I'm sure many people are aware that Hugo Schwyzer rubs me the wrong way. I've been biting my tongue about this for a while, considering how many people on the "sex positive" end of things think he's just bloody wonderful. However, since 1) I've grown to have a great dislike for some of the politicking and mutual backscratching between the "sex-positive" blogosphere* and the feminist "big blogs", and blogosphere personality politics in general, and need to get it off of my chest, and 2) since "Hugogate" is topical, why not? More importantly, this brings up issues with the "feminist blogosphere" that are a lot bigger than Hugo Schwyzer.
Of course, the irony is, I'm not one of the people who's quick to write Schwyzer off as a would-be "murderer" or "rapist". I don't know the full stories behind his "suicide pact" or the students he slept with to say for sure that any of this was coerced. On the other hand, if one of these women came forward and said that the actual situation was far worse than Schwyzer makes it out to be, that wouldn't surprise me either. I do know this though – Schwyzer is somebody who's very quick to condemn other men in order to curry favor with women, and if it was another man who had been accused of these things he had done, I think Schwyzer would be out at the head of the mob.
One of Hugo Schwyzer's last missives to The Good Men Project has just gone up. It is basically a blanket denial that feminists engage in bullying tactics. Sorry, but I know otherwise, first hand. While I of course am not going to say that anger on the part of women or feminists isn't often justified, I think it is quite obvious to the outside observer that the feminist blogosphere is in permanent attack mode, and that bullying, both in intra-feminist conflicts and conflicts with non-feminists, is endemic.
My response to his post:
I find it highly ironic that while Hugo is in full denial mode about feminist bullying, in the “feminist blogosphere” he's under full attack by the mob. Check out Feministe or do a Google Blogs search for “Hugo Schwyzer” and you'll see what I mean. So, more than a little bit of denial here.
And while, yes, angry words in the blogosphere rarely add up to physical attack (something that's true in general, not just vis a vis feminists), blogswarming and generalized campaigns against one's reputation can be damaging. And while sometimes some people's reputation deserves to be damaged, you can hardly blame the targets of such attacks for being defensive, merited or not. I've seen plenty of cases where blogswarming campaigns were quite intended to intimidate or silence people, and at least partly succeeded.
I also find it quite rich that this “Words are not fists” post comes just a month after #mencallmethings (an event amplified, predictably, by The Guardian), which consisted of a string of feminist bloggers claiming outright victimization over angry words, often justifiably, but often over angry words that don't amount to nearly the intensity of some of the campaigns these same bloggers dish out on others.