Fae approves “cunt”

Fae is one of the most powerful – and divisive – insiders the Wikimedia movement has ever seen.  And one of the biggest bullies.

Back in 2012 got into some controversy and the Signpost detailed it all —  his resignation from the UK chapter under a cloud, his sudden re-emergence as he kicked himself upstairs as chair of the Wikimedia Chapters Association, and the subsequent arbcom case, Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Fæ. The case involved bondage nudes of himself he uploaded to Commons, the  badgering of volunteers on Jimbotalk, legal threats, and multiple sockpuppets which he refused to disclose. The arbcom case only lists a few socks, but if you dig deep enough into the Wikimedia blog, and other dark corners, you will find he eventually gave up over 200 sockpuppets, which probably makes him a more prolific puppeteer than even Kumioko.  Who knows how many more he didn’t give up.

And he was powerful enough, even then, to be able to get his arbcom case courtesy blanked. You can still read it here though.  And from what I can tell, it looks like he is still topic banned from “BLPs relating to sexuality” and “images relating to sexuality”.  But that is only on English Wikipedia.  He is still throwing his weight around elsewhere, mansplaining, disrupting, and dictating to women about what it means to be female and how to run their groups.  And it seems he has been given secret permission to form a private LGBT Telegram group, but who gave the permission and where the discussion took place is still unknown. But it looks like the group does not lack for lemmings, or bullies.

A case in point: the proposed Women in Red user group, now dead in the water.

Women in Red has morphed several times.  It started out at Wikimania in Mexico City as Project XX, but that was quickly renamed as a courtesy to trans women, as it implied two X chromosomes. It was first proposed by Victuallers, of Gibraltergate paid editing scandal fame, but it was quickly realized that a woman’s group run by men was not a good look. Rosiestep came forward as the female partner, and seems to have enjoyed a lot of support from somewhere with bots, stats, Wikipedian-of-the year designation, and so forth. She remains the public face of the group, but who really runs it is anybody’s guess. But nobody can dispute that WiR has gotten a huge number of biographies of women into WikiData, and from there into the google algorithms, which is the true purpose of Wikipedia.

Rosiestep’s angle in this is also anyone’s guess but there might be a clue here, in the pub crawl comment:

It is generally known that each project gets to designate a member to the Summit in Germany, which has a reputation for beer, not to mention the free plane ticket and luxury hotel. This year the projects are only allowed one instead of two members (or member + guest), which always turns out to be the (male) president of the organization plus one other, but because of the ongoing consultation, maybe it was thought the women needed a representative. So maybe Fae wanted that beer slot for one of his own Telegram people, or maybe he just wanted to wreck it for the women. Or maybe, with the increasing problems with corruption on enwiki, the power center is shifting once again back to the affiliates and Fae wants to seize power before that happens and have the groups stacked with even more LGTB than there are already. Consider this change in the bylaws, from the group’s talk page. But whatever the reason, Fae appeared on the talk page of the fledgling group and strong-armed them into a name change from Women in Red to Gender Diversity Visibility Community User Group, or GDVCUG for short. (See @WikiWomenInRed is DOWN)

Imagine if the powerful MilHist group, which has traditionally been a stepping stone to the arbitration committee and similar hat-collecting, was forced to change their name to “Military history and homosexuality”, or if Opera was forced to become “Opera and transgender diversity”.  WiR barely survives and does so only by knowing whose ass to kiss. But no one dares go against Fae, so one by one, the volunteers who started out with such enthusiasm, and have been frequent participants in intersectionality editing events, and enthusiastically participated in events for getting LGBT articles up to speed, have one by one discovered they have other commitments in real life that conflict with their participation in this new group.

And what did WiR get in return?  Maybe the LGBT members have turned out to be valuable allies, and that having experienced discrimination themselves will offer some support and understanding?

Not.

Here is Fae’s “cunt” re-tweet, that I promised you in the title.

Fae thinks this is funny and re-tweets it for his subscribers.

Is there anyone on Wikipedia by now who does not understand how this is misogyny? How it feeds into creating an environment that allows women to be subjected to a whole spectrum of abuse? How it is used in sexual assault, and in particular to remind women that they can be forcibly impregnated at any moment, and the chilling effect this has on women’s participation?

Does Fae care? No. He thinks it’s funny and thinks it’s worth retweeting just to insult some politician and amuse his followers. Fae is secure in his British male privilege, his arrogance, his sense of entitlement, and uses the occasion to punch down. A politician has made some statement he didn’t like, but instead of addressing the issue directly, he finds a less powerful group to turn around and stomp on.

Does Fae get it? Does he understand how disrespect works? Oh yeah.

And Fae has no problem passing on the signal to other bullies, to encourage distaste, dehumanization, and hatred of their target: women.

In fact, Fae seems to specialize in creating an abusive environment for women. Here’s another one he retweeted.  This is just what Wikipedia needs, a bunch of dudes who are already watching porn to come over and join some Wikipedia editing events in person. That should make the women feel safe.

And this, a bit ironic, it should probably be added to the potty mouth list, but do you count re-tweets of gratuitous f-bombs? Hm, he looks kinda underage…

fae-retweets-f-bomb disguised
Screenshot includes Photo by Jonatan Svensson Glad, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

[Note: it has come to my attention that this screenshot incorporates a photo Fae retweeted of Jonatan Svensson Glad, who is on Twitter, also Wikipedia user:Josve05a, an admin on Commons.  I have added a second attribution of the type Wikimedia blog uses for his photos, and have also altered the photo slightly to emphasize that the purpose of the screenshot is not to be an exact representation of the photo in the screenshot but rather criticism and comment.  In particular, it is one of several examples of the type of smut Fae adds to his Twitter feed at the same time he is bewailing Wikipedia’s toxic environment elsewhere.]

Here’s another one, calling a woman a vulgar term for prostitute.


Except it’s not a woman, it’s a female impersonator, Brian Firkus, whose stage name is Trixie Mattel, and who not surprisingly seems to have a much more polished article on Wikipedia than any of the women jazz musicians I listed a few days ago for black history month.

Imagine now someone in blackface, who thinks racial epithets are funny. Is this really okay, that you can all someone bigoted names, and it’s all just pretend bigotry if they are not really a member of the minority they are dressed up as.

These were dressed up for musical performances, which is no longer acceptable because it is thought to perpetuate harmful stereotypes, but what if they had used their costuming to perpetuate hate speech?

For women, navigating a world in which most men are taller and larger than they are, domestic violence and sexual assault are real, genuine possibilities, and very frighting. One in four women has been assaulted.

Most of us know someone or have witnessed a situation where someone was getting hurt, and we had to evaluate it, and if and when it was safe to intervene.

Or we constantly have to evaluate our surroundings as we move from place to place, use public transportation, or just walk on the sidewalk.  Is that guy behind you following you and should you cross the street to see if he does the same? Or maybe you should not go straight home, so he doesn’t see where you live. It’s a daily dance, and women learn it from the age of 11, constantly scanning the environment for safety, staying aware of your surroundings and not getting lost in thought. It is basic survival.  It sucks your time and your energy.  But to someone like Fae, bondage and physical abuse is just another form of entertainment, and is even sexually arousing. Hurting and killing women is just a big fat joke.

Oh Fae gets it all right.  He just doesn’t care.

Baroness Jenkin drops the c-bomb in the House of Lords

So what do British women say about the c-word?

Baroness Anne Jenkin calls it “abuse”.

Jenkin is the first person to utter the “c-word” in the House of Lords.

It is hard enough to get women to stand for public office, and all barriers need to be addressed. If they are not we will be left with a political culture that does not reflect the society it should represent, with serious implications for our democracy.

Let me give your Lordships a real example—one of many. During the election campaign in June, the Ealing Central and Acton Conservative candidate was met daily outside her home by a large group of Momentum and Labour activists yelling at her, and I quote—and please, my Lords, forgive the unparliamentary language and block your ears if you are sensitive or easily offended—“Fucking Tory cunt”. This young woman has a young child. How can this be acceptable? How does this not deter other mothers from stepping up?

…This abusive behaviour is fuelled by the anonymity which social media platforms provide. This is just one example of many where, during an attempt to take part in the democratic process, a candidate was subject to abuse, intimidation, libel and slander.

The full text of the speech is here.

The first person to use the word in the House of Commons was MP Mhairi Black.

Misogyny is absolutely everywhere in our society, to the point that we often miss it because it has been so normalised by being continually unchallenged.

Some folk will be uncomfortable with the graphic language that I am about to use, but I am not going to dilute the reality of such an important issue.

There are those on the Other Site who claim I live in a “dream world”.

What happens to someone when their step-father kills their mother? Does this sort of thing become normalized, internalized? And what went on before that? Surely something like this does not just happen out of the blue, as an isolated event. Do people really think this is really how men are supposed to treat women?

I say this is a nightmare world. For everyone. It is beyond me why anyone would make a conscious choice to live in it, much less impose it on others.

“It’s British”..or is it? …the first MP to use the c-word in Parliament

Boyz will be boyz, right? And the c-word is British, right? Nudge nudge, wink wink.

Over and over you hear these excuses for normalizing hate speech directed at women. Usually it is some clueless American just repeating what they have been told by some British troll who already knows they have crossed a boundary and wants to keep getting away with it.

Caroline Sinders (WMF): “a term of endearment in the UK.”

Cue Caroline Sinders, the WMF’s new Wunderkind for detecting harassment, who snickers like a 12-year-old as she displays the word in a powerpoint, starting at about 7:26.

“This is one of my favorite words, because it’s an insult in America and it’s a term of endearment in the UK.”

Really?  Or did the WMF’s latest and greatest harassment expert just get pwned.

Mhairi Black: “I don’t think that’s normal.”

Meanwhile, back in Merry Olde England, Mhairi Black is the first MP to actually utter this word in the British Parliament, in what was termed “a powerfully emotional, no-holds-barred speech hitting out at the disgustingly vitriolic, daily abuse that she receives”

Black spoke at an International Women’s Day debate at Westminster Hall on whether misogyny should be classed as a hate crime. Video now with over 330,000 views.

Misogyny is absolutely everywhere in our society, to the point that we often miss it because it has been so normalised by being continually unchallenged.

Some folk will be uncomfortable with the graphic language that I am about to use, but I am not going to dilute the reality of such an important issue. I am used to online abuse in particular. I am regularly called a wee boy, and told that I wear my dad’s suits and stuff. Me and my pals actually laugh about it. That is how I cope with it.

We find the best insults, and that is how we have a laugh, but I struggle to see any joke in systematically being called a dyke, a rug muncher, a slut, a whore and a scruffy bint. I have been told, ‘You can’t put lipstick on a pig,’ and, ‘Let the dirty bitch eat shit and die’.

I could soften some of this by talking about the ‘C-word’, but the reality is that there is no softening when I am targeted by these words: I am left reading them on my screen day in, day out.Someone said: ‘She needs a kick in the cunt’. I have been called ‘guttural cunt’, ‘ugly cunt’ and ‘wee animal cunt’. There is no softening just how sexualised and misogynistic the abuse is.

Some guy called William Hannah – I have never heard of him in my life – commented: ‘I’ve pumped some ugly burds in my time but I just wouldn’t’.

I have been assured multiple times that I do not have to worry because I am so ugly that no one would want to rape me.

All those insults were tailored to me because I am a woman. We can kid ourselves that those are comments by a few bad, anonymous people on Twitter, but they are not: this is everyday language.

I am aware that everyone here was uncomfortable hearing those insults – I felt uncomfortable reading them out—yet there are people who feel comfortable flinging those words around every day. When that language goes unchallenged, it becomes normalised, and that creates an environment that allows women to be subjected to a whole spectrum of abuse.

 

So, “strong language”, “could soften some of this by talking about the ‘C-word’”, “insults tailored to me because I am a woman”, “a whole spectrum of abuse”, “sexualised and misogynistic”, “I struggle to see any joke”, “uncomfortable with the graphic language”,… Nope, doesn’t sound like a case of “it’s British” to me. British women are genuinely distressed by this. They say it leads to violence, assaults. And they are intimated by it to the point where it constantly goes unchallenged.

For Mhairi Black this is not an abstract debate, it is personal.

The women in my life that I know and love have been beaten, raped, assaulted, called sluts, whores, and groped throughout their entire lives, and have been led to believe that this is normal and that it’s just a given, and that it’s something that just happens.

And just that same week, she herself was pressed up against in the cloakroom by some creep who is a member of parliament, and who everyone knows about. Imagine that, a sexual predator in the British Parliament and everyone looks the other way.

But wait, she’s Scottish. Is that the same as British?

It’s so, so hard to give up this “it’s British” narrative after being bombarded with so many blind repetitions.

So what about the British press?  What did they print?

  • The Guardian had a demure op-ed by Kevin McKenna, a dude who covers Scotland, and who referred to the language as “primitive attacks carrying a degree of malevolence and violent intent that chilled you”
  • The Independent embedded the video and printed “I struggle to see any joke in being systematically called a dyke, a rug muncher, a slut, a whore, a scruffy bint. I’ve been told you can’t put lipstick on a pig, let the dirty bitch each shit and die.”  But when it came to the c-word, they used asterisks: “… when you’re targeted with these words and you’re left reading them on my screen every day, day in, day out – she needs to kick the c***, guttural c***, ugly c***, wee animal c*** – there is no softening just how sexualised and misogynistic the abuse is.”
  • Although it did embed the video, the BBC did not specify the language at all, only saying she “read out some of the worst insults aimed at her”, instead headlining that “she was ‘physically pressed up’ against a colleague accused of sexual misconduct in the House of Commons voting lobby”.
  • Even the Daily Mail, England’s version of The National Enquirer, would only print “c-word”, along with some hostile editorializing comments about women:  “Scottish Nationalist MP Mhairi Black used the C-word five times to illustrate exactly the kind of abuse she gets online and in the post.  Recently, Diane Abbott did the same thing, although she was a little more polite than Mhairi — but who isn’t?”

So no, it’s not “British”, except in the sense of being a primitive and violent attack used by the British equivalent of trailer trash.

Caroline Sinders on machine learning and the c-bomb

“I actually have a really funny example. This is one of my favorite words.”

This is a reference to the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scunthorpe_problem which is easily solved by including one or more spaces in the search term.

C Caroline Sinders WMF
“As a poorly, poorly behaved American I love this word so much.”

So who is she and what has she been up to, that this kind of thing has become normalized for her?  This is a bit Babel 17, no?

Sinders, as User:CSinders (WMF) and User:Cellarpaper, is one of the WMF’s latest new hires, specializing in internet harassment.   It seems she has been over on r/thedonald and has spent a bit of time on gamergate sites, researching some terms.   Not sure where the emotional trauma part of the talk is supposed to come in, but she does a bit better talking about machine learning and white supremacist sites.

Comments about “the c-word” start at about 7:26.

[Source]

The c-word and no true Texas gentleman

sid-miller-joins-trump-campaign
Texas politician and Trump supporter Sid Miller – all hat and no gentleman. This is not a stealth image or a dogwhistle attack from some opponent trying to make him look like he’s giving a fascist salute – this is pinned to the top of his Twitter feed.

Last Tuesday, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller posted a tweet that referred to Hillary Clinton as a “c—.” His excuse? His account was hacked, it was posted by a staff member, it was only a screenshot and it was only a retweet (it wasn’t), and besides which, the staff copied it from somewhere else, and besides which, it was deleted.

sid-miller-tweet

Says Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, “The language is reprehensible and is an embarrassment.  No true Texas gentleman would ever talk this way.”

Abbott may be a lot of things–he opposed gay marriage and he supported a monument of the Ten Commandments on the Texas state capital grounds–but even he balks at language that debases women.

Abbott became a paraplegic after being hit by an oak tree.  “Some politicians talk about having a steel spine. I actually have one,” he has said.  That he does.

(Oh my, Miller’s *sanitized* Twitter feed is something else.)

Update: Now that Miller is being considered for a cabinet post, more social media clues to his identity have been discovered.  In 2015 Miller posted a photo of an atomic mushroom cloud on Facebook and suggested bombing the Muslim world, again taking it down after blaming his staff.

Another update (11/16/2016): Looks like heads will roll. WaPo reports, “He later placed blame for the tweet on a “third-party vendor” who he said would be removed from his campaign staff.”

Wikipedia’s annual cunt hunt

Once a year, Wikipedia’ arbitration committee invites the frat boyz of Wikipedia to think of new excuses to hurl degrading language at women. This year it’s the “Block of Eric Corbett” case, renamed “Use of external websites block/unblock of Eric Corbett”, renamed “Vested contributors”, renamed “Arbitration enforcement 2“. I think they have a winner in that last selection. It’s unlikely to attract more media attention than the case is going to get anyway, although I would dearly love to see them define a “vested contributor”, and spell out exactly how many edits–and on whose talk page–I would need in order to, say, drop the n-bomb, or indulge in a little climate change denial.

bearsThe case itself is not about the c-bomb, it is about Corbett’s constant whining about the gender gap, something like the gender equivalent of holocaust denial. But it will be interpreted as an explicit invitation to discuss, yet again, the “cultural” meaning of the c-word, the meaning of the meaning, and the meaning of the meaning of the meaning. And to deny that the word “cunt” has anything whatsoever to do with the female reproductive system, or is being used–intentionally– to drive women off Wikipedia.

So how are the frat boyz doing so far?

NakedManAtComputerEven more disturbing is the discussion on Jimbo’s talk page where the lone woman arbitrator is goaded into posting a true confession listing all the ways in which she has been humiliated as a woman as a result of participating in Wikipedia. There are any number of people who want to see women who participate in public discussion be given a comeuppance. I’ll bet the people who provoked that one are lapping it up with a spoon. This sets a horrible precedent, that any woman participating in Wikipedia must now list her personal humiliations if she wants to assert that the gender gap really exists.

One of the more unexpected and disappointing statements was that made by New York Brad, who does not find anything inflammatory about claiming Wikipedia doesn’t have a gender problem. Would he find someone who continually whined about Jews or homophobia to be equally non-inflammatory? I don’t think we need anyone to tell us that those kinds of statements would be immediately suppressed. In case NYB needs some help figuring this out, these dismissive statements about gender are horribly divisive, and have split the Wikipedia community, as well as caused continuing negative publicity for the WMF. What part of “sexist bullshit” does Ira not understand? Ah, but who is Ira to listen to mere women, when he can figure it out all by himself, and mansplain it to the rest of us.

Gentlemen, start your zippers.