Friday, March 30, 2012

Dear Prudence: Should A Man Leave His Infertile Partner?

The couple have been together for four years and are unmarried. They recently found out that she cannot have biological children. The man doesn't know if he wants to adopt and is considering bolting. He writes:

"I know this sounds cold and callous, but the whole infertility issue is beginning to look like a deal breaker for me. Am I being a jerk?"

The advice given seems reasonable:

"If you do love her, you will take some time to absorb this news and slowly explore the consequences for both of you."

What I found interesting was Prudence's statement, here:

"If you were married, would you divorce her? If you would, there would be general agreement that you were quite the cad."

Marriage, some tell us, is an institution that exists primarily for male-female couples to bear and raise their own biological children. Yet, here we have an advice columnist noting that the general consensus would be that a man who leaves his infertile wife is a cad- a man who behaves irresponsibly toward women!

Interesting, right?

Here we have a male-female couple incapable of fulfilling the alleged primary purpose of marriage- procreating and raising the resulting children together. In this regard, they are just like all same-sex couples. And yet, Prudence is opining that most people would consider this guy a jerk if they were married and he left his wife.

This narrative, I contend, both demonstrates how, contributes to the notions that:

(a) many people view marriage as primarily a mutually-supportive relationship between two people, rather than a vehicle for child-bearing/child-rearing, and that (b) including infertile man-woman couples while excluding same-sex couples from legal marriage is an illegitimate, illogical exclusion.

[Cross-posted: Family Scholars Blog]

Thursday, March 29, 2012

But But But Men Are Better!!!

Some men just really can't handle discussions that merely broach the notion of de-centering men as the default human being.

Consider a recent post over at Sociological Images, where Gwen Sharp noted ESPN's coverage of the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments. Capturing a screen shot of ESPN's NCAA basketball site, she observes:

"As we often see in sports, the men’s version is taken as the default. The apparently neutral 'NCAA BB Home' link goes to the men’s tournament, specifically. To get information on the women’s tournament, you have to choose the 'Women’s BB link' lower on the page."

She also noted that the men's tournament bracket had way more cool features compared to the women's bracket and that this coverage of women's basketball compared to men's might be contributing to some people's lack of interest in women's basketball.

Okay, pretty harmless, fact-based things to note, right?

No one was suggesting, gawd forbid, that male and female athletes are of the exact same caliber or anything, or that ESPN must provide the same amount of coverage for both men's and women's basketball, or that people HAD to watch the sucky wimminz sportz if they weren't interested in doing so.

No, the observation was that the men's tournament was treated as the default, generic "NCAA tournament" and that only the women's tournament was marked by gender, implying that it was a "side event."

Why some men can't concede that men are treated as the default in a world in which men are not, actually, the default human beings in the world I don't know.

(Yes, I do. Entitlement. Privilege. Sexism. Illusory Superiority. Assholery. Obtuseness.)

But, observe some of the responses to the post.

"Guest" writes:

"While this may be true, I think it is important to note that many devoted college basketball fans are men. The level of competition in men's college basketball is significantly higher and more profitable, too. The nuances of the men's game is much more refined as a sport."

Now "this may not be PC to say but" I'm going to go out on a limb and presume that "Guest" is a man. Many men, you see, really like to point out how awesome male athletes are compared to female athletes. Even when it's not germane to the conversation.

For instance, geoffreyarnold, who knows he's gonna get clobbered for saying it, adds:

"This pretends that Men's and Women's basketball are equal. That is a fiction. I know it's not politically correct to point it out, but the pacing and physicality displayed in the game is different between (m) and (w) basketball. That's why it might cost $1,000 to get good seats at a Men's Final Four Game, and the Women's Final Four tickets can be obtained for FREE[**].

Don't kill the messenger."


Suddenly, "kill[ing] the messenger" is on the table here? As though male commenters are generally threatened with physical violence for stating their Totally Courageous Non-PC Trooths On Internet in front of feminists?


These men are not actually scared (see, e.g., these same men obsessively noting that men are tougher, stronger, and all-around more physically AWESOME than women). They just add these "I'm gonna get killed for saying this, but" statements as a way to pre-emptively ward off criticism- criticism that they can then dismiss as a hysterical over-reaction.

It's slimy, it's irrational, and it's an offense to people who actually do live in fear of violence because of their political views. So, that crap deserves to be called out. (Which I did in the comments, natch).

But more to the point, when women note that men are often treated as the default human being, of what relevance is it, really, when a man states that men are better at the activity in which they're assumed to be the default? The fact of the matter is, even if every single man on earth was a better athlete than every single woman on earth, men still wouldn't be the default, generic, non-gendered athlete?

It's bizarro logic, sure, but the thinking seems to be that female athletes can be rendered invisible or relegated to othered, gendered, side-show status because they're not, on average, "as good as" male athletes.

Welp, newsflash: The Men Are Better statement isn't a magical trump card that automatically defeats all feminist sports-related arguments. Many people don't seem to understand this.

So, in the comment thread, I noted:

"That 'the level of competition in men's college basketball is significantly higher and more profitable' is not a justification or reason for treating men's basketball as the default and women's basketball as an 'othered' sideshow."

Thankfully, a Man Who Knows Things showed up to put me in my place. Anthony responded (to an argument of his own invention):

"What exactly would qualify that, or are we living in a 'everyone is equal' childlike mentality."

Somewhere along the way, Anthony interpreted an argument that "men are not the default human being" as an argument that "everyone is equal."

(And, while I do think everyone is equal, it seems as though Anthony here was actually trying to say that I was saying that "everyone is exactly the same at sports, regardless of gender." Lemme tell ya, folks, it takes a lot of translating and patience to communicate with condescending assholes who don't explain themselves well.)

Interesting comment though, isn't it?

Like I said. Dudes love noting that men, on average, are "more equal" than women at sports, as though that constitutes a legitimate reason for treating men's sports as though it's some sort of neutral default whose participants do not have a gender.

Or, they do what Max does:

"I find it hard to slight a business for covering the topics that people are interested in. Should affirmative action be applied to TV shows, movies, music, plays?"

Suddenly, dude's talking about affirmative action, as though that were ever on the table in this particular convo.

In general, the discussion, as so many discussions among non-feminist men do, highlighted a pretty entitled, privileged perspective that was, of course, peppered with illusory intellectual superiority. (These men have THINGS to teach the lady feminists, dontcha know?).

Under this view, men deserve to be centered as the neutral, default human being even if they're not actually the neutral, default human being, because men are just Better At Stuff. Any attempt to remove men from the center is viewed as an attempt to deprive them of their rightful, natural place in the world through UNFAIR means like affirmative action, which they view as forking over to a bunch of incompetents a man's place, money, and attention in the world.

Acknowledging the reality that, say, it is more accurate to call the men's NCAA Tournament the "Men's NCAA Tournament" as opposed to the un-gendered, generic "NCAA Tournament," puts men on the same level as women- people who are treated as other, beings whose gender has to be noted because women are an inferior deviation from the default.

Put more succinctly, the general sentiment seemed to be, but but but men are better, therefore the world should revolve around us!

[**The Anthony commenter got it into his head that the Women's Final Four had "Free Admission," accepting it as self-evidently true that no one would, like, actually buy tickets to watch women's NCAA basketball. He emphatically stated this misinformation in one of his comments, which other male commenters then repeated and used to justify their "people just don't pay to watch women's sports" arguments.

In reality, the women's Final Four tickets started at $275, were priced up into the quadruple digits, and were sold out.

Seriously, dudes, the Women's NCAA Final Four crowd is like if the Jonas Brothers were opening for the Indigo Girls. (Some of you will get that.)

In other words, whoooops re: yer Mansplain Fail!]

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Agenda Revealed

“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…"

-From a confidential, internal National Organization for Marriage (NOM) memo, referring to a NOM endeavor entitled "Not a Civil Right Project."

This revelation, of course, has long been obvious to many equality advocates, including myself, for many years. White opponents of same-sex marriage, most of whom rarely talk about race in any other context, appear to take a certain glee in citing their Best Conservative Black Friends who are Gravely Offended at comparisons between race-based and sexual-orientation-based oppression.

It's affirming, nonetheless, to see NOM admit to its divisive agenda in print.

This admission comes from a strategic report that was unsealed as part of Maine's ongoing campaign finance investigation of the group. The pro-equality Human Rights Campaign (HRC) initially posted the documents, and the release quickly spread on the Internet yesterday.

Other strategies outlined in the document include "interrupt[ing" the analogy that being gay is like being black, "rais[ing] the costs of identifying with gay marriage," and to "develop an effective culture of resistance from behind enemy lines."

Every single project and action item in the document pertains to same-sex marriage and constitutes millions of dollars worth of activities.

I find this monomania, frankly, to be incredibly troubling and threatening to my existence as a lesbian in a same-sex partnership that is legally recognized.

In his book, The Future of Marriage, David Blankenhorn outlined dozens of concrete steps that married couples and the government could take to strengthen marriage including mandating counseling, ending marriage penalties for low-income people, and passing new laws offering tax and financial incentives for marriage.

One is led to wonder, if NOM's mission is, as it claims, to "protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it," why does every. single. activity. documented in this strategic memo relate solely to NOM's efforts to oppose same-sex marriage and to get other people to oppose same-sex marriage?

Do other strategies to protect marriage matter at all?

Now, what I'm about to suggest is not politically correct for progressives to utter aloud in mixed company with social conservative, but I'm going to ask it anyway.

If this, dare I say, obsessive activity to oppose same-sex marriage, as represented by millions upon millions of dollars spent, countless robocalls made, social media utilized, billboard and media campaigns created, minority groups pitted against one another, narratives told wherein SSM opponents are "victims," blogposts and press releases written, and voter (lack of) interest in the same-sex marriage issue stoked is not evidence of animus toward LGBT people, what is it evidence of?

Does an organization that is truly serious about wanting to protect marriage behave like this?

This gathering storm of single-minded opposition to same-sex marriage is simply not, to many reasonable people, a logical response to the "threat" posed by the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.


Marinelli: NOM Sought "Crazy" Pictures of Equality Advocates

Cross-posted: Family Scholars Blog

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Politically Incorrect "War on White Men in Uniform"

[Content note: violence, racism]

Via Ta-Nehisi Coates, regarding Trayvon Martin, we get the following quote from Sanford police chief Bill Lee:

"Our investigation is color blind and based on the facts and circumstances, not color. I know I can say that until I am blue in the face, but, as a white man in a uniform, I know it doesn't mean anything to anybody. "

Just another white man expressing his self-centered, privileged, and entitled opinion that white men holding the power and authority to legally imprison and kill people in the name of the state are treated unfairly when racism within that state is pointed out and blamed for the death of an unarmed teenager who had the temerity to walk around while black.


As of late, I've been making much ado about the phrase "political correctness." It's a phrase I truly loathe, as it's most often used by those who deem themselves courageous truth-tellers yet who mostly seem to be looking for an excuse to express their asshole-y, privileged, problematic statements while pre-emptively trying to ward off criticism.

You know them.

"This isn't PC to say, but racism is over. I don't even see race."

"I'm going to get clobbered for saying this but, women just aren't interested in sports."

"No one's allowed to say it these days, but kids need a mom and a dad, not two moms or two dads."

These claims are made as though they are self-evident truths that require no further proof. These are, they say, objective truths that Everyone Else, apparently, is too scared to utter aloud these days because the PC police might come and.... start criticizing these "truths." (The PC Police. Isn't that phrase a fun inversion of power and authority? As though we, the so-called PC Police, have the legal authority to go around looking for "suspicious" people to maim and kill and imprison for merely stating their beliefs on, say, the Internet?)

I say we co-opt that phrase, "PC," and throw it back in their faces.

Because, so often, those who deem themselves Courageous Non-PC Truthtellers cannot handle the truth. Usually, in fact, it is marginalized people who have to tiptoe around on eggshells barely hinting at people's bigotry because conversations get shut down and people get offended if we outright, explicitly point it out.

The truth?

They can't handle the fracken truth.

Many Couragous Truthtellers can't deal with being told that society, their statements, and even sometimes, gawd forbid, they themselves are racist, sexist, homophobic, able-ist, trans*phobic, or any other problematic -ism. It is, in fact, a great affront to civility, not to actually express any of these -isms, but for people to suggest that others have these -isms at all.

So, let's just go ahead and say it (as many people already have):

"It may not be PC to say so these days, but, er, white men in uniforms are not victims of a racist society. Black, unarmed teenagers who are killed, like Trayvon Martin, are."

Monday, March 26, 2012

"The War on Men"

The ongoing assault on reproductive rights isn't actually a war on women. It's a war on the poor, poor men who are waging this assault. Because, you see, people are being So Mean for criticizing these male public figures' public acts that deprive women of rights.

So says Kathryn Jean Lopez anyway:

"...I am deeply offended by what is being said about men. A few good men have stuck their necks out lately in defense of religious freedom in America, and they deserve to be thanked and defended as they counter a dedicated campaign of dishonesty, hysteria, and raw bigotry.

Reasonable women cannot remain silent as the secretary of state of the United States pretends that America under a President Santorum or Romney would be an oppressive society for women. Or as a New York Times columnist echoes her, insisting that good men protecting conscience rights are 'cavemen,' and that 'Republican men' are trying to 'wrestle American women back into chastity belts' in an 'insane bout of mass misogyny.' Or as Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, calls the U.S. Catholic bishops 'violently anti-woman.'

This is miserable, insulting, desperate stuff. It’s just not right, and women of reason cannot let it stand."

Lopez doesn't actually try to, let alone actually succeed in, rebutting the notion that an America under... *dry heave*....President Santorum or ....*shiver* ...President Romney would be an oppressive society for women. She just states that it's a "war on men" to say that.

And welcome to socially-conservative political correctness.

Despite their dominance in social conservatism, men who work to roll back reproductive rights are apparently fragile, porcelain dolls, capable of being shattered with the hammer of bigotry and oppression when people are insufficiently polite about critiquing the regressive policies such men support.

While these powerful, prominent social conservatives call women sluts, support forced birth policies, make birth control a "debatable" issue in 2012, and oppose abortion even in cases of rape, we are to believe that it is the duty of socially conservative women to stand by their men and insist that we not use words to describe how oppressive these policies are to women because doing so is Big-Time Rude.

Because, apparently, it's evidence of a deep and pervasive man-hating agenda to criticize male public figures. I mean, can't a guy even support a law requiring a private citizen to undergo an invasive, unnecessary medical procedure just because he doesn't approve of another medical procedure ze's having, jeez?

In other news, I think I'm going to start headlining all of my articles from now "The War On Men." (Oh hell, I might as well go all-out and call them "The War On White Men"). I guaran-gawdamn-tee I'd be getting paid to pen op-eds for The New York Times in no time.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Welp, I'm Convinced

Women are subservient to men, and we shouldn't be pastors.

Via a comment from "Anonymous II" over at her*meneutics blog:

"All this blogging about how women should be allowed to be pastors is nothing but feminist propaganda. Once they become a pastor then you hear the feminist accolades about 'breaking barriers' and the feminists will then look around for new conquests. Women in Christianity are subservant [sic] to men and Christian women are treated very well by the church. It just gets tiresome to me to constantly hear the feminist drumbeat that until women are ordained pastors or become Catholic priests they will always be downtrodden and abused. I will bet moslem* women wish they were treated as well as Christian women but you hear little mention of this.

Get a life folks! It is time the incessant drumbeat from the feminists (both male and female) cease. It is against bible teachiing [sic] for women to have domininion over men in the church so let's just accept the order of things and move on to reaching the lost with the gospel. Women use their spiritual gifts to edify the church in marvelously diverse ways so let'a [sic] just everyone accept their role and let's drop the issue of women pastors. Being a pastor is a special calling and is a rough job. Why do the feminists keep trying to break down this last 'barrier'? Pastors shall be male and the discussion is ended. This order of things was created by God for a reason and is well explained in scripture. Let's quit beating a dead horse, feminists, and get on with the work at hand!"

So that's all settled then. LOL.

But seriously.

Aren't the assumptions some non-feminist men make in conversations so audacious? He personally doesn't see what the big honkin' deal is about women not being able to be pastors, so he demands that everyone shut up about it and start talking about Real Issues. "The discussion is ended."

The religious system he believes in marks, separates, and privileges human beings by gender, doling out separate roles and responsibilities for these two categories.

Yet, despite the fact that he exists within this set-up, he nonetheless tries to assume a place of neutral objectivity, ignoring the unearned privilege that accrues to him, as a man within a system that (according to him) commands women to be "subservant" to men.

Only by failing to recognize his "can we drop this issue already" attitude as the conflict of interest that it is, is he then able to authoritatively bleat that the issue of women pastors is "nothing but feminist propaganda" that doesn't even warrant discussion.

Can you imagine?

Social conservatives and anti/non-feminists love to cry that we live in a PC Gone Awry Culture that doesn't allow "anyone" to speak truth anymore lest they offend people.

But dude here says that the issue of women pastors and egalatarianism isn't even a debatable issue. He doesn't even want feminists to blog about it. Just 'cuz he's sick of hearing about it.

Totes like Jesus would do.

*The "moslem" spelling. This is dog whistle, right?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Talk About Looking For Shit To Get Mad About

Did you hear how Newt Gingrich has manufactured some offense over Robert DeNiro's joke, at an Obama fund-raiser, asking whether America is ready for a white First Lady?

Which is strange, this offense-taking. We hear all the time how social conservatives are the big, brave truth-tellers in a PC Gone Too Far Culture and how all of the rest of us are Uptight Nofunningtons Who Can't Take A Joke.

But I digress.

The joke isn't a "slam" on white women or any white potential First Ladies. Rather, it's funny, you know, because.... every First Lady up until our current one has been white. So, it's like, of course the nation is ready for a white First Lady. For hundreds of years, the nation has been ready for no other kind.

The real problem with the joke, I reckon, is that it notes America's racism. Not its "racism" against white people or rich, white, privileged Republican white women who are linked to rich, white, privileged men seeking the highest office in the land, but its historical and ongoing racism against people of color and the fact that that question actually did have to be asked in 2008 regarding our current First Lady.

No. Gingrich isn't valiantly defending the white woman's honor, here. He's defending his, and all white people's, right to become Very Offended whenever we're told that racism isn't over yet.

Cue the countdown until this "attack" on conservative white women is contrasted with the outrage over Limbaugh calling that lady a "slut," and is used to "prove" liberal/feminist "hypocrisy."


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Do you ever wonder

just how many professional and amateur male anti-LGBT advocates secretly watch and jerk off to lesbian pr0n?

I do.

Lest anyone be under the mistaken impression that this "lesbians are SO hawt" fetish means that lesbians have it totally easy compared to gay men (which yes, some gay men have actually said to me before), this bigot pseudo-acceptance mostly only applies to "conventionally attractive," gender-conforming, feminine cis women who make out with other "conventionally attractive," gender-conforming, feminine cis women solely to titillate, and then later have Real Sex with, heterosexual men.

Tip of the beret: PF.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More MRA Incoherence

[Content note: MRA crap, misogyny]

Via the infinite coherence of the MRA "manosphere" we learn that that law student who had the temerity to testify, in public while woman, about birth control is, apparently, a mclesbo manhands who isn't even hawt but who, nonetheless, is a gigantic slut who wants other people to pay for the enormous amounts of penis-in-vagina sex with men she's having.


Despite these bizarre contradictions, many MRAs nonetheless retain their unearned sense of intellectual superiority over women and feminists. Reading through various male MRA comments, I regularly see even somewhat-intelligent-seeming men lose all semblance of rationality when dealing with or talking about women they disagree with.

And aren't these "insults," these superficial ways some men try to cut down women, so telling about the men who utter them?

If they don't like what she says, they try to strip her of her attractiveness, her sexual appeal, her sanity, her dignity, her humor, her femininity, or her heterosexuality. As though they, as men, are perched on platforms of complete and total objectivity and, thus, are the Ultimate Arbiters of a woman's value as a human being.

You can't even put "as a human being" on the end there.

Many MRAs and anti-feminists don't even think of women as human beings in the way that they think men are human beings. Men, to them, are the Real People. It's their world, they think, and women just live in it for, alternately, their amusement and annoyance. It's supremely self-centered, really.


Leftist Gender Warrior gives a hearty shake of the man-hands to reader John for passing this link along.

Monday, March 19, 2012


[Trigger/content warning: this post discusses a sexual assault threat]

Thought I'd share a dream I had this past weekend.

In it, I was playing in a women's basketball league. During a break, I went to use the bathroom. While I was in a stall and about to sit on the can, a male janitor came in with a mop and a bucket.

Not wanting him to be embarrassed about me being in there, I hollered, "Yoo-hoo, someone's in here!"

He stayed.

So, I shuffled my feet to make some noise and then I repeated myself.

A few seconds later, a second man came into the bathroom.

I stood up and exited the stall and said, "I'm in here, just so you guys know."

The men looked at each other, grinned, and one of them said, "It's not that safe for you to be in here with two men, you know." The man holding the mop began stroking its handle while making a gross, leering face at me.

Their intent clear, both men then began creeping toward me, keeping themselves between the door and me.

I thought about bolting for it, but I didn't. Trying to act nonchalant, I instead walked toward them confidently, being mindful of positioning myself so that I didn't end up in between them.

"You think?" I said, as I reached them.

They cockily nodded.

The second man began unbuckling his belt.

I was about a foot from the man with the mop now. He was swinging the handle from one hand to the other.

As it made its way from one hand to the next, I quickly reached out, grabbed the handle and ripped it from him before he could grab it. Wielding it like a bo staff, I jabbed it toward his face and said, "Try it, fucker."

Both men fell backwards, startled. Scared.

I threw the mop to the ground and then ran out the bathroom door knowing the two men would be hot on my heels.

Down the hall I went, quickly making my way back to the gym, where about 50 women were playing and watching basketball. There, I ran into the middle of the court and, just as the men entered the gym, I pointed and yelled, "Those two men tried to rape me!"

50 women, all of them now holding basketballs, softballs, and dodgeballs (I don't know, it's a dream, just go with it), starting hurling the balls toward the men.

And then I woke up.

When I did, I didn't feel scared, traumatized, or disturbed, although it certainly had the potential to provoke such reactions. Instead, I chuckled for a second, thinking to myself, "Really?"

As I tried to process it, I kept thinking that perhaps it's a symbol for what feminist blogging feels like for me sometimes.

As in non-Internet life, some men are violent, aggressive, entitled assholes on Internet, but there is something empowering and satisfying about creating and cultivating different online feminist communities to name that aggression, call it out, and question rape culture's rule that it's women's god-given role in life to always have to cater to and live in fear of that aggression.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dear Internetz

Can people please, for the love of gawd, learn what an ad hominem argument is and isn't before accusing someone of engaging in that particular fallacy?

There seems to be a general consensus on Internet, and a new fallacy in and of itself, that an ad hom attack means "you said something mean to me, therefore you're wrong and illogical."

Nope. Sometimes people on Internet are assholes, but that doesn't necessarily make their arguments wrong.

Meanwhile, and ironically, the person accusing others of making "ad homs" will then go on to say something like, "Sorry, I can't take that scholar seriously, she's a Marxist."


Talk about whatever today. Especially if it involves argumentation, fallacies, and corgis.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

On the Law School Scam

So, have you heard about all of those law schools that are being sued for allegedly inflating their post-graduation employment statistics? From The National Law Journal:

The plaintiffs’ attorneys who have already launched class actions targeting 14 law schools announced on March 14 that they were suing an additional 20 schools in 10 states, including some of the most highly regarded in the country.

The move was not unexpected. After the attorneys sued 12 schools in early February, they announced their intention to file suit against 20 to 25 additional schools every several months. They allege that the targets committed fraud by inflating or misrepresenting their postgraduate employment data to lure students.

In a press release, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said the average debt load for graduates of the 20 schools was almost $115,000.

As an attorney, I'm glad to see these suits happening and garnering some attention.

I don't expect sympathy from the general non-lawyer public, though, which tends to have a general dislike of lawyers. Sadly, I think part of this dislike is due to the misperception that most of us are working at gigantic law firms making six-figure salaries so WTF are we complaining about anyway?

The reality, as the above article notes, is that many law graduates have six-figure student loan debts that, unlike mortgages and other types of debt, are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. And, due to the combo of this mortgage-sized debt and relatively-modest salaries, many are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Sure, I can hear people saying that law grads Knew What They Were Getting Into when they went to law school, but what's kind of the point of the lawsuits is that, no, actually many students didn't know what they were getting into, employment-wise, because law schools have lied about, misrepresented, and/or have not been totally candid about their stated employment statistics of their graduates for years.

Paul Campos, one of the few law professors who publicly speaks out about what's become known as the "law school scam," has noted that while almost all ABA-approved law schools report that 90% of graduates are employed within 9 months of graduation, that number drops to 62.9% if we exclude those employed in non-legal and part-time jobs. (Campos still believes that this 62.9% figure is too high, because it does not exclude people in temporary positions).

When I was thinking about law school more than a decade ago, I certainly relied on this employment data to make my choice. Back then, I believed the statistics the schools were presenting and made my choice accordingly. Upon graduation, I would estimate that less than half of my class had solid job prospects. I remember thinking that Career Services, professors, and deans were of little to no help in this regard and, rather than feeling like part of a "vast network of legal professionals," many of us felt like we were totally on our own once we graduated.

After all, the school already had our tuition. What more did they want with us or from us?

Anyway, these lawsuits, I believe, are only the tip of the iceberg. Graduates of other programs and schools will (and already are) filing similar suits.

We hear a lot about how higher education is one way we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. For many people, that's a myth. Although, unfortunately, when education is treated like a market commodity rather than a basic right, it seems like a good way a select few can pull themselves up by their bootstraps is by selling that myth.

[Cross-posted: Alas]

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Transgender Woman Suing Police For Mistreatment

[Content note/trigger warning: Trans*bigotry, violence]

A transgender woman in the Chicago area is suing the town of Cicero and two police officers who she says harassed her because of her gender identity. From the Chicago Tribune:

"According to the suit, police verbally abused her, accusing her of being a prostitute because she is a transgender woman. They also refused to accept her state-issued ID, which identified her as a woman, the suit says.

'One of the defendant officers threatened to punch Ms. Feliciano, take her to jail and lock her up for fraud because her ID said she is female,' the lawsuit states. The officers 'repeatedly ridiculed and denied Ms. Feliciano's gender identity by stating that she was a man, referring to her with male pronouns and calling her by her former name.'

Advocates say Feliciano's case underscores the growing debate surrounding the treatment of transgender people by police. Although the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has made strides in recent years with the repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' military policy and the expansion of hate crimes laws to include attacks on gender identity, transgender individuals such as Feliciano continue to suffer discrimination and abuse at the hands of police, they say.

Anecdotally, these types of run-ins with the police are not single, isolated events. While Gay Inc tends to push for hate crimes laws under the assumption that the criminal justice system is "our" protector, some in the LGBT community view the criminal justice system as an intrusive purveyor of violence and harassment. As the woman filing the lawsuit states:

"The police are supposed to protect you, but there are a lot of transsexuals who are afraid to call the police."

I also think it bears mentioning that the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), which the Tribune cites as evidence of strides made by the LGBT community, did not change the US military's policy of prohibiting transgender people from serving. The military considers Gender Identity Disorder, a controversial diagnosis in itself, to be a disqualifying condition.

Gay Inc doesn't tend to mention that very much either.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

SPLC Notes Misogynistic Sites

Via the Spring 2012 Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC):

"The so-called 'manosphere' is peopled with hundreds of websites, blogs and forums dedicated to savaging feminists in particular and women, very typically American women, in general. Although some of the sites make an attempt at civility and try to back their arguments with facts, they are almost all thick with misogynistic attacks that can be astounding for the guttural hatred they express."

Cited in the report were several MRA sites and other anti-woman/anti-feminist sites, some of whom I've written about before.

I found this report surprising and interesting. On the blogs I read, SPLC is famous/notorious mostly for listing anti-LGBT hate groups. This report is the first I've heard of the organization taking note of sites with alleged misogynistic content.

Also included in the report is a longer piece on the men's and father's rights movement:

"There are literally hundreds of websites, blogs and forums devoted to attacking virtually all women (or, at least, Westernized ones) — the so-called 'manosphere,' which now also includes a tribute page for Tom Ball ('He Died For Our Children'). While some of them voice legitimate and sometimes disturbing complaints about the treatment of men, what is most remarkable is the misogynistic tone that pervades so many. Women are routinely maligned as sluts, gold-diggers, temptresses and worse; overly sympathetic men are dubbed 'manginas'; and police and other officials are called their armed enablers."

Of course, feminist women, who are often on the receiving end of all of this vitriol, have been noting this misogyny for years (men call us things) (although, the SPLC report only cited the male-run "Manboobz" blog as calling these sites out).

Nonetheless, I'm sure this report will provoke a shitstorm of a reaction among MRAs and pick-up artists, with them creating their own "complementary" lists of feminist/misandric "hate sites."

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Hunger Games Post

"Cleaning me up is just a preliminary step to determining my new look. With my acid-damaged hair, sunburned skin, and ugly scars, the prep team has to make me pretty and then damage, burn, and scar me in a more attractive way." -Katniss Everdeen, in Mockingjay

Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy has been great fun to read. The stories contain violence, so I can understand why some people would think otherwise and/or wouldn't find the stories suitable for kids.

(This post doesn't contain plot spoilers, just a general summary of the protagonist)

I do enjoy Katniss Everdeen as a protagonist. In the above-quoted scene, she is receiving a make-over that is supposed to transform her into an acceptable-looking girl after the violence that was inflicted upon her in a fighting arena damaged her body. It is not lost on her, though, that the make-over process is mimicking the very violence that has resulted in her needing the make-over in the first place.

In this way, the reader is invited to think about the arbitrariness of beauty standards.

Katniss is not a perfect character, but she is, I believe, a feminist one (at least, she beats the hell out of Bella Swan in that regard). Not only is she a female protagonist, she's a hero. And that's big, because sadly, not enough images of girls and women being heroic are in the media today. Despite women and girls performing small and large acts of heroism every day, the Netflix category called "action movies" is a dude-fest of men being every type of hero imaginable- soldiers, iron men, flying men, fighting men, police men, pilot men, batmen, and so on, with women relegated to role of cheerleader to male hero or victim of male aggression.

Relatedly, Katniss seems to have difficulty throughout the trilogy seeing herself as a hero. Instead, she seems to believe she's essentially a bad person because of the violence her government coerced her into performing. That, too, might resonate with girls and women for whom any act of aggression, assertion, or violence is something we are made to feel Incredibly Guilty about, while oftentimes the same acts performed by men are celebrated or condoned.

What do you all think of the trilogy? Are you reading it? Do you plan to?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Personhood Amendment, For Ladies

I guess today is Official Link To Shakesville Day in Fannie's Room. LOL.

Thought I'd lift a teaspoon and invite folks to spread the word and sign the Personhood Amendment, For Ladies.

Once it has 1,000 signatures, it will be delivered to Senators Patty Murray (WA), Al Franken (MN), and Kristen Gillibrand (NY) with a request to introduce the proposed amendment into the legislative session.


Leftist Gender Warrior says, "Hey, women are people ya'll!"

"Thought Police" and a "PC Gone Too Far Culture"

What Liss said about "Rush Limbaugh and the Thought Police":

"To those who mistakenly believe that [those who object to Limbaugh's bigotry] are [the thought police], I offer this alternative perspective: The entire rest of the world, with its privileging of men, and heterosexual and cisgender people, and thin (but not too thin!) and tall (but not too tall!) and able white bodies with neurotypical minds, and religious people and people who have sex (but only in certain ways!) and people who can and want to be parents and the wealthy and the educated and the employed and the powerful and residents of the Western and Northern hemispheres, and all the ways in which most of the rest of the world facilitates and upholds that privilege, and all the ways in which the rest of the world marginalizes and demeans and treats as less than all the people who deviate from those privileged "norms," and all the ways the rest of the world has indoctrinated you into that system of privilege, and socialized you to believe it's the natural and right and immutable state of the world, and all the shills for the kyriarchy who fill the ether with self-reinforcing rubbish on a constant loop so you swim in a sea so thick with the detritus of Othering that you don't even notice it on a conscious level anymore, and all the jack-booted bullies who swarm out of the woodwork to kick you back in line if you do notice and dare to protest, if you have the temerity to question the message, and all the other bits and bobs of the brainwashing to which we are all subjected since the day we're born as part of the scheme, nearly incomprehensible in scope, to ensure that challengers to these traditions are never made, and, if they're born, are squashed with the weight of mountainous tidal waves of blowback in the other direction…? The purveyors of that shit are the goddamn thought police.

And you know what one of the biggest lies they tell you is?

That it's the other way around."


And another big lie is the way such people so often brand themselves as courageous tellers of truth in the PC Gone Too Far Culture created by all of us over-sensitive censors.

What people like Rush Limbaugh do? I wouldn't call it brave, I would call it empty bravado. It's ignorant, unthinking, uncritical hostile commentary that confirms popular prejudices.

Until now, he's suffered little financial or personal consequences for communicating in that negative, aggressive manner for decades. At the end of this, he will still likely be a millionaire, and he will be a millionaire not in spite of his commentary, but precisely because of it. Dude's cackling all the way to the bank.



Limbaugh and his supporters are often the types of people we have to tiptoe on eggshells around calling them or their statements "problematic" rather than racist or sexist or homophobic, because calling them the more accurate label, bigot, is too mean to them, a gross violation of their FREE SPEECH, and evidence of "leftist intolerance, hypocrisy, and judgment."

Our critiques, they cry, rather than the original hostile statements themselves, are what Shuts Down Dialogue. An unspoken condition of dialogue happening with such people is that we can talk about contentious topics only if we do not call these bigots bigots while doing so.

The truth?

The purveyors of that shit can't handle the truth.

Contrast Limbaugh's position with Sandra Fluke's- a student who no one heretofore had heard of who had the temerity to publicly talk about the importance of access to birth control for people with certain non-sex-related medical conditions.

Are we to understand that a millionaire public figure is somehow.... courageous for misrepresenting her testimony, riling up his misogynistic troops, and smearing her name?

Contrast Limbaugh's position with that of feminist, non-white, non-cis, non-male, and non-hetero bloggers and commentators, those of us who don't, actually, possess institutional and financial power to "censor" privileged men like Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher, and Kirk Cameron, let alone possess multi-million dollar contracts to share our views.

Are we to understand that it's we who are "The Man," and that it's Limbaugh and company who are heroic underdogs, bravely subverting us, "the system," political correctness, and everything we stand for against all odds?


Talk about all of this, or whatever, today, my truth-telling friends.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Note to Anti-Feminists: Our Ideas and Words Mean Things

"It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle." -Sun Tzu, The Art of War

So, I know very little about photography.

That being said, it would be strange if I wrote blogpost after blogpost talking about how much photography sucks and how stupid photographers are, right? People would be like, "Wait a sec, what qualifies this lady to be able to say what is and isn't good photography?"

Feminism, though, is different.

Perhaps because it is coded "feminine" and therefore inferior in the US and in need of a good mansplainin', lots of people who know next to nothing about feminism love to talk about how stupid "the feminists" and feminism are. Oh yes, despite their ignorance, they have very cocksure, strong opinions about the superiority of their own knowledge about gender, feminism, and gender studies.

Indeed, in my critique of one anti-feminist guy's uninspired, sexist take on Valentine's Day, I observed:

"The biggest failing of so many anti-feminists isn't that they're assholes, which many of them indeed are, but that they so utterly fail at understanding feminism or what it is they're even objecting so strenuously to."

And, well, that very failing prevents such people from being able to even competently participate in debates and conversation about that which they so loathe.

I have a lot of admiration for those of you who waded into our pal Playful Walrus' (PW) Valentine's Day post to rebut his points. Unfortunately, ya'll got to experience first-hand how it seems to be his "thing" to write cover-his-ass, soundbite "gotcha" retorts, rather than serious engagements to people's critiques.

Which, you know, fine. But, to me, that writing style is a big cue that readers shouldn't expect much in the critical thinking department from the writer.

I strongly believe that people write the way they think, and that writing is a reflection of not only our thoughts, but our thinking processes. So, if dude writes in soundbites, it suggests to me that he may be thinking in soundbites as well. It suggests that the writer might possess an overly-simple view of the world, where nuance fails to exist and all arguments can easily be rebutted and talked out in 4-words or less.

Thusly does PW "respond" to his "hair-legged feminista" [sic?] critics. (Creative fella, isn't he? What next, is he going to call us "bra-burnt harpies" [sic]?).

He first notes, in a post entitled "Men and Women Are Different":

"Yes, men and women are different. 'Duh!' most people say, but you, too, can learn to be offended by such a statement if you read and listen to certain sources enough.

In his world of probably reading like one feminist blog every now and then, feminists and "certain sources" do practically nothing but get offended whenever people assert that "men and women are different." We don't read or write books about gender, we don't read and write blogs devoted almost entirely to gender studies, we don't rebut arguments about gender. Nope. Our big problem is that we just don't think hard enough about gender before getting all offended about stuff.

Clearly, PW is mixing up our approach to feminism with his.

See, my argument, if PW ever bothered to actually read it, ask about it, or try to understand it beyond bumper sticker-level-thinking is that, here let me put this in bold, men and women are not "opposites" and that, while some biological differences between male and female humans exist, these differences are often grossly exaggerated in a myriad of ways. Indeed, men and women are far more alike than they are different.

But watch how PW proves his contention that "men and women are different":

"Just about any sentient being, including two-year-old human beings, knows that men and women, girls and boys, are different."

Wow, BLAMMO! The entirety of feminism = totally destructed!

Here, PW does the bizarre logical feat I like to call argumentum ad toddlerum, a counter-productive strategy of literally comparing one's own argument to an argument a toddler would make. It's as though he personally hasn't given much thought or study into gender beyond what the average two-year-old has done, therefore he mistakenly thinks that anyone who disagrees with him about gender is dumber than a two-year-old.

We, unlike him, are apparently saying nonsensical things about gender that just don't exist in reality. Which brings me to another observation I made in my original post:

"You know, in my experience interacting with conservatives, many of them have a certain worldview regarding How The World Is that they insist is some sort of 'universally generalizable' truth for all people for all of history....

Any actual women, men, and relationships in the real world who deviate from this worldview- gay men, lesbians, trans* people, heterosexuals in egalitarian relationships, gender non-conformists- are dismissed as strange anomalies from reality, too few in number to count. Inauthentic. If one points out the existence of these 'deviations' from the conservative worldview, one is frequently accused of making these experiences up as part of a Marxist-Feminist plot against 'reality.' As though our very existences are not a part of reality."

PW demonstrates this principal well, cismansplaining:

"Human beings are male or female. People who can't handle reality angrily refer to this as 'gender binary'."


See, words mean things (keep that in mind).

And, notice how he can't even accurately articulate what these mysterious, un-named people mean when they "angrily" refer to the "gender binary." He probably doesn't even know why many people make a distinction between sex (biology) and gender (behavior). Which, you know, that's fine not to know. Ask questions. Get informed. But for him to outright dismiss and mock an idea he obviously knows nothing about while feeling all fracken intellectually superior about it? Gawd, that drives me up the wall about anti-feminists.

They think they've won some sort of major rhetorical battle when they knock down their own ignorant straw-depictions of feminist arguments. They don't even know that they don't know the arguments of their opponents.

It's as though he has seen some people use the phrase "gender binary," never bothered to inquire what was meant by it, and therefore outright dismisses it because it's too far beyond his toddler-esque "if it's a complicated idea that doesn't immediately jive with what I think is obvious, it must be wrong" view of reality. It's the Rush Limbaugh School of "Demolishing Feminism" that's interested more in "entertainment" (ie- attacking "others") than serious, critical thought.

He continues. Within his post where he insists that it's his ideological opponents who can't handle reality, he goes on, trying to eradicate complexity from reality (content note: transbigotry):

"[The Feminists] point to three groups of people: men who think they are women; women who think they are men; and people born with deformed or mixed up organs. The first two groups of people could have mental illnesses or physical problems. People in the third group definitely have physical problems. All three groups combined amount to a tiny percentage of the overall human population and do not negate that fact that for all practical purposes, human beings are male or female, any more than the fact that some people are missing a leg or two negates the fact that human beings are bipedal mammals."

Note the ignorant, inaccurate way he describes people with intersex conditions. They don't have Klinefelter syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, androgen insensitivity syndrome, or any one of another conditions that can affect a person's chromosomes, genitals, sex organs, and/or hormones. They have, according to Notable Expert On Gender Playful Walrus, "deformed or mixed up organs." (It's always all about the "organs" to these people, isn't it? Gawd. And they say we're the pervs.)

And, according to him, such people are mere strange anomalies from reality, too few in number to count. For "all practical purposes" intersex people don't actually exist because, like he says, "human beings are male or female." Those other people who don't neatly and obviously fit into one of those categories are just .... mumble mumble *quickly change the subject*

Note too the logically half-assed way he tries to dismiss and erase trans* people because they don't fit into his toddler worldview. Trans* people "could" have "mental illnesses or physical problems." So *something something* what. No, really. What? Okay, moving on. Whatever. No citation or further explanation necessary. *Wipes hands, satisfied with self for "taking care of" that issue too*

Like many people who don't write well, PW then predictably accuses his critics of having "problems with reading comprehension or a deliberate mischaracterization." That's always a fun, self-centered take on what's happening. As though, oh yes, it's not so much that his critics are concerned with sexism and his ignorant attacks on people, we just apparently don't read well and/or are out to "misrepresent" his precious arguments. Sure.

So, accordingly, he condescendingly lists some "relevant facts" for all of us illiterates. Like:

"1) words mean things"

Callback, BOOM! Indeed they do, my walrus friend. (Who, consequently, I don't find all that playful, actually).

He continues:

2) "most" does not mean 'all'
3) 'chances are' does not mean 'all always'
4) 'men tend to' does not mean 'all men always'
5) that men and women are different does not mean all men are the same in every way and all women are the same in every way'"

I simply love how these disclaimers are supposed to somehow redeem PW's Valentine's Day post. Like, we're going to be all, "Oh, well, he wasn't talking about ALL men and women, he was just making asinine, uninspired stereotypes about MOST men and women."

Sure. Like, dude can't just concede that it's kind of presumptuous to speak for and represent "most" men in the whole entire world? Really? Nothin' wrong with that? You sure? Okay.

And, since words mean things, let's remember this gem from his original piece:

"Men tend to be practical when it comes to money. You expect him to blow money on overpriced chocolates, flowers, jewelry, gifts, dinners in crowded restaurants, hotel rooms, etc."

Here, he is talking about a trait that men supposedly "tend" to display. He then uses "you" to addresses his audience of presumable women by telling us what we expect. No qualifications. No "most" women. No "women tend to." Just, "you." That right there? Is treating women like a monolithic hive-mind being, all of whom expect expensive shit from men.

But, you know, gawd forbid dude just concede that that's not okay, respectful, or accurate. He has to blame his poor writing/reasoning process on his audience, all of whom are apparently too stupid to ascertain what he meant but didn't say.

He then ends with a strange question:

Given how [my critics] reacted from my honest, candid opinion based on my observations and experiences, would a man in their lives be encouraged or discouraged to tell them if they disagreed with their opinions?

Nevermind his generalizations, stereotypes, sexism, snottiness, aggression, and ignorance, can all the hysterical women just take a minute to think about how non-specific hypothetical men in their lives might feel about women disagreeing with them?

Sexism against men and women is sad, you see, but what's even more sad is when men feel badly when people have the temerity to disagree with them. Because men are basically... intellectual toddlers.

Once again, we see that it's anti-feminists who tend to take the most dim view of men. I, on the other hand, strongly believe that many, perhaps even most, men can handle criticism from women in their lives without framing it as the woman having some sort of hysterical over-reaction and without acting like a pissy toddler about it.

Indeed, I would never attribute one specific man's, or walrus's, failing in that regard to men as a class.

That's just how I roll.

And while I am on a roll here, I also want to draw attention to "Daughter of Eve's" pearl-clutching comment. This person really seems to have it in her head that I'm a big bad meanie who's nothing but "insulting." Welp, newsflash Eve, ignorant, sexist statements deserve to be called out and treated with contempt, no matter where they come from.

Even though I've been perfectly willing to engage with her personally in a civil manner, this isn't the first time she's done some cowardly smack-talking about me, rather than to me, within the safe haven of a bigot forum. But... note how she says nothing about PW's aggressive and constant snarks regarding women, feminists, and leftists in general.

That coddling of conservative male aggression is what's irritating about many (many, see what I did thar?) conservative anti-feminist women. They demand that feminist women respect THEM and THEIR CHOICES in life, especially about being stay-at-home mothers, and that we call out misogynistic attacks on conservative women (which we do). But when some of "their" men are complete and utter body-shaming, misogynistic assholes to liberal, progressive, and feminist women, they cower silently in the margins and pat their boys on the backs, encouraging and condoning the sexism and anti-feminism in order to prop up their own status as Real Women. Because they are, of course, special snowflakes who know their place, unlike the rest of us uppity broads.

Just an observation.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Free Speech Primer

Apparently, if someone says something offensive and you criticize that statement, you are threatening the speaker's freedom of expression.

So thinks notable constitutional law scholar and former teen TV star, Kirk Cameron:

"While gay rights activists are eviscerating Kirk Cameron for calling homosexuality 'unnatural,' 'detrimental,' and 'ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization,' the former 'Growing Pains' star has received 'thousands of emails and comments" of support, Cameron's representative told today.

'Cameron is thankful for the thousands of emails and comments that he's received from those who value the freedom to express one's beliefs,' the actor's rep said in an e-mail statement."

He expressed his views on "Piers Morgan Tonight" where he was promoting "Monumental."

Despite not holding demonstrable expertise or an academic background in history or law (unless Wikipedia or his personal website is omitting it) "Monumental" is "a documentary in which [Cameron] roams Washington, D.C. attempting to decipher the true intent of the founding fathers."

LOL. I can see it now:

"Aww shucks, I was roaming around and there it was! Hiding behind the Washington Monument!"

But really. Good luck with finding that One True Intent.

Let me guess! *Potential Spoiler Alert* I bet it very coincidentally jives with Cameron's already-held religious and personal convictions!

And all those people expressing their support for Cameron's reprehensible statements/freedoms of expressions? Yep, I'm just going to save these gems for the Homobigotry Is Definitely Over file [content note (dare I call it what it is?!) Yep: homobigotry]:

SBaker2 opines:

"When dealing with diseased and mentally imbalanced perverts, one expects to receive all the hate-mongering, name-calling, and attacks they can muster. Many of these freaks were once institutionalized. Now, they are armed and dangerous to same-sex kids and Christians, their primary targets."

John Thomas opines:

"when the truth bites one must realize the holy spirit may be trying to talk to you. I have no love for homosexuals at all and certainly no tolerance. How did they ever become to be called GAY when all I've known are so miserable all the time?????"

SoapDishford opines:

"Kirk's statements are not out of touch with the beliefs of most Americans, they are only out of touch with the looney left."


"Homos choose to participate in faggotry, DP."

These quotes, mind you, were not cherry-picked.

They were but a small, but representative, sampling of some of the totally free expressions following a WorldNetDaily (I know, what does one expect from uncritical readers of that source) article giving Cameron a chance to defend himself from the big mean homoleftists who are SO MEAN to him and all of the upstanding defenders of True Marriage, True Values, True Civility, True Religion, Jesus, God, America, and First Amendment Rights.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm Pretty Excited

To play Mass Effect 3, which is being released today. (For non-gamers in the audience, this is an action role-playing game available on Xbox).

I've long been a fan of Bioware, the company that develops the Mass Effect series, among other games I like. Not only because they create fun games with female protagonists and same-sex romance options, but because they stand by those choices in the face of raging, seething, entitled hetero male gamers who want to hoard their boy-games in their homosocial boys-only treehouses and stop those games from catering to any other demographic so they DON'T GET RUINED BY THE GIRLS AND THE STUPID GAY GIRLY THINGS!

Or something.

Take the recent misogynistic shit-storm they invoked on Twitter in reaction to Bioware writer Jenny Hepler, who has the temerity to be a woman with a job in the game industry.

In some male gamers, we see the longing of boys and men for all-male spaces where they don't have to compete with women as equals. Where the best way to ensure that competition doesn't happen is if they make those spaces hostile enough so boys/men can continue operating under the myth that they're just naturally better at/more fit for participation in such spaces than are girls and women. And where, if women dare try to compete as equals, they are viciously attacked and accused of ruining something Very Special. (See also sports, the military, male-dominated religions, and "man-caves").

I will be supporting Bioware today by buying and playing Mass Effect 3 while female. It's hard work, but somebody's gotta do it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Man-Woman Couples Opting Into Civil Unions

Here's an interesting article about some of Illinois' man-woman couples who are opting for civil unions, rather than marriage. A snippet:

"Many of the other straight civil union pioneers have also said no to marriage—for themselves and as an institution. The evidence is in a report that the Cook County Clerk’s Office recently issued on the nation’s first opposite-sex [sic] couples who civilly united. It found dissatisfaction with the institution of marriage because of concerns with its historical assignment of roles, its connection to religion, and its unfairness to gay and lesbian couples. My own interviews with some of these same couples, who have rejected marriage and plunged into the shallower, murkier pool of the civil union, reflect a cohort prepared to take the wrecking ball to marriage itself."

First, can we just stop calling the sexes "opposites" already? Kthx.

Secondly, if more of the Normal People begin obtaining civil unions with all of the rights of marriage, would the second-class status of civil unions go away? Doesn't the fact that civil unions are open to man-woman couples and same-sex couples in Illinois illustrate that the absurd "it's not marriage, but we treat it just like marriage" legal scheme makes a sketchy distinction between couples who have no relevant differences from each other?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Using Your Words

[Content note: Misogyny, body shaming, fat shaming]

In a twisted way, Susan Smith Dale's anti-feminist screed over at "Human Events: Powerful Conservative Voices" [Ker-POW!] is kind of charming in its untimeliness. (What can I say? Gallows humor is how I blog day in and day out.)

Sure, it's 2012, but why not part-ay anti-feminist style like it's 1996!?

But first things first. She begins:

"I am presently in a terrible conundrum.
I can't figure out whether it is feminism, environmentalism or the unions that is [sic] responsible for the near destruction of America.

Wow, three whole options! Good thing she's not oversimplifying things by only presenting us with two. (Is a false trichotomy a thing? It should be).

(Spoiler alert!)

Dale doesn't find her conundrum to be terribly confounding after all. She ruins the suspense and informs us right away:

"Demographically, of course, feminism is the culprit. Not only has it been directly responsible for the lack of progeny in America and the west in general, but it is primarily responsible for women leaving the home and doing whatever, most of which the members of the feminist community, forced ot [sic] otherwise, don't seem to like; in fact, they are an angry lot, very angry."

LOL. Sure.

That "demographic" thing about the "lack of progeny"? I always read that as dog whistle for "not enough white babies are being born, ruh-roh!" Am I alone there?

Anyway, notice how when women abandon our One True Role In Life As Child-Bearers, otherwise known as Having A Career, we're just "doing whatever." When men have careers, they're doing something responsible, important, and worthy of respect.

Maybe she thinks my heating bill is going to pay itself?

Or whatever.

She continues, bringing up the most pressing feminist issues of the day:

"Women, because of the many and outrageous screeds of the feminists of the 20th century, aren't quite sure what they're so angry about – it's sure not about Bill Clinton and his abuse of women, (rape, groping, 'kiss it,' bj to an adolescent in his employ, et cetera; all of that seemed to be fine with the most outrageous of their complainants) – it's about, well, I don't quite know. "

Well, that she doesn't "quite know" things about feminism is patently obvious.

And that's what so irritating about so many of these anti-feminist women.

They understand that they get extra cookies for being women who publicly hate feminism and have no problem having careers (or, sometimes, abortions) themselves while denigrating other women for making that choice. But, like most anti-feminists, they don't know much about the topic. They often can't articulate a single feminist thought without turning it into a ridiculous straw-argument version of the original. But, somehow, mysteriously, despite their ignorance, they are 100% sure that feminism is responsible for nearly every social ill facing society and themselves.

Take this narrative, for instance:

"Conversely, women, post-feminism, live lives so difficult that no one ever thought independent women would be forced to live. [sic?] And who are the so-called role models for female nightmare? [sic?]

The completely repulsive and restructured Jane Fonda? The even more-repulsive-than-Howard Dean Debbie Wasserman Shultz? The women who-knows-what-she-looked-like-pre at least a dozen plastic surgeries liberal hypocrite Nancy Pelosi?

The very sad, very fat and tragically pathetic Hillary Clinton? "

Any second Dale is going to start "raising the roof" while adding infamous single mother Murphy Brown to her list of awful, fugly women.

But seriously, you know an anti-feminist isn't even trying to form logical arguments when they basically just list off various women and call them ugly. It's interesting though. One of the big anti-feminist memes is: the big mean feminazis judge women like me who stay home and that's NOT FAIR because it's my CHOICE and I feel judged and insecure about it!

I highlight that accusation only because screeds like this make it pretty clear that anti-feminist men and women do almost nothing in their screeds but engage in the act of Judging Women. They're all protective of the housewives who stay in line like Real Women, but the ugly bitch feminists deserve what they get.

Anyway, after going off on a bizarre, anti-environmentalist, anti-union rant, Dale ends by asking a question (that she apparently forgot she already answered). Which group of people is responsible for America's demise, "the" feminists, "the" environmentalists, or "the" unions:

"Or is it just the left, who [sic] is close to achieving its goal of destroying America?"

LOL at the "the left" being anthropomorphized.

So, one of my New Year's Resolutions related to blogging was to re-think how I engage with people who write poorly. Communicating with people who are unable or unwilling to explain themselves clearly makes for some extremely frustrating Internet interactions in the context of talking about contentious political stuff.

We all make grammatical and spelling mistakes. But writing like Dale's? In this over-the-top, constantly overstating-the-case, simplistic, accusatory, dualistic, hateful, ignorant manner?

I think, for many people, our writing does evidence how we think about the world. So when a person is saying things like "the left, who" blah blah blah TOTALLY WANTS TO DESTROY AMERICA, I am questioning their reasoning and thought process. Because, as someone on "the left," my goal is not at all to destroy America, but to try to make it better than it has been. So, I'm left wondering, how and why does someone's mind go from "You know, I don't agree with everything feminists say" to the much more extreme "I'm going to write an article proving that feminists are totally destroying society!"

I think there's room for grown-up thinkers to concede that maybe we don't have these awful bad-faith motivations, and that not all feminists are feminists just because we're fat fugly baby-killers. So, I'm negotiating how to even talk to people who can't even concede points like that.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tales From Definitely-Not-BigotLand

Chairm, a blogger at the single-issue anti-equality blog Opine Editorials, has apparently started a new literary series. The point of his short stories, he explains, is to provide "a composite portrayal of numerous real encounters with proponents of the SSM idea."

To decipher this Chairm-speak, what he seems to be saying is that he's going to start blogging about his "real life" interactions with people who support marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Thusly, he begins Chapter 1:


'Pardon me?'

'You heard me. You bigot.'

'No, I meant what did you say before that?'

The young man blinked and helpfully recounted, 'Before I called you a Bigot? Well, I said that it is wrong to discriminate and you hate me just because I'm gay.'

'I don't know you well enough to feel strongly about you one way or another.'"

Okay wait wait wait a sec. Hold on.

Where exactly is this particular interaction occurring? I mean, context matters. So, where is this scene happening? At a party? In the office? A gay pride parade? A same-sex marriage? A protest?

Did a gay man spontaneously spring forth from the aether right in front of Chairm and start exclaiming "Bigot!" for No Reason At All?

Who knows? Who cares!

See, after several back-and-forths of Chairm presenting himself as Kind And Patient Socratic Question Master, while presenting Gay Guy From The Aether as the Real Bigot, he ends:

"I sat quietly for a moment. He had stepped closer and now stood over me waiting uncertainly. I leaned forward and looked up into his pained eyes. Slowly I offerred him my hand.

[To be continued]."

Oh. Please do!

LOLOLOL. (And please tell me that the "stood over me waiting uncertainly" bit is foreshadowing for some sexy sexy homofuntimes!)

Better yet, can I try to guess what happens next?

Let's see, I predict an ending like this:

I sat quietly for a moment. He had stepped closer and now stood over me waiting uncertainly. I leaned forward and looked up into his pained eyes. Slowly I offered him my hand..... and gave the homosexual a brochure I have promoted and defended on my anti-equality blog, authored by a group called Mass Resistance, entitled: "What same-sex 'marriage' has done to Massachusetts: It's far worse than most people realize."

"What is this?" the homosexual asked.

The homosexual began perusing the brochure and reading aloud from it: "Same-sex marriage 'has become a hammer to force the acceptance and normalization of homosexuality on everyone'? 'Homosexual marriage' causes HIV/AIDS rates to increase? 'Given the extreme dysfunctional nature of homosexual relationships..."?

I nod. "See, I'm not a bigot. Just a concerned citizen and public health advocate."

"You can't be serious? You don't see how pieces like this are..... problematic?" the homosexual asked.

I sighed. This is what the homosexualists do, you see. Get all emotional, huff-and-puff, and start to call us names.

"Now now," I said, wagging my finger at him. "Calm down."

"Calm down?" said the homosexual, his voice strained. "This brochure is literally saying my relationship has an 'extreme dysfunctional nature.' That is really bigoted and anti-gay."

Heh. See what I mean?

"I'm not even affiliated with Mass Resistance?" I informed the homosexual.

"But you are promoting their work and, therefore, spreading the hateful things they say about same-sex relationships," the homosexual said.

"You're having difficulty understanding that we're not bigots because you get too emotional about this," I informed the homosexual. "I suggest you take some time to cool off and re-think the marriage idea."

The homosexual vanished into the thin air from whence he came.

In the span of an hour I then proceeded to write 23 comments, 5 blogposts, and another 'real-life' narrative about what bigots same-sex marriage supporters are. Because that's what non-bigots do.

You think that's how it went?

I mean, if Chairm wants to play "people on the other side of this issue are mean to me and I'm a paragon of peace and love," we can play all day.

But, of course, we won't. Getting some opponents of equality to acknowledge the fact that some people, perhaps even themselves, harbor anti-LGBT bigotry is like pulling teeth. The new politically-correct truth among many "marriage defenders" is that bigotry against LGBT simply doesn't exist anymore and that the real bigotry that's occurring these days is against people like them- opponents of same-sex marriage, who have to endure the cruel viciousness of people thinking they're bigots.

It's a strategy shift.

As poll numbers continue to indicate increasing support for marriage equality, I have seen an increase in this "All they do is call us bigots and that makes them bigots" meme perpetuated by those who oppose equality.

Some people seem to possess the self-centered conviction that the entire marriage equality movement is actually a concerted plot to defame supporters of "traditional marriage" and that we have no good, reasoned, or logical reasons for supporting marriage equality or for thinking that some people might actually be bigots.

At the same time, I do see the meme as a telling admission that, at best, one isn't paying close attention to the debate one devotes one's entire livelihood or Internet presence to. At worst, it suggests that "marriage defenders" are adapting to a cultural environment where explicit homo-bigotry is less acceptable. They therefore use people's intolerance of bigotry and turn it into a twisted game of "you're a bigot for calling out my bigotry" gotcha.

It's kind of like how in the 2008 presidential election, many Republicans put forth the meme that "all Democrats do is call critics of Obama racist." As though Obama supporters had no good, logical, or sound reasons to oppose McCain/Palin, so we had to resort solely to "name-calling."

LOL. Sure.

In my experience, most of the bloggers at Opine Editorials tend to be unable or unwilling to concede any point, no matter how small or tangential. As though the pyramid of uncritical assumptions about gender and sexual orientation upon which their "marriage defense" position is built will utterly collapse if they admit that we maybe, just maybe, we have one or two good arguments on our side. Or that, we actually do make arguments that don't involve calling people bigots. Or, that sometimes people actually are bigots and actually do dislike gay people.

It's simply why I can't take these people seriously.

I tried. I really did. But at some point you just have to shake your head, smile, and write silly endings to their Deeply Profound Narratives About The Political Landscape.