History of "Gender Traitor", "Sister Punisher", "Chill Girl"

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History of "Gender Traitor", "Sister Punisher", "Chill Girl"

Postby hyperdeath » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:08 am

Our opponents seem convinced that we use the phrases "Gender traitor", "Sister punisher" and "Chill Girl" on an almost minutely basis. To examine their actual usage:

[See below for updates]

Sister Punisher was used twice in May 2012: Once in the comments of Butterflies and Wheels, and once in the comments of Greta Christina's blog. It was used again in the comments of Dispatches from the Culture Wars, to describe a judge who let the perpertrator of a sexual assault free, while lecturing the victim on safety. A Google search on FTB reveals further usage, but it is always by trolls repeating the myth that the phrase is widespread.

Gender traitor seems (in the context of the current dispute) to have originated in a July 2011 blog post called inside the mind of a gender traitor. I can't find any direct use of the phrase on FTB, although as with "sister punisher" it is endlessly brought up by the trolls.

Chill Girl is the only of these phrases to be commonly used. It appears to have been coined as a self description, in July 2011, by now-banned Pharyngula commenter Needfulcarp:
needfulcarp wrote:why the hell would I have a problem with women? The issue lies with thinking that forming maginal side groups is the answer. That isn't equality. But, hey, if you want to it will allow the people at conferences to tell the chill girls like me from the unhinged girls shaking their fists at supposed, vague injustices.

Pharyngula regulars started using it in that very thread, and continued from there.

Does anyone else have more information?
Last edited by hyperdeath on Thu May 02, 2013 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: History of "Gender Traitor", "Sister Punisher", "Chill G

Postby oolon » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:20 am

No more info but a comment on these terms... Chill girl seems demeaning as it infantalises women by reducing them to an immature form, especially problematic given the silencing effect of labelling grown women and their opinions as "girls" or "girlish". I've seen this expressed by many on FtBs comment threads and Twitter so presumably not something many our "side" disagree with. Sister punisher doesn't have the same inherent offensive nature that I can see but both seem to be built on a premise that it is somehow surprising or should be considered more worthy of shame and condemnation when women don't support womens rights. I don't agree with that at all as there are plenty of "chill boys" playing down sexual harassment and plenty of men attacking womens rights. Men should be as concerned and as worthy of criticism when engaging in this behaviour. The behaviour should be criticised as misogynistic and much like Crommunist doesn't label people "a racist" creating terms that are synonymous with "a misogynist" and applying only to women seems wrong. I'm likely missing some nuance here but I don't see any benefit in labelling women who engage in misogyny differently from men.

Given "we" all apparently love these terms and apply them willy nilly to anyone who merely "disagrees" with us I expect the haters will be surprised when I'm not instabanned for expressing such a controversial opinion ;-)

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Last edited by SubMor on Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Since this running gag hasn't come up in a while...!
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Re: History of "Gender Traitor", "Sister Punisher", "Chill G

Postby SubMor » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:09 pm

"Curiously," I've noticed a correlation between people who think anyone who espouses any vaguely feministy-sounding ideas is a "radfem" and people who decry the allegedly constant identification of all non-"radfems" with those labels.
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Re: History of "Gender Traitor", "Sister Punisher", "Chill G

Postby AndyTheNerd » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:18 pm

SubMor wrote:"Curiously," I've noticed a correlation between people who think anyone who espouses any vaguely feministy-sounding ideas is a "radfem" and people who decry the allegedly constant identification of all non-"radfems" with those labels.

Does seem like I need a breathing mask with all the straw flying around.
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Re: History of "Gender Traitor", "Sister Punisher", "Chill G

Postby ischemgeek » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:38 pm

Chill girl refers to an inherently gendered phenomenon,* and so there isn't really a male equivalent because the gender privilege dynamics at play. "Chill boys" don't exist because men aren't marginalized in the same way.

However, I do agree that it's infantilizing to use girl to refer to a woman. That's why I've mostly dropped it from my lexicon. I don't think that "chill woman" would be as problematic to me.

* [ Show ]
Chill girl refers to girls and women who are tomboys and commonly thought of as "one of the guys," who accept and perpetuate misogynistic tropes and humor, and think themselves superior to other women because they hang out with and are generally accepted by men. They do actually exist - I was one in my teen years and don't mind using it to refer to myself because at the time I was a girl.
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Re: History of "Gender Traitor", "Sister Punisher", "Chill G

Postby aratina » Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:43 pm

Updated with links to ScienceBlogs.com via the Wayback Machine instead, which preserves their original formatting.

The first use of "gender traitor" as a label--and the use of that term that still reverberates to this day throughout the gelatinous minds in the slimepit--was by skeptifem on July 3rd at ERV on a post titled "Bad form, Rebecca Watson":
#96
Yawn. Enjoy your fate as a gender traitor, erv. You'll find out eventually, same as the rest of us, that its a game you can't win. You'll never really be one of the guys and you can never really overcome what being a woman in this culture means. The high fives and social approval you get from sexist jackasses won't be worth it in the end.

Posted by: skeptifem | July 3, 2011 4:54 PM


As you can see, all the usual names took that single use of it very badly and repeated it sarcastically multiple times. However, skeptifem was not someone I would consider a well-known Pharyngula regular at that time. So what really got the slime oozing at the pit and effected real life consequences for Ophelia Benson who allowed it to exist as a form of free expression on her blog (please note the irony there!) and despite her dismissal of it as a useful term (again, note the irony!) was when "gender traitor" was used at Butterflies & Wheels by Pharyngula regular and Molly winner SC (Salty Current) on a post titled "Getting and not getting":
SC (Salty Current)
July 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm
Unless I’m wildly misinterpreting things (which I doubt, but is possible), Miranda Celeste Hale is, like her pal Abbie Smith, a moron and a gender traitor, as skeptifem so graphically put it.


Salty Current repudiated her own usage of the term only three days later on a post titled "Focus" at Butterflies & Wheels:
SC (Salty Current)
July 8, 2011 at 6:47 am

Re: gender traitor

It’s been pointed out that “the term…looks so similar to St*rmfr*nts idea of a “race traitor”,” which is just…ew. So I won’t be using it anymore. Until an equivalent of Uncle Tom appears, I’ll just have to content myself with describing the behavior: using and encouraging sexist epithets, attacking feminists, trivializing sexism, painting yourself as different from and better than other women, etc.

As I was just saying over at Pharyngula, this silliness over “gender traitor” being bullying and so forth reminds me of the responses to people calling out Chris Stedman for attacking those who criticized Sojourners for going along with religious homophobia. They tried to make it not about the organization’s anti-human rights actions or Stedman’s sellout attack on those critical of them, but about people having called him names and Aquaria using *gasp* swear words. It’s a transparent attempt to derail the discussion.


As far as I know, besides the post of skeptifem's linked in the first comment above (a post which I note I commented on myself with multiple reasons given against the term), those two times by only two people are the only times anyone was called a "gender traitor" (all of two people being on the receiving end: Abbie Smith and Miranda Celeste Hale). And both of the users of that term backed off after getting lots of thoughtful comments on it from people on their own side. The rest is all slimepit myth.
Last edited by aratina on Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: History of "Gender Traitor", "Sister Punisher", "Chill G

Postby Hamilton » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:42 am

Google Trends has so little on "Sister Punisher" and "Gender Traitor" that it doesn't even produce data. "Chill girl" has been around since September 2004 and peaked October 2010 at a mere 100 hits. All of the related terms makes me think that most of the hits for "Chill girl" are about calming down.
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Re: History of "Gender Traitor", "Sister Punisher", "Chill G

Postby hyperdeath » Wed May 01, 2013 10:26 am

I've found an earlier use of "Sister Punisher":

It was used in 2005 by Amanda Marcotte to describe Priscilla Owen's record on abortion rights.
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