“DTMFA” [Dump The Mother-Fucker Already]—Dan Savage
The self-help industry is unequivocal in its disdain for women who are treated abusively. It’s all their fault, the common wisdom goes. Ah, but what are the alternatives? In the case of Wikipedia, it’s “why don’t you just leave”.
The whole thing may have been started by Robin Norwood’s 1985 book, Women Who Love Too Much, which was number one on the New York Times Best Seller list in 1987. The answer was to DTMFA.
Or maybe it was Connell Cowan, who boldly mansplained in his 1986 book Smart women, foolish choices how this was all the woman’s fault. Again, DTMFA.
By the time Leslie Morgan Steiner wrote Crazy Love in 2009, nothing had changed. Her phrase, “No one can treat you like this if you don’t let them. ” entered common currency. If you Google it, you get 153,000,000 Google hits.
This 2009 video uploaded to YouTube illustrates the kind of grass roots contempt publicly heaped onto women who “cause” their own abuse by not being powerful enough to stop it. By leaving. Starting at 1:01:
“You know what I can’t stand? I can’t stand a weak motherfucking woman. A weak ass motherfucking woman who allows herself to be subjected to abuse. Women like this I don’t fucking feel sorry for. I think you deserve to be smacked upside the motherfucking head. And I’m not just talking about physical abuse, I’m talking about verbal abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse.”
The social message is clear. Women must stand up for themselves, or they will get even more smelly garbage heaped on them.
No one disagrees that Wikipedia’s culture is toxic to women.
But the Arbitration Committee’s message is equally clear. The Arbcom is now in the midst of its 3rd or 4th case of the year dealing with abuse of women, and has refused to set any limitations whatsoever on the abusers. Women who object to abuse are “disruptive”. If they don’t want to be abused, why don’t they just leave. If these women have not had the foresight to DTMFA, the Arbcom loses no time in publicly humiliating them before showing them the door.
The message has been received. The cycle of abuse is now escalating, as abuse cycles always do, and women who dare to edit Wikipedia are now being blatantly subjected to crude emails, and even cruder pornographic photographs circulated about them. Is there any doubt that once again, the victims will be blamed? After all, they do have a choice about editing Wikipedia. Why don’t they just DTMFA?
And the men who abuse them? Crickets.