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We decided to end the "bitch" vote ahead of schedule. Here's why.

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Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:19 PM
Original message
We decided to end the "bitch" vote ahead of schedule. Here's why.
I think it's pretty clear to everyone which direction the poll was going, and we started to think that perhaps it wasn't such a great idea to leave it pinned to the top of the forum any longer. We believe that doing so would only send the message that we are not sensitive to the concerns of some of our members. And that's not the message we want to send now, or ever.

You can see the final result by checking the poll itself. For those who are interested, we did run a breakdown by gender, using the self-declared gender listed on members' DU profiles. Keep in mind that these stats are not perfect, because this is an Internet poll, and also because people are not required to honestly declare their gender. The difference between men and women was significant, and does raise questions about the appropriateness of this word. But it is also worth noting that both men and women were in favor of permitting the word:

Women: Yes Forbid 26%, No Permit 70%, Don't Know 2%
Men: Yes Forbid 13%, No Permit 82%, Don't Know 4%
Undeclared: Yes Forbid 11%, No Permit 83%, Don't Know 6%

This is not the last word on this issue. We wanted to run a poll in order to get a better sense of how members feel about it. But this was not a referrendum, and we're not required to abide by the wishes of the majority. We are unlikely to institute an outright ban of the word "bitch" but we are going to give much greater thought to the appropriateness of this word, and we hope all of our members will do so, too.

I believe that these discussions have raised awareness about this issue, much more than banning of a single word ever would. I suspect that many people who cast their vote in favor of permitting the term will voluntarily refrain from using the term themselves. They may not have ever considered the issue before, and are now better informed and more sensitive. If so, that's a good thing.

No doubt there are also some people who will see this as a green light to start posting the term "bitch" all over the message board. In fact, some have already tried it (including two trolls who have since been banned). I strongly advise against engaging in such anti-social behavior, or you might find yourself in the same situation as those two trolls.

On a related note, I think that it is a mistake for any of us to focus too much on one word. DU would be better served if we thought about broader issues of what makes people feel welcome and unwelcome, rather than just talking about the word "bitch." The administrators are discussing ways that we can facilitate this dialogue, and we hope that our members will think about it too.

That's all I have to say on this issue right now. But I think we'll almost certainly have more to say at a later date.
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KissMyAsscroft Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. Its pretty simple folks...


Just try not to use it, if one slips by than oh well...

Bitch-Slap obviously upsets some people so just get creative and use a different word..

No need for votes....just a little common sense. We arent children. At least not all of us...Im pretty childish ;)
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matcom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:22 PM
Response to Original message
2. so, is it allowed for now?
my feeling is that tomorrow we will see a LOT of "Condi is a bitch" or "Condi is a lying bitch" threads.

confusion abounds :shrug:
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trumad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Next we go after smokers....
;-)
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matcom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. COOL!
"bitchin' " even :P
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I don't think exceptions should be made for right-wing women
no matter how reprehensible they may be. Should exceptions be made for horrible gay politicians in which we call them "faggots?"
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
freetobegay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #12
24. You could have went all day
without that comment!

But I see you chose not to. SOme people really need to look in a mirror.
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. Why should we defend the usage of sexist slurs when homophobic
and racist slurs are banned here?
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freetobegay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. The mirror will reveal all.
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 05:34 PM by freetobegay
Hate is not a family value.

Have a nice day.

On edit: spelling
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #31
35. I don't hate....
:eyes: did you know I'm queer?
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freetobegay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. Doesn't matter
Your reference is inexcusable. :eyes:
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. heh....
*shakes head*

I've been called a....

Feminazi
Racist
Bigot
Whore
Cunt
Dyke
Bitch

all in here...
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drfemoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #38
53. would you like ribbons?
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 05:50 PM by drfemoe
Maybe little statue trophies? :shrug: ..
We could start giving purple hearts for those who are injured during DU combat. Here you go ..



**This is not meant to offend any US Service members or veterans**
(or Slinkerwink) (or DU)
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Kanary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #9
19. Yeah, and in my case, it would be ignored...
just like everything else.

Swallow it and smile and get in line.

Pah.

Kanary
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Wonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
13. How about "Condi lied! She said X and the truth is Y"
That'd make for much better subject lines for threads like that, imho. Clearer, too.
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. exactly----attack her behavior, not her gender!
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Emboldened Chimp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. Would you call Bush a dick?
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. I'd call him an asshole or a dumbass
or even better "whistleass"
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #25
42. I also refuse to use any gender-specific slurs in here
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Emboldened Chimp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #25
44. Do you object to others calling him a dick?
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 05:44 PM by manco
Do you find the word 'dick' in reference to men as offensive as 'bitch' is to women?
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. read post #42
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Kanary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #13
26. But, but, but... Wonk....
that doesn't give the poster the same sense of superiority, y'know...

It's that power thang.

A nice message to the rest of us females to stay in line.... or........

Kanary
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. it's about power, and that's precisely what happens in using
the word "bitch" against another woman or man, because it's all about putting down the female gender.
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rumguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #13
29. John Stewart used the word "bitch-slapped" recently
Oh no, he's a bigot!

What an f'n joke this whole debate has become.
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fishnfla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #29
41. I agree
Umpteen threads, a poll, now this thread. I saw that stupid word more times in the past 2 days, in threads that you could not hide, than I had in an entire year. Judging by this thread, basically they were flame wars. Very poor judgement, IMO
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Emboldened Chimp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #41
47. The more you use the word, the less power it has
until finally it means nothing.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. That's nice, but this is not some minor majority....
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 05:23 PM by Selwynn
"This is not the last word on this issue. We wanted to run a poll in order to get a better sense of how members feel about it. But this was not a referrendum, and we're not required to abide by the wishes of the majority. We are unlikely to institute an outright ban of the word "bitch" but we are going to give much greater thought to the appropriateness of this word, and we hope all of our members will do so, too."

...the HUGE OVERWHELMING majority of people don't think words should be banned, at least not in this context.

That really ought to count for something.
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. then we should've ignored the minority of women who wanted
the right to vote, we should've ignored the African-Americans as a minority who wanted civil rights, and so on...
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matcom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. yeah, they are BOTH as equally important
:eyes:

don't bother responding. you have started enough flame wars lately :eyes:

i will not respond to #973
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. sexism is as important as racism, bigotry, and homophobia
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mouse7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #10
18. Sexism would be a form of bigotry, actually. n/t
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #18
30. racism, homophobia, is also a part of bigotry, but they stand on
their own as classes of discrimination, as does sexism in its own class of discrimination.
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rumguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. that's funny
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. red-herring
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. still valid
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. A logical fallacy, by definition, is not valid.
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Emboldened Chimp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. Oh come on...
Don't you think your comparison is a bit hyperbolic? Really, you think this situation equates to the Civil Rights movement? I understand you have strong feelings on the subject, but please, be real.
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
32. it's still a reference to minorities changing things for the better
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July Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
21. What is the right that is analogous in this case?
I don't think your comparison holds.
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #21
33. the right not to face sexist slurs in here
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #33
43. Look slinkerwink, look though my post history, I'm pretty feminist...
...in my persuasion and belief. The problem here is that while I believe in the philosophical soundness of most of feminist theory, and I believe in the legitimacy of feminist social activism, the fight against sexism the pursuit of equality, etc. - I also happen to have strong reservations about blanket censorship.

Sometimes censorship is unavoidable. It's a good thing that the law forbids us from running into a crowded theater and yelling Fire! when there isn't one. But a blanket rule that bans a word is not something feel comfortable with.

Instead, I think context should be judged. Personal attacks against other DU members, no matter what word is used should be subject to alert and probably action by mods. Person's posting excessively offensive stuff should be altered, and a decision made by the mods.

The place where we disagree, is I don't want an absolute rule, instead I want contextual interpretation by the mods of the alerts they receive. The "wrongness" of the word bitch completely depends on the context in which it is used, and that should be taken into account here.

That said, I can't remember the last time I've used the word apart from the context of bitch-ing, i.e. complaining. As far as I'm concerned, I have no problem saying something like Ann Coulter is such a dick, instead of something else that hurts a lot of people.

I'm not insensitive to people who are offended by callous and crude terminology. I would like to be as accommodating as possible. Do I think there should be an absolute, blanket word ban? No I don't.

Context is everything.
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #43
48. I don't want a blanket ban on the word "bitch" either
It being used as an adjective or a verb is fine with me, but I am against the use of it as a sexist slur against a woman or a man, and also against the word "bitchslap."
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #48
51. I understand that. I understand that is your position.
I still have strong reservations about a ban. But its not because I am insensitive to the huge and pervasive problem of sexism and misogyny. It's just that I'm stuck trying to juggle countering sexism with censorship. Both issues are very important to me.
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #51
52. if you don't want censorship, then racist and homophobic slurs
should be allowed here. We should be enforcing the rule in the DU Message board rules about not allowing sexism in here.
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bain_sidhe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
23. "Eskimos have 400 words for 'snow'"
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 05:41 PM by bain_sidhe
You locked the other thread while I was typing! And since everybody else in the DUniverse has had their say, I'm gonna have mine too...

"Eskimos have 400 words for 'snow'"

This is NOT a non-sequitur! And, never mind that the exact number has been debunked, or that "Eskimo" is a catch-all term for several Peoples living near the arctic circle, the general idea remains valid: That societies have many ways to talk about things that are important to them, while they don't have many ways to talk about things that aren't relevant. I'm sure Arctic tribes DO have many more words for snow than those who live in tropical areas, and likewise, I'm sure that Polynesians probably have many more words for "sea" or "ocean" than people who live in land-locked areas.

It's this idea that (to me) is so very telling about the fact that so many people are fighting tooth and claw to retain the right to use this female-identified insult.

What I find interesting about this whole debate is not so much whether "bitch" should or should not be banned, but that there are SO MANY insults in our culture that are insulting BECAUSE OF their identification with the female gender, and there are no comparably insulting words that depend *for the insult* on identification with the male gender. Bitch, cunt, slut - I'm sure we can all think of several that depend *for the actual insult* on the female-identification. But what insults depend SOLEY on identification with the male gender for the "insult"?

"Bastard"? Well, aside from the fact that it's not gender-specific - a girl born out of wedlock is as properly termed a bastard as a boy - isn't the actual insult based on the circumstances of the woman (i.e., unmarried) who bore the child?

"Son of a Bitch"? Well, obviously, that insult again depends on the woman who bore the man.

"Prick"? Well, it's generally an advantage to have one of those in our culture, at least where access to pay and authority are concerned. (Not to mention the fact that most guys I know are actually quite fond of theirs.) The "insult" does not *depend* - for it's very insultingness - on its identification with the male gender.

Maybe somebody can come up with some male-identified insults that depend on their association with maleness *for the actual insult*, but I can't think of any.

**edited for spelling and clarity**
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #23
34. excellent point!
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bain_sidhe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #34
55. Even though I'm not really favoring banning it
Simply becase the same kind of "test" - an insult that depends on gender identification *for the insult* - can be applied to almost any word identifying a female.

"Oh, don't be such a girl"

"You throw like a girl"

"You fight like a girl"

I grew up hearing my very gender being presented as the most vile thing you could ever call a person. And as an adult, well, whether a drill sargeant calls the recruits (or football coaches call their players) "ladies," "bitches" or "a bunch of girls" or "women" - the message is the same. GOD FORBID anybody should be a ::shudder:: female.
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
36. I completely appreciate the manner in which you handled this including all
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 05:38 PM by nothingshocksmeanymo
9 threads.

I found it to be a most interesting experiment, including observing people getting uncomfortable after a few threads with even being asked about it.

DU has a feature wherein one can HIDE a thread but it was an ISSUE to leave it open for discussion. Ya gotta wonder what THAT'S all about.

I'd never favor banning a word as banning a word makes the underlying issue get swept under the carpet rather than acknowledged.

Language fascinates me...this war was SPOKEN into existance long before a bomb dropped, but it was as REAL as a bomb dropping from the moment it was spoken into existance and everyone that attended the protests and watched the news and observed the patterns knew it.

That's what we do with language. We speak things into existance..good bad and indifferent.


The manner in which the war was spoken into existance was very much like the manner those advocating AGAINST USE of the word (not banning) were shouted down and dismissed.

Again, while I WOULD NOT ban the word..the MOB mentality defending it's USAGE was a sight to see.

At any rate, we should all say what we damn well please, but live with the consequences of how we will be viewed hereafter.
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The Blue Knight Donating Member (555 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #36
39. I'm still waiting for Slink to prove where someone called her a "Feminazi"
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. it was said by another poster, and I alerted on that post and it
was deleted.
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #39
46. Did you read a word I said? What's that got to do with MY post?
I don't know whether anyone called her that but I DO know the term HAS been thrown at women on this board.

At any rate..I post about a process and LANGUAGE and you respond with a complete non-sequitur. We're all mature adults indeed (maybe)
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curse10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
49. Sweet
Thanks for your patience in all those threads and allowing the discussion to happen. I learned a lot, not only about the word, but about some people on the board. It was eye opening in many respects.
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #49
50. I'd say it also was eye-opening about some people on the board here
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Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
54. I don't think this is helping.
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 06:01 PM by Skinner
I tried very hard to strike a conciliatory tone, and be sensitive to the concerns of everyone involved. I thought (foolishly) that after two days of arguments on this issue, some people might appreciate the opportunity to express a little bit of sensitivity toward other members here. I got rid of the poll, and I posted this thread in an effort to facilitate a little healing.

But this thread looks exactly the same as all the other threads on this topic. It's pointless. The battle lines are drawn, the heels have been dug in, the minds are closed.

No more discussion of this topic today. Sorry.

I'm locking.

EDITED: To change very frustrated subject line.
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