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There is sexism in the DailyKos community.  There is also racism, homophobia, ageism, and lots of other subtle and not so subtle prejudices based on people's immutable characteristics.  Why? Because DailyKos is a community within a larger society, a society with a long deep history of hierarchy and oppression based on those immutable characteristics.  And at the top of that hierarchy were straight, white, men (further characterized by economic class of course).

These days, I hear lots of straight, white men getting pretty annoyed when this is mentioned.  Many white men, and some white women, claim that straight white men are being blamed for everything.  Some say that our cultural history is just that, history, and those who have been lower in status historically should just get over it.  Those folks often argue either that such oppression is not going on today, or that it's going on in such minor ways that no one should be offended by it.

But the reality is that our culture is still the product of hundreds of years of oppression based on sex, race, and other factors.   The legacy of that historical hierarchy leaves many inequities and residues of oppression throughout our society.  And if we want to rid our society of those residues, we must all openly acknowledge the way we have internalized that cultural history.  Those of us who carry the legacy of cultural privilege have a special responsibility to truly listen to those who still feel oppressed by what's left of that privilege.  Does this mean we always have to agree that something is oppressive, or agree about the remedy?  No.  But we must listen respectfully and have thoughtful, soul-searching, and honest conversations about how our history informs our present perspective.

When someone speaks from the heart about feeling oppressed, responding with ridicule, dismissive remarks, name calling, or an oh-just-get-over-it-already attitude is what the Rush Limbaugh's of the world do.  It's mean-spirited and heartless.  Those who daily live with the residues of oppression in our society also live daily with that kind of response to their experience.

DailyKos should be the kind of place where it's safe to name oppression when you see it.  It should be the kind of place where people are encouraged to name sexism, racism, homophobia, etc, whenever they encounter it.  Because it is only by naming it, examining it, and discussing it thoughtfully that we can eradicate it.  And theoretically at least, that's what those who espouse democratic principles want to do.

Unfortunately, when some member of this community voiced their feelings of oppression about a sexist ad on this site, they're concerns were not listened to with an open mind, their complains were not responded to respectfully, and the opportunity for an educating discussion about sexism was lost.  Kos responded not by encouraging discussion, but with name calling and dismissiveness.  When called to task for those remarks, he what he considered an apology, but all he really said was that he didn't mean all of us with his nasty remarks, just some of us.

In the discussion that has followed since, across various diaries and threads, those who stand in solidarity with the so-called "sanctimonious, knee-jerk reactionaries" have been repeatedly ridiculed, insulted, dismissed, and treated to a thoroughly inhospitable climate.  And as a result, some very wonderful contributors have left this blog.

And Kos's reaction today?  To assert that this blog is about politics, not women's issues.  And oh by the way, if you don't like it here, go somewhere else.  Well, I will be going other places, seeking refuge at other more welcoming blogs.  But I'm not leaving here.  I will not go quietly into that good night.  No, I'll be stopping in from time to time, commenting on political matters of the day.  And I will continue to call people on it when I perceive their remarks to be sexist, racist, homophobic, etc.  I am not about to be chased away with ridicule, insults, and dismissive remarks.  Because believe me, I've been treated far worse by people who are much better at it than these.  

Originally posted to artemisia on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 06:39 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Is the Horse dead yet? (4.00)

    Coming in August 2005: Broad Street Dem

    by Delaware Dem on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 06:43:03 PM PDT

    •  no, not this old horse (4.00)
      in the immortal words of yellowbeard the pirate...

      "you'll have to kill me before i die!"

      and later...

      "us yellowbeards are never more dangerous as when we're dead!"

    •  I have to say (4.00)
      I'm always insanely amused by all the "is this over yet?" and "boring" reactions that any discussion of sexism or "women's issues" inevitably gets.

      They guys over at Washington Monthly were much more blunt about it, though.  They were quite up front about the fact that they thought that since they didn't find it interesting, it shouldn't be on Kevin Drum's from page, as if their interest was the only important litmus test.

      Seems to me that subjects that are actually boring or unimportant simply get ignored.  Not so with feminism, sexism, and "women's issues."

      Kinda makes one wonder exactly why these people feel the need to constantly talk about this particular suppossedly boring and unimportant subject in dismissive terms, when they generally are able to ignore everything else that falls under "boring" and "unimportant."

      I realize that this isn't the only subject to ever get this type of treatment, but the scale and pervasiveness is just astounding.

      "give us bread, but give us roses!"

      by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:07:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Different languages (4.00)
        You just have to do the DKos translation:

        "You're beating a dead horse." = "Stop reminding me that I'm a sexist."

        Here's an idea... a Firefox extension that would translate Kos-speak into English.  Would save alot of time here.

        All the progressive politics, none of the sexist aftertaste: BooMan Tribune

        by DisputoErgoSum on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 08:00:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not a horse. A phoenix. n/t (none)
  •  I missed the whole thing... (3.00)
    But I'm not too late to be offended by the latest "Pie Fight" ad, with the chicks ass pointed at the camera. Sheesh!

    Sorry to come in so late, but here is why that shit irritates me: it leaves me out. It says to me, come in if you want, you woman, but this is really a boys' club, as you should know by now...

    Similarly, I hate it when something is touted as being "sexy." Sexy to who?  Usually it turns out that boobs will on display. That's not sexy to ME! I have my own boobs, thank you very much.

    Anyway... any time white men feel criticised for their boorish attitudes toward women they say, we're not doing women's issues now, it's irrelevent. Not if it offends us!

    We can take our boobs and go elsewhere and then you boys will be sorry.

    •  Hmmm.... (none)
      Similarly, I hate it when something is touted as being "sexy." Sexy to who?  Usually it turns out that boobs will on display. That's not sexy to ME!

      And it all has to be about you?

      I didn't find the giant plastic boobs sexy, but I can accept that someone might. And I can accept that a television show might be aimed at the people who enjoy such things. I don't see why it has to involve me at all.

      There are plenty of television programs aimed at women that strive for the lowest-common-denominator of "chick flick" and while it might bore me, it doesn't offend me. Even if the ad features a bare chested guy with a sock in his pants.

      Now the fact that there aren't very many television programs (and corresponding ads) that are aimed at more intellectual men and women, that seems like a problem maybe we should be addressing.

      Gawd, I can't believe I just posted on this subject again. I must really not want to work!

      "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

      by Mad Dog Rackham on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:06:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  artemisia (none)
    Did you used to live in Forest Park, IL?

    Bloggin Blagojevich's Blunders: do you want to see Roddy B challenged in the Dem Primary?

    by Carl Nyberg on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 06:51:52 PM PDT

  •  If there is racism, sexism, etc on Daily Kos (none)
    It's because there are thousands of memebers with thousands of ideas, some of which might not be so kosher.
  •  That's it. (1.66)
    I'm cutting off my penis and standing in solidarity with my sisters. Anyone up for the Vagina Monologues?

    hink

  •  these ads say to me (4.00)
    that no matter what a women accomplishes, who she is -- whether that be servicemember, corporate chief, senator, sister, wife or mom -- the bottom line is this (and remember this, GIRLS):  You are there for men, Period.  Just like it says in Adam and Eve.

    It's very sad.

    And even worse, is that it's so easy for those with not even a fingernail's worth of sensitivity or empathy to scream at the top of their lungs how hypersensitive the other side is.  I suppose it would seem that way to them.  

    Too bad they won't even pretend to see this issue from a viewpoint other than their own.

    •  No. (none)
      Those girls are there for men because they want to be. The others, you know, doctors, lawyers, CEOs, Astronauts, Politicians, Firemen, Soldiers, etc. are not.

      Why should we lump all women together. Don't women have a sense of individuality?

      I mean come on, if a guy did something I thought was stupid I wouldn't think he was giving all men a bad name.

      hink

      •  I think you miss (none)
        my point -- not that I disagree with yours.

        What I'm trying to say is that it's a constant uphill battle to express that individuality, which in the end is reduced to something like this -- and no matter what we accomplish, THIS is what gets the attention (plus the obnoxious PAris Hilton ad).  I remember reading an op-ed piece awhile back that really drove it home for me, that whatever we do, too many men just seem to have this sense of entitlement that women, ultimately, should be ready, willing and able to drop everything for men.

        As for the chicks who are in ads like that, that's their problem.

        And as for whether this site should run ads like that -- again, I think a little sensitivity would not be misplaced.  There's a sense of fun, even of "nice naughtiness" in many racy ads (the Europeans know how to do this!) -- but rubbing readers' whatevers ( :-) ) in it should lead to a little introspection....

        best,

        •  entitlement (4.00)
          "That whatever we do, too many men just seem to have this sense of entitlement that women, ultimately, should be ready, willing and able to drop everything for men."

          Which is what makes the; "I'll focus on Important Shit" comments so completely....unproductive to say the least.  

          I mean, really, if this wasn't in some way important, would you be talking about it?

          Probably not, which is why the "not important" comments usually translate to "it's not important to me so shut the fuck up already."

          "give us bread, but give us roses!"

          by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:34:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not female, so... (none)
          ... I don't know how women perceive how we act as men. I can speak for myself, though and say that I've never had an inkling of that sense of entitlement. Seriously, I wouldn't be interested in someone who would "drop everything" for me. How boring.

          I'll bet I'm not the only guy who feels this way and if you ask guys, say 45 and under, that would be how the majority felt.

          hink

          •  it's not necessarily (none)
            real, live, breathing humans who feel/act this way -- but whoever controls ad/entertainment budgets seem to project that desire, so it is rather pervasive in our culture.
          •  There's clearly some variation. (none)
            I don't know how women perceive how we act as men.

            What you should be asking yourself is how women perceive men who do things like call us "menstruating she-devils" in a public forum. (hint: it's not girlish horror or even anger)

            "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

            by colleen on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:54:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hey... (none)
              ... at least I edited out the "hairy-legged" part. Just kidding.

              Seriously, I apologized for that. It was a crude, tasteless and unbecoming joke. I can't think of even one woman I would describe that way in a serious manner (because I'm pretty sure Ann Coulter is too skinny to menstruate).

              I'm sorry you were offended.

              hink

          •  entitlement (4.00)
            hink,

            i think its the nature of entitlement that one doesn't notice it when they have it.  mostly, you notice it when you don't.  

            for instance, when you walk down the street at night, do you ever wonder if the man walking behind you might rape you?  many women do. when you walk at night in a wealthy neighborhood, do you ever get stopped by the police for seeming out of place?  people of color do.  would you have trouble getting a cab in new york city because of your race?  black people do.  if you are hetero, have you ever been afraid of being beaten up for holding hands in public with someone you love?  gays and lesbians often are.

            so you may not have noticed the privileges that come with the legacy of your historical status, but those without those privileges see them very clearly.

            •  Since we're talking about biases.... (none)
              Please explain to me how this:

              "when you walk down the street at night, do you ever wonder if the man walking behind you might rape you?  many women do."

              is different than this:

              "when you walk down the street at night, do you ever wonder if the [African-American] walking behind you might [attack] you?  many [white people] do."

              You see, in your example, the man is to blame, and the woman is simply reacting to the mysoginy that pervades society and causes her to fear for her safety.  In my example, the white person is to blame, because he or she is making an unfair assumption about another person based on their skin color.  Interesting, isn't it, that in both cases, the white and/or male person is blamed for the situation.  Somehow, the more white and male you are, the more inherently racist and sexist people assume you must be.  But the joke's on them, because assuming that somebody is racist because they have white skin is the very definition of racism, and assuming that somebody is sexist because they have a penis is the very definition of sexism.

              Now, as to the original diary, which relates to what I've just written:

              "Many white men, and some white women, claim that straight white men are being blamed for everything.  Some say that our cultural history is just that, history, and those who have been lower in status historically should just get over it.  Those folks often argue either that such oppression is not going on today, or that it's going on in such minor ways that no one should be offended by it."

              What bothers many white males is precisely what I've elucidated above.  Many people seem to assume that because we are white and male, we must be racist and sexist.  Of course, as I've pointed out, such assumptions are hypocritical in the extreme, because they are in fact rooted in racism and sexism (or, as some people comically refer to them "reverse racism" and "reverse sexism").

              Personally, I've never argued either that oppression does not exist or that it is only a minor issue.  But I'm tired of being called a racist because of the color of my skin, or a sexist because of my biological sex.  It's bullshit and it's hypocritical, and you would do well to understand why a lot of white males chafe under these biased assumptions.

              •  I'm sick (4.00)
                of the idea that simply pointing out that entitlement exists is somehow insulting to men's existence.

                I'm tired of the idea that I can't point out that an action or statement is sexist without it being assumed that I think the person making the statement is always, or even usually sexist.

                I'm also fed up with the crap that suggests that if you are fighting equal/civil rights you somehow are impermeable to having sexist or racist attitudes.

                I am a white female who considers herself as fighting the good fight for gender and racial equality, but I am under no illusion that I'm immune to sexist and racist attitides and ideas.

                I'm annoyed by the assertion that pointing out entitlement and racism exist somehow means that I'm claiming that you've automatically got it better than I do.

                Part of why this is important to me is because these are exactly the same arguments that "the right' uses to stifle criticism, belittle treating people with respect as being "PC," and so on and so forth.

                If we can't figure out how to discuss sexism and racism amongst ourselves, how can we ever expect to be able to defend "progessivism" to "moderate' Americans?

                "give us bread, but give us roses!"

                by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 09:07:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Original sin (none)
                  Pointing out that entitlement exists is not in and of itself insulting to men's existence.  It's the assumptions that sometimes (not always, of course) go with it, assumptions which make many people who toss around accusations of bias into paragons of hypocrisy.

                  I too am fed up with the crap that suggests that if you are fighting for equal rights you are somehow impermeable to having sexist or racist attitudes.  In fact, that's a fairly good summation of my post above -- I'm sick of having people throw their own racism and sexism at me, from their high horse, while accusing me of being racist and sexist without knowing a whit about me.  They assume that I'm racist and sexist simply because I'm white and male, which as I've pointed out, is so hypocritical that it's almost amusing.  It's like a form of original sin that I'm supposed to carry around with me and feel guilty over.  Like I should apologize for being a white male.  Frankly, I don't cotton to notions of original sin in any form or from any source, and I make no exception here.

                  My example holds.  Person A is walking down the street, and notices Person B walking behind them.  Person A fears for his or her safety because of the type of person that Person B is.  Is Person A justified in his or her fear?  Most of us would say that if Person A is white, and is afraid of Person B because he or she is black, then Person A is exhibiting racist tendencies.  And yet, if Person A is female, and is afraid of Person B because he is male, then somehow that is the fault of Person B rather than an indicator that Person A is exhibiting sexist tendencies?  So it would seem, according to the post to which I originally replied.  It's a clear double-standard.

                  •  With great trepidation (none)
                    because I know these examples can become silly really fast (but I think these hypotheticals could use a real world example):

                    I was walking home from downtown a couple of weeks ago, well after dark.  As I was walking along a mostly empty sidewalk, a car pulled up beside me and rolled down its window.  I started edging over to the other side of the sidewalk, simultanously telling myself not to be so paranoid and reassuring myself that not being within grabbing distance was the smart thing to do.  I had no idea if the person in the car was male or female, I had no idea if the person wished to harm me or not.  I was fairly certain he/she didn't (just statistics wise) but I also know that if they had meant to, I was in a pretty vulnerable position, and that that position would be even more vulnerable if the person in the care was male.

                    It turned out to be my dad.  Who, of course, simply wanted to offer me a ride home.

                    He was completely confused when I told him that he scared the shit out of me.  It didn't occur to my dad, the one who pored over the safety records and procedures of every college I applied to, that coming up alongside me in the dark (when I would have a hard time recognising his car) would put me on the defensive.  That is male entitlement - and my dad taught me to be a feminist as much as my mom did.

                    The difference between being scared of African Americans versus being wary of men in certain situations, is one of facts versus perception.  The idea that African Americans are more likley to hurt caucasions than other caucasions are is a fiction perpetuated by media.  The idea that all men are dangerous is a fiction perpetuated by the media.  The idea that a man is more likely to hurt me than another woman is a statistical fact.  The idea that I am more likely to be able to fight off a female attacker than a male attacker is fact of biology.

                    So, I see your point, but I don't think that the two are the same.  And I don't see how pointing out that most reasonable women are on their guard in certain situations is supposed to be insulting to men.  Acknowleding that women are more likely to be physically hurt by men than vice versa is simply stating the facts.  Stating these facts is not, in and of itself, putting the blame on men.  It's simply stating a real problem so that it can be addressed and dealt with.  Acting as if women in these situations are acting unreasonably is insulting though, in my opinion.  I also think that it's insulting and unproductive to act as if simply trying to acknowledge that such behaviour is reasonable means that people who do so are automatically trying to blame men, not the culture as a whole.

                    And I don't see how acknowledging that my dad is entitled in ways that I am not is insulting to him either.  I think that it would be more insulting to act as if his lack of understanding was all his fault.

                    "give us bread, but give us roses!"

                    by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 10:17:58 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  criticism heard (none)
                i hear your criticism that perhaps it was sexist to assume that all rapists are men.  and since the sex of the rapist was not central to my point anyway, i have no problem changing it even though my feelings tend to be more in line with jenny's on this point.  since i can't edit the comment itself, please consider it edited here.  please replace "the man" with "someone".  it should now read, "do you ever wonder if someone might rape you"  

                i'm not afraid to be called on my own sexism, racism, homophobia.  in fact, i welcome it.  we all have internalized the prejudices of our culture, and i don't exempt myself from that statement.

                in this case, i hear your criticism, acknowledge that i presumed a potential rapist would be male, and have corrected the text accordingly.

              •  regarding your second point (none)
                further down in your post you state:

                What bothers many white males is precisely what I've elucidated above.  Many people seem to assume that because we are white and male, we must be racist and sexist. <snip> I'm tired of being called a racist because of the color of my skin, or a sexist because of my biological sex.  It's bullshit and it's hypocritical, and you would do well to understand why a lot of white males chafe under these biased assumptions.

                i have two points to make in regard to what you said above:

                1)  i don't believe i assumed you personally are sexist or racist.  in fact, i intentionally put the word "many" in front of "white males" because i do not believe all white men are more sexist or racist than the rest of us.  but i ask you, do you disagree with my statement that many white men, and some white women, believe that white men are being blamed for everything?  do you disagree that there are people who "say that our cultural history is just that, history, and those who have been lower in status historically should just get over it?"  do you disagree that many white men and some white women feel that either sexism is not going on today, or that it's going on in such minor ways that no one should be offended by it?

                my sense, from reading your post, is not that you disagree with those statements, its that you don't like it when people assume you are among those white men and white women who believe such things.  of course, please correct me i'm wrong on that.  but if i'm reading you correctly, that brings me to my second point.

                2)  i hear you.  you are angry because you feel people prejudge you negatively because of your race and sex.  it makes me angry when it happens to me too.  and it makes black people angry when it happens to them.  gays and lesbians are angry when it happens to them.  

                for hundreds of years, women of all races and men of color have been prejudged negatively because of their sex and race.  and many of us still experience that sexism, racism, homophobia on a daily basis.  and it makes us angry in the same way you are angry.  

                white men in general are just recently beginning to feel what women of all races and men of color, and gays and lesbians, have felt for hundreds of years.  how dare you prejudge me because of my race or the color of my skin?

                now this does not mean you are not entitled to  your anger when it happens to you.  of course you are angry. and you are right to be angry about it.  it's not fair.  

                but given your anger when it happens to you, can't you understand why women of all races, men of color, and gays and lesbians, get so angry when it happens to them every single day?

              •  How often are you *called* racist? (none)
                Compared to how often you feel called racist?

                Now my hot-button goes off as often as anyone elses--and I'm usually pretty ashamed of the result. So I'm not pointing a finger here.

                If, however, the other party has said something neutral, and I have misunderstood it as an attack--then I have just discovered a (heretofore unrecognized) prejudice within myself.  

                I need to take some time out and reflect. Root out a few spiritual weeds, if you will, before coming back into the discussion.

                Your sensitivity to this issue may be due a prejudice you have hidden from yourself. Alternately, you may be dealing with sort of a "survivor guilt" phenomenon.

                I've said this before in other ways. It ain't fair, but the "good guys" all too often get stuck coping with a lot of damaged people who have been hurt by "bad guys" who look a lot like the "good guys" to the injured party.

                Please remember that one "bad guy" can create a LOT of victims. Much easier to destroy a city than build one.

                Rescue workers have one of the toughest jobs in the world. But the surviving victims do have it even worse.

                Joe Nonabusive White Male has no choice--if he wants a woman in his life, he has to volunteer as a rescue worker in the Gender Wars. The only alternative is to somehow STOP them. And that will only help the next generation, not this one.

          •  Well, it very much comes across (none)
            in the "boring" "are we done yet?" and "not important" comments that pervade discussions on sexism and feminism on non-feminist blogs.

            It's not that such men aren't justified in having those opinions, it's that they feel the need to put their .02 in on something they supposedly find not worth their time.

            Their actions suggest otherwise, and the fact that they are (in my experience) more likely to do so, and do so more often and more vehemently, on discussion's of "women's issues" smacks of entitlement.  It's as if because it's about women, rather than some other "gender neutral" topic, a much larger group of men feel that they suddenly have the right to not only dismiss it, but deride those who don't - usually women.

            I haven't seen many obvious responses of this type on Kos, (though I wouldn't be surprised by it) but there are plenty  of responses that are blatant enough, and these types of one liners absolutely pervaded some of the comment threads on the discussions of women in op-ed/blogging on Kevin Drum's site.

            And as for (a small example of) everyday entitlement:  How often has a friend come up to you and told you to smile?  Co-worker? Complete stranger?

            My experience has been that women will often get told to smile by complete strangers (I know I have been) - as if making the complete stranger feel good is more important than their own thoughts or feelings - but that guys never are told to do the same by people they don't know.  And, of course, the "strangers" are overwhelmingly male as well.

            Dr. Piper points out in "Reviving Ophelia" that if you ask most girls if sexism is an issue or if they are feminists they will say no, but that if you ask them who has more power at the schools they go to, they will say men.  Just because people don't see it doesn't mean that discrimination doesn't exist - that's often part of the reason why it still does.

            "give us bread, but give us roses!"

            by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 08:19:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, and thank you... (4.00)
          ... for disagreeing with me respectfully and not troll rating my ass.

          hink

      •  Good point (4.00)
        Which is why I don't object to ads like that so much as the fact that there are not similar ads for me, and not enough ads that don't use women's bodies as a way of selling something.

        Not just because I think I'm getting shortchanged by not having have many sexy pictures of guys to oogle, but because the pervasiveness of such images and the absence of almost any other kind helps in creating a sexist environment.

        It's not the ad, it's the ads, and the context.

        "give us bread, but give us roses!"

        by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:27:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think it proves... (2.50)
      men like boobies.  And that corporations know men like boobies, so they make money off men who like boobies.  I don't see what's so offensive.  If it was two gay men wrestling, the ad would roundly be praised as a victory in the fight for homosexuals.  I wouldn't be offended if two men were wrestling.   I don't think men should have to apologize for being attracted to women.  Women are hot, and women CEO's are even hotter.  Get over yourself, everything isn't about you.  This ad wasn't for you.
  •  If you see something you disagree with... (4.00)
    ...by all means point it out.

    But if you don't get the response you want it doesn't mean you weren't listened to. It doesn't mean you weren't respected. it doesn't mean you were dismissed. It doesn't mean you were insulted. It also doesn't mean you're wrong.

    It might just mean they disagree with you.

    If after they read your comments they don't change their mind, then it might be because they've considered the question before and come to a conclusion, just as you have. Only a different conclusion. And they feel as strongly about it as you do your conclusion, and take your comments as being dismissive and insulting.

    By all means engage in debate, but the people on here who take all disagreement as "ridicule, insults, and dismissive remarks" aren't accomplishing anything, especially getting their viewpoint across.

    And when it does turn petty and personal, move on. To the next diary, please, not to another site.

    OK, someone else's turn to whack the horse.

    "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

    by Mad Dog Rackham on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 06:58:27 PM PDT

    •  No, I will not move on (4.00)
      When the attitude is pervasive, staying silent does nothing but imply consent.

      And why not another site, if I do feel the need to move on?

      "give us bread, but give us roses!"

      by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:17:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry... (none)
        Maybe I wasn't clear.

        By "move on" I was saying that once you establish that you disagree with someone and you've exhausted your arguments, there is no point in continuing to argue. It doesn't mean you're wrong, just that you disagree.

        And in this medium, a whole lot more people read comments than ever contribute them, so your arguments, if sound, will have an impact even if the individual they were directed at remains unconvinced. And since your comments remain archived, moving on doesn't mean you're silent; the comments remain there to give voice to your viewpoint.

        Finally, when I said "not another site" I was just trying to be clear that I was not giving you the "if you don't like it then leave" treatment. Just move on to another diary and another discussion. There are 50,000 some-odd people here and huge number of conversations at any given time. If you can't find agreeable discussion within any of them, then you need to ask yourself why.

        "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

        by Mad Dog Rackham on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:33:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ok, well that makes more sense (none)
          But I have to add that giving up on arguing with certain people seems to be what a lot of women are saying they are doing by leaving the site, and yet a lot of people are deriding them for doing so.

          "If you can't find agreeable discussion within any of them, then you need to ask yourself why."

          Well, I would turn that around and say that if a not-insignificant group of people are having a hard time finding enough agreeable discussion and debate in a certain community to justify staying, that the community should ask itself why this is so.  Which is what a lot of women seem to be asking the dKos community to do.

          It doesn't necessarily mean that the community is "wrong" but it certainly suggests that change might be in order.

          "give us bread, but give us roses!"

          by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:42:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  From some of the comments... (none)
            ...I've seen from the recently departed, it seems less like giving up on arguing and more like "taking their ball and going home."

            Because they disagree with some people here, and because some people here are jerks, we lose their viewpoint. My view of "moving on" is more like "live to fight another day."

            And I agree that the level of disagreement indicates that it's a larger problem than a few malcontents, and probably indicates that there is some learning to do on all sides. I'd like to see the dialog continue (otherwise why would I be replying), but I also know that there are some issues that are so fraught with deep-seated beliefs that it is very, very hard to have polite discussions.

            Obviously "women's issues" is one of those areas. The whole Israel-Palestine thing is another. Racial issues are yet another.

            My personal technique with this is to value the conversations I have on such subjects as learning experiences, and to not have any expectations of actually convincing anyone of my viewpoint. Over time, I might make progress in convincing someone, or just as likely, my own views will change.

            Maybe that's setting the bar too low, but I find that it lets me stay calmer and more rational in the discussion. At least for a short time...

            People here are passionate in their beliefs, which is a good thing. But it can also get in the way of rational discussion. And rational discussion is why I come here. That and some good snark.

            "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

            by Mad Dog Rackham on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 08:02:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with the goal of (none)
              "Over time, I might make progress in convincing someone, or just as likely, my own views will change."

              I don't think that's setting it to low, I think it's pretty realistic, humble, and almost optimistic.

              And I can see how you see what many of the women who have left are doing as "taking their ball and going home" rather than "living to fight another day."  Unfortunately some of them may never do the latter, but I think (just from personal experience) that a lot of even those that sound pretty defeatist at the moment will be back.  Maybe not here, but elsewhere, and in the meantime they will have recharged, strategized and done a bit of consiousness raising.  For them to be so upset about the issue means that, as you pointed out, they are usually very passionate about it, so even if they are still in shock at the moment, they aren't going to be able to give up the fight.

              And I don't really see many that plan on doing so,  I just see a lot of people that need a break and are deciding that they need to change their focus or strategy.

              "give us bread, but give us roses!"

              by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 09:35:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Disagreement is OK (none)
          But disrespect is NOT.  A large number of the posters who disagreed with those of us who question the ad, were disrespected big time.  I have never heard so many juvenile remarks since....well, since I was a juvenile.  I thought this was a forum of reasonable adults.  

          So, anyway, I totally agree with a lot of what you are saying.  If people had simply disagreed in a respectful manner, I would not be so disappointed and discouraged.  From what I'm reading about how others feel, I think I can safely say that most of them feel the same way.

          It was the disrespect, NOT the disagreement.

    •  thank you (none)
      for explaining to me the difference between honest disagreement and ridicule.  how could i have ever told them apart without your help?
    •  Uncalled for. (none)
      I am offended that you are telling people to "move on" when you don't understand what the fuss is about. If you have other priorities, fine. If you think this diary is a bunch of baloney, fine. But don't tell people to "move on." That is what started this war in the first place.

      If you want to disagree with someone here, please do it in a way which is not disagreeable. I would not want people to tell me to "move on" whenever I raise a question or concern. You wouldn't either.

      •  I expect (none)
        I will be troll rated for what I'm going to say but I shall risk it.  He has explained what he meant by 'move on'.  He said, he means it more as "live to fight another day" and apoligized for not being clear.

        What started it in my opinion is people jumping to conclusion about what someone means. Oh how I wish people would read an entire thread before jumping down someone's throat.  Or maybe just ask what they mean.  He didn't say the diary is a bunch of baloney.  That's another thing in my opinion that has fanned the flames, putting words into someone elses mouth.

        I've seen enough of your comments EH to expect you will be offended by what I just said and hand me a '1'.  It's easy to tell others they don't understand and  point out they are being disagreeable  but woe be unto anyone else who points out our own inconsistencies in that regard.  

    •  I think you're copping out here. (none)
      Have you ever had a really bad sunburn?

      Put on a shirt the next day, and had a friend come along an throw an arm around your shoulder?

      And didn't you yell in pain and ask the other person to lay off with the back-slapping until you had had time to heal?

      Now how about if the friend laughed and told you you were being too sensitive? That if you didn't want your back slapped, you should stay home?

      Sexy ads are like sunlight. Wonderful stuff. But.

      How about providing a little shade, here, folks?

  •  Wow (3.75)
    And Kos's reaction today?  To assert that this blog is about politics, not women's issues.

    If this is so (haven't been keeping up), then it is a truly asinine response.

    Politics in this country have always been intertwined with religious, cultural, and social issues. That's what politics is. Women's issues are political issues.

    -Jim

    "A free and open society is an ongoing conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises." - Saul Alinsky

    by herooftheday on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 06:58:56 PM PDT

    •  Hear! Hear! (4.00)
      'Cause it can't be said enough:

      "Women's issues are political issues."

      "give us bread, but give us roses!"

      by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:13:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  a big if (none)
      so instead of saying it's a truly asinine response after admitting you haven't been keeping up, how about reading what he did say today.  It's still on the front page under Everything to everyone.  Then I'd like to know whether you agree that's what he said.
      •  you act as though (none)
        the "if" invalidates the fact that women's issues are political issues. It wasn't an attack. Chill out.

        -Jim

        "A free and open society is an ongoing conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises." - Saul Alinsky

        by herooftheday on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:56:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The if (none)
          only invalidates your comment that Kos said something asinine.  I invited you to read what he said and I asked if, after reading it, you agreed.  I did not intend that as an attack either.  It seems to me from your "chill out" that you took it as such.

          Now if you wanted to know whether I think that women's issues are political issues, just ask me straight up.

          My view:  every issue decided by a politician makes it a political issue.  Many issues affecting women are being decided by politicians so they most definitely are political issues.  

          Now, I would appreciate knowing whether you agree with the characterization of what Kos said.  You commented on it after all while admitting you haven't followed it and it sounded to me like you didn't read what he said about it today.  The only comments he made about it today are in the front page diary I referenced.

          Of course, if you don't care to read it and then comment, you can say so or ignore this post.

          •  OK, let's do this. (none)
            I went and read his post. As my original comment implies, if that wasn't what he said, it wasn't asinine. And no, it wasn't what he said. However, I can indeed see how the diarist would have drawn that conclusion from what he did write.

            You see, I think all -isms, especially sexism and racism, are about power. Perceptions of power are extremely important in communities, which is what Kos has done us the great service of facilitating. Communities are about inclusion, about feeling included. The point about the "pie" ads is that they make certain members of the community, members who want to talk about the issues Kos wants to talk about, feel unwanted or as lesser members of the community.

            As the founder and moderator-in-chief, Kos has power. By telling people to go found their own blog and talk about women's issues, he is missing the complainants' point: they feel lessened as members of the community. The point is not that he should write about women's issues - if he's not interested, he shouldn't - but that his stature as the community's leader means that sometimes there are issues of respect and power that he might need to address. His response abdicates that responsibility.

            This is not saying that Kos or anyone else, with power in this community or not, is sexist. However, in pluralistic communities such as this, issues of sexism and racism and so on will crop up, because that is what happens! Community leaders will, from time to time have to address those issues AS community issues. People weren't asking Kos to write about his opinion on women's issues, people were asking him, in his position as leader and the website's owner, to address a matter of some offense to members of the community, so they could get back to talking about politics and netroots and so on.

            I hope that clarifies my position. I was not attacking Kos or anyone else, but I do feel that, as a community member, it is my duty to point out when the community leader does something I feel is wrong. Not recognizing that he had a responsibility as the creator of the community to address the concerns of members was, I feel, wrong.

            Thanks for the discussion, I appreciate it, truly. It helped me clarify my own thinking.

            Best,

            Jim

            "A free and open society is an ongoing conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises." - Saul Alinsky

            by herooftheday on Thu Jun 09, 2005 at 10:56:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ok (none)
              " I can indeed see how the diarist would have drawn that conclusion from what he did write."

              Here we disagree.  I can't see it.

              I agree 'ism's are about power.  I understand your viewpoint based on your premise this is a community. I don't see it the same way.

              This is a blog.  And Kos said why he started his blog. He clearly stated the issues that are important to him as the "owner" of this blog.  He has provided the opportunity for others to discuss the issues important to them by providing a diaries feature.

              "People weren't asking Kos to write about his opinion on women's issues, people were asking him, in his position as leader and the website's owner, to address a matter of some offense to members of the community, so they could get back to talking about politics and netroots and so on."

              I have to disagree that people weren't asking him to write about women's issues.  There were many comments in many diaries I read that wanted him to make women's issues one of his issues.  And I believe he did address the matter that people took offense to, he just didn't do it to their satisfaction.  The miscommunication was rampant.  It wasn't all because of what Kos said or didn't say, did or didn't do.  It was amazing to watch people put words into other people's mouths and then just jump all over them.

              If I thought that this blog was a community in the sense that I define community,  I would agree with what you're saying about what Kos owes the community.  But I see it differently.

              This is a place full of anonymous people. Some come here for a sense of comraderie on issues, some come to get information, some come to stir up trouble, some come to get feedback on their ideas.

              I believe a community is more than a bunch of anonymous people sitting in front of a computer typing at each other. A community lives in real life not the blogosphere.  Sure this place can lead to meeting others in real life and making friends.  But I think investing too much in a blog and the owner of the blog, while understandable, will only lead to frustration and disappointment.

              IMO, it's not Kos's responsibility to validate my feelings.  I'm UID:48234 to him.  He's not personally inviting me into his home.  He doesn't know me and I don't know him.  I may know something about him but only what he choses to tell me by his postings.  He can choose to respond to my postings or not.  I would never think of demanding that he do anything.  But there was alot of demands and alot of attacking of him and his positions going on.  Frankly, I would have said the same thing he did to that--if you don't like it here then you are free to leave.  I don't happen to believe that was being dismissive but others made it clear they did.  But I do tend to be blunt or as one person once said to me, succinct.  I'm a 'get to the point' kind of person.  And I know firsthand that can get you in trouble sometimes.

              I think it's the reponsibility of each one of us individually to address the issues of racism, sexism, and all the other -isms that divide us. We can do it on this blog, we can do it in our communities by joining various organizations and taking various actions in our own lives.  I personally don't require Kos as the owner of this blog to do so.  

              Kos has made a committment to keep the blog up for people he doesn't even know to use.  If he decided tomorrow to shut it down, I'd be disappointed but I wouldn't feel betrayed or abandoned or hurt.  But I'll bet there are those here who would.  I actually worry about them.  They've invested a little too much of themselves in this place.

              This blog and the people on it are funny, intelligent, politically aware and I share many of the same opinions on a variety of issues. I've learned alot. I was a lurker for a long time before I signed up.  I post in spurts depending on  what's going on in my life.  Many, if not most, of us are here b/c we are distressed with our current political leadership.  We are looking for ways to share our concerns and feel we are not alone in our distress.  But there are some people, I call them posers and of course the trolls, who come here just to stir up trouble.  There were many posters throughout the various diaries doing that and I think that's what helped escalate the controversy.

              Thanks for the thoughtful reply Jim.  You did clarify your position very articulately.  Now if more of the people would've been able to step back and clarify their thinking before responding, I don't think there would have been such a blow-up.  :-)

              Have a good evening.

              •  no problem (none)
                Where we disagree is in seeing when something is a community. It's cool. As a social worker and community organizer, I'm apt to see communities in a lot of different structures. It's just a difference of opinion. And you're absolutely right. People should just chill out before typing.

                Best,

                Jim

                "A free and open society is an ongoing conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises." - Saul Alinsky

                by herooftheday on Fri Jun 10, 2005 at 12:06:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  yeah, you're right (none)
                  I think maybe whether people define this place as just a blog or as a community may shape how they responded to the controversy.  

                  I was thinking about this some based on what other posters have said in some of the diaries.  

                  I think those of us on the 'it's just a blog' end are less emotionally invested so we didn't get quite so upset.  That may have been where some of the 'get a life' comments came from.  Those on the 'it's a community' end are more emotionally invested and that may be why they felt they were being dismissed and devauled.  

                  Ah well, not really understanding where the other person(s) you're communicating with are starting from leads to conflict. And so it goes....

                  Nice chatting with you Jim.

              •  Community, disagreement, support... (none)
                ...There were many comments in many diaries I read that wanted him to make women's issues one of his issues.  ....It was amazing to watch people put words into other people's mouths and then just jump all over them.

                Perhaps some diarists did wish that.  However, as a bystander on the gay issue, I doubt that such a response would have been needed.  

                I don't march. I don't spend money.  If I were in a FORCED choice between abortion rights and gay rights, I'd probably vote for abortion rights. (But all along I'd have been fighting to get myself a better choice, first.)

                I think it would be more socially productive to take "marriage" out of the civil arena altogether and leave it up to the churches. Marriage could then become a special case of a civil contract--and the rights would belong to the civil contract relationship.

                I often suggest that rather than agitating FOR gay marriage, we reframe the issue and ask the right wingers why being AGAINST it is so important. (Ask the right snarky questions, and I think some of them would end up sounding pretty stupid with their explanations.)

                Sometimes I may suggest that a change of tactics, emphasis, or framing might be more productive in a particular situation.

                All of these things I suggest to GLBT "zealots" go over fine. People may not act on my suggestions, but nobody gets mad at me. And I never hear from a GLBT that I am not supportive.
                Quite the reverse.

                The only thing I can think of that I have done differently on the GLBT issue from what so very many well-intentioned guys have done on the pie fight issue is this:  I have NEVER suggested (nor even used words which might be misconstrued to IMPLY...) that those who cared more about GLBT issues than I did should change their focus and put other issues ahead of their issues.

                I expect and appreciate that GLBT people will care more about "their" issue than about "my" issue. And that is absolutely FINE with me.

                Such a small thing--but it makes such a HUGE difference!

    •  Have you ever thought (none)
      that maybe Kos doesn't know enough about the women's cause to post about it?!  He wants his site to be specialized in certain areas.  He has said that he focuses on Iraq, the netroots, and elections, and he's pretty consistent about it.  Obviously it's a political issue.  Kos is just focusing on what he knows that most about!  Stick to your guns Kos, I'm behind you.
      •  If it was simply that he didn't feel qualified (none)
        but still felt passionate about it, he'd get someone else to post about it.

        "give us bread, but give us roses!"

        by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 09:40:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why don't you do it then?! (none)
          Why don't you do research and post thought-provoing diaries?  You criticise Kos, but he posts plenty of great posts every week.
          •  To begin with: (none)
            How the hell do you know that I don't do so, but do so somewhere else?

            Kos can talk about whatever the hell he wants, and I can disgree with him however the hell I want.

            The fact that I don't run a blog on the scale that he does, and have generally limited my blog involvement to commenting rather than posting, doesn't mean that my criticisms aren't valid, no more than my not writing for a newspaper or running a company negates my right to criticise people who do.

            Besides, I just found it rather silly to try argue that the reason Kos doesn't post more about "women's issues' is because he doesn't feel qualified to discuss them, when Kos himself has given plenty of other reasons for doing so, but never that one.

            "give us bread, but give us roses!"

            by jennyk on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 01:30:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Please (none)
        see my response above. It should clarify my point (which is my fault for needing clarification in the first place!).

        My feeling is that addressing perceived sexism within the community is Kos's responsibility not as a man interested in politics but as the founder and leader of the community. Sexism is a community issue, and when it makes members feel less a part of it, the community as a whole is lessened. When it is not resolved, it distracts from the issues we hold in common, like politics and netroots.

        -Jim

        "A free and open society is an ongoing conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises." - Saul Alinsky

        by herooftheday on Thu Jun 09, 2005 at 11:00:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  ads turned off (4.00)
    (My caps key rarely works, my W key finally started working, i think because i banged on it so much. just apologizing in advance for the typing.0

    Well, i have ads turned off, so maybe i should not speak.  

    But, i've always had a small undercurrent in my mind my whole life that i do not like white men, or, that they are just so privileged and non-understanding, that i can't respect them. i know it's a bigoted thought. it's always been there though, although i love and respect my white male brother.

    my thought has been that they have had it so nice, that they don't know how to walk a mile in another's shoes.  They just stomp on others' shoes.

    Thanks to Dean, i realize all these years, it was not white men overall, it is the Republican party in all their white Christian glory that i was absorbing and not liking.

    Please sign Congressman John Conyers' letter asking the President to come clean about Iraq.

    by OLinda on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:11:42 PM PDT

  •  I'll wade in. Sigh. (4.00)
    Part of me doesn't want to respond and thinks the whole thing should be let go.  But oh well, I haven't gotten too heavily involved in this, and I'm relatively new as a poster, so here's my shot.

    Caveat:  I did not see what happened in the original threads about Piegate.  I was lurking around over the weekend but my honest first reaction was to dismiss the initial diaries as over-the-top Puritanism.  That was my honest first reaction.  So I just avoided reading them, finding the debate over content not all that interesting except insofar as I thought I knew where James Dobson and the moralists in the Republican Taliban would come out on the issue.  

    So, anyway, I did not comment in any threads about this until P-Day +3 (today is P-Day +4).  I only got slightly dragged in yesterday and this is my first comment today.  But I recognize and respect that it's a big deal to a lot of people because personal feelings got engaged in a heavy way.  

    Therefore, I will stipulate that a segment of people made rude comments, sexist comments and the like.  And that this isn't helpful.  That isn't what my response is about, even as I understand what SusanG and others were saying yesterday, "It isn't about the ad!"  This comment IS about the ad, in response to things you say in your diary.

    Given that caveat, two things stand out to me about your post.  Both occur in the paragraph that begins, "Unfortunately..."

    1. First, you conclusively characterize the ad as sexist.  I take issue.  I accept that some people believe strongly that the ad was sexist.  However, I wish to assert my right to characterize the ad itself (totally different from the comments) as "sexually suggestive" rather than "sexist."  In my opinion, not everything that is sexually suggestive is sexist, and also in my opinion, this ad is the former but not the latter.

    Before you or anyone pounces, I request you do a mental exercise.  That is, in your mind, are ALL ads that are "sexually suggestive" automatically "sexist," or are there any that are not?  If not all, which ones are the former but not the latter?  In your mind.  

    I would like to understand the distinction.  Are there any sexually suggestive ads involving women that are not sexist?  This is not a snarky gotcha kind of comment.  I really want to know.

    And importantly, is any weight to be given to the eye/mind of the beholder?  Is there an objective truth on this, or is it subjective, depending on the maturity of the viewer, the motivations of the participants, and a variety of other variable elements?  That is, if you view something as sexist, are you Right, and those who disagree Wrong?  

    2. The second thing that stood out was the phrase you used, "the opportunity for an educating discussion about sexism."  

    Hmmm.  That isn't automatically condescending, but when I read it, all my condescension sensors went to red.  Read the benign way, it could mean that there is mutual eduaction intended.  But my life experience leads me to believe it probably is meant as a one-way education opportunity.  Without knowing for sure, I have to give the benefit of the doubt.  But since this whole thing escalated on a large number of (probably untrue) assumptions by people on both sides, taking care and time to distinguish and not put words in people's mouths really does matter.

    If the benign two-way "opportunity for an educating discussion" is what was intended, no harm no foul.  

    If the education opportunity was a one-way opportunity, then it isn't hard to see where the term "sanctimonious" entered the picture.  Even if there's ambiguity, you can see how easily some people could make an assumption about tone and run with it to Backlashville.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

    "Over time your quickness with a cocky rejoinder must have gotten you many punches in the face." --Al Swearengen

    by RepublicanTaliban on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:32:40 PM PDT

    •  thank you (none)
      for making some thoughtful points about my post.  i acknowledge the fact that some may see that ad as something other than sexist.  sexist was my perspective on it and reasonable minds may differ.  i think there is very fertile ground here for discussion about sexuality, sexual empowerment, sexual exploitation, and sexual imagery used as a form of oppression.  i'm not implying that i have any specific opinion about the pie ad in that context, just that it would be an interesting discussion to have.

      as for your second point, my intent was indeed benign.  i think opening up the whole question of what constitutes sexism in different folks minds would be very enlightening and informative for people all all sides of this issue.    

      if people cut out the sniping and snark and honestly talked about what they think and feel, we would all learn something.

      •  no, thank you (none)
        I love snark as a general rule.  I can't help it.  I used to be a professional comedy writer.  But judgment is useful in applying it; I heartily agree.

        I'm glad you meant the two-way version.  I'm glad I asked rather than assumed.

        I think sexuality in our culture IS an important issue.  As a man raised by an incredible mom who cared deeply about women's rights and who had thoughtful discussions with me about such issues from the time I was very small, who later worked as a counselor at Reproductive Health Services in St. Louis while the Webster decision was going hot and heavy, I really am sensitive to these issues about women's rights.  

        I only mention a bit about my background to underscore the idea that I don't believe I personally come from a place of non-education.  I believe mine is an informed dissent from your position worthy of respect, just as I believe yours is an informed dissent from my position worthy of equal respect.  And respect is really the key, as you so eloquently have said.

        "Over time your quickness with a cocky rejoinder must have gotten you many punches in the face." --Al Swearengen

        by RepublicanTaliban on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 10:44:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you. (none)
      Thanks for disagreeing with the diarist in a polite, respectful way. We need more people to do that if we are to grow and learn from this sad experience.
      •  Her diary demanded a thoughtful reply (none)
        I think there will be a fair amount learned from this.  It is always painful to go through such bitter divide in community.  

        As much as I detest and despise the policies Republicans have chosen to apply in this country and around the world, in profound ways that neither "side" is ready to admit there is a deep ache for unity in this country.  I think Barack Obama taps into this huge emotional undercurrent in such eloquent ways.  There's a lot of bitterness between red and blue.  I know I'm "right" about my anger toward red.  But some of the sweetest time I've ever known as an American came, poignantly, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  

        He's right when he says, "I am my brother's keeper."  Even if that brother is some poor critical-thinking skills Dittohead.  

        "Over time your quickness with a cocky rejoinder must have gotten you many punches in the face." --Al Swearengen

        by RepublicanTaliban on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 10:47:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I keep thinking I'm done with this (none)
      but apparently not.

      I'm taking for granted, RT, that you are directing the question to the community at large as opposed to one specific poster. If I'm wrong, I apologize. Feel free to ignore.

      1. First, you conclusively characterize the ad as sexist.  I take issue.  I accept that some people believe strongly that the ad was sexist.  However, I wish to assert my right to characterize the ad itself (totally different from the comments) as "sexually suggestive" rather than "sexist."  In my opinion, not everything that is sexually suggestive is sexist, and also in my opinion, this ad is the former but not the latter.

      While there are no doubt some whose objection to the ad was that it was sexist, that's only half the issue. The other half and what I took issue with was the running of the ad on this site (or any political site, save I don't visit many others.) Seeing the ad on TBS doesn't gripe my ass as inappropriate. Seeing it here does.

      Do I think all sexually suggestive ads are sexist?   Not necessarily. Ads are what they are, they advertise product. If they stereotype people to sell sex, regardless of gender, they are sexist. I can deal. They are also incredibly successful, hence their popularity. If they didn't work, they wouldn't run them. That's a whole other separate issue.

      The second thing that stood out was the phrase you used, "the opportunity for an educating discussion about sexism."  Hmmm.  That isn't automatically condescending, but when I read it, all my condescension sensors went to red.

      In my experience, by and large, a great many people on both sides of any aisle are blind to their own prejudices to some extent. It may not be overt, it may just be an inner twinge, or a latent assumption. I'm in the deep south and the sexism here is so endemic, you can't escape it. But to my mind being sexist, or condescending to women (which I get a lot of ) isn't necessarily malevolent and it isn't always a sign of mysogyny. What it is, is unconscious. It's as much upbringing and invisible to them in as is the way I can't completely escape the racist undertones I lived with growing up in the south - but I can be made aware of it. I can stop and examine those twinges of fear or anger or condescension to see if they are fueled by something other than momentary irritation over something that seems trivial.

      I don't object to anyone celebrating the joy of sex or sexuality except when they do it in places that seem inappropriate. The workplace is a prime example. I feel that the ad is inappropriate
      on a political blog, the same way any number of ads that are anti-thema to democratic ideals would be. If Markos disagrees (and he apparently does) then he disagrees. I get that part.

      It doesn't change my mind though, nor need it. I'm a subscriber to this site. I have the option of turning the ads off, except I never really have  until recently because I'm perfectly happy to help generate ad revenue to support the site and Markos.

      Any anger I've felt (or am still feeling) stems from feeling dismissed as opposed to being addressed. I had my snit. I still disagree. I'll deal or not as I see fit. Right now, that means backing off a little, testing other waters and mostly trying to chill.

      I'm not a Democrat. I just vote like one.

      by common veil on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 09:24:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, the threads sorted... (none)
        ...themselves out after I posted and I see you were addressing the diarist. My apologies RT and Artemesia. I didn't intend to tread.

        I'm not a Democrat. I just vote like one.

        by common veil on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 09:31:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Just when I thought I was out..."? (none)
        No, I was a little confusing.  I was responding partly to artemesia's exact words but partly opening it up to the general you for my questions.  No worries.

        Though I wasn't responding to the point about seeing it on TBS/seeing it here, I appreciate that point.  If you bring it up to get my take, I would say that I understand your disappointment since when you spend a lot of time at a place, you (the general you) tend to develop very personal and intimate feelings about it.  If you're sharing of yourself, you're invested.  I get that.  

        OTOH, I have to say, tough as it is to swallow, Kos's decision about what is appropriate for his site has to trump everyone else's.  I think he completely accepts that his decisions on these things have consequences.  But you see this too.

        I appreciate your workplace analogy.  However, I'd make a distinction.  I mentioned in a response above that I was a former comedy writer.  I am also a former practicing employment lawyer, so this analogy is right up my alley.  The distinction is that the basis of the workplace discrimination laws, as you know, is that you are economically dependent on your job.  The laws were created not because it's a right/wrong issue to discriminate (after all, private discrimination is perfectly legal).  They were created to protect people in the public sphere where their economic interests are at stake.

        By contrast, while this place may engender similar emotional attachments and intimacy that someone might develop in a workplace, this is a privately owned site and nobody is getting paid to blog here (as far as I know!).

        So, "places that seem inappropriate" is going to be a tough sell.  A person's private home is inappropriate.  The workplace is inappropriate.  The public school system would probably be the other.  I can't think of any more right now.  There may be one or two.  But very possibly none.

        Anyway, thanks for the civil response!  Cheers.

        "Over time your quickness with a cocky rejoinder must have gotten you many punches in the face." --Al Swearengen

        by RepublicanTaliban on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 10:53:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, the water's nice today! (none)
      I'd like to hear your reaction to this diary.

      In an informal way, you are doing exactly what I was suggesting there.

      1. ...Are there any sexually suggestive ads involving women that are not sexist? This is not a snarky gotcha kind of comment. I really want to know. (Sorry I can't rate you; I'd give you a 4 just for that observation alone.)

      2. ...the phrase..., "the opportunity for an educating discussion about sexism." ...when I read it, all my condescension sensors went to red.

      I'd like to begin trying to answer these--but I'm afraid whatever I come up with will be pretty roundabout. Interestingly, I suspect that they are part of the same issue.

      (Starting with #1) I wish that we were dealing with a single word here, and we could use Elgin's attribution tool to figure out some answers for you. For example; here's one of her word examples:

      violence
      Men | Women
      +force | +force
      +intense | +intense
      +deliberate | +deliberate
      +negative | +negative
      +avoidable | +harmful

      I don't think just assigning attributes to the concept will solve the issue, but it might at least give us a start. I'm going to flip the sex order, just because I'd otherwise need to leave a big empty column on the left.

      sexist ad
      Women | Men
      sexy | sexy
      appeals primarily to men | ?
      the context is one where sex is not wanted | ?

      I think hink was speaking a very important truth inside his snark, when he suggested using his penis as a puppet. Women generally fail to recognize that men do not have voluntary control over erections.  I may be able to understand this a bit better than some women, because as a person with ADHD, I have come to realize that I do not have voluntary control over my attention --in much the same way that men do not have voluntary control over their penises. I can choose my environment in such a way as to make my attention more or less likely to occur--but I cannot simply turn it on or off.

      But one thing that seems pretty clear--men and women generally react very differently to mixing up sex and work. I'm beginning to suspect that neither gender has a clear idea of why. So I'm gonna guess.

      Caveat--I'm thinking in socio-biological terms here ("the selfish gene")--and painting with a broad brush.  

      Women and sex
      Male biology generally has no "reason" to turn sexuality off in a social situation. I'd guess that most men are familiar with situations in which sexual arousal is very uncommon--but these situations are not typically part of daily life.

      Women, however, do have a major biological reason to turn sexuality off--and one that IS part of daily life. Kids. Meeting the needs of one's here-and-now child is far more important to one's ultimate genetic success than a sexual encounter that may or may not pay off in future offspring. (And one might expect that women who have raised children are particularly attuned to this.)

      In other words, for women, sometimes sex is just a bloody nuisance, getting in the way of a much more important job.

      Women naturally separate sex from nurturing and loving. So do men--but differently. Most women feel that UNLESS sex is both nurturing and loving--we don't want it.

      Since nothing about the pie ads is either nurturing or loving, and since our purpose in coming to kos had nothing to do with sex--we found the ad to be of no value. Furthermore, insofar as it distracted the men from the important stuff--it was BAD.

      Men and nurturance
      Men, mostly because of the way they have been raised, often go through life coping with a "nurturance deficit". For some reason, only women are "allowed" to hug men, and to offer them comfort.

      In America today, for a man to be emotionally needy is psychologically risky.  Like an ill or injured animal, he must hide his problem from others, lest he be perceived to be "weak", "vulnerable", and/or "legitimate prey."

      However, a man who shows an interest in sex is not showing vulnerability to other men. And because sex is what it is, along with the procreation comes a generous dose of nurturance and love.

      Mixing a bit of sex into the workplace, then, makes the workplace a friendlier place--to men.

      Who benefits from a nurturance deficit?
      Behind the pie wars lies one key thing--the different ways that men and women perceive sex in relationship to nurturance.

      American culture suffers from a nurturance deficit. Corporations (and Theocrats) are very happy with this--the needier people are, the more easily they can be convinced to buy stuff.

      So our fighting the Pie Wars has hurt ourselves--and benefited our enemies. If we learn from this relatively non-bloody battle, perhaps we can end the culture-wide Gender Wars which feed blood to the CorpoTheocrat Vampires.

      babies and breasts
      This is another issue where the older women are sensitized. Especially back in the 70s, before the medical profession had done and studied the research, common wisdom was that "formula is just as good".

      One of my neighbors suggested that I was some kind of freak--because "even my dog weaned her puppies at 6 weeks". (We won't go into the detail that her dog's pregnancy was only 6 weeks.)

      Social disapproval for breastfeeding was intense--and looking back, I suspect that one of the prime driving forces behind the intensity was simple envy: "Why should the baby get it when I can't?"

      It's also worth considering who benefited from that social attitude. (Can anyone spell n-e-s-t-l-e-s?)

      giving and getting
      All too often, men and women get into a tug of war over sex. Men who nurture their women rarely find themselves deprived of sex. A woman who feels confident in herself, and valued for her whole self (rather than just for a few temporarily-appealing body parts) is a woman who enjoys sex with her partner.

      The counter to this is equally true--a man who feels confident in himself (who doesn't "need" the approval of others in order to like himself) will have no difficulty getting and receiving nurturing as needed during daily life--and will be able to comfortably wait to act on his sexual impulses.

      Now what?
      It seems to me that the main issue here is one of creating a more nurturant society. (As the Crawford village idiot put it, we need to "make the pie higher"!)

      Nurturance for one should NEVER be misunderstood to mean LESS nurturance for another.

      I find myself guessing that some of the resentment to the idea of getting rid of the pie ads had to do with some younger men feeling that doing so might take something away from them. Not the ad itself, so much as the warm fuzzy feelings that young men instinctively associate with sexual interest.

      (And ending with #2) There's also this cultural dynamic of older women telling little boys "not now". It's only fair that BOTH girls and boys should have the right to grow up in a culture that accepts them for what they are. (We don't have time or knowledge here and now to teach every woman teacher how to work with instead of against the natural learning and development styles of young boys--but that issue is extremely important if we wish to actually end the Gender Wars.)

      I'd like to ask the guys to react to this last idea. What do women need to understand about men that would help both of us when women need to take the lead or when men need to do the healing?

      Just as you Good Guys don't like to be confused with the Bad Guys who hurt women--and just as you are willing to do what you have to in order to help injured women heal themselves--so there are lots of Good Women out here who don't like being blamed for what some other woman did years ago to a young boy --and who will gladly offer what help we can to men who are willing to face and heal from their abuse issues.

      •  i'm glad i followed your link. (none)
        I'm very interested in the information contained in your link.  i just know i'm going to be doing a lot of reading these next few weeks. i want to be able to bridge the gap between the "tribes" and change their attitudes. i need more skills. and the skills are language skills. thanks for the post, as time allows i will put it to good use.
  •  This is a well-thought-out post. (4.00)
    And I agree with nearly all of it. In particular; of course there is sexism, racism, etc., here, just as there is anywhere else. And it should be confronted.

     I do want to make several points, however, in the hopes that both sides can be honest with each other:

    • Kos' reaction was not because the issue was being brought up. Kos' reaction was because of the invective being used on both sides of the fence, long before he ever stepped into the fray. Again, when people gleefully invest themselves in a flame war, they don't get to gripe too much when they get burned. I find plenty of reasons to be angry with the way both sides framed their points of view. Kos was not wrong to be angry with the behavior; he was wrong in responding in anger, and he apologized, though not to many people's satisfaction.

    • Because some posters did not respond respectfully, on either side, does not mean that all or even most posters acted the same way. As you point out, this is a big site. Most of the worst behavior was limited to perhaps twenty or thirty posters.

    I have hopes that the other blogs that have absorbed refugees from this particular flame war will succeed, and accomplish good things towards increasing the visibility of women's issues. I will say, however, that as of yet a great many of their posts are no better than those here: the same rather infantile invective continues, but the atmosphere is considered "better" because, naturally, each "side" now only chooses to talk amongst itself. I'm sorry, but as someone who hopes to help meld a coalition to accomplish actual reform in the Democratic Party, I can't bring myself to celebrate that behavior as especially enlightened.

    All that aside; I like this diary. Recommended, in hopes that an actual productive conversation might take place.

    •  Sometimes you need a break (none)
      and eveyone needs a room of their own.

      Discussions with similar minded people is certainly more productive than flame wars.  There is a reason why you are posting here and not at "Freeperville" right?

      Could you please provide some examples of their "infantile" responses?  I'm tempted to say something snarky, but really I'm interested in exactly what you found to be so awful.

      "give us bread, but give us roses!"

      by jennyk on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 07:53:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I remember not long ago... (none)
        There was a poll to see if the women readership at Kos had risen.

        Given the whole situation with this ad (which I think is in poor taste especially with the Mmmmmm meringue comment) It is in away more than just about the ad.  Are women a vital part of this place that there is a basic respect or not?  

        So while of course this place can't be "everything to everyone" where does the line get drawn?  If an ad pays more to advertise for support of the war is that then okay?  If American Family Association wants to advertise here is that okay?  

        Yes, those are extreme examples but if it's only about the money the ads generate rather than respect or taste?  The possibilities are there.  

      •  After some thought, I will refrain, (none)
        under the assumption that it won't do that site any good, or this site any good to continue that discussion.

        I will say, among the more gentle silliness, that if anyone wants to piss someone like me off, parading around condescending "frat boy" invective isn't much better than "humorless prude" coming from the other side. Watching all men being lumped under the same tired characterizations is, for some reason, supposed to be the "enlightened non-sexist" side of this debate. I don't buy it. I don't respect those who are that shallow, of either sex.

        If my contributions to the site after all this time now warrant nothing more than a "frat boy" blanket dismissal, then I agree with the posters that left; this site is not for them.

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