Feminism, Men, and Redemption

[Trigger/content warning: Violence]

A couple of people have emailed me asking what I think about the Hugo Schwyzer, erm, Internet Feminist Situation. (See Alas, for a roundup of related links and background.)

(tl;dr version: What role should or can a male feminist play in feminist when, by his own admission, he has had a very problematic history with women but now seeks to make amends?).

My observations are as follows:

First, I have linked to Scwhyzer’s work a few times in the past. That being said, I am very troubled by Schwyzer’s past and, prior to this incident, I was not aware of the extent of how problematic it was (It ranges from having tried to kill himself and a former girlfriend while being addicted to drugs and alcohol, to having sex with adult students while he was their teacher).

Schwyzer is a relatively Big Name in feminism, he teaches gender-themed courses at a city college (I don’t know if he has tenure), he contributes (or contributed to, before recently resigning) to several very prominent feminist and gender issues blogs, he’s co-authored a book, and he has a fancy self-promoting website with his photo attached (he’s a conventionally attractive white man).

Much of this- the blogs, the gigs, the promotion- I believe is a function of white male privilege.

Not only has he never been arrested for criminal behavior, he recently wrote on his blog of having been given second chances, of having been “urged” to make amends by his colleagues and administrators, and of being handed the opportunity to chair the committee that wrote his college’s policy on relationships between students and teachers.

I value the power of forgiveness, amends, and redemption, and I do think Schwyzer is talented, but … that? That pisses me right off.

Not because I don’t think Schwyzer is “deserving” of such treatment, but mostly because I can’t see a lesbian feminist woman of any color, a gay man, a trans* person, or a person of color of any sexual orientation being coddled by superiors and colleagues in a similar way and going on to retain hir prominent status within gender studies and the gender blogosphere.

So, I think part of the backlash Schwyzer is now experiencing within the feminist blogosphere can be attributed to that. (Although, of course, many people have raised other valid concerns as well).

Feminist women often say that it takes a man to say what we regularly say for it to be taken seriously, and it feels unbelievably belittling that a man with such a problematic past can be taken more seriously than many, if not most, feminist women writers, bloggers, and thinkers.

And, of course, the cruelness of it is that white men in heterosexual marriages are deemed to be more authoritative objective than the voices of those who are not white men in heterosexual relationships and so Kicking Them Out Of Feminism can be counter-productive if the goal is to be persuasive to mainstream audiences.

Secondly, and relatedly, feminism is relatively marginalized within mainstream political discourse. I think this incident highlights not only the question of the role of men within feminism, but of the role of any person who is not perfect. In what ways does Internet feminism’s “call-out culture” further marginalize already-marginalized feminist narratives? Hugo Schwyzer may be a big shot on Feminist Internet, but he doesn’t exactly have his own talk show (um… yet?).

Although I don’t agree with him about everything, I do think Schwyzer has made some good points about male privilege, entitlement, and sexism against both men and women. I still believe those points are good and valid, much in the way I believe that other feminists who have problematic personal histories or ideologies have made good and valid points about other things.

Is there any other social movement whose members regularly and publicly kick people and all of their ideas out for not being perfectly acceptable to all people all the time?

And what about the voices of non-white men that are regularly kicked out of feminism. For instance, how does it help or hurt feminism to cite Mary Daly’s transbigotry, for instance, as a reason to reject her criticisms of the Catholic Church’s misogyny? Is there room for feminists to remain critical of problematic aspects of a person or hir theories without rejecting everything ze ever wrote?

Interestingly, Schwyzer mentioned that some of the colleagues who were supportive of him making amends were feminists. I wonder if feminists (myself included) can have a tendency to be So Grateful That A White Man Is An Ally that we overlook issues that we would refuse to overlook in feminists who aren’t white men in heterosexual relationships. Many feminists and “gender egalitarians” today won’t touch Twisty Faster or an Andrea Dworkin book with a ten-foot pole, but a dude who tried to kill a lady? Go write for Jezebel! Sure, why not?

My last main observation wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning MRAs. Many MRAs seem to absolutely loath Schwyzer. But what they seem to loathe even more is feminist women setting boundaries around the feminist voices they/we want to promote and support. It’s all “witch hunt” this and “fascism” that. As though Internet Feminism has institutional power and backing to, like, burn Bad Feminists at the stake. (Oh wait, that was what the Catholic Church did to Bad Women).

Anyway, because much of the conversation has been centered around him and The Role Of Men In Feminism, I hope that the people he has hurt are finding, or have found, peace. I also hope that Schwyzer is finding peace in all of this. He has been honest, in a very public way, about his past.

Redemption is indeed an enduring theme in literature and film. But I’d contend that feminism’s primary concern is not, actually, about redeeming male protagonists.

This entry posted in Feminism, sexism, etc, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer issues, Men and masculinity, Race, racism and related issues, Transsexual and Transgender related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

107 Responses to Feminism, Men, and Redemption

  1. 1
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Fascinating post. I can make only very limited comments:

    Is there any other social movement whose members regularly and publicly kick people and all of their ideas out for not being perfectly acceptable to all people all the time?

    Yes. Religious groups and cults are the most obvious candidates (Scientologists come to mind for some reason, but I’m 100% sure that they’re not the only ones.) But generally this is a pretty common phenomenon IMO. Discrediting generally goes hand in hand with shunning, and a discredited idea is usually pushed to the ash pile. (Note that the reverse is not always true. You can be discredited and not shunned.)

    I’m not enough of a history buff to name specifics, sad to say; I’m nonetheless positive that this has also happened in a variety of larger-scale political movements (communism, fascism, etc.)

    The real question about ideas is whether they’re permitted to “sneak back in.” Hugo doesn’t seem to be saying anything especially earth shattering. So even if Hugo’s writings are burned in a bonfire, the ideas behind them will remain largely available. I don’t know enough about Daly to make a comparison there.

    I wonder if feminists (myself included) can have a tendency to be So Grateful That A White Man Is An Ally that we overlook issues that we would refuse to overlook in feminists who aren’t white men in heterosexual relationships.

    Social groups–especially those which have a heavy online and textual presence–tend to focus heavily on “saying the right thing” over “doing the right thing.”

    Oddly enough, that makes sense. After all, most of this stuff is largely anonymous and god only knows what is happening in the real world. I don’t claim to spend 20 hours/week helping the homeless and working in a shelter, but if I did, who would object?

    So the problem is that all that folks have to go by in judging others, is usually their written opinions and commentary. But what you say (and especially what you write online) is not usually an accurate reflection of who you are, for better or for worse.

    If you asked any of us whether it’s better to “do right and speak wrong,” or “do wrong and speak right,” I think most folks would agree that actions are more important than words overall. But the medium of these conversations has driven the reverse to be true.

    And since educated white men are (overall) relatively good at saying the “right thing” whether or not they believe it, it’s easier for them to slip in to the group.

  2. 2
    Sara says:

    –Thank you for this.

    “Redemption is indeed an enduring theme in literature and film. But I’d contend that feminism’s primary concern is not, actually, about redeeming male protagonists.”

    And no one said it was. But the counter-point is: Is feminism about going after a male feminist with a cyber-lynch mob?
    What’s your take on that?

    How can that possibly be helpful and progressive for the feminist movement per se?

    When Placental Mammal says on the 24 hour FB page run against him:

    • “Fuck the redemption narrative, I am sick of it.”

    How is that helpful exactly?

    Is that the message we want to be sending?

    Let’s think about that?

    We want the world to think that we reject all redemption narratives? Gosh, I sure don’t mainly and only because I know I’ve made mistakes.

    If the prerequisites for joining and contributing to feminism are not making mistakes; how many of us are left…show of hands?

    No matter where on the spectrum of importance one personally places having men in our movement; I don’t know that it’s helpful per se to have a hate site where people are reading this:

    “It’s been a long day of man-hating, tires a girl out….”

    I’m not convinced that’s the message I’d like the world to see about feminism and what we’re doing with our time.

    I’m actually not tired at the end of the day from ‘man-hating’ but from actually working for women’s rights.

    Running a 24-hour lynch mob—now that might be tiring.
    –Not thinking about how that appears to the world—is inexcusable.

    I’m deciding, as a feminist, that I’m Not a fan of public lynching, cyber or otherwise…

     The comments on the 24 hour a day hate site as well as others have been hate filled, vitriolic and *extremely* vulgar. Each and every time a feminist came in with a moderate, reasonable voice—she was attacked viciously and then unceremoniously banned.

    I don’t know that a hate-saturated campaign, by a tiny, highly antagonistic group against one writer—is worth all this—do you…?

    “It is easier to find a score of (wo)men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition, to stand up for it.” ❧~A.A. Hodge

    Thank you for your time.

  3. 3
    Ampersand says:

    The Facebook site Sara refers to is here, for those who want to see it.

    Sara, you are welcome to post here, and you are welcome to state your opinions about Hugo and how the feminist blogosphere has reacted to Hugo.

    But I’d prefer you not use terms like “cyber lynch mob” on this website again. I think that trivializes lynchings, and is needlessly insulting to those who are criticizing Hugo.

    I also don’t think language like “hate site” is, as you’d put it, “helpful.” On the contrary, when you catagorize all people who disagree with you as haters, you’re foreclosing any possibility of respectful dialogue. (And by the way, the entire web runs 24 hours a day.)

    Finally, it’s pretty obvious to me that the person who referred to herself as tired from “a long day of man-hating” was speaking tongue in cheek. I don’t want to be part of a movement where no one’s can tell jokes or use ironic language without being criticized as if she were speaking seriously. (Some jokes deserve criticism — racist humor, for example — but a feminist making fun of the way anti-feminists falsely characterize feminists hardly falls into that category.)

  4. 4
    Hugh says:

    “So even if Hugo’s writings are burned in a bonfire, the ideas behind them will remain largely available. ”

    Pretty much this. I agree that not everything Hugo says is worthless on its own merits, but at the same time, he hasn’t really innovated. Nothing he says really compromises original feminist thought. If he did stop talking, no perspectives or philosophies would be silenced.

  5. 5
    fannie says:

    @ Sara,

    Can we not refer to whatever is happening to Schwyzer on Facebook as a “24 hour lynch mob”? I don’t condone or support that site, but to refer to what’s happening to a relatively privileged white guy as “lynching” really trivializes what people who actually were lynched experienced. [ETA: cross-posted that with Amp. Thanks!]

    I think we also have to be really careful to not to categorize legitimate issues people are bringing up about Schwyzer (specifically) and men in feminism (in general) as “hate” or some sort of aggressive attack.

    I don’t really have much to say about the message this Facebook site sends to people about feminism. If they would be turned off of the entirety of feminism because some people ran a Facebook site against Hugo Schwyzer, I’m inclined to believe they wouldn’t take feminism seriously even if we presented them with the best, most civil, most nicest arguments ever.

    @ gin-and-whiskey:

    I would agree- it does seem like some other social movements “kick people out” and shun disagreeable ideas.

    Although, in my experience, it also seems like Internet feminism, more than other movements, tends to call out allies more than other movements do. I don’t think that is always a bad thing, but as someone who’s also a lesbian who is active on a somewhat anti-LGBT blog, I can’t really fathom some major “nice” opponents of same-sex marriage calling out less-savory opponents of same-sex marriage in the way that some feminists are sometimes called out as The Worst People Ever.

    What most concerns me is the rejection of legitimate feminist ideas and critiques because they come from a “tainted” source. Not necessarily Schwyzer’s, but those whose ideas are more groundbreaking and important.

    “But what you say (and especially what you write online) is not usually an accurate reflection of who you are, for better or for worse.”

    I do think there’s some dissonance in many (most?) people with respect to what kind of people we say we are to others versus what kind of people we really are, but I also think the extent of that deviation can vary greatly.

    “If you asked any of us whether it’s better to ‘do right and speak wrong,’ or ‘do wrong and speak right,’ I think most folks would agree that actions are more important than words overall. But the medium of these conversations has driven the reverse to be true.”

    Hmm, I would agree with that.

    I think (and hope) that feminists can change people’s minds about gender, but it is difficult to know, as a blogger, the impact one’s writing is or can actually have on people’s actions outside of the Internet. When I look at my blog stats, I notice that the vast majority of people who read don’t comment, and it just always leaves me wondering what they get out of it or how, if at all, it affects them.

  6. 6
    Mandolin says:

    Hmm. I agree partially with you.

    I am really not interested in kicking people and all their ideas out of things. I’m also not interested in ignoring everything else Mary Daly did that wasn’t transphobic or everything Freud said because he was misogynistic or everything Ben Franklin did because he was racist as hell. I read Twisty Faster. I haven’t read Andrea Dworkin, but intend to.

    I agree that who gets second chances when is something that’s systemically problematic. I’d rather try to extend second chances to people who don’t receive them than revoke them from people who do. Similarly, I am married, even though it pisses me right off that I couldn’t be if I had found a female partner instead of a male one.

    Feminism shouldn’t be about redeemed male figures, but then I also think it shouldn’t be about Hugo Shwyzer even if he wasn’t one. Or for that matter, any other single person.

    Criticizing that Hugo is a powerful voice in feminism seems perfectly legitimate to me. In addition to the problems of feminism’s being represented by a cis, white man, Hugo’s writing has never struck me as particularly profound. There are lots of other white dudes–in addition to other non-dudes, non-white people, non-cis people, non-etc people–I’d rather see as successful.

    I just think there’s probably a point where one can criticize Hugo’s success as a public face of feminism and yet not call for his removal from feminist discourse entirely.

  7. 7
    Sara says:

    Point taken on the language; something I saw over & over and ended up repeating.

  8. 8
    Kai Jones says:

    When I look at my blog stats, I notice that the vast majority of people who read don’t comment, and it just always leaves me wondering what they get out of it or how, if at all, it affects them.

    Speaking only for myself, when I read something that stirs me (whether online or off) I think about it, I talk about it in meatspace with friends and my partners, and sometimes I eventually comment–sometimes on my own blog instead of the original.

  9. 9
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Riffing on what Mandolin said, i’ll take a temporarily formalistic approach:

    Every justice system (formal or informal; courts or dictator or treehouse club) is imperfect. Less formal ones with more discretion tend to produce more variation than those with less discretion, but they’re not necessarily any more (or less) imperfect overall.

    That means that we’ll ALWAYS have “huh?” results. Some guilty folks will get off relatively scot-free. Some entirely innocent folks will end up in jail, ostracized, unemployed, or what have you.

    And as a result of that, there will always be protestors. Some folks will aim towards one type of error (“how dare you let that rapist go free??!!”) and others will aim towards the other side (“how dare you fire that man and destroy his life based on an entirely unfounded accusation without proof??!”)

    I guess what tweaks me about the Hugo thing–and what seems to tweak a lot of people–is that he’s a shitty choice for that sort of protest. Why choose Hugo, when there are so many other people (on both sides) who are actually experiencing outcomes that are hugely divergent from their actions?

    If folks want to argue for weaker sanctions (or open the discussions about what is appropriate) then they should choose an example which is obviously too harsh, and/or obviously inappropriate. The opposite is also true: if you’re going to complain about weak rape laws, don’t choose a poster boy who is actually innocent.

    Hugo’s situation is neither. What he did was so bad, in fact, that there don’t even seem to be any good comparisons: it’s not like there are lots of men who tried to kill their girlfriend, and took advantage of young women while in a position of moral and legal authority, and who then end up trying to be (and arguably becoming) hipster feminist icon bad boys.

    Hell, if I made this up, folks would shoot it down as being an entirely unrealistic hypothetical. It’s just a freaky outlier in terms of Hugo’s behavior. And since his behavior is so bizarre it’s very difficult to say that it’s right or wrong w/r/t outcome.

    Bad cases make bad law. But these are important issues. I think it makes more sense to talk about things like retribution and punishment and rehabilitation WITHOUT being stuck on the Hugo meme.

  10. 10
    mythago says:

    Is there any other social movement whose members regularly and publicly kick people and all of their ideas out for not being perfectly acceptable to all people all the time?

    Wow. Is there any social movement that actually does kick people out for “not being perfectly acceptable to all people all the time”? Mind you, I’m not even sure how you kick an idea out of anything.

    That aside, someone who makes a long, thoughtful post suggesting they are considering criticism and acknowledging they have some work to do, and then allows their buddies to foamzilla all over the comments to the post in their own damn blog, is doing a pretty shitty job of showing they are working toward redemption.

  11. 11
    GudEnuf says:

    My last main observation wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning MRAs. Many MRAs seem to absolutely loath Schwyzer. But what they seem to loathe even more is feminist women setting boundaries around the feminist voices they/we want to promote and support. It’s all “witch hunt” this and “fascism” that.

    There are lots of MRA’s who have accused feminists of being too soft on Hugo. But there is a not a single MRA that has complained about feminism being too hard on Hugo. And there certainly aren’t any MRA’s who have referred the recent feminist backlash against Hugo as “fascism” or a “witch hunt”. You are making shit up.

  12. 12
    Jeff Fecke says:

    It is not for me to decide whether Hugo has or has not done enough to be “redeemed.” Indeed, I can’t possibly know; I don’t know him personally, nor do I know any of the people he abused. I don’t know whether he had problems that he’s overcome, or whether he has problems he’s denying, or even whether he’s making stuff for some ineffable reason.

    What I do know is this: when you start getting into attempted murder, you’ve really crossed a line to the point where I can’t simply say, “Well, he says he’s turned over a new leaf, so I guess I believe him.” That’s not something that an accountability team can make up for.

    That doesn’t mean everything Hugo wrote is invalid. It doesn’t even mean that he is still a bad person. I believe in redemption. I believe people can change for the better. Maybe he has.

    But — and this is critical — we are under no obligation to assume he has. We can choose to take it on faith, or not. And if he truly wants to be redeemed, he will accept that, and simply live his life, from this point forward, as a good and decent person. And that is a reward.

    Hugo’s writing has been good. And I applaud him for his work supporting feminism — for it was good work, regardless of his personal history. I don’t think he needs to be formally drummed out of the movement, as long as he’s willing to continue working for good.

    But I am going to find it awfully hard to link to him. And I’m going to find it awfully hard to ignore his history when I read his work. And if others want to ignore his work altogether because of that history — well, I can’t blame them, and ultimately, I may find, over time, that I’ve joined them. One can hope Hugo seeks and earns redemption. That doesn’t mean one must forgive him.

  13. 13
    AMM says:

    My objections to HS started out before I ever knew about the attempted murder.

    Simply, I don’t think he is a feminist. At all.

    When I read his stuff, what I see is an attitude that the only point of view that matters is his own. Ultimately, he is using “feminism” as a philosophy to justify, support male privilege (granted, a “kinder, gentler” male privilege) and in particular his own position of privilege.

    This became clear to me when I read his account of screwing his students. It was all OK because (as he puts it) he knew that he hadn’t really hurt them. That the students he was screwing, and the other students in his classes and at his college, many of whom certainly knew what was going on, might have perspectives and interests that differ from his, not only didn’t matter. It didn’t and doesn’t even occur to him. The only person who really exists or has agency in the Hugoverse is HS himself.

    One common definition of feminism is “the radical notion that women are people.” HS’s brand of “feminism” utterly fails this test.

    In a way, I’m surprised that so many feminist women admire HS, but in a way, I’m not. There are a lot of women[*] out there who, whatever they may think they want or believe, are attracted to Big Strong Men who will take charge and relieve them of responsibility for themselves. The “Good Dom,” as it were. And HS fills this role very well. (And if the Good Dom decides that she is suffering so much that the only humanitarian thing to do is to “put her down,” well, isn’t that what a good pet owner does?)

    [*] Yes, there are a number of men who are, too. But that’s a different essay.

  14. 14
    buttercup says:

    I had no idea who this dude was six months ago. Now, I can’t get away from him.

    The stuff he posts on Jezebel is routinely gross. I don’t understand how he gets any credibility or respect. He’s like the Tim Wise of Feminism, only to the best of my knowledge, Tim Wise has never attempted murder or slept with students. What valid feminist ideas he espouses or promotes have been said for years by women in gender studies but he gets cookies because OMG a man! says them. Eff that noise. For real.

  15. 15
    Plop says:

    When I look at my blog stats, I notice that the vast majority of people who read don’t comment, and it just always leaves me wondering what they get out of it or how, if at all, it affects them.

    When something triggers me, i write it down, then think about it again. I usually don’t post them since i always get comments on the way I write (I suck at expressing my thoughts in a non-hurting societally-correct way – or wathever) and they usually bring down what I think to how-wrong-i-said-it-so-it’s-useless.

    Last time what on Reddit, where a guy showed the peeing-device he had seen online, and I said “Seems great, but it’s definitively too pink for me”. And I got only answers on how wrong I am to dislike pink and over-pinky stuffs.

    My objections to HS started out before I ever knew about the attempted murder.

    I found out his blog and read some of his posts. I was disturbed by the way he was showing off. His posts on his daughter were somehow… too definite, as if nothing else mattered.
    And his post about women’s life are just irking ! “Don’t be mad at the men – like me – they are doing their best”. Erf ! I’m doing my best, too, buddy, and some men don’t give a damn about it !

    He doesn’t say only bullshit, but he brings things together, and try to polish them in his own way, so that his own definition of virility won’t come down. And somehow, this old virility still helds stuff like “A man is not a woman, don’t act like a woman” or “make sure to make things differently than women”, etc. etc. etc.
    It’s a bit sickening on the run.

  16. 16
    Dianne says:

    if Hugo’s writings are burned in a bonfire,

    The literal minded part of me has to ask…how do you burn a blog in a bonfire?

    As to Schwyzer, I don’t know him and have only “met” him through his blog posts, but I’ve found his behavior on blogs very condescending towards women. Frankly, I’ve had better and more respectful discussions at Feminist Critics than on Schwyzer’s blog. This leads me to conclude that he isn’t “really” a feminist or feminist ally because he doesn’t care for the thoughts, opinions, or feelings of actual women, no matter how well he can regurgitate feminist theory.

  17. 17
    fannie says:

    @ GudEnuf:

    “There are lots of MRA’s who have accused feminists of being too soft on Hugo. But there is a not a single MRA that has complained about feminism being too hard on Hugo. And there certainly aren’t any MRA’s who have referred the recent feminist backlash against Hugo as ‘fascism’ or a ‘witch hunt’. You are making shit up.”

    Nope. And that comment is a sorry contribution to the discourse, too.

    Indeed, a key tenet of some MRA strands is that women have inappropriately set boundaries around what constitutes feminism and who is and is not a feminist.

  18. 18
    GudEnuf says:

    Nope. And that comment is a sorry contribution to the discourse, too.

    A direct rebuttal to a central claim made by the blogger is a “sorry contribution”?

    If I find five MRA bloggers condemning the feminist movement for being too soft on Hugo, could you find that accused feminism of being too hard? No, because there aren’t any.

  19. 19
    Megalodon says:

    My last main observation wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning MRAs. Many MRAs seem to absolutely loath Schwyzer. But what they seem to loathe even more is feminist women setting boundaries around the feminist voices they/we want to promote and support. It’s all “witch hunt” this and “fascism” that.

    Have you encountered MRA’s on the internet supporting Schwyzer during this incident? Or MRA’s declaring that feminists are being “too hard” on Schwyzer because of this incident?

    Or were you saying the MRA’s could or should be in sympathy with Schwyzer because you think the MRA ideology supports Schwyzer’s appropriation of feminism?

    Most every MRA who has commented about this situation seems positively giddy over Schwyzer’s downfall.

  20. 20
    Kathy says:

    When I look at my blog stats, I notice that the vast majority of people who read don’t comment, and it just always leaves me wondering what they get out of it or how, if at all, it affects them.

    I comment on relatively few of the posts I read in a given week. Most of the time if I’m not as familiar as I should be with something being discussed, I opt out; I don’t think I should be adding my voice to the choir. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, and that doesn’t mean I’m not getting anything out of it. (I’ve learned a lot about transformative justice during this whole debacle.) Within the mainstream feminist blogosphere, I’m enough older than its target audience that I don’t think my voice is always needed.

    Hugo was largely off my radar until he started blogging for Jezebel. I found his posts not exactly groundbreaking, at best, and demeaning and patronizing at worst. Whether or not you think his work has merit, other bloggers have said the same things and don’t get a fraction of the accolades. And on the subject of Jezebel, I wish they would, at least, acknowledge their readers’ complaints instead of moving them to off topic, or banning/destarring them altogether. Though they don’t promote themselves as a feminist blog, they are a lot of young women’s gateway to feminism. There should be some responsibility in that, right?

    And what about the voices of non-white men that are regularly kicked out of feminism. For instance, how does it help or hurt feminism to cite Mary Daly’s transbigotry, for instance, as a reason to reject her criticisms of the Catholic Church’s misogyny? Is there room for feminists to remain critical of problematic aspects of a person or hir theories without rejecting everything ze ever wrote?

    I think the difference with Hugo is that some concrete action can be taken here. And it has. He’s lost some of his writing and speaking gigs because of it. With writers like Daly and Dworkin, who pose no threat to the blogging community in the same way “one of us” (I use that phrase loosely, as not everyone agrees who “us” is) can, are easier to talk about in the abstract, but it’s irresponsible not mention their faults. The Tim Wise comparison is pretty apt in that both he and Hugo are privileged on pretty much every axes, but profit off the appropriation of the work of marginalized groups.

  21. 21
    AMM says:

    Is there room for feminists to remain critical of problematic aspects of a person or hir theories without rejecting everything ze ever wrote?

    The question is, once you throw out the problematic stuff, is there anything left? I didn’t see anything in HS’s writing that wasn’t problematic or derivative (or both) when I read his stuff, and I haven’t seen anyone pointing to any feminist idea that HS has come up with or rescued from obscurity. His innovations are IMHO mostly in the other direction. In that respect, his “feminism” resembles Sarah Palin’s or Michele Bachman’s, and I think most people on feminist blogs would agree that they don’t deserve to be honored in feminist spaces for their contributions to feminism.

    By contrast, Andrea Dworkin, for instance, is credited with pointing out the similarity between rape and the usual Western framing of sex. (I’m less familiar with Mary Daly.)

    I also think the bar should be higher for men and men’s work to be considered feminist than for women. A female HS, with the same problematic behavior and with an equally problematic perspective on feminism, would still deserve at least some feminist credit for have managed to get a (tenured?) university position and and having managed to get people to accept her as an authority on stuff in the face of Western society’s bias against women.

  22. 22
    Lisa says:

    I always thought the goal of feminism was liberation for all. While liberation does include Schwyzer and other professional, mainstream feminists, I think it would behoove us all if he recognized that this actually isn’t all about him, his rep, his life, his redemption, his liberation. It’d be helpful if he helped stop the fire instead of blow wind at the amber.

    Given his moral make-over, white hetero quad married privi, I think Hugo’s gonna be just fine.

    Maybe feminists and allies will move the conversation so that more is focused on liberation of the marginalized and oppressed, and less on the navel-gazing movement climbers.

  23. 23
    Dianne says:

    I can’t see a lesbian feminist woman of any color, a gay man, a trans* person, or a person of color of any sexual orientation being coddled by superiors and colleagues in a similar way

    If the person involved were a lesbian, a gay man, a trans person, etc the debate would be at least tinged with an implication of “look at how unstable ‘those people’ are”. If a famous trans feminist confessed to having tried to murder her girlfriend, we’d have at least trolls talking about how this is proof that trans people are unstable and maybe some non-trolls hinting at the idea. If a gay man admitted to having had affairs with his students, someone would use that to bolster the position that gay men shouldn’t be in positions of trust. And would probably bring up child abuse, despite all the victims being adults. If a woman talked about her history of multiple affairs…well, who would take a “slut” seriously anyway?

    So, not only is Schwyzer getting second (and third, fourth, fifth…it’s not like he only screwed up once) chances because he’s white, male, and straight, he’s also getting the privilege of his screw ups being attributed to himself alone and not implicating every person of his gender, race, or sexuality as also slimy.

  24. 24
    Schala says:

    So, not only is Schwyzer getting second (and third, fourth, fifth…it’s not like he only screwed up once) chances because he’s white, male, and straight, he’s also getting the privilege of his screw ups being attributed to himself alone and not implicating every person of his gender, race, or sexuality as also slimy.

    The problem there is he, himself, implies that all men are like him. That they’d abuse their teaching positions to have sex with adult students, that they’d do a whole lot of screwed up behaviors. Because they’re males, and males do that kind of stuff.

    It’s sort of his modus operandi and why MRAs hate him. He says bad stuff happens to men, but it’s their own fault. Bad stuff happens to women, and men should stop it. And he will consistently blame men for stuff that happens, whoever it happens to, while saying women are only brainwashed, thus blameless.

    He’s the poster-child for patriarchy’s agency-removal mechanics (pretend women are helpless and can’t do any good or any bad).

  25. 25
    machina says:

    Not because I don’t think Schwyzer is “deserving” of such treatment, but mostly because I can’t see a lesbian feminist woman of any color, a gay man, a trans* person, or a person of color of any sexual orientation being coddled by superiors and colleagues in a similar way and going on to retain hir prominent status within gender studies and the gender blogosphere.

    Well there’s Jane Gallop, who had a sexual relationship with a female student who accused her of sexual harassment, as dismissed by her university that but the relationship was recorded.

  26. 26
    Plop says:

    I found this compelling text (in french) on a french feminist :
    http://lmsi.net/Nos-amis-et-nous-Premiere-partie (1977)
    Shes discusses how, in the early french movements, men would show up in feminist groups being totally supportive. They would consider that somehow the women were “wrong” on the subject and that they needed to correct them.
    She adds that they agree to join the movement only if they can take the first position and be in the spotlight, that they actually want to keep their heightened position by moving the feminism around them so that can keep the powerful role.

    She quotes several occasions were those “friends” speak in the name of the women, showing their opinion, and the high support they get from the media.

    It applies in a great deal to Schwyzer : the show off, the first position, the self-reflection, the idea on how the movement should be lead, the idea that he knows better.

  27. 27
    John Spragge says:

    Megalodon, I’d class the poster who goes by the name of “Sweating through fog” as an MRA, and he has shown up to defend Hugo, or at least to express contempt for the idea that Hugo has anything to answer for in relation to his treatment of racialized women bloggers.

    Barry (Ampersand), I have a working definition for hate: if you piss me off by doing something, then I feel anger. If you piss me off by existing, that’s hate. And lines like the tag line of the anti-Hugo tumblr, namely “We really despise Hugo Schwyzer. That’s basically it.” come pretty close, in my book, to hate. So does putting up a facebook page of a particular person and superimposing a slash/circle icon over their picture. Apart from anything else, I think that kind of campaign abuses the internet, and it sets a precedent for other abuses.

  28. 28
    AMM says:

    Lisa @22

    I always thought the goal of feminism was liberation for all.

    A minor nit. I don’t think that your definition is quite right. Just as medicine has its specialties, so does social justice. Feminism is the specialty that deals with how women are disadvantaged because they are women.

    I think it would behoove us all if he [HS] recognized that this actually isn’t all about him, his rep, his life, his redemption, his liberation.

    IMHO the issue is not so much what he recognizes, as what other people in the feminist blogosphere recognize. The s***storm is, as far as I can see, mainly driven by other people — his supporters, his detractors, and others who think he’s worth discussing. Since I cannot see how he, by himself, rates all this drama (he’s not _that_ good _or_ bad), I can’t help thinking that people are really wrangling over something he represents to them. It might be worth spending some mental energy to figure out what.

  29. 29
    Danny says:

    My last main observation wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning MRAs. Many MRAs seem to absolutely loath Schwyzer. But what they seem to loathe even more is feminist women setting boundaries around the feminist voices they/we want to promote and support. It’s all “witch hunt” this and “fascism” that.
    I’m almost wondering if this was meant as an observation or just a chance to jab at MRAs

    Megadolon:
    Most every MRA who has commented about this situation seems positively giddy over Schwyzer’s downfall.
    That’s been my impression as well. It seems that Hugo has achieved the rare feat of pissing off a lot of people on nearly every side of the gender discourse.

    Dianne:
    So, not only is Schwyzer getting second (and third, fourth, fifth…it’s not like he only screwed up once) chances because he’s white, male, and straight, he’s also getting the privilege of his screw ups being attributed to himself alone and not implicating every person of his gender, race, or sexuality as also slimy.
    As Schala said Hugo did the job of attibuting his screwups to men in general. As in he and other men do that stuff because they are men (I guess the ones among us who don’t do that stuff are anomolies). And from the time when I was reading his blog not too many people were critical of him doing that either (or at least the ones that were would be treated less than nicely for daring to question him on it).

  30. 30
    Megalodon says:

    Barry (Ampersand), I have a working definition for hate: if you piss me off by doing something, then I feel anger. If you piss me off by existing, that’s hate. And lines like the tag line of the anti-Hugo tumblr, namely “We really despise Hugo Schwyzer. That’s basically it.” come pretty close, in my book, to hate. So does putting up a facebook page of a particular person and superimposing a slash/circle icon over their picture. Apart from anything else, I think that kind of campaign abuses the internet, and it sets a precedent for other abuses.

    Except that these groups are not “pissed” at Schwyzer simply because he exists. The Facebook group has repeatedly and amply explained that they are outraged at Schwyzer because of things he has done and things he continues to do. The wall has no shortage of discussion of those things which he has done and continues to do.

    As for your disapproval of stylistic methods like using a superimposing slash over a picture of the person, well, that is just too bad for you. Do a random internet search by typing in “Against (any name you can think of).” There have got to be legions of groups with superimposing slashes over people like Santorum or Gingrich or Palin, etc. On Facebook and elsewhere. Such methods like superimposing slashes and mocking memes are, by now, time honored ways of internet protest and opprobrium. They are the internet continuation of effigy. These methods do not “abuse the internet” anymore than physical effigies “abuse” regular, in-person protests.

  31. 31
    John Spragge says:

    Megalodon, in my experience the major applications of individual denunciation sites include encouraging gay youth to commit suicide. I don’t care how long these particular abuses have gone on; time-honoured does not equal right.

  32. 32
    Dianne says:

    Hugo did the job of attibuting his screwups to men in general.

    I must admit that I haven’t read a lot of what Hugo actually said, not having much interest in how would-be murderers and serial coercive rapists justify their behavior. But as far as I know he hasn’t resigned. If I believed myself incapable-for any reason-of resisting the temptation to pressure my students into having sex with me, I would resign so as to put the temptation out of my hands and not risk harming innocents.

    Yes, men sometimes do say, “But I can’t help it, being a man. We’re just biologically programed to (act violently, have sex with every person we meet, compete unfairly, ignore dirty dishes, etc)” to justify their bad behavior. But there’s a key difference between this and, for example, a conservative using a thrice married gay man who cheated on each of his spouses as an example of why gay marriage is bad: In the latter case, the “moral” is that the rights of the group in question must be restricted because they can’t handle the rights “normal” people claim. When straight, white men claim that they can’t help acting a certain way the burden is somehow on everyone else: Men can’t help raping so women should wear burkas. Men can’t help pressuring women under their power to sleep with them so women shouldn’t seek higher education. Men can’t help trying to murder their ex-girlfriends, so don’t ever leave an abuser. Hugo fits right in with that tradition. And it is in no way a feminist tradition.

    ETA: Having now read the Schwyzer post in question, it seems to me that he’s blaming the drugs and saying he should be forgiven because he’s now sober. And that he did “offer to resign” or claim that he did. Not very impressive. If he felt that he could not control himself he needed to resign, not “offer” to resign, but just quit. Academia is not the military and you don’t actually need to have permission to quit. The very fact that he didn’t suggests that he isn’t taking what he did seriously.

  33. 33
    Megalodon says:

    in my experience the major applications of individual denunciation sites include encouraging gay youth to commit suicide

    We will have to take a poll to see what constitutes the “major applications.” In my experience, the major application of individual denunciation sites is to denounce a person who usually has a public profile and who has done something that outrages people. That school board member who mocked the “It Gets Better” campaign was taken down in part by such denunciation sites.

    And Schwyzer is not an at-risk youth being encouraged to commit suicide. The conflation is specious and unfounded. You seem to be saying that because this method of protest has been used for detestable ends, then the method itself is detestable and should be renounced by all respectable people.

    I don’t care how long these particular abuses have gone on; time-honoured does not equal right.

    I did not say that time honored equals right. I mentioned that the methods are time honored in order to refute your suggestion that such methods are an unprecedented, radical and dangerous development. The fact that detestable people can and do employ them does not make them into a priori “abuses” which are supposedly off limits for legitimate protest.

  34. 34
    John Spragge says:

    Hugo claims he tried to kill a significant other. He admits to betraying his students by sleeping with them. He made an arrogant and entitled assertion of “white” privilege against racialized women bloggers, and won’t even admit he’s done harm by doing so.

    If the first two items in that history, for which Hugo has apparently made amends, don’t bar him from feminist and anti-oppression circles, the last one would stop me from wanting him included in any anti-oppression space. If the facts of his history, what he has done and the harm it has caused, don’t prevent people from accepting him in feminist spaces, then does anyone seriously think graphics with a forbidden slash will do anything but muddy the waters?

  35. 35
    Megalodon says:

    If the first two items in that history, for which Hugo has apparently made amends, don’t bar him from feminist and anti-oppression circles, the last one would stop me from wanting him included in any anti-oppression space.

    It may be premature to say that those two items did not bar him from feminist and anti-oppression circles, because many people in those feminist and anti-oppression circles have only recently learned of those two items, as a result of the recent scandal. They may not have been aware of the prior items because they may not have diligently followed Schwyzer’s biography and blog entries.

    If the facts of his history, what he has done and the harm it has caused, don’t prevent people from accepting him in feminist spaces, then does anyone seriously think graphics with a forbidden slash will do anything but muddy the waters?

    Huh? Muddy the waters? For who? What are you saying? That some conciliatory people may be willing to accept Schwyzer into their space despite the attempted murder, sexual improprieties, and racial dismissals, but some Facebook group’s use of the “forbidden slash” graphic might deter them instead? And that people have a duty to not use a “forbidden slash” so as not to jeopardize Schwyzer’s chance of acceptance from these hypothetical, conciliatory people?

  36. 36
    Danny says:

    When straight, white men claim that they can’t help acting a certain way the burden is somehow on everyone else: Men can’t help raping so women should wear burkas.
    While people do use tactics like that there were also times when Hugo seemed to, using your example here, “Men can’t help raping therefore men are disgusting creatures and deserve the worst faith presumed of them. Unless they can see the light of feminism like I have.” Totally ignoring the fact that the vast majority of men get along just fine without raping anyone.

    In one of his pieces over at Good Men Project a while back he commented on older men being attracted to younger women and that in that situation men deserved to be shamed for it (and he was not specifically talking about going after under age girls, because that’s wrong on every level). I’ll agree that perhaps the attitudes of those older men need to change but to flatly say that the fact that they are attracted to younger women warrants shaming them?

    Don’t get me wrong there was some material of his that I agreed with but there were times where it seemed he was too eager to sell the rest us up the river to make himself look better.

  37. 37
    John Spragge says:

    Megalodon asked me

    What are you saying? That some conciliatory people may be willing to accept Schwyzer into their space despite the attempted murder, sexual improprieties, and racial dismissals, but some Facebook group’s use of the “forbidden slash” graphic might deter them instead?

    Exactly the opposite: I believe that the more the central fact of Hugo’s offenses get obscured by people explaining all of the reasons they don’t like him, the less likely potential readers and others will get a clear picture of the reasons to beware of him. The more the web sites set up to expose him couched their arguments in the language of personal hostility, the more likely he can dismiss them. Right now, neither the tumblr blog nor the facebook page say clearly that Hugo claims to have attempted to kill himself and his significant other, he claims to have slept with large numbers of students, and he unquestionably asserted white privilege against racialized women bloggers.

  38. 38
    Megalodon says:

    I believe that the more the central fact of Hugo’s offenses get obscured by people explaining all of the reasons they don’t like him, the less likely potential readers and others will get a clear picture of the reasons to beware of him. The more the web sites set up to expose him couched their arguments in the language of personal hostility, the more likely he can dismiss them.

    Does a mocking protest sign or an effigy obscure the objectionable things about a politician, unless replaced by anodyne bullet points against the politician? You are claiming that the objections and opprobrium against Schwyzer are fully legitimate, and yet what bothers you most is that the groups against him sound too emotional or “personal.” I am failing to see how this is different from a “tone” argument or a concern troll tactic.

    Right now, neither the tumblr blog nor the facebook page say clearly that Hugo claims to have attempted to kill himself and his significant other, he claims to have slept with large numbers of students, and he unquestionably asserted white privilege against racialized women bloggers.

    On the “Info” page of the Facebook Group “Feminists Against Hugo Schwyzer,” it says:

    We are feminists, activists and allies who are fed up with the self-aggrandizing bullshit that spews forth from the perpetually open mouth of Hugo Schwyzer.

    A man who uses his confessions of inappropriate relationships with students and ATTEMPTED MURDER of his ex-partner to earn pity points is no friend of ours, and certainly not someone who should be taking leadership positions in feminist activism.

    https://www.facebook.com/#!/SayNoToHugo?sk=info

  39. 39
    ams says:

    “She adds that they agree to join the movement only if they can take the first position and be in the spotlight, that they actually want to keep their heightened position by moving the feminism around them so that can keep the powerful role.”

    I could NOT agree with Plop more. This is exactly how HS has struck me. Some feminists are defending someone who has, in my opinion, seemed to use women/mistreat women/condescend to women with the “but but but, I’m really your friend. Listen to what I say, disregard what I DO.” I find that incredibly troubling.

    He has gotten a great deal of attention and admiration as “feminists” implore other feminists to forgive his past misdeeds, which include violence against women. He has basically gotten women to do his bidding and scorn other women. Please, can someone explain to me how we have feminists fighting over the reputation of a man who has committed violence against a woman? It is just plain sickening.

    If he is serious about his own personal redemption and not “saving face” in a community, why does it feel like women, some of whom have been victims of violence perpertrated by men are being cajoled into public forgiveness? Victims of violence don’t owe their perps forgiveness or redemption. It is disheartening that victims deal with that in everyday society, but to deal with it within a community that should be protecting and valuing them OVER someone who has contributed to violence against women, but has a “valuable” voice within the feminist sphere is unbelievable. I’m tired of him being defended, to be honest. Should the community toss out his entire breadth of contributions? I’m not sure. What I think SHOULD happen though, is that it must be questioned. When forming an opinion, if more information should come to light, should it not be added to the entire picture? I cannot read his work and completely disregard what he has done. If people disagree, so be it. However, it will be hard for me to not question his positions and true intentions.

  40. 40
    Ampersand says:

    John wrote:

    …and he unquestionably asserted white privilege against racialized women bloggers.

    Could you provide a link, please, for those of us who want to read more about this?

    Danny:

    “Men can’t help raping therefore men are disgusting creatures and deserve the worst faith presumed of them. Unless they can see the light of feminism like I have.”

    I suspect this is a paraphrase. Can you please provide a link to the document that you are paraphrasing, or quoting from?

    By asking for links, I’m not saying I don’t believe you (either of you); I would just like to read the source documents. Thanks.

  41. 41
    Danny says:

    Hell it might not even qualify for a paraphrase because I was thinking more about just going with the line said by the person I was quoting.

    But as for examples of his willingness to not give males the same fair shake he seems to want to extend to women:

    1. Declaring that older men that are attracted to younger women deserve to be called creeps and pervs. (http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/older-guys-lust-young-women/2/)

    2. Being hesitant to say that a woman that straddles a guy and has intercourse with him after saying it was off limits is rape. (http://www.rolereboot.org/sex-and-relationships/details/2012-01-erections-arent-consent-what-the-new-fbi-definitions)

    Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to say everything the guy’s said is trash (in fact I’ve even agreed with some of stuff) but some of stuff….

  42. 42
    John Spragge says:

    Honestly, Megalodon, do you really not think the effects of a protest sign have something to do with the torrents of information available on politicians from relatively dispassionate sources such as news outlets? The information available about Hugo, on the other hand, consists mostly of what Hugo himself or his detractors provide. If the websites set up to warn people about him do not make the details about the actual reasons for their objections to Hugo clear, people interested in him will not find the information anywhere else. As for tone, did you not notice Barry’s deploring the use of “hate” to describe the personal denunciation sites? Everybody makes “tone” arguments.

    Barry, see Hugo’s post If it’s “stealing”, you’d better prove it: on Amanda Marcotte, BFP, and RH Reality Check.

  43. AMM @28:

    I just wanted to say yes to this (emphasis added):

    IMHO the issue is not so much what he recognizes, as what other people in the feminist blogosphere recognize. The s***storm is, as far as I can see, mainly driven by other people — his supporters, his detractors, and others who think he’s worth discussing. Since I cannot see how he, by himself, rates all this drama (he’s not _that_ good _or_ bad), I can’t help thinking that people are really wrangling over something he represents to them. It might be worth spending some mental energy to figure out what.

  44. 44
    closetpuritan says:

    I feel like I basically agree with John Spragge about the “I hate X” groups, but I’m having trouble articulating the reasons why. It’s more a gut level feeling, which I am both wary of trusting and wary of ignoring. (Actually, a post from this blog has some good stuff on this topic.)

    I feel like having a “hate group” could lead to sloppy thinking, and maybe dehumanizing or loss of perspective–starting to see the person as a caricature or cartoon bad guy instead of seeing them as they are. Maybe similar in kind, though certainly not degree, to the mindset that lets soldiers desecrate the bodies of the enemy. I’m kind of in the “respect your enemies” camp. But I don’t have a strong argument that this is definitely how it works or that it will work this way more often than not. And I feel like I’m not an authority on this subject since I’ve never created a hate blog for a person (or a group, or a TV show). I have no problem being critical or negative, but thinking about creating a site or group specifically about how much I hate someone feels weird.

  45. 45
    Tamen says:

    Here is one example which I think illustrates very clearly how different Hugo views men and women’s culpability:

    1) Declaring that an 11 year old Pal Sarkozy who had sex with his adult nanny is at fault. Stating: “His capacity to consent was vitiated by his age, but hers was no less vitiated by her subordinate economic status. … There is one thing that we do need to point out, and that is that even pre-pubescent boys can be sexual aggressors.”: http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2010/04/01/nannies-adultery-class-and-consent-some-thoughts-on-pal-sarkozy/

    2) Writing about Deborah who at 11 initiated a sexual relationship with her piano teacher. Concludes that the piano teacher were solely at fault. Stating: “But what Deborah needs to hear is that no matter how sexually aggressive she may have been, she was not in any way the architect of what happened.”: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/can-young-girls-really-seduce-older-men/

    Here is one quote from Hugo’s article “In rape culture all men are guilty until proven innocent” which could be a source for Danny’s paraphrase:

    Men who grumble about being “guilty until proven innocent” are demanding to be seen as individuals, separate from their perceived sex and the history that goes with it. That’s a tempting but unreasonable demand to make.

    http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/in-rape-culture-all-men-are-guilty-until-proven-innocent/

  46. 46
    Megalodon says:

    Honestly, Megalodon, do you really not think the effects of a protest sign have something to do with the torrents of information available on politicians from relatively dispassionate sources such as news outlets?

    Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. Sometimes the protest signs and other “intemperate” methods precede the “torrents of information available on politicians from relatively dispassionate sources such as news outlets” because the users of the protest methods were investigating and advocating the issue prior to the mainstream media becoming interested. Uproar and outrage sometimes precede and accompany the “dispassionate sources” that you hold in high esteem. How many times has it been that blogs will call attention to a situation with anger and opprobrium, and then the “dispassionate” press picks up on the issue? The “dispassionate” press may or may not pick up on an issue started by the outraged blogosphere, but that does not mean that the not-so-dispassionate advocates are inherently incredible or untrustworthy. And if the protest sign carriers happen to know the situation like the backs of their hands, that does not mean that they are obliged to foreswear effigies or superimposed slashes and only stick to dispassionate essays and bullet points for the sake of scholarly objectivity.

    I doubt very much that there is going to be a CNN or NPR expose on this internet scandal. Schwyzer does not rank that important. It will probably remain a blog/internet phenomenon. The “dispassionate” journalists are probably not going to gather en masse.

    The information available about Hugo, on the other hand, consists mostly of what Hugo himself or his detractors provide.

    And that may be all that people have to work with for the conceivable future. That does not mean that the two sources of information are equally credible, accurate or valid. What do you want? Some source of avowed neutrality to always observe a conflict, gather up the info and report it in detached documentary fashion? If someone wishes to do that, he/she is welcome. Nobody else is obligated to play the “dispassionate” sage or suppress their justified sentiments.

    If the websites set up to warn people about him do not make the details about the actual reasons for their objections to Hugo clear, people interested in him will not find the information anywhere else.

    The very Facebook group that you condemned for omitting the reasons for their objections actually had those reasons in their front information page, to say nothing of the discussions and links in the wall posts. If the use of an angry tumblr or mocking meme is going to scare away a person to the point that he/she refuses to read a wall post or google the situation, oh well.

    As for tone, did you not notice Barry’s deploring the use of “hate” to describe the personal denunciation sites? Everybody makes “tone” arguments.

    “Tone” arguments become “problematic” when persons lecture suspect class, subordinated persons about how they should comport, control and modify their expressions and reactions, especially for the sake of how they may be perceived by a supposedly agnostic and dispassionate public. When a male person lectures feminist bloggers that they should change their style and disposition so as not to appear angry, emotional and irrational, and so as not to alienate hypothetical, unaware readers, the “tone” problem rears its head.

    Ampersand’s objection to “Sarah’s” terminology was because she was likening people with valid criticisms of an offending person to people who abduct and murder or advocate general, racial hatred. And also because he probably thinks the comparison between dealing with online opprobrium and being lynched is distasteful. Yes, they are both arguments of tone of a sort, but not with the same implications.

  47. 47
    John Spragge says:

    Actually, information from the facebook site you quoted omits the incident where Hugo asserted his “white” privilege. Without that information, the discussion has to center on the importance of his past actions and his addiction and recovery narrative. That narrative naturally raises questions about the part a disability, in this case addiction, played in Hugo’s past offences, and the extent to which they belong to his past. His offense against racialized women bloggers, on the other hand, had nothing to do with addiction, and he has not tried to make any amends for it.

  48. 48
    Megalodon says:

    Actually, information from the facebook site you quoted omits the incident where Hugo asserted his “white” privilege. Without that information, the discussion has to center on the importance of his past actions and his addiction and recovery narrative.

    Okay, so it is not enough for you that this group has listed and summarized issues on its front introduction page. They have to include and emphasize the issues according to your order of priority? Because you know that’s the only way to make a compelling case? You have vicariously quarterbacked their entire advocacy strategy from the outset.

    Lots of people may find his past actions, like an attempted murder, to be the most egregious, salient, objectionable factors about him, or at least a good place to start the discussion. If we were discussing a person who presently engaged in racist behavior, but then we found out that this person had once tried to murder somebody, the past attempted murder might not be secondary in everyone’s consideration.

    The fact that these issues involve past actions does not make them into failed, deflected contentions from the outset, despite your prediction. The addiction and recovery narrative has been presented, and lots of readers rejected it, or ascribed little weight to it, rightly or wrongly.

    And who says the discussion “has to center on the importance of his past actions” because of what is listed in the introduction? There has been plenty of discussion of the privilege issues in the wall posts, as well as discussion about other ways in which Schwyzer is presently doing damage. And remember, the introduction says, “More info coming soon.”

    His offense against racialized women bloggers, on the other hand, had nothing to do with addiction

    Well, Mel Gibson tried to blame alcohol addiction for his rants. We’ll wait and see what Schwyzer blames for his racialized offenses if push comes to shove.

  49. 49
    Lyanna says:

    Tamen: I think Hugo has a traditional, patriarchal, paternalistic attitude towards women, so he does tend to see them as needing “protection” more than men. This also comes through in his description of his attempted murder.

    However, I think your examples are ambiguous. It seems like the biggest reason for the disparate treatment of the two cases is not the gender of the child, but the class-status of the adult. A nanny may well have less recourse than a piano teacher.

  50. 50
    Tamen says:

    Both are employed by the parents of the victim. Both ran a risk of consequences if they declined. Just as easily as the nanny could be fired if Sarkozy voiced displeasure the piano teacher could be fired and even worse if the Deborah voiced her displeasure by accusing him of molesting her. Neither are valid excuses for participating in sexual relationship with a 11 year old child. A low class status should not be considered a valid argument as an excuse for having sexual relationships with children.
    In the piece about Deborah Hugo states that the piano teacher had a choice as every man has a choice (it is strongly implied that class doesn’t matter). While a woman as the nanny has less of a choice when class is involved.

    Both Pal and Deborah initiated the sexual relationship. How does the class status of the targets of their “seduction” alter their culpability? Both succeded in establishing a sexual relationship, but according to Schwyzer only the boy got any blame – he even painted the boy as a predator. Deborah on the other hand is completely blame-free in Hugo’s view.

  51. 51
    Lyanna says:

    Both are employed, but there is a class difference between “piano teacher” and “nanny”–at least in the US.

    And no, it’s no excuse either way. But Hugo writes about class a lot, and is completely open about being an upper-class snob, and is hugely patronizing to people below him in class.

  52. 52
    Elusis says:

    FWIW my experience is that nannies are often in the US on work visas, and living in the home where they nanny. Being fired by one’s employer is thus an extremely threatening proposition.

  53. 53
    Megalodon says:

    Incidentally, Florida’s stringent sex-offender residency laws are largely the work of a lobbyist named Ron Book, who advocated such laws after he found out that the live-in nanny was sexually abusing his daughter.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/07/24/a-bridge-too-far.html
    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/walking-under-tuttle-causeway-sex-abuse-victim-daughter-7986.html?printArticle=y

    However, I think your examples are ambiguous. It seems like the biggest reason for the disparate treatment of the two cases is not the gender of the child, but the class-status of the adult. A nanny may well have less recourse than a piano teacher.

    We also tend to assume that nannies are invariably female (despite some talk about the advent of “mannies” a few years ago). I wonder if the lower “class-status of the adult” would be a mitigator or cause of moral ambiguity if the situation involved another kind of subordinate class adult domestic worker, like a maintenance man, gardener or landscaper.

  54. 54
    Megalodon says:

    Schwyzer has removed the blog post from last January which described the attempted murder. Now he says he is “legally gagged from discussing specifics from his “pre-sobriety past.”
    http://hellnohugo.tumblr.com/post/16424500710/as-of-this-moment-legally-gagged-from-further

    Sounds like this is all getting worse.

  55. 55
    Mythago says:

    I would guess he took the time to consult with an actual criminal-law attorney, instead of relying on a vague chat over coffe with Bob the lawyer buddy who handles real estate cases.

  56. 56
    John Spragge says:

    Megalodon, I note that the tumblr on Hugo Schwyzer has dropped the “basically despise” tag line, and assert that they want to expose him and articulate why he should never have any place in feminism. I welcome that change.

  57. 57
    Megalodon says:

    Here is a pretty thorough and detailed commentary on the situation, as it has unfolded up to now.

    http://globalcomment.com/2012/why-do-some-feminist-spaces-tolerate-male-abusers/

  58. 58
    John Spragge says:

    Megalodon wrote:

    Lots of people may find his past actions, like an attempted murder, to be the most egregious, salient, objectionable factors about him, or at least a good place to start the discussion. If we were discussing a person who presently engaged in racist behavior, but then we found out that this person had once tried to murder somebody, the past attempted murder might not be secondary in everyone’s consideration.

    That argument has intuitve logic behind it, but in the controversy over Hugo Schwyzer and his participation (if and where) in feminist and anti-oppression spaces, it has two problems. First, the account by Hugo Schwyzer of his attempted murder has not, as you suggest, merely overshadowed his arrogance to racialized feminists; in some quarters, it has completely eclipsed it. For example, the comment from Grace on globalcomment contains no links to Hugo’s offending posts, to the explanation, by bfp and others, about why he did wrong, or to comments he has made defending his behaviour. Grace does not, in fact, mention bfp, the woman he principally offended, at all. Grace merely speculates that a racialized man acting as a male ally might not have gotten away with what Hugo did, a possibly valid concern, but hardly the most oppressive aspect of his behaviour.

    This analysis has another problem: it ignores the central role of survivors. Because the woman survivor of Hugo’s attempted murder-suicide has not spoken, we have access to only the story as he has told it. Certainly, it makes sense to evaluate him on what he has written, and some people have said they do not want him in feminist spaces they use because of the stories he told or because of how he has told them. But it does not do to ignore or to try to fill the silence left by what the woman survivor of his attempt at murder suicide. I believe survivors own our stories, and that leaves the right to tell them or leave them untold. I believe that means that judging Hugo on what he has written, while appropriate, also carries an obligation to respect the silence from the other survivor. I also believe that it carries an obligation to acknowledge the women Hugo has oppressed who have spoken up, particularly bfp and her sisters.

  59. 59
    Megalodon says:

    First, the account by Hugo Schwyzer of his attempted murder has not, as you suggest, merely overshadowed his arrogance to racialized feminists; in some quarters, it has completely eclipsed it.

    Like I said, for some persons, the prior attempted murder may not be of secondary importance. If certain commentators wish to focus primarily or even exclusively on that aspect, such is their prerogative. But with that in mind, I do not think the privilege/racial/safe space issues are getting short shrift.

    For example, the comment from Grace on globalcomment contains no links to Hugo’s offending posts, to the explanation, by bfp and others, about why he did wrong, or to comments he has made defending his behaviour.

    In the fourth paragraph, the underlined “white privilege” links directly to Schwyzer’s comments on the Feministe thread regarding the Marcotte book and the imagery and appropriation controversy. In the fourteenth paragraph, the underlined “many years” has a link to blackamazon.tumblr.com regarding the scandal and Schwyzer’s involvement in it.

    Although the Global Comment essay does not mention the BFP conflict with enough specificity to satisfy you, it does have whole subsections called “White Privilege” and “Survivors and Safe Spaces.”

    Grace merely speculates that a racialized man acting as a male ally might not have gotten away with what Hugo did, a possibly valid concern, but hardly the most oppressive aspect of his behaviour.

    Okay, so the article does address the racial privilege subject, but it does not focus on the aspect that you think is most important. Therefore, the argument must be a loser and will be ineffective against Schwyzer? Now you are minimizing and condensing Grace’s argument to make it sound trivial to the essay. The argument was much more extensive than that, and the essay concludes by focusing on the racial privilege subject.

    This analysis has another problem: it ignores the central role of survivors. Because the woman survivor of Hugo’s attempted murder-suicide has not spoken, we have access to only the story as he has told it.

    Well, many survivors do not wish to insert themselves into the public forum, and often with good reason. Sadly, that often leaves us only with what the perpetrator or authorities reveal.

    Certainly, it makes sense to evaluate him on what he has written, and some people have said they do not want him in feminist spaces they use because of the stories he told or because of how he has told them.

    Yes, I agree.

    But it does not do to ignore or to try to fill the silence left by what the woman survivor of his attempt at murder suicide. I believe survivors own our stories, and that leaves the right to tell them or leave them untold.

    I do not think the commentators have been ignoring the survivor, and lots of comments and responses have focused upon the rights and dignity of that survivor. When you say that readers should not “fill the silence” from a survivor, this is starting to sound tricky. I do not think commentators are necessarily usurping the voice of a survivor just because they condemn the person who harmed her. Do you think otherwise? If survivors have a right to leave their stories “untold,” but we readers have a right to judge a perpetrator based on what he has revealed, how do those two rights reconcile? How can readers respond to a perpetrator’s actions if they cannot discuss what that perpetrator has done and what he has revealed?

    I believe that means that judging Hugo on what he has written, while appropriate, also carries an obligation to respect the silence from the other survivor. I also believe that it carries an obligation to acknowledge the women Hugo has oppressed who have spoken up, particularly bfp and her sisters.

    Oh, I see. You are playing an interesting game here. You are agreeing that Schwyzer did a bad thing when he attempted to murder somebody. However, you say that because this particular survivor has remained silent, it is inappropriate for readers to discuss what Schwyzer did to this person, even for the purpose of rejecting, condemning and responding to Schwyzer. What about situations in which an admitted perpetrator has no victims who have gone public? The person that Kyle Payne harmed has not gone public. Does that mean we are obliged to be mum about what he did, for the sake of the person he harmed? You are presenting a principle which you say is for respect of the survivor, but the perpetrator seems to be the material beneficiary of adhering to your principle.

    You believe that Schwyzer did bad and objectionable things, and continues to do bad and objectionable things. But you seem most concerned with moderating, limiting and restricting the commentators who speak out against him.

  60. 60
    John Spragge says:

    Megalodon, acknowledging and respecting the voices or the silence of survivors should not make it unduly difficult to discuss Hugo’s own account of his offences. Members of the community have the right to their own reactions to Hugo’s own account of his actions; just as all survivors have the right to speak or be silent, we have the right to condemn or affirm based on what we know. Anyone who wants to say that Hugo’s own description of his attempt at murder suicide should disqualify him from participation in feminist spaces can say so, and people have done exactly that.

    Alternatively, we can focus on the offenses by Hugo where those he offended have spoken out, namely his attempts at bullying racialized feminist bloggers.

  61. 61
    Megalodon says:

    Anyone who wants to say that Hugo’s own description of his attempt at murder suicide should disqualify him from participation in feminist spaces can say so, and people have done exactly that.

    Alright, then I do not see the problem.

    Alternatively, we can focus on the offenses by Hugo where those he offended have spoken out, namely his attempts at bullying racialized feminist bloggers.

    And plenty of bloggers and commentators have done exactly that, while still including attention to the attempted murder-suicide. There does not have to be an either/or decision.

  62. 62
    mythago says:

    acknowledging and respecting the voices or the silence of survivors

    What, precisely, is meant by this? Unless somebody is saying ‘she should have done…’ or ‘we must do X on her behalf’, then I’m not sure what you are complaining about.

  63. 63
    John Spragge says:

    Mythago, I’ll quote from the link posted by Megalodon earlier. I hasten to add that I have quoted this link because it appears in this discussion; posts I have read elsewhere have invented a complete picture of personal details and motivations for the survivors of some of Hugo’s offences, apparently without reference to the survivors themselves.

    So:

    What would happen if one of Schwyzer’s exes were to tell her side of the story? What if she named her relationship with him as toxic and abusive – highly likely, given that he’s written publicly, with potentially identifying details, about at least two of his exes who have made clear that they want no contact with him ever again.

    Let me start by identifying all the good parts of this. Questioning Hugo’s right to tell these stories in a broad public forum: good. Expressing a deep skepticism about Hugo’s reliability: good. Expressing a deep anger at Hugo: good.

    Directing the reader towards a narrative the writer thinks likely, on the other hand, does not serve survivors. I insist that if survivors do not speak, then all of us must respect their silence; respect what they have not told us. And we need not let that benefit the perpetrator. Hugo has spoken, blogged, and written a great deal about his offences. From at least some of the survivors, he has received silence. What he has written, his own account of what he did to them, remains. That reality will speak more powerfully than any voice anyone invents for survivors, if we let it.

  64. Pingback: Men, Feminism, Race, Movements and the Cult of Hugo Schwyzer: The F Word Interview with Ernesto Aguilar | Feminist Current

  65. 64
    Copyleft says:

    Any updates on this since Schwyzer’s more recent meltdown/confessional?

  66. 65
    Ampersand says:

    Fannie no longer posts here on “Alas,” so I doubt she’ll see your question. (It was a totally amicable parting, and I remain a fan of her blogging.)

  67. 66
    Varusz says:

    What amazed me was how gullible people could be at buying his stories (for instance the redemption story). I saw through him, but even I didn’t think that he was continuing to sleep with the young girls in his classes.

    And he’ll also get a load of followers the next time he arises from the ashes. They won’t even care that he described how he manipulated, used and deceived people in his Twitter meltdown. All you have to do is act confident, and people will follow, I guess.

  68. 67
    fannie says:

    Hi Amp,

    Good to “see” you! I received an automatically-generated email that comments were happening in this thread again.

    To address copyleft’s question, I don’t plan to do any updates or further posting on HS. Anyway, I believe that he is toxic to feminism and I want to put my energy elsewhere.

    Varusz, I’m not sure I ever fully believed his redemption narrative, mostly because (a) I tend to be skeptical about the way people present themselves on the Internet, (b) with HS in particular, his website very much appeared to be a brand, and (c) he often described the problematic aspects of his past that he was supposedly reformed from just a bit too lasciviously…

  69. 68
    alex says:

    My last main observation wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning MRAs. Many MRAs seem to absolutely loath Schwyzer.

    LOL. I know, hindsight and everything, but the MRAs called it right on Schwyzer way before everyone else. Even before the revelations, they just got it spot on. Double dare you all not to read the thread below without pissing yourself.

    http://www.hugoschwyzer.net/2006/10/16/just-how-nice-the-nice-guys-are/

  70. 69
    Ampersand says:

    Hi, Fannie! Way to prove me wrong. :-p

    Alex:

    In my experience, MRAs say the same things about about ALL male feminists – we’re obviously only into feminism to get laid, we’re self-loathing, etc etc..

    It’s like someone who points at every animal he sees and says “gnu!” He looks perceptive while he’s pointing at a gnu, but less so once you’ve seen him also call an alpaca, a dolphin, and a pink fairy armadillo gnus.

  71. 70
    fanniesroom says:

    Good point, Amp, re: the gnu. :-)

    I certainly hope we don’t start seeing narratives claiming that HS duped all or most feminists, unlike the wise MRAs who saw through him all along. HS has been a polarizing, controversial figure within feminism for years.

  72. 71
    alex says:

    That’s playing the man not the ball. They weren’t content less arguments. They are people saying gnu, while noting the animal they’re pointing at is a hoofed mammal with a beard and horns.

    I’m not sure what good the crying wolf argument does. It turned out badly for the boy in the fable, but it’s not like any of the MRAs actually care about how this has ended up. Guess ya’ll really showed them.

  73. 72
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Truthfully, this whole Schwyzer saga has made me feel a little more sympathetic to the man, and guilty about my own harsh critisms of him in the past. I used to comment on his blog, a few years ago, and wasn’t shy about calling him a contemptible fool with a revolting worldview. he managed to be wrong about just every major issue, which in its way is pretty impressive. I still think that the views he espoused then (and presumably now) are nearly wholly wrong, but realizing that Schwyzer is such an emotionally fragile wreck, who’s made suicide attempts within the last couple months, has really made me feel guilty about some of the harsh language I’ve used about him in the past. I felt a lot more comfortable calling him a disgusting fool back when his life was going well, than I do right now.

  74. 73
    Varusz says:

    Hector, you have to remember that he is still manipulating. He’s so fragile that he is calling people who don’t buy his current story hook, line and sinker are “infuriating” (it’s on his blog). When I pointed out that he himself admitted a long history of lying to people – so people are a little wary now – he blocked and banned me. Remember that at a certain point he was applying to get permanent disability leave – he has since gotten it, and has correspondingly gotten more feisty now.

    I saw through him then and I see through him now. And, by the way, the MRAs (and certain feminists) were dead on about this guy.

  75. 74
    Varusz says:

    I also frequently heard the line, “Hugo has single-handedly united MRAs and feminists in their loathing for this guy.”

  76. 75
    fanniesroom says:

    You don’t clarify what argument here you think is a “crying wolf” one, Alex, so I won’t address that. If you’re referring to my statement that I hope certain narratives don’t start to happen, your characterization is certain inapt. I’m not claiming it’s going to happen, I’m just saying I hope it doesn’t.

    It’s also not all that rational of you to claim that “it’s not like any MRAs” care about how “this” [the Schwyzer stuff?] ended up. You very likely don’t know or have any way of knowing what all MRAs care, or even think, about. And, the way so many MRAs are utterly obsessed with feminism and prominent feminists, you certainly don’t have me convinced that not a single MRA cares about this situation. Surrrrrrrrrrrre.

    So you can save your snarky, “Guess ya’ll really showed them.”

  77. 76
    fannie says:

    (Note – Hector is an aggressive anti-feminism commenter, who’s likely found his way here from the defunct Family Scholars Blog)

    Hector:

    “he managed to be wrong about just every major issue, which in its way is pretty impressive.”

    Um, no. That’s…. not what happened. But if that’s what you need to keep telling yourself so you can continue believing that the entirety of feminism is worthless, you go for it, bro!

    Wow, I sure am finding these Hugo narratives quite telling from some of the guys here already!

    The MRAs knew all along! (Not that they care or anything. Really, they don’t even care!)

    Hugo had a meltdown, therefore everything he ever said about feminism was entirely wrong!

  78. 77
    Varusz says:

    “In my experience, MRAs say the same things about about ALL male feminists – we’re obviously only into feminism to get laid, we’re self-loathing, etc etc..”

    ———

    Some of the MRA criticism unique to Schwyzer involved his excessive supplication and subordination to women, and his sometimes phony chivalry, possibly stemming from a very feminist, domineering mother and his generally manipulative, sociopathic nature. I haven’t seen much at all about Ampersand lately. Dave Futrelle is getting his share at present.

    I can understand some points of feminism, and I can (more likely) understand MRA points, but I would honestly like to know how some very one-sided male feminists ended up that way. They seem to live in a completely different universe than I do, but I also believe that some (NOT Schwyzer) sincerely mean what they say.

  79. 78
    Ampersand says:

    Some of the MRA criticism unique to Schwyzer involved his excessive supplication and subordination to women, and his sometimes phony chivalry, possibly stemming from a very feminist, domineering mother and his generally manipulative, sociopathic nature. I haven’t seen much at all about Ampersand lately.

    I’ve been accused of both excess supplication/subordination to women, back in the day, and phony chivalry (aka “white knighting”) is another commonplace one. The mother-and-sociopath critiques aren’t so comment, that I’ve noticed.

    I don’t think people in MRA circles talk about me much anymore, for the obvious reason that I’m not nearly as prominent a blogger as I once was. This is one of many benefits of becoming less prominent.

    To a great extent, I just burned out on arguing with MRAs – and anti-feminists, and even “feminist critics” – several years ago. Nowadays I’d rather do feminism by making comic books. Still, I greatly admire those folks who are keeping up the fight.

  80. 79
    alex says:

    You don’t clarify what argument here you think is a “crying wolf” one, Alex, so I won’t address that.

    Fannie. That was a reply to Amp at 69 – “they say that about everyone”. That’s just an attempt to go for the man rather than engage with an argument.

    It’s also not all that rational of you to claim that “it’s not like any MRAs” care about how “this” [the Schwyzer stuff?] ended up. You very likely don’t know or have any way of knowing what all MRAs care, or even think, about… you certainly don’t have me convinced that not a single MRA cares about this situation. Surrrrrrrrrrrre.

    I can read what MRAs say and know what they think from that. They seem to be getting off on schadenfreude and the irony of seeing a guy hoisted by the sexual harassment policies he wrote. I might be going out on a limb here, but my impression is MRAs don’t greatly care if college students get fucked by their professors, or if people teach feminism without understanding it, or dismiss WOC bloggers etc. They’re just morbidly interested in the downfall of a guy who’s been criticising, I haven’t seen any MRAs appalled by the actual facts.

  81. 80
    alex says:

    Actually, I will go so far as to say that if Schwyzer had been a MRA or PUA blogger and done the same things, they’d be rallying to his defence right now.

  82. 81
    Varusz says:

    “I can read what MRAs say and know what they think from that. They seem to be getting off on schadenfreude and the irony of seeing a guy hoisted by the sexual harassment policies he wrote.”

    Actually, that’s more of an “us against them” kind of thing, and we know how that always turns out: Your hero wins.

    There was a very good article comparing the reaction of MRAs to the reaction of some cut-throat feminists to the demise of Hugo Schwyzer. I can’t find it myself with a Google search, but maybe someone else can.

    I DO know that Paul Elam of A Voice for Men (one of the main MRA sites today) expressed sympathy for Hugo’s problems. William Pierce at The Spearhead has similar thoughts. The current thread at Stand Your Ground shows more people who have trouble forgiving Hugo for his constant disparagement – almost laughing at – men in down times. There are others there who feel compassion.

    Contrast that with what some feminists have written. The best is a huge backpedaling from anything Schwyzer, with no empathy at all for the person, not even naming him (Jezebel), to truly hate-filled, vindictive diatribes. This is the first discussion I have even seen on Alas a Blog.

    Yeah, maybe feminists have some points, but their radicals are their radicals. Maybe MRAs have some points, but their radicals are their radicals.

  83. 82
    mythago says:

    Varusz @81, please lose the false equivalence. The argument in the feminist community really isn’t a mirror image of the MRA community, because a large part of that discussion are the aspects of 1) racism among privileged white feminists and 2) money. The former, because many feminist bloggers ignored and in some cases continue to make excuses for HS’s behavior toward women of color who criticized him. (In his storm of blathering, he’s admitted he deliberately shut them down because he had the power to do so.) The latter, because unlike Ampersand or Manboobz, sites like Jezebel supported and gave HS a platform because it made them money. Jezebel, as an example, made a weak-ass nonpology once everything really hit the fan.

    Many MRAs also (quite properly) criticized HS because of his constant minimizing and double-standards for male survivors of sexual abuse, particularly survivors whose abusers were women. I’d like to say I’m astonished about the collective amnesia over that, but then, many of the MRA sites you mentioned are unfortunately not all that genuinely interested in men’s issues unless they directly lead to bashing women.

    My money is on HS’s next redemption narrative being the Good MRA, Unfairly Victimized by Feminists. I’m afraid that the usual suspects will probably welcome him with open arms.

  84. 83
    Varusz says:

    “… but then, many of the MRA sites you mentioned are unfortunately not all that genuinely interested in men’s issues unless they directly lead to bashing women.”

    Unsupported victimhood and conspiracy theories. I really get sick of reading that crap. Read up on the current issues. I suppose the women on AVFM, for instance, who also see some of the injustices are just bashing women. They’ve been brainwashed by the Patriarchy, right?

    As far as new, improved Hugo 3.0 being an MRA: MRAs hate that guy far more than the clued-in feminists who have also got his number, but many of the MRA sites thought the guy legitimately melted down and would be gone, and actually did have some compassion for the mental illness.

    Otherwise, I’ll leave you to your victimhood, Mythago.

  85. 84
    closetpuritan says:

    Varusz: “… but then, many of the MRA sites you mentioned are unfortunately not all that genuinely interested in men’s issues unless they directly lead to bashing women.”

    Unsupported victimhood and conspiracy theories.

    I haven’t made a serious study of it, but off the top of my head at least one of them has directly stated that this is true.

    alex:
    Fannie. That was a reply to Amp at 69 – “they say that about everyone”. That’s just an attempt to go for the man rather than engage with an argument.

    What argument? That the MRAs were oh so smart to have Hugo Schwyzer all figured out? How can you go after that argument without going for the MRAs? Everyone writing here already agrees that Hugo Schwyzer is toxic, so that’s not the point of contention.

  86. 85
    Ampersand says:

    Varusz, please reread the comments policy and try and do a better job of abiding by it. Thanks.

  87. 86
    mythago says:

    Admittedly, there’s not a lot of point in responding to generic comments that might as well have come off a buzzword generator.

  88. 87
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Re: They seem to be getting off on schadenfreude and the irony of seeing a guy hoisted by the sexual harassment policies he wrote. I might be going out on a limb here, but my impression is MRAs don’t greatly care if college students get fucked by their professors, or if people teach feminism without understanding it, or dismiss WOC bloggers etc. They’re just morbidly interested in the downfall of a guy who’s been criticising, I haven’t seen any MRAs appalled by the actual facts.

    Well, I think most of the manosphere commenters who have been getting off on Hugo’s downfall think the attempted murder of a girlfriend is a big deal. I’m not really anything more than casually sympathetic to those folks, but that’s certainly the way *I* would see it, attempted homicide is deplorable, and he should have done some jail time for it. As for the affairs with students, I think you’re right, most of us think that cheating on your wife is wrong, but we aren’t especially outraged that it was with his students. (It did violate a college policy, that I guess he wrote, so they certainly have the right to fire him if they want, but there was certainly nothing illegal about it, and everyone involved was over the age of consent, etc.). My main problem with Hugo was always the content of his ideas, not his sexual affairs (though that was before I knew about attempting to kill his girlfriend).

    Re: As far as new, improved Hugo 3.0 being an MRA: MRAs hate that guy far more than the clued-in feminists who have also got his number, but many of the MRA sites thought the guy legitimately melted down and would be gone, and actually did have some compassion for the mental illness.

    I doubt Hugo is going to come over to my side of the fence, but it would certainly be amusing if he did. At this point, I just hope he gets better and doesn’t harm himself or others.

  89. 88
    mythago says:

    @Hector, I admit to being a little astonished that you would shrug off a teacher having affairs with their current students. Even if you believe that there can truly be a consensual relationship between a student and someone who has the power to determine their grade (“get fucked” is an appropriate phrasing here, no?), it’s rather unfair to the other students in the class – particularly, in HS’ case, his male students.

    I’m sure there’s plenty of schadenfreude, but HS reinventing himself as an MRA is something that should be less amusing than worrying. It’s pretty clear that his redemption narratives are less about genuine shifts in belief than about a desire for status and money. You don’t want to be like the guy who says that yeah, his girlfriend was a vicious user to every other guy she’s ever dated but this time she’s surely changed and she won’t ever treat you that way.

  90. 89
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    I don’t think I’d ‘shrug it off': I think it was unprofessional and, as you say, potentially unfair to all the students that he wasn’t sleeping with. I’m fine with him facing professional sanctions for it, including firing (if it was made clear upfront what the penalties might be). I just don’t consider it to warrant the kind of extreme outrage that some of the commenters on Hugo’s blog seem to think it is. In general, I think keeping the workplace and dating/sex separate works out best for everyone (and it sort of baffles me that Hugo, given his past issues, didn’t have the presence of mind to wait a couple months till that girl was out of his class. I guess impulse control isn’t one of his strong points). I think the manosphere commenters would generally agree with that.

    I don’t pretend to know whether Schwyzer really believes in the feminist ideology he used to peddle, or whether he was just using it to gain status and money. I don’t automatically dismiss someone’s cultural conservative beliefs when they’re caught with their pants down like Larry Craig, David Vitter, etc..- people are complicated, after all. I have a lot of resentment towards Schwyzer for his writings in the past, but the breakdown’s actually made me more sympathetic towards him, as he’s clearly a man with a lot of problems.

  91. 90
    Varusz says:

    “… but the breakdown’s actually made me more sympathetic towards him …”

    ——

    You’re more sympathetic towards him because you believe him and his act more than I do. If you go to his Twitter account, you can see that he has made an amazing recovery since he was awarded a permanent disability pension. He is advising people with criticism to “use the block button or unfollow him” apparently with the same smug smirk he has always had. I’m sure the women there will also be lining up to be Mrs. Hugo No. 5.

    It’s not even Hugo that bugs me anymore, it’s the fact that so many people in the world are gullible and buy his narratives.

  92. 91
    Varusz says:

    With regard to the attempted murder, a suggestion I’m seeing in the Internet is that Hugo could have just made it up. I don’t know what to think about that, but I know that every word that comes out of Hugo’s mouth is based on manipulation and not truth.

  93. 92
    Ampersand says:

    I’ve always thought Hugo just made it up. I can’t prove it, obviously, but the whole thing failed to ring true to me.

  94. 93
    Robert says:

    I don’t think he made it up. If he had made it up he would have made it a more perfect fit to whatever crusade he was promoting himself as a key figure in.

  95. 94
    Varusz says:

    “If he had made it up he would have made it a more perfect fit to whatever crusade he was promoting himself as a key figure in.”

    ——

    His crusade was to present himself as a reformed bad boy who is now saint-like, in order to get the attention he craves and to continue nailing young tail (while being married and presenting himself as a person who finds May-December romances ghastly and exploitive). Hugo is a pickup artist who decries pickup artists, and his bad-boy stories seem to attract women.

    Also, there is no independent verification of anything, other than what Hugo has presented in many different versions and variations. But I don’t know if he tried to kill a woman or not in the end.

  96. 95
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Re: His crusade was to present himself as a reformed bad boy who is now saint-like, in order to get the attention he craves and to continue nailing young tail (while being married and presenting himself as a person who finds May-December romances ghastly and exploitive).

    His ‘older men shouldn’t date younger girls’ thing was one of the most annoying things about his old blog, although it was pretty amusing how every one of those threads on his blog would immediately draw a string of commenters who supplied their own happy stories about May-December relationships. I’d bet his commentary kept a lot of men and women away from relationships which would have truly made them happy. Of course, it’s his actual belief system there that I take issue with, not the fact that he was secretly living his life contrary to it.

  97. 96
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    That said, it’s hard to believe he would ‘make up’ anything as outrageous as attempted murder. What did he hope to gain by it?

  98. 97
    Varusz says:

    “That said, it’s hard to believe he would ‘make up’ anything as outrageous as attempted murder. What did he hope to gain by it?”

    ——-

    Well, the “Night Stalker” and Ted Bundy got tons of female attention; a possible motive would be female attention without going to jail. Richard Ramirez – bad teeth and all – had women fighting over who was his “girlfriend” at his trial.

    But now I see on his Twitter account that the little f%#ker named the family name of the woman he attempted to murder – and whose family nicely declined to press charges. He says at one point that he shouldn’t have said that and deleted that tweet, but I went back and found an instance he forgot about.

    Simply a nasty, manipulative psychopath from the word Go.

  99. 98
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    He slipped up and mentioned her first name at one point, so one can put two and two together

  100. 99
    mythago says:

    Amp @92, I suspect he embellished or changed some of the details – particularly as he briefly alluded to the story (albeit without the details and the jaunty tone) in an earlier post, which suggested it was the intervention of a neighbor that prevented it from ending up a murder-suicide – not, as in the retelling, a sudden change of heart by Our Hero.

    @Hector, I believe he wasn’t expecting the reaction he got, and thought that people would react with applause that he sure as heck doesn’t do that anymore. People without a moral compass probably don’t understand that between ‘I used to sleep around a lot’ and ‘I nearly killed my girlfriend this one time’ do not register as the same, morally, for most people.