In Stalking – the myth and the reality I showed that up to February 2009 there had been no recorded animosity between me and BeautifulBurnout and precious little with Ally Fogg and Jay Reilly. That was now to change as she aligned herself more closely with MontanaWildhack’s Untrusteds who’d set themselves up to address what they felt were the deficiencies caused by the moderation policies of Comment is Free and at least at the start to offer a censorship free platform on which to do this.
Ultimathule had posted on CiF from at least November 2007, from a committed feminist position. Over the years she had generated a vast amount of vicious hatred from those who opposed her views:
You’re a sick, twisted woman, Ultimathle. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but that is the only thing I’ve read recently that is even more vile than Barbara Ellen’s article.
Take a step back, and a long hard look at yourself.
I did wonder whether that was what she meant but that row was ages ago, surely not. To the likes of Ultima, there is no such thing as an innocent man accused of rape, as she proved in that debate, it literally just wouldnt compute. I do hope she’s calmed down after her walk, she is sometimes quite calm and interesting when she is not frothing venom.
Have to agree with AllyF – you are one sick puppy.
If a person wanted to take the piss out of feminism, by creating a feminist character who represented nothing but illogical frothing at the mouth bigotry. How would a person posting as that character differ from Ultimathule. Sorry I don’t believe that “she” is a real person
These four quotes are symptomatic of the virulent hatred expressed almost exclusively by male posters and are just part of the concerted attacks on Ultimathule on the three threads, that I featured in an earlier article:
Vulnerable women are still being failed – by Joan Smith, about the Labour Government’s consultation to tackle the multi-faceted problems of violence against women.
Call a truce in the war of the sexes – by Ally Fogg, – an attempt to dismiss the Labour Government’s consultation on the unique problems faced by women who suffer violence from men.
Soft on rape, soft on the causes of rape by – Joan Smith, on police failures in handling and responding to complaints against serial rapist John Warboys.
The discussion that ranged across these three articles continued some time later on WDYWTTA.
Joining the thread sometime after the hate fest had started I posted:
Excuse me if I intervene in this gathering which seems to have promoted the villain of the piece and roundly turned on Ultimathule, who didn’t even join this thread until this morning. What is happening here is a nasty piece of scapegoating of Ultimathule of the most objectionable kind and it isn’t at all nice. I quoted gazpacho:
“After reading all this stuff about all these people being banned, I tried looking up the person that lots of you are complaining about – “Ultimathule” and can’t see anything controversial at all in what she’s saying. Never noticed her before but now having been alerted to her by your complaints, I must say, she comes out with some admirable arguments.”
MontanaWildhack, the founder of The Untrusted, one of the most foul mouthed posters on that site and CiF, kicked off by calling me “a sycophant to the sisterhood.”
She was followed shortly after by BeautifulBurnout who by this time had her feet well and truly under the Untrusted table and was in the process of assuming leadership of the group that hung out there.
At 10:16am BeautifulBurnout, showing her barrister credentials, made her first post of the day on the subject:
Firstly, I am not a radical feminist, so that might explain my feelings. But I looked at the thread on Cath’s blog that Montana is referring to. It was clear that AllyF and Jay were posting to give Cath’s blog some support and because she had mentioned it and linked to it here. It was clear that the women who were posting there had no desire to talk to men. End of.
“Just because rad-fems use the patriarchy as an excuse for not having achieved what they want in their lives doesn’t mean that they are not capable of achieving things if they put their minds to it and put some bloody back into it instead of seeking someone/something else to blame. (And, as a successful woman in a “man’s world”, I am living proof of that, but that’s another story)”
There were four other “Just Because” comments dismissing these unnamed “radical feminists” about which MrsB told us later:
nowhere in there do I say “to hell with radical feminists”, despite you deliberately misrepresenting that I did so.
Of course she didn’t tell them to go to hell, she was standing four square with
them, at least in agreeing the patriarchy did in fact exist.
It was after this I coined the name MrsBootstraps*, an admirable moniker for a successful self-made woman and here I am responding in a perfectly civil
manner to her open attack on Ultimathule:
So we agree that patriarchy exists which is more than lots of the men and some of the women posting here do. And I don’t believe JayReilly is an abuser, but he has been abusive, which is why he’s not here this morning.
JayReilly had been banned for persistent abuse of fellow posters and for using an incorrect anatomical term to describe the Prime Minister of the day.
To which BeautifulBurnout answered with a very reasonable plea for an egalitarian society:
The answer is not to create a matriarchal hegemony that oppresses men “just cos they did it to us for so long.” It is to find an equilibrium, an egalitarianism where people are truly treated as equal irrespective of their sex or gender.
Anything more than that is just the prisoner becoming the jailer out of spite, imo.
Now nothwithstanding to contradiction between egalitarianism and Samuel Smiles’ bootstrapping, she was rather missing the point of what I referred to as JayReilly and AllyF “storming the citadel” of Cath Elliott’s blog.
Ally and Jay along with other Untrusteds had taken up Cath’s invitation to visit her blog but were rather taken aback by the hostile reception they got from some of the regulars who didn’t appreciate being instructed about what to do and think. Jay, true to form, on a thread devoted to tackling violence against women, responded with:
“Seems more a backslapping club for bitter feminists”.
AllyF tried to impress with his ‘explanatory framework’ which he later transformed into an ‘explanatory paradigm’, to which he was asked for an explanation but which he failed to provide. Then on 14 March 2009, having assurred one and all about his honest intentions of visiting the thread, posted the truth on The Untrusted:
“Actually, in all the madness that ensued, I never really explained my motivation for posting on that thread in the first place. It was quite shameless self-pluggery. Not because I particularly wanted to massage my own ego, but actually because I was trying to reel in some criticism onto the accompanying Cif thread I had that day.”
And so the discussion continued until having backed herself into a corner,
MrsBootstraps countered using mental illness as an insult:
You are really beginning to sound a tad nuts, to be frank.
And to announce herself as the leading light and spokesperson of the Untrusted.
There is no “ganging up” on here, only expressions of opinion. There is no secret parallel thread, as someone referred to it, just a Cif refugees blog which is open to anyone, and anyone can post. What’s more, the only person who deletes comments on there are the posters themselves deleting their own if they choose to.
I responded that she was not alone in her psychiatric analysis, pointing out that Pandora2bs had also called Ultimathule ‘paranoid’:
So she’s paranoid, I’m sounding ‘a tad nuts’, but the rest of you are sane?
Yes you’re right about Cath Elliott’s invitation to posters, but I believe I’m right in saying that until what I referred to as the storming of the citadel in a venture initiated on CiF, she saw no need for a set of rules of conduct. As to what was actually exchanged between Ally, Jay, kizbot, rob100, moz, (have I missed anyone out?) here’s what Cath posted to head up the thread:
“I love being a part of CiF (most of the time), I only wish more feminist women would comment on there. No, Im just trying to show that despite the blinkers JayReilly and other recent commenters here seem to be wearing, abuse and misogyny (and homophobia) are rife on the Internet, including on well-moderated popular newspaper sites like the Guardians Comment is Free.
“In my view the only way were ever going to ensure that this kind of hate is marginalised, as it should be, is by making our voices louder, outnumbering the haters and the abusers and making sure our arguments and our points of view get a fair hearing. And while Im a firm advocate of safe spaces for women, and believe that feminist blogs have every right to refuse to publish misogynist anti-woman comments, I dont believe that retreating into women-only spaces and then refusing to engage outside of those places is the answer.
“Which is why I try to do a bit of both.
“Interestingly, when Ive written about this issue for CiF in the past, a lot of the comments I got back were along the lines of If you cant stand the heat get out of the kitchen, and I see that Rowenna Davis has received similar on her comment thread. Would that be from the very same posters who came on here last week and decided they’d never comment here again because some of the nasty feminists were so vitriolic their delicate egos couldnt handle it?”
The thread continued for another 5 pages, largely about CiF’s moderation policy, the new Community Standards, former posters who’d been banned and the fate of JayReilly whose banning by then had been rescinded. I pointed out a simple legal truth that seemed to have been missed by those who wanted to be allowed to post whatever obscenities they wished and insult the moderators without hindrance:
On the question of The Guardian’s legal responsibility, MontanaWildhack and others, it certainly will have a duty to not to allow its staff – the moderators, to suffer abuse and harassment from posters, both of which if my memory serves me right, are criminal acts. And if it does nothing to prevent such acts it could find itself up before the beak and facing serious financial damage.
MrsBootstraps did not return to the thread.
On a single thread recently, Ultimathule was called a hypocrite, horrible, ignorant, stupid, not the voice of reason, rabid, inflammatory and unbalanced. In addition she’s been called paranoid.
Then having assumed leadership of UT MrsBootstraps now assumed the same role on CiF and responded:
It really is like watching a dog who keeps coming back to its own sick. Can’t we just leave it now and move on to something more constructive? muscleguy was commenting, more than a day ago, in context of someone trying to reignite an online scrap that was over and done with nearly a week ago now. You are just doing the same, and it serves no purpose.
BeautifulBurnout had participated in the abuse and bullying of Ultimathule and now wanted everyone to forget it.
Ultimathule also posts under a different nick and has been around ever since her banning too. She was banned because she started being personally abusive to people, calling them paedophiles and child abusers because they had the temerity to challenge her rhetoric.
I have failed to find one instance where she has recognised that Ultimathule might just have made some positive contribution to CiF.
Furthermore, BeautifulBurnout has been at the forefront of the Untrusted on whose site I have been falsely and unjustifiably accused of paedophilia and child abuse by HankScorpio, one of her heroes. Let BeautifulBurnout produce just one instance where she, a UK Barrister who should know far better, has countered or even protested about these outrageous libels.
I will write more extensively on this issue at a later date.
Six days after trying to close down the debate on WDYWTTA, MrsBootstraps was to appear for the first time Above The Line. Small wonder she had morphed into MrsBossyboots.
On 16 May 2009 her article Don’t blame the police for Sabina Akhtar’s murder appeared in the Guardian under the pseudonym of Jane Nichol Bell. The Profile stated Jane Nichol Bell is a practising barrister working in crime, immigration and family law. She writes here under a pseudonym and is a regular commenter under the name of BeautifulBurnout
Let me end this episode with a quote from another of CiF’s longest standing posters from May 2006:
As for Ultimathule it was simply a case of someone who felt deeply about feminist issues and was not prepared to have them compromised. That provoked all the negative responses. She took some serious flak. If she overstepped the mark that’s a pity because she was a seriously good poster a far better one than MaM.
MaM – or MoveAnyMountain was a long term poster on CiF who one year was voted poster of the year.
And let me leave the final word to Angie124 who at one time was accused of being both Ultimathule and me:
It seems obvious to me that women are repelled by the hostility shown towards them, by being entirely outnumbered in facing such hostility and by The Guardian supporting this environment through its moderation policy. This policy (a) permits sexist commenting, despite it being prohibited under the standards, (b) fails to censure bloggers such as MAM, Trashheap, Gigoli, Leta, Ghostworld etc etc etc who are unfailingly sexist and aggressive to women and (c) rescinds bans on hostile posters such as Jay Reilly whilst removing vocal opponents of the misogyny on CiF like Ultimathule and BitetheHand.
Ultimathule was banned in October 2009.
- The powerful say, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” But they don’t really believe that those living on denuded reservations, or on strip-mined hills, or in ghettos that are destinations for drugs from Colombia and Iraq, can somehow pull themselves up. What they’re really saying is, “If you can, do, but if you can’t, forget it.” It’s the most pernicious of all acts of segregation, because it is so subtle.