December 16, 2011

"Feminist blogging is definitely not for wimps, which is why the vast majority of us do it pseudonymously."

"The condescension and mansplaining is hard to bear, particularly if you have to deal with a fair amount of this in the meat world."

So writes Claire Potter, which seems not to be a pseudonym, so I guess she's very bold and brave. Who's doing the "condescension and mansplaining," the blogger or the enemies out there who are presumably the reason why feminist blogging is "definitely not for wimps"?

Potter links the word "mansplaining" to the Urban Dictionary:
Mansplain...
to delighting in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation
Up until I got to the word "he," I thought "mansplaining" referred a feminist expounding feminist dogma to an idiot man. It's the other way around. The man is the condescender in this particular portmanteau word. 

So the feminist blogger has the difficult struggle with other people condescendingly explaining things to her. Is there any awareness that she is condescendingly explaining things to other people?

Potter proceeds to enumerate 3 "dangerous topics for the feminist blogger": race, sexual assault, and sports. The dangerousness seems to register in the form of people who simply argue with the feminist blogger. For example, Potter says that when she writes about race, "weirdos" speak up and say... well, she doesn't say what they say, only that "They all seem to think that people who write about race have the same power over other citizens that you would normally attribute to, say, the federal government, a state legislature or the Supreme Court." That's pretty vague, and I'm not sensing what the "danger" is.

Anyway, Potter's blog — published at the prestigious Chronicle of Higher Education —  is called "Tenured Radical." Tenured Radical is a delightful phrase to head an essay boasting of one's own courage in the face of adversity.

UPDATE: I respond to Potter's reaction to me.

59 comments:

Scott M said...

Is there any awareness that she is condescendingly explaining things to other people?

I've never argued with a feminist, male or female, that was otherwise. I'm not sure what their various levels of self-awareness were, but I'm guessing not very high based on the subject matter of their points of view.


I wonder why she considers "sports" dangerous. Perhaps she still trucks with the feminist belief that Superbowl Sunday is high noon for mansplaining with assault instead of argument. I wonder, honestly, what it feels like to come from a point of view in which tenets are debunked on a regular basis.

WV - "bumshlub" I'm not sure what this word means, but I'm sure it's a negative description of a man in some way.

beast said...

The article was just as viperous and condescending as every other conversation I've ever had with a feminist.Logically it always seems to come down to the fallacy of special pleadins.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Claire Potter comes off as a distaff version of Thin-Skinned Bad Boys like Bill Maher, who alternate between bragging about their willingness to give offense, and whining about how misunderstood they are when offense is taken.

That "to delighting in" at the beginning of the Urban Dictionary entry made me want to read it aloud in Boris Badenov's voice, which improved it considerably. I'd still shorten the definition to: disagreeing while male.

TMink said...

Projection, thy name is feminism.

Was that simple and condescending enough? Really a lot of current and recent feminist ideology can be explained with three words: borderline personality disorder.

Condescending, pathologizing, and accurate. I am such a man.

Trey

campy said...

"Oh, you're a feminist? That's soooo cute!"

Marshal said...

How funny that feminism is reduced to inventing a new language whose very words delegitimize ideas based on the sex of the speaker.

"Feminists" like this aren't interested in equality. They just want the inequality to benefit them.

SGT Ted said...

Feminism is merely sexist female supremacism that uses the language of Communists to assign all men as oppressors and all women as victims of oppression. Leftwing feminists are extremists. Most of what they write about is bullshit.

The reason those topics are "dangerous" for her to write about is because that's when she really comes off as an extremist idiot.

Freeman Hunt said...

I checked out her blog to find out what it was like. This exchange in the comments of this post was illuminating.

reddevil 1 week ago
It seems odd to me that anyone posting in an academically oriented publication like the CHE would have as many unsupported generalizations as this blog. In the second paragraph Claire states "No sport but football seems to feature so many off the field assaults" Seems? Is there any evidence on this, especially if looked at on a per capita basis?

And I am particularly disturbed by this thought: "Which of these kids in Wayne Hills behaved like vicious and immoral thugs is not clear, but it seems to me that any of the parents of those charged should be sufficiently horrified by what happened to not have challenged the suspensions levied by the school district until the incident is fully resolved in the courts." Does it not matter that any of the young men that were charged with this aweful assult, might actually be innocent? I would agree that the parents of those charged should not challenge the suspensions if their sons were guilty, but if they were not guilty, then why should the student be suspended?

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tenured_radical 1 week ago in reply to reddevil
When I use the word "seems" that's exactly what I mean: just google high school and violence together and see what *you* come up with. "Is" would require empiricism. You are an idiot.

And I don't know why you are *not* disturbed by the court's and the district's time being taken up by getting students into an essentialy meaningless football game, rather than focusing on the issue at hand, which is that a large number of players thought it was ok to beat up two other students, or watch while others did. I would have pulled my kind off that team until the incident was resolved and my son's culpability -- or lack thereof -- was resolved.
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Socratease2 1 week ago in reply to tenured_radical
Requiring empiricism makes somebody an idiot? Wow, you guys are radical but hard to believe you have tenure.
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tenured_radical 1 week ago in reply to Socratease2
But how can you require anything of me?
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reddevil 1 week ago in reply to tenured_radical
Oh Claire - Did I touch a nerve? What I said was that I found your blog to be odd. In a publication such as the CHE to have so many assumptions drawn with so little data to support them. Are people not allowed to have opinions that differ from yours? Perhaps I had too high an expectation from a tenured faculty member. And then to resort to name calling? Tsk tsk.
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tenured_radical 1 week ago in reply to reddevil
Do you know me? I find it quite unnerving when people who are anonymous call me by my first name. It's far too intimate and I wish you wouldn't unless you are willing to say who you are, Red. But as to your critique, I just think it doesn't respond to what the post is. Blogs are not empirical: blogs argue for a position, and if you don't like this one, don't read it.
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Socratease2 1 week ago in reply to tenured_radical
But how can you require anything of me?

I'm not sure, is that question a zen riddle? Seems mysterious. I really don't expect much, but I since you are pondering the topic, I guess I would like to require that your article, sorry blog, have some of that nasty empiricism in it.
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tenured_radical 1 week ago in reply to Socratease2
But you can't require that -- it's a blog, which makes it like an op-ed, not a front page story. And even if the post were "empirical", I am sure it wouldn't suit you and you would find fault with it, because you haven't engaged anything I have said on its own terms. Now go away, ok?

Freeman Hunt said...

The exchange also offers a nice argument against having "Likes" for comments.

Freeman Hunt said...

How is that person a professor? Are many professors like that? I don't remember having many like that, and I'm hardly a defender of the higher ed environment.

Jason said...

The feminist blogosphere is pathetic... at least judging from the ones I've read a lot.

The critical thinking skills are just non-existent. Beast nailed it with the special pleadings fallacy, except they layer every other kind of logical fallacy you can think of onto it.

These "feminists" and their commenter sycophants are exhibit "A" in the failure of the field liberal arts education to police its own.

Jason said...

Oops. "Field OF liberal arts education to police its own."

WV: Seles.

Backstabbers.

Dan in Philly said...

We don't expect chicks to understand mansplaining...

Paul Zrimsek said...

When I use the word "seems" that's exactly what I mean: just google high school and violence together and see what *you* come up with. "Is" would require empiricism. You are an idiot.

Mansplaining!

Freeman Hunt said...

When I use the word "seems" that's exactly what I mean: just google high school and violence together and see what *you* come up with. "Is" would require empiricism. You are an idiot.

Mansplaining!


Ha. Yes, that was the precise point at which I stopped and read the comment over a few times thinking that I must have misunderstood something because she couldn't possibly have written what it seemed she did.

Monkeyboy said...

When I use the word "seems" that's exactly what I mean: just google high school and violence together and see what *you* come up with. "Is" would require empiricism. You are an idiot.

Mansplaining!


She has no word for when a feminist does this, for the same reason that a fish has no word for "water"

Rockeye said...

The "danger" seems to be the possibility of hearing an opposing opinion, and the potential that the opposing opinion might be treated as if it had merit. Orthodoxy of any sort dislikes scrutiny the way cockroaches fear the kitchen lights.

Thomas said...

Some people, including KC Johnson, disagree with me, especially when I say things that are unsupported or just plain invented. In other words, when I make shit up, or lie, people do mean things, like say that I'm making shit up, or lying. And they do that because they're men.

I think that's her view.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Has to be dangerous, otherwise she'd have to admit how dull her real life is. (Notice how she uses the edgy phrase "meat world".)

I mean, Tenured Radical? Can you think of any better way to annouce that you're just another member of the Higer Ed herd?

Franklin said...

Phahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

aaaanddd Feminism died just a little bit more after reading that article.

Franklin said...

I mean - mansplaining. Mansplaining!

Lyssa said...

While I completely agree with everything that Althouse said and that this article is pretty silly, I do have to agree with Ms. Potter a little bit on the second issue, rape/assault. Not that talking about it is "dangerous" (why must "strong" women always phrase things as if they are being physically harmed by the exchange of ideas?), but that it does bring out some obnoxious and annoying points of view.

I think every reasonable person can agree that 1) serious sexual assaults do happen, and should be condemned, and 2) false accusations of such do happen, and should be condemned. Yet, in my experience, many seem to treat any discussion of it as there being no position between the two extremes, which is just silly.

David said...

Why would anyone argue with a feminist? It's about as futile as arguing with a vegetarioan.

TMink said...

The feminist movement has been co-opted by untreated sexual abuse and rape survivors. They have turned feminist theory into the McMartin preschool fiasco.

Trey

Amartel said...

Feminism became exactly what it claimed to hate about men. And immitation is the highest form of flattery. Own it, feminists, admit it, so we can all move on.

pm317 said...

""Feminist blogging is definitely not for wimps, which is why the vast majority of us do it pseudonymously.""
------------------

That quote does not make sense. So if you are not a wimp, then why are you are you using a pseudonym?

Seeing Red said...

Up until I got to the word "he," I thought "mansplaining" referred a feminist expounding feminist dogma to an idiot man. It's the other way around. The man is the condescender in this particular portmanteau word.



Feminists are the man - and they are very condescending to who they perceive to be idiots male or female.

Rockeye said...

@PM317
I believe the tacit admission is that the "vast majority of feminist bloggers" aren't terribly brave.

Heart_Collector said...

The word for what she is doing is simply called... CuntSplanin.

Lyssa said...

How is that person a professor? Are many professors like that?

In my experience, yes, a lot of them are. It was one of the things that made me put off post-grad work for so long.

DADvocate said...

I love it when feminists start talking about sports. They generally show great ignorance. Women would be as big, fast, strong as men except their dads didnt' throw ball with them in the backyard.

Did you know the ability to throw is the greatest measurable difference between males and females? (Besides boobs and child bearing.) No woman has broke the 4 minute mile yet. The U.S. boy's high school record for the mile is faster than the world record for women. While Danica Patrick is a helluva drive, she has one win, exactly the same number Trevor Bayne had at the age of 20 years and one day.

I've heard plenty of womanplaining from my sisters over the years.

And so on. Sometimes feminist blogging is dangerous because the truth hurts.

Henry said...

I would have guessed that the difficult struggle for feminist bloggers was lousy traffic.

Althouse -- you got me to link through with the quote about sports. I love sports and I wanted to see how writing about sports was dangerous for feminists.

Based on how she describes it, it turns out she's not writing about sports. She only has two dangerous topics: race and sexual assault. She writes about sports when it serves the purpose of talking about race and sexual assault.

ricpic said...

All the bitching in the world availeth not, patriarchy always reasserts itself. Why? Because sans patriarchy society unravels. Always.

Scott M said...

(Besides boobs and child bearing.)

You should probably whittle that down to just child bearing, these days.

Another thing the interested might look at, re you post about measurable differences, is the Army's experiment with mixed calisthenics. Not that they don't run and exercise together even today, but there was a short period of time when the Army tried to use the same benchmarks for men and women. The result? The male's performance began eroding.

I'm not sure women should be in ground combat unit even IF a given woman can lug a full combat kit 10k at a run and perform every physical requirement of the MOS, but if it were ever considered, the standards should not be lowered to allow it.

TosaGuy said...

"tenured_radical 1 week ago in reply to reddevil
When I use the word "seems" that's exactly what I mean: just google high school and violence together and see what *you* come up with. "Is" would require empiricism. You are an idiot."


I entered into Google: Hillary Clinton Supermodel

Result: 9.4 million hits.

Fen said...

Mansplaining:

"If women are truly equal, how is it that you were so easily dominated by men for the last 50,000 years?"

"If you're free today, go thank a white male"

Quaestor said...

Lyssa wrote:
I think every reasonable person can agree that 1) serious sexual assaults do happen, and should be condemned, and 2) false accusations of such do happen, and should be condemned.

Granting points 1 and 2 makes the whole sexual assault meme politically useless, ergo the preponderant of the former and the dearth of the latter in the bloggings of Claire Potter and friends. Feminists love an accusation of rape, unless the accused is a Democratic officeholder. It's there second favorite thing after rape rape.

ScottM wrote:
WV - "bumshlub" I'm not sure what this word means, but I'm sure it's a negative description of a man in some way.

A bumshulb is a panhandler who sends his ill-gotten gains at McDonald's when there's a Macaroni Grille across the street.

wv: unestic - a thought or deed free of the influence of Werner H. Erhard.

traditionalguy said...

Listening to opinionated men who are off the mark but sure they are right is called Ordinary Life.

Polite society does that, and then moves along after making one more friend.

The "How TO" book on making friends boils down to, " let them talk about themselves and appear interested."

But then Feminists are another protected species that needs protection from ordinary and boring men.

Quaestor said...

Correction - A bumshulb is a panhandler who sends his ill-gotten gains at McDonald's when there's a Macaroni Grille across the street. should read A bumshulb is a panhandler who spends his ill-gotten gains at McDonald's when there's a Macaroni Grille across the street.

I hate when my bon mots are spoilt by typos.

EDH said...

"Feminist blogging is definitely not for wimps, which is why the vast majority of us do it pseudonymously."

So the "vast majority" are "wimps"?

"I told ya, they're a bunch of wimps."

MadisonMan said...

When I use the word "seems" that's exactly what I mean: just google high school and violence together and see what *you* come up with. "Is" would require empiricism. You are an idiot.

It seems like she doesn't know what a hollow argument is.

Phil 3:14 said...

We have met the enemy and ...

Renee said...

She's right. It's not for wimps.

I always gets the sense these types of feminists, have been truly hurt, so there is this wall of toughness.

Ultimately and unfortunately they become miserable bullies lashing out at anything that moves, and their emotional issues distract us from real women's problems.

Men can be misogynistic jerks no doubt, but being a complete bitch won't do anything to solve that problem.

For them, women are either classified being a bitch or a doormat. They can never realize that it is possible for women and men to be nice and considerate to each other without male castration.

edutcher said...

The feminist movement has always been the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Hard Left; thus the reason feminists have to have things mansplained is that their worldview is so ridiculous, as Ann's many diavlogs with Andrea Marcotte and Hanna Rosin illustrate.

Ann Althouse said...

Potter proceeds to enumerate 3 "dangerous topics for the feminist blogger": race, sexual assault, and sports.

In that case, I think Miss Potter just nominated Ann for the Medal of Honor.

PS Mansplaining sounds like somethin' Ricky had to do with Lucy.

Freeman Hunt said...

Her problem is not that she's a jerk. A person can be a brilliant, insightful jerk.

Her problem is that she's intellectually lazy. Add some rigor to that thought.

kwood said...

We despise in others the faults most manifest in ourselves. Same old same old.

27183 said...

Very nice skewering Professor. Especially with regards to the "Tenured" part.

Quaestor said...

edutcher wrote:
The feminist movement has always been the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Hard Left...

That brings a humorous image to mind -- Allred, Steinem et al. all in floral prints and whimsical chapeaux with china teacups on their knees, eating watercress and petit fours, with Madam Chair calling to order. Too bad it isn't like that. Feminists mostly don't to the hat thing well due to a general lack of whimsy amongst other things. Exceptionally Bella Abzug was always seen in a hat. Unfortunately she never pulled the hat brim low enough to suit me.

Fen said...

Potter proceeds to enumerate 3 "dangerous topics for the feminist blogger": race, sexual assault, and sports.

There's a 4th - Jessica Valenti's breasts. Stop looking at them! Stop it already!

Amartel said...

The feminists, the racebaiters, the queer nation, like their predecessors and intellectual equals throughout history (nazis and other anti-semites, woman-kickers and slavers of all stripes, etc.) are huge wimps. They convince themselves that they're "better" but they can't make a credible argument for their own merits to other people so they hide behind group identity and grievance. They want the moral superiority of being oppressed and to wield that superiority like an oppressor. For the greater good.

Concept: You are not better than other people just because of your color, religion, sex, or sexuality.

Concept: It is one thing to know your history; it is quite another thing to carry on like you were there, like it was your great triumph or your terrible anguish, that your ancestors' experience redounds to you. Stop lying. Your ancestors went to war. You bought an ipod on the internet. Your ancestors invented stuff. You have an ipod. Your ancestors struggled. You have an ipod.

raf said...

Your ancestors struggled. You have an ipod.

I just enshrined this in my repository of frequently useful retorts.

ricpic said...

tradguy said...

The "HOW TO" book on making friends boils down to, "let them talk about themselves and appear interested."

tradguy! I had no idea you were into befriending for advantage. My faith in your sincerity is shattered! shattered!

Nora said...

She should change her pseudonym to Radical_wimp, methink.

jamboree said...

I know a man that condescendingly explains things to me with rock solid confidence...

but that's because he never can get a word in at home.

Hahaha.

No, really. That's true.

I know what she means because I condescendingly explained things to people with rock solid confidence until I got bored with it. (The internet had a lot to do with expediting my exhaustion.) Now I guess it's my turn to smile and nod - out of pure apathy, not out of some equally condescending maternal urge.

It can be frustrating when you have two explainers and no listeners.

It's amazes me how much people love you when you just smile and listen - how suddenly they think you are JUST GREAT - never mind that most of the time it's only an appearance of listening.

Conversations need to be two-way to be genuine and the explainers and the fake smiling listeners need to understand that.

I'm am rock solidly confident about this.

Scott M said...

I'm am rock solidly confident about this.

You are wrong in every way it's possible to be wrong and I will fight you until the end of the Earth.

jamboree said...

Just clicked on the link ...

Ryan Gosling. Yes.

Major kudos.

The Counterfactualist said...

There are some really good comments in here. I suppose my contribution is that Claire Potter seems to focus on queernesss studies, sexuality, and lesbian history (http://cpotter01.faculty.wesleyan.edu/).

Nothing wrong with that, but it means that she may have a bit more of an extremist viewpoint as a feminist than other less extreme feminists. Sprinkle in that she is an academic, so inclined to have idiosyncratic beliefs; and a left-wing historian who describes herself as a radical, and you're looking at someone who is plausibly very out of the mainstream in terms of her beliefs.

It would not be surprising that on subjects she considers within her wheelhouse, such as queer studies, feminism, the history of sexuality, or race, that she might come across as condescending and biased to those who are not scholars in those areas. Especially on a ranty blog that she doesn't consider serious.

Also, one might consider that perhaps she disagrees with empiricism altogether; perhaps empiricism is patriarchal or some such. As a radical historian of human sexuality, she might think that other methods are appropriate, like psychoanalytic theory or deconstructionism or other left-wing modes of critique.

So as bizarre as her responses seem, they may be exactly what you would expect from this person. I've learned to simply ignore people whose perspective irk me. It works.

paul a'barge said...

Hey Claire ... Iron my shirts!

The Hounds of TASSers'ville said...

Ah yes, Claire Potter-we know the name well.

Back in 2006, while the Duke University faculty and administration, led by 88 members of their professtocracy of dubious qualifications, Potter (and others) echoed, approved, and defended their rush to judgment. This includes the extremely unethical (and illegal) grade retalliation against two lacrosse players by Kim Curtis (search "Dowd Lawsuit"). All her blogging on the case was highly misinformed, and spurrilous in its facts. Potter can complain all she wants about the criticism she receives for her blogging-perhaps if she wrote something other than libellous trash...?

We recommend reading noted blogger and professor K.C. Johnson's "Durham in Wonderland" blog for his analysis and fact-checkin of Potter.

Posted by Hound No. 2
The Hounds of TASSers'ville