Kos gets a pass this week

Let's forgive his tin-eared post dismissing online misogyny because he just had a baby girl -- and nothing educates men about sexism quite like having a daughter.

Published April 13, 2007 3:02PM (EDT)

I'm going to give Markos Moulitsas Zuniga a pass this week, as well as belated congratulations on the arrival of his baby daughter. That Kos had a girl is a special kind of good news, because nothing educates well-meaning but otherwise thick-headed men about sexism better than having a daughter. I can't tell you how many men this week, who otherwise might not have understood what Don Imus did wrong, told me: "Well, if anyone said that about my daughter," fill in the blanks. Progress, one dad at a time.

Whether because of sleep deprivation or arrogance, Kos wrote a tin-eared post near midnight Wednesday night dismissing blogosphere angst over threats to Kathy Sierra as well as proposals to combat online thuggery. "I'm in and out of commission, so I hadn't heard of this so-called 'death threat' thing," he wrote, more than three weeks after Sierra went public with the threats against her. But he gets a pass on that; when my daughter was an infant, I went three weeks without brushing my hair. What's hard to completely dismiss is his insistence that the threats to Sierra on several blogs, as well as the publication of her home address, are comparable to the crap he gets in e-mail for his political views. I won't belabor it -- I didn't mean for this to be a blog about blogging, and I'll move on later today -- but you can read it for yourself.

And read the comments, too. They capture the polarization on this issue, and the way some men -- not all -- get bogged down in the idea that guys get threats and abuse online too, without being able to see what's different for women: the sexualized belittling, the specificity and violence of some of the threats, and the tired insistence that we're nothing more than the sum of our (body) parts. I get tired just typing the words again. I'm proud that our debates about this on Salon were better than that. I don't recall any long discussions about penis size, for instance. So progress is possible; in fact, it's inevitable. Kos will see the light as soon as his daughter goes online, if not sooner.

By Joan Walsh

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