More on #MeToo #TimesUp, and schisms within feminism

I suppose the fracturing of feminism that’s the byproduct of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements—both creating a tsunami of pushback against the misuse of power—was inevitable. For what is considered “consent” varies widely among people, and feelings are running high. I strongly support the calling-out of anyone who uses their power to prey sexually on others, and the reporting, firing, or jailing of those who violate employer’s norms or the law.  But given the present political climate, I think one could have predicted that a bit of the baby got thrown out with the bathwater. Here are a few pieces about current disputes about these issues. (I’m not writing about the justified accusations against people like Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey, as discussions of those are amply available on the Internet.)

If there’s a writer who should be a feminist icon, it’s Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, many of whose works deal with women oppressed by patriarchy. She wrote, for instance, The Handmaid’s Tale, something of a feminist must-read (it was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize). Yet she’s now been damned by many feminists because she signed an open letter to the University of British Columbia (UBC), which decried UBC for its climate of secrecy around the case of Steven Galloway, former Chair of the Creative Writing Program. Accused of sexual assault, Galloway was cleared after a judge’s inquiry, but was fired anyway. The letter simply calls for fairness and openness toward Galloway, and for an independent investigation of how UBC handled Galloway’s case.

That was enough to damn Atwood in the eyes of many women, and she voices her distress in a new article in the Globe and Mail, “Am I a bad feminist?” Her answer is “yes, to many ‘good’ feminists.  An excerpt:

The #MeToo moment is a symptom of a broken legal system. All too frequently, women and other sexual-abuse complainants couldn’t get a fair hearing through institutions – including corporate structures – so they used a new tool: the internet. Stars fell from the skies. This has been very effective, and has been seen as a massive wake-up call. But what next? The legal system can be fixed, or our society could dispose of it. Institutions, corporations and workplaces can houseclean, or they can expect more stars to fall, and also a lot of asteroids.

If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place? Who will be the new power brokers? It won’t be the Bad Feminists like me. We are acceptable neither to Right nor to Left. In times of extremes, extremists win. Their ideology becomes a religion, anyone who doesn’t puppet their views is seen as an apostate, a heretic or a traitor, and moderates in the middle are annihilated. Fiction writers are particularly suspect because they write about human beings, and people are morally ambiguous. The aim of ideology is to eliminate ambiguity.

Yesterday I wrote about the Aziz Ansari affair, which began with a piece published on Babe by Katie Way, recounting the sexual liaison that a woman called “Grace” had with actor and comedian Aziz Ansari. Columnist Bari Weiss in the New York Times wrote a column defending Ansari against charges of sexual predation, claiming that while he was guilty of being boorish, he could not be expected to pick up “nonverbal cues.” An excerpt from Weiss’s piece:

There is a useful term for what this woman [“Grace”] experienced on her night with Mr. Ansari. It’s called “bad sex.” It sucks.

The feminist answer is to push for a culture in which boys and young men are taught that sex does not have to be pursued as if they’re in a pornographic film, and one in which girls and young women are empowered to be bolder, braver and louder about what they want. The insidious attempt by some women to criminalize awkward, gross and entitled sex takes women back to the days of smelling salts and fainting couches. That’s somewhere I, for one, don’t want to go.

A related piece, by Elizabeth Breunig in the Washington Post, is not as powerful but does add—and I agree—that we need to have a public conversation about sex, which differs from other forms of human interaction that have well defined and widely understood rules of etiquette. Breunig implicitly criticizes both Ansari, for lacking the empathy to see his date was uncomfortable, and Grace, for not having the temerity to just leave the apartment and the situation:

Instead, we ought to appreciate that sex is a domain so intimate and personal that more harm can be done than in most social situations, and that given that heightened capacity for harm, we should expect people to operate with greater conscientiousness, concern and care in that domain than in others. If you are still hanging around your tired host’s home long after the party is over, excuse yourself and leave — don’t wait for them to order you out or call the police. If you are kissing someone and they’re barely responsive — if they say, as Ansari’s partner did, “I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you” — then get their coat for them and call it a night. Ansari didn’t commit a crime. But cruelty isn’t restricted to criminal acts. In all domains of life, but especially where it comes to sex, we must insist that people consider one another’s interior lives, feelings, personhood, dignity.

I also posted a video by HLN and former CNN Anchor Ashleigh Banfield (here), strongly criticizing both Grace and Katie Way for the Babe piece. I’ve never seen a news anchor so publicly exercised, even mentioning the term “blue balls”, but Banfield was plenty angry. Some of her words from that video:

“But what you [Grace] have done in my opinion is appalling. You went to the press with the story of a bad date and potentially destroyed this man’s career. . . And now here is where I am going to claim victim. You have chiseled away at a movement that I, along with all of my sisters in the workplace, have been dreaming of for decades: a movement that has finally changed an oversexed professional environment that I too have struggled with over the last thirty years in broadcasting.”

After hearing this, Katie Way invited to appear on television, refused and wrote a nasty email about Banfield. A piece in MEDIAite by Lawrence Bonk (?): “Ashleigh Banfield fires back after getting insulting email from writer of Aziz Ansari piece.“, gives Way’s gratuitiously nasty email response. Here it is in full (originally from Business Insider):

It’s an unequivocal no from me. The way your colleague Ashleigh (?), someone I’m certain no one under the age of 45 has ever heard of, by the way, ripped into my source directly was one of the lowest, most despicable things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Shame on her. Shame on HLN. Ashleigh could have “talked” to me. She could have “talked” to my editor or my publication. But instead, she targeted a 23-year-old woman in one of the most vulnerable moments of her life, someone she’s never f—— met before, for a little attention. I hope the ratings were worth it! I hope the ~500 RTs on the single news write-up made that burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist has-been feel really relevant for a little while. She DISGUSTS me, and I hope when she has more distance from the moment she has enough of a conscience left to feel remotely ashamed — doubt it, but still. Must be nice to piggyback off of the fact that another woman was brave enough to speak up and add another dimension to the societal conversation about sexual assault. Grace wouldn’t know how that feels, because she struck out into this alone, because she’s the bravest person I’ve ever met. I would NEVER go on your network. I would never even watch your network. No woman my age would ever watch your network. I will remember this for the rest of my career — I’m 22 and so far, not too shabby! And I will laugh the day you fold. If you could let Ashleigh know I said this, and that she is no-holds-barred the reason, it’d be a real treat for me.


Banfield responds here (her response begins 50 seconds in):

Banfield, who applauded the #MeToo movement in her video yesterday, is certainly a feminist, but, like Atwood, wants both compassion in sexual encounters as well as legal and professional punishment of those who violate the law in those encounters.

Finally, and I’ll just drop this in passing, there’s yet another controversy involving Catherine Deneuve, who, along with others, signed an open letter (which could have been clearer) decrying the infantilization of women they discern in regarding every come-on as sexual harassment. It’s too long to go over this one, so, if you want to see the ire it’s aroused, read the Quillette essay by Ulysse Pasquier, “Catherine Deneuve, #MeToo, and the fracturing within feminism.


  1. Craw
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s important to not confuse using power to extort sex and seeking consensual sex. The Atwoods and Deneuves of the world understand this, the Ways do not. One suspects they willfully do not, for malign reasons.

    • Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Well, some them are really just looking for their own personal “MeToo” badge and aren’t bothered by who gets bulldozed in the quest.

      • Posted January 18, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Ah, the ever-present FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) rears its ugly head.

        • Bob Murray
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 4:45 am | Permalink

          PoMo FoMO (MoFo’s)?!

  2. Craw
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I think this is an insightful obervation, by Joe Katzman:

    “Maybe that’s because American public education is now a 20-year Milgram Experiment. Where the meta-message inside political correctness is to override your own judgement, in favor of deliberately-shifting judgements from people with higher status.”

    That’s what’s going on. Way etc are asserting/assuming their status and smakcing anyone who talks back. There is a word for how people like Way see people like Banfield: uppity.

  3. Pliny the in Between
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    In a world without gender bias, Ashley Banfield would probably have become the head of NBC news (and Christiane Amanpour would run ABC). She did great work covering the attacks on the WTC and as a war correspondent in the middle east and seemed like a rising star. (It was probably because Peter Jennings was the designated Canadian journalist at the time ;))

    As for main topic, we might benefit from a better discussion of the differences among, flirtation, interpersonal clumsiness, being an ass, or sexual predator.

    • Liz
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      What is interpersonal clumsiness?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        The opposite of suavity?

        • Liz
          Posted January 18, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          I don’t see how that fits in with the other words but it sounds interesting.

      • Posted January 19, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        bad sex or bad date

    • Taz
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think being a good on-air personality is the best qualification for heading a division of a large corporation. I did some brief searching: the head of NBC news is a businessman. As for ABC, this page lists their executives. Maybe they’re fudging somehow, but 16 out of 24 appear to be women:

      ABC Executives

      • Pliny the in Between
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        In the early 2000’s I thought of her as more of an excellent, gutsy old school journalist rather than as an on-air personality.

  4. fjordaniv
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Here’s an interesting case involving Ithaca College’s recently appointed president:

    “College President Shirley M. Collado was accused of sexually abusing a female patient in 2000 while she worked at The Center at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington, D.C., according to court documents published by the Ithacan student newspaper and the Vanderbilt Hustler. Collado was convicted a year later.”

    We’ll likely see a considerable amount of spin on each side, with her supporters acknowledging her right to due process while her detractors point to a double standard.

    Note that Collado was brought on after campus protests drove the previous president to resign, though there were likely other internal conflicts that accelerated his ouster.

  5. Patrick Clark
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    It is fine to disagree with Ms. Banfield, but when Way responds with “…burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist…” she undermines her own feminist bona fides. Please, respond to the message, not the makeup.

    • Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      It isn’t just the ad-hom that undermines her feminism.

      • Patrick Clark
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink


  6. GBJames
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink


  7. Liz
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Banfield’s response to Katie Way was perfect.
    “That is not the way we have this conversation as women or men.” (around 2:14)

    I thought Banfield’s first comments about “Grace” were appropriate for the situation. When I first read a little bit about it I thought so what even happened. She felt uncomfortable and didn’t do anything about it.

    Katie Way: “‘Must be nice to piggyback off of the fact that another woman was brave enough to speak up and add another dimension to the societal conversation about sexual assault.'”

    Specifically “and add another dimension” is the part that is bothersome. If the me too “movement” isn’t drawing out distinctions between slapping someone on butt (I believe Damon had mentioned that) and rape, then mentioning Ansari’s name in that way did not have the intention of bringing up “another dimension” to the “conversation”.

    Since it inevitably has, at least through the back and forth between Banfield and Way, it’s good to get it all out on the table.

    I like that phrasing also. “Compassion in sexual encounters.” Mutual respect, more education on sex, the male/female body, care, friendship etc.

    A lot of the problem also is that it’s deeply ingrained in many societies that two people are supposed to be “in love” before they have sex. That is an error. Love is the most misused and abused word in the English language from my point of view. Especially in this context, it is doing more harm than good. Sex isn’t sacred, sinful, inappropriate, or anything to be ashamed of. Additionally, it is not dependent on “love” and doesn’t have much to do with it.

    Weiss: “‘The feminist answer is to push for a culture in which boys and young men are taught that sex does not have to be pursued as if they’re in a pornographic film, and one in which girls and young women are empowered to be bolder, braver and louder about what they want. ‘”

    Girls and young women don’t always know what they want (and neither do the boys) and they shouldn’t have to “ask” for it. Young men and women should be educated on what is going on for both men and women sexually so both have a better understanding of the other.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 1:58 am | Permalink

      If clumsiness, awkwardness and (to be honest) randiness were a crime in, errm, ‘interpersonal relationships’ then I must have been a serial criminal in my younger days and so, I’m sure, were most young men. Our generation was probably lucky the Internet didn’t exist so every unsuccessful date didn’t end up on Facebook.

      I do agree that the ‘love’ thing frequently causes immense confusion and complication. There’s a common train of thought that runs ‘Only bad people have casual sex, I’m a good person so it must be true love’. It overloads the relationship.


  8. Cate Plys
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    You go girl, Ashleigh Banfield. There’s nothing more reprehensible than a so-called feminist attacking another woman for her age or looks. That’s Trump territory.

    • Posted January 19, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, isn’t that about as anti-feminist as one can get?

      Isn’t the whole point to be regarded for the content of their character (and their wit, experience, capabilities, fidelity, courage, etc.) instead of how they look? Good grief!

  9. Liz
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Weiss: “‘The feminist answer is to push for a culture in which boys and young men are taught that sex does not have to be pursued as if they’re in a pornographic film, and one in which girls and young women are empowered to be bolder, braver and louder about what they want. ‘”

    The other problem with putting the onus of this on young women is that we live in a society in which women have not necessarily been empowered to be “bolder, braver and louder about what they want” outside of sex. It matters that women are empowered and feel empowered in and outside of matters concerning sex. Furthermore, sex, at least good sex, would probably include both men and women orgasming. It usually happens naturally for men through intercourse. For women, however, it usually requires a level of vulnerability. Vulnerability to her partner as well as to her own body. If a woman isn’t relaxed and comfortable for whatever reason, she is going to have more trouble orgasming if she does at all. Orgasm for both men (when not through sexual intercourse) and women is about surrender. A person may be the most vulnerable in this experience, more than anything else. A level of understanding about this might also be helpful for young women and men, on college campuses, and even experienced adults.

    I think the confusion with the love is there because of this inevitable vulnerability. I just made that up but I think that might be right. For everyone. So maybe some clarification and exploration on that topic also. I think it affects women more than men by the nature of how it happens. At the root of sexual encounters. I could be wrong, though. I don’t know. It’s worth adding to the conversation if it isn’t already out there.

    • Posted January 18, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Men also experience difficulty orgasming if they’re not relaxed or comfortable.

      I think sex is tied up with love because “love” is a word we use for many different emotions. We certainly love our partners in the sense that we enjoy their company, have compatible personalities, and respect them; but I think romantic love is simply an inflation of sexual desire. But since we call both of those things “love”, we draw the mistaken conclunion that sexual desire has something to do with “love” in the first sense.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 2:02 am | Permalink

        Most thoroughly agree.

        “Love” is the most misunderstood, ambiguous, emotionally charged and dangerous word in the English language, I think.


        • Liz
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          Agree and also with musical beef.

          Love is something that should be able to be measured scientifically. Much more research is needed to be able to have a decent definition. For right now, though, what I said above is true. Love is the most misused and abused word in the English language from my point of view.

          It bears repeating and you said this perfectly.
          ““Love” is the most misunderstood, ambiguous, emotionally charged and dangerous word in the English language, I think.”

          We should discontinue its use entirely until we figure out what is going on. This includes saying, “I love you” to children and family. Saying “I love you” to children is only going to confuse them later on. This sounds terrible and I still use the word love, but I’m aware there is a problem with it. Something. We need to figure something out.

      • DiscoveredJoys
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 4:05 am | Permalink

        I’ve read that ‘romantic love’ has a half-life of 18 months – the consequence being that people go into a partnership (married or ‘moving in’ etc.) because of ‘romantic love’ but some other aspect of ‘love’ has to exist if the partnership is to continue once the ‘romantic love’ fails.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 4:10 am | Permalink

          That is, in fact, a good argument for ‘living together’ for a while (aka ‘living in sin’) – if you’re still together after a couple of years, it might be worth the expense of getting married.

          (On the other hand I have heard of couples who had been together for decades who were actually afraid to get married in case that upset their stable relationship).


      • Liz
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Thank you.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      I vaguely recall a study that could lend some support to your idea that vulnerability may be more of an issue for woman than men. I can’t remember details but the results purported to show that women were literally more vulnerable than men when experiencing an orgasm. Meaning that women were unable to respond to or be alert to anything going on around them, but that men were able to do so. In other words, during an orgasm women are helpless while men, though they might be distracted, are not.

      Regarding love and sex, I’m not sure what to think. I know that there are a range of behaviors, i.e. not everyone has the same emotional responses in the same situations, and that every person’s life experiences are different.

      I can say something about my own personal experience, and somewhat about my wife’s as well. I can understand that some are capable of sex as mutual fun sport, but I’m not really capable of that. Any person I’ve ever had sex with I loved, for any definition of love that makes sense to me. Not just lust, I think I know the difference, but love. That doesn’t mean it will last forever though. I think that may be the problem with many people’s conception of love. That true, actual love lasts forever. I don’t think that’s true at all. True love can last a week, or a lifetime.

      And regarding long term love, like mine and my wife’s relationship? Let’s just say that people who approach sex as a mutual, fun sport are really missing out. I completely agree that it requires vulnerability. Both love & sex.

      • Liz
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        I appreciate this input and thank you so much for sharing.

        “True love can last a week, or a lifetime.”

        Right but what is true love in the first place? Biologically, chemically etc. Why aren’t we able to measure it with, for example, sensors and MRI machines?

        I would love to know what the study was. “In other words, during an orgasm women are helpless while men, though they might be distracted, are not.” I think it might have something to do with the fact that, naturally, men need to work their bodies to move and thrust. They are already inclined to be focused on the motion. Women, on the other hand, don’t have a penis to thrust back and forth, in and out of someone, to build towards ejaculation. If letting a partner bring her to orgasm, concentration and relaxation are important. In terms of being completely helpless, I don’t know that helpless is the *best* word. I would imagine, though, that in terms of perception of free will, it certainly wouldn’t feel like there is any way she could do otherwise in those 10 seconds. It’s a physical submission of the body to the parts of the body/brain/heart that are active during that time. Hence, trembling, breathing, moaning, crying, tensing, clenching, and any other possible physical response that there is not much research on. Men and women should wear heart monitors while doing this to start tracking data. I think men are more comfortable with the vulnerability and surrender because they are in control of it and how they got there. Again, this is just for how it happens naturally. If men are on the receiving end or a women is able to orgasm via thrusting from on top (this isn’t common), it might be ever so slightly different. If you think of the study, I’d be interested. Thanks again.

        • darrelle
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          I finally had a few minutes available to try searching for that study but I haven’t been able to find it. It was quite some time ago and I’m not sure how well its results have held up. I found some interesting stuff while skimming though. The Wikipedia article on Orgasm includes some of the hilights and has links to references, so I’ll just quote a few items of interest from that article.

          [regarding a PET scan study]“Brain changes were observed and compared between states of rest, sexual stimulation, faked orgasm, and actual orgasm. Differences were reported in the brains of men and women during stimulation. However, changes in brain activity were observed in both sexes in which the brain regions associated with behavioral control, fear and anxiety shut down.”

          “While stroking the clitoris, the parts of the female brain responsible for processing fear, anxiety and behavioral control start to diminish in activity. This reaches a peak at orgasm when the female brain’s emotion centers are effectively closed down to produce an almost trance-like state. Holstege is quoted as saying, at the 2005 meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Development: “At the moment of orgasm, women do not have any emotional feelings.”[101]

          That is fascinating given the intense emotions that often follow just after orgasm.

          “Research has shown that as in women, the emotional centers of a man’s brain also become deactivated during orgasm but to a lesser extent than in women. Brain scans of both sexes have shown that the pleasure centers of a man’s brain show more intense activity than in women during orgasm.”

          “Male and female brains demonstrate similar changes during orgasm, with brain activity scans showing a temporary decrease in the metabolic activity of large parts of the cerebral cortex with normal or increased metabolic activity in the limbic areas of the brain.”

          Regarding “true love,” I think a large issue is defining it in a clear enough way to be able to look for it in the brain, via PET, fMRI, etc. Depending on what love is defined at I think some researchers have already detected aspects of it in the lab. Patricia Churchland has done some cognitive research on the basis of caring in mammals that I think applies directly, for one example.

          • Liz
            Posted January 19, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            Thank you so much. I agree that it is interesting considering the intense emotion after. Maybe it’s because it takes everything to make that happen? I’m not sure. Very much appreciate you looking this up and sharing.

            • darrelle
              Posted January 22, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

              You are very kind, thank you Liz.

          • Posted January 19, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            I can see how natural selection might favor an override of emotions, especially fear, during the approach to orgasm. Seems to me that, as long as you’ve already (ahem) come that far, nat sel’s first priority would be depositing or receiving sperm, even if there is danger nearby.

            That’s just my guess.

            • Liz
              Posted January 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

              Thank you for mentioning this. Especially the fear part. That is so interesting to me. Particularly because I firmly believe that love and fear are more accurate opposites than love and hate. I would like to research “love” and fear or our perception of fear (perceptions of fear and love) and bodily responses during orgasm. Additionally, I think love and fear should be measured at all stages of sexual encounters, from first dates to partners who have been together for over 50 years. If I had to define love, the best I could do was say it is the opposite of fear. It has something to do with calm in the heart or in general. “Love” is from the heart, not the solar plexus. That would be good to research also.

      • Posted January 19, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Well put.

      • Posted January 19, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the experience of love is very subjective.

        My only point was that I think people frequently conflate eros with philia, or think that philia is a necessary prerequisite for eros. Which I don’t think is true. Some people need to listen to music while they work out, but music and exercise are two different things that don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other. It’s just that lots of people prefer to put them together.

        • Liz
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          I think it would be nice to have both? The Greeks apparently had a few more words also.

          “1. Eros, or sexual passion
          2. Philia, or deep friendship
          3. Ludus, or playful love
          4. Agape, or love for everyone
          5. Pragma, or longstanding love
          6. Philautia, or love of the self”

          This doesn’t help too much in terms of obtaining hard data but it’s more specific than love.

        • darrelle
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          I’m sorry if it seemed as if I was gainsaying you, I certainly did not intend that. I agree with you completely that philia and eros are not the same thing.

          Love for your child can be very strong. So strong that an errant dream image of your child in danger or injured can keep you from sleeping for the rest of the night. But eros isn’t any part of it.

          Though I do think that philia and eros can have a synergistic effect. It certainly seems that way to me personally.

          Throughout arousal, stimulation and orgasm the reasoning parts of the brain reduce in activity while activity in the emotional parts of the brain increase. It seems plausible to me that being in such states with someone you already have some form of love relationship with could reinforce those feelings.

          • Posted January 19, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

            No worries! I just wanted to clarify.

          • Posted January 19, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

            And I agree about the synergy between philia and eros.

            I find that traits I respect, like intelligence or honesty, are also sexual turn-ons when the owner of those traits is female.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          “Yes, the experience of love is very subjective.”

          And quite frequently, A is madly in love with B (i.e. obsessed, can think of nothing else) while B just isn’t interested in A.

          Happens all the time with teens. The fact that it’s probably silly doesn’t make it any less emotionally painful at the time.


  10. Kate
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    If a man invites you to his appartment after having drinks it’s pretty obvious he wants sex. It’s not rocket science.

    Grace put herself in this uncomfortable situation when she accepted the invitation to his appartment. Why are these feminists blaming Ansari?

    • Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Why does anyone even believe Grace’s account?

      • Helen
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        I feel that she makes all women look like helpless idiots who do not know how to say no, stop. If they do not stop, you leave. If they prevent you from leaving, or continue on with their behavior it becomes criminal. This woman has not claimed that she told him to stop. She did not claim he prevented her from leaving.

        • Posted January 19, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          Well-distilled there, I think. Thank you.

    • Helen
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      Katie, I agree. At any point she had the ability to say No. Do not do that. Or simply leave. If he prevented her from leaving, or continued to do anything after being told to stop- that would be a different conversation.

      • Rasmo Carenna
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 2:19 am | Permalink

        Exactly how I see it.

    • eric
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      I’d call this more shame than blame. They aren’t calling rape or accusing him of something he claims he didn’t do. Rather they’re trying to embarrass him by pointing out behavior that was inept and probably not too considerate.

      As I said on the earlier page, men have been doing that to women for a long time; discussing backroom actions in order to demean someone professionally. It’s IMO unethical. And responding in kind – taking the ‘eye for an eye’ approach – is IMO going to make our society a darker and less happy place to live in. However there is a sense in which we men are being somewhat hypocritical here, in that we didn’t view this as a social problem in need of fixing until it was turned on us. For many men, “he said something bad about you…suck it up, buttercup” was just fine. Until they were on the receiving end of it.

      So, what do we do? Well we work through both sides of the issue, I suppose. More transparency but also less black/white judgement. Someone acts like a jerk, yes feel free to tell everyone about it. No don’t fire them for it. Ansari treats women inconsiderately? Okay, I buy that. And I probably won’t be buying his book about how to treat women because of it. But will I watch his comedy? Go see him at a club? Sure. Being an inconsiderate date is not grounds for social ostracism; it’s grounds merely for not dating him or not taking his advice on dating.

  11. W.Benson
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I saw today on Brazilian TV that Brigitte Bardot has entered the fray, on the side of good sense. By her right-wing politics, I was somewhat surprised she had any [good sense, that is]. Here is what The Guardian says:

  12. Hempenstein
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    When I saw the title I wondered if you’d heard of the Deneuve letter and see that you have. Got embroiled on FB with someone who completely failed to grasp her point.

    Otherwise, empirically, religions lead to schisms, which leads to the question…

  13. ladyatheist
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I doubt that “feminism” was ever homogenous in the first place. When something clearly cut-and-dried, there will be disagreement. Now that we have the interwebs, we know what everybody thinks. Before that, people only communicated their thoughts in their orbit, and may not have even heard of some of these controversial stories.

    • Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      It was a very long time ago.

      But even when you look at just one wave today: Most of the terms or ideas, or concepts were never adequately defined. I knew feminist positions already from when I was in my earlier twens and went to left demos and gatherings (there were different sides then). I did “educate myself” more recently too, to be up to speed and read up on Crenshaw and Delgado and the likes, but what I found out doesn’t gel well with what Twits and Tumblerettes are asserting.

      Apparently, even the people who are Critical Gender/Race Theorists (that’s the current wave of feminism/anti-racism, also dubbed Woke, Intersectional, or 4th wave) haven’t the faintest idea what it is they promote. There’s not even really a term. Many adamantly insist that “social justice” means just some old fashioned concept, or is generic progressivism, the left, or just “standard feminism” — which is untrue.

      The Woke make it up as they tweet, and it then just snowballs (or not), occasionally becoming an avalance.

      • Max Blancke
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        I think part of the whole issue is that “Critical Gender/Race Theorists” are convinced of the permanence and perfection of their own morality. So there is just no way to have any sort of negotiation or debate.
        But if one’s moral code was truly the final and perfect state of human ethical progress, it would not be changing all the time.
        I really don’t get the impression that these folks have enough understanding of history and human nature to be drawing these sorts of conclusions, and so confidently judging others.
        The beliefs are different, but the attitude is very much like those seen in Germany in the late 20s, or Cambodia in the mid 70s.

      • DiscoveredJoys
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 4:12 am | Permalink

        I’d argue that, for most people, recent ‘waves’ of any ‘-ism’ are only tagged with pre-packaged talking points. Very few people have actually thought about what those points mean or are defined as.

        A bit like gang colours or tats really. Signifiers that you belong to a group without really knowing what underpins that group.

  14. Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    I favour another theory for why we see what we see. It’s the role of social media. Our societies operate under the assumption that certain wrongs are “too small” to warrant attention by authorities, but they can be very upsetting or disturbing nontheless. This goes into the victimhood culture idea, Haidt popularized. I only believe the causality is the other way around. It’s social media that conditions and takes the central role and that bounces back e.g. to Campus. A second aspect: Most personal interactions are never documented, and wrongdoing is hard to prove; Atwood made that point. And there’s a third one: Troubadours, poets and songwriters since forever lament that “love hurts”, which is another area that’s considered “none of society’s business” yet can hurt more than a stolen item. And a large gamut spans between these different areas, from botched dates, genuine misunderstandings, coldhearted breakups, heat-of-the-moment mistakes, misremembered drunken sex, date rape, being taken advantage, unclear relationships caught between status attraction and power, and so on.

    Introduce social media, which is truly mainstream only now and we revert to a social media honour culture. We are very vulnerable socially, also since ever, but in an “eternal” medium, and at once, there is no leviathan that doles out justice for us. We have yet to develop institutions or rules how to deal with this. It think, it’s broken in its current stage. Our ancestors developed the idea (in civiliced society) to give away the weapons, don’t duel or retaliate after small slights, in exchange for authorities who’d do this for us if truly needed. Currently, on social media the only way is to either have a big platform to fire back with bigger artillery, or join a tribe which offers its arms in a more crowdsourced fashion.

    The social media warriors fear ostracism from their tribe, thus as I pointed out last time, create the intense dynamic of being woker-than-thou. They are also intimately aware of the vulnerability and disposability of any individual, and thus each must demonstrabe first rate Woke Pope attitude. Otherwise, they might be next.

    Another overlooked aspect is female aggression that, so far, was elusive, for it didn’t produce quite the corpse-count, prison-inmates or bloody noses as male aggression. Social media levels the playing field, and at once throw us back into a honour culture style world, where everyone must rely on their own muscle or a big tribe.

    Other miscellaneous reasons: the outrage warriors are simply adaptions to a real-name side of the internet, and are the counterpart of the troll who was adapted to the anonymous internet. There are simply many bad actors, and unhinged people out there who naturally play DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender), in any argument. This seems especially common, for whatever reason, in the Tumblr gender warrior flock. Another aspect is that intimate relationships cause the most grief when they go wrong or end, and most humans have them with the other sex. People predisposed to see everything through gender glasses can easily produce the kinds of misogynistic and misandristic currents that are noticeable.

  15. DrBrydon
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    . . . burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist . . . .

    The comma is dead So much for not look-shaming.

  16. harrync
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Katie Way “…she’s the bravest person I’ve ever met.” So brave she remains anonymous. As others have noted, Aziz could have outed Grace [and god knows there is a good argument she deserves to be outed]. But so far, at least, he hasn’t. I guess Aziz follows the “When they go low, I go high” rule.

    • Jake Sevins
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      The “Grace” person has been outed and her name is known. I won’t post it here (I don’t think Jerry would want that on his site) but it’s out there. Unsure if Aziz decided it was time, or if someone else dug it up.

      In any case, I will boycott any product/company that advertises on or employs Katie Way. The personal attacks were over the top.

  17. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 19, 2018 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    Before all this erupted. ‘Me-too-ism’ was regarded as a throughly scurrilous, reprehensible and cowardly attribute, indicating that the perpetrator was too cowardly to stand on their own but quite ready to join a mob in persecuting some quarry.

    As things have developed, I can’t see that its meaning has changed significantly.


  18. eric
    Posted January 19, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Wow, if Atwood is being excoriated for insufficient feminism, then we really have reached a Stalinesque “she stopped clapping” point.

    IMO Banfield has a point worth considering (even if you ultimately don’t agree with it). Way also has a point worth considering (again, even if you don’t ultimately agree with it). But with both of them using terms like disgust and offense to describe the other’s position, they are no longer trying to work through different sides of the feminism coin or help explore pros and cons of some partial solution to a thorny problem; instead what they are doing is short-circuiting rational discussion by appealing to emotion. “You disgust me” is the sort of short-circuit anti-gay conservatives use. Its a sign of failure, tribalism, and acting to defend sacred cows rather than discuss them.

    • Posted January 19, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Jonathan Haidt and others have claimed that “conservatives” regard disgust as having ethical dimensions and “liberals” do not. I wonder …

      • eric
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        Yes exactly. It appears we (or at least some of us) use the same illogic, just on different targets.

        The same point was made decades ago by Diane Ravitch on speech in classrooms and HS reading assignments; conservatives often want to censor sex talk. Liberals often want to censor ‘mean’ talk (stories where one person calls another fat, ugly, etc.). People in oth groups often want to censor something, they just disagree on the target.

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