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Hugo Schwyzer, White Knight

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I’m going to preface this by saying I don’t know a whole lot about Hugo Schwyzer. I know he is famous for being both a man and a feminist, and that’s about it. So I think commenting on his alleged status as a fraud would be “Tea-Partier talking about the Constitution while having no idea what’s in the Constitution” talking-out-your-assery. Not gonna touch it.

I’m not sure how familiar readers at LGM are with the tenets of Men’s Rights activism, but a favorite talking point of those who are sympathetic to the movement is that any man who professes any sort of allegiance to the tenets of feminism  is only doing so to get unfettered access to feminists’ plaid flannel granny panties.

What’s interesting about the Swhyzer interview is that he appears to be an extraordinarily high-profile example what MRA’s would describe as a “White Knight.” If you think the “White Knight” chestnut is 99% bullshit, this is unfortunate. Mostly because people who subscribe to the MRA way of thinking are bound to have serious issues with nuance, so they may not understand that one can believe that a.) being a feminist is a good thing to be and b.) being a feminist may make you more appealing to women who are not Phyllis Schlafly simultaneously.

Now, obviously, I think the feminism men practice when no one’s looking is most important; but I think the idea that men wanting attention and validation from women necessarily cancels out any pretensions at feminism is pretty silly.

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  • He’s a sociopath, for starters:

    http://studentactivism.net/2012/01/07/was-hugo-schwyzers-confession-embellished/

    Seriously, it’s not hard to find feminist men who haven’t kinda sorta tried to murder their former girlfriends.

    (Call me!)

    • bspencer

      Jesus christ.

      • Bill Murray

        does he qualify as a feminist? The Bible certainly records no attempts to kinda sorta kill his girlfriend

        • Schwyzer’s always struck me as weird. Personally, I support feminism, but I don’t think it’s my business to identify as a feminist– that word belongs to women and they have the right to define what is essentially their movement.

          But Schwyzer seemed narcissistic to me. Feminism is not about male experiences, even if the male experiences come from a perspective of a male who wants gender equality. And Schwyzer sure spent a lot of time writing about his experiences. Plus all the sex with his students. Plus the girlfriend incident.

          I don’t, in the end, think that “male feminists” should take such a prominent role as Schwyzer did. Matt Yglesias writes some feminist stuff, it’s there for anyone to see, but he doesn’t go out there trumpeting himself as a feminist or writing about his own experiences with women as if they are feminism. That seems to me to be the proper approach for men who support feminism.

          • Another Holocene Human

            He does give the impression of NPD traits in some aspects in his Daily Beast interview, talking about how sleeping with students or making himself someone to look up to was all about fulfilling his need for ego stroking.

            • lodown

              Schwyzer is definitely narcissistic. He recently admitted in an astounding series of tweets that he latched onto feminism largely for attention and that his critics (many of them women of color) had him dead to rights.

          • Gregor Sansa

            I’m a feminist in the same way I speak Spanish: comfortably, but as a second language. Occasionally I may have something I could teach a native speaker but much more frequently I’ll have something I need to learn from them.

          • FreeSpeech

            You are correct. He is a narcissist who fooled a lot of people at PCC and at All Saints Church in Pasadena where he was appointed a confirmation leader by Rector Ed Bacon, and was in a leadership role over children.

  • I followed the hs story via man boobz. It’s disturbing, to say the least. I’ve know a Schweitzer type in academia, myself. It’s a well worn shtick–sensitive male prof. Serial sexual harasser. But that doesn’t make it the only reason men can be feminists. Lots of great (and ordinary) men can be feminists-or just honorable coworkers and friends. MRA’s are obsessed with the idea that male sexuality is omnivorous and omnipresent so that all human relations are seen the rough it’s lens. But there are plenty if people–if not the majority –for whom there are many other modalities and goals.

    • Captain Splendid

      But that doesn’t make it the only reason men can be feminists.

      Thanks. I call myself a feminist because I’m just sick and tired of the Patriarchy and the bullshit that gets foisted on all of us, male and female, as a result.

      • bspencer

        Yeah. Even though I’m not a fan of “what about the menz?!!!!” whining, I think patriarchal thinking is extraordinarily unfair to men, too.

        • Karen

          You’ll get more that way as your son grows up, with Peak Rage some time around the 7th grade. My sons are pretty clearly straight, but not at all macho. Very few me are capable of making that distinction, so since they aren’t hairy-chested jocks, they were the object of some pretty horrible bullying. My younger son’s elementary school stopped the bullying quickly and effectively, but I had to have an unpleasant conversation with the middle school pe teacher, mentioning things like “personally liable” and “alleged zero tolerance policy” and “your arbitrary enforcement. “

          • bspencer

            You’ll get more that way as your son grows up, with Peak Rage some time around the 7th grade. My sons are pretty clearly straight, but not at all macho. Very few me are capable of making that distinction, so since they aren’t hairy-chested jocks, they were the object of some pretty horrible bullying.

            That’s awful. I’m very sorry to hear this. I’m glad it has stopped. I hope stays stopped.

            • MPAVictoria

              This is why I am terrified of having kids even though my partner and I both want some. I was bullied a fair amount as a child and both myself and my partner suffer from some mental health issues that I am worried would be passed down.

              Sigh….

              • I’d love kids but we shouldn’t have them, so there is that. I would worry about many things, particularly with a daughter where I would have no hope whatsoever of instilling discipline, ie:

                paleo: “Daughter, what in the hell do you think you are doing?!?”
                Daughter: “doe eyes Daddy?”
                paleo: “Sorry sweetheart, let me get you a unicorn…”

                But the other thing, having been bullied, both of us, considerably, and I don’t want to come off as macho dickbag so forgive me, but if someone messes with my kid (or, as it stands, with my nieces and nephews), I am unlikely to respond constructively.

              • Yes, but it’s always a crapshoot: maybe your kid will be the bully.

                For a nicer thought, my daughter has some issues that are eminently bullyable, but the culture of her school is very very very different from what I remember enduring and she has some pretty good kids surrounding her. I live across the street from the place so I get to hear how recess works and boy oh boy would I have been a happy kid there.

                It may be that the schools in your area have gotten smarter about some things. It’s true here.

                • Nathanael

                  It’s possible, but it’s far better odds than a crapshoot.

                  Bullying is often (not always) learned behavior, and the majority (not all) of bullies had bullying parents.

                  Only a small fraction of kids seem to be “born bullies”, though dear God do they cause a lot of trouble. Other kids start looking to them as role models sometimes.

              • Herbal Infusion Bagger

                You’ll just make it up as you go along, like all parents, because your kids will Not Be What You Expect. And you’ll do fine.

            • Karen

              So far, so good. My older son was a lot more seriously affected by it, but now that he’s in high school things have gotten much better. Andy made decent grades last year (3.0, 2nd honor roll.) and is an officer in the German Club and Dr. Who Society. Aaron was almost immune to it, but did get caught drawing a cartoon with his bullies as easily-recognized comic book monsters. A kid who can draw insulting caricatures at age 11 gets quite a bit of slack.

              • The Dark Avenger

                My 5th grade teacher once broke into a phone call on our line (this was decades before call waiting) because I drew a picture of a dinosaur and labeled it with his name. And trust me, it wasn’t a very good drawing in the first place.

                • Karen

                  Aaron’s drawing was good enough that anyone who knew the bully would recognize her. It did not help my Parental Discipline score when my first response was “hey!! Excellent picture! I should put that one on Facebook!”

                • Hogan

                  I’m no expert (it would take the light from an expert 10.5 years to reach me), but I think you’re allowed a few drop-the-mask moments.

              • bspencer

                Good for him for handling it that way. :D

        • Pseudonym

          Back in the day there was some blog called “No, Seriously, What About the Menz?” or something like that that was actually pretty good. I think it shut down a while ago though.

          • bspencer

            Yup, I believe it was by a frequent commenter at Manboobz.

            • Pseudonym

              Was that Cliff Pervocracy or whatever the name was? Haven’t been on manboobz for a while.

        • Nathanael

          I identify as a feminist, and I’m pretty loud about it. The feminist issues on which I feel able to take a lead position are, well, sexism which primarily affects boys.

          That is, stopping “gender enforcement” against boys. “boys don’t cry”, “be a man”, “suck it up and deal with being beaten up and sexually assaulted by other men”, “if you wear a skirt we will beat you up”, stuff like that.

          Honestly, it should be men who are leading voices on issues like THESE; these are feminist issues (because they’re issues of straight-up sex discrimination) which mainly hurt men. This is where men can have a prominent and even leadership role — in feminist issues which are about the abuse and mistreatment of men & boys.

          This wasn’t the sort of “feminism” which the deranged and narcissistic Schwyzer was acting out. He was suspicious-looking from the get-go.

          There’s an easy way to spot whether a “male feminist” is genuine. Does he talk, with resentment, about how other boys’ sexism meant that he got beaten up or harassed as a kid? If not, he is probably not genuine. Hopefully this won’t be such a freaking obvious litmus test in 20 years, but we have a lot of reforms to do in the schools first. :-P

    • I have noticed that here in Africa that a number of women and some men working on gender issues reject the term feminist in favor of the term womanist. Feminism in its current form has a lot of Euro-American ideological baggage that make it problematic in many ways for places like Africa. Are African womanists evil people because they reject the label feminists? To me the term womanist is far less provocative and culturally tied to modern Europe and North America than the term feminist and is hence a much better one for Africa.

      • Hogan
      • No, no one has called any womanist “evil” because she doesn’t use the term feminist.

        • Pseudonym

          On the other hand, strawwomanists are evil.

        • Well I have seen a lot blog posts claiming that anybody who rejects the term feminist is evil.

          • Pseudonym

            Links?

            • Yes anonymous coward.

              http://www.historiann.com/2012/08/04/isnt-it-cute-she-thinks-shes-people/

              The article by the way is categorical and would include womanists who reject the term feminist.

              • Pseudonym

                Anonymous coward? This isn’t slashdot, and at any rate I’m pseudonymous. Besides, I think you might be blamelessly ignorant, like a college freshman or a ferret.

              • elm

                No, it would not include those who merely reject the term feminism. It says:

                ” you are not a feminist (or something blamelessly ignorant, like a baby or a ferret or a college freshman), then you are a bad person. Those are the only options. You either believe that women are people, or you don’t.”

                In other words, feminism is defined as believing women are people. If you believe that, even if you don’t call yourself a feminist, then you are not a bad person (at least not on this dimension…)

                • I see Otto is back to his hack ways.

                • That is not a universally accepted definition of feminism and many African women reject that particular definition.

                • Nathanael

                  Fools can use whatever definitions they like — they can believe that “glory” is “a nice knock-down argument” — but I’ll go with bell hooks’s definition of feminism in “Feminism is For Everybody”. And you should too.

    • Lee Rudolph

      MRA’s are obsessed with the idea that male sexuality is omnivorous and omnipresent so that all human relations are seen the rough it’s lens.

      I’m coming to be obsessed with the idea that your spellchecker is omnivorous and omnipresent.

  • c u n d gulag

    Leave it to Conservatives, to think that any good deed done, is done either for the purpose of getting laid, or for some monetary gain.

    Some people just want to, and do, the right thing, sans any motive, just because it is the right thing to do.
    Those people, though, are known as “Liberals.”

    Note to Young Conservative men – you might find out that with just a bit less misogyny, you may improve your chances of getting a date on a Saturday night.
    And anything’s got to be an improvement over ZERO, right?

    And if you quit the gay-bashing, you may also find that that will immediately double the chances of your getting a date on a Saturday night! ;-)

    • bspencer

      Some people just want to, and do, the right thing, sans any motive, just because it is the right thing to do.

      Yeah, conservatives have a really hard time with this concept.

    • Vance Maverick

      I think you’re saying that one should do the right thing because it’s right and not because it will get you laid, because that will get you laid?

      I won’t claim to have picked up on this particular form of fraudulence, but I did find Schwyzer hard to take, back when I used to run into his writing (maybe back in the days of Bitch PhD?) — saying reasonable things in an oddly overemphatic way, like a proselytizing Christian.

      (Dear Chrome developers, please let me turn off the spell checker! “Schwyzer” is not misspelled.)

      • Timb

        Never got me laid.

    • CJColucci

      I used to say that I was in favor of feminism because it made girls more interesting. While I certainly hoped that attitude might get me laid, I meant it anyway. And it didn’t work all that well, so I changed a few other things, with somewhat more encouraging results.

      • The Dark Avenger

        My mother was able to sum up the sexual politics involved in her profane advice to keep in mind when dealing with women:

        “It’s not enough to fuck them, you have to be able to talk to them afterwards as well.”

        • CJColucci

          Sounds familiar. Perhaps I dated your mother many years ago? If not, my loss.

  • Why is his status as a fraud “alleged”? He very publicly made those statements himself. He has no background in women’s studies other than a couple undergrad courses years ago. He himself states that he’s only read a couple books on the subject, one of which was basically an MRA manual. He taught classes he wasn’t qualified for and spun it out in to a career as a very special snowflake feminist man. He was brutal and harmful to women of color who spoke out against him. He was using his status to have sex with students. Leaving aside his disgusting past, this stuff is all current and all of it he admitted to. He’s a horrible human being. He coercive and manipulative and is now cashing on a how public his manipulative breakdown was while currying sympathy because his problem is “mental illness” not “being a manipulative asshole.”

    • bspencer

      The only reason it is alleged is because I’m uncomfortable declaring someone I know a little about a fraud; I’m happy to leave that judgement call to the reader. You think he’s a fraud and that seems more than reasonable to me. Also, I was riffing on the whole “white knight” thing moreso than the particulars of Schwyzer’s predilections.

      That being said, thanks for the insight. It’s appreciated.

      • I’ve been following the hole Hugo thing since the Feministe kerfluffle (though a little bit before hand tangentially as part of the Marcotte book jungle imagery issue <– not good). I feel comfortable saying that Hugo's a fraud and definitely not a good model of a male feminist (in so very many ways).

        • elm

          I missed the Marcotte book jungle imagery issue. Since your google-fu is so strong, any chance you can link to a good summary of it?

          • I remember it as it happened. She was very much at fault in allowing the cover of her book “its a jungle out there” to be imaged with a stereotypical black savage warrior with a bone through his nose (IIRC).

            • The Dark Avenger

              She stepped up to the plate and apologized for it.

              “Let ye without sin, cast the first stone.”

              • Origami Isopod

                She apologized for the book cover. AFAIK she never apologized for plagiarizing from BrownFemiPower.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well, as accusations of plaigiarism go, it’s pretty weak from what I can tell through the links below.

                • Origami Isopod

                  It might not rise to the legal definition of plagiarism. (And, since IANAL and AFAIK BrownFemiPower wrote/writes for free, I don’t know that she has any legal recourse in the first place.)

                  That said, this analysis makes it clear to me that Marcotte at the very least drew heavily on BPF’s work without acknowledging it. And that’s a problem in feminism — just like it’s a problem that men often appropriate women’s work and don’t credit them.

                • Is there a legal definition of plagiarism? Just wondering!

                  In any case, I don’t think it helps Marcotte’s case to focus on strict notions of plagiarism or not. (IIRC, bfp herself never made that charge.) The absolute best you can say is that Marcotte failed in some due diligence and furthermore missed an opportunity to bring various people who had been working on immigration issues to a wider audience. Those people were women of colour and members of various immigrant communities.

                  I think this is enough for there to be a pretty serious issue. And that’s the best case.

                • Nathanael

                  To be plagarism it really requires straight up text lifting — quote copying on a large scale.

                  Failing to cite your sources is bad academic practice, but if you wrote all the text yourself, it’s not plagarism.

          • sam

            Link,

            Summary: Marcotte wrote a book a few years ago called “It’s a Jungle Out There”, and the publisher (I can’t remember offhand how much Marcotte was part of the decision on this point) decided it would be “cute” to punctuate the chapter intros with pictures of a blond white woman in animal skins fighting off all manner of animals and “savage natives”. so…horrendously racist.

            From what I understand, the images were removed from later editions of the book.

            • Thanks for stepping in with the link.

              It was an unmitigated, easily avoidable disaster. Many people handled it poorly afterwards (some did pull back from error eventually, with some prompting, cf. Jill at Feministe).

              So, now that I reconstruct some stuff, it seems that Hugo did retract his support. It intersects with how he acted with respect to the brownfemipower/Marcotte dustup (see next comment for a link).

              • Here’s the text.

                There’s a lot of deleted stuff in that space (brownfemipower shuttered her blog after that…though I see she has a tumblr! Yay!

                It’s complex (though obviously in many ways simple). The white feministsphere, afaict, has a lot of work to do to repair relations with many WOC. Hugo was a lightening rod (though not always the source) for a lot of friction.

                • Another Holocene Human

                  Fuck me. Shades of Gail Simone. I was pissed enough about Simone so I’m glad I missed that kerfuffle.

                  Gah… what POC wouldn’t be angry?

          • Woodrowfan

            She use images from some old Tarzan-like comic book to illustrate her book “It’s Jungle Out There.” They showed some Amazon Queen image of a white woman in a leopard-skin outfit. The cover has her killing a crocodile, but some of the images on the inside were of her fighting old stereotyped African “savages.” Pretty obviously racist.

            http://www.amazon.com/Its-Jungle-Out-There-Inhospitable/dp/1580052797/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1376402917&sr=1-2

            • sparks

              Ugh. I don’t know why, but blindness to racist imagery/language seems to happen now and then when sexual causes are involved. IOW, she’s not the first to make such a gaffe. I have run into feminists and gay activists who were racist or at least very uncomfortable with nonwhite people.

              • JL

                Happens in every movement. You get middle/upper-class straight white cis feminists who are oblivious about racism/homophobia/transphobia/classism. You get poor and working-class straight cis white guys who are oblivious about racism/homophobia/transphobia/sexism. You get middle/upper-class gay cis men who are oblivious about…you get the point.

                • sparks

                  Oh yes. Obliviousness is always a problem with advocacy, when it gets into the public eye it’s not hard to wonder if it’s deliberate at times. Note that I’m not directly referring to Amanda Marcotte here (I don’t know her writing well enough to even begin to judge) but to a white gay writer I’ve read for years whose posts about and references to black issues are almost always negative.

              • LeeEsq

                I think that a lot of people who identify as feminists and gay activists see themselves as “good people” and are therefore incapable of being racist. The logic goes something like “I can’t be racist because racists are evil people and as a feminist/gay advocate I’m a good person.”

                A lot of people are similar blind to Jew hatred that way.

                • sparks

                  Yes, I know people who fit that one (Jew hatred), too. I recently got a bankers/Rothschilds skree from someone I thought I knew.

                  Sometimes they think they’re good people just because they don’t act on their bigotry openly although they have no positive advocacy positions at all.

              • I think it happened in this case because of a mistaken notion of “camp” in which those images were seen as campy and distanced from reality. So the publishers/Amanda/people who couldn’t see what all the fuss was about somehow thought they were parodic or even ironic rather than being racist, instead of being parodic-ironic-and racist at the same time. Its always easier to see the things we can’t transcend when they are from something that really hits home for us, than to see them in things that we think we can intellectualize or that are too far in the past to still sting. I’ve never run into an actual survivor of Hiroshima, for instance, but I can imagine that lots of imagery and storyboarding of heroic americans and nuclear disasters/bombs might be as offensive to them while appearing merely camp to us.

                • sparks

                  That’s some serious tone-deafness there. Jungle imagery was camp in Tarzan films of the ’30s, in this century it’s inexcusable.

                • Woodrowfan

                  I think you’re right. “Oh look at the funny old images…”:

                • Hogan

                  It’s mainly an inability to imagine audiences who aren’t just like me, and won’t react just like me to images that can carry multiple meanings. Which is not a survival trait in a publisher, unless you’re Regency or someone else with a large and fanatically devoted audience of people like you. Ironic reapproriators are a rather smaller demographic.

                • sparks

                  Hogan has it right, I think. If one were to spend too much time in a like-minded and somewhat insular group it is easy to imagine that happening. I found with camp it’s very much a ‘you damn well better know your audience’ area.

      • rea

        He calls himself a “fraud” because he doesn’t have much in the way of credentials in the subjects he teaches, but of course, in the legal sense, that isn’t fraud unless he falsely claimed to have those credentials.

        Similarly, the claim about his having attempted to murder his former girlfriend boils down to a suicide attempt with inadequate concern for the safety of others.

        All that really seems clear is (1) he has out-of-control addictions, (2) he’s seriously depressed, and (3) he’s babbling his innermost thoughts on twitter.

        • Pseudonym

          He’s also arguably a fraud in the sense of pushing feminism as a form of self-aggrandizement rather than actual devotion to the cause.

        • potsherds

          “Similarly, the claim about his having attempted to murder his former girlfriend boils down to a suicide attempt with inadequate concern for the safety of others.”

          That is absolutely not true. He’s said multiple times it was a murder-suicide attempt. He might have gone back and scrubbed that stuff and you’ve read it afterwards, or you’ve read pieces by white feminists sympathetic to him that soft-glove his attempted murder, but it’s just.not.true.

          More general to the thread: Schwyzer is an abusive, manipulative asshole. He also happens to be mentally ill. These two things are not related, and its ableist to excuse his behaviour because of his mental illness. Though he’s already started excusing his own behaviour based on that after a manic confess-all on Twitter a few days ago. Typical manipulative abuser cycle, starting down that forgiveness/redemption narrative path now. He’ll be welcomed back to Big White Feminism with open arms in half a year to a year.

          I’ve been following Schwyzer for some time, through the posts and blogs by WOC he’s actively harmed and harassed. He’s an awful person, and he’s not a feminist or an ally.

          Recommended reading on HS for anyone else who wants to excuse his behaviour:

          http://arewomenhuman.me/2012/02/21/on-hugo-schwyzer-accountability-not-silencing-dissent/

          Also, Marcotte’s jungle book is not the only example of her being ‘racially insensitive’, it’s rather a theme with her and with privileged white feminists in urban media centers in general.

          • Pseudonym

            Throwing out a few other links I read:
            http://brownfemipower.tumblr.com/
            http://www.redlightpolitics.info/post/57329483311/h-is-for-hubris-hugo-s-is-for-sordid-schwyzer
            http://bitchmagazine.org/post/we-need-to-talk-about-feminism-race-and-hugo-schwyzer

            Does anyone know what else Marcotte and the rest of the mainstream white feminist crowd (Valenti, Filipovic, etc.?) were accused of doing or not doing?

            • potsherds

              +1 Thanks for adding all the links.

              I follow a lot of POC on twitter and rather regularly (2 times, I think, in the last few months) hear about Marcotte making a mistake, and I swear I hear about Filipovic just as often, if not more so. The latest big issue from Big White Feminism that I know of is FemFuture. And the latest that comes to mind about Marcotte specifically is a talk she did that I think used a single stock photo of a WOC throughout an entire presentation of online-type feminist stuff? Which does not at all reflect the makeup of online feminism as I understand it. That might seem like a rather small thing in isolation, but its part of a larger problematic pattern.

              I would recommend that folks who use twitter follow WOC like @redlighvoices, @graceishuman, @Blackamazon, @Karynthia, @thetrudz, @deluxvixens, @sassycrass, @AngryBlackLady and follow more folks from their TL’s in order to gain a broader perspective of online feminism/womanism outside of the mainstream, and the perfectly valid criticisms of mainstream white feminism.

          • Timb

            Wow, you hate everybody!

            • Origami Isopod

              Well, that was a dickish comment with absolutely no point to it.

          • Anon21

            He’ll be welcomed back to Big White Feminism with open arms in half a year to a year.

            I think you’d be on much firmer ground to say that someone like him will be welcomed in the not-too-distant future. Schwyzer himself is dead and buried in any big feminism spaces. He could pop up on someone’s personal blog peddling his redemption narrative, but you won’t see his byline in Jezebel or Feministe.

            • Origami Isopod

              You may not see his byline in those spaces, but Marcotte and Filipovic (I pay less attention to Valenti) have been very careful not to burn their bridges with him, either. When the murder-suicide thing came out in early 2012, Filipovic posted on Feministe that she wasn’t going to ban Schwyzer, just encourage him not to post anymore. (Or something like that.) Cue 1,100 comments of “WTF?!”

              Any feminist blog worth its salt would have just banned him outright, quite frankly.

          • rea

            I have not, and will not, spent lot of time reading his stuff, but the account I read of the “murder-suicide” attempt was something like, he blew out the pilot lights on his stove in an attempt to gas himself to death, and (ostensibly) with the idea that his girlfriend would come home and get blown up after he was dead. As murder-suicide atteempts go, not very impressive. There is a certain amount of egotism invovled in his trumpeting this as a seriosus attempt at either suicide or murder.

            • Anon21

              Not how I heard it. The girlfriend was at his apartment, passed out, and then he blew out the pilot lights. Maybe that was unlikely to succeed, but when it comes to attempted murder it’s the thought that counts!

        • Scott Lemieux

          Similarly, the claim about his having attempted to murder his former girlfriend boils down to a suicide attempt with inadequate concern for the safety of others.

          What postherd said above — this just isn’t true, based on his own account his actions were willful.

          • cpinva

            “What postherd said above — this just isn’t true, based on his own account his actions were willful.”

            not to be nit picky, but is there any third-party evidence to support this claim, or is it just his claim alone? people oftentimes make assertions, for a variety of reasons, that later turn out to have no substance in fact. could it be he somehow thought this would make him seem, ultimately, a more sympathetic character? I don’t know, and I’ve yet to see any reference to this claim of “attempted murder”, other than from schwyzer himself.

        • Timb

          The first two are bad, the last is seen as important for some reason even though Twitter is not that interesting

        • LeeEsq

          3 is actually an amazing point. The Internet has gotten a lot of people to reveal their innermost selves to the world and more often that not they are not using pseudonyms. It seems to really be destroying people’s since of privacy.

          I have a highly developed sense of privacy and its really hard to resist the temptation to broadcast your innermost thoughts on the internet at times.

    • Regardless of his ideology it is highly unethical for lecturers to be having sex with their students. I don’t know about where this guy was teaching, but at the University of Ghana it will get you fired under the sexual harassment policy. I thought almost every place in the US had similar policies?

      • lodown

        Schwyzer teaches at Pasadena City College. From what I remember, the incidents allegedly took place well over 10 years ago. I don’t know if the college ever looked into the matter.

        Though since they had an untrained person teaching gender studies courses, maybe they just didn’t care.

        • Part of HS’s punishment was to draft regulations for consensual relations between staff and students.

          Yes, really.

          • Lee Rudolph

            That doesn’t sound like an entirely bad idea (not as “punishment”, but as part of a hopeful “harm reduction” strategy), as long as the emphasis is on “draft” and the understanding is that someone else who is uncompromised (or several such) prepare the final documents and take serious responsibility.

            If (by the way) your premise is that “regulations for consensual relations between staff and students” are (independent of his putative involvement) bad-in-themselves, well, I might agree; but I note that I know for a fact that at least one UC campus has (or had) such regulations—which are gone over in the kpomt presence of both parties who are proposing such relations (I say “both”, but haven’t seen the regulations and don’t know if, in fact, they discountenance polyamory) by a cognizant person in an appropriate deanery. No doubt Pasadena City College may be run differently (and, again perhaps, even at UC the policy may only have applied to faculty+graduate student relations, which I don’t suppose are possible at PCC).

            • That doesn’t sound like an entirely bad idea

              Hmm. That may not be how it sounds, but I think it is, in fact, a bad idea. We’re not talking about someone who married their grad student, but someone who had multiple sexual encounters with multiple students including during an event he was nominally chaperoning.

              (not as “punishment”, but as part of a hopeful “harm reduction” strategy)

              I don’t understand how you’re using “harm reduction”. They CC should definitely have a policy. But “harm reduction” usually means something like not trying to eliminate the putatively undesirable behavior but mitigate the negative effects of that behavior. So…drafting such a policy is likely to make HS less harmful in his unabated student relationships? That doesn’t seem to be the goal :)

              and the understanding is that someone else who is uncompromised (or several such) prepare the final documents and take serious responsibility.

              Frankly, I don’t see the benefit of this. We don’t have plagiarising students write plagiarism policies as a way to rehabilitate them. We don’t have scientific frauds write policies about scientific fraud. (As far as I know!) Frankly, it seems precisely the sort of move that will feed his ego in a bad way. (Look, he could perhaps do a good job. Maybe he is in a good spot. But it’s not a good message either to him or to the world. Oh, he chaired the committee! “When I was chairing the academic senate’s ad hoc committee to write a policy banning consensual sexual relationships several years ago”.)

              If (by the way) your premise is that “regulations for consensual relations between staff and students” are (independent of his putative involvement) bad-in-themselves, well

              Nope. I think they are really important. A categorical ban isn’t wholly unreasonable, but I think a clear policy that allows a couple to pursue a relationship with appropriate safeguards is likely better. It’s more respectful of the adult students to acknowledge that there can be consensual relationship while acknowledging that with the power imbalances being as they are the systemic effects of not regulating them carefully is unwise.

              However, I’m am very sure that giving people who engaged in rather extreme problematic behavior the responsibility to formulate regulations about that behavior is a bad idea. Input, sure. Responsibility and authority, no way.

              • Oy.

                On a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT note, my work as chair of the college senate’s ad-hoc committee on consensual relationships is almost done. After three years (the committee formed in fall 2001) and countless drafts, we presented our final proposal to the Academic Senate yesterday. It will go to a final vote on May 24th…

                Most schools have their own versions; this is ours. When I presented it to the senate yesterday (for the fourth time, mind you) several of my colleagues objected vociferously to the premise that undergirds this change to our faculty code of conduct. One prof in the English department remarked that she had had her husband and her children as students, and she deeply resented the new policy’s implication that her conduct had been unethical. It was awkward, but as politely as I could, I looked this (very senior) colleague in the eye and told her that yup, I thought her conduct was inherently unethical. After all, I pointed out, we have to avoid even the appearance of partiality. I’m afraid I was rapidly heading towards a self-righteous sermon, and she was gearing up for battle when the chair of the senate quickly gaveled us back to order. Though I think I was and am in the right, I know I could have been a good deal more tactful with her…

                Honestly, at the risk of sounding very self-congratulatory(again, Hugo?) it was difficult work coming up with a policy designed to placate and please so many different campus constituencies, and dagnammit, I’m proud of this little thing. As a (relatively) young man who teaches courses on sexuality and gender studies, I know that maintaining safe and ethical boundaries with my students is essential to my legitimacy as a professor. But I also know that some folks (students, teachers, administrators) may well need explicit policies in place to remind them of the importance of those boundaries.

                Yeah. This was such a good idea. Interesting that here he doesn’t mention the fact that he had engaged in the unethical behavior and does mention his less than awesome behavior toward a senior woman. THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA of the sort that’s not.

  • elm

    The only thing I know of Schwyzer is the interview I just read, but it was incredibly annoying in many ways, making me glad I hadn’t been reading him (or about him) until now. The self-absorbed narcissism was ridiculous, as was the very meta seeking of affirmation by admitting he’s seeking affirmation.

    The worst part, though, was the exchange about how no man lives up to the ideals of feminism. First, no person I know has completely lived up to all of their moral beliefs. Everyone is flawed, everyone makes mistakes, everyone has regrets. Second, what sort of bullshit gender essentializing is he conducting? Maybe I’m overreading a short exchange, but it seemed to me he was affirming the MRA belief, that all men are horndogs looking to get into women’s pants. “All men” are not the same thing, just as “all women” aren’t. Thinking that everyone of a certain gender has the same preferences or motivations or attitudes is one of the core components of sexism, and seeing Schwyzer seemingly buy into it makes me think he never understood feminism even as he was preaching it.

    • bspencer

      I was troubled by the same things you were, elm. The interview often made it sound as if he wanted to *be* a feminist, but in the end probably wasn’t one. Ugh.

      • elm

        Thanks to both you and witless. I was worried I was reading too much into nothing on a cranky Tuesday morning. But, yeah, I left the interview thinking that Schwyzer was never a feminist and never knew what feminism really was. I don’t know that he wanted to be a feminist, though.

    • witless chum

      Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. No, Hugo, because you act like a fuckhead is not evidence that I’m going to act like a fuckhead because I’m also a man, it’s evidence that you’re a fuckhead.

      The guy clearly buys into all sorts of gender essentialism and nonsense about men, women and probably dogs, or is currently saying he does, I guess. The main thing to draw from his career as a writer is “Listen to nothing Hugo has to say.” Whatever he’s on about, it seems like it’s always going to be about his mental health problems and psychodrama than an actual attempt to deal with the world outside of Hugo.

      This bunch that wants to explain to me that I have to act, think etc a certain way because I’m a man puts me in mind of nothing so much as my neighbors pomeranian. MRA crybabies, the religious right, Hugo, they seem to think they can somehow get men to knuckle under to their bullshit notions. But they can’t actually do anything, anymore than a 10 pound ball of fur can scare you out of its yard. I guess they think it’s still high school and their disapproval is going to police me back into line, but that’s just funny.

      • bspencer

        No, Hugo, because you act like a fuckhead is not evidence that I’m going to act like a fuckhead because I’m also a man, it’s evidence that you’re a fuckhead.

        The guy clearly buys into all sorts of gender essentialism and nonsense about men, women and probably dogs, or is currently saying he does, I guess.

        YES YES YES, A THOUSAND TIMES.

      • Love the pomeranian line.

    • djw

      The worst part, though, was the exchange about how no man lives up to the ideals of feminism. First, no person I know has completely lived up to all of their moral beliefs. First, no person I know has completely lived up to all of their moral beliefs. Everyone is flawed, everyone makes mistakes, everyone has regrets. Second, what sort of bullshit gender essentializing is he conducting?

      Yeah, this really pissed me off too. “If I can’t do it surely no one can” is narcissism cubed.

      • Another Holocene Human

        Plus he wants you to RESPECT HIS MORALITEH for trying to do the impossible, btw only impossible because he defined it as such, because he personally was and is a giant hypocrite over the issue and has not the shred of moral fiber to thing “Hey! Maybe abusing my authority and psychosocial relationship with my students to get p*ssy is a shitty thing to do,” rather he says, “Hey, they’re going to fire my ass, oh shitknockers!”

        It’s an amazing snowjob, “Love me because I am a manipulative abuser but I tried so hard to be good.” Nah, mang. Nah.

    • Origami Isopod

      Maybe I’m overreading a short exchange, but it seemed to me he was affirming the MRA belief, that all men are horndogs looking to get into women’s pants.

      No, you really weren’t. He’s very gender-essentialist. The Good Menz Project absolutely stinks of benevolent sexism.

      • Nathanael

        Bingo. There’s a reason why, *as a feminist*, I thought they gave off a stink which I didn’t want to get anywhere near.

  • Oh, to not be at work right now. I’m debugging an article on more or less this subject.

    That said, Schwyzer’s an asshole.

    • Pseudonym

      Will it be available publicly when you’re done?

      • Short answer, no, since it’s a thing I was hoping to sell to Cracked, and I’m not very good at their distinction between “observation-based article” and “rant. (Also, I started a new job last week, and am trying to keep working on other projects / have terrible follow-through.)

        On that basis, the most relevant bit:

        This is both the most common and the most emphatic critique: the argument from insincerity. You’re hoping to ingratiate yourself to women, therefore you don’t really believe what you’re saying, therefore it isn’t worth believing. If it’s true that your primary or exclusive motivation in learning and doing more in the service of social justice is the possibility that it’ll help you get your dick wet, I have some bad news for you. While it’s not going to hurt, it’s very unlikely that your showing up to a meeting will make the difference between not-fuck and fuck. The most potent criticism to be offered of such a plan is that it’s the sexual equivalent of countering a hadouken with a Blanka ball. (Niccolo Machiavelli popularized the rhetorical device of “critique, segue, Street Fighter reference” in The Prince.)

        And yet, they seem to take issue with the goal, and not the tactics: “You should just admit it,” says the message board guy. “Then we’d respect you instead of spitting on you.” (This is quoted from memory of an actual Message Board Guy. I am assuming he had been spitting metaphorically, but you never know on Fark.) At some point in this discussion, it became a shameful thing for a straight guy to pursue the possibility of sex with women. Perhaps they think trying to be likeable is cheating, and that the only real way to play–the only noble way to play–is to fuck women who actively despise you. (Double points for nailing a girl who’s pointed a gun at you. Triple points if she fired. 5x bonus if you ejaculate during Star Power.)

        Because if wanting to fuck women were an acceptable pursuit, it’s hard to see why becoming the kind of person women want to fuck wouldn’t be the most obvious and laudable method. It’s not dishonesty that’s being criticized here, but the lack of dishonesty. This is what “game” is about: the artificial imposition of difficulty [ETA: Bernard Suits FTW]. Besides, what don’t you do to get laid? Is there anything you like about yourself–any quality you’re proud to possess, and skill that took great effort to acquire–that’s definitively not going to make you more attractive by improving the way people think of you? It turns out that most of the things you’d do to get laid are also worth doing for sundry other reasons, and very few of the things that aren’t worth doing for other reasons are worth doing for a few minutes of sweaty genital antics. Interesting people are more fuckable than boring ones. Visible people are more fuckable than invisible ones.

        And people who can converse knowledgeably about things that interest you–like, say, human rights issues that affect you personally–are more fuckable than people who are just waiting for you to shut up.

        • Nathanael

          I like your rant.

  • Manju

    I didn’t know “White Knight” was an MRA thing. It might be. But its also part of “white studies / white privilege” jargon.

    And thats how I’ve seen it used against Hugo…basically that he’s blind to his “white privilege”. Specifically he “White Knights”, ie defends, white feminists at the expense of non-white ones. The former, most notably Amanda Marcotte and to a lesser degree Jessica Valenti, are themselves under attack for being blind to their “white privildge”.

    The folks making these accusations are all WOC ‘feminsts” (in scare quotres b/c some refuse to use the term, as they see the movement as racist. They drew considerable blood by exposing some racist illustrations from a Marcotte book that Hugo originally defended vigorously. And even after the expose, he said he’d still teach the book in his class. meanwhile, the WOC could not even get published by Seal Press, a feminist outpost.

    They’ve long claimed that he’s not qualified to teach feminism and that a WOC with his credentials would never have been gifted with his plum university position. They say he acts like a gatekeeper and accuse him of hurting their career by going behind the scenes to marginalize them.

    They all seem pretty radical and some of them rather hyperbolic. But they appear to have been vindicated.

    • TribalistMeathead

      “But its also part of “white studies / white privilege” jargon.”

      No, it’s not.

      http://www.definitions.net/definition/white%20knight

      Shame that you had to ruin a perfectly reasonable post because you were in such a hurry to prove liberals are the real racists, you couldn’t bother to Google “white knight etymology” to make sure your argument was factually correct.

      • DrDick

        Why would this be any different from everything else?

        • Timb

          Robert Byrd!!!!!!

          • Manju

            Robert Byrd!!!!!!

            the difference bettwen Byrd, Lott, and Thurmond is Byrd’s renunciation of racism (prior to the attainment of higher office
            -Timb

            http://lawyersgunsmon.wpengine.com/2012/07/social-darwinism-for-the-21st-century/comment-page-1#comment-301803

            civil rights illiterate gets schooled…then proceeds to hurl vitrol at the man who schooled him.*

            *in fairness, timb did, after a few sputters, muster up the integrity to concede the error. But his postion now appears to be that such whitewashings of history should go unchallenged.

      • Manju

        Your link does not mention MRA’s either, so you prove too much.

        I didn’t just discover Hugo yesterday. I’m aware of the real issues in play. I mean, I don’t have everything locked and loaded like I do on civil rights for Af-ams, but I do recall the term being used as i described on pandagon….during the whole colonialism / racism affair.

        I’ll try to source it for you.

        • TribalistMeathead

          It is possible that both you and Pandagon are wrong about the etymology of “white knight,” just FYI.

          • elm

            Not to defend Manju, but is this really about etymology or current usage? Manju isn’t claiming the white priviledge sense of the word is the original usage, just that it is common in that jargon. Nor is he claiming that it is not used in gender studies, just that he was unaware of it.

            • Manju

              Nor is he claiming that it is not used in gender studies, just that he was unaware of it.

              Wait, I’m aware of it being used in “gender studies”, as “white studies” is a close relative to it.

              I wasn’t aware of how MRA’s use it.

              • elm

                Ah, my apologies. (See what you’ve made me do, people! First, I had to defend Manju. Now I had to apologize to him. It’s gonna be a long day.)

          • Another Holocene Human

            white knight has a meaning in stock market jargon too, referrer to a player in a hostile takeover situation

            and… so what?

        • The Dark Avenger

          Amanda has written about white privilege in the past, so to say that she’s been the target of WOC writing about it is disingenuous at best, sloppy research at worse.

          In other words, typical Manju scholarship.

          Here she is talking about it 5 years ago:

          , Wise discusses the third rail of race in a way many progressives usually avoid because it’s pretty damn uncomfortable. Here’s Wise’s assessment of white privilege and its lingering, nagging impact on race relations in this country and this election. Snippets from “This is Your Nation on White Privilege” are below the fold, as well as a prime example of what Wise is talking about when it comes to Sarah Palin and her praise of a witchhunter – she believes his laying on of hands helped her win the gubernatorial election in Alaska.

          You’ll get it right 20 years from now, Manju.

          • Manju

            so to say that she’s been the target of WOC writing about it is disingenuous at best, sloppy research at worse.

            As you can see from this article below, Amanda has indeed been the target of of WOC writing about “white privilege”.

            When Marcotte took the stage, I did what I always do when listening to my fellow white feminists. I crossed my fingers and started playing Press Your Luck in my head. “Come ooooon … No privilege! No privilege! No privilege! No privilege! No privilege …!” But it quickly became readily apparent that the privilege whammy was inevitable
            http://thisweekinblackness.com/2013/07/01/white-feminists-netroots/

          • Manju

            In other words, typical Manju scholarship.

            Thank you.

            • The Dark Avenger

              One example, Manju:

              My goal here isn’t to pillory Marcotte. Her talk was problematic; but she is not the problem. She simply has the dubious distinction of neatly encapsulating the shortcomings of white feminism.

              So, she’s not the problem, she’s just used as an example to pillory ‘white feminism’, whatever that is.

              • Manju

                i don’t know what you are arguing about. You doubted my claims and insulted my scholarship. So I falsified you.

                Now others are here telling you that you are wrong and providing you with more examples.

                As for the meaning of “she is not the problem”, just take a look at the context:

                She simply has the dubious distinction of neatly encapsulating the shortcomings of white feminism.

                In other words, “white privilege” is not merely about individuals doing racist things…it about a system of oppression.*

                *I’m not defending this framing, but rather just informing you that it exists and that those who embrace it have taken issue with Amanda Marcotte.

                I do however agree with their takedown of her book.

                • The Dark Avenger

                  You’re not defending it, you’re just quoting it.

                  With this level of scholarship, Manju, you’ll be a shoo-in for a professorship at George Mason University, or Patrick Henry U.

                  I do however agree with their takedown of her book.

                  Conservative scholarship, you don’t agree with the analysis except in a specific case.

                • Pseudonym

                  Why can’t someone be both aware of white privilege and guilty of demonstrating blind spots due to it? The question of whether women of color were criticizing Marcotte for exercising white privilege. Of course it’s appropriate to demonstrate that by quoting an author who’s a woman of color, regardless of whether one agrees with that author.

                  Do we have to start checking out Marcotte’s DW-NOMINATE scores next?

            • witless chum

              (golf clap)

          • Pseudonym

            She’s still the target of WoC writing about white privilege within mainstream online feminism. See #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen on twitter for example.

          • Timb

            If there’s one thing he’s proved, it is that 20 years from now, he will refer to women as heroic Republicans and MRA’S as evil Democrats

      • Manju

        Take a look at this publication by “Debra Leigh, Organizer, Community Anti-Racism Education Initiative”

        COMMON RACIST ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS

        5. The White Knight or White Missionary

        http://www.stcloudstate.edu/affirmativeaction/resources/insights/pdf/28ToolsChange.pdf

        As you can see, “White Knight” does indeed appear to be part of “white studies / white privilege” jargon.

    • witless chum

      I remember that. Amanda ended up having them redo the book without the offending illustrations. This was like five years ago, also, so not recently. I haven’t seen a mention of Schwyzer at Pandagon for a long time.

      I remember being shocked at the time that people could be so mad at a cartoon that wasn’t intended to be racist, it just sorta kinda used tropes from an old form that was racist. But there they were, explaining why and pretty fucking pissed about it. Turns out white privilege is really a thing.

      I dunno much about Seal Press, but perusing their catalog, a theme does seem to develop…

      • Manju

        A picture is worth a thousand words:

        http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2124/2440431780_ced8fdd852.jpg

        I guess you have to be sensitive to narratives about colonialism, white domination, and black savages.

        • witless chum

          The specific reason I wasn’t sensitive to it immediately (being white was the general one) was that I was blinded by intent. Amanda’s a good lefty and didn’t intend racism, so how could people not get that, was what I thought at the time before reading what people were actually saying.

          Intent isn’t magic, though, or so I took from all that.

          A lesson which I fancy is not widely appreciated on the internet. But I may have a skewed view as I spend time fighting other nerds over race and gender issues on A Song of Ice and Fire sites.

          • ChrisTS

            This is important.

            I often have students take the position (not wittingly, at first) that what someone does/says cannot be criticized or described negatively because the person did not intend to be doing/saying the bad thing.

            Imagine trying to move those students to a recognition that a person might have unconscious attitudes that merit criticism.

            • Another Holocene Human

              Fuck all that mysterious bullshit. Why not consider the moral implications of actions that hurt others–and once you are aware that they hurt others, not changing course but spinning worse than Bill Clinton on the stand trying to defend your ego (Because you are a Good Person for the Cause and Never Wrong)?

              Shit. This is basic stuff.

              • ChrisTS

                Yes, but they are …oddly sensitive to ‘criticizing people.’

                So, for example, if we are discussing whether person X ‘had a good life,’ they cannot separate the claim that X’s life was not, overall, good from the claim that X was a bad person.

              • Nathanael

                “Why not consider the moral implications of actions that hurt others–and once you are aware that they hurt others,”

                That’s all very easy when you’re talking about actions which *actually* hurt others — because almost anyone sane should be able to spot that beating someone with a stick is HARMFUL. Likewise for getting someone fired, causing them to lose their home, etc. etc. etc.

                But here you’re talking about actions which *offend* others. In short, for such actions, being unaware that they hurt others *is an actual excuse* for past behavior, in the way that it isn’t when it comes to the very physical actions mentioned above.

                It may seem absurd than anyone could be so stupid as to not realize, but hell, if they apologize and change the contents of the book, just let it be.

        • You don’t have to be that sensitive. The cover is quite blatant on those tropes. At least she didn’t use any stills from Chunga Changa.

          • sparks

            I think Manju was being sarcastic (the image is so OTT that I was taken aback when I saw it earlier today), but being that it is from Manju, doubt creeps in and I wonder what the hell I’m missing that’s wrong since Manju is rarely right.

            • Manju

              I think Manju was being sarcastic

              Yes, sarcastic. I threw in “black savages” as a giveaway.

              I wonder what the hell I’m missing that’s wrong since Manju is rarely right.

              hmmm…you’re a liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti away from saying; “hey, you know it might be fun to sell mortgage-backed securities at Goldman Sachs.”

              Take two gin martinis and call Loomis in the morning.

              • The Dark Avenger

                Manju is what happens when a conservative savage is taught to read and write.

                • sparks

                  Notice that I summoned him by repeating his name three times in a post. Some really do rise to the bait.

    • Pseudonym

      “White Knight” has different meanings within the “white privilege” and MRA spheres, so it’s kind of a pun to describe HS that way since he’s embodying the worst parts of both.

      • Pseudonym

        (At least I intended it as a pun when I called him that on twitter yesterday. I feel so possibly slightly ahead of the curve for once!)

  • Walt

    Schwyzer is a fucking nut. He’s clearly an attention whore who wanted to be the Male Pope of Feminism. His public meltdown is about the least surprising thing ever.

    Some feminist site assembled a list of examples of Schwyzer clearly trying to outcompete other male feminists for the role of the One True Male Feminist. Sadly, I can’t find it on Google, since most of the hits are all MRA sites babbling the White Knight bullshit mentioned in the post.

    • I can sum up pretty much every article Hugo wrote- one small feminist point buried within ten paragraphs of bragging about how many women he’s had sex with. I’m shocked this meltdown didn’t come sooner.

      • Cody

        So he’s all about getting to know women… in the biblical sense?

    • seeker6079

      “Fucking nut”? No, just a self-centred manipulator. Almost all of his writing can be boiled down to “feminists are right and men are always wrong, unless they agree with feminists” and “I am the uber-male feminist and I know this stuff better than anybody”. What’s that old line? “Trying to be more Catholic than the pope.”

      You didn’t need to be an MRA or a feminist (and I think it’s accurate to say that I’m neither) to see this guy as a colossal self-aggrandizing scold.

      • Another Holocene Human

        and don’t forget scolding coeds for doing dirty things with callow youths

        • seeker6079

          Heh, yeah. That he wrote that “men who sleep with younger women are creeps” post while he was cheating with a much-younger woman pretty much tells you everything you’d want about the man’s morality, both sexual and ideological.

    • seeker6079

      One other thing, Walt: I’d recommend not being fooled by the whole “mental illness” thing. I have a pretty profound suspicion that his mental illness is like his feminism: a garb put on to enable him to best change the situation to his personal advantage.

      Some people act like assholes because they’re mentally ill. Others because they’re assholes. If I had to bet based on my own opinion and evaluation I’d put HS in the latter group.

      • Another Holocene Human

        Somebody could have both Narcissistic Personality Disorder concurrent with Borderine Personality Disorder (the latter which would explain the suicidal ideation, mood instability, etc).

        Despite the similarity in the names, NPD is definitely a fixed personality disorder that emerges from upbringing and patterns of behavior that begin in childhood and adolescence, whereas BPD is a genetically-influenced, environmentally (and that includes diet, pharmaceutical intervention, etc) influenced condition that, however caused, is more on the mental illness spectrum in that it’s almost certainly one of those brain signally fuckup thingies which can have a lot of nasty behavioral and even personality consequences. Unlike NPD, for which any kind of therapy is universally considered a waste of everyone’s fucking time, BPD responds to drug therapies and coping strategies which a therapist can collaborate on with the patient.

        It is not unheard of for someone to have both at the same time.

        • seeker6079

          Thank you for the education. [No sarcasm, btw.] I remember, though, the Thomas Harris line about a similar report on Hannibal Lecter where the narrator dryly notes that the word “evil” was not mentioned. Not making a point, btw, just twigged my memory.

    • Lee Rudolph

      Schwyzer is a fucking nut. He’s clearly an attention whore who wanted to be the Male Pope of Feminism.

      Umm. If you ever decide to take that metaphor out for a walk again, may I propose as a friendly amendment “the Pope Joan of Feminism”? (Or you could just leave it at home. It won’t mind.
      Really.)

  • It’s obvious that schweitzers shtick–the reason he could get employed–is basically because “man bites dog” and “I was once a sinner” sells better than anything else, even in academia. He was A Novelty ACT. That’s not about maleness or whiteness so much as it is about incongruity. It’s why second raters like Alan Keyes grift in the Republican Party and not in the democratic one. So I get the WOC complaint but its only to be expected in academia as well as in life.

    • Manju

      It’s obvious that schweitzers shtick–the reason he could get employed–is basically because “man bites dog” and “I was once a sinner” sells better than anything else, even in academia.

      I think the redemption thing came after the employment.

      basically, he got job teaching feminism, proceeded to date students, became an addict and tried kill a girlfriend in a drug-induced suicide attempt, then got “clean” and started writing about it. But he was already a professor by then, and i’m pretty sure was teaching feminism during most of that time.

      • Pat

        Gotta wonder what the qualifications for tenure are at his university…..

      • No, redemption, for a male feminist, comes at the start of the shtick routine. Its implicit in “I was a male feminist” that the male precedes the feminist and is seen as an essential part of the, well, essentializing.

        • Pseudonym

          As a male ally of feminism, I’m inherently suspicious of any man who feels comfortable self-identifying as a “male feminist” without bothering to listen to women’s views or opinions on the appropriateness of the moniker.

          Also, his redemption story was such classic born-again Christian BS that I’m surprised we didn’t hear about satanic rituals and demonic possession.

          • I think the whole thing is creepy. I’m married to a very good person, male, who acts honorably in all his dealings with people professionally and politically. He isn’t a “male feminist” because he’s not interested in feminism or familiar with its history, literature, philosophy, and meaning. But so what? He lives it by not being a sexist bastard. Good enough. I’m not a racist but that doesn’t make me a white-anti-racist/honorary black person. I just strive to be aware, to check my privilige, to deal honorably with people, to support anti-racist policy and politicians and activism. I do my best to take my lead from people with real skin in the game, as it were.

            • Pseudonym

              Oh, you’re married? Well, that’s it, I can’t believe I wasted all that time reading your comments when it wasn’t even going to get me laid. What’s the point of talking to women otherwise?

              So where does that leave someone like Tim Wise? I guess I think it might be possible for someone to be a male feminist, but someone who was would never describe himself that way. Half the battle is just taking time to listen to women and step outside one’s male privilege; it’s easy to think that one is being feminist according to one’s own logic and intent while actually ignoring women’s experiences.

              • anthrofred

                Women’s experiences are extremely varied, though, which makes relying on any particular group of women to provide a definition of feminism or act as a gatekeeper problematic. It’s also entirely possible to critically focus on men and masculinity using a feminist lens rather than devote attention specifically to hot-button explicitly “women’s issues”.

                I do think Aimai is on to something in discussing redemption narratives, though, and the deliberate rather than descriptive (if such a thing were possible) coupling of “male” with “feminist” is worth scrutinizing. The narcissism apparent in Schwyzer’s alternately self-flagellating and self-congratulatory writing should have been a warning sign.

              • Nathanael

                “I guess I think it might be possible for someone to be a male feminist, but someone who was would never describe himself that way.”

                Someone who was would just say “Yeah, I’m a feminist”. If pressed, they might start saying something about how sexism sucks for everyone.

                It’s the *phrase* “male feminist” which is a tip-off. As if that’s supposed to be odd?

            • anthrofred

              I’m leery of feminism as being something that’s restricted to women, though I also worry about ripping the term from all historical context and making it an empty signifier; it’s a classic double-bind. When I was still pondering academia, the easiest way to work around through this was to refer what to what I was working on as a feminist project or as grounded in feminist thought rather than take the moniker. In the real world, it’s far better I think to look at feminism as something you do, and in the long-run everyday practices of egalitarianism (striving to not be a sexist bastard) are as valuable as running screaming for the barricades.

              That said, I’ve used the term “feminist” for myself in the past, and I don’t feel guilty about it simply for being a man. I’m less likely to do so now that I’m not involved in any academic knife fights over identity politics.

              • This is an interesting point, anthrofred. I was a Nepal scholar, but not a “Nepalist” or a “Nepali” which I think is analagous to your “feminist project” phrase. I think that’s more appropriate to anything you are working on academically anyway-anything more than that is an overidentification with a theory, or even a discipline, than I think is respectful of reality. When I was an anthropologist I really didn’t want to be identified as a “marxist” or other specific subset of anthropology–its too limiting and priviliges ideology over research.

              • Nathanael

                I just define feminist as “anti-sexist”, or if I have to get more explicit, “opposed to discrimination on the basis of sex”, and leave it at that — after all, that’s pretty much the original definition.

                If pressed to say more, I refer to bell hooks’ book _Feminism is For Everybody_, which carefully explains the entire concept of the patriarchy and all that.

                “In the real world, it’s far better I think to look at feminism as something you do,”
                Well, yeah. Duh? Right?

        • Manju

          Ah…i grok u now. i should apply to teach hugo’s class: right wing male feminist. that’s the ticket.

          • I thought thats what you were doing, trolling here.

            • Manju

              Well, I draw the line at dick pics.* Abs are all you’ll get from me.

              *Yes, Hugo pulled a Weiner.

              • Pat

                We are all grateful, sir.

      • djw

        he got job teaching feminism

        I’m believe he got a job teaching history, specifically western civ, and (as it pretty common at Community Colleges) as be became more senior was allowed to teach courses in other areas of interest. (I think most of his student exploiting came before he taught gender studies classes).

    • My impression is that he is:

      1) Rather good looking and charismatic

      2) Rather articulate

      3) Provocative

      4) Intent on self promotion and not terrible at it aside from the train wreckiness

      This is all coupled with

      5) Being a train wreck

      Obviously, he’s not a researcher or scholar per se and doesn’t really claim to be one directly even before the latest go around (he did like to give the impression, however). There are plenty of feminists who are activists/pundits/non-academics who contribute enormously to feminist understanding (above and beyond their direct contributions qua activists) and feminism has typically been welcoming of activist insight (well…sometimes; in principle for sure). But with Hugo, self-aggrandizment was always the principle and obvious motivation. I mean, “Author, Speaker, Professor, Shattering gender myths.” Give me a break.

      • ChrisTS

        Well, based on the one photo I’ve seen, I’m going to demur re. #1.

        ‘Train wreck” pretty much captures it. Can a train wreck be creepy?

        • LeftWingFox

          Can a train wreck be creepy?

          Depends on the cargo. How about a hundred half-melted Cabbage Patch Kid dolls from a derailed boxcar staring at you from the wreckage?

          • ChrisTS

            Yeah, that would probably be apt. :-)

        • He surely isn’t to everyone’s taste, but just a quick glance at his rate my prof page shows that he his considered hot enough by enough people for it to be a thing. I put in charismatic because, afaict, he’s charms lots of people.

          And being creepy is one aspect of his wrecktitude.

          • ChrisTS

            Gack. No accounting for taste.

            • Lee Rudolph

              I’m sure that no one with the character that has here been ascribed to Mr. Schwyzer would ever, ever do anything like spif up his own Rate My Profs page with admiring self-recommendations. (I believe Paul Campos has occasionally written about someone somewhat like that; but not Mr. S., oh, my, no.)

              • AFAIK, there’s no evidence of HS sockpuppetry. He’s obviously a hugely unreliable narrator, so who knows.

                I’m not sure what cause is advanced by denying that he has conventional good looks and is considerably highly attractive by quite a number of people. He clearly was using his appearance and charisma to his advantage (however cold they leave me) and it’s equally clearly something that feeds and feeds into his narcissism and problematic sexual behavior.

        • Manju

          Well, based on the one photo I’ve seen, I’m going to demur re. #1.

          Of all the things said of Hugo on thread, this is probably the one he finds most offensive.

    • JustMe

      “man bites dog” and “I was once a sinner” sells better than anything else, even in academia. He was A Novelty ACT.

      Yes, and people ate it up, which I could never understand. The thing is, I really dislike “I was once a sinner” preaching which goes on to tell me how awesome he is. It’s a form of narcissism and pretention that ends up reveling in his “sinful” years.

      Honestly, I don’t want to hear about feminism from someone on his fourth marriage who had a history of sleeping with his students and messed up relationships. That person needs to work on himself. I want to hear about feminism from someone who “got it right” by not making such extreme mistakes.

      Schwyzer was also a practicing Christian who ran youth groups and taught Sunday school classes. Even in his hey-day, I was thinking, “I would not want this guy teaching my kids in Sunday school.”

      • Nathanael

        “The thing is, I really dislike “I was once a sinner” preaching which goes on to tell me how awesome he is.”

        I dislike this intensely myself and it makes me incredibly suspicious (I guess I have trouble believing that people truly reform, even though I know it’s happened occasionally).

        But this narrative seems to be frighteningly, extremely popular in Christian culture in particular.

  • TribalistMeathead

    “a favorite talking point of those who are sympathetic to the movement is that any man who professes any sort of allegiance to the tenets of feminism is only doing so to get unfettered access to feminists’ plaid flannel granny panties”

    Oh, that’s interesting. I was under the impression that they only did so because they’re insufficiently masculine and/or closeted homosexuals.

    And, of course, that’s totally different from the whole “nice guys” approach MRAs take to interpersonal relationships, where they’re only nice to women to get unfettered access to their thongs.

    • bspencer

      Oh, yeah, Tribalist…that’s a big *thing* in MRA circles: men who don’t think of women as a series of orifices to put their dicks in are really just *secret* sexists who want to get laid. Ugh.

    • anthrofred

      I was under the impression MRAs were never nice guys, because all women secretly want people who treat them like shit, except said flannel women, and who would want them anyway which is why you need to marry eastern Europeans who preferably don’t speak any English argleblargle…

      • TribalistMeathead

        The nice guy line of thought is basically “I hate women because they only want men who treat them like shit.” It’s the same rank misogyny, it just comes from a different place.

        • Nathanael

          It’s loaded with gender essentialism in so many ways I can’t count it.

  • I know he is famous for being both a man and a feminist

    That’s more than I know about him. When I see one of these comment threads where it seems like we’re all supposed to know about someone like that, it makes me feel I’m much too uninformed to be allowed on the Internet.

    • bspencer

      Well, then sit next to me, Bianca. I only knew about him because I used to (mostly) lurk at Manboobz. And I certainly didn’t read his whole bio there. Mostly I got that he was something of a lightning rod for the MRA community. So it looks as though Schwyzer has burned bridges with eveyrone.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      me, too. from what little quick reading I was able to do just now, the guy seems like someone who will say *anything* to get attention – a bit too in love with the arc of his own myth

  • journalmalist

    This is an incendiary comment to make I’m sure, but it’s what we’re all thinking, or should be:

    Schwyzer has done to women’s studies what Sokal did to postmodern criticism. The fact that he could fake his way as an instructor for years does not say much for the field of study.

    • bspencer

      Really? I think that’s pretty goofy thinking. There are bound to be frauds and assholes in every field.

    • elm

      Eh, the comparison isn’t that great. Sokal published his work in a peer-reviewed journal, demonstrating that reviewers and editors could not tell that there was no academic merit (or logic of any kind) to his work. Schwyzer says he never published in academic outlets, so his fraud doesn’t really impugn women study’s scholars, especially if the people in this thread who claim that there’s always been a lot of feminist push-back against Schwyzer are correct.

      (And forgive a brief moment of academic snobbery: someone who is less-than-credentialed teaching a specific class at a community college hardly indicts an entire field.)

      • Pseudonym

        I’d hate to see the Donalde discredit all of political science.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Also: Sokal intended to expose what he saw as a fraudulent kind of work by publishing an intentionally empty essay. While Schwyzer’s motives are murky, it seems unlikely that his work was intended as such an act. He certainly isn’t saying it was (and, of course, Sokal was quite open about this once his piece had been accepted by Social Text).

      • Jordan

        Social Text wasn’t actually peer-reviewed in the traditional sense (at the time, at least). But otherwise, yeah.

    • witless chum

      This is an incendiary comment to make I’m sure, but it’s what we’re all thinking, or should be:

      This is a statement that’s never been followed by anything smart.

      Schwyzer has done to women’s studies what Sokal did to postmodern criticism. The fact that he could fake his way as an instructor for years does not say much for the field of study.

      Christ on a crutch, this time is worst than most. Being a professor involves teaching a class, that’s it. It’s not a test of your purity of thought or deed. And that’s doubley dumb because Schwyzer was not a prominent academic or scholar. His profile was all from writing for a popular audience, the qualifications for which are exactly nothing.

    • AcademicLurker

      I think plenty of people had Schwyzer figured out from early on. His “I support feminism as long as I get to be the center of attention” schtick was pretty obvious.

      The puzzling thing for me is that a number of high profile feminist bloggers whose writing I generally find smart and insightful were on Team Schwyzer for a long time. I think it might a fluke of the early days of the bloggosphere. Openly feminist bloggers get so much crap and harassment that when there only a few out there it created a sense of solidarity.

      • Another Holocene Human

        But there were other bloggers who repeatedly called him out. I don’t follow online feminism closely, yet I’m more familiar with criticisms of him than his defenders.

        Does make me wonder about the Cult of Amanda Marcotte. Her name gets dropped with such awe even though her posts never strike me as anything special.

        Sounds like a lot of people out there need a privilege check. (Oh, me too, I’m sure, but at least I have enough shame not to whitesplain to feminists of color, as if I have insight into 1/10 of what they go through daily.)

        • Pseudonym

          She has attitude, or moxie, or something else that sounds very condescending and patronizing coming from me so I’ll shut up now.

        • bspencer

          I can’t speak for other feminists. I like her because she doesn’t take shit from anyone. Also, she’s occasionally pretty acerbic and funny.

        • Amanda has a high productivity and she has a high profile because she is so consistently attacked by MRAs and other losers on the bloggosphere. She has guts and is willing to take a huge amount of abuse–the threads attacking her are always ten times longer than her articles. She is a journalist and a professional writer–thats not privilige thats her actual job and she does it well and sells her stuff.

        • NBarnes

          The amount of hate Amanda tanks while staying on target is amazing.

        • Origami Isopod

          Amanda Marcotte is a clever writer who not infrequently comes up with some very good insights. She can also be funny, and, yes, she deserves credit for putting up with the troll hordes.

          That said, she has a lot of blind spots, she’s not terribly good at admitting she’s wrong (her apology over the racist book cover was a long time coming), she gives trolls far too much leeway, and the combination of music snobbery plus periodic whining about how people are picking on poor misunderstood hipsters… yeesh.

          Personally I’m not thrilled with any large feminist blog anymore; I mostly read feminist Tumblrs these days. There’s a lot of chaff out there in addition to the wheat, but I feel able to separate the two.

        • Nathanael

          She’s what some people call “hardcore” about what she does — she can take an incredible amount of abuse and keep going, being more productive than most of us are normally.

          That trait tends to go along with a certain lack of sensitivity, FWIW. I think you can see why; if she were more sensitive she wouldn’t be able to shove her way through so much crap.

      • lodown

        A sort of quid pro quo? Schwyzer praised and promoted their work. He even assigned books written by Valenti et al. in his courses.

        • So you are saying that academics assign each others books and logroll to promote each other? I think Schwyzer is disgusting and obviously a pretty repulsive person but there is absolutely nothing surprising here about people engaging, and even re-engaging with people over time. People review each others books and cite each other too. Its part of the self promotion that people have to do in order to get their names out as free lance intellectuals. Schwyzer is a pretty egregious example but every field–and I do mean every one–tolerates noisy assholes and even dangerous people so long as they can create conferences, links, contacts, events. Thats true for Republicans and for Democrats–look at Filner–and its true within women’s studies where there were and are predatory or abusive females as well as males climbing the ladder of power.

    • Pseudonym

      Except that (a) a number of feminists have been onto him for a while and (b) the problem is that he’s a fraud and a fake who lied about himself, not that what he said about feminism was always complete nonsense.

      • Its complicated. No one ever said that feminists would never have a problem with daddy and boyfriend issues. No doubt there were (some) feminists and self described feminists who were as eager to have a white/professor/activist pay attention to them as anyone one else trying to build a readership/fan base/activist network. Even, or especially, revolutionary movements can have their regressive and blind spot aspects.

        I read Schwyzer as your basic grifter-conman-narcisist. He found an arena where he could play a big fish and he peddled his wares which were a look of puzzled concern, sexy male het approval, links and pats on the back to people who were busy or gullible or both.

        He’s no different than a bourgeouis marxist hipster who slums with the revolutionaries in order to get laid or to help himself to the loot when they break into the houses of his neighbors and friends.

        • Pseudonym

          Yes, you said that better than I could have. Thanks.

    • NonyNony

      Schwyzer has done to women’s studies what Sokal did to postmodern criticism. The fact that he could fake his way as an instructor for years does not say much for the field of study.

      I totally agree.

      Also the fact that there are people at the local community college who teach mathematics who don’t even have an undergraduate degree in math means that the entire field of mathematics is undermined as well.

      So put away your proofs mathematicians and start polishing up your resumes – your field has been completely undermined by the employment policies of community colleges across this nation! Your field is a fraud and you should feel bad about yourselves!

      • ChrisTS

        +100.

        • Lee Rudolph

          What fraudulent kind of WFF is that supposed to be, you fraudulent fraud? And don’t go all implicature on us, either!!!

    • anthrofred

      Social Text is a major, widely-circulated journal published by Duke, and Sokal was a Princeton PhD with a job at NYU. In contrast, Schwyzer is a faculty member at a community college, though granted it’s a well-respected one. His academic publishing history is scant, though he’s been quite prolific in the popular press.

      His rise and fall says a lot more about the relationship between the media and erstwhile, self-marketed “public intellectuals” than it does about women’s / gender / feminist studies.

      • JustMe

        His rise and fall says a lot more about the relationship between the media and erstwhile, self-marketed “public intellectuals” than it does about women’s / gender / feminist studies.

        Which is kind of sad, because it just feeds into the suspicion that lots of academics have of those who become “public intellectuals”– that they’re self-aggrandizing mediocrities rather than serious scholars. Which in the case of Schwyzer, is true. And that’s too bad, because we could use more public intellectuals who are actual intellectuals, rather than narcissists or former scholars who just got bored and managed to cultivate an audience of people not bright enough to see through them (eg, Thomas Sowell).

        • anthrofred

          I really do agree, hence the quotation marks. Sigh.

        • LeeEsq

          Getting actual intellectuals to take up this role is going to be difficult. They are going to change their writing style in order to be more accesible to people who lack the necessary lexicon. They are going to also have to down any harshness regardless of their position. One advantage of existing in the Ivory Tower is that you can adopt a tone of outright hostility towards chosen targets with somewhat near impunity. The public intellectual has to aim for a broader audience than people already inclined to agree with her. This requires a bit more discipline in writing than preaching to the choir.

          • seeker6079

            Getting actual intellectuals to take up this role is going to be difficult.

            Very true. But in a public discourse as confrontational and (yes) tribal as ours, why would any person that smart want the headache? To enter the public arena means to be attacked not only by people who disagree with you, but by people who agree with you but are enraged with you because you disagree with them on one point. And it also means academic shivs in your back from other intellectuals who will slag you for dumbing down or going popular. Seriously, look at the level of discourse in our culture. Would any sane person voluntarily want to join if they didn’t have to?

            • Nathanael

              Paul Krugman does it out of a sense of duty to society, basically, as far as I can tell. The idea that if he doesn’t, who else is going to say that the Economic Emperors Have No Clothes?

              This is probably the same reason why people like Cornel West (who I respect) do “public intellectualism”.

              It may not be sane, but a lot of people care about the future of society and feel some duty to say something about it.

        • Another Holocene Human

          This is nothing new.

          My dad is a geophysicist. He was bitterly critical of Carl Sagan over his alleged influence on the first Martian? Lunar? landers and the tests that were done (which came back inconclusive).

          I think Sagan did a lot of good but we’re talking about professional pride here and my dad was not at all alone among working scientists of having the lowest opinion of the man. (He was worse than an anti-science fundy–he sold them out!)

    • sharculese

      I’m shocked it was this long into a Hugo Schwyzer thread before someone said something patently idiotic about feminism.

      Really, I’m pleasantly surprised.

  • LeeEsq

    Besides being a hypocrite, I think that Schwyzer has the problem of taking his own issues and projecting them on other men. His relatively recent article about the problems with older men and younger women are an example of this. He assumes that since he is attracted to much younger women, all men are.

    I actually think that Schwyzer is sincere with his belief in feminism. It’s just that his personal issues and life makes him a really poor male advocate for feminism. Like many hypocrites, his advise and insights aren’t bad but they look off because of the vessel.

    • Pat

      You mean, the principles of feminism seem sound to him, but when it comes to putting them in practice in front of real live women, he has trouble?

      Too bad there isn’t a pill for that!

      • Saltpeter?

        • LeeEsq

          Well-played.

      • Colin Day

        Depo-Provera?

    • anthrofred

      He seems to have completely missed all of the work feminists have done on gender and subjectivity (maybe he read some standpoint theory while half-awake?), which is a shame, especially if he was teaching.

  • Sly

    Being a “White Knight” in MRA-speak is not about acting decent in order to earn to sex; this would be somewhat contradictory, since MRAs don’t think of sex as something to be earned, but something they are entitled to merely for being men (there’s a considerable degree of overlap between MRAs and Pick-Up Artists). This axiom of male sexuality is then reprocessed as a victim status – poor, poor men who need sex constantly why won’t you just have sex with us – and feeds into the MRA’s paranoid delusion that every woman seeks to exploit male sexuality for either money (the gold digging whore) or sexual envy (the false rape victim).

    No, a “White Knight” is to MRAs what a “race traitor” (or, more appropriately, “nigger-lover”) is to white supremacists. He is a man who reflexively defends women just for the fact that they are women, and for no other reason. Those people do exist, and they do perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes wherever they go, but MRAs excoriate White Knights for perpetuating “female privilege,” not realizing that there the only difference between placing someone on a pedestal and putting them in a cage is a matter of elevation.

    As for Schwyzer, the correct term is to describe him is “idiot.”

    • bspencer

      Being a “White Knight” in MRA-speak is not about acting decent in order to earn to sex; this would be somewhat contradictory, since MRAs don’t think of sex as something to be earned, but something they are entitled to merely for being men (there’s a considerable degree of overlap between MRAs and Pick-Up Artists).

      Thanks. I knew all this. And, yes, many MRA types do think many men “white knight” to get booty. Cognitive dissonance is a feature not a bug in those circles.

      • Another Holocene Human

        It’s not cognitive dissonance–the White Knight of MRA lore is a dishonest man, a deceiver who lies about what All Men Know To Be True and women fall for it because they are simple, vicious creatures who love to have their egos stroked and their prejudices validated.

        It’s a very nasty, personal attack which aims to (clumsily) deflect from the attacker’s raging personal defects to project them on the target, probably someone who quite reasonably told them that they sound like an entitled, self-centered colostomy bag that no person with any self-respect would lay outside the context of a commercial transaction.

      • I “Black Rook” and all I ever get is moved two spaces to the right with the goddamned king jumping in front of me.

      • Origami Isopod

        It’s just projection. They’re misogynist assholes; therefore, other men must be as well, and any decency they show toward women must have an ulterior motive.

    • TribalistMeathead

      “there’s a considerable degree of overlap between MRAs and Pick-Up Artists”

      Be fair, there’s even more overlap between MRAs and students of “pick-up artist” courses.

      • bspencer
        • ChrisTS

          ugh, ugh, ugh….

        • CaptBackslap

          I’m not that heavy into that show, but I saw that episode and that bit was AWESOME. Although I still think “The D.E.N.N.I.S. System” was even better.

          • Omg. I just watched that episode.

            • CaptBackslap

              It really plays up the sociopathic nature of PUAs (and having Dee be the one to point out someone else’s sociopathy is always a good laugh).

              • bspencer

                I like to joke that “Always Sunny” is what “Seinfeld” would have been if Jerry and co. had been mentally challenged sociopaths.

                • CaptBackslap

                  They were already pretty close on the former point, although the show took their side more than Sunny does.

    • This post by Sly is 100 percent correct.

      • Pseudonym

        99%. I don’t think Schwyzer is an idiot; I’d say he’s a rather clever little abusive narcissistic asscracker.

    • Pseudonym

      MRAs might describe him as a “useful idiot” perhaps. You’re right about White Knights betraying their gender. MRAs tend to use it to describe anyone who doesn’t treat women as an inferior class though, and in particular anyone who defends woman against MRAs.

      • They would only describe him as a useful idiot if they thought he wasn’t getting laid as a result of his efforts. In the parlance of the MRAs if he gets more sex than average–is an Alpha–then this is just part of his “game” and they would definitely respect him for that, in a sneaking kind of way. The entire MRA/PUA thing is a rather typical rat pile of losers who simultaneously glom together for warmth and reassurance that the deck is stacked against them, send away madly for informaiton on how to get over on women, and who worship the successful man who gains sexual access to women without actually giving them what they need. To the extent that schwyzer’s sexual exploits are clearly exploitative, they would celebrate him as they celebrate any man who “pumps and dumps.” If they thought he was peddling feminism without getting sexual benefit from it then they would despise him.

        • Pseudonym

          Good point. MRAs would despise him for being an aggressive alpha male, rather than a passive white knight zeta male. (MRAs aren’t too familiar with the ordering of the Greek alphabet.)

          • The Dark Avenger

            To be fair, if you called a guy “an omega man”, they’d think you were talking about the Charlton Heston movie.

        • lodown

          This speculation is all well and good, but actual MRAs have been making nasty remarks about Schwyzer’s recent suicide attempt and taking it as an opportunity to bash feminism. The fact that Schwyzer identified as a feminist means he’s a mangina and to be scorned no matter his sexual exploits.

          • Yeah, sure, but America loves second acts. They scorn him now as a “mangina” and etc..etc…etc…but if the actual histories of various MRA heroes, as scrawled on their mother’s basement doors, are any proof he could come back as the Iron John of the MRA movement by renouncing his past sins and stopping playing up the mental health issue and just going for unreconstructed rotter. Hell, I haven’t been following this guy’s so called career at all and I could write him an MRA best seller “how I learned to stop being a Mangina and began playing Game to Win.”

    • seeker6079

      With respect, Sly, that’s an explanation of “white knight” which is better suited to the point that you want made rather than what it is. IME the men’s rights types tend to use “white knight” as a catch-all phrase to describe men who leap to defend women regardless of the context or their own or gender interests. That is an awful lot of ground: over the past few months, for example, I’ve seen it used to describe a group of men who started beating on a man who’d been attacked by a woman angered at a man not buying her a drink, something there which has nothing to do with feminism or gender-treason or whatever at all, (though it is used in that way in other contexts). It’s an umbrella term meaning, essentially, “a man who sides with the woman”, whether the woman is right or not, whether the man she is dealing with is right or not.

      • Sly

        One of my more obnoxious habits is reading MRA bile. Mostly because, being a recovering misogynist, I like to occasionally remind myself of what the hole I almost crawled into looks like.

        I know how these people think. And with respect to usage of “White Knight” as an epithet, you haven’t contradicted the definition I provided in the slightest.

        • seeker6079

          My own view was not that your definition was wrong. It’s often right. My point was limited to that the term is more widely used than that, and often in a non-misogynist way. That’s right, too.

      • NBarnes

        The MRA / misogynist crowd are not precise or particular about their use of vocabulary. Their movement could use a good semiotician.

  • Schwyzer is lised as an “instructor” in Social Sciences at Paadena City College. He definitely doesn’t have tenure, I’m guessing he was hired as an adjunct:

    http://www.pasadena.edu/directory/index.cfm?Search&Keyword=hugo%20schwyzer

    He doesn’t have his C.V. listed, which is strange.

    If PCC wants to hire him part-time, fine, but there are plenty of struggling academics out there with actual PhD’s and publications in journals who are probably more deserving.

    They probably aren’t minor celebs, however.

  • He claims to have tenure in the interview but I’m not familiar with any US college/university that would do so without listing hims as “Professor” or “Assistant Professor.”

    “Instructor” actually tends to imply that he’s a graduate student, but who knows.

    • anthrofred

      It’s a community college – so he’s not a grad student – and he’s been teaching there for quite a while. They do use “professor” and its variants for some staff, but most of the faculty across departments at PCC seem to be adjuncts.

      Of course, the distinction between tiers in educational institutions tends to escape the media, so I imagine we can thank the Beast for the confusion.

      • Very school and system is different. I was a “lecturer” at Yale for a year. After grad school, before “tenure track” which has its own nomenclature.

        • FlipYrWhig

          A friend who taught elementary school for a few years once told me that he had tenure, but it was only year to year. I never quite understood that.

    • djw

      He actually blogged about this once, ages ago. I’m a bit hazy on the details, but IIRC he said something along the lines of every time he applied for promotion, he declined to take the more advanced titles that came with it (which is apparently an option at PCC), out of some sort of faux-humbleness.

      • You mean this?

        Of course, he’s still “Author, Speaker, Professor” so…

  • Halloween Jack
  • JustMe

    All that aside, I have a lot of sympathy for Schwyzer. He’s really melting down and has serious mental health problems. I’m not going to rejoice in that. The issue is that so much attention was given to such a narcissist with so many problems– he was using feminism as a means of self-aggrandizement. Blogger and editors and publishers who gave him a platform should have seen that coming.

    And Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary field. By its nature, those teaching those classes are going to come from a variety of backgrounds rather than being narrow specialists in the specific field, especially at a community college. As long as he wasn’t teaching a graduate seminar, I’m sure he was perfectly “qualified” to teach those classes.

  • whetstone

    Did Schwyzer ever write about anything with regard to feminism that didn’t have to do with sex? Like, I dunno, wages or political representation or VAWA? Because insofar as I ever encountered his work, it all had to do with Sex, and that kind of seemed like a tell for someone who wanted to be King of the Male Feminists. It’s more than just the fun stuff.

    Naturally, the Atlantic was the last big publication to run his stuff, since they’ve never seen trolly writing about women they weren’t up to run.

  • Scott Lemieux

    I know he is famous for being both a man and a feminist, and that’s about it.

    The thing is, this about gets it. The key distinction is that he wasn’t a feminist who brought his expertise to bear on issues concerning gender relations; he was someone who wanted to be known as a “male feminist” leader. It’s a subtle difference, but a crucial one. Generally, actual male feminists don’t assert a leadership role in this way, even if they don’t have a record of trying to kill girlfriends, sleeping with their students, etc.

    The interesting question about Schwyzer is how such an obvious fraud continued to get such great publishing gigs. Jezebel in particular should be embarrassed.

    • Pseudonym

      He was the Great White Feminist Mansplainer, essentially.

      • seeker6079

        Sorry, I don’t get this. Did you mean that he was a feminist engaged in “mansplaining” or that he was doing a feminist version of “mansplaining”?

        • FLRealist

          He was mansplaining feminism.

          • seeker6079

            Was he? I suppose that argument can be made and I don’t want to argue against it. Elsewhere in this thread I used the term “scold” and that pretty much fits HS: he wasn’t (imho) “mansplaining”, he was taking feminist arguments and tropes and saying to men, in essence, “this is what a REAL man thinks and is, you nasty non-feminist men, and why can’t you be more like MEEE?”

            • Este

              He was also telling women what they should and shouldn’t object to as feminists.

              • seeker6079

                Fair enough, and more clear. I was always unclear, though, on how much of that with HS was being a “mansplainer” and how much of it was the self-aggrandizing ruthlessness that we often see in academic or ideological discourse: the use of movement language as a tool to move up the ladder and marginalize others who stand in the way of one’s own ambition.

    • potsherds

      “The interesting question about Schwyzer is how such an obvious fraud continued to get such great publishing gigs. Jezebel in particular should be embarrassed.”

      Did you see Coen’s “pity me, I was duped, as anyone would have been” excuse-making pos editorial yesterday? Good gods, but Jezebel is a really awful site. And Coen was warned a-plenty about Schwyzer, but continued to publish him anyway, same with xoJane, GMP, etc. And Jezebel removed comments on his articles criticizing him too, iirc.

      This whole thing really underscores a huge issue with the more public side of white feminism and well-known feminist persons and media. There were SO MANY WOC pointing out allllllll the red flags with this jackhole for years and years, and they were roundly ignored. Worse, Schwyzer tried to damage those women, ruin any chance of getting their stuffed published in feminist spaces, and was largely successful. I mean, who is a big media outlet gonna pick? The charming white guy with the redemption narrative, or a WOC. An unfortunately all too easy choice for many, and a wrong one.

      • mpowell

        My take on this is that for a certain number of feminists they want feminism to be about more than just men vs women (they’re pretty explicit about it too, no secrets here). They also want it to be about class and unfair social structures, even those aspects which are not gender essentialist. This is understandable but there are downsides as well. Namely, that society will give up sexism far more easily than they will give up classism and knowing the right people and being famous and people doing what’s best for their careers. I don’t think their efforts are undermining the work on simple sexism, but those folks are going to tend to be much more frustrated.

        • The Dark Avenger

          “Oh, there you go, bringing class into it again………!”

          • Another Holocene Human

            Can’t you see the violence inherent in the system?

        • Nathanael

          I actually think you underestimate how hard it is going to be to get society to give up sexism. Sex discrimination has been the basis of social class structure in every historic society I have ever read about, ever; even the nicest and most decent of ancient cultures had “men’s realm” and “women’s realm”. If we can get rid of sex discrimination we will be in an unheard of situation and we may have a better chance and breaking the class structure.

          But hey, what would I know, I’m from one of the upper classes.

      • Pseudonym

        I, for one, wasn’t aware of the whole issue women of color had with him until yesterday. I saw a few references to it in some comments, but whenever someone asked for more details, the responses were along the lines of “fuck you, I’m not doing my research for you” and “why do you automatically distrust women of color?” So, okay, I did some research and eventually stumbled on some comments, although I’m still not clear about many details of what happened. Half the story was patched together from twitter tweets and tumblr… tumbls. I realize that women of color are not here to hold my hand, but is it any wonder that accessible authors like Schwyzer and sites like Jezebel are more popular than most of their critics?

        • Este

          Yeah, seriously. Women of color aren’t there to hold your hand, but self-proclaimed activists should absolutely be willing to explain what’s wrong with Schwyzer. I blame the insularity of the people who knew he was creepy as much as I blame Jezebel for promoting him.

          • potsherds

            “I blame the insularity of the people who knew he was creepy as much as I blame Jezebel for promoting him.”

            Er. What?

            I guess if one doesn’t make it a habit to look for feminist perspectives outside of the mainstream this would appear to be the case? It doesn’t at all ring true to me though. I only learned of the guy *because* of all the folks talking about what an abusive, manipulative, non-feminist fuckwad he is.

            These are folks whose views are not promoted in popular feminist media for reasons around race, class, region, etc and also simple oversight, though. So if one isn’t looking for folks who specifically have these intersectional marginalizations, you likely wouldn’t have heard about it.

            On a more general note, I get the impression that a lot of folks view and understanding of feminism is based around what gets said and talked about by popular feminist media and and well-known feminists. That’s missing a whole heck of a lot of important issues and views, particularly intersectional ones which, in my privileged white middle-class cis-woman’s opinion, are many times more important and valuable than mine or other feminists’ with similar privileges.

            • Pseudonym

              I’m no expert on any of the feminisms, so sure, I tend to gravitate towards the more popular feminist media and well-known feminists, like Marcotte and Valenti and Filipovic (and manboobz) among others. I heard enough about HS in those places to find him skeevy, but I didn’t know anything about his interactions with women of color. I’m not blaming anyone in particular for that, except perhaps myself, but I’m not going to be an expert in everything, and the chances of a straight white male being familiar with intersectionality are already pretty low.

              It’s just annoying when I’m told to google as though I haven’t been trying that already. A bunch of the sites linked to that hosted the original complaints have now been taken over by domain parkers, so it’s like an archaeological expedition. Half the other stuff is in ephemeral tweets. I just don’t understand why there are 100 comments complaining about how women of color are being ignored but only one includes a URL detailing what I’ve been ignoring.

              • Eh…I don’t think is this wise, fair, or right.

                First, people like brownfemipower did lay various things out at various times, but then felt (correctly, I think) marginalized, frustrated, and just plain pissed off. Some took their blog private, some gave up blogging, and there’s some normal bit rot.

                One might better ask why some better funded efforts didn’t take up the task of recording the issues.

                (Plus, didn’t you post some of the summaries and link posts about it? It does require some effort but lots of things which were big 5 or 6 years ago require some effort to piece together.)

                To put it another way, it would be kinder and more supportive to be sad rather than annoyed that a lot of this stuff got lost and takes some digging to find. People suffered a fair bit due to HS and some people made some big and pretty easy to avoid errors in supporting him. Being annoyed with the people who spoke up or were put down by him seems to get things wrong way around.

            • Este

              I found out about his behavior by doing a lot of digging. In so doing, I saw a lot of comments wherein people just said he was awful and then refused to specify why. It wouldn’t surprise me if people just didn’t look further. Not everyone has the time to go prowling the blogosphere for information on Hugo Schwyzer.

      • Colin Day

        Did you see Coen’s “pity me, I was duped, as anyone would have been” excuse-making pos editorial yesterday? Good gods, but Jezebel is a really awful site.

        I’m sorry, but I couldn’t find it on Jezebel. Do you have a link?

        • potsherds
          • That Jezebel piece reminds me of why I never read Jezebel and don’t consider it a feminist site at all. This comment from the comment thread is pretty great:

            This is weak. I’m sorry he hurt your feelings and whatever but quite frankly, you don’t hire someone to write for you who’s been banned from feminist websites and blogs because he’s a raging misogynistic gaslighting asshole and then act offended when he behaves as a raging misogynistic gaslighting asshole.

            I know you purport to not be a “feminist” site, but let’s call a spade a spade. Giving him a bullhorn on what most of your readers think is a place to learn about feminism 101 (at the very least, pop culture/entertainment/news with a feminist bent) is a big mistake. And I understand that you understand that now. But ADMIT that you didn’t understand it then. And say you’re sorry. Or do a big public takedown of all of his pieces and why the majority of them are “Capital P” Problematic for a myriad of reasons. Ye

          • Colin Day

            Thanks, I didn’t realize that was the article.

      • Origami Isopod

        Good gods, but Jezebel is a really awful site.

        Jezebel is a Gawker site. Gawker sites exist to get page hits. They will run anything, and I mean anything, to get you to click through.

        Jezebel sometimes runs articles that are genuinely feminist, but it’s certainly not a feminist site.

    • mpowell

      Jezebel is oriented more towards the salacious than cool discernment. It makes the site more fun, but in terms of content, they have a lot of misses. Tough to both well.

      • Halloween Jack

        I pretty much gave up on them when they published an article from someone who text-flirted with Charlie Sheen right after his public meltdown.

      • CaptBackslap

        Gawker sites tend to be pretty lousy, other than Deadspin.

        • Jordan

          I dunno. Gawker itself has been pushing a *lot* of stories told by people who work at low wage, low prestige jobs for a while now.

          • Pseudonym

            Why wouldn’t they be pushing stories from their own writers?

            • I thought those were expose type stories, and good ones, in the Gawker mode of picking up kind of “found poetry” stories.

              • Jordan

                Pseudonym is making a “joke” that the gawker writers themselves are at a low-wage, low-prestige job.

            • Jordan

              They aren’t from their own writers. Hamilton Nolan is pushing stories from actual people.

              But, aha, you are so funny.

          • Origami Isopod

            When Gawker blogs do good things, you can be sure that they’re good things which will get lots of page hits.

            I don’t know enough about Hamilton Nolan to say that he solicited those stories just for the page hits. Maybe he is actually concerned about economic justice. But if those articles weren’t going to attract a lot of eyeballs they never would have ran on Gawker. Same deal with Adrian Chen exposing ViolentAcrez, the “creepshots” asshole.

            • Nathanael

              Well, hey, anything good is some good. It’s not so unusual to have a site which is mostly junk and has some decent reporting tucked in, and I guess Gawker is like that.

              Radley Balko, the noted anti-police-abuse blogger, blogs at Cato, which is otherwise a swamp of some of the most repulsive lies I’ve ever seen.

              The _Daily Caller_ did one of the best summaries of the problem of on foreclosure fraud ever. Really.
              http://dailycaller.com/2010/10/14/thedc-op-ed-one-nation-under-fraud/

    • JL

      Generally, actual male feminists don’t assert a leadership role in this way, even if they don’t have a record of trying to kill girlfriends, sleeping with their students, etc.

      Yeah, I think this is a crucial point. The idea that good allies don’t barge in, demand cookies and adulation, start throwing their weight around, and blow their own horns at the expense of people in the group they’re trying to ally with, is basic to allyship for any cause.

    • LeeEsq

      Scott, I think that history is filled with examples of frauds gettting sweet publishing gigs. Smart people can be fooled to and are probably going to double down rather than admit that they were tricked.

    • I generally agree but “how such an obvious fraud continued to get such great publishing gigs. Jezebel in particular should be embarrassed”

      Jezebel is pretty much two steps forward, three steps back when it comes to feminism.

  • FlipYrWhig

    I never read or got the supposed appeal of this guy. Amanda Marcotte would talk about him a lot, IIRC. He seemed like the Kevin Drum of gender.

    • Pseudonym

      What is Kevin Drum the Kevin Drum of?

      • FlipYrWhig

        Technocratic progressivism and cats.

  • seeker6079

    I read liberal sites and I read conservative ones, I read feminist sites and I read MRA ones.

    One of the oddest things about some of the comments in this thread, though, is this: much of the so-called manosphere has been calling out Hugo Schwyzer as a manipulative asshat fraud who seeks only to further his own ends for quite some time now. And now that HS has admitted it people who hate “MRAs” (a term even vaguer and more flexible than “feminist”) are using it as proof that the MRAs are wrong. Eh? Sorry, but whatever you think of them in whole or in part they had this guy pegged (pun intended) loooooooooooong before most people on the progressive side of things did.

    • (the other) Davis

      And now that HS has admitted it people who hate “MRAs” (a term even vaguer and more flexible than “feminist”) are using it as proof that the MRAs are wrong.

      Reading comprehension: You don’t have it.

      • (the other) Davis

        To be less flip: Folks here are using the HS kerfuffle as a jumping-off point to talk about MRAs, not as “proof that the MRAs are wrong.”

      • seeker6079

        (shrugs) Just because my view differs from yours doesn’t mean I’m too dumb to understand things.

        • seeker6079

          If you could point me to where there is any post here where somebody has conceded that MRAs are, or might even be (ever) right other than mine I’d be grateful. I read the whole thread and found nothing but static thrown their way, but I concede that I might have missed a post.

          • (the other) Davis

            If you could point me to where there is any post here where somebody has conceded that MRAs are, or might even be (ever) right other than mine I’d be grateful.

            (A) See Hogan below.

            (B) You’ve just stepped back from your original position that folks are using this incident “as proof that the MRAs are wrong” — if you’re not willing to defend that statement as an accurate portrayal of this thread, then there’s nothing left to argue here. It’s fine if you think the MRAs deserve a cookie for being right about this guy being a phony, but stopped clocks and all that.

            • seeker6079

              Funny you should mention clocks: Hogan’s post was after mine, or I would have noted it.

              • Anonymous

                But the bit he quoted preceded yours.

                • (the other) Davis

                  That was me; that’s what I get for device switching.

        • Hogan

          What’s interesting about the Swhyzer interview is that he appears to be an extraordinarily high-profile example what MRA’s would describe as a “White Knight.” If you think the “White Knight” chestnut is 99% bullshit, this is unfortunate.

          The point isn’t that they’ve been proven wrong; it’s that there’s now evidence that they’re right.

          Now what’s your proof text?

    • bspencer

      Well, MRA’s are wrong about white-knighting. Or at least what I understood white-knighting to mean. Which is that men pretend feminism to get attention/validation/booty from women.

      Hugo Schwyzer was just a jumping off point for this entry because he’s such a high-profile figure who *appears* to be a convenient example for MRA’s to point to.

      And I also wanted to note that understanding that feminism may help you in some venues doesn’t necessarily mean you’re insincere about your feminism. (Fer instance, I’m sure some of the guys who comment here are probably aware that their feminism plays pretty well here. Doesn’t mean they’re not really feminists.)

      • Pseudonym

        MRAs claim that men only pretend feminism, and only to get attention/validation/booty from women, as bspencer said. I don’t think anyone is disputing that some men do that, as HS appears to have done. But “some X is Y” does not imply “all X are Y” — I’m sure it’s some logical fallacy or malformed syllogism.

        • bspencer

          Well, yeah. I’m sure there are douches out there who do that. I just think they’re the exception, not the rule.

        • seeker6079

          Which is, I note, what bspencer is doing with MRAs. Add to that the neat intellectual trick of pointing to something that they were dead right on, and using it as proof that they’re dead wrong.

          I hold no brief for MRAs, insofar as one can generalize about a segment of opinion that encapsulates (amongst others) infantile loser “Game” Casanova wanna-be’s on the one hand and and civil rights advocates arguing for equal gender treatment before family and criminal courts on the other. I just accept that people called MRAs can be sometimes right and that seems to piss of bspencer for some reason. Me, I don’t get it. If we can accept that not every feminist is Andrea Dworkin or Valeris Solanis why on earth is it so hard to accept that not every MRA is “heartiste” or George Sodini.

          • Pseudonym

            You seem to think this is an argument about MRAs, but it’s really not. Pardon me if I’m white-knighting bspencer here, but she never argued that this incident is proof that MRAs are wrong; she lamented that it would be used as evidence they are right, when she thinks they are 99% bullshit. And who are your positive examples of MRAs for you to contrast with those two?

            • seeker6079

              Sorry, but bspencer’s variant of “okay, you had this one nailed, but you’re still otherwise and always full of shit” isn’t really a concession of any kind, is it? It’s just a point conceded only to further disparage those bspencer disagrees with and reinforce the narrative that they’re never right. Which of course begs the question of who the “they” in MRA is? I find that many non- or anti-feminist men and women often have a point when they talk about the inequities of the family and criminal court systems; I’ve seen it in action far too often to count. Does it naturally follow that such a person is the same as Roosh, or that they even belong in the same category of analysis? I’d argue no. Ever single progressive or feminist website that I’ve ever seen, though, seems to instantly and instinctively accept that equation, and argue it ferociously. Even the use of the term “MRA” as a pejorative is a sine qua non of a progressive/feminist site.

              • bspencer

                Who had what nailed? This post wasn’t about MRA’s take on Schwyzer. It was about their take on white-knighting.

              • Pseudonym

                I have my own opinions about MRAs and should really stop trying to mansplain what I think bspencer’s might be. I don’t know enough about family court systems to have an informed opinion though. Do you have an answer for my question?

              • brad

                The moment you identify as an MRA you lose respect and the right to be taken seriously. It’s so hard not to Godwin myself now, that’s how low MRAs are and should be taken. There is no positive intent to recover, any genuine legal inequities you mention will not be positively addressed by the “movement”, if only because they’re so useful as recruiting tools.
                It’s a clear line in the sand, and your willingness to ignore the associations says just as much as your seemingly well considered words.

                bspencer- I love your posts. Sorry if I come across as a bit dense in them, its half intentional. After the first one, argument aside, I learned enough that I feel as if I should steer into my stupidity, as it were, and take the chance to learn from those who know important stuffs I don’t.

          • bspencer

            But my post wasn’t about MRA’s opinions of Hugo Schwyzer.

          • The MRA position on everything, not just Hugo Schwytzer is this:

            All men are rapacious, sex starved, adolescent assholes who have no other goal than pussy. All their interactions with women need to be seen through that lens.

            HS is one such instance.

            Ergo: what? HS is still anecdata. Or to put it in terms perhaps seeker can grok: even a stopped clock can be right twice a day. The MRA’s are bound to be right about the orientation of some men towards women–hell they are right at least as to their own motivations. But saying “wow, you guys recognize one of your own asshole tribe fast!” is really not much of a compliment. It certainly isn’t any kind of rebuttal to bspencer (and my) general scepticism of MRA’s and their goals as well as their generic worldview.

            Or shorter me: Assholes may always act like assholes but that doesn’t prove that everyone else is also an asshole.

            • seeker6079

              I find the use of the word “anecdata” interesting. When involved with social justice groups I note that one individual tends to be “illustrative” when the speaker wants to identify them with something, either positive or negative, but “anecdata” or “unrepresentative” when they want to disassociate the two. ;)

              • The Dark Avenger

                Your sympathy for the poor, misunderstood MRAs is noted, but it isn’t based on reality.

                You’ve yet to quote, or indeed, link to, any MRAs who are making points that are reasonable and wouldn’t be out of place on a feminist blog.

          • Origami Isopod

            I just accept that people called MRAs can be sometimes right

            So? The aphorism about blind pigs comes to mind, as does the one about stopped clocks.

    • lodown

      Stopped clocks, etc. Plus, MRA criticism of Schwyzer had a lot more to do with him being a prominent male feminist than because they were concerned about his manipulative, bullying, exploitative behavior (since they’re ALL about that when a MRA or PUA is engaging in it).

      And I don’t like how you’re presenting this as if MRAs were the only ones who saw through Schwyzer’s schtick. Many feminists called him out and were very vocal about it. unfortunately, they did not have platforms like Jezebel and Feministe and Schwyzer’s misguided defenders did.

    • sharculese

      Because MRAs attacks on Schwyzer weren’t based on anything substantive, just reactionary animus towards any man who self-identifies as feminist.

      Fucking duh. Do you need anything else obvious pointed out?

      • Fucking Duh is probably the best response I’ve seen yet to Seeker’s MRA weepy bullshit. I should have gone there first.

  • seeker6079

    One of the best feminist quotes of all time (and certainly a must-have for any best quotes list) is Rebecca West’s on “I don’t know what a feminist is …“.

    And I confess that something that worries me in the progressive blogsphere is that we seem to have the attitude of “I don’t know what an MRA is, but I will use the term to describe anybody who posits that women or feminists may not always, always be right”.

    • anthrofred

      I don’t necessarily disagree, but is there anything in bspencer’s post or this thread that you see as perpetuating this?

      • seeker6079

        This is a thread about a prominent male feminist who turned out to be a colossal douchebag and scumbag. And the main post itself takes a shot at MRAs (see the comment about nuance, etc.) and others followed up with other shots. That’d be “perpetuating” it, no?
        And have you ever seen any post by a progressive on a progressive blog or by a feminist on a feminist blog, which concedes in any way that an MRA might have a point, or a valid personal experience, ever? I haven’t.

        • Este

          Oh good grief. Have you ever seen any post by a progressive on a progressive blog which concedes in any way that a White Power fanatic might have a point, or a valid personal experience, ever? I haven’t. And I’m glad I haven’t. MRAs are no better.

          And refusing to allow that MRAs might have a point, which they don’t, is nowhere near the same thing as calling anyone who says women or feminists might not be right an MRA.

          • seeker6079

            So, every MRA is the same is as a neo-nazi.

            Godwin’s here.

            • Este

              Yep. What have MRAs done to make them deserve any more benefit of the doubt than a Klan member?

            • anthrofred

              This is a different point from what you were making previously, which was that people were just throwing the phrase around willy-nilly to slam people.

              Self-identification as an MRA generally implies a whole range of odious beliefs.

              • seeker6079

                Who is doing the implication? I’ve seen people and writers who identify as MRAs whose interests are limited to making sure that men don’t get screwed in family court. I’ve seen others so misogynist they set your hair on end.

                Where I often see a clouding of the lines is anger. A lot of the misogynists are always angry at women. A lot of the non-misogynists are so angry at how a man or men have been screwed over that they can sound misogynist. If that sounds familiar it’s because a lot of the early feminists were slagged as angry man-haters. Sometimes people are angry (sometimes unsettlingly angry) because they do have something to be angry about.

                • No. Lots and lots and lots of people, throughout history, have fought for the rights of men (and women) and never, ever, been tagged as “misogynists.” In order to be seen as a misogynist you have to actually pretty much be a misogynist. MRAs are misogynists. They not only believe that men get the raw end of the deal in male run courts, and male run armies, and male run societies they believe this is because women make this happen–that women benefit from patrirarchy and that women use men and use patriarchy for their own nefarious purposes. MRA’s are misogynists and they are, frankly, incurably historically and sociologically misinformed.

                  The fact that feminists were attacked as man haters has nothing to do with this. MRA’s are noted as misogynists (and most would wear the term proudly, btw) because they are.

            • djw

              Analogies don’t get too much more on point than that one. In each case, there has been a broad social and political effort to bring a group that had formerly been non or partial citizenship into full citizenship. Both MRAs and White power/”racial realists”/what have you emerged as a social movement to resist and decry that social and political effort. In both cases, they’ve learned to put some of their complaints in a twisted version of the language of equality used to considerable effect by their opponents.

          • CaptBackslap

            I’d agree with them that the general societal attitude towards male victims of sexual assault ranges from cavalier to gleeful.

            • seeker6079

              Thank you. Nice to see.

              Add to that sometimes cruel. The way that some male victims of pedophilic clerical rape were treated by some rape crisis centres was just jaw-droppingly, unbelievably unkind and dismissive.

              • I doubt that–or doubt that it was because of male on male sexism. I doubt that ANY of those children were ever taken to rape crisis centers.

                • CaptBackslap

                  Yeah, I really had adult victims in mind (especially prisoners, but that isn’t the full extent of the issue). Attitudes toward clerical abuse victims seemed to be more about disbelief that a Man of God could do such a thing.

                • seeker6079

                  The victims in question were adult males coming to terms with their abuse as children, and sought help from rape crisis centres figuring that they’d either be able to help or would direct them to someone who could. They received icy dismissals and in some cases outright hostility. You can doubt what you like.

                • I do doubt it. Absolutely. I live in the epicenter for the victims rights movement for the men and women who were sexually abused by their priests. Its true that society as a whole had a very hard time figuring out how to handle the sexualization of children and the sexualization of the pastoral relationship that was revealed when these stories started coming to light but that is hardly the fault of rape crisis centers which were founded to deal with a very different problem–not pedophilia and not decades old abuse and not religious oppression.

                  I would also say that there is a heaping dose of ignorance and homophobia and fear of homosexuality at the root of a lot of the suppression of male testimony about specifically clerical sex abuse.

                  If you have a beef with the Catholic Church, its hierarchy, and the real life police departments (staffed with Catholics in the case of Boston) who let this abuse fester take it up with them. It is not the fault of rape crisis centers founded decades into the scandal that no one knew how to process or advise adult male victims of the world’s largest pedophilia ring.

            • Este

              That’s not their point. Feminists say that, and say it better. MRAs are too busy whining about how female rape victims get taken seriously.

              • CaptBackslap

                One does get the feeling that they bring it up more to complain about a “double standard” than because they actually care. But still, stopped clocks and all.

              • Bingo. MRAs are the truest believers that human dignity is a zero-sum game that I have encountered.

                • Nathanael

                  And why do they believe that nonsense? Because it’s one of the tenets of the patriarchy, or if you prefer, the kyriarchy. Drummed into them young.

            • djw

              Indeed! And while most of their complaints are unadulterated bullshit, there are other moments where “MRAs” quasi-successfully identify a way in which present circumstances harm some or all men in some way. But because they are blinded by their hatred of women and women’s equality, they seem to think the solution to these problems is “less feminism” rather than more.

              The sum total of insight into the ways the current configuration of social and political power combined with current gender roles is harmful to men MRAs are able to generate isn’t equal to a few pages of Stiffed.

              • Stiffed is a great book!

        • (the other) Davis

          And have you ever seen any post by a progressive on a progressive blog or by a feminist on a feminist blog, which concedes in any way that an MRA might have a point, or a valid personal experience, ever?

          This is an odd little hobby-horse you’re riding. Replace “MRA” with “Republican,” “Libertarian,” or “Yankee fan” and you could say the same thing (at least about LGM). And so what? When we’re arguing against some group’s position on X, do we have an obligation to identify some other issue Y where they might have a valid point?

          • seeker6079

            (Shrugs.) You’re obligated to exactly dick that you don’t want to. I was just making the point that not everybody that you disagree with (or even hate) is wrong all the time. Yup, you can, for example posit that “MRAs” or “Republican” “Libertarian” or “Yankee fan” are never, ever right and they are moral scoundrels to boot. Fine. But the notion that in saying that “people I oppose are always wrong and always bad and I refuse to concede that they ever, ever, ever have a point” rather torpedoes any argument that you might ever make to valuing reason, or argument as a means to advance knowledge. If you want spaces like LGM to be one big progressive or feminist circle-jerk, be my guest.

            • Pseudonym

              You never answered my question: who are the good MRAs? If you’d rather just jerk off all over this thread though, be my guest.

              • Do feminists have circle jerks? I thought that was totes an MRA thing or, at the very least, you needed some dicks to, as it were, pull it off.

                • Does Betty Dodson count? As I recall, she led workshops that involved masterbating in a group (I believe even in a circle).

                  I believe at the time she identified as feminist, though I’m not sure she still does.

                • I honestly can’t claim any familiarity with female circle jerks although…speculum of another woman? I believe there have certainly been some attempts to demystify matters down south in a group therapy sort of way.

                • I recall reading about Dodson (and reading some of her stuff) in the 90s. This description (whose SFWness may vary with your W) seems about what I recall.

            • bspencer

              Can you name a good point MRA’s have?

              • seeker6079

                Thank you for the question. A few, just off the top of my head and before I head off to my teleconference. (1) Family courts often screw men and/or fathers. [There’s countless subsets of this, btw, many of which I concede are bullshit but many which are valid.] (2) Our criminal justice system has a huge flaw in that women are less likely to be: charged than men for the same crime; or, if charged, under-charged; or, if charged, convicted; or if convicted, receive a lesser sentence, (women are ten out of a hundred killers in America, but they are one out of a hundred on death row, for example). (3) The interest in “how are elementary and high schools were failing girls” produce social efforts towards solving the problem, but not a corresponding effort now that data is emerging they’re failing boys.

                • Surely “bullshit” detracts a bit from the rest? And, actually, you and the MRAs are wrong about who gets charged less for which crimes. Women are routinely overcharged for crimes which are seen as unwomanly–specifically incest and child abuse or violence and crimes that include violence. And women are routinely charged and locked up for selling sex while men are, conversely, seldom charged or locked up for buying it.

                  A lot of things go into “reduced sentences” that have nothing to do with sex/gender per se and have to do with ideas about nestedness in the community, prior history, liklihood of reoffending and even (gasp) size of the prison and the prison population.

                  Anyway–what is the MRA position? Everyone should be as screwed as men? The feminist position is that everyone should be freed from unfair burdens. The MRA position is that society should start screwing women over harder.

                • CaptBackslap

                  It shouldn’t be surprising that MRA’s are mostly conservative. That sort of “solution” is similar to the ressentiment that a lot of conservatives feel towards anyone who still has what used to be the basics of a middle-class life.

                • CaptBackslap

                  Which is not to say that it would otherwise be surprising that MRA’s are conservative.

            • (the other) Davis

              But the notion that in saying that “people I oppose are always wrong and always bad and I refuse to concede that they ever, ever, ever have a point” rather torpedoes any argument that you might ever make to valuing reason, or argument as a means to advance knowledge.

              Yes, it certainly does torpedo that straw man’s arguments.

    • Dave

      Lots of women are wrong a whole lot of the time – Althouse, Palin, McArdle…

    • sharculese

      Seeker is just asking questions. Questions about why feminists are so insensitive to his fragile baby feelings.

      • Leave it to gender fraud sharculese to pick on the MRADude!

        Tsk, tsk!

        (Note that these are praise “tsk”s.)

        • (the other) Davis

          Oh come now, he’s not an MRADude—he just happened to stop by to remind us that whenever someone is criticizing MRAs on the Internet, it’s important to acknowledge that they also have valuable ideas to contribute. Because balance!

  • LeeEsq

    After reading the Daily Beast article, I withdraw my earlier point in part. I do not think that Schwyzer is sincere in his feminism. He is just a freaking hypocrite who used feminism to get attention from women. His early critics, even if they are somewhat nefarious people, were right.

    I’m not really sure that we should say that men should be feminists because it would increase their chances with women. It’s not really true. A man could be completely non-sexist and still have a sucky love life. I think that it’s better for men to be non-sexist because its the right thing to do. Less potential for bitterness that way.

    • seeker6079

      Isn’t that a variant on “No True Scotsman”?

      Logical frames aside I don’t necessarily disagree with your point. What a real feminist is can be up for debate but I doubt that “tried to kill his girlfriend” is included on the list … unless, naturally, one is applying the come-to-the-faith redemption narrative that aimai so astutely and accurately noted upthread.

      Oddly enough, this is where MRA-dom and HS’s newfound detractors are on the same page. A lot of MRAs/”Game” guys are aggressively (often hyper-aggressively) committed to the notion of “being what you are” with no pretense whatsoever. Schwyzer was pretending to be something in order to get to the top and get laid and get adulation, and many of the voices in the manosphere hated him for exactly that reason, and said so, with some variant of “hey, at least I’m not pretending to be one of you just to get laid”. (That said, there was, indeed, very often loathing of him as a quisling to his gender, true. But the so-called manosphere is pretty damned wide and notoriously difficult to categorize, summarize or generalize about. It’s a bit of an anarchosphere with dicks (both literally and figuratively.

      • LeeEsq

        Even when applying a come-to-faith redemption narrative, some actions are really unforgiveable. A person who tried to kill his girlfriend or a husband who beat his wife can’t really be called a feminist even if they really and sincerely repented. It just seems kind of wrong and a dis-service to the term feminist.

        Since I think that authenticity is an overated concept that kind of leads to some crappy results if taken too seriously, I can’t say I’m really supporting of the entire MRA attitude on this. “This is who I am and if you don’t like it, FU” isn’t anymore attractive than “FYIGM” as a belief system. Everybody could constantly be improving themselves.

        I also think that a person could not present their authentic self and not be hypocrite as long as they don’t present themselves as an example. Schwyzer was a hypocrite because he lectured othered people on how to treat women not because he was inauthentic.

        • seeker6079

          Even when applying a come-to-faith redemption narrative, some actions are really unforgiveable. A person who tried to kill his girlfriend or a husband who beat his wife can’t really be called a feminist…

          Which rather begs the question of why he was so accepted as a feminist for so long by so many feminists, no? I’d theorize tribalism and utility. He was saying the right things, which made him “one of us” for too many feminists. And he spent a ton of his time being a male voice for hectoring men for not being feminists, which made him useful. Sort of the same “pass” Clinton got: a lot of folks on the progressive side were (rightly) so angry with the perversion of justice that they didn’t want to call him out on face-fucking an intern, something that they’d never have let slide if it were just some schmo running a company. We’re all tribal, and we all cut slack for people we like and are useful to us, and I think HS very neatly exploited that.

          • Este

            Which rather begs the question of why he was so accepted as a feminist for so long by so many feminists, no?

            No. People didn’t know about his past actions, and could only go by his words. No real question there.

            (Of course, his words were also dubious, but not many people knew about that either.)

            • Pseudonym

              But people have known about that incident for years, yet he was still a featured writer on Jezebel for example.

              • LeeEsq

                Schwyzer actually used his attempted murder as a selling point of sorts. He didn’t even deny it happening. Basically he seems to be a very gifted con man. If he had a bit more self-discipline and wasn’t prone to public break downs, this would not happen.

                I wonder if Schwyzer at least half-way began believing in the persona he adopted at one point.

            • LeeEsq

              I thought Schwyzer’s past actions were something of an open secret. A lot of the information coming out in light of his twitter breakdown isn’t exactly new. The entire tried to murder his girlfriend story was known for a bit before this incident.

              • But there are lots of ways to represent that story which don’t boil down to “murder”–domestic violence, child murder, these all have other potential cultural valences which make it easy to blur the lines. The specifics of this story are that 1) its not as clear cut as some kind of chargeable murder case/wife poisoning and 2) he claims it was nearly murder/suicide–in other words his victimhood is built into it.

                I think its horrifying but I can well imagine that it sank into the background in most accounts of itself, was understood as hyperbolic, imaginary, metaphoric, overblown, or evidence of a disturbed but renounced past just like drug abuse or mental illness.

                Again: since we seem to have some kind of MRA true believer among us I’m not a true believer or any kind of believer in redemption so I’d have defenestrated him without a backwards glance if it had been up to me. But of course people can end up in social circles that no one has invited them to, and that no one can kick them out of.

                • seeker6079

                  Amazing. I just argue two points: that MRAs aren’t always wrong or always bad, and that in the case at issue in the post they were spot-on, and that makes me a “true believer”. Good. God.

                • seeker6079

                  Oh, I’d also admit to a third point mentioned elsewhere: that the term “MRA” is next to useless save as a categorization or analytical tool. If you want to use it as a synonym for “someone who disagrees with me and is a misogynist asshole who is always wrong” then it works just fine. Just don’t expect anybody who isn’t in your ideological camp to treat you with any more seriousness than they’d treat someone who says “every feminist is a man-hater”. They’re both infantile group-think.

                • People who self identify as MRAs are, pretty much, always both wrong and bad. I read plenty of MRA stuff–the extremely limited useful point, that men and boys can be oppressed by society and by sexism, is actually made better by most feminists and women. Feminists have been arguing that patriarchy is bad for men and boys for years. We are also against prison rape.

                  The continued insistence that violence against men is committed by women or on behalf of women is extremely pernicious. Its also quite the head fake. If men were really as likely to be battered by their female partners as women are, or raped by their female partners, then there would be plenty of money and political will behind creating crisis centers for them. The MRA activist in Canada who was behind most of the pathetic assertions that men are at the same or higher risk of violence from their female partners as women are from men recently killed himself, but not until after beggaring himself trying to create a “shelter” system for men that there were not enough battered men to take advantage of.

                • As to your point about MRAs not being a real thing or some kind of category constructed by outsiders? That’s nonsense. MRA’s self identify as MRAs, have their own websites, real life meetings, instructional handbooks, support groups, language and ideology. Its precisely because NONE OF THIS IS SECRET or arcane or imaginary that its possible to talk about what MRA’s and PUA’s believe or think. Because they are writing about it all the fucking time. You can’t get them to shut up about what they think. Deciding, after researching the proposition, that you don’t like what the MRAs are peddling isn’t the equivalent of saying “all girls are math phobes” at all. Its the equivalent of saying “self identified people who don’t like math don’t like math.”

                • anthrofred

                  Absolute fervent agreement with Aimai re: self-identification with MRAs. MRA is not some sort of etic category we’ve come up with here.

                  I’m still not seeing exactly why this thread was a great place to go to rip on people for calling people who don’t identify as MRAs MRAs, since AFAICS no one actually did this. In fact, I haven’t seen many solid examples anywhere of this.

                • Nathanael

                  “Its precisely because NONE OF THIS IS SECRET ”

                  Reminds me of…

                  Nathanael’s First Principle of Conspiracies: Genuine Conspiracies Publish Their Intentions Openly (at least at first).

          • bspencer

            Wha-? I think a lot of progressives were grossed out by his behavior; we just didn’t think he should be impeached for it.

            I get what you’re doing here. You’re trying to say “feminists liked Schwyzer ergo feminists are kind of idiots.” Please. Just stop. If you’re looking for an in to talk about how mean and awful feminists are, this thread is not that in.

            • LeeEsq

              Thats my impression to but I was always in high school at the time. The liberal reaction was that “yeah Clinton had an affair with an intern and thats bad but it isn’t an impeachable offense.”

              Granted Bill Mahr did make some very sexist jokes about Lewinsky’s appearance.

            • seeker6079

              bspencer, don’t put words into my mouth, especially ones in direct contradiction to my point(s). Saying that some feminists found him acceptable argues for ideological blinkers, not stupidity; that some found him useful argues for a cool, rational utility argument, which is the antithesis of idiotic.

              Look, bspencer, if you want to ban me, fine. It’s your blog (in part) do what you want. But at least have the backbone to say, “this man disagrees with me on some points and that’s exactly the same as saying that feminists are mean and awful because, hey, MRAs suck and anybody who disagrees with me is an MRA” as you do so.

              Look, one of the things that makes the manosphere so frequently ewwwwww-inducing is that so many guys there treat any voice that isn’t misogynist as being a “mangina”. Are you bucking to be the reverse side of that same damned coin?

              • bspencer

                Well, you’re also arguing that feminists are tribal, which is the opposite of cool and rational. So, which is it? Are we tribal or cool and rational?

                • seeker6079

                  It’s a false dichotomy. Indeed, there’s an argument to be made that tribalism is a rational response to operating in a world of competing interests. “The enemy of my enemy (real of potential) …” and so forth. Nature has a word for humans who aren’t protected by a tribe: food. ;)

                  “Feminism” isn’t one cohesive group. My point was that some liked Schywzer because, in effect, he was “one of us”, others because he was a male voice saying feminist things to men … and there were others who had his number from the beginning and weren’t buying his bullshit. He was called out from the progressive side, too. Hell, there was even one specific website dedicated to those folks: http://fucknohugoschwyzer.tumblr.com/.

                • bspencer

                  That’s CUTE.

                  So, when we refer to wingnuts as tribal we’re paying them a compliment? No, tribalism implies mindlessness. You know this. Or at least you should.

                • seeker6079

                  That’s CUTE. So, when we refer to wingnuts as tribal we’re paying them a compliment? No, tribalism implies mindlessness. You know this. Or at least you should.

                  If we have established anything in this thread we have established that I am not a part of your “we”.

                • bspencer

                  If we have established anything in this thread we have established that I am not a part of your “we”.

                  Thank fucking GAWD.

                • Pseudonym

                  Feminists are tribal, but it’s not like they’re one cohesive group. Why is this so hard to understand bspencer????

              • Pseudonym

                I think some feminists found him acceptable even while others found him problematic. That speaks to one of the central tenets of feminism, that women are people too, so they aren’t perfect or up on a pedestal or marching in lockstep. Different people have different thresholds for acceptability.

                • seeker6079

                  Oh, I’d agree wholeheartedly, and noted elsewhere here that a lot of progressive and feminist voices were all over this. But if we’re going to say that “women are people too, so they aren’t perfect or up on a pedestal or marching in lockstep” then maybe, just maybe, we can extend that to people who disagree with feminists (either in whole or in part) rather than slagging them all? That’s pretty much the only timid thing I’m saying about MRAs: they’re not a uniform group and they can be right sometimes so maybe if we don’t condemn them en bloc and assume that they’re both bad and wrong we might, just might, be a little further ahead in righting injustices.

                • Pseudonym

                  I don’t assume they’re bad and wrong, I use inductive reasoning. If you have any examples of MRAs who are not uniformly worse on most issues, including the effects of patriarchy on men, than feminists it’s about time you shared them.

                • Bingo! Seeker’s argument is basically “because sometimes some people can be right about some issues its incumbent on us to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.” Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so? But just because Himmler loved his children doesn’t mean his political philosophy and ideology wasn’t fucked up. Sorry, did I godwin all over you? I’m trying to point out to you that MRAs have an actual political agenda. Individual MRA’s may have their personal experiences, or be nice people, but when we are talking about a political agenda its pretty fucked up and there is no evidence that I’m aware of that its not.

                • anthrofred

                  (re: Aimai) And abundant evidence to the contrary baked right in to the term itself, which could just as easily be “male entitlement advocate” and is redolent of sour milk over the loss of men’s control over both the public and private.

                • Johnny Sack

                  Why do people misuse Godwin at every turn? It’s a humorous observation about internet discussions. It has nothing to do with the validity of an argument. File it next to “begs the question” and “ad hominem” in the misused phrases drawer.

                • brad

                  The tell in your argument is this; the idea that disagreeing in any part with “feminists” equals MRA.

              • seeker6079

                And we’re Godwin’d twice in the same thread. MRAs = Nazis.

                Sorry, but I’m gone.

                • So go. If you actually engaged with MRA language and attitudes towards women you’d see plenty to remind you of Nazis. Kinder, Kuche, Kirche and all.

                • Who could have predicted the DRAMATIC EXIT!

                  (With apologies to Mal.)

          • Incorrect use of “begs the question.” I’d also like to query your notion that having consensual oral sex with another adult is “face fucking” them.

            • seeker6079

              I used the more obscene term because I find the notion of a man in such a position of power having sex with a subordinate to be obscene. I found the legalized lynch mobs baying at him to be a greater obscenity by several orders of magnitude, and a crime posing as justice, but I’ll be damned if I cut the Big Dog slack for what he actually did do.

              • How very interesting that you assume that the woman has no agency in this matter. Is it ageism? Or sexism?

                • seeker6079

                  How very interesting that the argument that I’ve heard made for years from feminist frames about sex, harassment and power imbalances goes right out the window the second it’s convenient for you.

                  Here’s the thing about agency and personal responsibility and workplace rules: they have to be applied objectively and not conveniently. I’m arguing that whatever Ms. Lewinski’s sexual desires the man with the boundless power should have refused them. That was his responsibility, regardless of her wishes.

                • If you knew anything about feminism you’d know that people debate about agency all the fucking time, especially about fucking and agency. I think you are just (tribally) and (venally) and (utilitarianly) using a completely nonsensical analogy to try to smear feminists as a group. Bill Clinton had consensual sex with a younger woman and also represented an important constituency for political action (i.e. the Democratic Party). He offered (some) feminists and activists some help in getting their political ideology implemented.

                  Meanwhile, somewhere else, a guy with zero political power and nothing to offer anyone wrote a handbook on sexual harrassment and also violated actual codes of conduct vis a vis professor/student relationships and also claims to have engaged in a murder/suicide domestic violence incident. Nevertheless some people, feminist or otherwise, continued to engage with his ideas.

                  How are these things remotely similar, other than involving a lot of bipeds and some sex? How can some people’s political relationship with a top political actor be seen as remotely like other people’s academic or literary or social engagement with another person? These simply aren’t related phenomena.

              • Dave

                Irrumatio is not fellatio…

          • lodown

            Which rather begs the question of why he was so accepted as a feminist for so long by so many feminists, no?

            The problem was one of imbalanced power within feminism. Relatively powerful white feminists who have platforms like Feministe, Jezebel, xoJane, etc. decided they liked Schwyzer’s stuff and published it. When their commenters, lesser-known bloggers, and others without those prominent platforms criticized their actions, they doubled down and defended him. Schwyzer was a professor of gender studies who promoted their work. What could internet commenters and bloggers do for them?

            This is not an issue of most feminists defending Schwyzer simply because they venially thought he was useful for advancing feminism. This was an issue of power–how white privilege and class determine who gets to represent feminism, who gets the speaking gigs and writing gigs, who is able to network with whom.

            In this case, the gatekeepers were white professional feminists who preferred to listen to a white male academic than to women of color bloggers and commenters. Until you consider race and class, the behavior of people like Jill Filopovic and Amanda Marcotte towards Schwyzer won’t snap into focus.

            • Anonymous

              When their commenters, lesser-known bloggers, and others without those prominent platforms criticized their actions, they doubled down and defended him.

              Yes, that’s. But this sleight-of-hand isn’t:

              In this case, the gatekeepers were white professional feminists who preferred to listen to a white male academic than to women of color bloggers and commenters.

              So now all dissenters are WOC, and all the white folks are on Hugo’s side.

              Bullshit.

              This whole business of equating Amanda/Jill/Jessica with white feminism is absurd. It’s like equating the three Heathers on the cheerleading squad with all the teenage girls in America. It’s like equating the columnists at the New York Times with the entire U.S. population.

              Those three bloggers are personal friends and colleagues who worked together to build their blogs. They linked to each other, networked with each other, helped each other, and closed everybody else out.

              I’m a femininist and I’ve been doing online feminism since online feminism started, and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been appalled by the various forms of bullshit thrown by the Heathers and their little dog Toto, aka Hugo.

              You know when all that shit was going down with the stupid book? EVERYBODY I know in feminism was appalled, white/black/latino/asian/everybody. And the three Heathers actually shut down the feminist listserv and went off to play by themselves because they didn’t want to hear it.

              And now it’s just “WOC” who were protesting?

              I can’t even.

              • The Dark Avenger

                I’m sure that Amanda would be surprised at the amount of influence you attribute to her and the other two bloggers.

                Of course, I don’t know how Amanda shut other bloggers out of the discourse, no doubt you’ll have details to give us the next time this subject comes up.

              • Origami Isopod

                You sound really defensive.

                If it’s not about you, it’s not about you. Yes, there are white feminists who make an effort to be decent allies. There are also many who don’t.

            • Manju

              Until you consider race and class, the behavior of people like Jill Filopovic and Amanda Marcotte towards Schwyzer won’t snap into focus.

              Jill was/is sympathetic to Hugo. But when the “you are either with us or against us” moment came she chose the WOC non-feminists. Hugo was banned. A thread on her very blog that was closed by a guest blogger, because of comments too critical of Hugo, was reopened.

              IIRC, Marcotte responded by opining that Feministe bloggers were great, but the commentators.. who now included the very WOC who complained about being marginalized, were (I forget the exact term she used) hysterical or something.

      • Alex

        People misuse the term “no true Scotsman” a lot.

        NTS is when someone belongs to a group by virtue of a certain attribute (nationality), but is repellent in some other way. It’s incorrect to say they don’t belong to the group just because of this other unrelated attribute.

        But it is not NTS to point out that someone actually doesn’t belong to the group in question. If our theoretical Scotsman is a liar and is actually from Canada, and his family has never been anywhere near Scotland, it’s ok to point out that he really isn’t a Scotsman.

    • bspencer

      I’m not really sure that we should say that men should be feminists because it would increase their chances with women.

      To be clear, I’m not saying they should. What I’m saying is that if a man happens to be feminist and happens to notice that this makes him more popular with women, that there is nothing necessarily wrong with this.

  • Johnny Sack

    What’s a male feminist? I’m a man, and I’m a feminist. But just a feminist, no qualifier. I recognize that my white maleness gives me a different experience, and I keep that in mind as I go about my life and think about other people’s perspectives (this is sounding a little trite sorry). But at the end of the day, I’m a feminist. I’m genuinely suspicious of anyone who feels the need to qualify “feminist.” Either their motives are dubious, or, more likely, they don’t really understand feminism.

    To Aimai-my girlfriend now wife had me read bell hooks’ feminism is for everybody. Not that you should necessarily force anyone too but if an interest is ever expressed, that book was the feminism gateway for this male.

    • seeker6079

      You’re also a fucking gangster, so who cares what you think?

      Joking aside, there’s also the possibility that at some time in their life they’ve had a feminist in their life who has used the “as a man you can be an ally but you can’t be a feminist” and so have adopted the qualifier. It’s not uncommon.

      • NewishLawyer

        To be fair that is the nature of the Internet.

        I knew he wrote articles. I saw and maybe even scanned one or two of them at the Atlantic’s website. I saw him get criticized from time to time. I might have even roughly read something about his leaving the Internet.

        This is the first time I read about him teaching at Pasadena City College, the porn course, and the attempted murder-suicides.

        So it is news to me that he is a polarizing figure and exactly who and how big Hugo S. is.*

        *Double Entendre not intended

        • seeker6079

          Well, not just the nature of the internet. Try any big university with a vibrant feminist activist community. That’s where I heard it a lot.

          • NewishLawyer

            I replied to the wrong post. I went to reply to the post about people not knowing about Hugo S until now.

  • Another Holocene Human

    bspencer, isn’t Schwyzer the douchebag who was called out repeatedly on Jezebel for his creepy views and concern trolling about young women’s sexual behavior?

    If he’s a “white knight” nobody in feminism was buying it. MRAs: troll harder.

    • seeker6079

      He wrote for Jezebel, iirc. Often.

      There are an awful lot of people in the progressive side of the blogsphere who are engaging in a sort of “who is this man? heavens, I’ve never seen him before!” over all this. Kudos to those who saw through this fellow from the get-go: some were MRAs, some were progressives. But there were far too many who looked the other way on that an admitted would-be murderer and that’s probably why the shit is hitting the fan with such contentious vigour.

      • Another Holocene Human

        Yeah, I read some of his posts. I thought they were crap. I figured he was posted as clickbait/commentbait/look-at-this. I know where Gawker media’s priorities are. But my impression of his relationship to Jez was shaped by the fact that I first heard his name in a takedown by another Jezebel contributor.

        I guess I was vaguely aware of the comment issues (baleeting negative comments on his posts) but Gawker media has had such horrific comment issues in the last couple of years that it never really stuck out in my mind. (For example, that guy who suddenly quit-fired from Gawker who was banhammering commenters left and right including MizJenkins, a long-time African American commenter, for some trivial shit.) I kind of drifted away from Jez because the comments turned into a cesspool and I was tired of it.

      • It never, ever, happens that an online site could publish someone for mere eyeballs, or to rebut them, or for the sake of having controversy. Heaven forefend!

  • NewishLawyer

    This might be rather unkind and possibly thinking towards the conspiratol but there seems to be something very contrived about this whole meltdown. It feels like a performance to gain more sympathy and build his brand:

    1. I suppose a twitter meltdown is possible/probable. They have happened before but something seems a bit too overwrought in his writing. The prose is too polished, it reads like a Hollywood script. Perhaps I am reading it this way because it is hard to deliver tone on the Internet or perhaps not.

    2. Who arranged the Daily Beast interview? If he was really swearing off the Internet, why would he interview with the Daily Beast.

    It seems like we are going to soon see an essay from a newer Hugo Schwyzer but we shall see.

    • seeker6079

      It feels like a performance to gain more sympathy and build his brand.

      This. Agreed.

      What I’d be fascinated to see is if he tries to pull the same trick on the manosphere that he did on feminism, and finding him a new ideology and new suckers to milk on how he has now seen the light.

      • He’s a con man. And he conned some people while others saw through the glamor. That’s totally normal. Thats the way cons work. If his grift is not working out he’ll try something new on a new pool of suckers. Again: some will be conned and some won’t.

    • LeeEsq

      Well-called.

    • Anna in PDX

      I think with narcissism it is hard to tell the difference.

      • Manju

        Thats why I despise Narcissus. I’m much more like Zeus.

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  • Western Dave

    I’m still mystified that HS became a big deal. I hadn’t read anything he’d written since 2001 or so when he left (got kicked out of?) Cliopatria for being a self-centered douche. I’d just assumed he’d crawled back under whatever rock he came out of.

    The thing is, I know a bunch of evangelical Christian feminist men. They all do really hard noble shit like community organizing around transportation issues for poor communities and child care vouchers and getting public school funding. They are trying really hard to do the whole living Jesus’ values things. Despite HS proclaiming he was an EC, feminist man, he never wrote about any issues that all the other EC feminist men were actually working on. He just wrote about HS. The post where he wrote about how he wouldn’t do anymore running with his shirt off to show solidarity or something while posting a picture of himself with his shirt off was the one where I said goodbye. His ability to get, apparently, ever more high profile gigs is stunning to me.

    • Really? This guy sounds like he needed an internet mirror stalker site, like Altmouse, just to keep up with his absurdities. Except he sounds like he was so narcissistic he would have thought “More for me!” and upped his productivity.

  • Paula

    Dear White Feminists

    I didn’t know before this thread that HS wrote for Jezebel. Goddamn how I hate that site.

    The last straw was the “Jon Stewart is Sexist because he hired this no-talent whore Olivia Munn and we know this because we’ve seen two episodes” Carnival of Sisterhood.

    And then when the actual female employees of The Daily Show had the gall to defend themselves, they called them a bunch of Stockholm Syndrome victims.

    FEMINISM!

    • Thanks for the link. Fascinating. Deserves a long blog dissection of its own about the different lenses people use: white, of color, amateur, professional, journalist, blogger, paid, unpaid to perceive and handle accusations of disloyalty, selfishness, plagiarism, theft and appropriation. But if I wrote such a piece I’d have to kill myself after from sheer despair.

      • Nathanael

        Unfortunately, people have to have rubrics to judge trust by. We spend, like, nearly all our time judging trustworthiness.

        I’ve been thinking about this in the context of the legitimacy of governments, and before that in the context of the value of money (both are trust-based). But it’s all the same wiring in our heads, trust.

        Some people use truly bad rubrics frequently, but we’re all stuck working on insufficient information a lot of the time.

        Actually, a long discussion of this might be really interesting, but I think it would be less depressing if you came at it from a different angle. The “lenses” angle is just a depressing way to look at it.

  • ChrisTS

    So, could we have a conversation about Jezebel? I occasionally get directed there by sites I find respectable, but I just don’t get whatever it is they think they are doing. If that is the contemporary face of feminism… well, I am apparently no longer a feminist!

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