A question for women readers

Reader Neil Wolfe (yes, a male), sent me an email, and gave me permission to post it here and to use his name.

I don’t want to put up a poll, or compile statistics, but I have noticed that fewer women seem to chime in on gender-related posts, though I’m not sure about “controversial” posts. This may be an illusion, but if women readers are hesitant to do so, I’d like to know why.

Also, the sex ratio of commenters does seem to be skewed toward males (I’m judging mostly from user names), and if there’s anything we can do to encourage more women to participate, I’d like to know.  So, although men can weigh in below, I’d especially encourage the women to do so.

Thanks for all the work you do!  One of the things I love about your site is the polite disagreements and respectful exchanges that take place and I hope it continues to grow.  However, I have noticed that nearly all of the comments on gender-related posts are dominated by users with masculine names.  Other posts have a good mix of gendered user names.  It seems to me that the more controversial the post, the fewer females offer opinions.  Have you noticed this as well?  Is there any way to put numbers to this hunch by tallying the comments with respect to gender?  Maybe a poll asking the gender of readers to establish a baseline to which the apparent commenting proportions can be compared.

Data analytics aside, I know you have lots of female readers and I would love to hear their opinions on things, particularly gender-related issues.  How to encourage this?   I remember when you came right out and asked women for stories of abuse they had suffered and they produced a startlingly extensive series of replies that made a significant impression on me.  Maybe you could have more posts that specifically ask women for their opinions?  Or maybe just ask the women why they don’t comment on certain posts and that feedback could be used to help expand the conversation.

Please speak your mind!


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I have the impression that some of the women who used to comment here regularly come by less often, and have been wondering why myself.

    Personally, I miss ’em.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Ken, I don’t think you have to wonder too far, but if I can interrupt for a few. I second Neil’s request and would like to inter a term to explain some of the things I have seen here lately. I would call it the male apologist out there. Just as we talk about apologists for other things like Islam, religion or even slavery we also have this.

      • Merilee
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Randall. I think you’ve nailed it! There are at least four of us normally outspoken women who have been turned off by the “piling on” of some of these apologists and have figured that life’s just too short to jump into the melee.

        • Marlene Zuk
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          Agree with Merilee. I also find it amusing (sort of) that after soliciting comments from women, the immediate response is from men.

          • Marilyn
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink


          • Ken Kukec
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

            I was chary to post first on this thread for that reason, and purposely withheld venturing an opinion. Ah, but you know, we fools do rush in. 🙂

            • Merilee
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

              But Ken’s a woman-friendly fool😁

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

              It would have been funnier if you wrote FIRST!!!! instead. 😛

          • Diane G.
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            Aw, Ken’s such an ally, I think we can consider him an honorary woman…


            • Ken Kukec
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

              Can I borrow an honorary Midol®? 🙂

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

                Hmmm…perhaps the “honorary” was superfluous…

              • Merilee
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

                I remember somebody gave a boy in my 10th grade class a Midol instead of an aspirin and he was all in a panic thst he was gonna start bleeding (from his “where ever”, as our fearless leader would have it).🤓

              • Filippo
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

                I took a couple of Pamprin once. I had a bout of sciatica. It was what was immediately available. It worked quite well. I thanked the kind lady who provided it. I was glad to get it.

              • Blue
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

                hehhehheh = .thst. is hilarious, Mr Kukec: on
                two accounts ! i) that you would kindly ask
                and ii) that you would kindly ask … …
                apparently actually .knowing. … … for
                what Midol is mostly used / taken !

                Love it !

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          My own unstated hypothesis was that, since Jerry started regularly putting up posts critical of regressive leftism and third-wave feminism, the site has attracted some more-conservative commenters, some of whom trend toward men’s rights activism. On a personal level, I enjoy from time-to-time crossing swords with them (to put it symbolically and perhaps too on the nose), but I can understand why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (and why women in particular might find it unpleasant).

          • Diane G.
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            Pretty much nails it for me.

          • zoolady
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

            EXACTLY! Some of the comments have been full of politically correct psychobabble and I haven’t the time or will to engage with them…generally because comments aren’t appreciated.

        • Linda Calhoun
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink



      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Yes Randall you are absolutely spot on here. I’ve engaged this handful of people over and over and frankly it is no longer worth my time to engage in this conversation. I’m just repeating myself and I’m frankly exhausted to have to counter the following ad nauseam:

        – Feminists hate men
        – Women don’t work in STEM because they don’t want to
        – The pay gap is a myth
        – All feminists are the same – they hate men and if you say otherwise, you are behaving like a theologian who says atheists aren’t sophisticated enough to appreciate religion
        – Women and feminists is all about victimhood
        – There is no sexism anymore. Women have equal rights
        – Women don’t get high paying jobs because they don’t want to do the dirty work/dangerous work/hard work

        The above are the persistent themes and they are not worth my time to counter so I left the discussion to the men to decide about what is so with women. Thank goodness for the majority of WEIT men who counter these claims, but even they seem to be growing tired of these remarks and have stopped commenting.

        It should be noted, I’m no wuss about engaging in discussion; I think my track record here speaks for itself. But, I can already hear, “the women don’t like arguing; women don’t like engaging in rough discussions; women think WEIT should be safe space for feminists (actually said on WEIT once); women just aren’t interested in this kind of discussion.

        If I wanted to read this stuff, I’d go to an MRA site.

        • Vaal
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          Admittedly I probably haven’t seen all the feminism-related posts/comments on WEIT, as I visit sporadically.

          But if the boorishness of many male participants has been that much of a theme, I should pay more attention to that.

        • Blue
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          If it was only known just how “thin –
          skinned” and “insulting” to others ( actually
          both stated about me in particular here on
          WEIT 22 August 2017 ) I so am .NOT. and
          because Ms Merilee and Ms MacPherson both
          state above my precise thinking much more
          eloquently than I can, then … … +10 to
          them and to Randall’s, Mr darrelle’s,
          Mr Kukec’s and so many others’ analyses
          in re the topic of this post.

          Plus one more. +1 > and from a theist, at
          that, actually … … ( although not much of
          ‘ne o’those as he, reading his beliefs within
          his essays, is almost as godless as I am /
          WEITers are )

          That is, to repeat these folks: “I’m just
          repeating myself and I’m frankly exhausted to
          have to counter the following ad nauseam”
          cuz, frickingly, “life is just too damned
          short” and “fragile as eggshells” to hafta
          try to do so.


        • Linda Calhoun
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          “…it is no longer worth my time to engage in this conversation.”



          • Heather Hastie
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            I have been elsewhere today, so I missed all this, but this is something that bugs me too. There aren’t very many, but a few men who should be on an MRA site have been commenting just as Diane McP suggests. Most men here are good, but the a$$holes are a problem.

            • Travis
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

              You seem to have a problem with me so I’m wondering what you expect. If I am supportive men’s issues, are these issues not allowed to be covered on WEIT? Not even when they overlap with gender topics (and they often do)?

              I don’t really like echo-chambers (or rather I try to not get caught up in them… I think it’s easy to do so) so I like 1) challenging myself and 2) challenging others. ie not “being on a MRA site”.

              • Travis
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

                and for the record I disagree with many of the things that Diana suggested were common anti-fem talking points (but do agree with some).

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

                So Jerry asks women readers a question about a specific subject, and you think that’s an appropriate place to bring up your opinion of FGM vs male circumcision. You don’t think you might have a problem?

              • Travis
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:33 pm | Permalink


                I merely pointed out that her framing of the issue (“women have equal rights” as an ignorant statement) was right but for the opposite reason from what most people think. I hoped this would lead to some introspection on the issue and where someone might be reasonably challenged on their framework of beliefs.

                I only mentioned an example of the right I was talking about because I was accused of being “full of $hit” and “part of the problem”.

        • Richard Bond
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          You, Diana, are one of the women whom I miss, along with Sastra.

          • Mark R.
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink


          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink


          • Filippo
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink


          • Posted January 27, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink


            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted January 27, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

              Awwww shucks.

        • Mark R.
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          I’d like to add that I noticed your posts declining after Ben Goren “left”. You two always had great discourses. I miss Ben’s and your insights, clever banter and conversations. But that’s life; nothing remains the same.

        • Travis
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          Well women don’t have equal rights to men they have more rights than men.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            That is a load of $hit.

            And you are one of those who is a problem when these posts come up, that spoils it for everyone else.

            • Travis
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

              right to genital integrity is the biggest of these.

              • Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink


              • Travis
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

                SA Gould,

                Female genital mutilation is (rightfully) fully illegal in the west (though it does happen in rare instances, and we all know who the culprits are).

                Male genital mutilation is perfectly legal and totally normalized. This is a stark difference in rights.

                There are others, too, but I just wanted to make the point that these “tired points” that keep being raised are legitimate critiques of feminist thought.

              • Posted January 27, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

                well, thanks for clarification. I saw those words just sort of hanging out there by myself and wondered about the context.

              • Blue
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

                Huh ?! Both female genital mutilations and
                male circumcisions ? = Squat, zero, zilch,
                zip, nada … … to do with feminism !

                ALL = … … to do with religion AND males’
                religion, at thst !
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brit_milah !

                Seriously ?! Truly ?! For Real ?! .THAT.
                is an example in your opinion of
                inegalitarianism ?! Whoa, Man. Whooooa.


              • Travis
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink


                It’s hard to parse your comment but I’ll do my best.

                I never said circumcision has anything to do with feminism. I referred to “tired points” (some but not all of the things that Diana raised) as critique of feminism.

                The one I was talking about in particular was the rights that men and women (and boys and girls) have, and the framing that “women have and always had less rights than men” is a standard feminist position. So much so that even providing a counter opinion I was labeled “ignorant”. I gave a strong example of a serious right that men lack. There has been no counterpoint to this and really there can’t be, as it’s a straightforward fact.

                As for other rights, in some states, naked breasts in public is illegal. I can agree that that is a right that women lack, though there is at least some argument to be had, there (I am pro-nudity in this case). That’s the only right I’m aware of that women don’t have. Women also have fewer obligations to the state (selective service) than men do.

                I’m aware that circumcision is mostly (but not entirely) a religious issue, but it seems weird to refer to it as “men’s religion”, and to me you seem to be trying to shift the blame or minimize the severity or something. It’s not exactly clear what you’re saying.

              • Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

                I do not think this is helpful to anyone.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

              +2! 1 for the comment and 1 for sounding like my Auntie.

            • Merilee
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

              +many @Heather

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

            This is me ignoring your ignorance because of what I said up thread.

            • Merilee
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

              Me ignoring this BS, too.

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

                Me three.

            • Travis
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

              If I’m simply ignorant it should be easy to enlighten me.

              • Tim Harris
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 2:49 am | Permalink

                I think it is the self-pity that is getting in the way.

              • Travis
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink


                Self-pity? Me? Diana?

                I don’t understand. I don’t even understand how that would apply to either of us. Please explain

              • Tim Harris
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

                You. Coupled with a propensity towards bullying and fake-innocent expressions of wide-eyed surprise.

          • Blue
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

            Huh ?! “weird” ? “men’s religion” ?

            I resoundingly r e p e a t: Seriously ?!
            Truly ?! For Real ?! .THAT.
            is a question … … in your opinion ?!
            Whoa, Man. Whooooa.

            Needed obviously: a thorough STUDY and UNDERSTANDING
            of thus: https://ffrf.org/component/k2/item/23729-why-women-need-freedom-from-religion

            And also of the previous website I cited on circumcision. IF that one has not even, by you, been thoroughly read and comprehended, THEN as Ms Diana MacPherson, Ms Merilee, Ms Hastie, Ms Diana G and We Countless Others: we be i g n o r i n g this bs.

            ONE more time yet again.


            • Diane G.
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

              I suggest we not feed the troll. (Does he ever comment on a post here that doesn’t concern feminism?)

            • Travis
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:37 pm | Permalink


              Sorry but I don’t know what you’re saying. I’m a full-blown anti-theist. You don’t need to explain this to me. Maybe you’re confused because I was confused by your comment. Please try to be more clear in what you’re saying.


              I am not a troll. I don’t only post on feminism-related topics, but it’s probably where I post the most since I have a less common perspective than others, here.

              • Bob Murray
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 2:06 am | Permalink

                Travis, I don’t see you as a troll but you do have a less common perspective here.
                I am still waiting for a good explanation as to why Men’s Rights are literally the devil.

              • Travis
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink


                You see, around here you’re allowed to group “MRAs” together as misogynist, ignorant, sexist people but not with feminists. No, then it’s Not True Feminism. You see it in Diana and Heather’s comments.

                Half of what Diana listed are points I don’t see MRAs even making. Most of my effort is opening people’s eyes to the fact that yes, men do have unique issues (too) and that feminism and feminists 1) don’t address this (except to blame “toxic masculinity” or “patriarchy” – shifting the blame to men completely) and 2) downplay them considerably or deny them outright.

            • Posted January 27, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

              “Seriously ?!For Real ?!”

              Agreed. I hadn’t heard *that* one for years. And never as a ‘talking point’ against feminism, of all things. Which is why it seemed such an odd thing to say there.

              • Travis
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

                You should read my clarification.

              • Posted January 27, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

                Travis- I did read your clarification. Your position is not new to me, read about it many years ago. And nothing has changed. Same old same old. Have a nice life.

          • Neil Wolfe
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            Well I guess I have my answer now.

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:52 pm | Permalink


              Thank you so much for noticing and questioning the disparity here, Neil! It makes a huge difference when a man brings up such a subject.

              (The right kind of) feminism doesn’t stand a chance without the support of feminist men. Of which there are still quite a few on WEIT, I’m heartened to see. You don’t have to use the label, guys–hell, I almost hate to use it myself given the bullshit coming from the third-wavers–but with enough buy-in on ensuring women’s rights the whole world will improve.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

              Let me echo Diane’s comment. Thank you for noticing the disparity and thank you for questioning it. It makes all the difference when men notice these things and say something about them and I too am very impressed and humbled by the many men here on WEIT who do so.

            • Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

              I see now as well. I’m glad I’ve been checking back in on this thread. I tire extremely quickly of the “innocent contrarian” role that several commenters play, so I think I’ve been checking out of some discussions before realizing how far they’ve gone off the rails. This thread has really well-illustrated the extent of the hassle and headache of remaining in such conversations.

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 28, 2018 at 2:52 am | Permalink

                “… so I think I’ve been checking out of some discussions before realizing how far they’ve gone off the rails.”

                Aren’t those exactly the conversations one would most want to check out of?

          • Filippo
            Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

            Kind Sir, pray tell – in what specific year did women start to have more rights than men?

    • Hunt
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      That’s Hunt-ina, my female side. It’s obviously due to the boorish bro-culture of this site. If we spread some birdseed, perchance we will catch a glimpse of their glorious plumage.

      Or perhaps not.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        For some reason I really like this one. It says Biology so well.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      I agree with Randall, if I understand what he is saying. In nearly every article here at WEIT that involves feminism in any way there has been several male commenters that “show their ass” to one degree or another. Often to a rather high degree. And often their contributions are significant. It’s no mystery to me why women comment less frequently on these kinds of articles or why some of them have become scarce.

      I understand, agree with and very much appreciate Jerry’s stance with respect to free speech on his website, but I have wondered on occasion why a given male commenter is still welcome here after several notably nasty comments to women commenters. I’m guessing he doesn’t have time to read every comment, and there’s no reason he should be expected to.

      I don’t mean to say that the WEIT comment section is particularly bad in this way. It definitely is not. As usual it is significantly better than most places on the internet. But that ain’t saying much, this issue being what it is and the internet being what it is.

      • Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        I don’t permit nasty comments on this site, or ad hominems directed to other commenters, but, as you said, I don’t always see every comment. Readers are free to email me if they see potential violations of the Roolz, and if I agree, action will be taken. And all complaints will be kept confidential.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

          I hate to think what would become of a good site such as this one if it was not policed as you do.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Right on, darrelle!

      • Gayle
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

        The reader called ‘GM’ is the one that bothers me, and I guess he is the one to whom you refer. He is a card-carrying misogynist and if Jerry was a woman I’m sure he’d have been banned by now. It scares me that there are people out in the world who think like that; it could be my neighbour, my boss, the guy I think of as a friend. I agree with pretty much everything the women have said here. Every time there is a ‘gender issues’ post a bunch of men will jump in and hijack the comments section (the guy above who bangs on about circumcision as evidence for “women have *more* rights than men” is a perfect example of THE THING THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS). It is often more subtle than that, but even the post the the other day about Matt Damon and the ‘not all sexual assault is equal’ thing really turned me off. A bunch of guys ‘mansplaining’ sexual harassment and sexual assault to us; the “date rape is bad; but stranger rape is worse” lines. I’m put off from commenting of these things because I fear the male backlash, and we’re bombarded with it on social media, and flighting back is EXHAUSTING, but what I really want to say is MEN: JUST STFU FOR ONCE! You don’t get to define for us what kind of sexual assault is worse than what other kind of sexual assault. You don’t get to define for us what is sexual harassment or sexual assault AT ALL. It is not something that happens to you (very rarely). You don’t get it. Why are you so unable to just think and listen instead of trying to dominate and command???

        And yes, the gender pay gap is real. There is substantial data. And yes, they have controlled for *numbers of working hours*. The causes are complex and multifaceted. But you never listen because you don’t want to hear.

        • Merilee
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink


        • Blue
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          For centuries and millennia, thus of
          Ms Gayle’s: “But you never listen
          because you don’t want to hear.”

          Nearly the HUGEST – EVER RESENTMENT
          by so, so very many men
          throughout the Entire History
          of the World over All of Time:
          … … their EVER having to,
          or being forced to, L I S T E N
          … … to women.

          These many men ? These men ‘d rather
          slam the door behind them, walk away,
          lie about the phone’s static
          breaking up its signal or
          bang down the receiver,
          drive away and post
          O so ! quite anonymously
          such unkindness and such outright lies
          in re ! actual facts ! … … than
          to .ever. face – to – face or
          from her writings … …
          … … listen to her.


          • Blue
            Posted January 27, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            I add: there were some, but not .that. many
            men, nota bene, and not until much further
            down / much later in to the comments — —
            who in this y2018 age of just the very other
            day, ‘d want (and, maybe, .to even just to
            think. of wanting) to dine … … to listen
            … … to even one other person at the table
            who are its beings female.


            • Diane G.
              Posted January 27, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

              Women actually have some wonderful male advocates on this site and I want to make sure they know just how extremely grateful we are for their support and for stepping in when we can use the help.

              I don’t want to list names lest I forget someone, nor do I want to give the impression I’m ranking them (as some men are doing regarding female posters, here. I know you mean well, guys, but it’s easy to forget some excellent voices in the process.)

              • Merilee
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink


        • Diane G.
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          Hear, hear!

          Couldn’t agree more, Gayle.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          Well said Gayle! I’m glad I’m not the only woman who feels this way. People done realize how once you’ve argued on social media and fought through whatever sexist bullshit happens in your day in meat world plus done on the things a regular human does to with career and Home life, the last thing you want to do is engage in another sexist argument on a site you normally really enjoy.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted January 27, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            Please excuse my iPad’s creativity in that post.

  2. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Notsecurelyanchored is a female, and an old one at that. I mostly lurk, but ask me a question.

    • Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      There are questions in the post above.

      • Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        It does not sound as if the objectionable comments violate any of the current Roolz but rather that they are made at every opportunity, unchanged in spite of previous rebuttals. The rebutters just sound tired to me.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          There’s a little bit of both, IMO. And yes, “tired” is one description. Dispirited, disappointed, depressed, tired of the SOS, etc., also enter into it.

        • Posted January 27, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

          Yeah, they never change. Because their only goal in commenting is to get a response? Or because they’re this unable to learn?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Can I have a heart, or a brain, or some courage, or safe passage with Toto back to Kansas?

  3. Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Female-type-person right here. I do comment occasionally but I personally don’t like to comment on the more ‘controversial’ topics in a free-for-all online environment, I’m more of a lurker. I prefer to have debates face to face where body language and tone can be identified. In addition in most cases someone sharing my viewpoint would have already commented so the discussion wouldn’t need yet another person on a soap box.

  4. Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    previously was unable to comment but can suddenly interact with a wordpress blog. I don’t often comment on anything but am female. no real reason – apart from technical issues over the last few years.

  5. chris
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Another female here.

    I’ve commented on some of the controversial topics but probably not all of them.
    For example, I distinctly remember saying that I have no problem with persons with male genitalia in my locker room or public bathroom as long as they aren’t acting weird or taking pictures.

    • Carey
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Also a female. I disagree about people with penises in the women’s locker room. There are a lot of young girls at my gym and I doubt it’s even legal to expose them.

  6. GBJames
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink


    (In a non-gendered sort of way)

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      subscribing to LISTEN

  7. Janet
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I am 72 – went through college and got a PhD in the 60s and 70s. I did not feel I was discriminated against for being female; I felt that I was judged for my scientific abilities. But in recent years I have wondered: was I just totally oblivious back then? In fact, I realize now that I have been oblivious to most of my behavior and choices (so I feel I am witness to my own lack of free will). While acknowledging the horrible discrimination women have suffered, and while cheering on those women who are standing up, I can nevertheless see gender-related issues from so many perspectives and I find it overwhelmingly daunting to respond in short format to discussions taking place here.

    • Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I didn’t face discrimination within science, but I was very much inhibited by the conflict between my interest in science and social expectations of my time and place. (I’m 66 now, and grew up in a small town.)

      Also, no role models. I mean, there’s Madam Curie, but what biologist really want to grow up to be her?

      • Richard Bond
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        No role models? Admittedly most of the women scientists whom I admire are physicists, but Dorothy Hodgkin and Rosalind Franklin were two who had a profound effect on biology.

        • Richard Bond
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          And I forgot Barbara McClintock, after her name was the one that came to mind first.

        • Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          I went into biology chiefly because of my grandmother. She was not a scientist (she was teacher) but she knew every bird by its song, could identify every wildflower, weed, grass and shrub and knew what ate them, what pollinated them, and how they reproduced. I still have some of her water colors of wildflower beds. I learned about fungus and mushrooms and slime molds and centipedes another creepy crawlies with her on trips in the forest, prizing up dead trees to find the gooey things underneath that she said were her favorites because they lived secret lives. She knew the scientific name of every wiggly, smelly thing I could find at the beach and she knew what they did for a living. And she wrote poetry about them.

          So yeah, there are women roll models.

          • yazikus
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            She sounds great. But it might be interesting to ponder why, with her level of knowledge and expertise, she was not a scientist, and not more well known (and available as a role model to others than her students and grandchildren). Could it be, perhaps, that there were barriers that she was unable to break due to being a woman? Was she was locked into drawing, poems, flowers and birds because that was one of the few areas of science deemed appropriate for women of a certain generation?

            • Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

              “…there were barriers that she was unable to break due to being a woman?”

              Bingo. She was corralled as so many were then. My other grandmother, also a teacher, had to give up her job as Principal of a High School when she married my grandfather. Married women couldn’t have that job.

              It sometimes amazes me to know that that world is only just gone. Great changes have been had in my lifetime.

            • Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

              WWII, and “Rosie the Riveter”type women, helped greatly to change these limitations on women. The prototype for Rosie just died. The poster of her became an icon for feminism.

              I have Rosie magnets on my refrigerator to remind me of my Mom and Aunt who worked in the shipyards in WWII as welders. The magnets remind be to be strong, as they were, and that I can (and will) do almost anything I set my mind to.

              This topic reminded me of the existing cultures in which men and women are still expected (and often forced to) have different educations, hold different jobs, socialize separately, and for women to be prevented from taking part in intelligent discussions with men.

            • Jenny Hoffman
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

              Or maybe she wanted to be a teacher – sounds as if she was great at it!

        • Posted January 27, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          Clarification: No role models I knew about. Nobody with biographies in my high school library.

  8. Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Only partially related to this post, but I recently heard some information (I don’t know how valid and can’t remember from where) that males and females spend time on different kinds of sites. For example, it was said that YouTube was dominated by males and Pinterest by females. (Was this in that famous Peterson interview? I can’t remember.)

    • yazikus
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      I doubt that this site is losing readers to either Youtube or Pinterest. (Is pinterest even still a thing?) That said, I would be interested to see the breakdown of youtube viewers by gender. I know lots of young women who watch certain personalities with regularity.

    • Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      I think Tumblr was the site mentioned with a high female user-base.

  9. KP
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I lurk regularly. I’m not much of a commenter anywhere due to my life being somewhat chaotic right now, but I definitely feel freer here than I do any the “proper” feminist blogs.

  10. Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Looking at some of the responses above, in several cases I had no idea from their name that the writer was female so it’s possible there are more than you suspect. Even if someone had mentioned their sex in a previous post it’s not something I don’t tend to remember. I have no idea of the ethnic make up or sexual orientation of readers either.

    You could maybe do a survey asking both sex or respondents and their frequency of commenting to discover if you have a large silent female readership or even a particularly vociferous male readership but obviously that might take up time you may not have.

  11. Sarah
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I have noticed that sometimes when men are explaining to each other what women do/are/feel, they are so obviously just extrapolating from their own experience of themselves with little reference to actual women. There was a discussion here once about women’s locker rooms what women probably did and talked about in them. Frankly, it was too funny to interrupt.

  12. Cate Plys
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I thought Randall’s point–way up at the top–was that perhaps more men respond to gender-related posts because of the feeling that it would be good to show there are male supporters out there for basic human equality–which most of us who read this site regularly seem to agree does not include forcing women to cover themselves, for instance. Or to pretend it’s a choice, as if family and societal norms have no impact. If so, I say yes Randall, I do appreciate seeing that. It would be depressing indeed if all the commenters were women and the men didn’t care enough to bother.

    Re my own commenting: I can only speak for myself, but I have seen nothing here to put me off commenting in the sense of overly aggressive or hostile discussions. I don’t comment as much as many others, but this is mostly time-related.

    When it comes to gender-related posts, I admit that sometimes it’s because I find the whole thing so depressing, I can’t bring myself to do so. I’m very appreciative that Jerry covers these issues as well as he does. I should probably find the time and fortitude to comment more often to make that clear.

  13. Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I see these same feminist issues on various internet sources, including Facebook. They’re interesting, even crucial topics to me, but on the other hand, how many times do I want to read the same stuff or comment on it? It’s hardly news for me at this point.

    And how useful is it really, to disagree with somebody stupid enough to equate equality for women with hatred for men? Feminists with man-haters? I’ll argue sometimes for the fun of it, but it’s not like these cretins are going to suddenly realize they’re wrong.

    • Merilee
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      +1 @sedgequeen

    • Dee
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Another female here. +1 @sedgequeen.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I pay more attention to U.S. history and would pass on something from Abraham Lincoln. He argued that human equality is the father of all moral principle.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      + 3

      Well said, sedgequeen!

  14. Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Don’t comment very often. Some of the questions raised are fairly complex and the short format, as someone else said, is a bit too much to take on.Unless you have a ready reply out of expertise- real or imagined.
    While a bona fide scientist I nevertheless have a different take on many issues and also a different background. It is too much to expect that in a ‘blog’ format minds are going to swivel around all that easily,and often I feel that quite afew commenters are toeing the party line and looking for inclusion in some club or another. I don’t know if any of this has to do with being a woman.
    I enjoy the science and details of evolutionary oddities and strange ways evolution can be observed to happen.

    • Brian salkas
      Posted January 28, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      “Don’t comment very often. Some of the questions raised are fairly complex and the short format, as someone else said, is a bit too much to take on.”

      Maybe men are, on average, more impulsive, prone to Dunning-Kruger or willing to take the social risk of posting a (possibly ridiculous) comment. Maybe a larger amount of women are silently learning from this site while a larger portion of men are trying to debate topics. This is just a very speculative hypothesis. I am also not implying anything about the cause of this tendency that men have to play the role of expert before they have enough knowledge to do so. Heck, I might be way off base here, but I see this as a possible explanation for the gender inequality that we see here, one that is probably testable and could be proven wrong or supported by existing data.

      • Merilee
        Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Makes some sense to me, Brian.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        And yet we need to remember that women feel more comfortable on this site than many, many others. In too many areas the internet is not a “safe space” for women.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          Agreed. I don’t use my name on many other sites.

          • GBJames
            Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            There are other sites?

  15. Marilyn
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I really enjoy following this site. I read everything but seldom comment because the only access I have is with my iPhone. I am 71 and was forced to retire in 2010. Over the past 8 years I’ve had to eliminate lots of things I can no loner afford, including a computer. Needless to say trying to type my comments from my phone is a pain.

  16. Luis Gutierrez
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    What about the issue of cultural evolution away from religious patriarchy?

  17. Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I think the women on this site should be forthcoming and say what they think without mincing words. I also think that the men should feel free to counter any views that they believe are mistaken. All views, of course, should be expressed civilly with sweetness and light.

  18. Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Neil- what precisely do you mean by “gender-related posts?” Anything with the word “feminism” in it? Posts on women defending/decrying the hijab? An article on Skeeter Davis (a female) who had the 1963 hit “The End of the World”?

    There are many women regulars on this site that I follow regularly (men, too!) and they haven’t disappeared. (Of course I’ve only been around here for a few years.)

    • Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      PS- SA Gould is Su Gould, female.

  19. Rita
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Sometimes I don’t comment because I have nothing new to say, or I might be processing the question, and too much time has gone by before I fully formulate my answer.

    • Paul Matthews
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Yes I find that’s a problem in general for me (not just on blogs on gender-based issues, which I don’t believe I’ve ever commented on). What with work and other things, by the time I’ve come up with what I want to say … everyone’s moved on.

      • Debbie Coplan
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Exactly how I feel. I can’t seem to get it together fast enough. I also am not as comfortable discussing topics in this format. I am more comfortable face to face to explain my thinking.

  20. sue
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I’m a woman and a biologist, and I read this website daily. I *especially* enjoy the biology-related posts, one of which was what brought me to this site in the first place. I rarely comment, mostly because I’m a very private person. I also live on the west coast and don’t get around to reading this website until most other comments have been posted for hours.

    I almost posted a comment on the Jan. 24 question about who we would like to dine with. But I was afraid I might be breaking Da Roolz by pointing out some (to me) not-so-positive meta-data about the many comments. Those ideal dinner companions included very few women–a tiny fraction of the total votes. I felt somewhat deflated after reading all of those choices.

    • Linda Calhoun
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I didn’t have time to comment on that post, but one of my dining companion choices would have been Barbara McClintock.


    • Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      The thing is, you could have commented on that and i think you should have. To me, a male, i would have heard something. Like, why is that? so it made me think on…
      …have you ever heard of the White Mouse. If she was willing to talk she would make a great dinner guest.

  21. LaurieB
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I read through this site every morning and enjoy the articles. Sometimes I read the comments but not always. I read through the Dawkins site and comment there as I’ve done for some years now. I can’t keep up with both. It’s a time management challenge.

  22. jhs
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    1) Oftentimes when I get a chance to read this blog, it seems too late to join the conversation.

    2) Criticizing other women for speaking their mind tends to give me a bad taste in my mouth afterwards.

    3) I don’t like conflict.

  23. nicky
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure, but I did not tally either. Nor am I sure what a gender related post is (I do not mean it is never obvious, but there is a whole moot area too).
    I can only say that in general I value the posts of Heather, the Diana’s, Sastra, Merilee and -lin, Malgorzata, Maya, Blue (although not always understandable to my poor mind), Sedgequeen, Linda and many others (Please forgive me if I did not mention you 😦 ).
    As said, Ididn’t pick up they comment less on ‘gender related’ posts, but whichever way, I’d say: Go Girls!

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 27, 2018 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Nicky.

  24. Dee
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Another woman here. This is tough to do. Jerry, I don’t comment much on these kinds of posts because the thought of dealing with the mansplaining (god, I hate that word, but it accurately describes my experience) pisses me off to the point where I have trouble being coherent. But this is the second time you have specifically asked women for their views, and I respect the effort you are making. This time I’m going to try to respond.

    Recently a comment referred to a pile-on by feminists on Dawkins because of a letter he wrote. The general consensus was the feminists were totally out of line and Dawkins didn’t deserve what he got. I read the letter that provoked the feminist response(Dear Muslima), and I followed the controversy he was commenting on. I found his letter to be patronizing, dismissive, and insulting. It was just another guy telling me that whatever happened to me, there were worse things happening somewhere else, so I should be grateful and stop bitching. I think that letter deserved to get criticized, even if I think some of that criticism was over the top.

    But I have strayed off my topic. My personal experiences, and what I have seen when other women comment make me reluctant, even here. The idea of wasting my time, along with the fury I feel makes me very wary. I know you don’t agree with what some of these women are saying – I don’t either – but I really do understand where the fury comes from. Yes, I really do.

    • Blue
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      +1 & especially thus, Ms Dee:
      ” – but I really do understand
      where the fury comes from.
      Yes, I really do. ” … … Whoa.


      ps A colleague in a planning meeting
      just this morning — planning for
      who should be brought in (to a publicly
      funded university ! ie, allegedly “educated
      people”) for a major conference ? ZERO names
      of women were at all even brought up, let
      alone, mentioned as “qualified” possibilities
      or as ones with related expertise. No
      mention made of bringing in .any. women as
      its speakers … … at all.

      When one, my colleague, asked why ?
      She was laughed at by the men in the room, and another woman at the meeting actually had the idjitcy to state that she did not care.

      I personally ? I shall not be wanting
      to dine with any of ’em … … ever … …
      ‘cept for my colleague.

      • Dee
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        I’ve had that experience of being laughed at by all the men in the room, except it was in church and the ‘men’ were all ~16 year old teenage boys. They were laughing because, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “doctor”.

        BTW, this was in Utah, in an LDS church. All the other girls said they wanted to be married.

        • Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          “Doctor”. Respect!

          • Dee
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

            I didn’t end up becoming a doctor. I became a chemist and spent my working career doing rocket science.

            • Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

              Even better 😀

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 12:26 am | Permalink

                (@ vampyricon)

                My thought, exactly! 🙂

                (Oops, no offence to the MD’s amongst us.)

            • Posted January 27, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

              Rocket science, you say? Still, not exactly brain surgery is it?

              • Dee
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

                Thanks for the link. I really identify with that last guy.

                Pretty damn funny!

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

                Mitchell and Webb are brilliant!

    • Gayle
      Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      #me too!

  25. bluegenes
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    About me: Young-ish female scientist who reads WEIT frequently but has commented only once. I have several hypotheses about the lack of female commenters, which I’ll write out below. There may exist citations to provide evidence for some of them, but unfortunately, I don’t have time to look them up right now, so call me lazy if you will, but please read points 2 and 4 first.
    1) More men than women read the site. If I recall correctly, there’s some research on social networks that suggests that men tend to be connected to more men than women. Clearly readership is very high for this site, but it presumably became so by initial readers sharing with their friends. This sharing may have occurred primarily within male-dominated networks and led to an overall readership that is male-skewed.
    2) Male readers have (on average) more time than female readers to comment on posts. Between work and home responsibilities, women may have, on average, less free time than men. At least in scientific academia, women tend to be in more junior roles than men, and these roles afford them less time (or control over their time) to do “frivolous” things like commenting on blog posts.
    3) Women are in general somewhat more loath than men to join and continue discussions online. As many other posters have mentioned, WEIT is both a well-monitored site that brooks (almost) no trolling, as well as a free-speech haven that allows for some arguments to be made (and countered) that women find tedious (see, e.g., Diana MacPherson’s post). It is not fun to be a woman online. WEIT is better than most sites, but it would be understandable if some female readers had personal policies against *ever* commenting, based on previous experiences.
    4) Women more than men under-rate their expertise and/or are less willing than men to post about topics on which they are (not completely) experts without extensive background research (see point #2 re: time). I am a woman, but I am not an expert on the literature on sexual selection, or on sex differences in various careers, or on men’s vs women’s online experiences, etc., so I hesitate to comment on posts on these topics. The last time I posted (on a topic with which I was somewhat more familiar), I was lightly reprimanded for not having scoped out a supplementary dataset, so I personally have been a bit worried since then about rushed, insufficiently researched comments like this one.

    Thank you for inviting comments on this! I think it’s an interesting question.

    • Dee
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      I think you have some very good points here. In particular, your third point really rings true for me. That is another reason I only rarely post (on any topic anywhere). It’s also the reason I use the name ‘Dee’. It is my name (my middle name), and not the one I use IRL, but is pretty anonymous and hides my gender. I learned from some nasty experiences in my youth to keep my gender hidden.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        I’d use a nym, too, but back in the day Jerry more or less insisted that we all use our real names. Even though the evidence that comments taken differently depending on which sex offered them was brought up.

        However, I’ve found that on sites on which one comments frequently, one’s gender tends to be exposed pretty quickly, even with a nym.

        • Dee
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, I was around when Jerry asked everyone to use real names. I thought Dee was a good compromise as it is my real name, but doesn’t identify me much.

          I don’t comment that much, so the only time my gender gets exposed is when I do it (and Jerry’s website is the only place where I have done that) or I’m on a site where the people know me IRL.

          • Diane G.
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            I thought it was a kick to learn that “Helen Wise” was actually a nym. 😀 Miss that voice

            (I know her actual name now, of course, but she’s not around much anymore)

            • Dee
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

              Yeah, I agree. And Sastra. I loved her posts.

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

                Oh, yes.

              • Posted January 27, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

                Definitely miss Sastra, but she still comments from time to time. Are you listening, Sastra?

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

                I miss Sastra (and Ben Goren) too. Always excellent, even when I didn’t agree with them.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          “…comments are taken differently,” of course.

    • Blue
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Excellent bullets brooked, Ms bluegenes.
      ( smashing online handle, btw, that one = bluegenes )


    • natalielaberlinoise
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Your point 4) is part of my answer if I’ll ever get around to writing it.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Great post, bluegenes.

    • Posted January 26, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      As a male, I’ve witnessed how important your point #3 is to this discussion. I’ve been called some nasty things online (not on this site), but they are nothing compared to what a commenter will be called if they have a female-sounding name. I’ve also noticed, anecdotally, that commenters with female-sounding names tend to receive less constructive responses to their comments (again, not on this site, at least not that I have seen).

      If I was female, I know that this would greatly discourage me from commenting ever, on any site. The hassle and headache simply wouldn’t be worth it.

      • Gayle
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

        You’re right! This is how I feel! I’ve had some bad experiences.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        + 2

  26. CCB
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I’m a woman, and I read this site every day. For me, it’s mostly just a matter of being outraged-out. It seems like every gender-related conversation these days has to be treated as DEFCON 1. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if even typing that last sentence was seen as insulting and belittling.

    Too often, if I display insufficient outrage, I’m pilloried as some kind of privileged gender traitor. There’s just so much posturing and so much drama these days that I’ve started avoiding the discussions.

    Do you know what’s a terrible thing? It’s a terrible thing to realize that my capacity for empathy may have actually shrunk recently, simply because one more self-congratulatory “woke” person has demanded that I be more attentive to their “feels.”

    If it’s any consolation, this board would be one of the places I would choose if I decided to step back into the controversial discussion arena.

    • Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Not female, but I do understand that unsettling feeling when you realize you are less empathetic than before. For me, it was a Christian who went on a rant because my refutations of her apologetics don’t consider how her religion was part of her identity, a non sequitur if I’ve ever seen one. I also really liked that forum but she was an admin so I decided to spend my time somewhere else equally productive and less infuriating.

  27. Neil Wolfe
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Just wanted to chime in here to thank our host for bringing my thoughts to the wider community here and also to offer a my sincere appreciation to all of you who took the time to respond.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      It was a great idea and I hope we hear more. Especially need more equality of thought on many of these issues. I have picked up a few things in 42 years of marriage but still have a long way to go.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for noticing and speaking up, Neil.

      • Blue
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        +1, Ms Diane G / Mr Wolfe.


  28. Leigh
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Since you asked:
    I had decided I would no longer comment on this site after seeing the vote on the Nova Maday lawsuit. For me it was the final straw. Even though you have asked, I’m still not sure I want to take the time to answer.

    As others have noted, a problem with most web-blogs is their lack of depth. Discussions start and end after a few hours. Sites are predictable. After visiting for a few months, one becomes familiar the the positions held by the hosts and the regular contributors, so there is less and less incentive to add ones voice.

    I find terms like PC or regressive left very off-putting. For me these shorthand phrases seem to indicate laziness and sloppy thinking.
    They do nothing to help find solutions to very real and pressing problems.

    It is my feeling, whether correct of not, that feminism and women’s issues, or topics related to sex and gender, are often dismissed on this site by being characterized as just more PC nonsense. For what it is worth, I do not think this site does a good job discussing feminism.

    As others have pointed out, women are tired of saying the same things over and over. Why should we comment?

    • Merilee
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink


    • Blue
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink



      • Blue
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        The person in this first pix is,
        ah, l.i.t.e.r.a.l.l.y. me.


        Well: not for realz.
        Yet: her poster’s sentiment so iz.

        I’ll be here all week, Folks. At the … …
        local ( called the Tip – Top ) dive bar.
        Or parked inside m’tricked out van
        down by The River.

        ps Basil – Hayden, Woodford Reserve or
        hand me a cordialful up o’ Templeton Rye
        ( of absofrickin’lutely NO relation t’that
        other Templeton muck ) !

        • darrelle
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          Love that picture.

          Woodford Reserve? I’ll drink to that! Hard to find a better bourbon for the price.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 1:21 am | Permalink

          Love that picture +1!

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      + 3

    • Marlene Zuk
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink


    • Dee
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink


    • Gabrielle
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      I’m assuming everyone is putting “+1” etc to the comment:

      “As others have pointed out, women are tired of saying the same things over and over. Why should we comment?”

      I personally don’t agree with this comment:

      “… I do not think this site does a good job discussing feminism.”

      Imo, Jerry does pretty well supporting women’s issues, especially in relation to the attitudes that come from religion. Some of the commenters – not so much.

      Ime, the problems come when he criticizes extremist feminist who won’t criticize fundamentalist Muslims despite their appalling attitudes to women and LGBT people. His criticism of that subset of feminists seems to encourage the MRA crowd to pile on in the way Diana McPherson outlined above e.g. insisting all feminists hate men and treat them badly. But most men here are pretty good.

      • Linda Calhoun
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 2:41 am | Permalink

        Heather, I agree with your analysis.

        That being said, I think the focus on extremist feminists’ views is pointless. Yes, they’re idiotic. Do we need to go over that again?

        It’s like putting chum in shark-infested waters. You’re going to attract sharks.

        Whenever I see a post of that nature, I just roll my eyes and scroll past it.


        • Diane G.
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 2:44 am | Permalink

          “Yes, they’re idiotic. Do we need to go over that again?”


      • Posted January 27, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Also think this site does a good job of discussing feminism, considering all the topics covered by WEIT.

        There are “feminist” sites that I’d never post to again because of swarm attacks on differing opions. There are others that I really like, but they disable comments to avoid similar backlash. These are troubling times for basic communication.

        But this site does a *great* job of allowing/enforcing DaRoolz, so here I feel safe(r).

    • Tim Harris
      Posted January 27, 2018 at 2:39 am | Permalink

      +1 re ‘regressive left’ and ‘PC’; one notices that if it is new atheism being defended, then responsible distinctions are made, whereas if it is the Left, then one comes across, for example, the statement that the whole of the Left is going to be sucked into the black hole of the Puffington Host (I clearly remember that one). Another ‘meme’ I have grown very fed up with, and is passed on by people who should know better, is that the ‘Regressive Left’ is driving helpless young men into the arms of the Right in droves, so that somehow the ‘Left’ is responsible for the foolishness and poor-spiritedness of these young men. It is perfectly possible to be a Social Democrat (and therefore, I suppose, on the ‘Left’), and to think for oneself and take issue with silly extremes. It is those silly young men who should be held responsible for how they behave, not some nebulous bogy.

      • Tim Harris
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 5:14 am | Permalink

        I should add that there are plenty of thoughtful American Websites about that are of the ‘Left’: Digby’s Hullabaloo, for example (Digby is of course a woman), Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo, Ophelia Benson’s Butterflies and Wheels, Tom Engelhardt’s website… Those are the websites I began reading when, with the accession of G.W. Bush, I felt that something very odd was happening in America and began taking a more serious interest in American politics. These websites, in particular, struck me, and strike me, as intelligent and informed. It seems very odd to suggest that the Puffington Host somehow represents the whole of the Left.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          “It seems very odd to suggest that the Puffington Host somehow represents the whole of the Left.”

          Yes, that’s another category of post I try to just avoid getting involved with any more. There are only so many times one can say, well, just what you did in the quote above. But both those and the 3rd-wave feminism posts seem especially popular with quite a few commenters here, so I guess I understand why there are so many posts about them. I sometimes wish the emphasis wasn’t so much on views per post…

          • Tim Harris
            Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

            Thank you, Diane. And regarding the meme that websites like PuffHost as well as the “Regressive Left” in general are driving young men in droves into the arms of the right – a meme that I seem to recall was repeated (or whatever you do with memes) by Stephen Pinker recently – it is surely the case that large amorphous bogies like the “Regressive Left”, made larger and more amorphous by constantly being banged on about, provide a convenient justification, or, rather, excuse among thoughtless young men for bouncing happily into the AltRight’s arms.

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 28, 2018 at 1:18 am | Permalink

              Tim, what I understand as being implied by the terms “regressive” or “Ctrl-” left seems pretty indefensible to me. When I decry them I mean to imply that I still wholly support classic leftist values that I like to think are timeless and vitally important. So I guess that makes me curious about how our definitions differ and what aspects of that traditional left you think are being unfairly subsumed by the admittedly (and intentionally) negative connotations of the regressive/ctrl monikers?

              • Tim Harris
                Posted January 28, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

                I don’t think our definitions differ very much. There is responsible ‘left-wing’ thinking, though there has been a concerted effort by Thatcherites, Reaganites, and other supporters of the economic policies that are driving our societies towards disaster, not to mention Murdoch and his propaganda organs (which make, incidentally, a mockery of free speech) to pretend that the whole of the ‘Left’ is irresponsible – witness the attitudes towards Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. It is not as if the ‘regressive left’ is a new phenomenon anyway. In my youth, de Gaulle’s government was nearly brought down by student protests, and I knew people in England who were rigid Trotskyists in their thinking (Christopher Hitchens of course was one of them at one time). So I am not very happy when people who claim to be on the ‘Left’ do not make the kind of distinctions they would make if, say, they were defending blanket attacks on all atheists, and make instead assertions about how the whole of the ‘Left’ is collapsing into the black hole of the Huffington Post. I think there could be a bit more care in writing about such matters, that is all.

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 29, 2018 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

                Thanks for the explanation, Tim, and sorry for the late reply. Glad to see that we are very much on the same page.

                I think the terms “regressive” and “Ctrl” left are used here specifically to imply that they’re just our latest wingnuts; by further implication that there’s still a responsible, coherent left that we espouse. (Despite my use of “we,” I can only speak for myself, of course.)

                I would liken the pomo/cntrl crowd to the GOP’s tea party, only god forbid they become as successful as the latter!.

                Yes, I’m aware of Hitchens’ unfortunate hiccup back in the day, and I’d guess the “communist sympathizers” were my first indication that there are leftists and then there are leftists, as it were…. The same crowd were were less than helpful during the sixties/seventies anti-war movement (though perhaps they did move the Overton Window).

                Feminism, of course, is suffering from the same wrong-headedness; I try to always distinguish “3rd wave” feminism from the rational kind but I’m almost ready throw in the towel and concede that the term has been damaged beyond recovery.

                Though I suppose the long view tells us we’ve outlasted the Trotskyites, the Weather Underground, etc., and will weather the current extremists as well.

                Nah, I can’t buy that–they’ll always be with us.

    • Gayle
      Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink


    • ethologist
      Posted January 28, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      I’m a man and I agree with this –> “I do not think this site does a good job discussing feminism.” There is too much emphasis on name-calling (i.e.”regressive left”) and on the topic of free speech in the classroom or the public square, rather than analysis of underlying issues, which remain in need of deep and thoughtful dissection. I live in Ingham County, Michigan, where we have just witnessed the breathtaking testimony of 150 women and girls whose truth about their abuse at the hands of a monster had been ignored and suppressed and ridiculed by individuals and institutions for over 20 years. The monster was a man; not all of his enablers were. But the fact that he got away with it for so long says something about our society and how female voices are silenced or dismissed. This isn’t about suppression of speech in the First Amendment sense; if anything it is about all of the more covert, unconscious and habitual mechanisms of suppression that the “regressive left” are worried about when they call for “trigger warnings,” “safe spaces,” and other measures (which in my view also don’t deal with the problem). I wouldn’t suggest that this site be the place to address this societal dysfunction; I come here for the biology anyway. But to the extent that the site brings up social issues, I wish the commentary wouldn’t so often get trapped in the same eddies.

      • Merilee
        Posted January 28, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink


      • Blue
        Posted January 28, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        O my, my, … … my, my, my, ethologist =
        +1 = yes ! and in particular, thus: “it is
        about all of the more covert, unconscious and
        habitual mechanisms of .suppression. that the
        ‘regressive left’ are worried about when they
        call for ‘trigger warnings,’ ‘safe spaces,’
        and other measures (which in my view also
        don’t deal with the problem)” and “whose
        .TRUTH. about their abuse at the hands
        of a monster had been i g n o r e d and
        s u p p r e s s e d and r i d i c u l e d
        by individuals and institutions for
        over 20 years.”

        O my ! I so relate. Decades’ worth of
        relating in f a c t.


        • ethologist
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          What shone through in the testimony of those women was the pain of being ignored for years combined with relief and empowerment from having finally had their voices be heard.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted January 28, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

            There are 2400 women who have come forward about sexual harassment in the RCMP as well. Imagine how they feel now that they are finally being listened to?! So many!

            • Blue
              Posted January 28, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

              C r i k e y, Ms Diana ! The Royal Canadian
              Mounted Police ! Good Gawdess ! THE very
              men who, occupation – wise, let alone, nice – Canadian country – wise, ARE the very persons
              who are supposed to be the “protecting”
              ones !

              O my ! I am, well, one more time yet again
              … … flummoxed.

              To say The L E A S T.

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

              A dam has broken.

              I suspect it won’t be too long before it’s rebuilt, alas.

      • Blue
        Posted January 28, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        from our DSM Register long – time gem,
        Ms Basu, ethologist: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/rekha-basu/2018/01/26/nassar-gymnastics-sex-abuse-michigan-state/1066428001


        • Diane G.
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          But note the complicity of a few women along the way, too. (IMO some of that stems from the cognitive dissonance of trying to succeed in a traditionally male occupation. But still…)

        • Posted January 28, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          That was a nice article.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 28, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that, ethologist. Much better points than I’ve been making here.

        I’m down here in Kalamazoo County, my son’s an MSU (and MSU band) alum, I just finished listening to the Spartans beat the Terrapins–man, it’s been a tough few months. So, sorry that MSU had to be the focus–and of course, furious at what happened to the girls–but that really is a perfect example of why feminism* is still necessary.

        Very similar to the outpouring after the Weinstein exposé–yes, there were a lot of questionable accusations and some pretty silly offenses claimed by some, but there was a reason the flood-gates opened there, too. (And of course there were male victims as well.)

        *Old school! I’m thinking we will need some euphemism creep here after all, much as I always hate to go down that road.

  29. Jenny Hoffman
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I am smart and educated and a woman, but while I really enjoy reading the comments, I don’t feel myself to be in the same league as your commenters, both men and women. This may be a function of my being a woman, although I’m unaware of it stopping me in other areas. Then again who knows? When I was a little girl and told people I wanted to grow up to be a psychiatrist they all corrected me with “You mean a nurse, don’t you honey?” I didn’t become a psychiatrist, any kind of doctor, nor a nurse. I just think your commenters are very smart and funny and I enjoy reading their/your comments! Plus – by the time I get to – someone usually echoes my thoughts.

    • Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      Ugh. “Correcting” psychiatrist to nurse is so patronizing. It’s unfortunate you weren’t able to live your dream.

  30. shelleywatsonburch
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Woman here. Um, I think I’m not as quick to comment on every gender post because I don’t really agree with what is going on lately. Women who aren’t enthusiastic members of New Feminism, who like men and think pussy hats are stupid, fade into the background on some of these issues. The recent women’s march had me scratching my head. What is the big issue? It’s 2018. I have never in my life felt oppressed, victimized, whatever. In 21st century Western culture, this is much ado about nothing. It’s shrill and bratty and pushy, but without serious substance except in rare cases of genuine abuse. Scarlett Johanssen? Really? Nope. I’m all set. They don’t speak for me.

    • Kate
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      I also find new feminism cringeworthy and embarrassing.

      As for the not commenting part, I find the WordPress comment-reply format too complicated and not user friendly. I sometimes comment but forget to return to see if I have a reply or not.

      • Travis
        Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Male here but agreed on the wordpress format. I don’t often set up alerts through email and otherwise I try not to comment much because I don’t like being left unaware if someone responds. You can learn a lot by reading criticisms or even just minor corrections/other opinions!

      • Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Male again. I don’t like how WordPress only notifies you to comments directly responding to your own, and the lag when typing it out on mobile is quite frustrating.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          I get an immediate individual email notification for all comments in a post – to be clear, that’s every comment

          Logged into WordPress & I always tick that little box below the comment box before I click “Post Comment”

          Reverting to my…

          ))) MALE LISTENING MODE ((( 🙂

          • Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            The problem is that I don’t want to clutter up my email. But I might turn on comment notifs for this one.

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

              You can sort by “From” or “Subject” and then delete comments en masse once you’ve read what you want. I suppose that’s more cumbersome on a phone, if that’s what you’re using.

              • Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, it is. Thanks for the suggestion though. 🙂

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

                Talk about things it would be handy if Siri (et al) could do!


          • Merilee
            Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

            Male Listening Mode=MLM
            Love it😁, Michael.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted January 27, 2018 at 12:33 am | Permalink

              *MLM OFF* 🙂
              *MLM ON*

              • Merilee
                Posted January 27, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink


  31. Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m female and the primary care-giver and work horse in the family. I do all the heavy lifting around the house, and wield power tools when I have to. I just don’t have the time or inclination to wipe the butts of strangers with outsized egos. I’m an unapologetic curmudgeon, and the boys can go figure things out for themselves.

    • Dee
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Love this.

  32. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    As a woman who was the first in her family to go to university, followed by a PhD in 1970, I find that the continued struggle of many women to be rather depressing. Been there and done that! Sadly, much of the criticism I received when my children were young (and I continued in my research job) was from other women. I was the first woman in my University to receive maternity leave (in those days, one had to apply for such six months in advance — perhaps the surprising thing was that it wasn’t twelve months…).
    I was the third woman to receive a PhD in the faculty of agriculture, and didn’t even realise that I was a bit odd until reading a history of the faculty some 20 years later!
    So having lived through much social change, I perhaps find it too tiring to keep fighting, but so recommend a career in science where the men I worked with were (mostly( supportive.

  33. BarbH
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Frankly, I think many of us are BUSY with work, family, and community obligations–cooking cleaning caregiving, volunteering, etc. We lurk and keep informed but don’t have enough time or sense of urgency to give well-considered feedback. Plus, much does not even rise to the level that would inspire us to CREATE the time to do so–it just robs us of even more of our time.

    • Blue
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      +1, Ms BarbH


  34. Gabrielle
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m an occasional commenter, and I’ve hesitated to comment on certain threads, for a variety of reasons:
    1. I work and mostly can’t comment during the day. By evening, most topics have developed a certain ‘tenor’, and the ones dealing with gender aren’t particularly welcoming of a diversity of views. A lot of the comments are negative towards feminism and/or women, and I don’t want to wade into those discussions.
    2. There are two men who are regulars, and if I see they are posting a lot on a thread, I won’t comment there. I don’t want to get into a discussion with them; they routinely make comments that are MRA-flavored.
    3. I’ve observed other women who are regulars here try and have discussions on threads that have garnered a lot of negative comments related to gender issues, and I see those women don’t get anywhere. So, I don’t feel contributing to those threads, even though I’ve had things I like to say.
    4. I’ve had the sense that some regulars view discussions as sparring matches, to see who can score the most ‘points’. Not my cup of tea. I’ve got enough of that at work.

    • Blue
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      +1, Ms Gabrielle


    • Diane G.
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      I agree with all the reasons not to comment you lay out so nicely.

  35. Andrea S
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    I am a reader but I don’t think I’ve commented before, even when tempted, just because typing on my kindle is onerous. My pc died some time ago and I haven’t yet been able to replace it.
    I love to read the scientific items as much as I love Hili’s daily input. And I got a coworker to fall in love with Gus too, easy enough as she’s a crazy cat lady like me.
    Now I’ll most likely go back to lurking, but we’re here.🐈

  36. Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Male here. I would like to hear more women comment on gender issues, especially since it concerns them. I can’t (or at the very least shouldn’t) come to a conclusion without knowing what those who are directly affected think about it.

    • Travis
      Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      “I would like to hear more women comment on gender issues, especially since it concerns them.”

      And my response to you will be considered hateful trolling by the feminists on this board when I point out that your framing suggests that “gender issues” are “women’s issues”, completely minimizing male issues.

      That’s a common sentiment, sadly.

      • Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        Most gender issues are women’s issues, especially in countries afflicted with religious fundamentalism. I can’t think of any men’s issues at the moment so do enlighten me.

        • Travis
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          Well if you focus on religious countries, then men have issues due to religion as well. But I’ll stick to the western world since that’s where most of us commenters live and talk about:

          -selective service (US)
          -genital mutilation being fully legal
          -father’s and reproductive rights in many aspects, including family court
          -legal inequality in general (more likely to be arrested, convicted and for longer)
          -domestic violence and rape of men being not taken seriously by law enforcement, and a serious lack of men’s shelters, resources, phone lines.

          Yet most of the above are actually framed as “women’s issues” even though it is equally bad or usually worse for men, for the above domains.

  37. Hunt
    Posted January 27, 2018 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    More seriously than my sarcasm in #1, I think if there is male dominance in gender related discussions, it’s probably due to Prof. Coyne’s tolerance to a certain male, anti-feminist stance, adding, quickly, that it’s not just male and it’s not anti-feminist in the sense of MRA. I don’t think anything on this site has gone that far, at least since I’ve been a somewhat regular reader. …Also adding quickly that not all MRA issues should be tarred with the same brush. There are male issues that are serious and deserve attention.

    So when a rational, respected, high profile blog focuses on these issues and doesn’t take a strictly “SJW”-centric approach, men who have gripes with the direction feminism has gone (3rd wave, patriarchy, rape culture, mansplaining, manspreading, male privilege, “shut up and listen”…etc.)–and there are quite a few–tend to flock. This shouldn’t be construed as a message “take a hike” to women in the discussion, though there’s no denying there are many places to go to express the mainstream feminist viewpoint (like all of academia). You can argue that those aren’t mainstream feminist topics, and I can argue against you.

    Modern feminism presents itself as a classic motte and bailey rhetorical tactic. The motte is that feminism just wants equality for women; the bailey is what I outlined above. When the bailey grows too obnoxious or runs afoul of basic ideas of fairness, feminists retreat to the bailey and claim that denial of equality (the motte) vindicates their views on everything else.

    If you’re a woman, and you’re tired of the debate, and you think the matter should have been settled decades ago (I agree), and think only a knuckle-dragger could possibly take exception to feminism, I request that you reenter the debate long enough to see if you’re really on the same side you once were, keeping in mind that your values probably haven’t changed, but feminism’s might have.

    • Travis
      Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I’ll add that as someone who is leaning more MRA than merely anti-feminist (the vast majority of anti-feminists are NOT MRAs) these days, this blog is hardly MRA at all. There’s some anti-feminism, as you suggest. I rarely see anyone actually care about men’s issues, though. Even Jerry tends to be unclear sometimes like last week when he said (paraphrasing) that “anywhere there are men there is going to be sexual assault” (or sexism, can’t remember).

      Several readers asked for clarification but nothing came up, for the day or 2 I checked.

      I don’t read every post, and have only been around for about 1.5 years as a regular reader on this blog but I don’t think I’ve even seen Jerry’s stance or any posts about circumcision (I suspect their might be some Jewish bias here, since that tends to happen even among atheist Jews), father’s rights, selective service, etc.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        “I …have only been around for about 1.5 years” Dear Travis, it seems so much longer. LOL

      • GBJames
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Not long enough to know it is not a blog.

        • Hunt
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

          Looks like a blog and quacks like a blog.

        • Travis
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink


          What else do you call this type of website.

          • GBJames
            Posted January 27, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

            Read the Roolz. #13.

          • Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

            “What else do you call this type of website.”

            Gracious! No wonder you are confused, here 1.5 years, and still haven’t read the site rules. The name “Da Roolz”may have thrown you off, but it also does clearly say “Commenting Guidelines.”

            If only there was some way to find out. If only things were explained somewhere. If only there were way to know such things…

      • Dee
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Good job with that last paragraph – looks like a three-fer to me. Not only is it totally off-topic for this post, it includes a reference to Jewish bias on the part of the host and criticizes the topics on this site (or rather the topics that don’t appear).

        If those are topics you really want to see, maybe you should write your own blog or find sites that discuss them.

        • Travis
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          I was adding my opinion regarding this website being MRA-friendly. It was on-topic.

          I also merely speculated as to why Jerry never mentions male genital mutilation (to the best of my knowledge) but mentions FGM as one of the problems with Islam (and related excuses for FGM). I suspect he doesn’t consider it much of a problem if he does at all. I don’t know, though.

      • Posted January 27, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Travis, I suggest you go somewhere else. I don’t have to write about what you want me to write about. As for your saying that I don’t write about it because I have a “Jewish bias”, that not only insulting, but wrong.

        Go spew your obsession with circumcision and men’s rights somewhere else.

        • Kelly
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          Yet on a post entitled “a question for women readers”, the most ubiquitous poster is a gauche and socially dysfunctional MRA called Travis who on 11 separate occasions trots out his diminutive penis. Of course most women have enough sense to disengage. You allowed that to happen, Jerry.

          • Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

            I’m sorry but you’re dead wrong. I didn’t know about this until I found out this evening, and now that I’ve read over his posts, that poster is banned. Other commenters can attest to this.

            As for “you allowed that to happen”, you didn’t even ask, just leveled a false accusation without any knowledge. That is rude and also ignorant. Normally I’d say, “Next time, find out what happened,” but for you there will be no next time.

            By the way, comments on someones genital size are also a violation of the rules.

          • Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

            As a woman who likes a certain amount of engagement, I also say I can stop whenev

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink


    • Diane G.
      Posted January 27, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      “If you’re a woman, and you’re tired of the debate, and you think the matter should have been settled decades ago (I agree), and think only a knuckle-dragger could possibly take exception to feminism, I request that you reenter the debate long enough to see if you’re really on the same side you once were, keeping in mind that your values probably haven’t changed, but feminism’s might have.”

      I, for one, have said that repeatedly on this site. For anyone who’s not clear on the subject, I fucking hate modern, 3rd wave, pomo, whatever-you-want-to-call–it feminism.

      Thank you for not listening.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        You and me both, sister! And Blue and Merilee and Jerry, and I’m sure lots of others.

        • Blue
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          +1. I am a radical feminist.
          Seemingly here I have sadly and
          angeringly had to repeatedly state thus.

          Radical feminist.
          BY MY definition.

          And by no man’s definition here.
          IF any man here or elsewhere
          has not read and has not thoroughly studied
          and has not comprehended ALL, let alone
          even one, of the several references
          which I have loooong cited here before
          (books), then you and I cannot discuss
          … … MY definition. IF not even one book,
          THEN .that. resounds to me: ya’ really
          dudn’t wanna .listen., let alone, .know.
          As Ms Gayle and very many Others of Us
          ‘ve stated one more time yet again.

          Feminism rocks ( I happen to love this
          word as … … a verb ). Feminism forever.


        • Heather Hastie
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          Me too. I am a proud feminist.
          I do not hate men.
          I think third-wave and intersectional feminism are stupid and wrong.

          I also care about issues that effect men, and always make a point of mentioning it when an issue affects men as well as women, such as partner violence.

          I get sick of those men who use Jerry’s rightful criticism of extremist feminists to attack women on any subject they can think of that particular day.

          But I’m also a bit pissed off with those who are attacking Jerry above. He asked the question brought up by Neil because he wanted to know the answer. He’s making the effort, as he always does.

          Anyone who comments on other sites knows this one is moderated in a much better way than most. There are too many comments every day for Jerry to see them all. However, whenever someone emails him with a complaint about something another commenter has said, such as with Travis above, he always reviews the situation and takes action if it’s appropriate.

          Also, as someone else who has a website, there is nothing more annoying than people telling you what you should write about. (Suggestions are welcome of course.) If you don’t like the subject of a post, don’t read it. That’s fine. But don’t criticize the host for what he/she chooses to write about. If you think a topic should be covered, set up your own site or offer a post as a guest writer (but don’t expect it to be accepted). But DON’T tell another writer what to write.

      • Hunt
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        I haven’t read the comments nearly long enough to sort out who thinks what about what, if that will ever even happen (probably not). I did get the impression that some women here left the debate before feminism started seriously going off the rails. Radical feminism was always been a harbinger of things to come, but it seems only recently (i.e. last decade or two) has some of the more questionable things entered the mainstream.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 12:02 am | Permalink

          I can see your point of view, but just what are we calling the “mainstream?” Campuses? I have yet to see where what’s going on there these days is having much of an effect on the nation as a whole. We have a government in which all three branches are run by a party with staunch anti-feminist planks in their party platform, and women STILL have to fight to maintain something as simple as the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies. Women are still not represented in any branch of government relative to our proportion of the population. We have a crowing misogynist as POTUS. Let’s all just stop listening to the pomo idiots on campuses (unless we can all unite in a serious effort to refute their idiocy, and I mean in all affected disciplines, not just women’s/gender studies), spend less time on internet sites that are designed to press our buttons and more time on voting reform, freedom of (and support for!) the press, ensuring that at least the most basic of safety nets are in place for those who need them…just basically on all the rights and freedoms required by any nation that aspires to be a modern and perpetual liberal democracy.

          Hmmm, most of that was not aimed specifically at you, Hunt, and I’m sorry that it might appear to be.

          • Hunt
            Posted January 28, 2018 at 3:46 am | Permalink

            I don’t care; I digress all the time. More power to you.

            About “mainstream feminism”. Yes, on campuses. That’s where feminism has dominion, and I don’t see it being unseated any time soon. I would say that’s a powerful enough position right on its own, even discounting its forays into other aspects of society, which are many and often. (Perhaps not as much now that Trump is in.)

            The point about Trump is a pretty slam dunk argument for the continued relevance for western feminism, but even after he’s gone there will be continuing utility for a discipline named “feminism” (as an adjunct to humanism) until such time as the rotten status of women in the “non-western” world is remedied. I certainly hope for the day I can call myself a feminist again. That would be nice. I actually feel that modern, pomo feminists have robbed something from me.

            Do shitty leaders reflect that state of anation? I don’t think they always do. Did Richard Nixon reflect the US in the early 70s. Well, perhaps he did, bad example. I don’t think that’s always true.

            Unfortunately shitty people have an annoying tendency to wind up on top no matter what.

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 28, 2018 at 3:51 am | Permalink

              “I actually feel that modern, pomo feminists have robbed something from me.”

              Me too! I thought we women decrying them had made it pretty clear that that’s exactly how we feel. Only for us it’s been a much more serious (and consequential) robbery.

      • Merilee
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Tell it, Diane!

      • Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        The Travises of the world are arguing against straw men. At least here. As much as this thread is a step in the right direction, I’m still upset by it. Dollars to donuts Travis doesn’t have daughters. (Not that having daughters should be the one way that males can get it.)

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 12:13 am | Permalink

          Just to be fair…I don’t think this is said nearly as often, but IME having a son opened my eyes to some of the questionable social expectations and demands made on young men as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone would just realize we’re all the same species and we need to work together in order to get anywhere…?

          /Rodney King

          • Merilee
            Posted January 28, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

            +1 re: sons

        • darrelle
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

          If he does have daughters, it’s a travesty.

          • amyt
            Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

            Travisty (sic)

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink


            • Merilee
              Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

              Heehee. Travis is no longer among us to get the joke.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

                Are you sure? I see toned down ‘Travisty’ traits in a fairly new commenter & I wondered, but there’s many of that ilk…

              • Merilee
                Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

                Hmmmm, hadn’t noticed. Keep up the detective work and report back.

  38. Kosmos
    Posted January 27, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I’m a man and find it sad that many female readers don’t find it worth their time to comment. Obviously we men should take some seconds to ponder how our words come across before posting. Without women’s voices we risk getting stuck in an echo chamber and become blinded by potential cognitive biases. That being said, the topics at hand should be up for civilized honest debate.

  39. barn owl
    Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Cishet female scientist here, obviously posting under a ‘nym (which I use pretty consistently across the internetz). I don’t comment or read at WEIT as much as I used to, for a variety of reasons. Regarding the gender-related posts, I don’t comment because I don’t hold particularly strong opinions on most such issues. Call it privilege if you will (it probably is), but I’ve had to deal with very few obstacles or prejudices in my scientific training and career, which could be directly attributed to my gender. I rarely identify role models based on whether they look like me or are the same gender/sexual orientation. Many of the people who’ve been (and continue to be) the most obstructive, biased, and downright nasty towards me in my career have been women. I avoid joining organizations such as “faculty women” or “women in neuroscience” because I just don’t think of most of what I do as being gendered in any way.

    The other reasons I don’t comment or read here as much as I used to have little or nothing to do with my femaleness. Undoubtedly I lean significantly more SJW than most commenters here, and that tendency increases as I get older. Part of that almost certainly results from the amount of time I spend teaching and mentoring medical and dental students, most of whom are Millenials, and many of whom are very idealistic and driven by social justice concerns. I like that about them, and I agreed to be the faculty mentor for several of their interest groups that lean towards what other might refer to as SJW or Regressive Left. Rather than allowing myself to be offended/angry about the use of such terms or dismissive attitudes about social justice concerns on a website, or wasting time arguing with people on the internetz, it seems better to me to just not read the posts or engage with commenters. If that’s avoidant behavior, so be it.

    Another reason is related to my increasing disenchantment with academia, and with the characters and attitudes therein. I won’t bore anyone with the details, but suffice it to say that one’s biases aren’t any more justified, and one’s interests aren’t any more interesting, just because one has a PhD or other degrees. Unfortunately it’s often difficult to avoid these attitudes (and their consequences) IRL, but on the internetz it’s simple. The mature thing to do is just leave it (“leave it” is a command I use for my dogs when they’re obsessed with something like a dead rat or a discarded sandwich). I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone what they should or should not write on their website – that’s ridiculous, why would I? If I don’t like something in a post(s) (e.g. dissing of dogs and dog owners), then I don’t continue to read the post(s). If the thing that offends or upsets me becomes pervasive throughout the site, then I read the site less frequently or stop visiting altogether. Simple.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 27, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Need to change my New Year’s Resolution to, “aim towards being as much of a mature adult as barn owl is.”

      • Merilee
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        But then you wouldn’t be as much FUN!

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 12:16 am | Permalink

          Let’s see, how to take that…?


          But I don’t think you mean to imply that barn owl’s no fun. I’ll bet she’s a hoot!

          • barn owl
            Posted January 28, 2018 at 5:43 am | Permalink

            Srs Owl is srs! 😉

            • Merilee
              Posted January 28, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink


            • Diane G.
              Posted January 28, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

              Lol. 🙂

          • Merilee
            Posted January 28, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink


  40. Posted January 27, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    A lot of thoughtful comments. Interesting.

  41. Posted January 27, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you women of WEIT for your comments here. I read or skim all posts, but belatedly. By that time, a comment from me seems superfluous. The biology posts drew me here (in 2009 or ’10) but I appreciate and look forward to the variety of topics addressed by our host.

  42. Liz
    Posted January 27, 2018 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure if Randall’s comments were referring to me as I have also been a little vocal on several gender-related topics recently. I have been saying mutual respect is important. I hope this wasn’t referring to me also but just in case, I can tone down my responses on gender-related issues. I am just happy to be here and wasn’t aware this many other women were even on here.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 28, 2018 at 12:18 am | Permalink

      “… and wasn’t aware this many other women were even on here.”

      That says something in itself, doesn’t it?

  43. Neil Wolfe
    Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all so much for sharing. I’ve purposefully kept out of the conversation because the whole point was to encourage others to share their views and not to express my own. Now that things are finishing up here I wanted to take a moment to summarize some of the things I’ve learned. This late in the game I doubt many people will see this but the act of composing my thoughts is helpful and if anyone who does happen to read this can point out where I’ve erred, I’d be grateful (kindly please!).

    1. One common issue is the technical challenges presented by WordPress. This is somewhat gender neutral but added to the other negative pressures, it doesn’t help.
    2. Many women are busy and composing thoughtful responses requires time they simply don’t have.
    3. Rebutting the same arguments over and over is tiring and not a good use of limited time (see 2)
    4. Insufferable assholes are everywhere so women have to choose their battles. Not every fight is worth it.
    5. Online comment boards are an impersonal space. Women tend to communicate on a much more sophisticated level than men and communicating without the added nuance of body language, inflection, tone, ect. is off-putting for many women. Especially when communicating with strangers.
    6. Many women do not like conflict. When there is tension in the air, many women prefer to just get out of the situation. Unfortunately, I imagine that this is a hard-learned strategy based on real-world experiences so it’s not something to just dismiss with some “thin-skinned” nonsense.
    7. The women on WEIT are great and have a lot to contribute.

    There are certainly more but those are the main points. As a man it is now my duty to tell all of you why you are so very, very wrong. KIDDING! I do hope this doesn’t come across as mansplaining though.

    PS Some of you may have thought it odd that someone who they’ve never heard of was questioning why others weren’t heard from more often. I have previously been commenting (occasionally and frivolously) as Alpha Neil and decided to ditch the pseudonym.

    • Hunt
      Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      Not a bad summary, but there are caveats to 5 and 6 (he mansplained). First, women aren’t from Venus and men aren’t from Mars. We both use nonverbal cues in communication. Perhaps there are psychological and preferential differences, but “much more sophisticated level” is surely hyperbole.

      It may be that men prefer online discussion for reasons that are somewhat divergent from how you describe it. It may be that men prefer to avoid conflict on a face to face basis and prefer online, indirect argument because it relieves them of the threat of personal confrontation. While it appears that puffing yourself up online (as it were, strapping on your “internet balls”) is probably shared by the sexes, it seems to appeal to men in particular.

      • Alpha Neil
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Good points, thanks!

      • Alpha Neil
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        I’m honestly a little confused about where the line between explaining my thoughts and mansplaining lies. Any tips?

        • Hunt
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 2:43 am | Permalink

          If you’re male and you’re explaining something to a modern feminist woman, you’re mansplaining. If not, you’re just explaining. For instance, I’m not mansplaining this to you, unless you’re a woman, but you’re not, so I’m not. Clear?

          Rebecca Solnit invented the term, and originally I think it was meant to describe a tendency she saw in men to explain things to women to impress them, regardless of their own level of expertise (in either direction, man or woman).

          If you have expertise and are explaining something to a woman with sincere intent and utility, you’re probably not mansplaining–except when this conflicts with paragraph 1.

          I think the same idea has repeated itself with the recent observation, by feminists, that junior professional women seem to hear their own ideas echoed back at them by senior men, who then take credit for them. In effect, men steal their ideas. This fits perfectly with the victim narrative: poor, beleaguered but brilliant women oppressed by the evil menz. See “patriarchy”.

          But the same phenomenon has been noted by generations of people, men and women. I personally have had it happen to me.

          So, again, is it an actual “thing”, or just another crappy aspect to life that feminists have commandeered, hoping nobody notices it’s universal?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted January 28, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

            Mansplaining is when you explain something to a woman which you know less about but do it in complete confidence as an authority on that area. Typically, under the same circumstances you wouldn’t do that to a man.

            Here is an example that happened last week to me. A colleague took 10 minutes to explain to me, incorrectly, about how a certain phone is manufactured even though he never worked in the industry and he knows I did for 8 years. He would listen to anything I told him about it. He also explained how the company I came from worked and what their downfall was even though I was an insider to that company. He never does this with males.

            Another example was an inexperienced male on a project shouted over me in a project meeting (well all meetings) about how we should not document test scripts because his tests were too complicated. It’s standard procedure across IT to document test scripts for many reasons I won’t go into here. He was very condescending despite the fact that he never worked in IT before save at a small stint in another job and I have over 20 years experience in several different industries and a proven track record of leading the team on this project. He never talked to the males this way and male leads on projects were obeyed in an insufferable way (one should not obey on a project but this is a long story). I actually had to get some of the ally males to help me by telling him things he was not receptive to hearing from me. And he did this all the time. He did this so much my director actually talked to me later and said he was “mansplaining “ without me saying he word at all.

            So mansplaining isn’t a man talking to a woman instead of a man. It’s as I’ve demonstrated above. I try not to overuse the term. Men find it upsetting but I find what happens to me regularly really upsetting because I’m not a stupid person and I don’t deserve to be treated as such.

            • Alpha Neil
              Posted January 28, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

              Thanks to you and Hunt on both for explaining this. My understanding was that mansplaining is when a man explains to a woman the reasons why her opinion, feeling, or experience is incorrect or insignificant. I like your definition better though I find it disturbing.

              • Sarah
                Posted January 28, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

                A man once explained to me how to put a belt through belt loops. I was about 24 at the time. I call that “mansplaining”.

            • Vaal
              Posted January 28, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

              Diana MacPherson,

              I understand why the type of behavior you are describing a “mansplaining” is extremely annoying and frustrating.

              Though I also can’t help notice that I’ve experienced the same thing many times myself, and I’m a man.

              For instance, when I go to high end audio stores (one of my hobbies) and talk to the salesmen. I’m amazed how often I can start out by giving them information that clearly shows my bona fides as knowledgeable about audio equipment, yet the salesman will utterly ignore this and talk to me in a condescending way as if I were utterly naive, “explaining” things I’ve already indicated I know all about. It’s incredibly aggravating.

              I know you added the caveat “in a way the man wouldn’t talk to another man,” but I suspect that a woman who had the same experience at the audio stores that I have, of showing she is knowledgeable on the subject but being treated as if she needs everything explained, would put that into the “manplaining” category.

              I’m “mansplained” all the time in that sense. It seems a pretty common feature in human nature.

              I also experience this sometimes with women.
              For instance, a wonderful woman who was cutting my hair is a fellow “foodie” and it doesn’t matter how much I know, or show I know, about food…she’ll still talk to me as if I know very little and need things explained.

              I can think of many conversations in which a woman was “explaining to me something which she knew less about but did it in complete confidence as an authority on that area.”
              (Again…that’s not a “woman thing” it’s I think a “human thing” as guys do it all the time too).

              I can certainly say my wife talks to me like I need the simplest things repeated in a way I’ve never seen her do with her woman friends 😉

              But I don’t know what to call that when women feels the need to explain things I obviously know. (I actually don’t want to find anything to call it).

              A lot of people like to hear themselves talk, want to be the one who is in the position of knowledge, and aren’t that receptive to social cues.

              This is NOT to say that “mansplaining” isn’t a “thing” for women.

              But I also wonder how many experiences women might add up into the ledger of having been “mansplained” that may have been shared by men in similar situations – either from other men or women.

              And the thing is, having seen a heck of a lot
              of comments on the various controversial MeToo stories, I’ve often seen women reply in the comments to a man “thanks for mansplaining that!” where it seemed to me the man’s comment had been one I or any man would have made to another man on the same subject. It is very typical in debate to say many things the other side accepts. Look at the debates between males on this site, e.g. on free will etc, and note how often one is telling the other “Well, thanks for stating the obvious! Here’s the point though…”
              But it seems in debates I’ve seen on-line, some women leap to calling this “mansplaining” because…well…it was man who wrote something obvious, to a woman.

              So it *does* get confusing to men as to when simply voicing dissent with an explanation for that dissent, especially having any opinion on the feminist issues, will be pitched into the “mansplaining” category.

              Again…I broach this as suggestion and questions, not a claim you are wrong….and wonder about your thoughts on this.


              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted January 28, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

                I think the major difference here is happens to me in a professional setting. Sure, we all get condescended, but when I have to get a man to get another man to do something because he won’t listen to me as a woman and all the other men independently notice this without me saying anything (I’ve learned not to as I will be immediately dismissed as exaggerating), I think this is beyond what everyone experiences as a human.

              • Vaal
                Posted January 28, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

                Yes I can certainly see the point of your examples, Diana.

                They seem pretty cut and dried.

                Though I do still worry about when the lines start blurring, as I have suggested.

                In fact, I composed a longer more detailed reply.

                But I realized, even if my points were agreeable it would in all likelihood be seen as “the wrong place” to talk about the view from a man, so I deleted it.

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

                I think Diana’s right to remind us that there’s a more limited (and important) definition than most of us banter about, and Vaal’s right that the term’s otherwise become one that’s frequently misused.

                Plus one to both of your (plural) contributions.

              • Hunt
                Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

                Exactly. As I said above, is it a unidirectional distinction or just a universal phenomenon we humans have to put up with. If your goal is to eradicate it as an annoyance, fine, but that’s different than making it a gender issue. My feeling is that it’s probably something of an issue, but to the extent of giving it a name?

                “(I actually don’t want to find anything to call it)”

                If you don’t name it, you won’t be able to write a book about it, or make it a global meme.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 28, 2018 at 2:49 am | Permalink

        I prefer online discussion. Especially between the sexes. It eliminates so many off-subject dynamics that otherwise tend to arise in male/female conversations (and in many other combinations as well)–people of varying status, looks, ages, glibness–a host of factors that can distort pure discussion.

        No one knows you’re a dog… 🙂

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s a leap to say “many women” don’t like conflict. I think I only saw a post or two that said that. I think the regular women commenters on WEIT who have refrained from commenting on posts about feminism are certainly not discomfited by conflict as evidenc d by our engagement elsewhere.

      • Alpha Neil
        Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Yes, saying “many” is probably going too far, especially with the kind of person who is reading WEIT. Would you say that there’s little gender difference in this regard overall?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted January 27, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know if I have enough data to make that assertion but the WEIT commentariat is different from the wider world. I think you have to consider what you were asking from the beginning – Why women on WEIT chime in less on feminists posts. I think you’d want to see if female participation on those posts dwindle over time or if the gender ratio is the same or greater on other posts. In other words, I don’t think you can make generalizations about women on feminists posts from this conversation alone. The only conclusion I think you can make is that women don’t participate on posts that are dominated by clearly false, ideologically driven, anti-women claims and the reason that is. Is for all the things people have listed.

          • Alpha Neil
            Posted January 27, 2018 at 10:05 pm | Permalink


            I suppose that the list of things I made is too complicated. We’re all just people doing the best we can in this life so treat others with respect.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted January 27, 2018 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

              I think the list just needs to be narrower. Inst ad of “women”. Perhaps something like, “some women on WEIT report x,y,z in response to this question…”

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 28, 2018 at 2:40 am | Permalink

      Thank you for noticing and bringing up the subject in the first place, Neil! I must admit that some of us who were boycotting certain subjects doubted if anyone would even notice.

      If anything, I think you’ve tried to portray us more kindly and generously than we deserve. Nor are we all that monolithic. I’m probably more like the stereotypical, prefers-to-avoid-conflict female, while my friend Diana more or less thrives on it. 🙂 (Go, Diana!)

      The group of “insufferable assholes” is not limited to men. (FWIW, I generally prefer communicating with men than women, sexist as that sounds. [WEIT women excluded, of course!])

      The emphasis on what passes for feminism in pomo academia nowadays and the tolerance for MRA opinion that has characterized posts “about women”* here for a while now has been most dispiriting. (*Why are there never posts “about men?” Not that I’d want them anymore than the former, but fairs’s fair. Women are much more likely to be characterized as a homogeneous set, while men are typically treated as individuals.)

      But I digress. Thank you once more–your raising of the subject was most appreciated, as I’m sure was obvious by the way the flood gates opened.

      Just don’t think you need to be overly complimentary…we neither deserve nor desire it. Though I, for one, appreciate the kind words and the good intentions behind them. 🙂

      • Hunt
        Posted January 28, 2018 at 3:07 am | Permalink

        Men tend not to want to talk about themselves, which is exactly why MRA garners some opprobrium right off the bat. I say “some” because, yes, there are plenty of nuts and genuine misogynists in there too. It’s like “Fight Club”. The first Rule of Men is you don’t talk about “Men Club”. (In fact, I probably shouldn’t be writing this.) It takes about a millisecond for most men to calculate this will bring them perilously close to admitting weakness. No doubt this is one of those things that is almost entirely socially programmed.

        But it’s not just men. Women have barely concealed contempt for men who adopt the victim narrative too, and MRAs suffer from this effect as well. So I have a certain sympathy for the less loathsome MRAs; they start off with two strikes against them, ironically thrown at them by a sexist society.

        So now I’ve delved into a male issue on a post about women. I’m such a shitlord.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 3:46 am | Permalink

          “Men tend not to want to talk about themselves…”

          Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

          Wait, you’re not kidding?

          • Bob Murray
            Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:31 am | Permalink

            That’s right Diane, burn the heretic!

          • Hunt
            Posted January 28, 2018 at 5:22 am | Permalink

            Men tend to not like talking about themselves openly on a personal level. You dispute this? OMG, you need some schooling.

            • darrelle
              Posted January 28, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

              I think you are feigning misunderstanding Diane. The give away is the addition of “openly on a personal level” to the original claim accompanied by the insult “OMG, you need some schooling.”

              Your originally claim raised my eyebrows as well. Lacking your later clarification I was wondering if you had led a very sheltered life because, as a man, my experience is that many men love nothing more than talking about themselves. It also happens that very often those are the same men that give women good reason to think poorly of men.

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

                Thanks, darrelle.

                FWIW, I’m regretting my lame attempt at a quip, however. God knows there are plenty of self-absorbed women as well.

                I tend to be more of a listener than a talker (present activity notwithstanding) so feel like I speak with some standing about this… 😀

              • Hunt
                Posted January 28, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

                I thought context made that clear, spurred by ‘(*Why are there never posts “about men?”’. I assumed that meant “men’s issues” not car repair and beer drinking.

                “Men’s issues” implies an open discussion men will often avoid, save the MRAs, which is why I say MRAs break a social norm from the start. It’s sexism all the way down, I’ll admit that.

        • Merilee
          Posted January 28, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          Men tend NOT to want to talk about thrmselves???? Coulda fooled me…

        • Posted January 28, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          I’m a male and I am all over social media trying to get people to “look at me!” And I’d consider myself a fairly shy specimen. In fact, in my experience, the more “manly” (bro-y) the man is, the more they love going on about themselves.

          But even if your assertion was true, what does willingness to share personal details have to do with the issue at hand?

          • Hunt
            Posted January 28, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

            It was a slight digression. So people misunderstood the context. It’s more along the lines of “I don’t want to talk about it”, the book, not the movie or song.

            A central tenet of “toxic masculinity” is that men are conditioned to be emotionally shut down, though with rare exception, this doesn’t work, and so squelched emotion manifests as all manner of social dysfunction.

  44. Neil Wolfe
    Posted January 28, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Sweet baby ceiling cat! 300 comments!

  45. Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I am female. I have different experience and views than most commenters here due to my Eastern European identity. I have long ago stopped calling myself feminist. It is not (lack of) equality that troubles me most, but rather the accumulation of needs and worries that are not addressed. Maybe this is why I have more understanding to MRA commenters than other women – I feel their needs and worries as well as those of women.

    I admit that, like others above, when I try to explain something several times to no avail, I stop. I no longer try to explain to main why I find Tim Hunt’s “joke” unforgivable. And while I continue to comment against massive immigration from the most sexist and mysogynist societies on Earth, I keep silent about my vested interest. I find it mind-boggling that so many people are in deep denial that they advocate immigration policy that has repeatedly been shown to get women raped. I am amazed how easily women are pushed under the bus. I also think that this has driven some American women to vote for Trump. I often read comments that female Trump voters are silly and brainwashed by their husbands or the pastor at the church, to support this “pussy-grabber”. I have not commented on these comments, until now. It is tiring, at a hard day’s night, to receive over and over again veiled messages that you are a bad person and do not understand anything.

    • Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      “to explain to men”; to my impression, few women defend Hunt.

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