating and breaking up her family to run off with another man, I would be interested in that 
argument  propaganda, too.

If you want to tell me how women are victimized by the consideration given them by this system, by all means, go ahead and tell me all about it. How terrible it must be to have an entire network of judges and government workers think you're so incapable of backing up your own decisions that you have to be supported by someone else. What a burden it must be to have to constantly play victim in order to make part of your living.

Maybe someone who supports the system could explain to me how child support workers who take sides are unbiased, who accuse men without knowledge are reasonable, who presume guilt without evidence are benevolent.

Why, after 25 years of watching the family law and family government systems and the people who run them show searing hatred and angry disdain for men, should I have any sympathy for women who walk out on their husbands and then cannot support that decision on their own?

Why should a second wife, who has seen the damage that so-called "pro-woman" advocacy does to everyone but the selfish and the heartless, give a rat's ruddy ass about defending the innocence of your ideology?

Modern feminist advocates of victimology and sex-politics may be able to bullshit younger women and many men, but what do you think you can present that is going to bullshit someone like me, who has had the wool ripped from her eyes by experience? Do you have anything besides rhetoric? Anything I haven't already heard? Anything besides opinion, ancient history, cheesy catch-phrases and twisted terminology? Anything real, solid, and current?

I got my answer to those questions with the deletion of the comment: no. No, they can't present anything to justify the presented position. They cannot demonstrate balance in the courts. They cannot back up the commenter's denial, and they cannot even defend their general ideology.

As for the original question, "Is there a reason why Men's rights and Women's rights can't coexist and produce equal rights?" the answer is feminists. Feminists cannot accept the reasons behind the MRM, because many, if not most of those reasons trace right back to their own house. You cannot work together with another group for a cause you've been fighting against throughout your entire history. You can claim to be interested in cooperating on gender issues, but in reality, you are more interested in pushing your own agenda than in working with anyone else, particularly if working with others means having to question the validity of the agenda you've been pushing. Why? Because you'd rather be confident than right.
And confident you are. You go, girl!
Go right on spouting feminism's company line, while more and more women see through your bullshit and either leave, or like me, never join your ranks in the first place.

Can't We All Just Get Along?

If you read that in a whiny, angsty voice, you're reading it right. It's the way I see the latest in the series of responses which feminist activists and writers have had to men's rights activism.

If you're expecting the answer to be a resounding no, you're probably right. After all, the question is not even genuine.

The stages of a winning strategy of nonviolent activism are described as follows: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

And, they ignored us, right up until fathers' rights groups began making international news, and even for some time after, until the number of men's rights activists began to visibly grow.

Then, they laughed, writing about the movement with condescending language like the mock-lament "what about the menz?" Use of this response ranged from simply making fun of the movement to using that mockery as a springboard for revisiting old and reiterating current feminist claims of discrimination and abuse by male society.

First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then... they try to absorb you like a sponge and shape the direction of your activism?

The easiest place to point it out is on Reddit.com's /r/mensrights, where at least once a week there's a post by someone with a day-old account asserting in some way or another that the men's rights movement should really just be an arm of feminism, or trying to persuade "the guys" (because all MRAs are guys, right?) to be more politically correct. Sometimes they're posting to tell "the guys" what to terms and tone to use. Sometimes they're posting to tell "the guys" not to submit certain items.

Lately, it's been variations on the question, "Can't we all just get along?"

I've heard it among my friends, seen it on a few blogs, and on reddit, post after post during the last few months have demanded answers to questions like "Why aren't MRAs feminists" and "Aren't we working toward the same goals? Why aren't we working together?"(Don't feel bad if you read that in the Glenda the Good Witch of the North voice.)

The replies vary, with opinions including the assertion that MRAs could work with some feminists (the writers going on to describe egalitarians who call themselves feminists.) Others are unsure, not wishing to seem confrontational, but still not able trust the group that advocated for the laws we're protesting. Then there are the flat denials by MRAs who have spent their lives watching feminist-advocated legislation chip and cut away at the civil rights of men. I tend to side with the latter due to the nature and advocacy of the feminist movement. Many (or even maybe most) who wear that title don't really have any clue what the leadership of their movement has done in their name.

Whenever I see one of these posts, an admonition that we should all just get along, it's accompanied by one or both of two appeals. The first is Not All Feminists Are Like That. The second is I'm one of the Nice Feminists.

To be honest, the majority my own argument against that line, as I have said before, has already been articulately and most effectively voiced by Girl Writes What, speaking her own and John the Other's thoughts on the topic for A Voice for Men Radio. Since I don't have a better way to say what she said - in fact, I don't think there is a better way to say it, I would encourage the reader to listen to that statement before continuing on with this post. That statement leads right into my objection to the repeated questioning of why the Men's Rights movement has to be at odds with feminist advocacy.

To the Nice feminists, the Feminists who Are Not Like That, who feel compelled to ask MRAs why we can't all just get along: Take a moment, and think about what you are asking.

For decades, the civil rights of men have been attacked, beaten down, and cut away by the mainstream, politically active, in-power, established feminist movement. For decades, the movement has dominated the female activism scene, with the public image of a struggle to wrest equal treatment of females to males from a male-dominated world. That makes the title feminist attractive. It sounds positive when you call yourself a name that folks around you associate with women's rights activism, defenders of the downtrodden, rescuers of the damsels of the world. The emotional attachment to the name is understandable. You have been described an admirable history of fighting for the rights of women to vote, to drive, to be considered full, independent adults with equal rights and equal responsibility to those of men. Of course you would want to associate yourself with that name.

But now, after reading post after post on men's rights blogs and in reddit's /r/mensrights, after wisely reading the links in the subreddit's sidebar, (you did read the sidebar, didn't you, before asking your question?) and comparing what you are learning to the lives of the men you personally know, you have become aware of the true nature of that movement. You can no longer feign ignorance or innocence of the feminist-lobbied legislative attacks on the civil rights of men in the western world. You can no longer turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy of the movement with respect to bodily autonomy and human violence. You have nothing left to shield you from the reality of established feminist bigotry against males. Your eyes have been opened, and you have no excuse to consider the label "feminist" a fit for the altruistic ideology you claim for yourself.

Put yourself in the place of the men to whom you are asking that question.

Imagine, for just a moment, if there were an equal movement among men, one which had protested, lobbied, and publicly advocated for laws and social standards which would reduce the civil rights and darken the social perception of women. Let's say the group has persuaded legislators to outlaw self-defense in male-on-female abusive relationships, redefine male-on-female rape as a lesser crime. Let's say they've successfully lobbied for laws which reduce the due process rights of women accused of violent crimes against men, laws and policy which deem women less worthy of and capable of handling the responsibility and privilege of child rearing than men due to men's superior earning capacity... and family court now bases custody decisions on those laws and policies. At the behest of this movement, lawmakers have ordered that women never get paid more than a man for any work we do, even if we do it more, longer, or better, take greater risks in the process, and make greater personal sacrifices to keep our jobs. In fact, where it's considered a sacrifice for a husband to give up time with his children to go to work, it's expected of the wife. Under legislation and court policy fought for and won by the largest contingent of this group, if your husband divorces you, he gets custody of your kids, possession of your home and vehicle, half (or more) of the rest of the marital assets, and a stipend from your future earnings, especially if he came into the marriage with nothing and built no wealth or marketable skill set while married to you... and that's just if he doesn't accuse you of abuse.

In return, you will be considered potentially violent, with perverse sexual needs and a bad attitude toward men, even after you spend your life continually disproving those assumptions of you by exhibiting the opposite in your behavior. You'll be considered irrelevant to your children, a burden on your husband (yes, the guy you financially support,) and a threat to every man and child in your vicinity wherever you are. People will be entirely tactless and insensitive to your experience in their execution of that treatment, rudely demanding that you leave public places if not accompanied by a husband or boyfriend to supervise you and make sure you don't attack and rape the men and children around you. If you go out with your kids, you'll be treated as suspect, presumed a kidnapper or molester, and questioned by other kids' fathers, possibly even the police. If you are accused of violence against a man, you will be presumed guilty, and the burden of proof that you are not will be on you... but when you try to prove your innocence by demonstrating that the allegations do not come from a credible source, instead of that being taken as proof, you'll also be guilty of blaming the victim. Even if you are acquitted, you'll be treated as if that is not because you are innocent, but because you were clever and sneaky enough to get away with it.

If a man suspects you of having unwanted sexual interest in him, whether you do or not, you're a dangerous whore, and he has the right to publicly castigate and strike you. You dare not do anything back, because hitting a man is a despicable act, even if he hits you first. After all, you're in a position to reach more sensitive, easily damaged areas on his body than he can reach on yours. Being the more powerful individual, you should have the strength to refrain from such abusive behavior.

On the other hand, if a man takes a sexual interest in you and you turn him down for any reason other than being married to someone else, you're a passive-aggressive abuser using denial of affection to hurt him, or maybe you're really a lesbian, but it certainly couldn't be because you just don't want sex with that particular guy, because sex is all we want.

If you complain about your circumstances, it's because you're a lazy, uncaring bitch who doesn't want to woman up and take responsibility for yourself and your family. You shouldn't mind working longer, harder, and under more dangerous circumstances for the same pay. You shouldn't mind being subject to violence, but considered criminal if you respond in kind. You should just accept that you're not necessary for the welfare of your children, give up on your selfish desire to show your love for, and be loved by them. And for crying out loud, pay your alimony and child support. If you can't live on the fraction of income the government leaves you, get another job. It's not like you have anything better to do with your life. You're not raising the kids. Your poor, abandoned ex-husband who left you for another woman is.

I could go on, but I think you get the gist. If you identify as feminist, if you debate gender issues from a women's rights standpoint, you should have been very uncomfortable reading that text. You should recognize your fellow feminists' behavior there. I have merely reversed the sexes for you so that you can see what your colleagues in the movement are doing to the opposite sex.

Now, back to the imaginary scenario. Let's say you've formed a discussion board, a place where women can network with each other and communicate, commiserate, and collaborate on an effort to return the balance of equality to society and the law. Your group discusses issues related to family law, protecting yourselves from being made homeless by vindictive ex-husbands, fighting to maintain relationships with your children following divorce, and creating a balance of power and responsibility between parents for the benefit of the entire broken family. You talk about ways to protect yourself from false allegations of violence, particularly sexual violence, and how you can bring to the general public the understanding that imprisoning the innocent doesn't help a single victim, prevent a single crime, or punish a single criminal, but only creates another set of victims. You voice the concern that social pandering to lack of responsibility among men may be damaging to them as much as it is to you, making them unable to achieve success on their own and hindering their ability to attain any measure of personal satisfaction in life.

When your group is discovered by the long-standing male power lobby, it is first ignored, then ridiculed as a movement of social malcontents who don't want to live by society's rules, hate men and children, and care only about yourselves.

And then, one by one, a few members of that oppressive force come straggling in to your forum and demand to know why you're not part of their movement... why, if you believe in equal rights, you cannot work with them, the folks whose advocacy has led to your civil rights being denied, to achieve equal rights for all?

How polite do you think your answer would be?
Oh, maybe the first time, or the first few times, you could be patient, assuming you were dealing with a younger guy who didn't understand what life is like under the system of oppression I have described. You explain, and he gets it. You feel successful, until the next one comes along with the same stupid question... and the next... and the next. 

If you were one of the lucky women to stay married, to live with one of the nice guys who hasn't taken everything from you, hasn't broken your heart, slandered your name or filed false charges against you to use as leverage in court, maybe you are able to be more charitable to these naive kids who keep asking.

If you're one of the unlucky gals who has been damaged by the advocacy of their group, maybe you'll feel more defensive. After all, someone just wandered into your forum and treated the people who made it possible for your ex to turn your life upside down as if they were benevolent, and argued that you should join forces with them for your own protection.

Argued, in fact, with an inane, ignorant appeal to emotion: Can't we all just get along? How can they even ask that after all their advocacy group has done to you and your family?

You might even find yourself at odds with other Women's Rights Activists who don't understand what you've been through. Maybe the repeated exposure to that question would even cause conflict within the group, as WRAs who want to see the group grow and spread, who want to believe they're so rapidly persuading the general public to accept the ideas and ideals expressed by the movement, end up arguing semantics of the nature of the current crop of male power activists with those of you who have suffered at their predecessors' hands.

Fights like that may get ugly, as younger Women's Rights Activists in relationships with men associated with some modern faction of the male power lobby try to frame their own activism within the context of a political correctness with which it does not fit. Lines may be drawn, politics discussed, and enmity insinuated where camaraderie previously stood. Some long-standing and knowledgeable members may even find themselves ostracized for their views by those who find them too harsh on men. 

Can't we all just get along?
Wouldn't it be kind of obvious to the members of a movement, the activism of which was about bringing down the opposite sex, that when posing that question to a resistance group that is in opposition to your advocacy, the answer should be no?

To the members of /r/mensrights reading this post, who are re-reversing the sexes in your minds and recognizing those fights, I have one more question.

Don't you think that maybe sometimes that infighting is the goal of popping the query, "Can't we all just get along?"










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