Deadspin Misogyny: A Response

This was quite the thread on Deadspin last week.  I’d like to respond.  This post, however, does not speak for all Ladies… , it only speaks for me.

All in!

All in!

This weekend I went over to play no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em at a casino.  I was the only female in the poker room and sat down at a full table, so there were 9 men and myself.  Over the hours I played, the guys were teasing me mercilessly.  One guy was teasing me about my Cardinals shirt (he’s a Cubs fan) and made many comments about how I don’t really know about sports.  One guy kept teasing me about being good at poker “for a girl.”  A couple guys kept teasing me in a fairly suggestive manner, like when I’d get up to get more Diet Coke they’d tell me I had a hole in the back of my jeans, but that they didn’t mind watching me walk away.  Things like that.

Late in the night, a guy sitting next to me went all in.  I don’t remember the hands we had, but I called him.  It was getting late, he didn’t have a lot of chips and I had a decent hand.  We flipped over and he had me beat and then I rivered him.  As he got up, he muttered, “Fucking stupid bitch.”  I turned to say something to him, but I was practically stampeded by the other men at the table coming over to give him the business.  They were yelling, one of them even grabbed him by his shirt and shoved him away.  They demanded that he apologize to me and then they kicked him out of the poker room and told him not to come back for awhile.  Now, the casino guys would’ve done that anyway because you aren’t allowed to behave that way at the tables.  But the point is that the guys who had been making remarks all night, most of the remarks sexual or “misogynistic” in nature (I use quotes because I didn’t find them as such, but some girl might), were out of their chairs like rockets to defend me.  They were protective and offended that someone would treat me that way.

This is not a perfect analogy, I know.  But the comments and teasing make me feel included.  They let me know I’m part of the club.  I’ve also seen the way the guys are with a couple other regular female players.  They don’t treat them the way they treat me and it’s easy to tell that it’s because they don’t really like them.

I realize this is different than making comments about a woman’s picture who isn’t sitting at the poker table with you.  But it illustrates the way I regard 95% of the commenters on Deadspin.  They make racist or sexist or homophobic jokes because they are trying to be funny.  Whether they are or not is a different article.  It’s not that those types of comments can’t be funny, it’s just that the bar is set higher when it’s something off-color.  However, I don’t think for one second that the majority of men who make these jokes are racist or sexist or homophobic.  I am probably second only to Will Leitch in terms of meeting Deadspinners in real life (seriously.  I spent most of last summer traveling around to various gatherings.) and they are wonderful people.  Funny, intelligent, and extraordinarily kind.  I don’t view the tone of their comments the way some poeple do.  The ones where you can tell there is something more insidious behind the comments are the ones that Rob Iracane swiftly bans.  The rest of them are good guys.

61 thoughts on “Deadspin Misogyny: A Response

  1. I think that the entirety of your interaction with the men–from the inappropriate sexual comments to the assumptions about your intellect to, yes, the defense they mounted against the man who openly insulted you–all serves the same purpose: to do what’s called ‘othering’ you, to continually point out your presence among them as Not One of Them.

    The vociferous-defense behavior can also be just another way of establishing their (male) authority in the situation, as the ones who need to speak (up) for you. The theory is that it’s based on the unspoken belief that only a male can handle another male in that situation. (Not the same as, but along the same continuum as, the man who goes after another man for sleeping with his wife – as if she’s got no more agency in the situation than a car that someone else stole from him.)

    Also, if they’re willing to make negative comments about other women when they’re not there, what makes you think they talk about you any differently when you’re not around? No, really. How do you know for sure? Could it also be that they treat you better than the other women (when you’re there, at least) because you’re more inclined to go along with their behavior?

    It might have made you feel like ‘one of them’ but imo, you were not. Were you really considered their equal counterpart, again, imo, they would have treated you no differently from the way they’d treat another man – as someone who can defend himself, someone who does not need his body commented on, as someone who doesn’t, and shouldn’t have to, put up with ‘jokes’ about him because of his gender. (Whether or not a person making a joke consciously intends to be racist/homophobic/sexist, or is a racist/ homophobe / sexist in general, doesn’t mean the joke itself isn’t. Nor does intent automatically make any comment / “joke” acceptable.)

    Really interesting post, hopefully will make for an interesting thread!

  2. Also, if they’re willing to make negative comments about other women when they’re not there, what makes you think they talk about you any differently when you’re not around?

    When did I say that? I said I’ve seen the way the guys are with the other regular female players and it’s easy to tell they don’t really like them. The way they are WITH them, at the tables.

    I also am friends with a couple of the dealers and they have confirmed my suspicious. The guys like me, they respect me and they think I’m cool, because they talk about me when I get up from the table. They’ve even remarked that they love it that they can tease me and that I give it right back to them.

  3. This is a really tough call, because I can see both LadyAndrea’s and Beth’s points. I’ve been teased good-naturedly about being a female sports fan, and I’ve been teased mean-spiritedly about it, and I know the difference. LadyAndrea obviously feels that her poker experience falls into the first category and who am I, as someone who wasn’t there, to say differently? Because I think the key, for me at least, in knowing the difference between the two is in the tone. I don’t automatically get offended by words because I judge based on how they act as much as what they say.

    And that’s where the Deadspin situation and LadyAndrea’s poker experience differ. LadyAndrea could tell the poker guys were being good-natured; likewise when she met Deadspin commenters in person, she could tell who was naughty and who was nice. But the rest of us, who can only read words on a screen and don’t have the short- or long-term memory to match every commenter’s screen name with a personality profile based on their previous commenting history, can only go by the words, not the tone. And the words are quite often sexist, misogynistic, offensive, and seemingly meant to be hurtful.

    I can well believe that most Deadspin commenters are nice guys in real life. But the anonymity of the Internet (not to mention the desire to impress the other boys) seems to unleash a level of vitriol from commenters on just about every site I’ve ever visited that is far above what that same person would say to someone else’s face. It would be nice if commenters didn’t think they should be rude, crude, and hateful, just because they can.

  4. Julia hit it on the head – they just want to impress other guys. So they think of the most ridiculous, offensive crap to write so that other guys will think their cool. It’s like a pissing contest. That seems to be why few women get ok’d for commenting there – most of the time, men and women don’t find the same things funny.

    Here’s the thing: misogyny is entrenched to the point where it’s totally subconscious for some guys. They honestly don’t recognize some things they do as such. All we can do is like the stuff we like, speak our minds regardless, and go wherever we want to go. It’s tough to ignore sometimes, but I think Andrea is right. Intent matters and it’s the tenor of the comments that’s important.

    To me, there has never been much point in treating men like the enemy.

  5. They make racist or sexist or homophobic jokes because they are trying to be funny. Whether they are or not is a different article.

    But the anonymity of the Internet (not to mention the desire to impress the other boys) seems to unleash a level of vitriol from commenters on just about every site I’ve ever visited that is far above what that same person would say to someone else’s face.

    I think these two comments from Andrea’s post and Julie, respectively go hand in hand. They are trying too hard to be over the top and funny. Most of time it isn’t even remotely funny. Also, I think the homophobia is more genuine than the racism and sexism.

    I’m a Deadspin commenter and I’m not offended by the guys, since I’m not easily offended in general. I do think that Deadspin has become less sophisticated (and less funny) since everything has been reduced to hot chicks and gay jokes.

  6. //Here’s the thing: misogyny is entrenched to the point where it’s totally subconscious for some guys. They honestly don’t recognize some things they do as such.//

    And the way to change this is to… ignore it?

    I agree that some of it is probably not malicious, or anything close to that. But even if, as you’re saying, they’re just too boneheaded to realize what they’re saying, that doesn’t mean they should get a free pass.

    I’m not gonna say anything about the poker situation, because I wasn’t there, I know exactly nothing about the usual tenor of a poker tournament, and I do understand that sometimes things can sound quite different in person. But I don’t think that can be equated to Deadspin (and its various spin-off sites and what-have-you). I suppose it’s nice to hear that some of the Deadspinners Andrea has met in real life turned out to be lovely folks– that’s very heartening. But if they’re such lovely folks, why on earth do some of them feel the need (freedom?) to turn into openly offensive wankers on the internet?

    Intent does matter, and sometimes you can suss that out in person. But on the internet, intent is words on a screen. If it looks immature and sexist, odds are good it’s actually immature and sexist.

  7. I would concur with your assessment of what Deadspin has become, Pam.

    I try not to assume the homophobia is somehow more genuine than the sexism or racism simply because the group of commenters are largely men who like that sports. I don’t like to pigeonhole them or make snap judgments based on the demographic. What I can say based on the real life meetings is that I don’t actually think the homophobia is more genuine.

  8. If people keep saying sexist/racist/homophobic stuff, I’m going to assume that that person is sexist/racist/homophobic.

  9. Andrea, I understand what you’re saying. But from my perspective, I’ve never met anyone from Deadspin in real life, so I really don’t know them, you know?

  10. Sam, it’s not just “some” of the Deadspinners. It’s all of them. Last summer, I got into a conversation with Will in Philly b/c we were at our 3rd DS gathering of the summer and we were marveling at the fact that that we keep expecting to meet That Guy. Somebody who is a total asshole or something. And everyone we keep meeting is really nice and funny and awesome. I’m not saying that everybody out there is a total prince or even that someone else might have had a different experience, but every single commenter I’ve met and talked to was cool.

    No, I totally understand Pam.

  11. “They make racist or sexist or homophobic jokes because they are trying to be funny.”

    The fact that they think racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes are funny pretty much tels me everything I need to know.

  12. Andrea, changing the ‘some’ to ‘all’ in my comment doesn’t really change the point of the comment (nor does it encompass everyone who comments on Deadspin, as they presumably don’t ALL show up for real-life meets).

    Maybe my standards are too high. There are many funny sites out there on the internet. Lots of them are about sports and somehow manage to be funny without resorting to sexist/homophobic/racist/etc commentary. That seems, at best, awfully lazy, and at worst it’s actually straight-up sexist/homophobic/racist/etc.

    I get that Deadspinners put a high value on humor, but come on, most of that stuff is at the least so overplayed that it’s not even funny anymore.

  13. //It might have made you feel like ‘one of them’ but imo, you were not. Were you really considered their equal counterpart, again, imo, they would have treated you no differently from the way they’d treat another man//

    Why does she have to be one of them? I think this is one of my biggest peeves, because women are not men. They do treat each other differently, and honestly I don’t think that that is a bad thing. I like being reminded that I’m not the same. I like that men know I’m a woman and recognize it. I think those guys sticking up for her was cool. Could Andrea have said her piece on her own, sure. But I like that the fact that that guy disrespecting her upset those guys so much. Sometimes you want to be stuck up for, by anyone. I don’t feel like for a man to fully respect and see a woman as his equal it means he has to treat her like he treats other men. Because sometimes, guys are total retards around other men. He can see her as his equal and treat her like what she is: a woman.

    And as for the Deadspin comments, I find some of them hilarious and others of them are just meh. But I think that’s the risk you run when you have that many people commenting on anything. There are only so many funny quips out there about Bill Simmons or Roger Clemens. They run out. Plus I think it has become what it has become, if you don’t like the comments, don’t read them.

  14. “Then Deadspin is not the place for you.”

    I decided long ago that Deadspin was not the place for me, precisely because of the posts. I recognized that they were attempts at being funny, but trying to be funny (and even succeeding) doesn’t change the character of what is being expressed. Just because someone’s intent is to be funny doesn’t mean that their statements aren’t also offensive.

    I agree that just about everything can be funny, given the right context. For example, I have a small group of friends to whom I occasionally make off-color comments. But these friends recognize that I make these comments to make fun of people who think that it is appropriate to say such things; the joke is on racists, misogynists, homophobes, etc. The problem for Deadspin is that there are thousands of readers who don’t know what commenters’ intentions are. The default assumption, therefore, is to take the comments at face value.

  15. Andie, you know I love you, and you know I agree with you on a great deal about this issue. But I don’t agree that, in this case, good-natured=okay. Context is important, but ultimately, there’s a point where good-natured ribbing crosses the line, and I think that the Deadspin commentariat – whom I expect more from, based on what you’ve told me and my own observations – edged over that quite a while ago.

    The way the men at your table treated you is a prime example of that, to me. The good-natured teasing, the “othering” that Beth spoke of, the leaping to your defense – that’s how men exclude and diminish women. They may have entirely good intentions, they may like you as a person to a great extent, but they treat you differently and tease you for no reason other than your gender. I don’t know your friends and I wasn’t there, but it seems that their every interaction with you was marked with “for a girl”. Andie, you’re pretty smart…for a girl. Andrea, you’re fun to hang out with…for a girl. Hey, you can’t mess with Andrea! She’s a girl! I’m not judging you for not judging them, but that kind of behavior bothers me. Yes, though they meant well, and yes, though this is entirely “normal” behavior for a lot of men, to me it’s Not Okay. They were treating you like a little girl, like a child that couldn’t take care of herself. And you are certainly not a child.

    A personal anecdote that I think is relevant to the Deadspin thing: in my circle of friends there are two guys, one gay and one straight. They’re friends with each other, but in any conversation involving the two of them, the straight friend will always find a way to make a gay joke about the gay friend. This was funny for a while, and the gay friend played along sometimes, but over time it became uncomfortable. It got to a point where the gay friend and I had to have a quiet word with him and ask him to stop, because some of the language he was using was hurtful and inappropriate. He was shocked – he honestly hadn’t known that he was being hurtful. But he still stopped, because the lack of bad intentions did not mean the jokes were acceptable.

    Again – and I don’t think I’m expressing myself very well – I don’t think it’s wrong that the guys at the tables didn’t bother you. It’s not really wrong of them, and it’s a great analogy to Deadspin. It’s just that I’m pretty sure they were teasing you, “like one of the guys”, and defending you so vociferously because you’re a good-looking female, and they’d bang you. That they can’t separate Andrea-the-person from Andrea-the-hot-girl (or just from Andrea-the-girl) is their problem, though, not mine – and not your problem unless it bothers you.

    (And something that occured to me regarding the DS commentors you’ve met – maybe the dickish ones don’t go to the Pants Parties? Maybe the cool ones are more likely to go in the first place, and “that guy” with the “no, no, no, dude, no, lesbian, no, butterface” is too busy with his super-model girlfriend and ten inch dick to bother.)

  16. The “for a girl” stuff would get old IF I didn’t know/feel that that was part of the teasing. A prime example was last night at the table when I was discussing Yadier Molina with a Cubs fan and he agreed that Yadi was a good catcher… defensively and I said, “He’s hitting over .300 this year and is one of the hardest guys to strike out in all of major league baseball.” and the man responded, “Wow. I didn’t know that. [pause] You know a lot about sports… for a girl.” and I gave him a look and he laughs and goes, “I thought you’d like that. You know a lot about sports. For anybody.” and I responded, “You’re damn right.” and we both laughed.

    It’s that kind of stuff. I honestly don’t find that the slightest bit offensive.

    As for defending me, I didn’t think that was treating me as a child. I think that was stepping in between me and a guy who clearly was about to lose his shit on me and let him know that it’s not okay to behave that way.

  17. Also, perhaps it really is all because they want to “bang” me. : )

    However, two of the other female regulars are young and good looking girls. They aren’t 72 year-old chain smokers who take a drag and you never see them exhale or something. And they don’t get treated the way I do. And maybe that’s how they prefer it, but you can tell that the guys don’t really enjoy playing with them.

    There’s also a female dealer who is not exactly a stunner and she gets teased the way I do, because she’ll play along and give as good as she gets. So I don’t know if it IS b/c they want to have sex with whatever girl they happen to be teasing.

  18. Regarding the teasing: I don’t think so poorly of the male gender to think they all automatically hit on every physically attractive girl they meet! Rather, they think you’re hot because you let them tease you, not just because they think you’re attractive. It’s like third grade, but with slightly more self-control on everyone’s part. Which is cute, I think. But other than that…different opinions, eh? ; )

  19. …not because they think you’re attractive.

    WHICH YOU ARE! I think, I don’t know since I’ve never met you

    …Please don’t make me sleep on the couch.

  20. There are different kinds of teasing all over the place, and I’m not going to judge the kind of teasing you got at the poker game. But teasing you feel comfortable with, among friends, is totally different than the kind of incredibly mean-spirited misogyny that goes on at Deadspin. There are a lot of sports blogs that don’t have this kind of commentariat, most of them, in fact, yet Deadspin allows this kind of thing. It’s not a boys-will-be-boys thing, it’s what Deadspin cultivates. Sports need not be as anti-woman as Deadspin lets it be.

    I don’t think this post goes very far to defending Deadspin because of the difference in context. Joking around with friends in a semi-private environment is very different from commenting on the internet.

  21. @Sam: I don’t think I said to ignore misogyny. What I meant was that we can only be responsible for our reaction. And the best way I’ve found to handle it is to first ascertain if the person really thinks that way or if they are just trying to get a rise out of women. I think, even though they’re typing, and you can’t necessisarily know the intent, most of those guys are just trying to stir up controversey. They’re probably the most whipped boyfriends in the world at home.

    Anyway – my point is that when you get shrill about it, men just ignore you and the cause is not advanced. In fact, freaking out at every perceived dig at women just reinforces the stereotype that we don’t have senses of humor.

  22. @Elle: I think sports will always be as misogynist as the commenting on Deadspin. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with thinking it’s a boys-will-be-boys thing, because boys will be boys when they are threatened in this exact way. When we know about sports, write about it, talk about it, we are busting into what had been their Boys Only club for a long time. It’s actually kind of sad that they get so defensive about it.

    And whenever I read a comment like that on Deadspin, I always know that the writer has some issue he’s trying to make up for (girls never wanted to date him, he lives with his mother still, he played sports in high school but wasn’t good enough to play in college or pros). It’s a function of their insecurities.

  23. I will preface this by saying that I grew up with mainly boys and have been “one of the guys” for as long as I can remember. I also majored in and currently work in a male dominated field. For the most part I don’t think that most guys are really as mysogenistic/perverted/racist etc. as they tend to come off. Honestly, whenever you get more than one or two guys together their collective IQ and social filters exponentially drop, but most of the stupid things they say are intended to be funny and/or shocking–yes completely a pissing contest, but not a full reflection of the guy’s personality or beliefs.

    Perhaps because of my experience, I’ve just adapted to the vulgarities, etc. and give it just as good as they do. There have been plenty of times when I’ve said stuff that made my husband and our male friends blush. At work it’s a similar situation. We all say some inappropriate things, but we all know that it’s just in good fun and not with any serious or hurtful intention. You wouldn’t believe all the ribbing I’ve took for playing college softball!

    That said, I also cannot be too judgemental about the objectification of women because I am just as guilty with respect to men. Seriously, there are times I watch the Weather Channel just to oggle Jim Cantorre. Not to mention all the athletes I’ve unabashedly lusted after all these years.

  24. @Kristin: if sports will always be that misogynist, why are the comments at Deadspin infinitely worse than any of the other sports blogs I read (LoHud Yankees, River Ave Blues, Fire Joe Morgan, Dan Shanoff)?

  25. @Elle: Because Deadspin is entertainment as well as sports. I know that Pete Abraham monitors his comments. He can’t afford to have anything offensive. But if you go to comment sections in the Post, the Daily News, even the Boston Globe, you see things that are pretty offensive. Letting the Deadspin commenters post what they want is the only way to make sure you can post what you want. You have the option of ignoring their stupidity.

  26. There are no comments at Fire Joe Morgan. There are also no comments at Dan Shanoff. That’s probably why their comments are not misogynistic.

  27. One of the reasons this is one of the few sports blogs that I visit often is that it tends to be devoid of…well…stupid people, both as posters and as commenters. You guys (read: gals) get it.

  28. I can’t speak as a woman, but as a gay dude — and a gay dude who hasn’t had much problem hanging with majority straight dudes — I can say that someone you know making off-color jokes to you is one thing. But someone you don’t know, whose motivations you don’t know, says something really offensive in the guise of a joke…I don’t know how you can NOT get defensive.

    And when that one someone becomes fifty someones? It’s why I don’t read the comments at Deadspin anymore. Several dozen gay jokes one after another whenever A-Rod’s mentioned in passing starts to look like open mic night at the marine barracks. And with Leitch — who I think was a good guy, a little “not that there’s anything wrong with that,” but well-intentioned — gone, I’ve been reading the posts less and less too. It’s a shame.

  29. //But the comments and teasing make me feel included. They let me know I’m part of the club.//

    Really? I mean, *really*? Because when guy sports fans treat me like a novelty because I’m a female who likes sports, that just pisses me off. I’d much rather they treat me with respect than insult my intelligence.

  30. Joe, you said what I should have said instead of rambling. I don’t think all the commentors are bad people, at all – I think they just need someone to say “Dude, not cool.”

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  32. I am another person who decided long ago that Deadspin wasn’t the place for me. I don’t know what that makes me in your eyes, or anyone else’s. Maybe it’s generational, but I know plenty of 20 somethings who think it’s plenty stupid/horrible/ridiculous too. I am loud, obnoxious, snarky, sarcastic, and can hold my own just about anywhere.

    I don’t choose to waste it on Deadspin.

    Deadspin commenting just confuses me. Why is this fun? I mean, it’s fun for 10 minutes, but so is collegehumor.com. At some point doesn’t it get old and tired?

    I also read this post and felt horrifically sad. I know you will be insulted by this and I can’t help it. I am sad that women think it’s okay or validating to be treated by guys in this way. These people didn’t know you. These weren’t good friends being sarcastic or snarky and you understood the subtext. These were strangers.

    If the test I have to pass for a guy to like me is that I’ll put up with his sexist bullshit, no matter how “well-meaning” (in quotes, because there is no way on the planet that I’ll ever consider it to be okay) then I don’t need him to like me. I’m not going to hang out with someone who treats me badly.

    Which is another reason why I don’t comment on Deadspin.

    And now a dozen women will get defensive here. I respect your right to do whatever you want and go wherever you want and be treated however you want. I also, however, have the right to say how it makes me feel.

  33. It’s just different temperaments, Caryn. Becuase women who get all up in arms about stuff like teasing make ME sad. I feel like they don’t *get* it. They will never have a lot of guy friends, I feel.

    @ivantopumpyou: there is a difference between guys who treat you like a novelty but like it and guys who treat you like a novelty but don’t, at least in my experience.

  34. Andrea, the difference between you and me is that I don’t think it’s teasing.

    I’ll also resent the implication that I don’t have a lot of guy friends, and that that somehow makes me uptight/not fun/not cool/not whatever you consider to be important as a human being.

    And then I’ll say, Why is having a lot of guy friends some kind of badge of honor? I don’t go through my friends and say, “Okay, I have three chicks and five dudes and a gay guy and two lesbians – crap, where’s the african-american!” People are my friends because I like them as PEOPLE. I don’t care whether they have a penis or a vagina.

  35. I never said guy friends are better than girl friends. I just feel women who don’t like the teasing or don’t feel like it is teasing tend to have mostly female friends. It was an observation.

  36. Right, but what does that observation mean to you? What does it imply about the person? It must imply something or you wouldn’t have mentioned it.

    I’m genuinely asking.

    There are times in my life when most of my friends were male. t here were times that they were mostly female. I’m not sure what that means except that those were the people I resonated with at the time.

    My office and the industry of my day job is overwhelmingly male (technology) and I worked at one of the largest software companies in the world for six years and was successful there. So I think I get along with dudes okay. I just don’t get along with dudes who are assholes or disrespectful. Maybe I demand more respect from people. I don’t know. I’m not sure why demanding respect is “getting up in arms”.

    I mean, I can make an off-color joke. But is that some kind of criteria to strive towards? I have consciously started stopping myself from using the word “retarded” to describe anything, because it’s wrong and it’s cruel and I don’t know if the person I’m talking to might have a disabled person in their family. Is this a bad thing? I’d like to think that it means I’m evolving.

  37. Well, Andrea, I’ve been friends mostly with guys my entire life, and I don’t let them treat me like a token or an opportunity for flirtation. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not for me – and my group of immature, sports-loving, late-teens-twenty-something guy friends understands that. In fact, you Ladies are the first group of women I’ve really talked with (*hugs all around!*). I am One of the Guys in that my friends don’t treat me like the only girl in the group, which I usually am – they treat me like the person I am, because I’ll make fun of their accidental platinum highlights if they don’t (long story). I agree that this flirting/tokenism/inclusion-exclusion is not the worst kind of behavior, and that it’s not even that bad – but, to me, it’s still not acceptable, at least not in regards to myself.

  38. My guy friends don’t treat me as a token either. There is some flirting, that depends on the friend.

    I just meant that it’s been my experience that guys don’t really enjoy being around girls who can’t take the teasing or the jokes.

    I guess I just don’t get offended at stuff. *shrugs*

  39. I’m not sure we’re necessarily disagreeing – depending on the kind of teasing we’re talking about. For example, my guy friends like me because I’m possibly the most ribald in the group. Here’s an example of a conversation I had last night with a friend:

    Him (when I asked him how I looked): Damn, I thought my brother was lying when he said ugly could break a camera.
    Me: You know, that’s funny, because I thought your brother was lying when he said your mom was a lousy lay. Guess he’s more honest than we thought!

    I am perfectly okay with towel-snapping humor, you know? But the kind of teasing that’s dependent on the recipient being female – like girls don’t know sports, and girls are dumb and/or silly, and a girl can’t do this or this or that or that, and a girl’s only worth anything if she’s hot – that kind of teasing, I don’t like.

  40. I gave example up thread of a conversation I had a with a guy at the table, where he joked that I know a lot about baseball for a girl. And then amended it. He said it just to get a rise out of me, but didn’t mean it. I don’t see what’s wrong about that.

  41. I just want to say that, as a guy, this whole thread and the related posts on Deadspin and other sites have been interesting to read. I think this is a case where no one answer is correct. Personal judgement must be relied upon in each situation. What’s playful teasing to one lady may cross the line for another.

  42. I think it’s an enormous, gross, completely sweeping generalization to say that guys don’t “like” girls who can’t take the “teasing” or the “jokes”. there are actually guys on the planet whose idea of “humor” isn’t sexist, misogynist, racist, or homophobic.

    i started thinking about this again and going, jesus god, i have no shortage of male friends. and none of them are pigs. then again, i actually know guys that think that strip clubs are gross. i’m sure none of you believe me, and will tell me that these guys are closeted/wimps/sensitive pony tail guys. go ahead, believe what you like.

    i’ve got a wicked, clever sense of humor. i could make gay jokes or dick jokes and i could probably figure out how to make a racist joke, and i could probably be a self-hating feminist and a self-hating jew too. but what kind of accomplishment is that? isn’t it better to ground your humor elsewhere? other things ARE funny. i respect humor that’s actually clever.

    you know what? fuck yeah i get offended at stuff. i’m going to be proud of that, that i’m not inured to stuff that you just shouldn’t fucking laugh at. if “guys” don’t want to be friends with me because of that, fuck ‘em. i have a higher purpose on this planet than worrying about whether or not “guys” “like” me or not.

    sorry, this is making me crazy now. will go aaway.

  43. I am a regular Deadspin commenter and I don’t find the comments generally offensive, they are meant to be jokes and should be taken as such. Lately, it seems there is more retreading of old jokes or less overall cleverness, but truly misogynistic? I am not willing to go that far.

    I have been known from time to time to get a bee in my bonnet on certain topics. In fact, I may have sparked this whole debate with my comments on the Erin Andrews thread. If I have learned one thing it is that people tease people they like. If they don’t like you they aren’t going to joke around with you. Context is everything here. The nature of the relationship, the words and tone used in the teasing/joking makes all the difference.

    If I know one thing about Andie, it is that she expects to be treated with respect. She holds herself to a high standard of ethics and expects the same of others. I don’t think she would mistake guys talking down to her with thinking she needs to put up with it to fit in. Give her some credit, she is not stupid and knows the difference.

    I have met at least 50 Deadspinners in person and they all seemed like nice people. I liked some more than others, but that is the way it would be with any group of 50 people you meet. The vast majority were just people who enjoyed sports and drinking a few beers together.

  44. J-no, I agree with you in that context is very important. I think a lot of the outrage in this thread (including some of my own disagreement with Andrea) can be attributed to misunderstanding of her description of her experience. And for the record, I don’t think Andrea is the kind of woman you describe, and that maybe some have implied; I know she’s better than that. I think any other implication is also due to misunderstanding of context.

    I think the ultimate point I want to make about context, though, is that it can change everything…but only if the viewer understands it. As others have stated, not everyone knows Deadspinners, and that lack of context is what makes Deadspin offensive to them. They’re not wrong for this, anymore than the DS commentors are. I just think some understanding of each others’ viewpoints would do all parties some good. As I’m well aware, the commentariat is by and large composed of good, smart people, and I think a little empathy’s all that’s required here on their part. (And also, funny. Because seriously.)

  45. I have no idea how I can comment so much and say so little each time. But I meant to say – Andie, J-no, all the other Deadspin commentors here, I’m sorry. I’ve been reading the comments on the DS posts since Friday and they are markedly better. It’s like all the dumb ones finally sat down and shut up, and the good ones are back at the forefront. Which confirms my hypothesis – the system just needed a sharp, brief kick in the ass to get back to good again. And I am so, so glad about that.

    *hugs*

    I’m a lurker by nature (no, really! Why are you laughing at me?), but I think I’ll start using my deadspin account, if I can work up enough funny…

  46. Wow – after reading all that, I must say that the point I would make to Caryn and others is that getting offended at the little stuff blinds you to the actual misogyny in the world – big stuff like being passed over for a job, being sexually harrassed at work, or domestic abuse.

    I guarantee that men don’t analyze this shit as much as we just did, and to me, that’s a big thing to remember when trying to determine intent.

    P.S.: I know I’ll get killed for this statement, but some women are to blame for this. A stereotype doesn’t come from nowhere, and I’ve met plenty of girls in my lifetime whose behavior made me understand why guys extend the stereotype to all of us.

    I don’t like to hang out with frivolous, dependent, pouty, petty girls, who are just hunting for a man with money to take care of them. Maybe that’s why I think it’s a badge of honor to have guy friends.

  47. I know I’ll get killed for this statement, but some women are to blame for this. A stereotype doesn’t come from nowhere

    Kristin, I wont kill you for that. It’s true. And not just stereotypes about women. Stereotypes about anything.

  48. I don’t like to hang out with frivolous, dependent, pouty, petty girls, who are just hunting for a man with money to take care of them.

    Wow. You know what? NEITHER DO I. Assume much, all of you?

    Is that the only possibility for you? Either women are dishrags or they are willing to take shit from men to be “one of the guys”? Do you not see the contradiction here in your statement?

    I’ve been independent and had a career since I was 17 years old. I make six figures. I can change a tire, drive stickshift, have driven cross country twice by myself, gone 3/4 of the way around the globe, backpacked through Egypt and India and Cambodia and Thailand ALONE.

    Want to call me frivolous, dependent, pouty and petty again?

    You think I overlook the actual misogyny in the world? Where were you when I was working for women’s rights in the 80s and 90s? Or when I worked at the rape crisis center? Or was an escort outside Planned Parenthood clinics?

    Should I go on?

    Guess what, Kristin, I’m not blinded to anything. I’m an artist, a community activist, a radical feminist, used to manage a punk rock band, and I think Deadspin commenters are childish and inane.

    Blinded to the actual misogyny in the world? That statement is so patently offensive I don’t even know where to start. Go ahead, think what you like about people you don’t know *anything* about.

  49. Kudos to you for not a) taking things at face value when sometimes the intent behind them is what’s more important, b) being a knee-jerk reactionary, and c) throwing around the term “misogyny” without appreciating its import. I thought this post kicked butt. Have a beer on me.

  50. Caryn, I don’t think Kristin’s post was directed AT YOU.

    I *think* you are saying you thought the original post kicked butt, futuremrsrickankiel, so I’m going to say thank you?

    And you’ll have to fight me for Ankiel. Or we’ll have to learn to share. : )

  51. Yeah, I tend to be ascerbic to the point of obscuring anything positive I might actually have to say — it was indeed your original post that I ascribed the butt-kicking quality too. I thought it was excellent.

    I’m kind of crushing on Ryan Ludwick lately. Perhaps we can work out some kind of rotation with my affianced…

  52. I sent a text message to a friend last night that said, “I want to have so much sex with Ryan Ludwick.” We’ll work something out.

    But I thought you were a Boston fan…?

  53. Have liked the Cards for some time, for reasons that my nom de blog should make obvious… and seriously, Jacoby aside, there is NO ONE crushworthy on my hometown team. SIGH. I also have a tendency to think of the Red Sox as brothers — bizarre, I know — that makes me less likely to pine after any of them.

    Also, Ryan Ludwick is CARRYING my roto team this year. Seriously. I’m actually worried he’s going to hurt himself. Caught him on Sunday Night Baseball this past weekend and, well, damn. Hooray for the Cardinals outfield.

  54. Oh boy – here we go. Thank you, Andrea for defending the moderate side. I was not talking about Caryn and other radical feminists when I listed the things I hate about some women. What I meant was that I understand the male mindset more than other women because, sometimes, I see and get annoyed with the same things they do in some women.

    And, yes, there is a middle ground between letting yourself be insulted and taking everything so seriously. Maybe “blinded” was a poor choice of words. What I meant is you have to keep the little stuff little and concentrate on the big stuff. A joke about bringing out the lotion when Erin Andrews is on tv is miniscule in the scheme of things.

    My frame of reference is not novel by any means, but I wrote about sports for a newspaper where I was the only woman working in that section. Those guys busted each other’s balls all the time. And they busted on me. I was woman enough to ignore it or give it back, depending on whether I thought it warranted a response. It wasn’t a passive state. I am friends with those guys to this day – and not one of them is misogynist or inane. All intelligent, well-adjusted men who are great to their wives or girlfriends.

    And btw – way to assume that I never volunteered at a Planned Parenthood (I have), that I’m not the main bread winner in my family (I am) and that I don’t do all the handy work around my house (I do).

    @Andrea and futuremrsrickankiel: Damn, I need to find someone who wants to have a lot of sex with the same players I do so we can commiserate!

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