What is the connection between Schwyzer and Sarkeesian you ask? Let’s just take a look at this blog post from Schwyzer’s blog in mid-2012.
“If you like the look of this blog, thank Anita Sarkeesian, who designed it and helped me launch this made-over site last summer. Anita is far more than a web designer, however; she runs the indispensable Feminist Frequency, which provides intelligent, thoughtful progressive commentary on popular culture. But in the past month, Anita has been under relentless attack online[…] Both she and I have found ourselves at the center of controversy this year, albeit for different reasons. Yet the real difference is in how each of us has been treated by those who despise us most…” (Emphasis my own) His blog post here should shine a light on their professional connection
So, as a person labeled as a “shit-slinger,” I’d at least like to go down as a factual shit-slinger. Therefore, I’d like to bring up some prior associations in regards to Anita Sarkeesian. To those unaware of the other name next to Anita’s in the title, let me introduce you Jezebel’s own Hugo Schwyzer. Professor and ex-writer for Jezebel, Hugo Schwyzer is a name we’re not too familiar with nowadays. Well, that’s because Mr. Schwyzer had a little (large) fall from grace in the last year or so.
For those unaware, “Schwyzer became the subject of controversy when he admitted to sleeping with his female students, having sex with men and women, and ongoing problems with substance addiction including attempting to kill himself and his ex-girlfriend while under the influence of narcotics in 1998”. Ouch. Sleeping with students, silencing people of color (look up his involvement in the hashtag SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen), crashing into and injuring a young woman. man this guy sounds like a real class act. Indeed, hubris seems to be a common trait among those that claim moral authority over us. Whether it be televangelists or social justice bloggers, this seems to be a unifying trait among the morally just. Websites such as Feministe, Jezebel, and Pandagon, who once praised and openly associated with Schwyzer quickly distanced themselves from him. His writing was taken off ofScarleteen, a resource on teen sexual health, and he left Healthy is the New Skinny, an organization co-founded and directed by Schwyzer. Why am I talking about this now-nobody? This “shit-slinger” from the other side of the fence? Well, it is important to remember him as the divisive figure he was in feminism.
I’d like to take an excerpt from “Why do some feminist spaces tolerate male abusers?,” a post on the Globalcomment.com to give some context of the environment of Schwyzer’s position in the feminist community.
“What role, if any, should men with a history of abuse of women have in feminism? This question is at the heart of ongoing debates in the feminist blogosphere over Hugo Schwyzer, a professor of gender studies and male feminist personality. A close examination of Schwyzer’s record calls into serious question both his narrative of personal transformation and his current credibility as a feminist leader. This raises the question of why Schwyzer was allowed access to feminist leadership roles at all, much less for so long, but also points to broader, entrenched issues around male allies, racism and white privilege, and safe spaces for abuse survivors in the feminist movement.”
One part that spoke to me was this part though,
“The narrative of personal redemption that Schwyzer sells is one that’s uniquely available to him as white man. A man of color with years of illegal drug use and the attempted murder of a woman on his record would quite possibly be in jail, and certainly not as feted as Schwyzer is by certain white feminists.”
Please, feel free to read more, it is very enlightening. Though I don’t agree with many of the views espoused by the post, it’s an interesting read nonetheless. However, my point being is that he was quite a divisive figure within the feminist community.
Now, I’m well aware of the association fallacy, strawman, and ad hominem attacks, because we’ve had this flung at us for a couple of weeks now. We’ve been lumped together with harassers, misogynists, bigots, and right-wingers. Furthermore, we’ve been demeaned and outright shunned, compared to birthers, ISIS, the Klan etc. However, media and anti-GG crowd have proven that all is fair in war (though, they seem to have forgotten “love,” which is off limits when it involves one of their own). However, I’d like to ask Anita Sarkeesian, why would you work with and actively enable a self-confessed attempted-murderer and abuser of both people and authority? Not to merely associate with, but to actively improve the pulpit on which this man stood. Why would you work with this true shit-slinger, Hugo Schwyzer. Well, I’ll wager it’s because he had something to give you. A word that I have come to loathe in the past few years, those devilish two words we know as “signal boost.”
In addition to sleeping with his students – occasionally in his office on campus – as recently as 2011, Schwyzer was also exchanging sexts with a 27-year-old porn star. He also acknowledged that he used his class as an means to have sex with porn stars — tweeting that he had fantasized about having public sex with Deen in his classroom — and wrote that he was a hypocrite for writing an Atlantic article condemning age-disparate relationships while sleeping with a woman fourteen years his junior at the same time.