In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Human rights violation] Wow: "Environmental activists from West Virginia on Wednesday delivered more than 1,000 gallons of bottled water to residents of Detroit, where more than 15,000 of the city's poorest people have had their water shut off... Bill DePaulo, with Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, drove a U-Haul truck to carry 1,080 gallons of water paid for by donations from West Virginians [many of whom still aren't drinking the water from their own taps after a coal processing chemical spill in January]. He arrived on Wednesday morning at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, one of four water distribution centers in the city, giving out about 300 gallons in just a few hours. ...'To come from West Virginia and to drive a truck with tons of water in it and to come up here and help folks is a pure act of love and solidarity,' said Detroit community activist Maureen Taylor. 'This is what America is. This is what we are.'"

[CN: Rape; violence; reproductive coercion; anti-immigrant sentiment] Jack Jenkins and Esther Yu-Hsi Lee have a powerful piece at Think Progress profiling one of the many asylum-seeking undocumented immigrants arriving in the US: "Meet Carolina, Who Brought Her Daughters 1,500 Miles to the U.S. So They Wouldn't Be Raped." It is tough but important reading.

[CN: Anti-immigrant sentiment; racism; hostility to consent] In one of the grossest examples of how Republicans are willing to exploit and further harmpeople like Carolina and her daughters, Rep. Michele Bachmann is peddling a gross theory, based on a thoroughly mendacious interpretation of the medical care of a child, that undocumented and unaccompanied children "fleeing violence in Central America who have come in large numbers to the southern U.S. border: they are future victims of a liberal plot to use unwilling children for medical experiments." Utterly contemptible.

[CN: Illness] Sierra Leone has declared a state of emergency following the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola, which has killed 729 people in West Africa so far. "The outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever, for which there is no known cure, began in the forests of remote eastern Guinea in February [and has claimed lives in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone] but Sierra Leone now has the highest number of cases."

[CN: Misogyny] US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg basically says that the male justices can't sufficiently empathize with women.

NEAT HEADLINE! "Books test market for Hillary Clinton hostility." Let's roll out some shit smearing a prominent woman for the explicit purpose of measuring people's hostility toward her. Cool books, bro.

And finally: Here is just a terrific video compilation of dogs sleeping. Oh dogs.

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Today in Rape Culture

[Content Note: Sexual violence; rape apologia.]

One of the most pernicious lies people tell in asserting there is no such thing as "rape culture" is this: Everyone agrees that rape is terrible.

After RAINN made their absurd statement earlier this year undermining the notion of the rape culture, Caroline Kitchens wrote a piece for Time, titled "It's Time to End 'Rape Culture' Hysteria," which included a passage that is perfectly indicative of this lie:

In January, the White House asserted that we need to combat campus rape by "[changing] a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist."

Tolerance for rape? Rape is a horrific crime, and rapists are despised. We have strict laws that Americans want to see enforced. Though rape is certainly a serious problem, there's no evidence that it's considered a cultural norm. Twenty-first century America does not have a rape culture; what we have is an out-of-control lobby leading the public and our educational and political leaders down the wrong path. Rape-culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense.
Rapists are despised.

Well, some rapists are. Especially the ones who hew closely to the Law & Order: SVU central casting description of a swarthy monster who jumps out the bushes to prey on innocent, beautiful strangers.

But rapists who look like—or literally are—the boy next door, rapists who are boyfriends and husbands and fathers, or girlfriends and wives and mothers, or bosses or classmates or free speech heroes or film stars or admired athletes, or even just good-looking, they're not as likely to be despised. Or even believed to be rapists at all.

Roman Polanski gets awards. Woody Allen has stars lining up to be in his pictures. And Mike Tyson, a man who was not merely accused of rape, but who was tried and convicted and served time for raping Desiree Washington, gets a biopic made of his life starring an Academy Award winner:
Having already played the corner man to one of the greatest boxers of all-time, Jamie Foxx looks ready to get back in the ring to portray one of the most recognizable boxers and sports figures of this generation.

Sources tell Variety that Foxx is attached to play Mike Tyson in an untitled biopic that Terence Winter is set to pen. Rick Yorn, who is Foxx's manager, is shepherding the project and will produce.

The package is still coming together and is currently without a studio, but once the final details are ironed out and it is presented to the market, it shouldn't be hard to interest a distributor.
Of course it shouldn't.

The piece goes on to call Tyson "one of the most polarizing figures in sports" with "a rough around-the-edges personality," before briefly mentioning that, in the 1990s, his "life began to spin out of control, including a six-year stint in prison after being found guilty of rape."

He also "made headlines" when he "bit off part of [Evander] Holyfield's ear." His history of domestic violence, and subsequent rape charges, are not mentioned.

"In recent years," we are told, "he has kept out of trouble."

Some rapists are despised. And some rapists are rehabilitated. By which I mean: Their crimes both forgiven and all but forgotten, in order that they may be adored once again.

Mike Tyson will forever be an interesting figure in terms of the rape culture, and the narrative that we all condemn rape and despise rapists, because he is notable for having been convicted of the crime. There's no wiggle room for rape apologists to say, "He hasn't been convicted of anything." He has. Yet despite the conceit that convictions will silence apologists, Tyson's conviction hasn't.

To the contrary, he's still not even regarded as "a rapist," but a man whose life spun out of control, including having to serve time for being found guilty of rape. Just one of many reckless mistakes he made. Oopsy.

We need to get honest about this. Not all rapists are despised. And that is, from where I'm sitting, pretty damning evidence of a culture that tolerates rape, just as long as it's committed by someone we want to like.

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[Content Note: Homophobia.]

I don't even know:

A "social media strategist" for a Utah school serving foreign students said he was fired after his school's owner reprimanded him for the allegedly gay connotations of a blog post concerning homophones, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.

"People at this level of English may see the 'homo' side and think it has something to do with gay sex." the owner, Clarke Woodger, allegedly told Tim Torkildson while firing him last week.

Torkildson reportedly was hired as a teacher at Nomen Global Language Center in Provo this past April 1 before being re-assigned to handle the school's social media. Torkildson gave his account of the meeting with Woodger on his personal blog.

"I'm letting you go because I can't trust you," Woodger allegedly said. "This blog about homophones was the last straw. Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality."

Woodger also allegedly complained that he didn't know what homophones — words that sound identical while having different meanings and spellings — were, and that it was the kind of "advanced stuff" Nomen did not teach its students. He also accused Torkildson of not being reliable enough to continue working for the school.

"I never have any idea what you're going to do next. I can't run my business that way," Woodger said, according to Torkildson. "You'd probably make a great college professor, but since you don't have a degree you'll never get that kind of work. I would advise you to try something clerical, where you'll be closely supervised and have immediate goals at all times. That's the only kind of job you'll ever succeed at."
So, the owner of a school which teaches English as a second language doesn't know what homophones are, and thus assumes that everyone else will not know what they are, despite the whole point of the post being to explain what they are, and believes that people who see it will associate their school with "gay sex."

Okay. Well, for the record, if I saw a post about homophones, I would not have presumed your school was associated with "gay sex," but having seen that you fired someone for writing about homophones and that the owner of the school doesn't even know what they are, I do presume your school is stupid and run by a jackass.

Which, I can only guess, given this reaction, is preferable to being thought of as tolerant.


Once upon a time, I taught an ESL conversation class, and I had a major homo agenda. Not only did I teach homophones, but also homonyms.

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Dr. Willie Parker

[Content Note: War on agency; class warfare; racism; religion; descriptions of abortion.]

Esquire has a profile on Dr. Willie Parker, a doctor who flies into Mississippi from out of state in order to provide abortions at the state's last standing abortion clinic, which the state is trying to close down: "The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker."

I'm not even going to excerpt it. Just go read the whole thing.

Thank you, Dr. Parker, for what you do.

[H/T to Robin Marty.]

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Open Thread

image of an orangutan lying in the grass beside an orange tabby cat, whose chin is wresting on the orangutan's hand

Hosted by an orangutan and an orange tabby cat.

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Question of the Day

When was the last time you went swimming?

As always, "Never" or "I don't like swimming" are perfectly cromulent answers. I'm also aware that there are people who have traumatic experiences with water/swimming, or body policing/swimwear, and those are on topic; just be sure to use content notes as applicable.

I think the last time I went swimming was last summer at a local community pool. I can't believe it's almost August and I haven't made it over there once yet this year. Boo! I need to make that shit happen.

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Fat Fashion

This is your semi-regular thread in which fat women can share pix, make recommendations for clothes they love, ask questions of other fat women about where to locate certain plus-size items, share info about sales, talk about what jeans cut at what retailer best fits their body shapes, discuss how to accessorize neutral colored suits, share stories of going bare-armed for the first time, brag about a cool fashion moment, whatever.

image of me standing outside in a blacktop lot, wearing a camel faux leather jacket, a grey sequined tank, dark-wash 'skinny' jeans, and grey ankle boots
Out on a recent date night.

The only even remotely recent purchase in that shot is the jacket, which I got during a great sale online at Maurices. It's still available for purchase here. The sequined tank I got at Avenue a million years ago; the jeans I got at Torrid sometime last year; and the grey ankle boots I got from Naturalizer, probably two years ago.

All four of those places are currently having online sales or specials right now, hence using this picture!

A lot of online joints that sell plus-size clothes are having good summer sales right now. ModCloth is having a terrific 70% off sale. Simply Be has a code you can use for 25% off your first purchase there. Roaman's is having their annual summer blow-out sale.

Are any of your favorite places offering great deals at the moment? If so, spread the word!

Naturally, comments don't have to be restricted to talking about sales. The usual happy shares, advice solicitation, complaints, whatever, are all on-topic, as ever.

Have at it in comments! Please remember to make fat women of all sizes, especially women who find themselves regularly sizing out of standard plus-size lines, welcome in this conversation, and pass no judgment on fat women who want to and/or feel obliged, for any reason, to conform to beauty standards. And please make sure if you're soliciting advice, you make it clear you're seeking suggestions—and please be considerate not to offer unsolicited advice. Sometimes people just need to complain and want solidarity, not solutions.

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They're Not Laughing with You...

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Earlier this week, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said in a speech that women should not "laugh in public" in order to demonstrate sufficient chastity:

"A man should be moral but women should be moral as well, they should know what is decent and what is not decent," Arinc said in a speech on Monday, in the western Bursa region for the Bayram holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

"She should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times," he added.
He also said: "Chastity is so important. She will not laugh in public."

And in what has to be my favorite pushback campaigns of all time, women in Turkey (and women of Turkish extraction living elsewhere) have taken to social media to post audio of themselves laughing and pictures of themselves smiling: "There have been more than 300,000 tweets using the term "kahkaha"—the Turkish word for "laughter"—and on the hashtags "Resist Laughter" (#direnkahkaha) and "Resist Woman" (#direnkadin)."


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Quote of the Day

"Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hatin' all the time. Let's get some work done."—President Barack Obama, addressing Congressional Republicans who are threatening to sue him over his use of executive actions.

1. The Republicans are such mendacious fucks. They constantly obstruct the President's and the Democratic Party's legislative measures, and then they accuse the President of overreach when he's left with no option but to get things done via executive order.

2. I love it, LOVE IT, when President Obama shit-talks the GOP.

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by falsettos.

Recommended Reading:

Kath: [Content Note: Harassment; abuse; stalking; misogyny; fat hatred] It's Time for Us All to Break the Silence

Aoife: [CN: Transmisogyny; cissexism; violence; objectification] America's Got Abjection: The Trans Subject as Sacrifice, from Stage to Street

Jess: [CN: Violence; exploitation] On Ray Rice's Suspension and Whom the NFL Cares About

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged.

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On the Renisha McBride Case

[Content Note: Murder; guns; racism.]

The trial of Theodore Wafer, the white man who shot and killed Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old black woman who sought help at his front door following a car accident, is now underway.

Over at the Black Youth Project, former prosecutor and founder of Debbie Hines writes about the steep uphill battle to secure justice (and I encourage you to read the whole thing, because I'm excerpting just a small bit of a great piece here):

As a former prosecutor, I'd like to think that justice will prevail for Renisha McBride who was seeking help following a car accident when she was shot and killed. As a woman of color, I have my lingering doubts. The trial began for the man accused of murdering Renisha McBride, who knocked on his door in the early morning hours of November 2, 2013. Instead of helping her, Theodore Wafer came to his locked door and shot her in the face. The undisputed facts are really quite simple. But in the criminal justice system, a case involving a black woman victim and a white male defendant will be anything but simple.

...What really bothers me is the fact that Renisha McBride will be on trial along with Wafer.

...Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter argued before Judge Dana Hathaway, "our defense is blown to pieces if you don't allow me to argue to the jury that she could have been up to no good."
Got that? The defense doesn't have a way to defend their client's actions because Judge Hathaway "denied the defense attorneys' request to present social media photos of McBride posing with an apparent gun and marijuana."

Does this sound familiar? It should. Because that was the exact same shit that George Zimmerman's defense pulled at his trial for murdering Trayvon Martin.

Even though Judge Hathaway denied Wafer's defense team these particular ways of putting McBride on trial, they are still endeavoring to put her on trial all the same. McBride was intoxicated at the time of the accident and at the time she came to Wafer's door.

Clearly, this is not a justification for being murdered by a fearful man who literally shot first and called police afterwards.

Let us hope the jury doesn't buy this reprehensible victim-blaming that the defense is presenting as justification for their client's murderous instincts.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound sitting on the loveseat with his ears up in funny positions

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Minnie Riperton & Peabo Bryson, "Here We Go"

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Misogynoir; domestic violence; guns] This week is the Standing Our Ground Week of Action in support of Marissa Alexander. You can find and/or organize local actions here.

[CN: War; death] In Israel and Gaza: "Israeli missiles slammed into a second United Nations school packed with sheltering Gazan refugees Wednesday, killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 90 others during a period of heavy bombardment of the besieged enclave. The attack preceded a temporary, limited and unilateral cease-fire imposed by Israel. ...More than 200,000 displaced Palestinians, many heeding Israeli evacuation warnings, have taken shelter in U.N. schools and buildings across the besieged territory. The U.N. said it had communicated to the Israeli military 17 times prior to Wednesday's attack, including once just hours before the fatal shelling, that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians had sought refuge in the school." Again I will note that the cavernous disproportion of this offensive cannot be ignored.

[CN: War on agency; misogyny] Hobby Lobby continues to be terrific: "When a very pregnant Felicia Allen applied for medical leave from her job at Hobby Lobby three years ago, one might think that the company best known for denying its employees insurance coverage of certain contraceptives—on the false grounds that they cause abortions—would show equal concern for helping one of its employees when she learned she was pregnant. Instead, Allen says the self-professed evangelical Christian arts-and-crafts chain fired her and then tried to prevent her from accessing unemployment benefits."

[CN: War on agency; reference to Satanism] Welp: "The Satanic Temple—a faith community that describes itself as facilitating 'the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty' [and a group that 'falls somewhere between satire, performance art, and activism']—has launched a new campaign seeking a religious exemption to certain anti-abortion laws that attempt to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy. The group says they have deeply held beliefs about bodily autonomy and scientific accuracy, and those beliefs are violated by state-level 'informed consent' laws that rely on misleading information about abortion risks. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Satanists point out, it strengthens their own quest to opt out of laws related to women's health care that go against their religious liberty. 'Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state­ mandated 'informational' material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them,' a spokesperson for the organization said in a statement."

In good news: "Control of Detroit's massive municipal water department, which has been widely criticized by the United Nations and others for widespread service shutoffs to thousands of customers, has been returned to the mayor's office. The move comes a week after the department said it would temporarily suspend shutoffs for customers who were 60 days or more behind on bills for 15 days, and a few months ahead of the expected handoff of financial control of the bankrupt city from a state-appointed manager back to Detroit's elected leaders."

[CN: Wildfires. Video may begin to play automatically at link.] Damn: "A wildfire raging in and around Yosemite National Park swelled to more than five and a half square miles despite hundreds more personnel being sent to tackle the blaze." In addition to displacing people and doing millions of dollars of property damage, the fire is also threatening Yosemite's Giant Sequoias.

[CN: Animal injury, but with a happy ending] And finally! Joanie and Chachi, a stray pitbull and her companion, a little chihuahua with an injured eye whom she carried around in her mouth, were rescued from their grim and treacherous existence. And in the happiest ending ever, they found a forever home—together. ♥

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On Women in Tech

[Content Note: Misogyny; sexual harassment; gender essentialism.]

There's a good piece by Issie Lapowsky over at Wired about the challenges, including straight-up harassment, that women in tech face when searching for funding. It starts with this anecdote:

Shortly after Kathryn Tucker started RedRover, an app that showcases local events for kids, she pitched the idea to an angel investor at a New York tech event. But it didn't go over well. When she finished her pitch, the investor said he didn't invest in women.

When she asked why, he told her. "I don't like the way women think," he said. "They haven't mastered linear thinking." To prove his point, he explained that his wife could never prioritize her to-do lists properly. And then, as if he was trying to compliment her, he told Tucker she was different. "You're more male," he said.

Tucker didn't need to hear any more. "I said, 'Thanks very much,' walked out, and never spoke to him again."
This, in the year of our lord Jesus Jones two thousand and fourteen.

The piece notes that "all of the women interviewed for this story have found investors who they say have been wholly supportive throughout the process," which is terrific. Full-stop.

But I also note that all of the women pictured are young, thin, pretty women who appear to be white. Would women of color, out trans women, out gay women, fat women, older women, women with disabilities have survived the harassment and gone on to eventually secure funding, too? Who are the women who failed to secure funding, for reasons other than having an uninvestable product?

That is at least as important a story.

As we observe over and over in this space, if only the most privileged women are succeeding, even in spite of contemptible harassment, that's not an indication that at least some opportunities exist for all women.

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Open Thread

image of a cluster of onyx stones

Hosted by onyx.

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Question of the Day

What's for dinner? Or whatever the next meal of the day is in your part of the world.

I'm planning on making a salad with grilled chicken. Which is our super boring summer routine, but it's easy and tasty, so yay!

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Film Corner: Mad Max

[Content Note: Violence.]

Below, the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road, starring a bright young upstart named Tom Hardy as the titular character, and Charlize Theron as Furiosa:

I'm sorry. I will not be able to provide a transcript because I am dead of swoon.

Just kidding! Here's the transcript:
A man stands in a desert, silhouetted against endless sand, beside a rusty car. Dry blowing wind. Voices making 911 emergency calls and reporting news about water and gas shortages, resulting in violence as people fight for resources. A lizard runs across a rock behind the man. In voiceover, he says, "My name is Max. My world is fire and blood." Wow, he sounds fun!

He gets in the rustbucket and drives away, only to be followed by a bunch of hooligans in a topless jeep and a rusted-out VW bug, accompanied by dudes on motorcycles. Watch out, Max!

Sand fireworks? I don't know.

They catch up to Max and his car flips over. Oh no! He tries to crawl away, but they get him. He's their prisoner now, and they're mean to him. They make him walk and shave off his long hair and tattoo his back. Because their world is fire and blood and being super terrible.

Sand. Dystopian cars like you'd definitely expect to see in a Mad Max movie. Bald Charlize Theron looking like a badass. Sand. Crashing cars. Bad people. Sand. Cars. Motorcycles. Rocks. Crashing cars. Weird lady-children? In white robes. On the sand.

So many dystopian vehicles and sand! Furiosa is definitely going to save Max. So he can save everyone, I bet! Good thing she's supposed to get her own movie after this one. You know what they say—ladies first, except in film franchises!

Jumping! Sand! Explosions! Lightning! Sand! Cars! Weapons! Sand! Spikes! Fighting! Driving! I am not giving this transcript short shrift. It is big-time montagery of all the things you would for sure find in a DIY Mad Max Kit.

Charlize Theron's face! Tom Hardy's face! Those are some terrific faces, right there!

Fighting! Sand! Cars! Explosions! Chasing! Being chased! SAND! CARS! "What's your name?" Furiosa asks Mad Max. He looks at her. The logo for MAD MAX comes onscreen. Coming in 2015.
I predict that this movie will get dreadful reviews, and that I will love it very much. The end.

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Follow-Up on What Has Been Happening

[Content Note: Abuse; harassment. This post is being published with the input of the moderators.]

In the day since I posted a detailed account of the activities of a hate site targeting Shakesville and the members of this community and anyone associated with me, we have received an overwhelming outpouring of support and love, for which I am immensely grateful. Thank you, so very much, to everyone who has taken time to stand with us—whether publicly or privately.

Literally hundreds of people have said in comments here and on Twitter that they do not want false concerns for their "safety" to be used as justification for harassing me, the contributors and mods, the commenters, my colleagues, and Iain.

But the response from the hate site has been to double-down and wildly spin cockamamie defenses of their vile harassment.

Among their justifications for the continued harassment are:

1. Their site is the only way to give me "feedback." Nope. (I'll come back to that.)

2. I don't understand humor. Actually, I do. I do question, however, whether they understand irony, given their position of policing my feminism while wielding classic antifeminist tropes like the Humorless Feminist at me, in defense of harassment and abuse of me and everyone about whom I care.

3. They're not trying to silence me. Good luck convincing anyone without a destructive agenda of the veracity of that ludicrous claim, when right in your mission statement is: "The fact is, her time needs to be finished."

4. That it isn't harassment because they aren't coming to our inboxes and on Twitter, and the site has nothing to do with our getting harassing, abusive, and threatening comments, emails, tweets, phone calls, etc.

This is grade-A unadulterated horseshit.

As I said in comments, no one can know what's in our inboxes. And, as more evidence of their knowing exactly the kind of person I really am, they know that I won't publish the names of people harassing me and expose them to retributive harm, so I can't push back on their claim that none of the people affiliated with that site have emailed me aside from saying: They have.

I have received countless emails that include favorable quotes from, screen caps of, and/or links to that site, admonishing me to read it, followed by all manner of bullshit, including very occasionally threats. Some of the Shakesville moderators have received similar emails.

Members of that site have also publicly come at me on Twitter. That they choose to ignore it, or claim it "doesn't count" because it wasn't the site administrator hirself, is indicative of how their defense is a constantly moving target.

If they say, "No one has come at you on Twitter," and I am able to point to people having come at me on Twitter, the defense then becomes, "No one who runs the site did it." And if I then make the point that the site is nonetheless clearly inciting harassment they claim it doesn't, then they resort to speculation it must be MRAs or 4¢han or someone trying to discredit them.

Sure it is.

That the site administrator and members of an obsessive hate site can express shock or disbelief that the result of running such a site is people harassing me via email and social media is an absurd and harmful lack of the most basic accountability.

They routinely dehumanize me and assert that I "must be stopped," and then have the fucking audacity to feign surprise when people treat me like I'm a monster who has to be stopped.

The site administrator encourages members of hir site to stir shit at Shakesville, calling it "great justice," and then imagines that hir readership, admittedly and openly a collection of people with an axe to grind, contains that shit-stirring only to my comments section, but never comes after me via my publicly posted email address or public Twitter account?

That is a profound denial of the harm zie is inciting against me.

Of course that is happening. Of course it is.

And the people doing it are positively braying about their affiliation with the hate site. I'm not making guesses. They are proud of it.

But I'm meant to believe, in contravention of all reason, that people like MRAs, who also have a beef with me, are trying to discredit a hate site that targets me? That defies logic.

Everyone is a liar. I'm a liar, the moderators are liars, the people who email me are liars. Everyone just lies all the time—except the people who are running an obsessive hate site.

Sounds legit.

5. I'm "abusive" for having banned people for violations of my clearly stated commenting policy and because I didn't respond to some emails, so I deserve it.

Again, and I cannot emphasize this enough, if all that was happening at that site was criticism of the commenting policy and moderation decisions, and/or people commiserating about how terrible Shakesville is, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

I don't agree that it's "abusive" to push back against and/or ban someone for behaving in my space in a way I find objectionable. Virtually every single online space with a comments section draws boundaries around what constitutes acceptable commenting; mine are much tighter than most other spaces, but that doesn't make them "abusive."

I also don't agree that it's "abusive" to fail to respond to every single email I receive. Especially since my posted Email Policy clearly states that I won't: "I simply can't respond to everyone anymore; be aware that reaching out with an expectation that I will respond, and/or respond in precisely the way you want, is not good faith."

Sometimes I don't respond to emails because I miss them, or because I don't have time, or any number of reasons including because there's something about them that sends up a red flag—and, given that there are people justifying their participation in a hate site by my having failed to respond to their email(s), it seems like my instincts to not reply to some of these folks were pretty solid.

But, sure, other people are free to say these decisions are "abusive." The thing is: That's not all they're doing.

6. If I don't like it, I don't have to read it, just like I say about Shakesville.

Firstly, let me underscore, again, that they openly state they want me to read the site. See their justification at #1, which claims that the site is for providing me with "feedback." On the one hand, it's specifically designed for my edification; on the other, I should just ignore it.

And, again, when I was failing to give it the attention they felt it deserved, in an escalation entirely typical of abusers, they starting coming at people I love, in order to force me to pay attention.

To then turn around and try to claim that I should just ignore them is rank dishonesty.

Secondly, whoooooops one of these things is not like the other.

I am not writing a site dedicated to obsessively documenting and fucking with someone's life. The site administrator of the hate site, however, is running a site on which people are allowed to state, as fact and unchallenged, that I am breaking the law. On which my husband's employment information is posted for an audience primed to fuck with us. On which they coordinate troublemaking at my website, my livelihood, with the explicit goal of shutting me down.

Even if all of us who have been targeted could simply choose not to read their "critiques," there is so much stuff posted at the hate site that goes well beyond any "critique" and into territory that could have meaningful consequences for my personal and professional lives.

7. Which brings us to their primary justification for the continued harassment and abuse of people even tenuously associated with this space: It's just criticism.

Bullshit. Bullshit.

They are defending their continued harassment and abuse by saying that what I consider harassment and abuse, everyone else considers "criticism."

But vast amounts of what is posted at the hate site is demonstrably not "criticism."

Not Criticism: "The fact is, her time needs to be finished."

Not Criticism: Positing all kinds of absurd and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about me. See, here's the thing—for something to be valid criticism, there has to be evidence of the thing you're criticizing.

Not Criticism: Deliberately misnaming me to annoy and dehumanize me.

Not Criticism: Orchestrated trolling of my website.

Not Criticism: Stalking my husband—or even mentioning him, as he has nothing to do with the management or moderation of this site.

Not Criticism: Saying that I abuse my husband. Speculating about my marriage at all. That I talk about my marriage on the blog does not make it "fair game."

Not Criticism: Talking about doing violence to one of the people I love most in the world.

Not Criticism: Harassing my colleagues, friends, and family. Tracking down their personal or professional websites in order to find things to use against me/them. Posting lies about them. Intimidating them. Policing the nature of our relationships. Calling them, and me, liars about their own disabilities. Diagnosing them, and me, with mental illnesses.

Not Criticism: Policing every aspect of my personal life.

Not Criticism: Obsessing over how much money I make, whether I pay taxes, how I spend my money, and accusing me of breaking employment and tax laws.

Not Criticism: Saying that my house is filthy. Asking the person who claims to have viewed my filthy home to provide photographic evidence.

Not Criticism: Accusing me of lying about my cat being tiny to get attention. Speculating about how I abuse my dog.

Not Criticism: Debating whether it's acceptable to mock me for being fat.

Not Criticism: Commenting negatively on my tattoos. (Seriously, I don't care what you think of them, but that is not criticism of my work.)

I could go on (and on and on and on), but I think my point is pretty evident. The assertion that the only thing that happens in that space is "criticism" of my/our work, of the content and moderation at Shakesville, is an indefensible misrepresentation of the site's actual content.

I frankly don't think that I'm the one who's confused about what the definition of "criticism" is.

* * *

People have asked me what they can do to help, and the truth is that the best thing anyone can do, as long as they feel safe doing it, is continue to cast sunlight on what's being done to me, to the moderators, to Iain, to this community.

I would not ask anyone to put themselves on this group's radar on my behalf, because here I am talking about what they do to people who associate with me.

But for those who want to help, and feel safe doing so, talk about it. Push back. My profound thanks to my friends and colleagues who have written supportive pieces. (I will link some of them for everyone to see, as soon as I've gotten consent to share them in this space.)

And, for those who want to help, but don't feel safe pushing back publicly, your quiet support is meaningful. Thank you for the emails.

Thank you to anyone who has communicated, in any way: This is wrong.

UPDATE: This piece by my friend Kath, also known as Fat Heffalump, is amazing. And I am sharing it with her permission. Thank you, Kath. ♥

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

close-up image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt, sleeping on the chaise with the tip of her tongue hanging out
Zelly, just snoozing with her tongue out. Like ya do.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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