Posted by: Ophelia | May 5, 2008

Once again, with feeling

However, denialism is about tactics that are used to frustrate legitimate discussion, it is not about simply name-calling. It’s about how you engage in a debate when you have no data (the key difference between denialists and the paradigm-shifters of yesteryear). (Denialism Blog)

Remember this post on conversation enders? I’ve been meaning for a while to expand it to be more comprehensive, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it, but what better way than with an example? Jen from Female Impersonator made a post about her own experience with “Mundane Rape” and got some lovingly crafted responses from the patriarchy itself.

“If you do not like the fact that I do not trust college men, which I have every right to do considering my past, perhaps you should direct your anger at rapists, not their victims.”

Nope, you don’t have every right to do. If a man was wronged by his girlfriend, would you find it justified for him to never trust any women? Of course you wouldn’t.

So, no, it’s not justified. You’re blaming the actions of one on everyone else. You’re assuming since one did something, all will do it.

This isn’t just “why are you talking about this” although it is. It actually steps beyond that high horse and attempts to define and limit the importance of the poster. Notably, they’ve employed the “exception negates the rule” axiom. Since he personally has not committed a rape, it is unfair to say that men commit rape. Of course, this axiom does not apply to Jen’s experience–her experience is obviously an exception and therefore proves that rape isn’t a big deal.

Ah, well. When you go out of your way to alienate an entire gender and accuse it’s members of being criminals, what can you really expect?

We also have the “Do it for me” premise. Sure, I came into this discussion with a chip on my shoulder the size of the grand canyon, and it’s your job to placate me. Make me care about feminism, coddle me, twist your posts to make me comfortable, or you prove that feminists are stupid. These are the people some blogs have to gear themselves toward–not to be heard but so that they aren’t inundated with their special brand of durrr. So what if feminist theory is readily available for their consumption on the internet. They want you to do the work for them, furthermore, they’re going to engage whether or not they’re informed, and it’s your job to make this an enjoyable experience for them. The fact that identity theory is not always pleasant for those who sit at the top of the hierarchy notwithstanding, you have to make this feminism cuddly and accessible. This mean, don’t criticize popular culture or men in any way or you validate their complaints against feminism.

Again, if a man was cheated on, or wronged by a woman in some way, would you agree and say it was justified of him to no longer trust any women, and generalize them all as potential cheaters/etcetera? Would you say that it was the responsibilty of all women to talk to women that do that sort of thing in order to build his trust back?

And we have “analogizing the non analogous”. Clearly rape is the same thing as cheating. Tiffs in interpersonal relationships are clearly the same thing as the emotional/physical/mental toll a rape (or any other crime) can inflict upon a victim. Experiencing an assault, and the resultant mistrust is the same as mistrust resulting from a failed relationship…yes. We also have a reaffirmation that rape prevention is for women, and a demonstration of an obvious disinterest in actual discussion and a lovely misinterpretation of rape experience (which is incredibly sad given the content of the post). I would say that this misunderstanding could easily just be the result of not having the lived experience of a woman (I don’t expect someone who has never had it drummed into their head from childhood that it’s their responsibility to avoid any and all situations in which a man might assault you, understanding that that “man” could be a stranger/acquaintance/relative and there might not be a way to effectively stay out of danger–and even so, if something happens you’ll likely be blamed) but given that the post was about a rape experience, and the exploration of those feelings, there’s really no excuse. They came to critique her feelings, not to listen to them, and not to attempt to understand them. Her pain is transformed into the keening wail of the poor men she’s harmed with her attempts to understand her own feelings. How dare she. And so, Anon flounces off into the night, content that his presuppositions about feminists were right the whole while. He sure showed us.



  1. Oh my. That Anon made me want to…ugh.

    I loved how they continuously told my fellow bloggers and me how we felt about topics/that their twisted idea about feminism obviously applied to us.

    I didn’t realize until that particular Anon visited us that…apparently, I hate men and think they are all rapists.

    Man…gotta tell my boyfriend that one…

    I am going to make a special banner for the Female Impersonator blog…featuring a cute little troll. For Anons like that one.


    I hope they didn’t discourage Jen from posting, because if I lose a member of my team because of crap like that, I’ll be mad.

  2. People like that are the exact reason why sometimes bloggers don’t post about topics that they’re close to–it can be really frustrating and really painful. I hope Jen keeps writing for your blog. You can’t avoid the trolls, they’re pretty much everywhere. One thing that sucks is that it’s hard to figure out if they’re just misguided and can be taught or if they’re just regular trolls. You want to engage but there’s no point once they hit the “you don’t have the right to feel this way” that’s like the mating call of the troll.

  3. Argh, he was so presumptuous in all of the posts he commented in, from denying Jen the right to feel a certain way to telling me what I believed. I’m so glad he came and visited us so he could tell us exactly what we felt and believed. Hopefully he’ll be around later because I have to make some decisions about what do have for dinner. I need his guidance, otherwise I don’t know what I’ll do.

    Not surprisingly, whenever he got called on it, he just ignored it.

  4. Yeah, and then when we ignored him for presuming to know all our thoughts and beliefs, he called us on that and called us hypocritical and said that “when put in a corner, feminists always dodge questions.”

    I am working on a banner for the blog…with a special troll tribute. 🙂

  5. It is really depressing to have encounters with a low-life like that. I’m sorry you had to deal with it, guys. Really, it looks like you’ve got some bona fide rape denialists over there.

    That considered (they’ll probably haunt for awhile) you might enjoy looking over the lists of denialist tactics over at my friend Mark’s blog (here)– it is mostly dedicated to discussing how cranks like this one pick fights with sane people. The tactics discussed above go hand in hand with the list he’s started. Hope it helps!

  6. That’s a really great resource, I think I’ve seen it before but I don’t remember where. I’m glad you pointed it out to me.

  7. Yeah thanks! I just bookmarked that link. Amazing.

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