30 January 2010

“No! Hell, No!” –– Kristen Stewart as Emily Lewin, Adventureland, 2009

On the date of the 62nd year after Mohandas K Gandhi’s 30 January 1948 murder and from Holocausts, Chapter Three, “If you were not hysterical, Legion, then, … then is when I would be worried about you.” [--- Margaret Stanley, lifelong Quaker, on the telephone, while preparing for her nursing quest to China ---http://bluemAAs.public.iastate.edu/chapter_three] and responding to Factory Production Floor Worker and Teenager Eric's profundity on small men about their patriarchal entitlement to women's children and money, "And ... he takes it?!":

“Six Iowa winters I simply left the heat off in the house, there was no money. So cold, 34 degrees Fahrenheit in the kitchen when I actually measured it once, that Rex, a female, Eastern Florida kingsnake inside her aquarium’s hollow log, did not move for months and months and months each year. So cold I often wondered, ‘til late April, if she hadn’t up and died in some previous frigid period, and I, ‘course, during these spells just hadn’t known she was actually frozen to death.

Besides the vast amount of physical energy expended, I spent so much mental energy in just remembering that the heat was off. Always, even when I was away from home. The pipes might freeze, the few plants friends had given me and number one son Zane’s beloved dimestore zebra finch, Lady, might not make it although she ruffled as much as she could on her perch.

More than once no water came out of the dilapidated apartment’s shower faucet and the slop water in the toilet would nearly overflow until I could pour enough boiling water over the tub tiles or down the stool sewer, and the water pressure from behind the thawing obstruction could finally force the rest of the ice loose and down. Nearly every January and February noontime, many years oftener, I raced home from the university to check on the plumbing and the pipes. This meant, of course, usurping all the lunch hour in this endeavor. Parking around campus was so far from the office that half the time off for the noontime break was used up just in getting to, and back in from, the heap that is Ol’ Black, my incredibly faithful 1986 Chevy Eurosport wagon. Which I own and drive still today. Luckily, that rundown joint on Havencourt Drive with the mailbox – sized chunks of orange and brown wallpaper splashed upside the kitchen walls that had been my, the Boys’ and their pets’ wonderful little home now that Herry and I were divorced, was an inside unit of four of them lovingly referred to by its absentee landlord as condominiums. Had it been an end condo, the pipes would, indeed, have burst more than once. By my bedside, I placed two alarm clocks. One for the middle of the nighttime was set to scream at me at 2:30 am so I could rise to run all the faucets and flush all the drains. The second was set by which, then, I rose a second time – that time for the day’s labor. Every night. Four months. Six winters.”

22 January 2010

Why – Women – Need – Freedom – FROM – Religion

ARIS: America Growing More Secular

According to CUNY's definitive American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), the number of "Nonreligious" American adults more than doubled between 1990 and 2001 while the number of "Religious" and "Christians" declined. The "Nonreligious" are now the fastest growing segment of the population.
1990* 2001**
NONRELIGIOUS 8% (14.3 million) 14.3% (29.4 million)
Religious 90% 81%
Christian 86% 77%
Mormon/LDS 1.4% (2.5 million) 1.3% (2.8 million)
Jewish 1.8% (3.1 million) 1.3% (2.8 million)
Muslim/Islamic 0.3% (0.5 million) 0.5% (1.1 million)
Refused to reply 2.3% 5.4%

Regarding religious affiliation, the authors note:

"Often lost admidst the mesmerizing tapestry of faith groups that comprise the American population is also a vast and growing population of those without faith. They adhere to no creed nor choose to affiliate with any religious community. These are the seculars, the unchurched, the people who profess no faith in any religion.

". . . the present survey has detected a wide and possibly growing swath of secularism among Americans. The magnitude and role of this large secular segment of the American population is frequently ignored by scholars and politicians alike."

ARIS survey shows 16% of Americans are "secular"

Regarding religious views, the authors of CUNY's survey note:

"In all, sixteen percent (16%) described their outlook as secular or somewhat secular while seventy-five percent (75%) described their outlook as religious or somewhat religious. . . . [A]t least ten percent of the population clearly and unambiguously considers itself 'secular' rather than 'religious.' Another six percent regard themselves as 'somewhat secular.' "

Overall, the authors note:

"The greatest increase in absolute as well as in percentage terms has been among those adults who do not subscribe to any religious identification."

* 1990 National Survey of Religious Identification (NSRI). 113,000+ samples
** 2001 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). 50,000+ samples
Graduate Center, City University of New York

This information provided by:

Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 750
Madison WI 53701
(608) 256-8900

16 January 2010

“ … the inevitable pile – on that will ensue.” = the backlashing blowback when trying to beat back the normalization of web woman – loathing

My best guess is that the misogynous commentors burn at a white-hot temperature, hotter than anything I've felt. Affronts to their worldview--someone, especially a woman, saying women are oppressed, or even female performers on YouTube not asking their permission to exist--enrage them more than affronts to our views enrage us. They feel they just have to spew or they'll explode. I seldom take them on in blog comments because I'm so much less livid.

Not offering an explanation here, of course, just reading the thermometer. Maybe a feminist with a little time to spare should give herself a mandator quota of X comments over Y period of time on DoubleX or HuffPo or the like, to speak up against the worst of it?
I guess the difference between the Internet and meatspace is that I can avoid most of those individuals in meatspace and so I do. I'm more concerned with the impact those comments might have over time. It might even become socially acceptable to hate-on-women all the time in public spaces. I hope that is not the case but familiarity breeds contempt.
Echidne, It's also that people wouldnt' dare say half the stuff to you in meatspace that they'd say to you on the internets. The medium lends itself to less self-censoring than occurs in meatpsace.
I too was more optimistic about the way women were viewed before coming online. The internet has been the greatest force behind my feminism becoming more radicalized and hard-line, because it shown me just how much casual misogyny lurks in the hearts of men. Internet comments lift the veil of political correctness, and people are free to say what they really think, rather than what is polite.

I have also wondered why you don't tend to see many feminist counter-arguments on comment threads rife with misogny. I think women simply block it out and try to ignore it as much as possible. I know many times I have been tempted to respond, but decide not to, because I simply can't be bothered with the inevitable pile-on that will ensue.

Recently I thought about making a kind of "feminist defence-force" site. Where links could be posted to current discussions going on around the web which have a lot of misogny present. And then a bunch of feminists could all swoop in at once and provide those much needed counter-arguments, and preempt any pile-on of lone feminist voices. I am still contemplating how such a community might work.

Thanks for writing about this, echidne. I also worry that the misogyny found in online comments might eventually bleed into real life (actually, I think it already has, to some extent. At least among young men).
Do you think the Finally Feminism 101 blog qualifies as a "feminist defense-force" site? I wish the mods there did more in the way of say gathering rape stats from the DOJ or posting studies that prove women actually talk less than men and are actually more reluctant to marry.
Frankly I think that in this case (as with everything) there is more variation within each sex than between the sexes. I know both men and women that never seem to shut up, and both men and women that are really quiet most of the time, and both men and women that will talk a lot in one situation but not in another. The problem with "women talk too much" is that (and this has been studied) the men that say this are not comparing the amount women talk to the amount men talk, but the amount women talk with how much they want them to talk (never). I encountered a group in an online game I play that complained that an NPC was talking too much, like a "typical woman". Never mind that the NPC in question is the leader of one of the 5 main forces on our side of a war, never mind that she is leading in an elite squad of us to infiltrate the enemy's fortress. She's a woman first and foremost and that means she should just SHUT UP.

I reported the group for sexism and left. No point saying anything, I'd get discredited because I'm a woman.
Wonder if we can borrow Pharyngula's horde. Or take over 4chan.
Sadly, Pharyngula's horde is full of "what about the men"-ning and "I can't possibly ever think anything sexist because I'm nice to my wife"-type denialism of institutionalized sexism.
Damn. Pharyngula himself seemed decent, but I can never wade through all the comments there.
The internet is real life. And the hatred has bled onto the internet from society built in meatspace, not the other way around.
I follow the Sanity Watchers Plan that I discovered over at Shapely Prose, which entails avoiding most comment threads unless I know the site I'm on is a reasonably safe space.
"I know many times I have been tempted to respond, but decide not to, because I simply can't be bothered with the inevitable pile-on that will ensue."

I have often felt the same way, and I venture to say a great deal of commenters feel this as well — that it's just not worth arguing with someone who wants to fight you that badly.
Somehow a lot of men hate women for some reason. Perhaps at a deep level they hate their mother, who for a significant part of childhood was the most important person in their life. Of course we know this attitude is at least 2000 years old witness the epistles of St. Paul about women keeping silent, and the way homes should be run. (Of course Paul also said that being married was a concession to weakness, it was better to be single). But then Paul expected the world to come to an end in a few years anyway. Actually it would be interesting for an anthropologist to look at the comment streams and reach some conclusions about attitudes.
"Perhaps at a deep level they hate their mother" = This is how the responsibility for what men do is shifted to women.
A fine list of some of the most aggravating aspects of the typical expression of misogynists. It was one of the most startling things about comments on leftist blogs, how much raw and freely expressed sexism there is on the left. Also a shock, was how hesitant those who oppose misogyny are to call the jerks on it. What is the reason for this hesitation? Fear of being called a nag? Other names? Peer pressure? A lot of it boils down to fear of being discounted as a serious person whose ideas are worth listening to, of being characterized as being a kill joy - as if they expect us to feel joy at their jocular, hateful free expression. It shouldn’t go unnoticed that the attempted suppression of our freely expressed objection takes the form of, mostly men, nagging, hectoring, lording it over. Essentially doing what they are accusing women of doing as they say it.

It’s tempting to go into the phenomenon of leftists’ hatred and demeaning of women on the basis of its cause but the important thing is to try to suppress bigotry. I don’t really care why they do it or if they feel frustrated when it’s opposed. I don’t feel anymore for the pain of a sexist suppressed than I do for a racist repressed. I don’t care if their adulthood misbehavior is the result of malign socialization, you can use that excuse for anything. Any pain felt by them is self-generated and fully deserved.

The way you do this is to call them on it and to discourage it by inhibiting the perpetrators. And the only way to do that is for all of us to call it, consistently. If it means hijacking the discussion on blog threads for a while, that’s exactly what the sexists are doing now. The useless, counterproductive expression of misogyny is morally wrong and destructive to progress and suppressing it is both moral and useful for making things better. Women shouldn’t feel as if they’re inhibiting progress by making this an issue, because the expression of sexism distracts and inhibits progress already.
The backlash is usually a bit heavier than being called a nag. Plus, if you're a woman and a feminist it's pretty hard to have a conversation with somebody who apparently doesn't believe you personally are fully human without tearing your hair out.
I'm in favour of reporting it and complaining to the site owner/moderators if I think they'll listen, rather than having a dialogue with those that I know won't listen. Stupid local newspaper website not thinking that sexism/transexism/racism is "offensive content". At least my online game is concerned by offensive content (just you have to report it for them to notice it).
Anthony it's far more than fearing being thought a nag or a killjoy. Women get *death threats* for holding feminist opinions. Remember Biting Beaver? It's not a case of staying out of the kitchen, &c. There can be real issues of safety here.
Anonymous blog commenters, those who use pseudonyms don't have to worry about threats. Bloggers who are known by their real names do have to worry about it. I'm advocating that we tell the sexist creeps to shut up, anonymously if necessary.
"Remember Biting Beaver?"
The woman who flipped the fuck out because her son was looking at porn despite her efforts to indoctrinate him? I try not to.
Do you believe there even is such a bird as "reverse sexism?" Doesn't any kind of "ism" rely on one entity having power? The truth of the matter is that there is no power dichotomy in which women are able to practice sexism.
The answer to that would be long and complicated, but what I was trying to get at is the false practice of generalizing from the behavior of a few individuals to a whole group.
I agree with bridgett--women can certainly hold gender bias, but sexism depends on holding power as a group.
Depends how you define things. A lot of people think of sexism, racism, whatever-ism as simply having bad things to say about that sex, race, whatever, and that institutionalised sexism/racism/whatever-ism is different though obviously belonging under the same umbrella. I've found discussing things with people that have these mental definitions much easier if I use their terms.

Echidne, another way to put it could be prejudice or stereotyping, but it's a hard one to discuss. Frankly away from sites that specifically discuss feminism I use the term sexism like you've just used it, and the term institutionalised sexism for the more problematic specific directions of sexism against women, racism against whatever the minority/not in power group is etc.
Shrieking that women have a bias against men is a silencing technique. It's supposed to make you feel guilty about hurting the feelings of men, which are infinitely fragile and prone to much misunderstanding. For instance, when men continue to subjegate those they claim to love, and a woman brazenly points out this modest fact -- well, hearing that terribly unfair false accusation would naturally cause any man much emotional anguish. How dare you. You are phobic. And prejudiced. You man-hater, you.

But you see, I'm not brainwashed. If and only if men ever get around to not subjegating those they claim to love, then and only then would a negative opinion of men as a class ever fit the definition of "gender bias". In the meantime, being pissed as hell is the only reasonable option for sane folks.
Miska, I believe it's the other way around. Misogyny in real life has bled into on-line comments. It's so easy to spew the hate when you're cloaked in anonymity. It's a free for all.

At my age (I'm a second wave feminist), one would think I wouldn't be so naive. But since I've become really active on the internet, I've been shocked and horrified by some of the things I've read. It makes me angry, but it also makes me sad. Who's raising our boys?

As for responding, I pick and choose. Someone told a rape joke on a message board I go to every day. I called him out. His response was "I didn't think anyone would be offended by that. I'm sorry", the "I'm sorry" being sarcastic. That was bad enough. The responses from other posters were even worse. I was called out for being too sensitive, from men and women. It wasn't just "oh lighten up, Rose". There were posts along the lines of "Poor Rosey, she's so fragile she can't handle one little joke about rape. I'll laugh at anything that's funny. I don't care what the subject is. What's your problem?"

OK, this comment isn't about my fragile feelings. The above is just an example of the kind of stuff that happens in comment sections/discussion threads. I think every one of those people who called me out would have done the exact same thing in real life. The anonymity of the internet just makes it easier.
I agree that misogyny comes from real life, and then shows up online because of the freedom of anonymous commenting. But I also think that the normalization of openly expressed misogyny in comments is contributing to making misogyny more acceptable to express openly in real life too.

The internet became popular when I was in my teens. Over the course of about 5-7 years I noticed that the young men in my life (classmates, friends, co-workers etc) were becoming more inclined to say incredibly misogynistic things as a matter of course. It was really striking. Before, they would certainly say sexist/misogynist things, but is was much more subtle, and often they would say these things without really realizing they were sexist. Compared to what I was noticing several years later, which was much more deliberate and venomous - rape jokes, dead hooker jokes etc - and not just when out at a bar, but now even in the office for christsakes. I did a lot of thinking about what could be behind this, and one of the biggest changes was the popularization of the net over that time, which has always been saturated with visible misogyny. It was a bit of light-bulb moment when I realized that.

It's just anecdotal, of course (I would love to see a real study). Also, I don't think that internet commenting necessarily causes an increase in misogyny (probably these young men were always making rape jokes amongst themselves), but I do think it may play a role in normalizing unapologetic expressions of misogyny. Rather than keeping misogynistic small-talk as a private thing between each other, young men seem much more inclined to air it out in the open when in general company, and they also seem to expect that women will laugh along too (and sadly, many do).I don't think the internet is the only factor at play, but I can't shake the feeling that it has contributed.
Yeah, I absolutely get what you're saying. I've had some discussions with people about whether their behavior on the internet has resulted in a change of behavior in real life. A lot of people said that it did. That can a positive or a negative result. For me, it's helped me do a better job of standing up for myself in real life. But it can definitely give raging asshats the attitude that they can say whatever they want about women (or gay people, African-Americans, trans people, etc) and no one will challenge them. It turns into a huge, vicious (and I do mean vicious) cycle. It feeds on itself, for sure.
So where are all the counter-arguments?

Women have responded over and over and over to those types of comments .... and have finally realized it won't help, so they just ignore it. I'm actually glad to not have to wade through the same converation at every blog.
I'm the resident feminist at a few blogs. I used to be more willing to point out misogynist comments, but it just happens too often. The result is also fairly predictable, and the thread will turn into a discussion about the subtleties of sexism. I usually get plenty of support on these particular blogs, but it's still the same argument/discussion over and over and it gets old fast. So now I usually just ignore comments that use "pussy" as insult to a man, or that comment on the looks of a woman in a position where men's looks would be ignored, or even the comments that border on slut-shaming. I'll still call out people on blatant misogyny, but it just seems so futile to try to have a useful discussion about subtleties, even when I get support and agreement from other commenters.
You know, it's not just at feminist blogs or feminist topics. There is a reason I don't read much mainstream commentary online. EVERYTHING is leaking misogyny and I just get so sick of it. If it's not a deliberately woman-friendly space, then forget it.
I agree catgirl. I end up letting a lot of stuff go, because I'm just banging my head against a brick wall. Unfortunately, that's what they want. They're bullies, and they know if they keep shouting and talking over the people who disagree with them, those in disagreement will eventually give up. Yelling back doesn't help. Trying to have a reasonable discussion doesn't help. I mean, it just turns into a flame war.

I do call out the use of derogatory names for women (no need to repeat them here. I'm sure y'all know what they are). And I find it interesting that the place on which I get the most support is a fashion blog. Quoting Bert Cooper on Mad Men: "One never knows where loyalty in born."
The response is so formulaic and predictable that continuing to speak up (tho we must!) becomes boring/frustrating.

From Miss Andrea's http://feminazi.wordpress.com/2007/11/26/evolution-of-an-asshat-and-the-power-of-forgiveness%20%20/:
Man says *yawn* I haven’t done anything wrong, what are you talking about, I don’t see a problem, she deserved it, anyway it’s just a joke, grow a thicker skin, the intention wasn’t what you think, I’m not sexist so it’s okay for me to make sexist jokes, aw you know boys will be boys, we’re just having fun, I didn’t mean it that way, you’re reading too much into it, just relax, don’t you have a knitting forum to bitch about this at, you’re too sensitive, you’re ruining my fun, how can I possibly have a conversation about anything and NOT include a reference to woman-as-sextoy, you’re whining again, get over it already, it’s not that bad, it’s really not my problem, other things are worse, explain your problem with the joke again, no I didn’t understand the first time will you explain it again, it’s your job to teach me–not mine, what did you mean by that, men have troubles too, don’t you care about men, why do you hate men, you’re making too much of it, my wife thought the joke was funny, if you’re going to be rude about it then why should I listen to you, you need to say it “this way”, show me some respect whydon’tcha, *cough* for god’s sake I didn’t know it bothered you that much, why didn’t you tell me sooner, why didn’t you say anything when that other guy did it, stand up for yourself, don’t be rude to me when you stand up for yourself–my feelings are important too! Hey! this stuff bothers women, and it’s harmful! Who knew? *shug* I’m such a great guy for figuring this out on my own! Come back here and lets be friends! Don’t hold a grudge, make sure you forgive – like I always have! I’m not mad at you honey so you better not be mad at me or else I’ll backslide… You just better behave YOURSELF TOO.
Damn, wish I'd seen this before I started trying to call out one of my ex-friends. Though he skipped the "I'm just having fun" bits we got to the blue bit and I gave up.
Glad you like that. I was thinking when I made it that the words would look nice in a rainbow arch, with discretely humping unicorns and flaming castles etc faded into the background. Perfect for a poster and given away to schools for Women's History month. They'll take whatever free resources they can get and not notice it's subversive.
The problem with responding to the crap is that, at some point, you have to decide where you're going to put your energies: into fighting a losing battle with scumbags, or living your life.

One fantasy I've had is, rather than actually posting counter-arguments, simply keeping running count of sexist or misogynistic comments and responding to each such comment with the current count.

-- On another note:

I don't think the problem with comment threads is only that they are so anonymous. Another thing is the asymmetry between bloggers and commenters, which is a lot like celebrities and their fans. The celebrity/blogger is, so to speak, visible all the time. Commenters only "exist" to the extent they comment, and what's more, other commenters pay less attention to other people's comments than they do to the blog post -- or to the responses to their own comments. So, if you're a commenter, how do you get people to look at your comment? You could spend a lot of time and say something new and insightful (and maybe get ignored, anyway.) Or you could just post something that will get people going, either positively or negatively. I think this encourages commenters to say more extreme things than they would in a more one-on-one setting.

I say this because I'm involved in a mostly-male on-line group, but it's not a blog. Any member can post or respond, and threads go pretty much anywhere people take them. It is also small enough that most of the posters there know each other. It's interesting to see how people have grown and changed. (I found out recently that some of the moderators have been helping some of the more difficult posters with their social skills.) There's no shortage of misogynistic and sexist attitudes, but there are also some fairly enlightened folks, too, and over time, people are expressing less and less misogyny. I think the fact that posters know that other people know who they are and know their history makes a big difference.
Yay progress. I like the count idea :D
Thank you for writing this. It does make a difference.
It occurs to me from time to time that it doesn’t help, at all, that the majority of anti-feminist motivation derives from the also-interesting belief that women are moral paragons. And not so much because they’re naturally more moral, tidy, and virtuous but because (the belief goes) men are animals who would lick their butts the way dogs do if they could only reach them, and who would drink out of toilets too but for the memory of their moms steering them towards rightness. With the result that every flaw in any man’s character, including their own, “just goes to show” while any hint of clay in a woman’s feet becomes ZOMG!!!THEMBETRAYINGBICHESAREDRIVINGSOCIETYTORUIN!!!!!


It’s as if they see their “policing” of women as proof of their own desperate need to be lifted out of the sewer. Which they don’t recognize they actually occupy by choice.
This exactly. Every time I hear "but men just can't help themselves" or "I'm a man, what do you expect" or "boys will be boys" type comments I want to scream. I know many men that do not do these "typical" "manly" things, and it is because of them that I have a good opinion of men and know what men really are capable of.
Figleaf, that is partly true. The corollary is the belief that only "good women" deserve not to be treated badly, so discussions very often veer into all the ways women are not good and that somehow means that gender equality is not necessary. The supposed moral superiority of women was a Victorian weapon of some feminists because that was all that seemed available then, I guess. It was completely centered on middle-class and upper-class women at home, the ones Virginia Woolf (I think) called "the angels in the house." If a woman is not an angel that somehow neutralizes everything.
The corollary is the belief that only "good women" deserve not to be treated badly

Exactly, and who gets to decide which women are "good"? Men--on a case-by-case, moment-to-moment basis. Your "good" status can be revoked by any man at any time, apparently.
It isn't really any different from meat space. It isn't possible to be female in public without being the target of men expressing hatred and contempt.
Reading a thread is about the same as walking a city street. You say hello or nod to the peeps you know and ignore the bullies on the corner who consider harrassment a sport.

When it gets too intense or the wrong person is abused the cops make the bullies move on to another corner or the blog mods tell the bullies to knock it off.
Do you recall the change in the comment threads at Digby's when she admitted to the crime of being a woman in public?

Crooks and Liars is an example of what happens over time when a blog owner doesn't have a problem with expressions of hatred and contempt in the threads.

The threads there used to be full of interesting discussions with the occasional misogynist troll or hateful rant. By the time I stopped reading and commenting in the spring of 2008 it had become just another "liberal" boys hate fest. I don't know what it is now.

I think the blog threads are a reflection of society that magnifies and reflects and influences society.

"But one might think that articles with feminist content should be equally attractive to feminists. So where are all the counter-arguments?"

Just like in meat space, when you can't be heard over the din of hecklers you roll your eyes and go where peeps are discussing the issue instead of "supping from the delicoius chum bucket of outrage".

Places remarkably exactly like this place!
I think that misogynistic comments come from a different part of the brain than counterarguments against them would come from. I read that lizard brain "hypostatizes" meaning, which I understand to mean, lizard brain thinks in stereotypes. Elsewhere I read that it also processes rage. It is not that one does not wish to 'argue' with this type of 'reasoning', therefore, but that one simply cannot. Not by using the reasoning facilities of the higher mind.

When a feminist like me tries to reason with this lower level thinking about gender and identity, it doesn't get through. The message that is heard is rather: "Women are not bad; men are bad!" (ie. all that gets through to people who 'think' in this way is a simple reversal -- and that is despite the fact that I might have presented a very nuance argument that was nothing of the sort!)

So women know how pointless/tiring it is to try to argue in this way, and they let various comments stand (not realising, perhaps, that uneducated folks whose thinking may not be so regressive, are taking it all in, and viewing the misogynistic statements seriously.)
"So women know how pointless/tiring it is to try to argue in this way"
As has anyone who ever tried arguing with a creationist, all of which operate on pretty much the same principles...
Your comment is chilling, and indicates the incredible difficulty behind combating any form prejudice with some sort of rational process. I've never quite heard it expressed in this way. Thank you for pointing this out. If this is the science, what should be the way forward for social action.
That's a good point, Jennifer. So to address any of the misogynists one must first make them move to a different part of the brain.
Yes, and what was it that Jennifer helped me to figure out on her blog? (Computer ate my reply over there.) It all stems from a basic insecurity, and yet, trying to help them feel more secure doesn't really work, because it turns out that their insecurity is a black-hole that no amount of bolstering their self esteem will ever fill it. So it's just a waste of time and energy.

Isn't she frickin' brilliant? Smile I think it may take a lizard to fight a lizard, though... Scramble their cognitive dissonance so hard their brain spins out of it's flight pattern.
I don't usually read comments – nevermind leave them – but you've inspired me to do a logic-and-run on a 'women cause street harrasment by encouraging it somehow' logic fail on another blog. I will try to make more of an effort in the future, although I find it quite scary!
I admit that I like to argue with stupid misogynist trolls on comment threads. But usually they outlast me. I eventually move on while they keep repeating themselves. It is worth it though. I often find that someone on the thread (usually a woman who hasn't really thought deeply about this stuff before) will admit to having a lightbulb moment -- and there may be more people who have the lightbulb moment without necessarily saying so on the thread. So it is worthwhile to respond to this stuff. Even if the misogynist doesn't get it, other readers might.
I've had some pleasant surprises from men on some sites where I've actually written a feminist rant and gotten agreement from them. Depends on the site. Anything more mainstream will bring a ton of misogyny. Women have commented that they didn't realize how badly men think of them til they went on the web. I know of some radical feminist sites that have been shut down by spam wars and vicious threats.

So its not very safe for women to really express themselves and too many men do hate women thats why they rape them, batter them and sell them as sex slaves. Thats a given. The problem is women keep to their training to be ever so nice as if that has ever gotten us anywhere. I've been told by the member of the Women's Rape Crisis Center which was Women Against Rape when a group I was part of organized it..."that we don't go screaming in the streets anymore" Well that's very nice but rape is epidiemic. Dr. Tiller's killer is being allowed to use the necessity defense, the Democrats don't care about women's issues and the Repubs would have us perpetually barefoot and pregnant as long as they didn't have to pay for it. So I think the time has come again for women to make a much bigger fuss. Believe me I was there it is only an energized fierce women's movement that has gotten us anything. Stop being good girls, nice girls as you were trained to do by patriarchy for their benefit.
I was thinking about this thread earlier and thought that the idea of a standard comment would be great, one which we could keep on our desktops and just insert into any thread which has a lot of misogyny. It could be formulated to be very polite, to have some global statistics on the plight of women and some U.S. statistics, and to point out why misogyny is a horrible and cowardly thing, especially when done while hiding behind anonymity. For best results, the standard comment (or comments, there could be a few by area) should be shared so that they'd become familiar over time.
The Standard Comment is a great idea! Headed or sig-ed by some label which would become recognized. If we all urged others to join in using it, it would hit like a "splat" and yet take on an impersonal quality, like "Error Message".
If we could just get an Error Message to actually pop up -- on the offender's computer AND on the thread for all to see ...

''ERROR. Terminal Misogyny. User Fails.''
I'm going to think about what such a standard comment should say and urge you to do the same. There might be one for MRA stuff, one for sexual harassment type of stuff and one for economic lies, say.