Naming and shaming

3 Dec

Naming and shaming


I don’t always agree with feminist writer and activist Clementine Ford. I disliked her “Fuck Abbott” t-shirts and wouldn’t be caught dead in one. I disliked even more her “I hate men” hashtag on Twitter.

But Clem Ford has taken on men who are abusive and threatening to women online, and one Michael Nolan has lost his job because the company he works for won’t have its employees publicly abusing women.

Of course Ford has received bucket loads of abuse for complaining about Nolan to his employer because, as she notes, the worst thing you can possibly do is make a man accountable for his actions.

In other words, a male who is so inclined may visit all kinds of abuse upon a woman, but this is secondary to the offence she commits by insisting that he be held accountable for his actions.

Well, fuck that for a joke.

When a man abuses a woman he loses his right to privacy. If he has a family, he also destroys their right to privacy.

Give me one good reason why any woman abused by a man is obliged to remain silent about that abuse in order to protect him, his reputation, his job or his family. He should have thought about all those aspects of his life before he perpetrated the abuse. Maybe if he does think about all those aspects of his life, he will think twice about perpetrating the abuse. And if he doesn’t respect his own life and others in it, why on earth should a woman he’s abused be expected to do it for him?

Actions have consequences. Suck it up, dudes. The shame’s going where it belongs.

If women stay silent about the abuses visited upon us because we’ll be perceived as vengeful bitches if we speak out and the perpetrator loses his reputation, his job, his family, then women are saying to men, abuse me, I won’t say anything because your job, reputation, family are more important than me. It’s ok, abuse me, and I’ll sacrifice my well-being for yours.

Well, fuck that for a joke as well.

I don’t know what else we can do about violence against women, no matter what form it takes. Name the bastards. If that’s what it’s going to take to make them think about what they’re doing, name the bastards, because the consequences of that naming and shaming are down to them, not the women they abuse.

The days of male entitlement are, albeit at a glacial rate, coming to a close. Men who abuse and exploit women are accountable for their actions, and the choices and decisions they make and the risks they take in the making.

It’s not our shame that we name them. It’s their shame that they have to be named.

And for the women in their lives who are collateral damage: take a step back and a good look at the kind of man you’re spending your life with and ask yourself, do I really have to set the bar this low?

We don’t have to stay silent so abusive and exploitative men can stay comfortable.

Fuck that for a joke.





41 Responses to “Naming and shaming”

  1. Sketcher December 3, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

    Well said and about time.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. hudsongodfrey December 3, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    I agree with the whole thrust of your argument even though I’m sure there’s a case that’ll be made against naming and shaming either excessively or indiscriminately if it affects somebody who turns out to be innocent. I think we’ll just have to work through those issues and learn somehow to deal with it all. If it affects somebody’s employment then I’m sure there could be legal processes involved, which is tedious, but if you want social change you have to pitch it at a social level. Anyone being asked to think twice about the effects of their thoughts and actions who finds that too much of a change is probably a fairly retrograde specimen to begin with or at the very least being ridiculously over-sensitive while expecting others to suck it up and cop their bad behaviour. That’s as selfish a double standard as I’ve ever heard of, but therein in its way lies my one small gripe here……

    It’s the slogan, “I will not stay silent so that you can stay comfortable”. Don’t make me reconstruct everything that is meant to be positive about it, there’s plenty and I accept that. But its also taking permission for selfishness. “I will not stay silent” when staying silent is something I don’t wish I felt like I had to do. “So that you can stay comfortable” that being something I probably care less about unless there are consequences for me.

    If only it culminated in something with more altruistic appeal. I don’t know what but the sentiment just strikes me as very first world problematic and not quite intellectually rigorous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 3, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

      Ah, you are right, HG, it is taking permission for selfishness.
      I do like the middle finger though…

      Liked by 1 person

      • hudsongodfrey December 3, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

        There is something appropriate in about the finger. I have to grant that much 🙂


      • hudsongodfrey December 5, 2015 at 1:44 am #

        Sadly it turns out the image that’s been used for this meme was traceable via the Cocaine & Caviar cap back to a marketing campaign for a fairly tasteless clothing company. Would that they’d created original artwork, but I don’t know we can hold it against them. I only just happened to click and squint at the lettering thinking there might be a Clapton link or something.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson December 5, 2015 at 8:46 am #

          Oh bloody hell. I’m reclaiming it then


          • hudsongodfrey December 5, 2015 at 9:02 am #

            Fair enough. Had they digitally erased the text I’d never have given it a second look.


    • rhyllmcmaster December 4, 2015 at 12:19 am #

      “I will not stay silent…” has nothing to do with selfishness, and Jennifer has made her argument for not staying silent quite clear. It’s curious, hudsongodfrey, that you attack the very premise of her argument under the guise of improving the sentiment.

      Liked by 3 people

      • hudsongodfrey December 4, 2015 at 9:55 am #

        Hi Rhyll, I haven’t seen you here before so I’ll assume there’s subtext you’re missing. I’ve followed Jennifer’s blog for a while, supportively, and would therefore only offer points of view from a constructive perspective.

        If I’ve an insight to offer then it would be taken from the old adage “true change comes from within”. Even at those low points when we’re just the damned patriarchy to get true change you and I would we internalising the problem in language that talks about “ourselves”, not one another’s sides of the issue. If we were having a conversation about “true change” then we’d have to be changing “within” ourselves.

        That’s why to me anything that Balkanises the issue into sides ends up with each expecting the “other” to make any number of difficult, generally unwelcomed changes while they sit back and assume their side occupies some high ground entitling them to all the benefits for none of the sacrifices. In other words that’s just selfish, and completely unpersuasive, bullshit!

        I had a personal cringe moment over the slogan and Jennifer was kind enough to take my remarks in the sense in which they were offered.

        I think the slogan is apt to make some men feel threatened or at the very least alienated. And that’s a pity because the defiant empowering gesture of the finger and the words “I will not stay silent” strike me as positive characterful affirmations of strength, whereas the rest of the slogan lacks a real payoff. It isn’t even the best way to assert that somebody is “comfortable” at your expense. What does that word comfortable contain by way of expressing a grievance anyway? That you’re uncomfortable with somebody’s behaviour. But hang on a minute you’re tough, you just flipped me the bird and said so, yet your empowerment rests upon whether you’re uncomfortable? Oh! I’m sorry are you saying you’re offended? We’ll fuckity boo then as if that matters to somebody who patently disrespected you once already!….. Umm, okay ranting a bit, slipping into a Malcolm Tucker-esque example of why it possibly doesn’t command respect to talk about “comfort” when what you mean to do is flip the bird at actual abuse.

        “I will not stay silent” “I will not be abused”

        Hope you saw where I was going and what I intended by it this time around 🙂


        • stillsilent December 4, 2015 at 11:30 am #

          Its interesting how something as simple as a word can have a totally different meaning and impact to different people. I see your point of view about the word comfortable, but for me it has a totally different impact. As a female who was subjected to years of sexual abuse as a teenager, the word, in fact that entire sentence was empowering. My life has been tainted by that experience and the emotional and mental scarring is still quite raw. Yet my abuser has had a lovely life, untainted by his actions. He lives in comfort. That makes me angry and sad and hurt. I’m still a long way from naming and shaming, I may never have that courage. But the phrase ‘so you can stay comfortable’ and the accompanying article and, hudsongodfrey your considered,thought through point of view, have contributed to my, albeit anonymous, to talk about the subject, here, in a public forum. I feel slightly more powerful.

          Liked by 1 person

          • hudsongodfrey December 4, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

            May I say that a context can have a totally different meaning here too. I was very conscious when I rephrased the slogan that the word “abuse” could skew it in a different direction. though I’d rather hoped to stay within the context that Ford’s and Jennifer’s articles were addressing.

            It would be wrong to conflate abusing comments on Facebook with a sexually abusive childhood, but unfortunately some earnest souls get these things wrong. If the psychological impact of Facebook is really that torturous for somebody then they seriously need to close their account and leave it. The difference is clearly that your Facebook or your computer have off buttons, abusive situations are so much more difficult to disentangle yourself from. I would not imagine I’d get too much blowback from others saying sexually abused kids or adults need to be out of that at risk environment, and I’m sorry to hear you had to endure it once let alone repeatedly.

            You’ll know what you want to do about confronting the past when you’re ready, but if there’s anyone who you can talk to who’d be supportive it’d be nice to think that for once the offender neither takes it to the grave or as is so often the case never gets taken to task until well into their dotage. More power to you, and thanks for your kind remarks.


            • Jennifer Wilson December 4, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

              HG I have to disagree – Nobody should have to leave social media because someone is abusing them – its the abuser who must stop or leave.

              Liked by 2 people

              • hudsongodfrey December 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

                Yeah, but where did I say they should “have to leave social media”. They shouldn’t have to, but they might choose to anyway simply because it makes better sense for them at the time.

                The point I was making was simply to distinguish between facebook abuse, or online bulling in general, and real life sexual abuse for the sake of another poster who’s living with the effects of the latter. I hope you’re not disagreeing that those are two different contexts?

                In terms of the issue purely about facebook I think we can compare it to some kind of meeting place for friends. If you find your so called friends are behaving excruciatingly badly then you’d probably leave in real life. That’s all.

                At some gatherings the alternative to leaving is clearly to eject the unwanted party. That’s also possible using most social media platforms, and no big deal if the party in question was as creepy as Clementine’s abuser.

                And Ford was right to report him to boot, which I’ve already said, so let’s not be in any doubt about what I did or didn’t lend support to.

                I’d rather avoid the censorious banning we’d get were we to try and turn Facebook into Disneyland with lolcats. Being offended by another’s language isn’t nearly the equivalent of being abused, and yet if we’re not careful that’s the way this kind of putsch could be interpreted. For example: I wouldn’t like to have George Carlin’s seven words you couldn’t say on TV turned into the seven you can’t say on social media.

                What’s truly unacceptable is abuse with intent to demean or containing an element of malice, especially when it targets public figures with a view to intimidate. Most private individuals are going to want to exercise their own discretion as to what they’re willing to tolerate, and in so doing may occasionally find themselves setting the bar at levels public conversation either doesn’t support ro wouldn’t see reason to condemn. I think it may have already evolved to a point where the modifier to your right to free speech is my choice of what I listen to.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Jennifer Wilson December 4, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

                  Re your last point HG – I liked the action taken by students recently in the UK when they decided against no platforming a speaker, instead attending her performance , then quietly getting up & walking out. This demonstrated their right not to listen, without silencing the speaker or denying those who did want to listen the opportunity.
                  No, I realise you didn’t say anybody should have to leave social media.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • hudsongodfrey December 4, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

                    Yes well if I’m guessing the right one Katie Hopkins sounds like what the British might call a right piece of work!

                    Mind you you want to organise yourself with a group if you intend to make your protest credible. My memories of something similar were of a single indignant young fellow during a speaking tour by Jello Biafra, who attracted only boos, jeering and ill concealed laughter from the audience by interrupting and telling him he wasn’t hard enough to protest in the streets with the “real radicals”.


          • Jennifer Wilson December 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

            YaY!!! There’s no better feedback than that, stillsilent.
            All my very best to you, & whatever you do, do it in your own time. xx Jennifer.

            Liked by 1 person

        • rhyllmcmaster December 5, 2015 at 12:12 am #

          HI hudsongodfrey, you say: “I think the slogan is apt to make some men feel threatened or at the very least alienated.”

          Well, then, those faceless men might just have to deal with their feelings because “I will not stay silent so that ‘they’ can stay comfortable”.

          And I can’t see how my new-girl-on-the-block status that you’ve provided for me must necessarily mean that I’m missing any subtext (whatever that means, as Prince Charles said to Diana).


          • hudsongodfrey December 5, 2015 at 1:36 am #

            Look, I’m just saying that I think you initially may have assumed something about my intentions that was unwarranted. I more or less wrote without expanding upon my points, thinking not to bore Jennifer or others with stuff I may have discussed on another recent thread. I find Jennifer’s writing thought provoking and her attitude helpful for what it’s worth.

            Now, I’ve explained my rationale for wanting to Balkanise the conversation. In detail, and at length. I have a big problem with the idea that you assume the right to alienate men including it seems myself after the effort I’ve put into refuting the aspersions you were casting about my intentions.

            Read the stuff I’ve written above. All of it. I’m quite happy to admit that when I first posted my thoughts weren’t fully formed. The subsequent posts show that they’ve developed throughout the course of the conversation with our host. This is as it should be.

            Think about the difference between alienating all men with a slogan that doesn’t discriminate and the action of reporting a guilty party which clearly does, fairly and justifiably, on the basis if their guilt.

            Think also about why you characterise the problem as “faceless men” when to accuse you need to identify, and on some social media you limit your engagement between cyber friends who may or may not actually be known to you or if not then selected to be brought into your circles. Facelessness seems to dehumanise, when it may be both inappropriate and inaccurate to do so. It’s also well known in terms of taking permission to identify as “other” than somebody you’re prejudiced against.

            Sorry, but I don’t recall anything that Charles ever said beyond something rather unpleasant about wanting to be a tampon.


            • hudsongodfrey December 5, 2015 at 9:07 am #

              I’d be wasting everyone’s time if I didn’t correct this.

              ” I’ve explained my rationale for wanting to Balkanise the conversation”

              Should be

              ” I’ve explained my rationale for NOT wanting to Balkanise the conversation”


  3. Horatio December 3, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

    Response has to be yes to this. It’s exhausting enough to have to deal with indirect sexism every day, without having to deal with language of online comments with all the implied threats. I understood that the comments in question were brought to the attention of his employer and the employer took action – out of Clem’s control. What did he think would happen when he commented online in a public site? Is he twelve?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 3, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

      Most of them stay anonymous but he announced himself and his employer to everyone, so he’s not exactly mature I guess.
      I think Ford has done something pretty significant in getting this ball rolling.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. samjandwich December 4, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    In the words of Ani DiFranco I complete agreely! I saw Clem Ford’s article and yes I was completely supportive of the way she handled this Michael Nolan character, and anyone else who engages in such behaviour deserves nothing less… and probably a bit more.

    Perhaps i could say though that this case also illustrates the problem I have with Clem Ford’s feminism – which is that she takes people such as Michael Nolan to be “men”, rather than the festering subhuman pieces of vermin that they really are by the measure of any thought system that I can think of.

    Of course that doesn’t negate the fact that such people can do harm, but i guess the dilemma for me is how can you acknowledge that without ascribing some significance to their actions…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Steve Roberts December 4, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    I hope I dont need to say that I totally support this,
    “It’s not our shame that we name them. It’s their shame that they have to be named.”
    but I do struggle a bit with Clementine’s hypocrisy, she has often used the same language that she is now complaining about.
    I’m willing to let it slide, figuring the actual cause is for a better world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

      Yes, Steve, I know Clementine is um, forthright, but you’re right about the struggle for a better world

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 4, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

      Yikes. That sounds like one nasty mess.


      • hudsongodfrey December 4, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

        he’s a nasty piece of work by all accounts.


  6. doug quixote December 5, 2015 at 9:04 pm #

    I’ve viewed Ford’s account, and reviewed your article.

    And I agree with you.


  7. Adrian J. Watts December 6, 2015 at 4:56 am #

    Hold on hold on hold on.

    I agree that Nolan shouldn’t have posted the comment he did. But how is him saying “slut” (let’s say he *called* her a slut; it is a tad ambiguous) worse than her saying “Fuck Abbott” or telling Sunrise (really, the show’s staff) to “get fucked”? Or her general comments about hating “men”? (She hates me, then – but I’ve done nothing wrong!)

    If we think she did the right thing and approve of Nolan’s employer firing him, we should DISAPPROVE of Ford’s employers for not firing her!

    (Big fan of the site, btw. I just don’t comment much in public.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote December 6, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

      I suggest that you don’t know the full extent of Nolan’s behaviour.

      It may also be the case that Meriton were quite pleased to get the chance to sack him.


    • hudsongodfrey December 6, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

      I think it depends on the intent. There’s a difference between the “fuck off” you can exchange between friends as terms of endearment, and the disrespect it might show between strangers. Words people can use of themselves that others can’t, “slut” between friendly women, and the “n” word between friendly black Americans. And you KNOW you can’t get either of those wrong. The context supplied something equally distinctive to the difference between Ford’s speech and her abuser’

      So, I don’t like the idea that she might “hate” me simply because I’m male. Seems fuckin’ sexist to me! But it isn’t actively abusive, threatening, demeaning or in any other real sense defamatory. When pushed she qualifies it, and does so in ways that lend credibility to her intentions. Try and get an abuser to do that!

      And besides, in relationship to her employment, there’s an economic reality at work here. She sells papers, or advertising online, whenever she generates either thoughtful engagement with an audience of readers who enjoy and respect her views, or if she gets noticed because she stirs up the controversy. She makes herself a public figure in so doing, and thus to some extent a target for this kind of abuse. At some point when it becomes more than a little gratuitous it is in all our interests to defend her right to hold or explore an opinion without being subject to threats and torrents of bilious puerile bullshit!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 6, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

      Ah, well yes, you aren’t alone in your argument, & I see your point.
      It might have better had Ford chosen an example of abuse that could never be levelled against her as well.
      However, those threatening to injure, maim and kill usually do it anonymously.
      Nolan was singled out because he left a trail…


  8. Dominique Sullivan December 7, 2015 at 12:15 am #

    Love it. About time we used their behavior and the law against them. Bring it on male trolls

    Liked by 1 person

  9. paul walter December 8, 2015 at 2:01 am #


    Gooooood.. just in time for me to include this:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 8, 2015 at 6:12 am #

      You were blocked, Paul? From Sheep?


      • paul walter December 8, 2015 at 7:44 am #

        I took it to be the case after several days. It baffled me. I felt I hadn’t said anything especially obnoxious, but having been censored for zip from all manner of blogs and newspapers, and Wilson was almost the one blogger with enough integrity to avoid the censorship tool for imposing conformity of view.

        I thought, I’ve been following the blog for a long tme, perhaps she wants to do a format change and bring in new readers who might have not welcome my views on some things.

        Over all, a bit like uni, you know, where you do a semester, there can be an intense transfer, but the course ends and you and the tutor go your seperate ways.

        You had decided that you could not get any further ideas across to this log, so move him on. I didn’t blame you. You are exponentially more intelligent and educated than me and there are some ideas of yours someone like me would never grasp.

        Is Dr Jennifer Wilson suggesting I am not unwelcome here after all?

        It was always an honour to be here and I was not always a pleasant commenter.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson December 8, 2015 at 8:22 am #

          I have no idea what happened Paul, but I do know I didn’t block you & would never block anyone without first saying something about it.
          I’ve only ever blocked that man from the pub in the whole time Sheep has been up.
          Please, if ever anything like that happens again, email me, because it will be an error.
          I wondered where you’d gone. I thought you just wanted a break from us.
          Welcome back!


  10. paul walter December 8, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    BTW, I hope the linked essay had some explanatory value as to a certain viewpoint on a complex issue. It is not intended as gospel but a catalyst for conversation to do with issues where another’s viewpoint always seems just out of reach and mutual comprehension something to be avoided. Now, will the insomnia disappear and I go to sleep?

    Liked by 1 person


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    […] read two opinion pieces today on how Clementine Ford handled the online aggression and threats against her by  naming and shaming the individual responsible, and publishing a […]


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    […] No Place For Sheep, Naming and shaming […]


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