Scott Adams discussion thread

Apparently the Internet noticed today that Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) had posted a dubious post about men’s rights and then deleted it.

In anticipation of my inbox being filled overnight with people asking about it, I’m just going to post this discussion thread here and you can all get started on your own while I continue in my plan to curl up with a book and stay off the Internet for a while.

If you want some commentary, there’s an article up on Comics Alliance entitled, ‘Dilbert’ Creator Scott Adams Compares Women Asking for Equal Pay to Children Demanding Candy, which probably gives you some idea of what this is all about.

Edit: Scott Adams posted that his intent was to troll men’s rights activists and he’s proud of his success at doing so. Ooh, the high school drama of it all!

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About terriko

Terri has a PhD in horribleness, assuming we can all agree that web security is kind of horrible. She stopped working on skynet (err, automated program repair and AI) before robots from the future came to kill her and got a job in open source, which at least sounds safer. Now, she gets paid to break things and tell people they're wrong, and maybe help fix things so that people won't agree so readily with the first sentence of this bio in the future. Terri writes/tweets under the name terriko, enjoys making things and mentoring others and has a plain ol' home page at

63 thoughts on “Scott Adams discussion thread

  1. Meg

    Anyone who believes themselves to be rational inherently is not: it is something they are taking on faith. If they had examined the evidence they’d realize that all the data suggests all humans are inherently irrational. We have to be; if we didn’t practice lossy compression of information we would not be as effective at processing information as we are.

    His comic today happens to be a great illustration of the casual racism and xenocentricism in software engineering too. My husband sure didn’t like it when I pointed that out after he tried to use it as an example of how Dilbert really is funny.

    I stopped reading Dilbert about the same time I found development positions that actually addressed these issues instead of wallowing in them and celebrating how extra-special it is to be the Mary Sue character in the strip because you weren’t part of the problem (hint: the one common factor in all one’s relationships is one’s self.)

  2. Anna

    He also, of course, compared women demanding equal pay to … something to do with not hitting adults with cognitive disabilities? I don’t know, I guess I read too many news stories about the abuse and neglect and out right horror inflicted on adults with disabilities, especially cognitive impairments, to think that “no one hits a mentally handicapped adult” to be an actual statement of fact.


  3. Scott Adams

    To the best of my knowledge, no one with good reading comprehension has disagreed with anything in the article. The people with bad reading comprehension struggled with it.

    1. Carla Schroder

      There is no problem with the critics’ reading comprehension, Mr. Adams. You paint a picture of the poor oppressed manly white man, which means you bat 1.000 at stereotyping and othering everyone. Well done.

      I’m ever so sorry that some people frown on unwelcome acts of manly sex aggression, thereby inhibiting such behavior (though not all that much). [Comment modified by editor to remove content which contained problematic, offtopic generalizations about South Africa]

      If you really believe that women’s behaviors are celebrated then you have lived long on this planet without learning a thing.

      Your piece is a commentary fit for Fox “news”, in their fabulously popular ‘Successful White Guy Whinges At His Sad, Oppressed Life’ category. It’s too bad because there are some tiny truth nuggets in it, that life is unfair, that our society is bizarrely messed up, and that even the Entitled White Male Lords of Creation suffer a few inequities. You might ponder about who has the power to inflict those inequities, and why they do it. Hint: It’s not women, non-white people, scary foreigners, handicapped people, or anyone else in your vast scary mean Otherland.

    2. Danny O'Brien

      Hey Scott,

      You keep saying this, in lots of forums. I think I can read what you’re saying perfectly well. It’s not as if it’s a hard reading assignment.

      You’re saying (and correct me if I’m wrong) that men’s rights people complain of injustices done to them, but that men and women are different in certain ways, and that the traditional men’s strategy should not be to directly complain about that unfairness, because unfairness comes from the way that men and women are different, and in particular the advantages that men have mean that they have other strategies than just direct complaint to compensate from the lack of fairness in the world.


      Almost everyone who is disagreeing with you disagrees with you on at least some of the substantive points of this argument – the ways in which men and women disagree, the nature of unfairness, the advantages that men and women have, and the correct strategies that men can adopt.

      In your mind, it may be that this part of the discussion is overweighed by the fact that people are also somewhat horrified that as natural extrapolations of your points of view on these topics, you also think that “men”‘s strategies regarding not punching the mentally handicapped” or arguing with children are comparable.

      I can see that you’re going for “oh I knew that that would confuse things”.

      It really doesn’t confuse things, though. You did it deliberately, and it comes out of your primary argument. It’s not a sideline, and people aren’t angry about it because of some knee-jerk misinterpretation of those few lines, though obviously they’ll concentrate on that because it’s a pretty dramatic indication of what happens if you accept your basic premises about how the world works and what the right thing to do is.

      You must know at this point that a lot of people are going “Oh I liked Dilbert, and now this guy spouts this crazy David Sim nuttiness?”. They’re doing that not because they don’t understand what you’re saying. They’re doing it because they totally understand it, and have realized that you’ve got a screwed up approach not to women, but about how you even think *men* think, and worse, should think.

      My impression from how you’ve reacted is that that you think that everyone is either agreeing with you, would do so if they’d really understand what you’re saying, or just lying or are deluded to themselves about their own motives and the nature of the world.

      But it is also possible that you are deluding yourself in order to better defend yourself against this sizeable negative reaction, and that a sizeable number of us really do disagree with you. We also think that you’re wrong about the world.

      If it’s a reading comprehension thing, maybe you should put the post back up with a deeper explanation? You’re certainly spending just as much time as that would take, seeking down any reaction on relatively obscure forums and commenting rather glibly on them. As far as reading comprehension goes, you don’t even appear to be able to repeat the arguments others are making, which would seem to be the basic test.

  4. Laughingrat

    Well, Dilbert has been pretty obviously sexist for some time, so it doesn’t much surprise me. What does surprise me, but shouldn’t, is that Adams felt safe–even for a few hours–having something like that up on his public site. If nothing else, it’s one more sign that the conversations in this country about gender, race, and class have been changing for the worst if that point of view is now normalized.

    (hint: the one common factor in all one’s relationships is one’s self.)

    This sentiment is pretty problematic, Meg, given that it’s routinely used to blame victims of abuse and bullying.

  5. Jen

    My frequency of reading Dilbert has just went from ‘occasionally’ to ‘never’, and I suspect this is true for others as well. He’s mainly hurting himself here, since a lot of readers who may have been willing to overlook the occasional off-colour remark are now being faced with overt, unapologetic misogyny. Adams clearly assumes his audience consists of misogynistic men, a prediction which will undoubtedly fulfill itself as both women and men who don’t like what he said run away in droves, leaving him with the small and hate-filled readership he deserves.

  6. Anna

    Actually, Jen, I suspect it’s not going to impact his readership in any seriously noticeable way. A lot of people won’t have heard what went down, or will dismiss or minimize it as Mr Adams keeps doing whenever he’s upset that people are critiquing his words in a wider context, and a lot of people will, sadly, agree.

  7. Alison

    Just deleted Dilbert from RSS feed. Granted, they’ve become decreasingly less funny, so not a great loss in creativity.

    Am I the only one completely baffled by the othering of people with disabilities (PWD) and children? We have men, women, children, and PWDs as separate categories. Did Adams fail sex ed? It sounds almost like all children and PWDs are just inferior versions of men to him.
    (Who argues with children about candy? I was under the belief that current best practice parenting meant explaining why rules are in place not just saying “no.”)

    Some of these men’s rights issues don’t sound like sexism to me. Anyone got a better view on why life expectancy and college numbers are sexist against men?

    I don’t remember any euthanasia law for men… The lower life expectancy for males is seen in many mammals, so I think this may be genetic predisposition rather than just society’s fault.

    Affirmative action is illegal at the undergraduate level, so is he complaining that talented women are “taking” the positions of less talented men? There wasn’t an outcry when more men attended college than women, so I don’t get why he says there would be.


    1. kiturak

      Am I the only one completely baffled by the othering of people with disabilities (PWD) and children?

      No. Over at Feministe, it’s a subject – sadly for the main part because of the author’s using the r*t*rd-word to paraphrase Adam’s comparison, and a lot of other ableist stuff in the comments.
      Interesting thing is, Adams’ disclaimer in the last paragraph,

      I realize I might take some heat for lumping women, children and the mentally handicapped in the same group. So I want to be perfectly clear. I’m not saying women are similar to either group.

      emphasizes that he himself would consider the comparison as offensive towards women, which is an ableist, ageist stance that neither of the articles I read so far wholly manages to elude, in my opinion (except for tinysprout, obviously).
      The offensive part about that point especially is not the comparison between different discriminated groups of people, but the suggestion that “you” (as a man, which are seemingly the only people he was talking to anyway) should engage neither of them in earnest.

    2. Rachel

      Especially since the life expectancy difference is only favorable to women in the developed world. Women in third-world nations have a dramatically lower life expectancy than men, because they are routinely denied access to food and medicine while simultaneously doing the bulk of household labor. Which includes things like hauling grain, water, and firewood — hardly the work of some mythical “weaker sex.”

      1. Different Meg

        Is that actually true? I was sure that there are only a couple of countries in which men’s life expectancy was lower than women’s, countries which are inarguably horribly oppressive towards women included. When something like that is so consistent across the board regardless of culture, it really makes me wonder whether that unfairness can really be chalked up to straight-up sexism against men.

        I mean, obviously certain cultural things serve to lower men’s life expectancy, like male-majority militaries and the expectation that men behave more recklessly/aggressively, but there are other factors that lower women’s life expectancy at the same time, like death from childbirth. Probably a couple of major reasons why the countries where women die before/at the same time as men usually seem to be less-developed is that developed countries have figured out how to make childbirth safer, and reduce civilian war casualties by keeping the war on enemy territory and off the home front. How many US citizens do you think died in the Vietnam war, the Iraq wars, the Afghanistan war, etc., as compared to Vietnamese, Iraqi, and Afghani civilians?

        Anyway, it’s not like there is some magical thing raising men’s life expectancies in these even-expectancy countries; people of both genders live very short lives. So the solutions to the uneven expectancy problem seem to be: (1) artificially lower women’s life expectancy, or (2) try to even out those factors that are limiting men’s life expectancy. That would probably mean encouraging women in the military and trades (which includes many dangerous but well-compensated-for-education-level jobs) as well as creating a more stable model of masculinity that doesn’t require aggression and allows for men to talk comfortably about their feelings. (Women are twice as likely to become depressed as men, but also more likely to seek help. Men commit suicide four times as much as women do. I think the numbers speak for themselves there.) If the MRAs are looking for option #1, then they are only confirming the stereotype that they are bitter misogynists who just want women to suffer, which is ridiculous. If they’re going for #2, then why the heck are they complaining about feminism so much? Women in military and trades, men who are less aggressive and more emotionally-intelligent… those don’t sound like goals that feminism works against, you know?

        1. Terri

          I did some very brief research, and this does not seem to be true: at least according to the news reports I found, women seem to have longer lives in most countries, period, regardless of their development level. Most articles noted that the cause of this inequity is unknown, and while wars and other dangerous jobs are among the popular theories, others included suggestions that this was just another expression of the “larger animals have shorter lives” we see repeatedly in other creatures, or that the XX chromosome configuration made women more genetically resilient to a segment of diseases.


        2. Restructure!

          If they’re going for #2, then why the heck are they complaining about feminism so much? Women in military and trades, men who are less aggressive and more emotionally-intelligent… those don’t sound like goals that feminism works against, you know?

          There is a type of anti-feminist men who believe that the goal of feminism is uphold traditional gender roles, that feminist women want their men to adhere to traditional masculinity. This is why DavidByron says, “And do you support a man to stay at home and not work?” It’s because he believes that feminists typically want men to be macho alpha males.

          Where does this come from, since it’s pretty much the opposite of mainstream feminism? It probably comes from misogyny. Instead of listening to what feminists are saying, they believe that a woman’s movement is all about amplifying “female privilege”, like crying and wanting men to hold open doors and pay for dinner.

    3. Catherine

      “I don’t remember any euthanasia law for men… The lower life expectancy for males is seen in many mammals, so I think this may be genetic predisposition rather than just society’s fault.”

      Maybe staying alive just keeps slipping into that 90% of things that men supposedly don’t care about?

      I think we all want our male loved ones to enjoy long lives as much as we want our female loved ones to. Obviously, other issues Adams mentioned like suicide rates and the draft play roles in life expectancies for each sex. But although feminists–and, actually, most people–think these issues are important, Adams’ answer is that men shouldn’t want to live longer anyway. That’s right, suck it up and add life to the 90% of things you supposedly don’t care about. Save yourself for what’s important–what exactly is that anyway?

  8. moose

    I posted a link to this on Facebook the other day, with the comment that what offended me most was the way the whole thing boiled down to “Men == smart, women == whiny bitches.”

    Most of the men who ‘follow’ me got it, including one who pointed out that if you read what he wrote and replaced every instance of “women” with “bitches” nothing changes in the meaning.

    One man insisted that I was “reading too much into it” and that Adams was just pointing out the difference in genders, but since he did it in a flippant manner it was open to misinterpretation. He then went on to explain to me that,

    “Adams is wrong about the male/female wage differential, though. He attributes it to men being more aggressive, but the primary cause is that marriage and raising children place asymmetrical opportunity costs on women versus men.”

    Of course, I replied, how could I be so stupid. Women don’t get paid more because they produce babies. It has nothing to do with women constantly being valued less and perceived as less competent than their male counterparts. Gee, golly.

    Nothing like another person’s sexist stupidity to identify the other sexist schmucks in your life.

    1. Jayn

      Bah. The only part of child-rearing that HAS to be done by women is pregnancy and childbirth. The fact that what follows is disproportionately done by women doesn’t mean that women have different opportunity costs, it means that our society is sexist and values neither women (ie. “shouldn’t Palin be at home taking care of her family?” nor ‘women’s work’ (ie. men are too important to do such menial thigns).

      1. Kim Curry

        Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

        Yes, formula exists, and is in some cases a lifesaver. In most cases, formula is inferior to nature’s product.

        1. ATGGAATAA

          Not even breast feeding. Men can totes do that. We do have mammary glands, and they will function given the proper stimulus.

  9. Liz Walsh

    You know, my husband and I were talking about this, and he reminded me of the Dilbert cartoon episode where Dilbert got pregnant, but not only did he get pregnant, he started acting like a woman… the most grossly disgusting, wrongheaded, stereotypical portrayal of a woman. He refused to watch the episode, because it was bad enough he could hear me screaming obscenities at the television. We wondered how such an episode got greenlit, or who actually would have thought it funny.

    That blog post? Explains so damn much.

  10. fearfullofwrath

    As much as I don’t agree with his conclusions, I think this whole thing does bring to light 2 things that severely bother me about the majority of what I’ve seen about the moderate feminist community in general, as well as why I don’t blog or participate in forward activism for other causes I believe in.

    a) I have yet to find a place where the finer details of what exactly IS and IS NOT gender equality can be discussed. As a person who identifies with 90% of the feminist perspective I find myself shying away from topics I feel very strongly about simply because the ideology of the land seems to be “if you don’t blindly agree with our solution your obviously part of the problem”. Countless times have I found myself reading an article on a feminist website or blog where the first 1/2 of text describing the problem makes me go “wow that is really messed up, I’m glad somebody is doing something about it”, only to read the proposed solution in the 2nd half and think to my self “wow, that solution is almost as unfair as the original problem!”, only to end my reading with “well Ill just be silent because if I point that out ill be branded as somebody who is against fixing the problem” simply because i don’t agree with that particular solution.

    and b) The idea that people are willing to support or NOT support art because of the detected messages from its creator “off screen”. I would be curious to see the metrics on just how many readers and subscribers Scott is going to loose all because he chose share his views on a controversial topic. Not judging art only for what it is has never been something I’ve been comfortable with. And seeing how the creations of others can and is repeatedly marginalized because of “something they said on the side” is reason enough for me to NEVER allow my personal views to be associated with the things I create and can be found on the internet.

    Case and point, even if Scott had never responded to any ridicule, people would still be advertising the anti – support of his work for a deleted post. Even an apology at this point would be moot since those who are offended can and will continue to advertise what he attempted to “redact” by removing it from public view.

    1. Terri

      I just want to say that as someone who blogs about feminism here… I too am often highly uncomfortable with the responses and norms in our community. So you’re not alone. I had to think long and hard before I decided to accept the offer to blog here, whether I’d use my real name, for reasons much like your own.

      But I’ve come to realize that is basically a problem in any community. My friends who identify as Christian, atheist, white, suffer from mental illnesses, are under the age of 35… any time you can be lumped into a group, you’re lumped with a large body of people who may sometimes seem to have homogenous views that don’t fit your own (and chances are they aren’t nearly as homogenous as they seem). The best way to really help with that is often to use your own voice and be less homogenous when it matters to you.

      As to point (b), however…. I don’t think it’s fair to criticize people for not supporting someone who they feel they fundamentally disagree with. I agree that it might be nice to be able to separate the person and the art and appreciate one or the other without necessarily appreciating both. But sadly, in this case, reading the comic online, you’re actually making a financial contribution through advertising impressions. Buying books, again, a financial contribution. I don’t think it’s fair to complain that people might choose not to financially support someone whose views they find hurtful, misinformed, or abhorrent.

    2. Mary

      In addition, with regard to (b), Scott Adams’ cartoons are social commentary, essentially. It’s pointless to draw bright lines around such things, but it’s probably easier in the main to separate, say, a musical composition from the beliefs and political allegiances of the composer (as many but by no means all people do with Wagner for example) than a work of fiction portraying human(-like) characters interacting in a recognisable world.

      Beliefs about the author’s intent do (for many people) affect their reading. So, for example, if a woman is portrayed largely negatively in a fictional work, people do respond differently to it if they read her as a single character who happens to be an unlikeable one to if they read her as a stand in for A Lesson From Our Author About How All Women Suck. Additionally in the case of ongoing works such as Dilbert (which for the record I’ve never read more than a few strips of and thus this is my first and likely last comment on this thread), it is somewhat reasonable to use the author’s stated beliefs and political allegiances as a loose guide to the kind of content they are likely to produce in future and if one dislikes content of that kind one might as well stay away. It’s not totally fair but there’s a lot of art in the world and only a limited amount of it one can consume.

      On this subject I tend to argue just on a factual basis: people can make decisions to support or not support art (and business) on whatever grounds they like, and frequently although not always it will partly be about the person and attributes they perceive to be behind it. It’s not something I particularly associate with feminism more than other clusters of people.

      1. fearfullofwrath

        I’d have to agree, as far as “that’s what people do, it’s not a feminist thing” I guess the idea of trying to “punish” somebody by not buying a product and attempting to “force them to change their mind at least publicly less their art not be accepted” or more specifically “their business not succeed” seems like “thought crime” to me. And the idea of deciding that something “sends a message that we don’t agree with” and as such must be “stopped” or “punished” even if somebody isn’t trying to “send a message” is a theme I see argued in feminism quite often.

        1. Jen

          This is an issue which I have seen come up quite a lot in my own life. I regularly make choices that could be seen as being ‘punishment’ for an individual or organization having values I disagree with. One example is my choice not to read Dilbert or Adams’ blog because of his stated misogynist beliefs. Another couple of recent choices in my life: when looking for a company to provide domains and website hosting I ruled out GoDaddy, even though it is one of the cheapest and most popular, because I consider their advertising to be creepy and sexist. Another example is that while looking for an online payment method I tried hard to avoid PayPal, because of their decision to block donations to Wikileaks after the diplomatic cables were released. A further example: when choosing software I avoid software that is not open source where possible, even when the functionality is the same, because I have a moral/philosophical preference for open source.

          Does this make me the Thought Police, autocratically imposing my beliefs on others? Personally, I don’t think so. I’m not saying Scott Adams should be arrested. I’m not saying a group of men dressed all in black should turn up at his house at 3am to take him away to a secret prison in Cuba. I’m just making a choice not to consume a product or service. I see Scott Adams’ misogynist rant as an expression of his right to free speech, and by saying that I think Scott Adams is a misogynistic twit I am in turn using my own right to free speech.

          Obviously not all feminists believe the same things. I express my views strongly, but there is no suggestion that my views belong to anyone but me. I always thought (and correct me if this is not the case!) it was understood that commenters on a blog like this are expressing their own opinions, which the people who write articles for this blog, and the other readers and commenters, don’t necessarily agree with.

        2. Mary

          a theme I see argued in feminism quite often

          This is starting to become a strange argument given your initial intro about not identifying as a feminist because you think that a parcel of associated beliefs is required. Now I don’t think that’s false, but at the same time, you seem to want us to defend things that I can’t see anyone here actually doing. There isn’t any call for “punishment” of Scott Adams or his “thought crimes” here or any calls for him to change his mind, except insofar as there are people disagreeing with his post. There is one person speculating (not even clearly hoping, although it’s quite possible she does) that this will hurt his business and someone disagreeing that it will. (There are also other disagreements in this thread, see for example Laughingrat to Meg.) I particularly do not see calls from anyone for others to avoid Adams’ work here (although, to be transparent, I don’t think such calls would be out of line, myself, it’s just that they haven’t happened).

          It seems problematic to me to come here and say you want feminism to have less group-think but at the same time want us to actively defend or denounce arguments (about “thought crime” and “punishment”) that haven’t even come up here, rather than have the conversation we’re actually having, which is individuals largely disagreeing with Adams and/or stating that they personally will not read his work in future.

        3. Carla Schroder

          Punish? Force? Group think? Where do you get all that, fearfullofwrath? You read much into nothing and generalize excessively. I decide where I spend my money, and it is my privilege to not be a customer of any person or business for whatever reasons. Especially misogynist buttheads and other bigots.

    3. 2ndnin

      Part of the issue here fearfullofwrath is that Scott Adams is in some ways correct about what he writes. Taking only the wage gap part (since it’s one of the few parts that is defensible in terms of what he wrote) I can understand his point in that taking the path of least resistance makes sense unless it really is your bugbear or you like arguing. This tactic shouldn’t really be taken as derailing so much as common sense (we can’t focus on everything at once without burning ourselves out), however verbalising it is generally a faux pas (see the recent comments on s.e.smith and her reasons for leaving feminism because of the lack of focus on her goals).

      The argument will generally go something like: The commonly stated figure for this of 73c on the dollar or similar doesn’t tend to account for various factors and when those become factored in the number drops to something between 88c-95c on the dollar. Outside of the US in Europe for example the pay gap goes from something like 63e/d to 95e/d across various countries without accounting for other factors so it is a highly variable proposition (often individual negotiated jobs have > 5% difference between the minimum and maximum pay for a grade) to discuss. Even if you go beyond this and achieve a ‘victory’ at this point the discussion moves from equal pay for the same job to equal pay for equivalent work, then equal pay for equal consequences, then equal outcome (see the recent UK government cuts which are 66-75% female due to the imbalance in gender employment in the public sector).

      By moving the argument in this way it is effectively impossible to argue because the original point is moved much in the same way that discussion of Mf rape on feminist sites if derailed by Mm prison rape and similar. So while Scott Adams might be a horrible person his point about letting the 90% of life we don’t care enough about go by without issue makes some sense in terms of ever actually achieving equality and having a ‘normal’ life.

    4. takingitoutside

      A second on Terri’s comments about communities. “Feminist” is defined unusually widely, as well, and I’ve found it relatively easy to more or less disagree with a “fellow feminist” on every issue, ever, except that we both like to call ourselves feminists.

      That said, as far as your comment that “trying to “punish” somebody by not buying a product and attempting to “force them to change their mind at least publicly less their art not be accepted” or more specifically “their business not succeed” seems like “thought crime” to me” is concerned, I’ve heard that argument a lot. There’s a short response and a longer, less flippant response. In short, why do you think I owe Scott Adams business success? The longer answer takes more time, obviously, but it does boil down to the same thing: Adams’ business is based on selling his ideas, in comic form. If I don’t like those ideas, I don’t have to buy. If that means his business doesn’t succeed, so what? It’s not my responsibility in life to support his comics.

      If I left off there, it’s still a pretty short response, but there’s more to it than just that. Regardless of how you feel about Adams and Dilbert, in the grand scheme of things Adams is trying to sell you stuff. You are free to choose to consume those things – or not – based on your estimation of the quality of the art, your personal taste, your political views, the state of the weather, your soccer team’s current ranking, whether you’re hallucinating purple pandas today instead of green – any reason whatsoever. Not buying something is not a punishment. Buying something, however, is definitely a show of support, on some level.

      I feel rather strongly about this because of my love of movies. More accurately, because of how people react to my expressing my love of movies. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve told someone that I didn’t go to see one movie, of the ten or twenty currently out, because it depicted all women as drunken prostitutes (or something like that), only to have that person burst out incredulously, “You’re BOYCOTTING it!?!?!”

      That is not a boycott. That is me, choosing to spend my hard-earned money on one thing (ex. DVD of the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer movie) instead of another (ex. The Social Network). I am not punishing The Social Network in this example. I am supporting a hilarious, dark action-comedy whose heroine saves a handsome young man via judicious staking of vampires, all while wearing some very stylish outfits. Most consumption decisions are like that; not “I’m not spending on Y in order to punish Y”, but “I’m spending on X instead of Y because X looks fun and has smart, strong female characters but Y just looks like it could be somewhat fun.”

      You might be thinking that a creator could hold opinions that don’t carry through into their art. It’s certainly possible, for instance with a person who paints watercolours of flowers or something like that. Do you have any examples of people declining to purchase from artists like that because of their viewpoints? Given artists whose viewpoints directly influence their works, those viewpoints absolutely must be taken into account when analyzing the works.

      In the end, we all have a finite amount of time and money, and we should spend them however best pleases us.

  11. Bruce Byfield

    One thing to take away from Scott Adams’ rant is that apparently some men believe that complaining is part of male privilege.

    This is an insight that had never hit me before, so I would almost thank him — if only his views and his self-conceit about the complexity of his views weren’t so disgusting

  12. Restructure!

    In the restaurants I go to, women aren’t served first. They serve whatever dish that is finished first. Maybe I don’t have enough class privilege as Scott Adams to regularly eat at upscale restaurants that adhere to old-world values.

    1. Carla Schroder

      Heh, good one Restructure. I was going to comment on that, and then decided to keep my comment brief, because responding to all the absurdities of Adam’s post would be a very long comment. The places I eat in, the server comes out magically carrying a half-dozen loaded plates so service order is determined by which plate offloads first, and half the time they’ve forgotten who gets what and have to ask.

      I wish I had taken exception to his calling men “pussies” because it is so very tiresome and misogynistic to denigrate men by calling them girls.

      Really, the whole rant reads like a peevish old man longing for the days of slaves, wenches, and whippings.

    2. Catherine

      Yes, the paragraph before that one (the third paragraph), where Adams listed a number of various issues, raised my eyebrows because it lumped together some very different kinds of problems (such as the draft and suicide rates), but I thought well, okay, he does say he is simply listing what his readers have named.

      But then he said, “We take for granted…” and I immediately thought, “Wait, WHO takes for granted?” Sex-based etiquette systems have long been criticized by feminists, and it has been decades since even Miss Manners has suggested that younger people yield to older ones, rather than men to women. And Adams’ invocation to imagine situations reversed just seems ignorant of history. Yes, there was a time before chivalry-based etiquette. Yes, there was a time when men received more college degrees than women. Yes, there are countries that draft women. Yes, we all can imagine. Many brilliant thinkers have been studying all these issues and illuminating the rest of us.

    3. kiturak

      It’s right that what little politeness gender etiquette had towards women only really ever applied to privileged women – white, upper class, … While antifeminists of both genders held up an idealized image of “women” as fragile, beautiful and too gentle to be bothered by everyday work and politics, to be worshipped and protected – by that they never meant women that were not of the ruling class, who just worked at least as hard as men, but for less money. Which made it easier for privileged women to fall for essentialized gender categories, who in turn slowed down the struggle for their own rights and the struggle against other forms of oppression. And still does.

      1. Restructure!

        Are you suggesting that there is a “female privilege” and I don’t notice it because I am female, or that Scott Adams does not notice his class privilege?

        If it is the former, then I would like to point out that like at the restaurants I go to, the waiters/waitresses do not remember who ordered what, which is why they have to ask which person ordered what dish when the food arrives.

  13. DavidByron

    He’s correct to say feminists are irrational and cannot be debated with. Most boards would just censor any comment critical of the feminist ideology. It’s hard to imagine a “debate” with a feminist because if any feminist were capable of reason they would cease being a feminist. For example imagine this exchange:

    Rational feminist: women are paid 76 cents on the dollar for the same work which is unfair and sexist.

    Men’s rights guy; if that was actually true I would agree. It is false.

    Rational feminist: figures on women being paid less come from everywhere. Here’s is a link to (some source) stating women are paid less.

    Men’s Rights guy: If you examine your source more carefully you will see that it doesn’t claim the statistic compares men and women doing the same work. It claims the statistic comes from averaging all full time workers, regardless of what work they do. Men and women do not do the same work on average. For example men work hours longer on average, even among full time workers. Its not comparing like with like at all.

    Rational feminist: that is true. Wow. I’ve always been told the statistic represented men and women doing the same work, but you’re right that it does not.

    1. Terri

      Your post is clearly meant to be inciting rather than purely insightful, but you raise something worth discussing…

      That’s only the beginning of the conversation. The next question is… why the disparity in wage even for not perfectly equivalent work? Is it because it is more difficult for women to get hired to higher paying jobs? (There’s stats that imply this to be true.) Is it because women are more heavily penalized when they ask for promotions or otherwise negotiate within their jobs? (Again, studies imply this is true.) Are men being forced to work longer hours because they aren’t expected to take on childcare duties? (I suspect this from the terrible experiences some of my friends who are fathers have, but haven’t seen studies…) Should we be taking into account other benefits women get when calculating salary? (e.g. do more women have access to flex hours?)

      It’s a very interesting and complex argument with a lot of deeper questions than just who earns more; you’re definitely right about that. And the bad stuff hidden within those stats definitely affects both men and women differently.

      However, as to stats that are correlated for identical work, I’ve still seen numbers that are around 86% within software engineering in the US. That was the disparity between men and women without children, working equivalent positions within software engineering, presumably with similar hours. I believe I saw this in one of the NCWIT publications:

      So sure, that’s clearly better than 76%, but… uh… Not really wage parity yet.

    2. Carla Schroder

      Mmm, the piquant aroma of fresh troll.

      One factor in the wage inequity discussion that is rarely discussed is the assumption that it ok, even admirable, for men to neglect their families for their jobs. Even Scott Adams’ piece brought that up as praiseworthy. Isn’t that what wives are for, to do the trivial girly tasks of hearth, home, and children? I don’t think that is admirable at all, though it seems an entrenched value in our awesome American society where money is god.

      Wage inequity is one of those subtler yet potent discriminations that the wilfully blind refuse to see. It’s real, it’s entrenched, and because it is not as obvious as an act of violence why we’re just imagining it. Or it’s our fault in some vague way.

    3. Restructure!

      Let’s take your argument further to address the race and gender pay gap. This is a comment on the linked article that was highly rated (56 agree, 9 disagree):

      What absolute bunk. If there is a differential, it is due to the nature of the jobs worked, and NOT the skin colour of the people working said jobs. EG white men being more likely to be CEOs, bankers, etc and non-white women more likely to be maids, waitresses, etc… This study, and many like it, is comparing apples to oranges, in an effort, I suspect, to further demonize white males.

      The argument is that white men are more likely to be CEOs and non-white women are more likely to be maids and waitresses … which somehow shows that there is no race and gender discrimination. This only makes sense if you believe that there are genetic racial and gender differences in ability between white men and non-white women, which make one group more naturally suited to being CEOs and the other group more naturally suited to being maids and waitresses. Or maybe you believe that it’s a difference in interest. White men innately aspire to be CEOs and earn millions, while non-white women innately aspire to be maids and waitresses and earn minimum wage?

  14. Steampunked

    It’s fascinating – I tweeted a pretty mild comment about being disappointed in Scott Adams (though admittedly, I last read Dilbert over six years ago), and got insta-trolls telling me that what I wanted was an insincere squirming apology from him – and that all men were ‘pussies’ where I lived. It’s odd that it’s the go-to insult even when talking to a woman. And of course I don’t want an insincere apology – I’d rather have a real one.

    ‘No one with good reading comprehension has disagreed with anything in the article…’
    Is this the lesser spotted reverse No True Scotsman? :D

    1. Terri

      “No one with good reading comprehension has disagreed with anything in the article…’
      Is this the lesser spotted reverse No True Scotsman?

      Yes, yes it is.

      For those not familiar with this logical fallacy, here’s the wikipedia page:

      On a related note… while it may be tempting to dismiss those who disagree as having lesser intellect, what if actually takes someone smarter than you could find the flaws in your argument?

      1. Catherine

        I, too, keep wondering whether the only test of reading comprehension is agreement with Adams. So much of my education wasted writing response papers, when all I had to say was “agree” or “disagree”!

  15. ninjapenguin

    Oh, why so faily, Scott?

    On the upside, xkcd has been featuring more women lately, so yay!

  16. AMM

    I’m someone who has read and will continue to read Dilbert, mostly because I work for one of those big burocratic companies, and seeing the sort of stupidity and absurdity I see every day being publicly ridiculed is one of the few ways I have of keeping my sanity.

    On the other hand, I’ve never had any illusions that Scott Adams is a deep thinker. He writes mostly to get a rise (whether positive or negative) out of people, and he’s not used to being asked to back up or even think very much about what he says.

    In this case, I think the approval of his fan base encouraged him to say something nice and outrageous which would get his fans to cheer him. (Reminds me of how guys at a fraternitly get-together can egg one another on to do really stupid things.) When he got hit with the blow-back from outside his fan base, he had the choice of admitting he’d made an ass of himself, or to commit to being-an-ass as a 24/7 career.

    The real problem is that so much of population is happy to tell Adams that he is right, and to even see him as a hero. Most of these aren’t any more committed to the cause of oppressing women than Adams is, and they’re doing it for pretty much the same reasons Adams is: it’s easy and fun to go along with the mob.

    I think this is true of most misogynists and sexists. Some do it out of some deep-seated need, but most just do it because it’s easy to keep on doing it and changing is too much trouble.

  17. DavidByron

    Alright I have had an opportunity to look around the web site since first posting here and I think I owe folks an apology for pitching things too aggressively. Specifically I want to apologise to Terri, although I see it’s a sort of group blog thing.

    I don’t have an issue with people being that way to me, but it seems like that’s not how you do things here, and the level the feminist remarks about men are pitched at here, seems a lot milder than I am used to on a feminist site. I dunno if that is the “geek” aspect :)

    So, “sorry”.

    Don’t get me wrong though; I still disagree with about 99% of the stuff here on the grounds that I think men should be considered equal to women, and not considered lesser people any more.

    I had an unrelated though which I will post separately.

    1. Restructure!


      and the level the feminist remarks about men are pitched at here, seems a lot milder than I am used to on a feminist site. […] I still disagree with about 99% of the stuff here on the grounds that I think men should be considered equal to women, and not considered lesser people any more.

      You are acting like a stereotypical ignorant anti-feminist man, who believes that feminism is about hating men, and who probably learns about feminism through movies and TV shows. You appear to be attacking a straw feminist.

      However, if you want to argue what you want to argue with someone, go here. She’s a female supremacist and anti-feminist, who is also extremely transphobic.

    2. Terri


      As you’ve correctly divined, this site does have a very specific tone, and the comments I have from you in moderation are pushing too far outside of what’s considered acceptable here. I hate to use a tone argument on you, especially since I know this is often used as a silencing tactic for dissent… but if you could take the time to rephrase and consider how you express your points, I think you’ve got some actually really interesting legitimate commentary on the need for men’s rights activism — much more interesting commentary than we saw from the original fake men’s rights post by Scott Adams — but it’s very hard to justify posting it as is. Normally I’d paraphrase to get good ideas continuing on the site, but I haven’t had time to devote to comment moderation this week (recall: None of our bloggers here get paid for this), so they’re simply languishing.

      Restructure, Carla, and probably others could also stand to watch the tone here. Take the high road or whatever, and I don’t care who started it and where.

      I’m happy to let discussion continue if we can be a bit more civil, but if people are just going to go around with the ad hominem attacks, I’m just going to start trashing stuff as a way of minimizing the time needed to keep this discussion within our comment guidelines.

      1. Carla Schroder

        Restructure, Carla, and probably others could also stand to watch the tone here. Take the high road or whatever, and I don’t care who started it and where.

        I’m happy to let discussion continue if we can be a bit more civil, but if people are just going to go around with the ad hominem attacks, I’m just going to start trashing stuff as a way of minimizing the time needed to keep this discussion within our comment guidelines.

        Speaking the truth bluntly rather than couched in soft fluffy don’t-offend language is not uncivil. It may not be nice, but then the truth is often not “nice”. DavidByron’s comments IMO never should have been posted (comment guidelines here

        I’m not a college student with a head full of polite wordy academic language on feminism and misogyny. Just an old coot who has lived with decades of this garbage and doesn’t see any particular reason to be nice to trolls or to people who insult women and this blog. No worries, I don’t need to be here and have never felt particularly welcome. Your playground, your rules.

        1. DavidByron

          I have to agree with Carla here Terri.

          I hadn’t read those rules but it is evident that anyone criticising feminism in any way is not allowed to post here, according to those rules as written. Those are very typical rules on a feminist board because feminists always censor their critics. That is because feminism cannot withstand any criticism.

          Note: liberal boards never have rules explicitly banning certain opinions.

          You have been disingenuous I would say. You have suggested my comments were censored for tone but that you were interested in the content and not seeking to ban it. Clearly the rules say otherwise.

          You need to think about this and decide if you are going to abide by your rules and admit you have no intellectual integrity, or whether you will violate your rules and admit anti-feminist content.

        2. Terri

          The rules here are indeed pretty explicit about anti-feminist content not being ok. Despite the fact that DavidByron’s posts are in clear violation of our rules, I don’t mind allowing some posts challenging standard assertions through when they’re interesting to the discussion at hand, and since this post did start with Scott Adams’ assertions about men’s rights, it makes sense to allow more discussion related to inequities that men face, even though that’s normally off-topic for this blog.

          The rules also explicitly state that we’re allowed whatever leeway we need to keep discussions sane and on-topic.

          It seems this whole thread has a high chance of turning in to a “liar liar pants on fire!” name-calling mess, and I was hoping a few of the key players might be interested in continuing more within the site guidelines and with fewer personal or strawman attacks, but this doesn’t seem to be the case, so we’re done here for now.

  18. DavidByron

    In my experience comedians, as the “jesters” of our society, at the most free to challenge taboos. Comedians often undermine feminism and its attack on men, while other people would be too cowed to do it.

    I think Tim Allen had a book “don’t stand too close to a naked man” for example.

    I have an unpublished comment up where I ask in reply to Scott Adam’s comment, OK you tell men’s rights folks to quit trying to raise the issue of sexism because feminists will just slap you down and laugh at you, so why are you here doing the same? It’s certainly very brave of him, but maybe he feels as a court jester he can say these things while ordinary men (or women) couldn’t?

    Elsewhere he’s said the piece was attacking men’s rights guys, but despite his calling them “pussies”, I guess I don’t see it that way.

    BTW this board is now Google’s top hit for “Scott Adams feminism”. I don’t think it was the other week.

    1. Terri

      Yeah, looking at his explanation, I don’t know that it’s fair to call him brave or even particularly intellectual. Basically, it sounds like he intended to troll both men’s rights activists and feminists, and is crowing about his success in doing so:

      I mean, don’t get me wrong, trolling can be creative, clever, and force people to think. But it seems like the good ideas that came out of this discussion are more in spite of his intent than because of it.

  19. Carla Schroder

    What’s so brave about Scott Adams? He posted his crybaby rant for a short time then took it down, then scuttles around the Internets defending it, sort of. He doesn’t actually talk to anyone or engage in discussion; he copypastes and runs. The jester is supposed to speak truth to power, not whine about how the powerful and privileged get their way only a tiny 99% fraction of the time.

    DavidByron, you’re another waste of electrons spouting the same tired old garbage about feminists are like all mean to men and oppressing them, and the poor mens can’t say anything without the mean feminists being all cruel and talking back and stuff, instead of shutting up like women are supposed to, and making sweeping generalizations that don’t fit anything real. Nobody gets you wrong; rather the reverse is true. I don’t know why your posts are approved, since all you’re doing is insulting women and this blog.

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