Jan 28 2006

Dork Takes Issue With My “Tone”

This moron Richard Ames, who, incidentally, nurses quite the little obsession with Bitch.PhD.’s banner graphic, thinks I’m “churlish” for suggesting that the glazed, bloodshot eyes of the male gaze oughta be poked out.

Poor, dim fellow. He sadly confuses my implementation of a secret lesbian poetic device called personification with a literal call to Gloucesterize the world’s male population.

Gloucesterize is sort of a pun, by the way, since “–ize” rhymes with “eyes.” Dig it!

Richard Ames also irked that other “shrill” feminists, some of whom have apparently had the unmitigated shrillness to call him a “misogamist,” don’t understand the first thing about PR. In a stunning burst of originality, he opines that if only we were less shrill, we might persuade more people over to our side.

In other words, if men are conditioned from birth to treat women as subhuman sexbots, don’t come cryin’ to him. We feminsists should just be more conciliatory if we want men to knock it off already with all the rapes and beatings and harassment and objectification and shit. It’s because we’re so shrill that men act like barbarians.

The knob Richard Ames’ argument is untenable. He’s clearly just jealous of my new fighting technique, which is unstoppable.

I would have challenged him personally, but he has churlishly turned his comments off, so I guess I’ll just have to call him out before you, my 5000 daily readers.

Update: I have found a whole blog called Shrillblog, which appears to be dedicated to chronicling the shrillness of public figures, most of whom are not, cookies having crumbled the way they do, radical feminists.


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  1. Chris Clarke

    Come on, Twisty, give the guy a break. Obviously he’s a man sympathetic to the cause of feminism who couldn’t find anything more important to
    blog about

  2. Ms Kate

    In a stunning burst of originality, he opines that if only we were less shrill, we might persuade more people over to our side.

    In other words, if men are conditioned from birth to treat women as subhuman sexbots, don’t come cryin’ to him. We feminsists should just be more conciliatory if we want men to knock it off already with all the rapes and beatings and harassment and objectification and shit. It’s because we’re so shrill that men act like barbarians.

    One would think that the Taliban cultural experience and the honor killings present in extremist literalist fundamentalist cultures worldwide would put the lie to that!

  3. Joanna

    I wonder what he is so ANGRY about? doesn’t he realize that if he wants us to take him seriously he’s going to have to stop calling us names?

  4. bitchphd

    Thanks for the link! Hilarious. I *love* it when asshole guys get self-righteous about my header graphic. Makes me feel I chose well–weeds the idiots without a sense of humor right out.

    Someone needs to start a new blog called “Churlish Feminist.”

  5. Ancrene Wiseass

    WTF is it with this “shrill” shit? “Shrill” is reminiscent the high-pitched whine of a drill bit. We are not shrill.

    We feminists emit seismic rumbles, deep-chested battle cries, and full-throated roars.

    We are not shrill.

    And the misogynists of the world need to use a damn thesaurus every once in a while. I mean, at least give us some *variation* in the dumbass adjectives you use in your pathetic attempts to dismiss us.

  6. Amanda Marcotte

    I’m disappointed. He doesn’t have one quote from me, and I expound daily on my churlish belief that the vaginal territory in between my legs doesn’t belong to men at large.

  7. RedPete

    I wouldn’t have guessed you are a David Rees fan… http://www.mnftiu.cc/mnftiu.cc/fighting.html

    And, I for one, love The Doctor’s banner graphic.

  8. thebewilderness

    “Shrill” is the honorable term for telling truth that the powerful do not wish to hear. It did not start out this way. Shrill is the only criticism left when the facts cannot be refuted. It was the criticism leveled against Krugman when his columns did not support the arguments of the “Permanent Republican Majority” or the think tanks who promote voodoo economics. The Poor Man picked up on it and the rallying cry has become, stay shrill.(I have the Tshirt)
    Shrill=unvarnished truth, stated bluntly.
    If you love Twisty like I love Twisty you will like The Editors at The Poor Man.

  9. Teenagecatgirl

    I’ve had a visit from the lovely Richard, he said something nonsensical, then pissed himself and ran away when I asked him what he meant.
    But from the sounds of it, he’s nonsensical much of the time, ‘misogamist’? For fucks sake!

  10. sunny in texas

    you know, i devour your writing, all in the hope that one day i too will become as eloquent at patriarchy blaming as yourself. i’m surrounded by the fuckers and i want to give them their due.

    you make me proud to be a woman.

    i wonder if there are patriarchy blaming lessons somewhere online…

  11. Milt Harmon

    BDSM is I guess one of the most stark—and often comically silly–examples of men acting out active and women passive roles. What really is more interesting are the many ways that straight men and women, even feminist women, act out these roles in their day-to-day interactions with men. I’ve been struck by how many straight, self-avowed feminist women I know often play “the woman” in a lot of subtle ways, especially in their personal lives. Oh of course not in the over-the-top redneck get-me-a-beer-honey kind of ways. But I know several straight feminist women who don’t ask men out (or only very rarely when the writing is pretty much already on the wall) and generally want men to make most of their first moves in getting to know them and forming a relationship; they also seem to be most attracted to men who fit traditional male stereotypes about toughness, decisiveness, and lack of obvious empathy; and these same feminist friends often play the role of conversational cheerleaders to male wit in interactions with men they like. Very few of us can truly escape the influence of the images we are flooded with from childhood about proper male and female behavior. Twisty, as one hell of a smart lesbian, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the role of these quotidian behaviors in upholding the patriarchy.

  12. Lauren

    I’m proud to have designed PPhD’s blog considering it makes Richard so angry.

  13. Teenagecatgirl

    Oh, look, I’m the first part of churlish #6. I’m not really sure what that is supposed to demonstrate, perhaps Winter Woods and I were being churlish in expressing an opinion.

  14. thebewilderness

    I looked at his site. He appears to be so self absorbed he thinks he’s in the conversation. As the arbiter, of course.

  15. manxome

    Get Your Churl On, Twisty!

    To liberally paraphrase said dork, I submit that he could mentally remove the stick up his ass and ‘pretend that what he’s looking at is something he’s never read before.’

    He could try looking at the following words, forgetting that they are how he addresses women. (I’ll even help by removing the parts that identify the targets as women): Ready?

    “But to consider how you’re being perceived is a very grown-up thing to do… and more importantly, it is smart… to do it. This is not giving up your fight, it is being intelligent about how you fight it.”

    That’s a start. I’m sure he can handle the rest on his own, then ask himself, “Are not my reprimands the paragon of paternal piffle?”

    To paraphrase said dork again, I suggest that if he ‘does not see this as glaringly as the rest of the planet, he’s not looking hard enough, and until he sees it he will never understand why women don’t see the world through his eyes.’

  16. Ascending

    He appears to be so self absorbed he thinks he’s in the conversation. As the arbiter, of course.

    Classic symptom of male privilege: they think that they have the natural right and ability to tell women how to conduct their causes. Those cute little women, trying to get ahead, but they’re doing it ALL WRONG! Please, let me, a MAN who KNOWS, tell them how to proceed without threatening (or changing) anybody.

  17. jaye

    Men-folk often cannot believe we don’t want to have sex with them. If we are feminists we don’t want sex with him/men. Therefore we have nothing to say about the state of the world he can’t be bothered to see. Why he has no problems! He is male and of course we are just angry that we are not male. But we are complaining that we are not male but rather female and therefore we aren’t real women if we don’t sleep with him/men.

    It never ceases to amaze me that if they can treat us equally, all desire for us goes out of them. And they think that being dominated by them turns us on.

    The male gaze is perfectly illustrated by his website and comments. So we have to please him to have a legitimate voice? We aren’t legit unless he finds us pleasing?

    Fuck it.

  18. Twisty

    I, too, was surprised that Mr. Ames neglected Amanda in his list of girl-churls. She is generally the primary target of buttnoses like this guy. Maybe he has heard that her fighting technique is even more unstoppable than mine, and he is afraid.

    I say we challenge him to a churl-off!

  19. Ancrene Wiseass

    Churl power!

  20. NancyMc

    Your fighting technique is awesome! I love the graphic and the link to the original MNFTIU – that is some seriously hysterical shit.

    And Gloucesterize! My Shakespeare-loving mind is truly blown.

    Ames’s sensibilities are too delicate. If you churl at him directly he might faint dead away.

    Which could be fun.

    But what does Happy Feminist think about making his blog-roll? Can’t be too happy about that!

  21. The Happy Feminist

    I’ve been on Richard’s blogroll for a while now. I think he found me through a lawyer blog I frequent and he is a daily reader and commenter. Although we often disagree, we had always had a friendly cyber relationship. Then suddenly, out of the blue, he went on this bizarre crusade to expose feminist “churlishness.” I am really kind of stunned by the whole thing.

    The whole Richard go-around has been discussed on my blog (with comments from Richard, me, and others) in the comments section here:


    as well as this post and its comments here:


    and here:


    Richard has conceded that churlishness number 4 was quoted out of context, although I note that he has not removed it from his blog. Having been labeled a “good” feminist, I am starting to feel a bit like an involuntary Uncle Tom.

  22. bitchphd

    Crap. Cleis says that Molly Ivins has cancer again.

    I hope you and she end up in the chemo room together sometime.

  23. Ms Kate

    tHAt’S CHRRLish, a$$hole and DON’T you frrget IT!

  24. Jezebella

    Hey, Wiseass: yet another t-shirt-worthy slogan:


    Indeed. If only we knew an entrepreneurial graphic designer that would make the t-shirts so we can lazily push a few buttons & order them from cafe press (or the like).

    At work the current slogan is “when you can, blame a man”. I’ve got baptist small town southern women saying it right and left. I’m working on them, slowly but surely.

  25. sunny in texas

    jezebella, i want that on a t-shirt!

  26. martian


    Astonishing, isn’t it?

  27. kathy a

    no comment on churlishness, except carry on.

    but i’m really bummed about molly’s cancer. she is an idol.

  28. Becker

    Chrrl power.

    But aside from that, I can’t help but listen to the guy a little. In my humble opinion, he’s a guy looking for a middle ground who is frustrated by extreme positions and yet can’t express his own. He’s not railing against the message content so much as the form, and he’s not pomo enough to realize they are one and the same.

    I am myself sort of nostalgic for the days when feminism drew its strength from personal experience rather than analysis, criticism or statistics. As it happens I am on the feminist side and enjoy the Twisty take very much, but I don’t think Mr Ames is too far on the other side of the fence, and perhaps that makes it easier for him to throw rocks.

  29. Violet Socks

    Becker, you mean when he says this:

    I should be one of feminism’s prime targets, ripe for the activist picking. And yet, I have been repeatedly turned off by its adherents’ shrill tone and churlish behavior.

    If I had a dollar for every time some asshole has said, “I’d be a feminist if you all just weren’t so shrill,” I’d be richer than God.

    He doesn’t “rail against the message” because nowadays only morons and fundamentalists are still preaching women’s inherent inferiority. So his only way to lash out at feminism and still maintain his self-image as a moral being is to criticize us for being so “shrill.” Same as it ever was.

  30. Chris Clarke

    I’m a churl, and that’s really fucking great!
    I am proud that my diatribe is nervy,
    That I march with a swift and churlish gait
    With my lips kind of dripping scorn and scurvy.

    I just won’t be oppressed by some pig swilly
    When a man tries to put me in my place.
    Off I go on said Joe or John or Billy,
    And I get right in his motherfucking face!

    When I have a brand new ice pick
    In the eye of some guy named Earl,
    Don’t tell me that he’s a nice dick
    I enjoy being a churl!

  31. jenofiniquity

    I *heart* you, Chris Clarke.

  32. The Fat Lady Sings

    I also get the occasional visit from the ‘we hate women’ club. They all must have bought the same dictionary – because after a while they all sound alike.

    Little assholes
    with little wankers
    that are all made
    out of ticky-tacky;
    yes they’re all made
    out of ticky-tacky
    and they all look just the same.

    And that’s the problem – too much time spent in the big boy’s bathroom whilst they were little shavers. When they grow up, they become frightened some ‘shrill’ girly-girl’s gonna point and laugh. And guess what? In the most cases, they’re right.

  33. Chris Clarke

    Thanks, Jen, but almost as soon as I hit “post” I realized that penultimate line would have been much better as “don’t tell me to be a nice chick”. Fuck.

  34. Becker

    VioletSocks, I don’t deny that he is a goof. And it’s easy to note that for him shrill is a euphemism for hysterical. We all know that game.

    What I would suggest is that words are tools, and his toolbox is empty, and the hardware store ain’t supplying what he needs to say what is on his mind. In what I read of his posts, it was all “feminists are all jackhammers and all I want is a ball-peen hammer”. He’s critical of how feminists present their views, but not of the views themselves. If he didn’t respect feminist authority so much he wouldn’t act out against it. (Compared to those who act out in fear of feminist authority, afraid feminists might be right.) He’s just waiting for the answers, or failing that, the words to find his own.

    Or possibly I’m projecting my own misgivings about feminist dialog on him, and he really is a hopeless tool. If that’s the case, then so am I.

  35. Violet Socks

    Becker, you a hopeless tool? Never!

    The thing is, have you read The Happy Feminist? That’s about as non-threatening a form of feminism as you’re going to find. And I’m not being critical — Happy Feminist has chosen to be a sort of ambassador of feminism to people who might not understand it, and her rhetoric is utterly non-shrill. (And good for her — somebody’s got to do it.) But the point is, if this dick Richard (hee) has problems with her, then there is no level of feminist discourse which he would find acceptable. He would probably think Molly Ivins was a raving fanatic.

  36. Violet Socks

    Hey, Chris, I thought you were outside in the desert in sleeping bag, looking at Sirius.

  37. Violet Socks

    A preview, preview, my kingdom for a preview!

  38. Becker

    Thanks for the recommendation, Violet. I have not read Happy Feminist, probably because the title itself would repel me, since I am neither happy nor feminist. On the other hand, I am always interested in the language of compromise, so I will look for the book. Well, hell: I have cash and a day off, I’ll get it tomorrow.

  39. thebewilderness

    This is a link to a t shirt shop set up by John at Americablog where you can have whatever text you want on a Tshirt. You can upload your own artwork, go with patriarchy blamin’ text or whatever. I’m inclined to think I might need a “Churl Power” shirt.


  40. Violet Socks

    No, Becker — the Happy Feminist is a blogger, and look! She’s posted a comment right up there above you in this very thread! No, up there, above your head! She’s got the links to her website right there, so read away.

    What do you mean you’re not feminist? I thought the only males who posted here more than once were of the pro-feminist variety.

  41. m.

    “In a stunning burst of originality…” *hyuk hyuk hyuk* brrrrilliant! … nifty post :) btw, i love your blog!

  42. Helen

    Happy Feminist, I didn’t read all the links you posted here. But I did go and look at this Richard’s blog, saw you on the sidebar, clicked on your blog and … found the post taking him to task for his churlish remarks and praising Twisty and BitchPhd’s banner image.

    Delicious stuff! I wonder if you’ll stay on the sidebar? If not, maybe you should complain a la David Horowitz?

  43. Helen

    …Oh, and I meant to mention, his description of your blog on the sidebar says “Forget the feminist part. No raging ideology here.” That is so Fn patronising.

  44. Twisty

    Becker, I’m sorry, but cry me a river. What a woman says about her own oppression and how she says it isn’t this knob’s call. That’s the whole point of feminism. It’s obvious that he doesn’t like the message so he’s shooting the messenger.

  45. The Happy Feminist

    Thanks, Violet! I have a lot of patience and I like explaining the fundamentals, but man, if stuff like this isn’t enough to make a nice girl feel chrrrrlish.

  46. Becker

    Violet, I feel a fool, and Happy Feminist, my apologies for my carelessness. I’ll patch up my ignorance as soon as my coffee kicks in. Blarg.

    And yeah, I’m very pro-feminist and happy to visit with people who have taken up the calling. I have no way to explain my reluctance to call myself a feminist except to say that it’s just not where my head is at.

    Actually I can call myself feminist but not a feminist. Does that make sense?

  47. Wordlackey

    Revolution is rarely polite and even of tone. Protesting injustice seldom takes place quietly.

    In an aphorism mood, I guess.

  48. Violet Socks

    Aw, I was just having a little friendly fun with ya, Becker. I got the sense you were reading this thread after maybe being up for 40 hours straight without sleep.

  49. Ms Kate

    Wordlackey, were those your last two fortune cookies?

  50. B

    I didn’t find his site at all ladylike.

    Maybe something he ought to consider changing if he wants to be taken seriously.

  51. Barbara Brugger

    Shrill? Churlish?

    You bet your ass I am. Fifty years on this planet with a female body and a functional brain has made me shrill and churlish as hell.

    I have this silly idea, you see, that women are actually people and entitled to be treated as such. Strange as this may seem to Richard, saying so politely hasn’t gotten feminists much further along.

  52. Moi

    He quoted me. Woo hoo, I think. I’m not sure whether to be thrilled or annoyed, given that, as already mentioned, he’s turned off the ability to comment at his blog, so I’m unable to respond–not that I’m inclined to do so. He’s already taken up too much of my time.

    As I said at Happy Fem’s blog, he’s got major issues w/ women. Either he’s been screwed over big time, has huge mom issues, or it’s a combination of both.

  53. larkspur

    Damn. I’ve spent all my time being STRIDENT, whilst neglecting my churl ‘n’ shrill. That’ll learn me.

    Twisty, you are becoming more and more amazing with each passing hour. I want to visit Austin just because of you (and Amanda), except I have no money and I am terrified of teh Cedar Fever (per Amanda).

  54. Laurelin

    He hasn’t called me churlish yet… I must be doing something wrong!

  55. Ancrene Wiseass

    I agree, Laurelin. I feel like I’m falling down on the job here.

    And hey, y’all, if that Americablog t-shirt-slogan-making dealio works, let me know, eh?

  56. BritGirlSF

    Being insulted by people such as Mr Ames should be considered a compliment of the highest order, don’t you think? If he liked you that would be rather worrying…
    TeenageCatGirl got it right – when you hear men ranting nonsensically about feminists being “shrill” what you are actually hearing is them attempting to mask the sound of the piss running gently down the inside of their own legs. And really, there’s nothing less impressive than a person who pisses themselves in fear just because someone else disagrees with them.

  57. LMYC

    You’re “churlish?”

    OMFG, I’d make this man’s head explode.

  58. Teenagecatgirl

    BritGirl> A strangely beautiful description of incontinence, that. Very poetic!

  59. Teenagecatgirl

    Astonishingly, this guy http://www.cooltools4men.com is even crazier.

  60. Elisabeth

    I thought a misogamist was someone who had entered into a state of matrimony with a portion of fermented soybean paste.

  61. y-girl

    After checking out Mr. Ames’ site and his many comments on others’ sites this is my, probably overly charitable, opinion:

    Most of us come from a similar background, intellectually speaking. We’ve read many of the same books and publications. We know the history of the movement. We’re familiar with feminist theory. We understand the context and language. We use the same linguistic shorthand. For example, we understand what Happy Feminist means by the phrase “women are expected to police men’s behavior.”

    Given how ill-informed many of his comments are, and how many of them seem to spring from simple misunderstanding (see his comments on Happy Feminist’s use of the phrase “women are expected to police men’s behavior”), Mr. Ames does not seem to share this background. Yet for some reason, he’s decided to jump into the discussion and share his opinions. He reminds of men who ask me, “Why don’t feminists ever address [some issue on which feminists have written extensively]?”

    I thought your “Notes For First-Time Visitors Who Believe They Might Enlighten The Group With Opposing Viewpoints” put it pretty well.

    By jumping into a discussion for which he’s not sufficiently prepared and telling us what to do, he’s being gallingly presumptuous and arrogant. It’s no wonder people are annoyed with him.

    So Mr. Ames, addressing your concerns about Feminism’s “tone:”
    1) The question of whether to be sugar-sweet or a total ball-stomper, when and to what extent is as old as Feminism itself, and exists in other activist movements. It’s been amply discussed. Your comments are simplistic and passe. You haven’t introduced us to any concepts we haven’t heard before, but you have alienated us with your “tone.”

    2) The current trend of imagery and tone that you find “churlish,” (ie frequent use of words like bitch or cunt, and obscene imagery), has been explained by the people using it. One example that comes immediately to mind is Bitch Magazine’s explanation of their name;
    There is also an element of, dare I say, tongue firmly planted in cheek. But then I must be wrong on that. Everybody knows that feminists don’t have a sense of humor, so you should take everything they say literally.

  1. ascendingnode » Churlish Feminism ahoy!

    […] Twisty mentions a lovely peach of a guy whose blog seems to focus largely on telling feminists not to be so mean all the time. That, and how horrifyingly disturbing Bitch Ph.D.’s banner image is. […]

  2. Who the hell are you calling “churlish”? at Pandagon

    […] Richard is falling into the grand tradition on the right in this country of giving advice to people he wants to fail and assuming we’re so stupid we’re going to trust him. Of course, he’s really not trying to help anyone, he’s just all excited that he’s found a nifty new word to describe his intellectual superiors–”churlish”. The selection of this word erased what little doubt there was that either he is deeply stupid or he is the sort of masochist that trolls bars looking for bigger guys to insult in hopes they’ll beat him up. And while I don’t want to take his bait, I realized it’s an entertaining way to make a larger point, so bear with me for a minute. Anyway, Twisty and Happy Feminist already have had some fun with Mega-Asshole, so why can’t I? […]

  3. The Galloping Beaver

    She was just a bit nasty. I was impressed!

    One of the leading hands on team, a young woman, asked for a cleaning rag. Someone handed her a shop towel and she wiped away what appeared to be blood from the butt of her rifle.

  4. Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony » Blog Archive » My dad’s a lawyer!

    […] Amanda at Pandagon and Aunt Twisty are kind of mad about it, but I don’t care about those feminists. And they use big words like “Gloucesterise”. Haven’t I just said I’m not into that studying and reading shit? No matter, I’ll just call them shrill. […]

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