In a couple dozen cases where e.g. the email account was the person’s name @ whatever.com, or where Facebook-type information was readily available via google search of phrases used in the letter, or a name and return address were written on the envelope in careful legible all-capitals print, it was inevitably a male with some position of authority or clout.
When people thought I was a male, the insults had a very different tone. They were always on the intellectual/political playing field, tough and challenging but never personal.Now, when things heat up, crude and nasty misogyny appears, the most common being that I'm a bitter old spinster who needs to get laid --- which would come as something of a surprise to my husband. But in normal times I mostly have to put up with being condescendingly lectured about what a silly old bubblehead I am for ....fill in the blank. (My favorite all time comment has to be the fellow who complained, "You wrote a lot better before you came out as a woman.")
"There is an underlying issue though -- the people who post these comments reveal a deep-seated hatred towards women. I find that unsurprising in our culture. Violent extreme pornography is normal internet fare. Gang rape and prostitution are subjects for popular music. At least 95 per cent of actual rapists are still on the streets. That's the real problem. We need to address that."
I personally find it more often than not, that if someone hates you, they'll hate you. No matter what they want to attack you with -- whether intellectually or with misogynistic comments. Like what Xoebe described, a means to an end. So I usually take it that a person just isn't creative enough to articulate how they want to attack you. So a gender insult is usually the easiest route to take.
spicynuts: Does she think that men never resort to telling other men to go blow a row of X whenever they can't engage in a conversation like an adult?
I suppose I don't have anything really useful to say. I just wish there were some sort of vocabulary that magically got through to men who, like my father, are good men in private yet unwittingly supportive of hateful, evil attitudes in the public sphere.
slang for "female pudenda," 1879, but probably older; perhaps from O.N. puss "pocket, pouch" (cf. Low Ger. puse "vulva"), but perhaps instead from the cat word (see pussy (1)) on notion of "soft, warm, furry thing;" cf. Fr. le chat, which also has a double meaning, feline and genital. Earlier uses are difficult to distinguish from pussy (1), e.g.:
The word pussie is now used of a woman [Philip Stubbes, "The Anatomie of Abuses," 1583]
But after being close enough to this kind of thing a couple of times (or having it pitched at you personally just once) it becomes really clear that there is a deep vein of misogyny running through a surprising number of people, and the world just doesn't work in a way that makes sense to a decent person. I personally don't understand how anyone can hate another person based on a characteristic like gender (or skin color, or ) , but it's undeniable that it's out there in surprising quantity.
PS: I can't believe Jenny Diski was anything but a troll when she accused mathowie of misogyny and censorship. I've read her stuff- she's an intelligent and capable journalist who should be well aware of what real censorship and misogyny is, based on her writing. I honestly think she was bored of MetaFilter and wanted to start some shit before leaving. The other alternative, that she has no idea what censorship really is, is impossible for me to believe of a professional journalist. But I digress...
1557 - a girl or woman exhibiting cat-like characteristics
1699 - a cat
1699 - the female genitals
1715 - a hare
1842 - an adjective implying cat-like characteristics
1858 - something soft and furry
1904 - a weak or effeminate male
1910 - first citation of "pussy hair"
1936 - the anus of a man, regarded as object of sexual penetration
1937 - sexual intercourse with a woman
1937 - a fur garment (criminals' slang)
1947 - a woman, or women regarded as a source of sexual intercourse
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