Blogging While Female At Discover Blogs (UPDATED)

March 24, 2009

Dear friend and ScienceBlogs colleague Sheril Kirshenbaum has–along with her co-blogger Chris Mooney–just moved their blog Intersection from ScienceBlogs to Discover Blogs network. One of her new colleagues at Discover–some astronomer dude–posted the traditional Welcome New Blogger post, including a picture of Sheril and Chris together. Let’s see what kind of welcome she received from astronomer dude’s commenters:

The first comment arrived fewer than 30 minutes after the welcome post was published:

I’ll be the first to say that Sheril is quite fetching.

A couple hours later this gem was published:

Having not read any of their material, I am supremely unqualified to comment on any of their writings.
But, as a living breathing male of the species, I look forward to any article with Sherils picture attached.

Non-asshole non-misogynist non-scumbag David Kroll then pointed out the grotesqueness of this immediate focus on Sheril’s appearance:

Oooh, and Chris is so pretty that I’ll hang on every word that his hot little body pumps out.

Sounds kind of odd when directed toward a man, eh?

What the hell is wrong with you people? Is your life so pitiful that the first thing you choose to comment upon regarding an experienced scientist, author, and public policy expert?

For the record, Comrade PhysioProf also left a comment that made the same point as David Kroll, albeit a bit more colorfully. This comment was not published by the astronomer dude. I guess a few “fuck”s (ok, more than few) is beyond the pale, but gross objectification of women and creation of a hostile environment is totally coolio in astronomer dude’s opinion.

Not be left out, yet another of astronomer dude’s sleazebag commenters chimes in with his own hateful leering:

Okay, does anyone else think that Sheril resembles Danica McKellar (formerly of The Wonder Years, occasional correspondent on BRINK)?

mmmmmmmm……….. wo-man

Finally, in a pathetic attempt to defend the indefensible, mister scuzbucket “Sheril is quite fetching” dude comes up with the following howler in response to David Kroll’s comment:

The problem is not that Electro and I compliment Sheril’s appearance. The problem is that people like you take issue with it, as if somehow that compliment is “lesser” than a compliment on someone’s intelligence. Remove stick from rear end, move on. Lather, rinse, repeat.

OK. Here’s the fucking dealio. Sheril is at Discover as a professional scientist, author, and public policy expert to blog, not to serve as the object of your leering male gaze. When you encounter someone for the first time in a public professional environment, immediately calling attention to how “fetching” she is, or exclaiming “mmmmmmmm……….. wo-man” is not cool.

It is not a “compliment”. It is a hamfisted exercise of male privilege, intended to send the message to Sheril that she has entered a male domain, and that her purpose there is to play an object role in the lurid fantasies of the men who occupy that male domain. The problem is not with decent people like David Kroll who are trying to wake your asses up; the problem is with misogynist pigs like you.

This fucking bullshit is not ok, and it is disgraceful that astronomer dude blogger is allowing it to occur without comment of his own. But yeah, there is no misogyny or discrimination in science, no sirree. The problem is those whiny women and those men who try to act like decent human beings instead of pigs.

UPDATE: Astronomer-dude, Phil Plait, has weighed in in his comments, and I am excerpting from his comment here:

When I first saw the comments about Sheril’s appearance, I was going to comment and smack them down. Then David Kroll did it so well I decided his comment was good enough.

Of course, what I wasn’t thinking about was that, as host of this blog, it’s my responsibility to say something, even if it’s just “What Kroll said”. I apologize if anyone took my silence for acquiescence. It wasn’t.

The comments about Sheril’s appearance are in fact out of place here. She is here on Discover as a journalist, a scientist, a writer, and someone whose intelligence and talents are what counts. In fact, women in science have been struggling mightily against sexism for, well, ever, and casual sexism not only doesn’t help but actually contributes to a difficult atmosphere.

* * *

Some people have taken me to task on other blogs for not deleting these comments, but I prefer they stay up. When people make mistakes, the best thing to do is air them out, not suppress them.

As is clear from what I wrote, I was not calling for censorship, only for comment.

156 Responses to “Blogging While Female At Discover Blogs (UPDATED)”

  1. physiobabe Says:

    Tell it, PP!

  2. Sciencewoman Says:

    Ugh to the commenters behavior and yay to Physio and David for calling it out so well. It’s nice to know that women have some true allies.

  3. drugmonkey Says:

    Oh for motherfucking fuck’s sake! Sheril draws these assbags no matter where she goes, poor soul.


  4. Holy Crap! That’s ridiculous. Thanks to you and David for pointing out the inherent wrong-ness of that kind of behavior…though I fail to understand how your f-bombs get censored while that shit is published. Grrrr.

  5. drdrA Says:

    C PP- Good on you and David for calling out idiot behavior.

  6. drugmonkey Says:

    aa, drdrA, et al, feel free to post on this. Discover blogs collective wants to play, let’s play.

    http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/2009/03/the_intersection_moves_male-ga.php


  7. CPP, thanks for calling attention to this shit. It’s amazing to me that anyone might justify those comments by pretending like a compliment is a compliment. Of course, the alternative is that they don’t even realize that it is wrong, which is probably scarier.

  8. Physiogroupie IV Says:

    It’s true. And if she was ugly, would she be less qualified or taken seriously? Bleh.

  9. Larry Ayers Says:

    There is a reason that many female bloggers don’t post their photos. Sheril has posted hers; she is admittedly an attractive young woman, but I wouldn’t dream of leeringly commenting on that fact. It’s interesting how blog commenters will say things in a comment which they would never say in meatspace.

  10. arvind Says:

    I can never understand why someone would censor obscenity! I hope Phil Plait wasn’t doing it and it was more of some automatic Discover filter that was being over-zealous. I am actually surprised Phil didn’t chime in to disapprove the immediate objectification (how someone can confuse it with a compliment, I’ll never understand). Maybe he hasn’t had a chance?

  11. chall Says:

    haha, so a few fucks are that bad so you can’t get published in the comments!? But not, “mmmmm… I’d listen to her anyday”. bah.

    I guess they wouldn’t understand the problem until someone said in their faces “your arms are so gorgeuos that it doesn’t matter what’s in that head of your. Want to do some hard labrou so I can drool over your arms”

    …then again, it wouldn’t sink in even then.

  12. JLK Says:

    Lovin’ ya as always, CPP.

    It’s nice to be told that you’re beautiful – by a potential love interest or even by a stranger, IF it takes place within a social setting. Ya know – like a party or something.

    But it is always nicer to have your intelligence complimented. And in a professional setting or any other where your expertise is (or should be) particularly salient, it is the ONLY acceptable type of compliment.

    The regional manager at my job (my boss’s boss) has made several comments regarding my appearance, most of which were not made in my presence but instead to my boss and various other higher-ups. I found out about them after the fact, usually through either my boss or the RM himself. Most of the time they’re no big deal, one was highly offensive and made to my boss while he was on the phone with her and she then repeated it to me with him still on the phone, and another made me uncomfortable because I found out it went through back-channel email to some of the other managers.

    Regardless, I wouldn’t report him because I don’t think he intends it in the way it sometimes comes off. He is a good person to work for.

    It doesn’t bother me in the least when people make similar comments in social scenes – it’s nice to be noticed. But as I said above, the work setting just adds a huge amount of discomfort to anything like that. Unless a woman is a model, exotic dancer, escort, or the like, her looks should never be evaluated and commented on in the context of her job.


  13. What the motherfucking fuck? People want to know what ScienceBlogs has on Discover? Try an intellect that has evolved beyond the misogynist bullshit so typical of almost every “traditional” media industry in the country. This is pretty appalling. Methinks Sheril should ditch the man and go back to ScienceBlogs.

  14. Phil Plait Says:

    Well, it’s too bad you didn’t try to actually contact me to get some answers before posting this.

    If you left a comment with “colorful” words, it gets automatically deleted by my software. That’s stated clearly in my commenting rules in the sidebar. Had you made your point without cursing, it would’ve been posted automatically.

    As for the sexist comments, yeah, they’re stupid. As you point out, another commenter took them to task for their words, and I felt like he said it better than I would’ve, so I left it alone. After reading your post, I see that it does make sense for me to step in as host, and I will after posting this comment here.

    And finally, one thing I try to do with commenters is not delete egregious ones, because then they’re on display for all to see. The type of sexism you rail against will exist whether I delete those comments or not, but now people can actually see it and talk about it. I have always found that to be a better solution to problems than censorship.


  15. As I stated over at ass-strono-dude’s place:

    The “compliment” is one of context. This is not a Miss America pageant, this is a scientific blogging community. I’d like to see you go to the seminar of an attractive and well-versed female scientist and tell HER during the question and answer session that you think she’s purty. Appropriate? Or completely out of place and disrespectful?

    Ordinarily, I would have been inclined to tell the dude that he’s a sack of shit, but I didn’t want to tempt censorship.

  16. Maria Says:

    Regardless, I wouldn’t report him because I don’t think he intends it in the way it sometimes comes off. He is a good person to work for.

    If he really has good intentions, he will want to know that he’s not coming off the way he wants to, and his comments make you uncomfortable. If you don’t speak to him about this, he’ll never learn.

    Of course, you’re the best person to gauge the likelihood that saying something will only stir up trouble and make your life difficult, vs. actually having a productive result, and I don’t mean to question your judgment about whether or not it is worth it to rock the boat – but please don’t give this “good intentions” crap credibility that it does not deserve. It is not an excuse.

  17. Rev Matt Says:

    And this is why I dread going to science or tech oriented blogs by women: If they post their pictures half the comments will be about their appearance rather than the content. Perhaps I’m unusual, but I don’t actually care what a writer looks like regardless of gender.

    It took me a while to realize PhysioProf was a woman (I mostly saw her comments on other scienceblogs rather than actual posts here) and I appreciated her texts on their own merits just fine. In the dialogue about pseudonymous blogging I firmly am on the ‘pro’ side. I’d rather focus on the quality of writing and thought.


  18. Yet another reason why pseudonymous blogging is almost mandatory for most female bloggers. I prefer that the blogosphere accept me for my experiences, opinions and thoughts rather than my appearance … except for my hot toe socks, of course. Thanks to you, PP, and to David, Drugmonkey, Bora and the other bloggy regulars for standing up and drawing attention to this crap.

    And exactly how many f-bombs did you drop in your comment!?

  19. Aaron Golas Says:

    Well, fuck. Here I am, ready to stand up for Phil, and he comes and stands up for himself.

    I like you, CPP, but implicating Phil in this shit was just low.

  20. Laura Says:

    Oh yes. Preach it.

  21. Catharine Zivkovic Says:

    Funny, I recently had the opposite problem. I’m taking an online fiction writing class and became engaged in an argument with one of my (male) classmates on the forum. The asshole googled me and discovered that I am “an overweight, middle aged mother” and used this in an effort to publicly discredit (and humiliate) me. I can’t remember ever seeing a woman use physical appearance to put a man ‘in his place.’ And what, I ask you, does my old, fat, child-bearing vagina self have to do with the quality of my thoughts or the validity of my arguments?? It seems that beautiful or ugly, if you don’t have a dick, you lose. Kudos to the men out there who see this for the injustice that it is.


  22. And finally, one thing I try to do with commenters is not delete egregious ones, because then they’re on display for all to see. The type of sexism you rail against will exist whether I delete those comments or not, but now people can actually see it and talk about it. I have always found that to be a better solution to problems than censorship.

    Seriously Phil? You extol the virtues of non-censorship but you’ve got software that deletes a comment en face for “cursing.” Seriously???

    If I call you an asshat on PhysioProf’s blog, I wonder if it will make its way out of moderation…

  23. Pierce R. Butler Says:

    Catharine Zivkovic: I can’t remember ever seeing a woman use physical appearance to put a man ‘in his place.

    Go to feminist blogs and search for “Limbaugh”. Not that he doesn’t have it coming, being ugly inside and out…

  24. D Says:

    Great post CPP. Men believing that they are entitled to – nay, MUST – publicly comment on a woman’s appearance (more specifically her sexual appeal or lack of it) is a given. It doesn’t matter if she’s ‘HAWT!’, uninspiring, overweight, aging, plain ugly or any combination of these. Some guy will inevitably step up to the plate and take a swing at her. I believe it’s been mentioned several times in the comments section of Twisty’s blog that this is a form of male oneupsmanship by which they are signaling their own inflated sexuality to one another.
    I’m glad that there are men who are willing to call bullshit. When women do so, we’re usually labeled as shrill, uptight or unappreciative of compliments.

  25. Aaron Golas Says:

    Seriously Phil? You extol the virtues of non-censorship but you’ve got software that deletes a comment en face for “cursing.” Seriously???

    Oh, come on. There’s no comparison between censoring certain words and censoring ideas.

  26. Catharine Zivkovic Says:

    Pierce R. Butler Says:

    Go to feminist blogs and search for “Limbaugh”. Not that he doesn’t have it coming, being ugly inside and out…

    Is Discover a “masculinist” blog? My fiction writing class surely isn’t.

  27. greg Says:

    They should have left Dora be.


  28. [...] My current science pick is Sheril Kirshenbaum, who is now blogging for Discovery blogs.  The blog she writes with her blogging partner Chris Mooney, Intersection, has been a staple at Scienceblogs, but has recently been wooed away by Discovery.  I’ve not read many of their articles, but the few I have read have been interesting and insightful.  But what I want to bring your attention to here, is the response of male readers to Sheril’s picture.  PhysioProf covers this brilliantly.  [...]

  29. 'cheweasel Says:

    Is the bad word filter on Discover blogs mandated from on high?


  30. Since my (non-profane) comment is not making it out of moderation at Phil’s blog, I’m commenting at mine.

    Ping!


  31. CPP: thanks for your ally-ness. goddamn those fucking fuckers. yet another reason to be pseudonymous and not post any pictures. fuckers.

  32. isisthescientist Says:

    They should have left Dora be.

    Thanks for coming by to swing your cock around and contribute to the conversation, Greg. Always a pleasure.

  33. Aerik Says:

    I believe he was referring to bloggers like me when he talked about people calling for deletions.

    But you know, trolls who do nothing but talk about a woman’s appearance every time she comes up, should be banned.

    Phil keeps talking about how he wants to help get more women into science. But he won’t fight, just won’t do anything actually combat the rampant sexism in his threads or posts.

  34. Phledge Says:

    CPP, you’re the one person that comes to mind whenever I’m asked to think of

    1) an awesome feminist ally
    2) someone who can use “fuck” more than twice in a paragraph and still have my respect
    3) a progressive who isn’t afraid to (in theory) hold a politician’s feet to the fire
    4) my fucking hero
    5) also, a scientist

    If you taught at my medical school I’d be dropping weekly bottles of Jameson at your office door. To paraphrase one of those silly lolcats, “U winz teh fucking interwebs.”

  35. ...tom... Says:

    Very nicely said. Well . . .in your own inimitable style.

    …tom…
    .

  36. Phil Plait Says:

    I auto-delete comments that use “curse” words because the blog gets read in schools and such, and I don’t want nanny-filters blindly blocking it. It’s not too much for me to ask people to keep it clean.

    And as Aaron Golas points out, it’s very different to delete something because of words versus ideas. The latter is censorship which I’m no fan of.

    And Aerik, you might want to actually, yknow, read what I wrote on the blog. Long before you posted the above comment I explained what happened in the comments.


  37. I auto-delete comments that use “curse” words because the blog gets read in schools and such, and I don’t want nanny-filters blindly blocking it. It’s not too much for me to ask people to keep it clean.

    So it’s cool for schoolkids to read “mmmmmmmm……….. wo-man”, but not “fuck”? Interesting.

  38. Aerik Says:

    Oh no, you go ahead and you sort of go “now fellas, that’s not too cool.” in your comments, while rarely actually saying “hey that’s sexist.” Have your fun pretending to be an equality warrior.

    But they next time you talk about the skepchicks, they, it’s all about teh hawtness again.

  39. Aerik Says:

    The sad part,Phil?

    Do you know where your readers so constantly get the idea that the behavior we’ve seen in that thread should be normal, acceptable, and expected? Know where they get that cue? from YOU.

    From the way you talk about woman scientists. For F’s sake, Phil. You once posted mentioned the SGU mentioning your book, then you posted a picture of Rebecca Watson in the nude (from the skepchick calendar) and in your caption you literally said you appreciated that more. You told everybody in no nonsense terms, that you appreciate it more when somebody associate’s a woman’s nudity with your, then associates their mind with you.

  40. Charles Says:

    If I call you an asshat on PhysioProf’s blog, I wonder if it will make its way out of moderation…

    I had always thought that on PhysioProf’s blog, you could get censored for NOT calling someone an “asshat”.


  41. Intersting. There is now a comment at Phil’s in which he refers to CPP as a woman. I’m not sure if he’s trying to be ironic (or something else)…or if he is under the mistaken impression that any (pseudonymous) blogger who rails so whole-heartedly against misogynist bullshit must be female. Love the subtle prejudices.

  42. Phil Plait Says:

    Comrade Physioprof, I must have missed where I said it was OK for the commenters to say that.

    And Aerik, you see everything as black and white, but the real world isn’t like that. Is it ever OK to compliment someone on their attractiveness? Ever? Or is it always sexist?

    Oh, I hate rhetorical questions, so I’ll answer for you: of course it’s OK. Not always, but sometimes. It’s the “when” that a lot of people don’t get. Have you ever complained when I mention that a man is good looking? In fact, I just did in a link to Skepchick, talking about the one man who blogs for them.

    Also, as grown ups, it’s possible to joke, to have an actual sense of humor about sex, without it being automatically sexist. In fact, sometimes it’s even satirically done. It’s a concept that a lot of people get… and a lot of people don’t. More’s the pity.

  43. Phil Plait Says:

    ambivalent academic, I thought I saw somewhere on this blog that it was written by a woman. I may be mistaken, but that’s the reason I wrote it that way. I don’t generally make any assumptions about pseudonymously written work, and in fact usually just say “he” because that’s the way the language is — most are inherently gender-biased that way.

    But that’s pretty ironic about “subtle prejudices”, though, assuming automatically it must be because I’m sexist. Interesting.

  44. Phil Plait Says:

    Hmmm, looking over the “About PhysioProf” part of this site, I see PP refers to himself as “he”. Not sure where I picked up the gender then, but my apologies if I got that wrong.

  45. deatkin Says:

    CPP (and others), how do you propose Phil automatically moderate sexist comments? By tagging the word “woman” for deletion? That can be used in millions of benign ways. “Hot”? The Sun is pretty hot. “Attractive”? Gravity is attractive. I suppose Phil could moderate comments manually, but his blog generates a lot of traffic and a lot of comments, and I’m pretty sure Phil is too busy doing things like work, sleep or take his family to the park to sit at his computer all hours frantically refreshing the moderation page to approve comments. When it comes to curses, though, “fuck” will always mean “fuck”, with no room for ambiguity, and Phil has every right to block such comments if he wants his work to be presented to schoolchildren. You made your point, that Phil should have voiced disapproval of the sexist comments rather than let another commenter speak for him, and Phil conceded the point. I’ve been reading ‘Bad Astronomy’ for a long time, and I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to be a recurring issue. It’s time to lay off.

  46. jc Says:

    thanks PP. Since no one puked on the sexist bastard’s shoes yet, I’ll do it. PUKE.

    side note: as one of my male students was leaving class today, he gave me *the wink and the gun* manuever. srsly. I wanted to throttle the fucker’s puny little ass. If only men really knew how often the male-gaze shit happens to women and how it royally pisses us off. It’s NOT a compliment.

  47. D Says:

    Phil(Re: 5:51 pm),

    You really don’t get it, do you? Or you just don’t want to get it because, hell, it’s not your face or tits that are getting appraised instead of your professional abilities.

    Keep backpedaling, man.


  48. Phil – we all carry around our own set of subtle prejudices. Most of us don’t know they exist unless someone else points it out (hence the “subtle”). I was not trying to imply that you are trying to be sexist, just that these subtle prejudices exist in all of us. In fact, most highly-visible pseudonymous and openly feminist bloggers are women. It’s an easy mistake to make. I pointed it out in order to remind you, myself, and well, anyone else who cares to read that we all need to be careful about our assumptions.

  49. Spartan Says:

    This has got to be one of the most pissant complaints yet. CPP, jc, D, et al, you’re essentially bitching about a comment moderation policy. Can any of you quote anything out of Phil’s post in question that is misogynistic? No. Don’t let me interrupt all the hysterical hand waving though.


  50. Phil Plait’s blog is a place where male commenters apparently feel comfortable saying things like “mmmmmmmm……….. wo-man” about a female blogger who has just joined Discover blogs, but where “fuck” is beyond the pale. It is worth asking why. This is not about “bitching”, nor is it about failing to “lay off”. It is about understanding why this is the state of affairs.


  51. All I know is, I had never heard of Discover Blogs until now and I am left with no desire to return.

  52. Spartan Says:

    Phil Plait’s blog is a place where male commenters apparently feel comfortable saying things like “mmmmmmmm……….. wo-man” about a female blogger who has just joined Discover blogs, but where “fuck” is beyond the pale.

    Well then apparently you’re prone to hysterics. Isn’t it just a bit of a stretch to go from not replying or smacking down every idiot who posts on your blog, to making them ‘feel comfortable’?

    It is about understanding why this is the state of affairs.

    Uh, because saying ‘fuck’ is more offensive than ‘mmmm….woman’? This is still about the utmost triviality, his goddamn commenting policy, and he’s given an entirely reasonable answer, that he wants his blog to be accessible by schools and so ‘fuck’ is automatically filtered out. There is no fucking question that far more people find ‘fuck’ in any connotation more egregious than something as juvenile and stupid as ‘mmmmm…woman’, whether or not it should really be that way. Blog commenters have this real cool feature nowadays too where they can put in their name or handle or what have you, ya know, so it’s clear that you are not reading the views of the blogger themselves.


  53. There is no fucking question that far more people find ‘fuck’ in any connotation more egregious than something as juvenile and stupid as ‘mmmmm…woman’, whether or not it should really be that way.

    No question? Regardless of the population that the question is posed to? I suspect it would be quite interesting to compare the responses to this question by 100 randomly selected female scientists to that of 100 randomly selected male scientists.

  54. jc Says:

    As of right now spartan, the comment by “Carey” saying that Sheril is fetching is STILL up. Electro’s slime is STILL up. Paradox’s crap is STILL up. Carey later says his spew is a compliment…STILL up! As Bora pointed out, the sexist shit gets whacked fast at Sciblogs, but the smackdowns from PP and others got spammed out. Phil later commented that David’s comment “was good enough”… gee thanks. Glad he’s satisfied, didn’t have to work too hard on that one. I’m not satisfied in light of Phil’s moderation mojo. If Phil’s filters are designed to protect the youngins, then he is failing at protecting the young women. badly. This means Phil needs to step up to the plate if the auto-filters only scan for “real” profanities. Don’t say FUCK on the blog, but male commenters can *nicely* insult the women. Like Maria pointed out, if Phil is using this as a teaching moment, he is failing the women. As Phil pointed out, “ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away”… so put a comment policy in place that profanity and inappropriate comments involving sexism, racism, etc will not be tolerated.


  55. Since Spartan is apparently not too quick on the uptake, I guess I’ll just spell it out for him:

    “Mmmmmm…woman” (and the other “compliments”) oppresses women as a class of human beings, dehumanizes them, and interferes with their right to personal and professional autonomy. “Fuck” does none of those things.

  56. Spartan Says:

    No question? Regardless of the population that the question is posed to? I suspect it would be quite interesting to compare the responses to this question by 100 randomly selected female scientists to that of 100 randomly selected male scientists.

    Well, that’s an interesting question, but you know full well what ‘far more people’ means. Lets put those 100 randomly selected female scientists at the bar and see how many stomp out ‘offended’. It just brings up another reason why I feel this complaint is very strained: some of the offensive comments are not really offensive (albeit pitifully stupid) in every context.

    jc, like I said above, I simply don’t think that any blogger has any responsibility to police all their comments, and I take it as glaringly obvious that commenters have views that the blogger doesn’t, and that by allowing comments he doesn’t agree with to be posted doesn’t mean that he endorses them. I don’t know what exactly you think Phil is not protecting ‘the young women’ from, badly, but I doubt it’s capable of doing much harm.

  57. leigh Says:

    it’s not a fucking compliment when you walk in as a serious scientist and someone points out how cute you are. sorry, but if i show up at a conference and present MY work and i’m dressed up, the last thing i expect at the end of having talked a group of people through my poster is someone commenting on how pretty i am. there is a time and a setting where this is appropriate, and this is not it. how the fuck your appearance would correlate with the quality and content of your work is incomprehensible to me.

    so when you get pulled over, do you tell a woman police officer who’s about to write you a ticket that you’d love to just sit and stare at her? what kind of response would you expect?

    how about the ER doctor who just saved the life of your best friend after a car crash? hey doc, i’m really not qualified to judge how well you do your job or anything, but i like looking at you.

    how is this different from these totally inappropriate comments?

    in short, fuck that bullshit.


  58. Lets put those 100 randomly selected female scientists at the bar and see how many stomp out ‘offended’.

    Dude, you need some serious remedial tutelage if you are using “mmmmmmmm…woman” in bars. It’s 2009 and we live in an advanced industrial economy, not planet of the fucking apes.

  59. Spiny Norman Says:

    Yup. PP has it about right. I’d be harsher, though…

  60. Spartan Says:

    Gee I don’t know PP, I’ll have to check the speed of my uptake again, some big words in there: ‘dehumanize’, ‘oppresses’, my, my. To jump to your last sentence, oh puhlease, of all people, PP is saying he can’t imagine how anyone could use the word fuck or its derivatives in a way that could dehumanize, oppress, or interfere; I’ve been reading your profanity for years(?) now and know you are more skilled than that.

    Since you’re so much faster on the uptake than I, you should have no trouble listing the specific effects on the young women who read ‘mmmmm…woman’ in that thread. What specifically has been lost or harmed as a result of this oppression? I’m very curious as to how these young women have been ‘interfered’ with by this outrageous comment. On a blog. On the internet. By someone named ‘Electro’. Horrors.

    You glossed right over what Deatkin said; would you like to create the algorithm to let through the non-dehumanizing, non-oppressive profanity in the filtering software? You apparently think that bloggers are responsible for either removing or clarifying on comments that they do not agree with, which I think is bullshit. If a blogger wants to have a blog and let anything go in the comments, have at it; it doesn’t mean they’re tacitly endorsing any idea therein.

  61. Spartan Says:

    Dude, you need some serious remedial tutelage if you are using “mmmmmmmm…woman” in bars. It’s 2009 and we live in an advanced industrial economy, not planet of the fucking apes.

    Yes, absolutely, you got it. Offensive and stupid have different meanings.

  62. Pierce R. Butler Says:

    So if there’s a software filter on this blog to screen out all the comments using classroom-unacceptable words, how does it happen that the f*** string appears 38 times in this thread?

  63. arvind Says:

    Catharine Zivkovic, you need a blog pronto. You’ve got some well-worded opinions waiting to burst forth, judging from that one comment.

  64. Phledge Says:

    Wow, let’s pull out all the stops, here.

    Also, as grown ups, it’s possible to joke, to have an actual sense of humor about sex, without it being automatically sexist.

    Phil, you might want to put down the shovel. It’s bad enough to not come out against the mistreatment of one of your colleagues; it’s another thing to go and pull the Humorless Feminist bullshit. Also? This is not about sex. This is about power over women by dismissing or ignoring their laudable human traits, namely their professional and intellectual achievements, for something that is defined by men, namely their fuckability.

    Let’s put those 100 randomly selected female scientists at the bar and see how many stomp out ‘offended’. It just brings up another reason why I feel this complaint is very strained: some of the offensive comments are not really offensive (albeit pitifully stupid) in every context.

    Because a) we’re in a bar now, not a blog dedicated to science, and b) it’s important that because these women didn’t get offended, that no rational woman (oh, I’m sorry, is that an oxymoron to you?) would be offended. I would stomp out, but I’ve broken my legs off and am beating myself in the head with them.

    Well then apparently you’re prone to hysterics.

    Gosh, doctor, should we take out their uteruses? Look out–one of ‘em’s got the fucking vapors!

    What specifically has been lost or harmed as a result of this oppression?

    Oh, I dunno, how about the remote possibility that this scientist, who happens to be a woman, would actually be taken seriously by her male colleagues?

    So let’s tally this up, shall we?

    The “feminists just can’t take a jooooooke” lament? Check.
    The “nobody would find this offensive” cry? Check.
    The “there’s no real harm here–after all, it’s a compliment!” assertion? Check.

    In short, this whole enchilada pretty much fucking takes the triple crown of patriarchal douchebaggery. Nice to know we’re soaking in it, even in what should be the logical world of science, free of prejudice, where your work should speak more loudly than your personality.

  65. freelunch Says:

    Let me generalize too much and claim that these people who feel quite comfortable being rude from the safety of their keyboards wouldn’t even say hello to the object of their rudeness in a social setting.

  66. JessSnark Says:

    Count me in as another person (and female scientist) who finds “fuck” less offensive than “mmmmm…. woman.”

    Thanks for being an ally, PhysioProf.

  67. sciencegirl Says:

    Fuck that bullshit. Thanks for calling them out, PP.


  68. Come now folks, let’s give Phil a break… He’s a terrific writer and remember his initial intention was to welcome us to our new home. Further, dear physioprof is another scibling I simply adore. I’ll have my own response to all of the hullabaloo in the morning and I hope you’ll come visit. In the mean time, let me second this brilliant comment:

    Catharine Zivkovic, you need a blog pronto. You’ve got some well-worded opinions waiting to burst forth, judging from that one comment.

    Catharine, dear Catharine, what a wonderful idea! I’ve no doubt you might even give the blogfather–Coturnix himself a run for his traffic ;)

    To everyone, I greatly appreciate all the support today expressed here and across the blogosphere. More to come tomorrow…

  69. Physiogroupie IV Says:

    Neat! I can’t wait. :)


  70. Good job, CPP, and extremely entertaining thread!


  71. [...] some extremely good posts. There’s a reason I say this dude is my favorite blogger. Well, now he throws down on the sort of sexist who immediately makes discussions about academic women about their looks. [...]

  72. ilyka Says:

    Oh wow, I’m not going to top anything Phledge has said, and I think it’s important to know when you’re beat.

    HINT, PHIL.

    PhysioProf–nice one. You do spawn the best threads for great justice.

  73. ekcol Says:

    I know I’m coming late to this party, but I see one point hasn’t been made yet.

    Phil Plait Says:
    “Is it ever OK to compliment someone on their attractiveness? Ever? Or is it always sexist?”

    Tell me if I’m crazy, but IMO, no, it’s never ok. Telling someone you find them physically attractive outside of a relationship is really creepy. I would never dream of commenting on the physical appearance of anyone but my wife. It’s not a compliment for acquaintances or random strangers to want to fuck you.

    “Also, as grown ups, it’s possible to joke, to have an actual sense of humor about sex, without it being automatically sexist. In fact, sometimes it’s even satirically done. It’s a concept that a lot of people get…”

    This is the same justification Prince Harry and Prince Charles give for referring to colleagues by racist nicknames – they don’t mind, they get that it’s a joke.

    Perhaps some people don’t mind it; who cares? You’re creating an atmosphere in science and skepticism where only those women who don’t mind being objectified can succeed.

  74. Helen Says:

    “Is it ever OK to compliment someone on their attractiveness? Ever? Or is it always sexist?”

    In a social setting, maybe. Depending on quite a few things. But in a professional setting, no. Now a science blog may walk the line between professional and social, but your commenters might have shown her the courtesy of treating her professionally first and foremost (and when they did feel free to banter, not being creepy.)

    I have to say the image of male scientists as geeky and socially inept isn’t exactly being smashed here.

  75. hydropsyche Says:

    I tried to read the comments on Phil’s post, but got turned off by the sexism up thread and didn’t bother reading far enough down to see the good responses and that Phil said he didn’t like it. To me, if a blogger wants to have good discussion on their blog, they don’t allow that nonsense. Once it starts, it doesn’t stop, and their comments sections become a waste of time (for reference, see the majority of the internet).

    ‘Censorship’ is when the government suppresses free speech. ‘Moderation’ is when the owner of a space prevents it from becoming a cesspool.

  76. Greg Laden Says:

    Kleekon = maker of rules that others must follow or be ridiculed or harassed. Isis = Misogynist wacko who substitutes my concern over corrective objectification of women by mass media for my cock. Why the hell would that be? Physiprof = hypocrite, spending far too much time and effort telling other people how to do what they are quite capable of doing on their own.

    Phil Plait = outstanding blogger and scientist who has been chosen by the Kleekons for harassment. Welcome to my world, Phil. They won’t let up for a while, then the’ll be bored, then the’ll be back. They have fallen in love with you, and now they are going to stalk you.

    Sheril: Probably did not need Isis and Physioprof to come to her rescue in this obnoxious and paternalistic manner.

    Maybe I’m just jealous of Phil. Maybe I want my trolls and abusers back.

    Oh, and they are so predictable. We all know what their next move is going to be.


  77. [...] it’s never acceptable judge anyone based on appearances and number of X chromosomes. And of course I’ve noticed the science blogosphere is buzzing over some neanderthal comments from [...]

  78. isisthescientist Says:

    Greg Laden = pinnacle of American academia, defender of women and minorities, and world famous gonzo blogger. Did you know he has a degree from Harvard? Also, frequent target, for no good reason, of one Isis the Scientist. Commonly misunderstood.

  79. 'cheweasel Says:

    Who is this pathologically self involved douchebag ? Was anyone talking to you, Greg Laden?


  80. Greg knows very well that this has nothing to do with rules. He throws that out there every time he doen’t like what someone has to say about something he or someone he wants to suck up to says or does.

    Greg, Phil Plait, and everyone else on the Internet are free to say and do whatever the fuck they want. And others are free to analyze and criticize those statements and actions. Greg’s bullshit in this regard is transparent.

  81. Interrobang Says:

    I think anyone who can’t see the problem with “mmmmm…wo-man” should, just once, have the experience of walking by a construction site staffed entirely by large, rude, gay construction workers who think he’s just their type. It wouldn’t be anything like what the average woman has to put up with in a day from Dude Nation, but it’d be a good start. (And probably too much to hope for, IBTP.)

  82. 'cheweasel Says:

    Total tool behavior to make this about something it isn’t and to divert attention from the original misogynist comments at Plait’s blog.

  83. Amos Zeeberg Says:

    Hey. I’m the Web editor at DISCOVER. Just wanted to say that the we don’t like or approve of the dumb comments you’re talking about, and this kind of thing is not welcome in our discussion areas.

  84. Science Bear Says:

    “What the hell is wrong with you people? Is your life so pitiful that the first thing you choose to comment upon regarding an experienced scientist, author, and public policy expert [in regards to comments about her appearance]?”

    Very well put. Period.

  85. Skloot Says:

    Go get um PhysioProf!!!!!! Jeezus … I get that same crap in the comments section of my blog sometimes, and I delete the comments. But there are a few sites out there with long exchanges about my blog by men making foul comments about my appearance. Sigh. Glad you did the smack down.


  86. [...] Paul Gowder, who also links to another post where Comrade PhysioProf is outraged at commenters focusing on a female scientist’s looks instead of her [...]

  87. JessSnark Says:

    OK, Amos Zeeberg, so what are you going to do about it? How exactly will you show that it’s not welcome in your discussion areas?
    For the record, the problem is not that the comments are “dumb” but that they are sexist. Thanks.

  88. David Marjanović Says:

    So if there’s a software filter on this blog to screen out all the comments using classroom-unacceptable words, how does it happen that the f*** string appears 38 times in this thread?

    It’s not in this blog, it’s on Phil Plait’s; and, as he has mentioned in this thread, the purpose of that embarrassing filter is preemptive – it’s there so that the whole blog doesn’t get blocked by likewise embarrassing filters in schools. While it still turns my stomach, I understand the idea.

    The side effect of that filter, however, is that it lets things like “mmmmmmmm……….. wo-man”, way more offensive than any cursing ever could be, stand. Personally, I like the PZ approach to fuckwittery: don’t moderate it away, just let it stand and let your horde of commenters tear it to tiny pieces (and only ban the fuckwit when he/she/it/squid becomes very repetitive and thus boring, see Insipidity). But this requires having a suitable horde. I don’t read Bad Astronomy often enough to tell if the PZ approach is workable there. If it isn’t, just letting fuckwittery stand and not commenting on it easily sends the wrong message.

    –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

    Also, for the record, I’m with this:

    Phil Plait Says:
    “Is it ever OK to compliment someone on their attractiveness? Ever? Or is it always sexist?”

    Tell me if I’m crazy, but IMO, no, it’s never ok. Telling someone you find them physically attractive outside of a relationship is really creepy. I would never dream of commenting on the physical appearance of anyone but my wife. It’s not a compliment for acquaintances or random strangers to want to fuck you.

    For centuries, it was considered a requirement of politeness (in the upper classes anyway) to comment favorably on the alleged beauty of every present halfway adult female – even by women on each other, strangely enough. It looks like this attitude still lingers on in some heads. But by default, I’d interpret any such comment as an unimaginative, but completely unambiguous attempt at flirting, which is creepy enough in many situations.

    And then, of course, “mmmmmmmm……….. wo-man” is not a comment on beauty. It’s just creepy.


  89. OK, Amos Zeeberg, so what are you going to do about it? How exactly will you show that it’s not welcome in your discussion areas?
    For the record, the problem is not that the comments are “dumb” but that they are sexist. Thanks.

    JessSnark,
    The free and open nature of the blogosphere means that comments are unregulated and bc contributors can hide behind the mask of anonymity, we encounter misogyny and every kind of nonsense regularly. But remember, the problem is not exclusive to Discover Blogs… I experienced the same troubling mentality from commentors at ScienceBlogs and Wired on now and then when I resided on other networks.

    In terms of response, The Intersection is the responsibility of Chris and I to manage as we hope to foster a constructive discussion. Despite that my introduction to the network from some neanderthal commentors wasn’t all that welcoming, in retrospect I’m glad the event led to this–and many other–terrific posts and threads. It got many of us talking and thinking about a very important issue. Phil, Sean, PhysioProf, DrugMonkey, Isis, Sci, and many others have been wonderfully supportive and I’m encouraged knowing that we have allies across the interwebs.

    And so I think it’s up to any one host to patrol the blogosphere. Rather it’s our responsibility–all of us–to ensure that when we encounter this kind of behavior we squelch it immediately. So far, seems we’re doing a pretty good job!

  90. Courtney Says:

    Misogynist wacko who substitutes my concern over corrective objectification of women by mass media for my cock

    I’m sorry, but that sentence is so tangled I don’t quite get the content….

    “misogynist wacko”….OK, that means man-hating lunatic….

    “who” … OK referring to previous man-hating wacko

    “substitutes my concern” OK, man-hating wacko is putting something in place of his worry…

    “over corrective objectification of women” So he’s saying that “objectification of women” is corrrective? As in, putting the world back to where it should be? Surely he jests!

    “by mass media for my cock” so the “objectification of women” is done by “mass media”…OK..but really? “mass media” is for his “cock”? I had no idea he was so powerful! Or rather, I had no idea his “cock” was so powerful!

    fucktard

  91. Twisty Says:

    Ha! Whenever I blog while female, which I do fairly often, I get comments like this:

    You should have been aborted yourself you stupid fucking cunt. You have obviously never had the love of good man and looking at your fucking picture with your stupid smelly horse I don’t blame the men. Do us all a favour and go to a euthanasia clinic and be done with your vile self. How about a lobotomy? Although, I suspect no one would notice any difference. Shitt off and die!

    Undoubtedly somebody upthread has already pointed out that misogynist commentary is fucked up even when the object of the booyah boyshit is not professionally intelligent.

  92. Lee Says:

    “Also, as grown ups, it’s possible to joke, to have an actual sense of humor about sex, without it being automatically sexist.”

    Okay, Phil’s officially played the “Where’s your SENSE OF HUMOR?” card. Who wants to get out the Sexism Bingo sheet? I think that line is the free space on it.

  93. DuWayne Says:

    Bahh, to many fucking comments to wade through them all. But I have to side with Phil on the fucking egregious use of the word “fuck.” I mean give me a motherfucking break – people who fucking use that word are of course, far more obnoxious than guys who lay in bed with their fucking computer, some lube and peruse fucking fem sci-bloggers.

    Phil, I can totally understand censoring cursing because of the school thing. But for fucks sake get rid of the misogynistic fuckwittery while you’re at it. I would personally rather my own kids be exposed to fuck, than the sort of fuckwittery you’re leaving up there.

    And for the record, the fucking nanny-ware doesn’t always block pages for cursing. While it is pretty clean on my front pages (if I do write a post with cursing I usually put it below the fold), it isn’t always and comments can get rather heated. Yet I consistently get google hits from primary schools.

  94. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t understand why people are proposing that somebody waste their time with moderating blog comments. Could you even think of a worse way to waste good effort?

  95. David Marjanović Says:

    “misogynist wacko”….OK, that means man-hating lunatic….

    No, a woman-hating one. Man-hating would be “misandrist”. (And hating human beings in general would be “misanthropic”.)

  96. Courtney Says:

    See! I knew I had trouble understanding this comment!

  97. Frank Oswalt Says:

    Aerik’s comment above is right on the money. The reason why Phil Plait won’t moderate comments like “mmmm … woman” is because they reflect his own attitude to women, or at least the attitude of the geek persona he adopts on his blog. Now, to be fair, it must be stated quite clearly that he never actually reduces women to their appearance — his writing shows great respect for their intellect, too. But most of his commenters, being the kind of juvenile idiots that he want to protect from encountering words like “fuck”, don’t look beyond his talk about appearances. Sheril Kirshenbaum is right — Phil Plait is a skilful and talented science writer. But his commenters are often creepy and so is the way in which he gears his writing toward them. They are the main reason I stopped reading his blog a long time ago. PhysioProf, on the other hand, goes straight into my feed reader.

    Oh, yeah, and Greg Laden is a very uninteresting person. Why anyone thinks he should be on ScienceBlogs is completely beyond me.


  98. What David Kroll said was far worse than what anyone else said.

    Oooh, and Chris is so pretty that I’ll hang on every word that his hot little body pumps out.

    Sounds kind of odd when directed toward a man, eh?

    What the hell is wrong with you people? Is your life so pitiful that the first thing you choose to comment upon regarding an experienced scientist, author, and public policy expert?

    Here are the issues.

    1) No one said they would hang on Sheril’s words because she is attractive. That is a strawman. People said she is attractive. Let her go out and say a series of horribly dumb things and see if these people are okay with that. I bet they won’t be.

    1a) I’m going to be plain because people gloss over points easily. Why won’t people be okay with her saying dumb things?* Because if she does then they will care about those things, not her looks. Conservatives don’t listen to Ann Coulter because she has a degree of attractiveness. Let her say abortion is okay and no god exists and see what happens to her following.

    2) It sounds awkward directed toward a man because of the adjectives used, not because of the intent. Let’s not lose focus of the principle here: focus upon looks over credentials. What would have been an appropriate analogy would be this. “Oh, look at how hot Chris is.” “Hot little body” is awkward because small bodies on men are not generally considered attractive. It’s an improper analogy that assumes “little” is demeaning because it is almost always applied to women.

    2a) But let me not miss the point. Making comments about Chris’ looks over his credentials does demean Chris’ accomplishments – if anyone is discussing his accomplishments. The post was a general introduction. Nothing specific was being discussed. That inherently opens up the topic. Of course, that doesn’t mean horribly demeaning things can be said, but stating a non-derogatory opinion is far from demeaning.

    3) What about the comments about age? Why isn’t anyone discussing ageism? It’s no secret young people face discrimination as a result of merely being young. That form of discrimination is less noticed and more easily accepted and thus goes under the radar far more commonly than any sexism.

    4) So what if Kirshenbaum is “an experienced scientists, author, and public policy expert”? How is that at all relevant? This is where David Kroll becomes worse than those he criticizes. If the point is that women should not be objectified, then credentials are irrelevant. He has made his target patriarchy while ignoring sexism in general.

    5) It is inappropriate to read into other’s intentions so deeply, especially Internet users who are not a part of the scientific community. Their words cannot be extrapolated to represent an entire organization of people. That does a disservice to said organization, to the point at hand, and to the most basic of logic.

    It is a hamfisted exercise of male privilege, intended to send the message to Sheril that she has entered a male domain, and that her purpose there is to play an object role in the lurid fantasies of the men who occupy that male domain.

    A) No message was being sent to Sheril. The comment was not left on her blog.

    B) One of the first comments (which Kirhsenbaum misquoted on her blog) specifically made mention of a lack of knowledge of her science. In other words, it said – quite clearly – “Hey, she may or may not have some good things to say about science. I don’t know yet.” That says to me that the person will judge her science based upon actually seeing her science. In even more other words, the person has said her science is to be judged without respect to her looks.

    I hate to see this knee-jerk reaction. “Someone said a woman in a position of authority was attractive! He’s trying to take her down with his penis! Sound the alarms!” It’s ridiculous.


  99. From Aerik:

    But they next time you talk about the skepchicks, they, it’s all about teh hawtness again.

    If people want others to ignore their gender in favor of their ideas, they shouldn’t make a point of emphasizing their gender. What if there was a blog called “Skepdudes” where the blogging was devoted toward fostering discussion among men? Sure, plenty of things like that exist, but that has no bearing on the point here; something devoted specifically to one gender is no more or no less sexist than something else specifically devoted to the other gender. I sense there would be outrage, however, at a “Skepdudes”. This would appear to be a result of the “Women are grand, men are crap” attitude that pervades the more PC among us. It’s a double-standard that (inherently, of course) embraces sexism.


  100. Thanks for the subnumeraled list, holmes. You’re a fucking misogynist wacko.


  101. This is far from true. Address my points if you think I’m wrong. Otherwise you’re just engaging in rhetoric. Think about it. One of the reasons the comments were not censorsed was because doing so would have inhibited discussion. By using useless rhetoric, you are doing the same thing: inhibiting fruitful discussion. You appear to be more interesting in getting a hoard behind you and firing off F-bombs and petty insults than actually discussing anything.

  102. ekcol Says:

    If people want others to ignore their gender in favor of their ideas, they shouldn’t make a point of emphasizing their gender.

    No one’s asking you to ignore their gender. They’re asking you to ignore their physical appearance. Thanks for stopping by to us know that’s all you think women are, though.

  103. MissPrism Says:

    What did Sheril do to emphasize her gender?


  104. Sheril didn’t do that. “Skepchicks” does.

    I also didn’t say I have a problem with Skepchicks doing that.

  105. YouKnowWho Says:

    What pisses me off is the way you females want it both ways. It’s fine when Chick with PhizzleDizzle calls Corrinne Yu a “hott Asian chick kicking ass and taking names in a male-dominated computing field” to which Mrs. CH said…

    That is really cool! Thanks for posting this! I don’t know why, but I love to hear about scientists that are smokin’ hot women!

    or when Arlenna at Chemical BiLOLogy brags about her student evals calling her hot:
    # “Her facial features. She is probably the most beautiful teacher I have ever had.”
    # “HER HOTTNESS (two T’s)” **(sic–”two T’s” was NOT added by me, lol)
    # “She’s much better looking than Dr. Y. She also goes slower”
    # “she’s pretty damn hot”

    to which Professor in Training said…

    Haha – congrats on your excellent evals … and on your hottness!

    and Massimo (formerly known as Okham) said…

    Congratulations, you hottie !

    but some guy compliments a woman and it’s the end of the fucking world.

  106. YouKnowWho Says:

    I’ve been wondering for some time why it is so important for female bloggers to let everyone know how hot they are – who cares????

    Isis the Scientist said…

    May I add a hearty “yes?” I noticed I was treated differently when I was looking up to the white haired old dudes compared to now when I want to be one of the white haired old dudes.

    Except not white haired and totally hot.


  107. YouKnowWho,

    Misogyny is okay coming from women. Likewise, women also are allowed to get away with misandry.

  108. MissPrism Says:

    I’m wondering whether MH and YKW are now whining exactly the same whine that racists whine when they whine “but black people get to use the N word”, or whether it’s just a very similar whine that springs from the same mixture of spite and obliviousness to context and history. And whininess.


  109. women also are allowed to get away with misandry

    LOOOOOON ALERT!

  110. YouKnowWho Says:

    PhizzleDizzle Says:

    March 24, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    CPP: thanks for your ally-ness. goddamn those fucking fuckers. yet another reason to be pseudonymous and not post any pictures. fuckers.

    Hypocrite!!!!!!

    On her own blog Chick with PhizzleDizzle calls Corrinne Yu a “hott Asian chick kicking ass and taking names in a male-dominated computing field” to which Mrs. CH said…

    That is really cool! Thanks for posting this! I don’t know why, but I love to hear about scientists that are smokin’ hot women!


  111. I don’t give a flying fuck if you think I’m a hypocrite or not.

    If you can’t tell the difference between what I said and what happened at Phil Plait’s, I don’t care to explain it to you.

    I’m done with this entire subject.

  112. YouKnowWho Says:

    “I’m done with this entire subject.”

    aww don’t go away mad phizzle, just go away.

    as for you CPP, sorry to vanquish you in front of your adoring “smoking hot” female admirers/minions but you SHOULD have apologized for your racist remarks.

  113. YouKnowWho Says:

    “difference between what I said ”

    you also POSTED A PICTURE so everyone could see how “HOTT” the Asian chick, I mean female scientist, was.

    hmmm….sound familiar????


  114. The only frustrating thing about this is the uselessness of some of the responses. It isn’t just that there’s disagreement – that makes life interesting. It’s that the disagreement is not (or can not) be properly voiced. Childish insults – not content – is all these people here seem to have. That goes to support the idea that this whole debacle has just been an excuse to flail one’s arms over pet concerns. That is, someone said something which can be misconstrued (and it was), so all the children jumped on the PC bandwagon and decided to win the debate with numbers, not content.


  115. MissPrism,

    I’m wondering whether MH and YKW are now whining exactly the same whine that racists whine when they whine “but black people get to use the N word”, or whether it’s just a very similar whine that springs from the same mixture of spite and obliviousness to context and history. And whininess.

    It’s cute that you’re so blindly angry that you’re trying to push the term “whine” onto others, but methinks you should step back and examine the entire basis of this ‘discussion’.

    “Nigger” is fine coming from anyone who does not intend it to be derogatory. Most people disagree with this stance, but most people also only consider the political climate, not intentions. Intentions matter, not PC memes. Just the same, saying “She’s attractive” is fine coming from anyone. I don’t care that Isis the Scientist or anyone else talked about female attractiveness. That’s fine. Equally, it’s fine coming from a man. It’s pure hypocrisy to say otherwise – and that was the point.

    In your analogy, “nigger” is mostly derogatory when used by white people and thus not okay. Equally, “I’d fuck her” would be inappropriate coming from anyone in a professional setting. Here, intention can be clearly inferred. Unfortunately, the intention behind these remarks is confused with the intention behind similarly worded remarks. A knee-jerk reaction is often the result. More unfortunate, however, is the inability of some to muster a proper response to anything which runs counter to their indoctrinated responses.


  116. Dude, where the fuck did you get the cockamamie idea that there is a “debate” going on here that can be “won”? Are you really that fucking oblivious?

  117. YouKnowWho Says:

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!111!!!!! normally I wouldn’t enjoy humiliating someone on their own blog, but Comrade PhysioProf has really pissed me off with his/her racist and sexist “PC” hypocrisy. And it’s reprehensible to see his/her supposedly strong, feminist female followers groveling around their alpha male CPP and whimpering if someone looks at them the wrong way. This whole incident was ludicrous. Funny how none of the PC policepeople piped up when when Arlenna at Chemical BiLOLogy bragged on and on about her student evals calling her hot. Oh no, instead they all congratulated her! Ooooo Arlenna, you are such a hottie! though we can’t see your picture – that must have been so frustrating for you! At least now we know the apparently important fact that you are hot. I for one found it more than a little inappropriate….

    Anyway MH, here’s how things work on CPP’s blog, from what I have seen. If someone successfully challenges his/her ideas in the comment section, Cpp and his/her “smokin’ hot” minions and other sycophants go through the following steps:

    1. call the person a troll
    2. call the person loony
    3. call the person racist
    4. deny there was ever any debate
    5. repeat sequence, louder and shriller this time

  118. YouKnowWho Says:

    oops, I forgot a step – it goes:

    1. Accuse the person of being a troll
    2. Claim the person is crazy
    3. Accuse the person of being a racist
    4. Accuse the person of whining
    5. Deny there was ever any debate
    6. Repeat sequence, louder and shriller this time


  119. Dude, where the fuck did you get the cockamamie idea that there is a “debate” going on here that can be “won”? Are you really that fucking oblivious?

    This gave me the best laugh I’ve had in a week.

    Also, since I find I’ve been unfairly maligned by some commenters here, for the record I wish to state that although I have my good days, I am not particularly hot.

  120. MyWorkIsDoneHere Says:

    Sheril R. Kirshenbaum Says:

    March 24, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    “Come now folks, let’s give Phil a break… He’s a terrific writer and remember his initial intention was to welcome us to our new home. Further, dear physioprof is another scibling I simply adore. I’ll have my own response to all of the hullabaloo in the morning and I hope you’ll come visit.

    To everyone, I greatly appreciate all the support today expressed here and across the blogosphere. More to come tomorrow…”

    I am a female so I can say this – you are one hot mama Sheril! welcome to my world! You are now my idol, and I will be hanging on to your every word, because I am a hottie too! Grrrrls rule!


  121. YouKnowWho,

    My blog tends to focus on creationists, religion, and, of course with all that, evolution and science. Some of the more intelligent creationists, I have found, are quite willing to try and defend their positions. Most, however, – and this extends well beyond cyberspace – prefer to avoid any confrontation to their beliefs. Of course, they love to express their beliefs, to try and convince you they’re right – but this ends when you present counterpoints. CPP is equal to the creationist. It’s uncanny how similar the mindsets really are. Both are filled with assertions and prefer to rely upon popularity over actual content. There is no debate about creationism in a church, and there is no debate on sexism on feminist blog church.

  122. ekcol Says:

    My blog tends to focus on creationists, religion, and, of course with all that, evolution and science. Some of the more intelligent creationists, I have found, are quite willing to try and defend their positions. Most, however, – and this extends well beyond cyberspace – prefer to avoid any confrontation to their beliefs.

    When was the last time Dawkins or PZ Myers debated a creationist? Creationists are constantly offering to do so, but they and most other prominent scientists have a policy of refusing. Why won’t they defend their positions? And why won’t evolutionists allow their theories to be discussed in the classroom? They love to express their beliefs, but it ends when you present counterpoints.


  123. [...] April 1, 2009 CPP is equal to the creationist. It’s uncanny how similar the mindsets really are. Both are filled with assertions and prefer to rely upon popularity over actual content. There is no debate about creationism in a church, and there is no debate on sexism on feminist blog church. And why won’t evolutionists allow their theories to be discussed in the classroom? They love to ex… [...]


  124. ekcol,

    PZ Myers has debated creationists. The last time he wasn’t told that’s what would be happening, but as far as I know, he’s willing to do it – as long as its done honestly. As for Dawkins, he has said he doesn’t want to give the impression that creationists actually have any weight behind their positions. It would be like a geologist debating a flat-earther. It gives credence to a baseless position. But let’s digress. If you want to continue anything, my blog probably has plenty of topics for your interest. If that doesn’t tingle your senses, PZ Myers and Dawkins both have their own sites.


  125. Also, since I find I’ve been unfairly maligned by some commenters here, for the record I wish to state that although I have my good days, I am not particularly hot.

    Wait a minute. This whole time, I have genuinely assumed that you were. And, no: I don’t intend that either as an April Fool’s joke or a disrespectful comment.

  126. ekcol Says:

    As for Dawkins, he has said he doesn’t want to give the impression that creationists actually have any weight behind their positions. It would be like a geologist debating a flat-earther. It gives credence to a baseless position.

    Gee, I wonder if this is somehow answers your question why no one here will debate sexism with you.

    Hint: I was being ironic and that was my point.


  127. As I said in the other thread, Poe’s Law.

    I did not say sexism is okay. That is a strawman. If you disagree, please quote where I made such an absurd argument.

    What I have been saying is that this is not a case of sexism. It is a case of people passionate about a particular topic getting up in arms and exploiting an innocent incident.

  128. LearnHexadecimal Says:

    What I have been saying is that this is not a case of sexism. It is a case of people passionate about a particular topic getting up in arms and exploiting an innocent incident.

    The incident was not innocent.

    The people making the comments could have been innocent, if by “innocent” you mean “unaware of their own foulness”, but that really isn’t the point.


  129. I’ve made numerous points to that contention already. If anyone wants to respond, my posts aren’t going anywhere.

  130. JenniferRuth Says:

    @ Michael Hawkins

    “There is no debate about creationism in a church, and there is no debate on sexism on feminist blog church.”

    Because sexism is like evolution. It exists and any debates to say otherwise are starting from false and easily refutable talking points.

  131. YouKnowWho Says:

    JenniferRuth Says:

    “Because sexism is like evolution. It exists and any debates to say otherwise are starting from false and easily refutable talking points.”

    You need to read a thread before you jump in. We are discussing a PARTICULAR CASE.

    Unless of course you are just following the mob….


  132. Because sexism is like evolution. It exists and any debates to say otherwise are starting from false and easily refutable talking points.

    The analogy is flawed. Evolution is not subjective. It happens objectively. What constitutes sexism holds a subjective edge. Of course, most people can agree on a common definition that will cover the most obvious cases, but any such definition would not objectively apply across the board to all situations and contexts. The world is not black and white.

    A closer analogy would be to say that sexism is like evolution in that happens, but the finer details are up for debate.

  133. Brendan White Says:

    The key difference, is that PZ and Dawkins will take the time to point out just exactly is wrong with the positions of their opponents, they do in fact debate, just not formal debates.

    I put my position into proof form, making it extra easy to attack (because it took away my ability to redefine out of harms way and claim that was my original position) yet CPP Simply declared me wrong and juvenile. He could have said something like “P3 is false because of example XYZ”, instead he just acted like a tyrant. My position is not that sexism does not exist, or that it isn’t a problem. I had two positions, firstly rational responses in proper perspective are better than knee jerk responses, secondly that we need to avoid feeding bad behavior in addition to punishing bad behavior for the best return for our effort. If you were to provide counter examples to those positions or address my underlying logic it would be appropriate, simply attacking me for being juvenile because I hold those positions is not.

  134. ekcol Says:

    I did not say sexism is okay. That is a strawman. If you disagree, please quote where I made such an absurd argument.

    What I have been saying is that this is not a case of sexism.

    So you said it, and no one cared. It was a case of sexism. And you think it was acceptable. So you think sexism is acceptable, whether you would word it like that or not.

    Evolution is not subjective. It happens objectively. What constitutes sexism holds a subjective edge.

    What constitutes sexism is objective. Your subjective disagreement about the moral status of objectively sexist acts doesn’t change that.

    You only avoid describing your position as sexist because the word has negative connotations. It’s a completely accurate, objective description.

  135. LostMarbles Says:

    I decided I needed a bit more space to post what I think of this shit:
    Ping!


  136. So you said it, and no one cared. It was a case of sexism. And you think it was acceptable. So you think sexism is acceptable, whether you would word it like that or not.

    Delcarations do not make a position so. Again, my points are still available here. No one has yet even bothered to refute them. That whole mob mentality kind of makes one feel okay about lacking content, I guess.

    What constitutes sexism is objective. Your subjective disagreement about the moral status of objectively sexist acts doesn’t change that.

    You only avoid describing your position as sexist because the word has negative connotations. It’s a completely accurate, objective description.

    That’s an absurd position which is easily dismissed by the fact of culture. Beside that, you just claimed that morality is objective. This is not true and can be easily disproved by the fact that morality shifts with culture, personal experiences, dominate memes, and so forth. Of course, I must admit more demonstates than proves. For more conclusive proof, one can simply recognize no ultimate source of morality.

  137. Anonymous Says:

    That whole mob mentality kind of makes one feel okay about lacking content, I guess.

    Haha, sorry I haven’t come up with anything as cogent and eloquent as “That’s easily dismissed by the fact of culture”.

    Beside that, you just claimed that morality is objective.

    Perhaps you’d like to read through the section you quoted a few times until you understand that’s the opposite of what I said.

  138. Learn Hexadecimal Says:

    Delcarations do not make a position so.

    Quite.

    For more conclusive proof, one can simply recognize no ultimate source of morality.

    Would you like to try that again? Because you just said that to prove morality is not objective, we should… deny all evidence that morality is objective. Unless you meant “recognize that there is no ultimate source of morality”, in which case perhaps the problem here is that you keep leaving key phrases out of your arguments and then expecting us to understand them anyway. And you’re still not proving crap until you can demonstrate the truth of that premise.

    I don’t think morality is objective, mind you; I just think you’re spraying flawed arguments like a fire hose, and that was the easiest one to point out.

  139. Cara Says:

    This is far from true. Address my points if you think I’m wrong. Otherwise you’re just engaging in rhetoric.

    Michael Hawkins, the only point that needs to be addressed is the one on top of your head.

    Your so-called *arguments* have been addressed before, repeatedly, for years, by many different people. You’re not saying anything new, and you’re still wrong. Keep up, please.

  140. Cara Says:

    And Brendan, again, you don’t get to decide what constitutes a “rational” response to a sexist remark, because you’re not the one who’s hurt by it. Comprende?

  141. LostMarbles Says:

    CPP, a highly edited version of your comment has finally been published on the astronomer dude’s blog:

    Hey, [bleeps]! What the [bleep] is up with you [bleeping] troglodytes? Sheril is a blogger, and she is here to blog, not for you [bleeping] misogynist creeps to leer at. Bad words edited by The Bad Astronomer

    It would be interesting to see your readers reconstruct it.


  142. Learn Hexidecimal,

    Would you like to try that again? Because you just said that to prove morality is not objective, we should… deny all evidence that morality is objective. Unless you meant “recognize that there is no ultimate source of morality”, in which case perhaps the problem here is that you keep leaving key phrases out of your arguments and then expecting us to understand them anyway. And you’re still not proving crap until you can demonstrate the truth of that premise.

    Please refrain from setting up strawmen based upon your flawed English.

    Let’s examine the sentence.

    “For more conclusive proof, one can simply recognize no ultimate source of morality.”

    Refer to the rest of the paragraph. “For more conclusive proof” is dependent upon two sentences. The first is the one that contains “that morality is objective” and the second is “This is not true”. In other words, “For more conclusive proof” has the implied clause “that morality is not objective”. You failed to recognize this. Your sentence now reads like this.

    “For more conclusive proof that morality is not objective, one can simply recognize that there is no ultimate source of morality.”

    This is redundant and pedantic. It adds unnecessary clauses to the sentence. It is inefficient.

    I don’t think morality is objective, mind you; I just think you’re spraying flawed arguments like a fire hose, and that was the easiest one to point out.

    You are saying that you fully agree with my argument (“morality is not objective”), yet you think my argument is flawed. If you wish to agree with flawed arguments, that’s up to you, but what I think you meant to say is you agree with my argument but you’re incorrectly trying correct the phrasing of my argument.

    Cara,

    Your so-called *arguments* have been addressed before, repeatedly, for years, by many different people. You’re not saying anything new, and you’re still wrong. Keep up, please.

    My arguments are specific to this situation. Unless Sheril Kirshenbaum has had her picture commented upon and given the arguments she posted to the specific comment that was made, then this has not, in fact, been addressed for years. Please refrain from using the same useless rhetoric as the rest of the mob. The arguments can be found above.

  143. ekcol Says:

    Please refrain from setting up strawmen based upon your flawed English. Let’s examine the sentence. Blah blah blah.

    Haha, this is gold; the whole “morality is objective” thing started because you were unable to parse a simple sentence where I said morality was subjective but sexism is not.


  144. [...] we’ve got obsessive high-school debate-team champion Michael Hawkins in a steel-cage death-match with the rhetorical voices in his head: Please refrain from setting up strawmen based upon your [...]


  145. Ekcol,

    This is what you said.

    What constitutes sexism is objective

    This relates specifically and directly to morality. You’re declaring that whether or not something is sexist (i.e., immoral) is objective. The fact that you later made an inconsistent statement is on you, not me.

  146. ekcol Says:

    You’re declaring that whether or not something is sexist (i.e., immoral) is objective.

    Sexist doesn’t mean immoral. It’s something that can be immoral, and most people think it is. That’s why the moral status of sexism is subjective. Sexism has a definition, which acts and utterances either fit into or they don’t. That’s why what constitutes sexism is objective. Is that really so fucking hard to understand?

    If I kill a dangerous escaped criminal, it’s subjective whether that was immoral. It’s not subjective whether I killed them.


  147. You raise a good point. What would have been more accurate for me to say is that blanket definitions do not work because the world is not black and white. There are contexts and qualifiers that push incidents to and between sexism and non-sexism. The context here, I think, pushes some of the comments away from sexism. They aren’t about objectifying women, showing power over women, or debasing women.*

    *It should be noted that I am not defending all the comments- namely, “mm…woman”. I hadn’t offered that fact yet because I assumed people wanted to actually have a fruitful discussion, not a circle-jerk confirmation of their values, biases, ethics, prejudices, etc.

  148. Learn Hexadecimal Says:

    Oh boy.

    “For more conclusive proof” has the implied clause “that morality is not objective”. You failed to recognize this.

    Wrong! I knew damn well what the implied fucking clause was. My point is that the English phrase “recognize no X” means “do not recognize any X”, i.e. “deny the existence of X”. Telling people to deny evidence is never a good idea. Even when the evidence you’re telling them to deny doesn’t actually exist, and you’re telling them to deny it in support of a true conclusion, which is the case here.

    You are saying that you fully agree with my argument (”morality is not objective”), yet you think my argument is flawed.

    That’s such a bald-faced equivocation I don’t even know where to start. You are using “argument” to mean “proposition”. I agree with the proposition “morality is not objective”. I disagree with the ridiculous sand-castle of bullshit you constructed to try to prove it.

    I think you meant to say is you agree with my argument but you’re incorrectly trying correct the phrasing of my argument.

    What I meant to fucking say is that your argument (definition: a structured proposal of evidence meant to support a given conclusion) does not fucking say what you think it fucking says. In fact, I’m still not sure what the contested clause of that sentence even meant. Would you care to define for me what “recognize no ultimate source of morality” means in context?


  149. [...] PhysioProf blogged the saga, so we’ll take quotes from his post***: The first comment arrived fewer than 30 minutes after [...]


  150. [...] link leads to “Singled Out“: My response from March 2009 to the remarks about my appearance heard ’round the science blogosphere when Chris and I joined the Discover [...]

  151. Tinkdnuos Says:

    CPP, don’t be an idiot. Phil is CLEARLY not making that distinction himself. He’s dealing with reality, i.e. software used by people who are not him, of which he has no control, will block profanities. He’s not making a moral judgment.

    I know what it’s like to be pissed off and opinionated. But you just look like a fucking moron about it.

    Before you start, also, shut the fuck up because I don’t care about your excuses. Fucking get your shit right you lazy moron.

  152. skeptifem Says:

    How the fuck did he not make the distinction? He said the mmm woman thing AND used the software to filter out curse words. He did both of those things, deciding one kind of thing was okay for schoolkids but not the other. Even if he hadn’t thought about one in light of the other we are talking about what actually happened, not his intent. Consequences matter.

  153. Tinkdnuos Says:

    But Phil didn’t say the “mmmm woman” thing. All he did was leave it up. You can argue with his reasoning for leaving it up. That’s a separate issue, ENTIRELY, from censoring profanity. Phil gave a very reasonable explanation for why the profane post was censored. It was not to silence criticism or to lend implicit support to misogynistic comments. It was JUST to let the blog past content filters in schools.

    So, pray tell, what are the supposed consequences of censoring the profanity out of that post, beyond what Phil’s already explained?


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