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Feminism...

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Re: Feminism...

Post  captainmjs on Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:18 pm

AliRadicali wrote:Why is it obscene to use the term "rape hysteria", when what they're doing is creating and inflating a sense of fear in women over the possibility/prospect of rape(at atheist conventions)???

It isn't its obscene to use the phrase "rape hysteria" period.

If it's a sentiment that isn't/cannot be backed up by evidence, the skeptical thing to do is to, well, treat it with skepticism. Personal experience is not solid evidence.

That's correct. Exactly the point I was trying to make. A personal testimony is not an argument of anything. Granted Rebecca Watson did try to use this for her argument but she did actually give specific examples. Regardless I am talking about the demographic argument for the atheist community, which I agree (if it were made) does not reflect the ratio of men to women or minorities in the atheist community.

Are you denying that there are rules that one MUST adhere to in order to remain a member in good standing? Are you denying that disagreeing on certain key tenets will get you banned?

Oh that's what you mean by dogma. If I do something specifically forbidden by the rules I will get banned therefore Atheism+ is dogmatic. Thank you for clarifying that. No I definitely agree I will get banned if I break the rules of the forum (unless a moderator doesn't catch it).

As far as being a member in good standing, I'm not sure what my standing is in the first place so I can't really say whether or not I even meet that criteria. I don't think they use the gold star method though.

I hope you bring that up next time you're there. I'd love to read their response to you rejecting feminism. And I'm sure they have much more convoluted definitions of patriarchy, probably with plenty of sociology jargon. Unfortunately, very light on empirical evidence or falsifiability.

I didn't say I rejected feminism. I agree with the dictionary definition which is equality among the sexes. As far as all feminist theory (i.e. the patriarchy, male privilege, etc.) I agree with that to some extent, particularly in the case of religious bullshit. I simply don't call myself that because I don't like the word, just like I don't like anti-theist.

As far as your experience with the forum goes your experience is pretty typical of people who show up and decide that their first post is going to be an extremely contrarian point of view. I do agree with you as far as the safe space dynamic of the site goes. It does make it unfriendly to dissenting views that aren't racist, sexist, etc. but are merely critical. However that is how they want to run their forum. I still post on there and I still enjoy the community and in the places where I agree with them, which are numerous, I support them. I expected a much more intolerant reception when I first arrived and was pleasantly surprised. But I realize experiences may vary.


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Re: Feminism...

Post  AliRadicali on Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:22 pm

captainmjs wrote:
AliRadicali wrote:Why is it obscene to use the term "rape hysteria", when what they're doing is creating and inflating a sense of fear in women over the possibility/prospect of rape(at atheist conventions)???

It isn't its obscene to use the phrase "rape hysteria" period.
Fine, artificially inflated irrational fear of rape. Better?

Focusing on nonexistent boogie men like elevatorgate distracts from the actual problem, which has very little to do with RW's desperate cries for attention.

Are you denying that there are rules that one MUST adhere to in order to remain a member in good standing? Are you denying that disagreeing on certain key tenets will get you banned?

Oh that's what you mean by dogma. If I do something specifically forbidden by the rules I will get banned therefore Atheism+ is dogmatic. Thank you for clarifying that. No I definitely agree I will get banned if I break the rules of the forum (unless a moderator doesn't catch it).

As far as being a member in good standing, I'm not sure what my standing is in the first place so I can't really say whether or not I even meet that criteria. I don't think they use the gold star method though.
There's more to it than simply abiding by the forum rules, and you know it, or you'll find out soon enough if you hang around the A+theism forums long enough.

I hope you bring that up next time you're there. I'd love to read their response to you rejecting feminism. And I'm sure they have much more convoluted definitions of patriarchy, probably with plenty of sociology jargon. Unfortunately, very light on empirical evidence or falsifiability.

I didn't say I rejected feminism. I agree with the dictionary definition which is equality among the sexes. As far as all feminist theory (i.e. the patriarchy, male privilege, etc.) I agree with that to some extent, particularly in the case of religious bullshit. I simply don't call myself that because I don't like the word, just like I don't like anti-theist.
That's not what feminism entails; if that's the dictionary definition, the dictionary is wrong.
Feminism isn't sound because the methodology used to derive "feminist theory" is flawed.
Quoting wikipedia:
"Feminist researchers embrace two key tenets: their research should focus on the condition of women in society, and (2) their research must be grounded in the assumption, that women generally experience subordination."
The problem is obvious: confirmation bias. Instead of following the data wherever it may lead them, the feminists set out to find examples of oppression, and golly gee, they find them. What they completely fail to realise is that historically, yes, women were denied agency by men. This mean limited freedom, (some measure of) subordination to the husband/mate. At the same time it meant the woman lived a life of relative safety and comfort (compared to her husband). Only at the top of the social ladder was male privilege really an issue, at the bottom, men got the short end of the stick, with hard, long hours of labour and a waaay high rate of mortality. Feminist theory focuses on the problems faced by women, ignoring the perks they gained for the loss of freedom and power, or rationalising them as "benevolent sexism". It exaggerates male privilege while ignoring the costs of said privilege, or brushing them off as "patriarchy hurts men too".
Feminism doesn't seek equality, it advocates for women. The word you're looking for is egalitarianism, which is more or less my position on gender matters.


As far as your experience with the forum goes your experience is pretty typical of people who show up and decide that their first post is going to be an extremely contrarian point of view. I do agree with you as far as the safe space dynamic of the site goes. It does make it unfriendly to dissenting views that aren't racist, sexist, etc. but are merely critical. However that is how they want to run their forum. I still post on there and I still enjoy the community and in the places where I agree with them, which are numerous, I support them. I expected a much more intolerant reception when I first arrived and was pleasantly surprised. But I realize experiences may vary.
They need to stop advertising those forums as a place where discussions are welcome. I presented a somewhat critical point of view, honestly, I could've been a lot more contrarian, yet instead of engaging they immediately cut me off and started crying that I'd fouled their sacred space.

It's one thing not to want any dissenting voices on your private forum. It's quite another thing to advertise it as a welcoming, openminded community discussion forum for engaged atheists interested in social justice, because the safe a+ forum is not inviting and not interested in discussion. Reasonable people are able to process an argument with emotional detachment, even if they disagree. Reasonable people don't get mad when someone disagrees with them. They might get upset if that person is unreasonable about it, but as long as we agree to be nice to one another a disagreement shouldn't stop us from civil discourse.
It's like the difference between a "no smoking" sign and a "no smokers allowed" sign.
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Re: Feminism...

Post  elouise on Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:43 pm

Pitchguest wrote:(Which could have something to do with how the group came about in the first place, with the seemingly ageist presumptuous accusation that atheists are nothing but old, privileged white men with no aversion towards sexism, racism and homophobia.)

Three words: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Feminism is easy

Post  Eldin Alvere on Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:53 pm

Feminism is generally a very easy topic. Treat men and women exactly the same. Exactly. To treat one or the other differently because of their gender is not "fair" or "equal".

Another area that is easy but a lot of people don't understand is equal opportunity. For instance, women have the opportunity to join the military. However, they join at a drastically lower standard than men do. They have lower ASVAB scores for the same jobs and lower physical requirements. That is not equality and fairness. That is favoring women.

Pretty much all of the dogma that goes along with feminism disappears once you make these 2 simple changes to the ideology.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Kurt H on Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:32 pm

AliRadicali wrote: Feminist theory focuses on the problems faced by women, ignoring the perks they gained for the loss of freedom and power, or rationalising them as "benevolent sexism". It exaggerates male privilege while ignoring the costs of said privilege, or brushing them off as "patriarchy hurts men too".

"Perks" for losing freedom? What a great trade! Good thing women got to choose to make that trade . . . oh wait, they didn't.

Perhaps you could start another thread explaining how slavery spared Black people the trouble of maintaining resumes.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  AliRadicali on Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:09 pm

Kurt H wrote:
AliRadicali wrote: Feminist theory focuses on the problems faced by women, ignoring the perks they gained for the loss of freedom and power, or rationalising them as "benevolent sexism". It exaggerates male privilege while ignoring the costs of said privilege, or brushing them off as "patriarchy hurts men too".

"Perks" for losing freedom? What a great trade! Good thing women got to choose to make that trade . . . oh wait, they didn't.

Perhaps you could start another thread explaining how slavery spared Black people the trouble of maintaining resumes.

Do you understand that men and women are the same species? Do you understand that "gender" did not evolve in order for us to have conflicts within the species?
Comparing our evolutionary past, with slavery, is rather preposterous. What direct, immediate benefit did africans enjoy from being enslaved? Other than a reduced risk of lions, i can't name any.(Omigosh slavery joke)

Being a woman historically meant a significantly higher life expectancy (yes even despite the risks of childbirth) and a life of relative ease and comfort compared to what a man needed to do to survive and pass on hhis genes. And yes that meant she couldn't vote; just like the rest of humanity for most of history.

The naivete in this exercise in revisionist history is in assuming all men lived like kings. If you were a man at any time in our past, chances are you were just some poor schmuck. You weren't that emperor living a lavish life, ordering around his concubines. You were that peasant toiling away all day in the field to ensure your wife and kids had food on the table. You were that poor sod whose liege lord just called all able bodied men to arms. You were that caveman who instinctively got between his family and that lion, because, what else are men good for?


The idea that pleistocene women were "hurt" by not having to hunt and forage while they nurtured their babies, the idea that men were somehow benefitting from fighting off lions and competing tribes, is laughable and absurd.

Yes, in the present age we've created a society where the "privilege" of agency doesn't come with automatic risks to life and limb, and it's about time we reevaluate how we view gender and equality in this setting. But to ignore the cost/benefit analysis of being a woman in the past, and conclude she'd be oppressed by today's standards, is so absurd, I find it hard to lampoon any further.
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Re: Feminism...

Post  Kurt H on Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:02 pm

AliRadicali wrote:Comparing our evolutionary past, with slavery, is rather preposterous.

Yes, because gender roles are primarily due to evolution. Rolling Eyes

AliRadicali wrote:The naivete in this exercise in revisionist history is in assuming all men lived like kings.

Um, no, just taking note of the fact that they lived better than women of the same social class.

AliRadicali wrote:The idea that pleistocene women were "hurt" by not having to hunt and forage while they nurtured their babies, the idea that men were somehow benefitting from fighting off lions and competing tribes, is laughable and absurd.

You might be surprised to learn that the harsh division of labor you describe here is extremely rare among forager societies, only occurring when meat is far-and-away the primary food source. Foraging and even hunting is often conducted by women in forager societies. Also, not all humans lived where there were notable large predators and the prevalence of warfare also appears to vary widely among foraging societies. Human societies (even forager ones) are far more diverse than this.

But accepting those facts might not support your tight little gender binary, where "evolution" caused sharp gender roles despite humans being pretty much the least gender differentiated of all of the higher primates.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  uncrystal on Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:20 pm

Yes, because gender roles are primarily due to evolution. Rolling Eyes

Regardless of what you think of modern gender roles, to believe that our gender roles aren't based in human survival is wacky. Dead women=no babies. Dead men=less men.

Um, no, just taking note of the fact that they lived better than women of the same social class.

Being alive vs. being dead or being in a position where you're likely to get dead quick is the pinnacle of privilege.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Skep tickle on Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:30 pm

uncrystal wrote:
Yes, because gender roles are primarily due to evolution. Rolling Eyes

Regardless of what you think of modern gender roles, to believe that our gender roles aren't based in human survival is wacky. Dead women=no babies. Dead men=less men.
Dead people = not alive people. Hey, look! I can make equations too. But as an explanation, these equations are too simplistic.

Survival to successful reproduction is the key to passing one's genes along. Then survival of one's offspring to successful reproduction, and so on. True for all organisms.

For the "reproduction" part, in (almost all) sexually dimorphic species you need both males and females.

One man can impregnate many women, but then the population is less robust because there's less genetic diversity among the offspring, which means less resistance to new threats and also more genetic weaknesses (recessive conditions) among their offspring. So the population is better off genetically with more men than with fewer men. And pregnancy-related mortality is relatively high in pre-modern societies, so in fact there are going to be "dead women" along the way, yet that doesn't inevitably mean their children die also. Luckily, others in the population can raise the offspring of a dead parent to sexual maturity. It doesn't have to be the genetic mother or father.

And, in fact, many members of the population play a role in keeping the population going - helping offspring of the population survive to adulthood & to successful reproduction, and to themselves (those of them that survive) participating in raising the next generation. All of that takes food, shelter, protection; those are factors that have been delegated between the genders in different ways in different populations, depending on the "niche" they're in - the threats they face, the food sources they have available, how much strength or endurance these tasks take; whether they can be done by someone who is pregnant or nursing; etc.

uncrystal wrote:
Um, no, just taking note of the fact that they lived better than women of the same social class.

Being alive vs. being dead or being in a position where you're likely to get dead quick is the pinnacle of privilege.
Are we still talking in evolutionary terms? Because if so, surviving to successful reproduction - and having your offspring reproduce successfully, and so on - is the "pinnacle of privilege", regardless of your gender.

Besides which, does "privilege" (like rights) exist outside of social constructs?

[/biologist]

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Dar on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:04 am

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting pretty sick and tired of what seems to me to be juvenile one-upsmanship.

Lets settle this once and for all.

Everyone get out their rulers and measure the length of their cocks or the depth of their vaginas. Whoever has the longest one wins.

Then maybe we can move on and start trying to make the world a better place.

If anyone thinks I must accept certain aspects of feminist philosophy to be a good person and try to help the world: fuck you.

If anyone thinks I must reject certain aspects of feminist philosophy to be a good person and try to help the world: fuck you.

So, get out your measuring tapes and lets get this game settled.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  dancer_rnb on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:54 am

Skep tickle wrote:

One man can impregnate many women, but then the population is less robust because there's less genetic diversity among the offspring, which means less resistance to new threats and also more genetic weaknesses (recessive conditions) among their offspring.

[/biologist]


So how do lions survive? Or the other animals that have one dominant male mating with several females?
Your model is too simple.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Kurt H on Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:33 am

uncrystal wrote:
Yes, because gender roles are primarily due to evolution. Rolling Eyes

Regardless of what you think of modern gender roles, to believe that our gender roles aren't based in human survival is wacky. Dead women=no babies. Dead men=less men.

The key word in that sentence is "primarily." Are there some gender role concepts that derive from biology and are universal in human societies? Yes, but very few. It is a huge error to view the strict gender roles of agricultural societies as having a biological origin, and an even worse error to view modern society as a departure from this biological grounding. Most of the evolutionary time of the human race occurred within forager societies -- societies which often do not exhibit strong gender roles.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  uncrystal on Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:48 am

Dead people = not alive people. Hey, look! I can make equations too. But as an explanation, these equations are too simplistic.

Yes. two sentences of eight words and two equals signs are bound to very simplistic. However, it is not an incorrect point.

I agree with your overall post and fail to see my simplistic comment goes against it.

One man can impregnate many women, but then the population is less robust because there's less genetic diversity among the offspring,


Very true, but certainly "less diversity" (more dead men) was preferable to much much less diversity (more dead women). Considering that we descended from twice as many women as man (meaning twice as many women lived long enough to reproduce) clearly women were the more valuable component.

so in fact there are going to be "dead women"

Wait wait.. women die!? Explain this to me again *real* slow Wink

Luckily, others in the population can raise the offspring of a dead parent to sexual maturity. It doesn't have to be the genetic mother or father.


Okay, but the more children a woman bears before she (likely) dies in childbirth the better the chances she will have a child (or many children) reach the age of sexual maturity.

Are we still talking in evolutionary terms?

No. Having your life be valuable (even if it's just for baby makin') is a privilege over someone whose life is considered expendable.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Matthew Bailey on Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:35 pm

piginthecity wrote:
Two main problems I have are, firstly that I don't accept that 'Identity Politics' is the way forward. This can broadly be defined as politics which is firstly concerned with identifying a demographic divide to be on one side or the other of, then using that as a lens through which to view the entirety of politics.

This is pretty much the sum-total of my problem with the other forum, and with many of the people involved in A+.

Identity Politics is a failed ideology. And it is a divisive ideology.

The issues of equality and justice do not need to be falsely reduced to issues of identity, which is an accidental and arbitrary distinction as it is. People cannot affect the biological identities, and most other identities are entirely arbitrary.

The whole concept of "Privilege" comes from Identity Politics. Hell, it IS Identity Politics.


piginthecity wrote:The second problem is to do with discourse. I've admitted that I can be personally be sexist or reflect sexism in the wider society. Now, in principle, I don't mind this being pointed out. Challenge is good and if i'd never been challenged I'd probably be a totally sexist pig. I admit there's a level of pain (my side), some of which is constructive but there are some limits to observe.

1) If someone is genuinely offended by my sexism individually, then they can let me know in strong terms. The upshot will be that either I'll apologise, or decide that I'll simply avoid that person, or be more careful, because I'll have them down as thin-skinned.

2) If someone isn't offended, and just pointing out my sexism by way of 'conversation' or as an example, or as a topic we can discuss as skeptics together, then this is perfectly fine too. Their tone should indicate that this is so and that no apology or retraction is required, it's just conversation.

3) If someone isn't offended personally, but feels that they should object in strong terms on behalf of some (usually hypothetical) person or group and ask me to retract or apologise on their behalf, then I can't take this seriously. This is because the model of what is 'offensive' in this person's head is too subjective. Also this person is focussing on my conversation at a meta-level, not on the conversation I want to have, which is a dishonest way of responding and also a claim of higher status (justified in the case of true offence but not in this case). Also, the impression is given that the individual has 'trained themselves' to act offended or claim offence in certain cases, but this is not necessarily rooted in any actual emotion which I should respect.

4) This whole thing is complicated by the factor that some people find some topics or viewpoints inherently distressing, so even raising an issue can be said to be offensive. I have to say I take a somewhat uncompromising line against this. If we're skeptics we have to be able to chew anything over.


While these are good points, what do they have to do with feminism?

I mean... I understand that there is some relation... I'm just not connecting the dots or something.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Matthew Bailey on Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:51 pm

uncrystal wrote:
Looking internally at the skeptical movement, I accept that at the moment it is, to some extent a boy's club. It would be much better if it were more diverse. I believe any individual woman who says that she personally is alienated from it and I believe her as to the reasons why if she is speaking for herself. There is clearly some work us boys can do in addressing these reasons, and we are remiss if we do not.
"A boy's club" tends to have negative connotation. Atheist organizations aren't sexist simply because men are more likely to be nonbelievers than women just like they aren't racist simply because whites are more likely to be nonbelievers than most minorities. I'm not sure of the exact breakdown of attendees or speakers at conferences, but in"fairness" men should be over represented because men are over represented in atheism. Diversity is great, but the reality is that people who identify as atheists are largely white males. Maybe push for actual diversity before you push for the appearance of diversity? (note: I'm not accusing you specifically of anything).

I don't know the personal situation of every woman who says she's alienated, but there is a distinction between women literally being unwelcome and women feeling unwelcome because women are in the minority.

This is something that has bothered me as well.

It is akin to an English Professor I had when I was doing my Lower-Division General Education Breadth work.

This professor was a serious nutjob, who called me a "Covert Agent for the Maleocracy, who was trying to enslave her vagina."

I never told her that I don't have much interest in vaginas.

But one of her criticisms was that since I was studying a science and engineering (Computational & Systems Biology, or Cybernetics, my Minor/Second-Major - that has yet to be decided whether it will remain a minor or whether I will get it as a second major - is both a science and engineering) that was underrepresented by women, and since I had done nothing personally to increase the diversity of the major that I was guilty of oppressing little girls who wanted to be engineers or scientists.

Well... For one, I often volunteer at learning centers in poor and disadvantaged neighborhoods where I teach logic and critical thinking skills to kids, often which include little girls. So she was just talking out of the side of her face about me not working to do something about the gender disparity.

But it turns out that far fewer women are interested in science and engineering than are guys.

While it is true that there are a great many women who cannot get into these fields for one reason or another, there are far more men who cannot get into this field. Women are usually given preferential admission to Engineering Programs at Universities to increase the diversity of the major. Yet the universities rarely have enough women applicants that they have to turn down anyone (male or female) because of having to accept more women (I looked into this at UCLA, just because I was curious).

So this professor was just repeating feminist criticisms from the past (the 1960s) when she was young, and when it was hard for women to get into engineering programs.

This is a great problem with the feminist movement is that there are still a great many people who are stuck in the past, or who have had these ideologies promoted to them by people who are stuck in the past (and the students do not know any better than to not question their teachers, and wind up swallowing all manner of BS as a result).

Many of the younger feminists tend to be much more sensible (although there are still many crazed young feminists out there), and to rely more upon evidence than they do ideology - which is what is needed.

We need to remember that there are very real differences between people.

But despite those differences, we need to have a society that is effectively blind to those differences when dealing with issues of basic needs, education, healthcare, housing, access to government, law, wages, etc.

People's merit needs to come from their accomplishments (which may or may not have to do with biological differences between them and others), and not from who they are, who their parents are, what school they went to, what color their hair or skin is, what religion they are or are not, or with whom they choose to be sexually active.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Matthew Bailey on Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:53 pm

piginthecity wrote:
I think we've got to be really clear (and I'm not aiming this bit at Dar - but to everyone) that, now that the wider skeptical community has largely rejected A+ as an embarrassing irrelevance, and it seems it's clear that it will wither on the vine, we have got to be careful not to start a counter-witch-hunt. It's very important that women skeptics (existing or new) are not put under pressure to distance themselves from feminism just to make us feel more comfortable. In fact, I think it should be made clear that feminists are welcome in the skeptical community, and that issues such as patriarchy theory can be discussed along with everything else. What we've learned from the debacle is, i hope, not that some issues are too toxic to be discussed, but rather that any issue can be discussed from a skeptical perspective so long as it is not made the basis for divisive identity politics.

*APPLAUSE*

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Matthew Bailey on Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:05 pm

captainmjs wrote:
If people aren't allowed to disagree with an idea to remain within the group, if certain things are unqueestionable, then that's dogma. Sorry.

A misrepresentation of the forum at best.

Hardly.

Have you seen what happened to me over there?

I joined the forum, read most of their material (much of which I did before I joined), read a great many things (which began to concern me).

And then when a posted a few comments saying how great it was that Atheism+ had such a valuable set of ideals and symbols to support it, I was dogpiled and accused of all sorts of things, demanded that I explain things, then told to shut up (while all of the members continued to misrepresent my statements, and accuse me of being a liar).

Then I was banned for pointing out a reality.

Then I had several members stalking me around threads.


captainmjs wrote:
And again, i'd love for you to actually try to get them to debate this over there. I'd try myself, but I'm banned for asking questions and not falling to my knees in a groveling, sniveling mass when the rest of the forum decided I was wrong and "just didn't get it", and suggested I shut up and lurk until I could toe the party line.

Its kind of interesting that my first few posts were on a thread about gender neutral pronouns and how I didn't get it and didn't understand the discussion but rather than being banned they simply engaged in a rational and thoughtful discussion with me on the subject. So clearly I question your experience. What forum name did you post under, the same one?

Mine is under the same name... Feel free to have a look.

They didn't outright ban me, but they did put all of my comments under "Moderation" so that nothing I have posted in the last week has made it online.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Matthew Bailey on Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:09 pm

captainmjs wrote:stuff


Oh, and they have "cleaned house" quite a bit.

MANY comments on the forum are regularly changed/edited by the mods to alter the content more to their liking.

That they did this was, to me, the most disrespectful thing I could imagine.

It is exactly what Winston did for the Ministry of Truth in 1984: retcon the history so that it matched the current version of history that the party decided was true.

It makes it impossible to discover what really happened.

Matthew Bailey

Matthew Bailey

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