Responding to gender-based violence (online and elsewhere)

Many readers will recall that recently, John McAdams, a Marquette political science professor, drummed up a spurious reason to make a politically-motivated public attack on Cheryl Abbate, a graduate student of philosophy (our previous posts here and here; Daily Nous coverage here and here. Marquette is taking action against McAdams; its outcome is thus far unclear).

As a result of his actions, Abbate received hateful, misogynistic abuse, disturbing in both content and quantity, in a number of forms and forums. She has now written a blog post detailing the extent of this abuse, exploring her experiences on the receiving end, reflecting on how one should respond to it, and making it quite clear that McAdams bears responsibility for inciting it.

(For those clicking through, I reproduce Abbate’s trigger warning: “This post includes a number of reprinted misogynist and homophobic comments”. She’s not wrong).

Abbate says that she was mostly advised to ignore the abuse, but chose to expose it and draw attention to it, for a number of reasons. This was a brave decision. Abbate says the most important reason she has for speaking out is that, if we aren’t aware that such horrible abuse takes place, we can’t begin to do anything about it. This seems quite right to me. I’m unlikely to receive any misogynistic email myself, and I find it reprehensibly easy and tempting to bury my head in the sand about such things. I really shouldn’t. If someone writes about their experiences with such courage, to read and think about it is the very least I can do.

‘Philosophy Grad Student Target of Political Smear Campaign’

Daily Nous has the story.

A philosophy graduate student and instructor at Marquette University [Cheryl Abbate] is the target of a political attack initiated by one of her students, facilitated by a Marquette political science professor, and promulgated by certain advocacy organizations.

The full story is quite disturbing, and Justin has screen shots of some incredibly offensive (and misogynistic) comments that have been directed towards Abbate as a result.

Justin has also added this update to the story: “Those interested in encouraging Marquette University to support Abbate may wish to write polite messages of support to the dean of the university’s Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Richard C. Holz, at, or the interim provost of the university, Dr. Margaret Faut Callahan, at”

Women voters just like hating women

Time magazine has figured out that women don’t all love Sarah Palin. But instead of asking women who oppose her for their reasons, their reporter reaches back into her high school memories of how much females love to hate. Apparently it’s all about her prettiness, her confidence and our fear of embarrassment. Issues? Genuine disagreements? Worries about competence? What are those? Ooh, let’s talk skinny jeans (which somehow get a mention in the final paragraph). One the most vapid, shallow, and insulting things I’ve read in some time. It ends, by the way, by insinuating that the reason we keep getting male leaders is that women hate each other so much. Could it possibly be because the belittling of women’s intellects is so socially acceptable that Time publishes dreck like this without a second thought? Nah.

Thanks, NFAH, for passing this on and starting my day with a big jolt of annoyance!

Let’s Blame Elizabeth Edwards

Because she let John run for President. Really. (And while we’re at it, let’s throw in quite a disturbing violent fantasy about John, just because that’s always fun.)

I think Sally Quinn has identified a rich new vein to mine for woman-blaming. (Just blaming them for their husbands’ affairs is so cliched.) Iraq war? Laura Bush should never have let it happen. That guy Dick Cheney shot in the face? Why did Lynne ever let him leave the house with a gun? But let’s not stop with recent history. Surely Neville Chamberlain’s wife is one of the great unsung bumblers of history. Reader contributions much appreciated.