Friday, September 19, 2014

Well Played, Rebecca Watson

Well played, indeed.

Critics of feminism so abundantly and often make clear that while they see the issues women bring up as being of little consequence to the world order, when their own freedoms, ideas, and reputations are on the line, watch the fuck out, because only then is persecution real.

Richard Dawkins Bemoans Loss of "Little Jar of Honey" At Airport

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sommers Critiques Critics of Video Game Misogyny

I think probably the best things about professional anti-feminist Christina Hoff Sommers' recent video mocking the hoards of "hipsters with degrees in cultural studies" who take issue with misogyny in video game culture are (a) the part at the beginning where she says the last time she played a video game was in the 1980s, when she played Pac-Man in a bar, and (b) the part at the end where she just knows critics of misogyny are making a big deal out of nothing because she herself spent several weeks looking at this issue.

Both of which obviously render her qualified to discuss current video game culture because reasons.

Frustratingly, Sommers throws around a lot of [citation needed] claims, which is pretty easy for one to do when one's arguments are already playing into what's thought of as common sense truths about differences between "males" and "females."  These sorts of ignorant reactionary pieces take hours for thoughtful people to transcribe and then to rebut each and every claim she asserts.

And the worst of it is that, in many ways, it's as though she isn't even speaking to prominent critics of video game culture, let alone about them in ways that accurately represent them or their arguments. That's evident from the way she ridicule and caricatures her "hipster" ideological opponents to the way she deigns, fucking deigns, to speak authoritatively about video game culture from her measly several weeks experience thinking about it.

Basically, the entire video is just one more bit of evidence misogynistic dudebro gamers need to hear to further justify their entitlement to have all things within video game culture centered around their needs, desires, attractions, biases, and prejudices.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

Ha ha, classic.  "As a Father of Daughters, I Think We Should Treat All Women Like My Daughters," via The Toast:

"Listen, as a father of daughters, I’m really against this kind of behavior, this kind of treatment of women. The kind where they get hurt or they can’t vote or we don’t give any money to them. You know the kind I’m talking about. The kind I don’t want my daughters to experience, and then I just sort of extrapolate out from there. 
It didn’t always used to be this way. I used to only have sons. Things sure were different then. How merrily I used to drive down country lanes in my old Ford, periodically dodging off-road to mow down female pedestrians (you must remember I had no daughters then). Was what I did wrong? How was I to know? I had no daughters to think of."
And, the title of the captures this mentality perfectly.  The real people men like this refer to are other men - the "we" in the title who have to be instructed on how to treat women-people.  Meanwhile, the man making the utterance remains self-absorbed, thinking that what's best for the women-people he cares about is surely best for all women everywhere.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Fun

Well, I've been quite pleased with the selection of science fiction and supernatural shows these days featuring female characters.  Lately, I've been watching Continuum and Defiance, and look forward to American Horror Story, Orphan Black, and Lost Girl starting back up.

Here are my random thoughts about them:

  • Continuum: Kiera and Garza should have more scenes together, and subtext please. Also, I'm much more interested in (*spoiler alert*) Kiera as a character now that she's somewhat joining forces with Liber8.
  • Lost Girl: I used to ship Doccubus, but now I'm fully on board with Team Valkubus. Dr. Lewis remains adorkable, I'm just more compelled by Tamsin as a character and love interest for Bo.
  • Defiance:  I'm a rare breed of lesbian who (usually) loved Mia Kirshner's portrayal of Jenny Schecter in The L Word, so it's great seeing Kirshner in another series.
  • 3 of these shows are Canadian.  I'm not necessarily surprised by that, but pleased that I have access to shows by studios, producers, and writers who seem interested in appealing to a wider audience than the stereotypical American "white dude geek" who is so often assumed to be the default science fiction fan.

What are other people watching, reading, and playing?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Toxicity, Hostility, and the Limits of Online Civility

In a way, I agree with Freddie deBoer about what he calls "online liberalism":
"It seems to me now that the public face of social liberalism has ceased to seem positive, joyful, human, and freeing. I now mostly associate that public face with danger, with an endless list of things that you can’t do or say or think, and with the constant threat of being called an existentially bad person if you say the wrong thing, or if someone decides to misrepresent what you said as saying the wrong thing. There are so many ways to step on a landmine now, so many terms that have become forbidden, so many attitudes that will get you cast out if you even appear to hold them. I’m far from alone in feeling that it’s typically not worth it to engage, given the risks."
deBoer continues by suggesting that liberals ought to gently educate people, rather than calling them out so vehemently.  The first order of business is that this phenomenon is not just a liberal one, but we'll get to that.

For those not already liberal or progressive, I imagine it's confusing and frustrating to be seemingly told, "Check your privilege! Educate yourself! I'm not here to educate you!"

As a progressive blogger, I enjoy learning for the sake of learning, even if it entails re-examining my current opinions. I've also learned to be quite picky about from who and what sources I do the learning, as well as what their motives are: is someone looking to play "gotcha" with me? Are they outright assuming the worst about my motives and everything about me?  Is it someone playing "Devil's Advocate" assuming he (often it's a he) has lots to teach myself and everyone at my blog?

From 7 years of blogging, I also know that a blogger can quickly become a container for those involved to displace their anger, accusations, threats, hobby horses, and hurt.  One mis-step, one thing you've said (or not said) that's misunderstood or misrepresented, and Bam! You as a blogger are a Very Bad Person. A bigot, racist, a sexist, a misandrist, a misogynist, a religion-phobe, a cat-hater, or what-have-you, despite any other long-standing track record you've built up.  (Free tip of the day for not pissing people off while blogging: Don't Blog!)

If one's goal is to convince someone else to change their opinions, what motivation does one have, really, to immediately go out and research their privilege or problematic thinking and then change?   From a practical standpoint, I know I'm highly resistant to "learning" from someone who assumes from the outset that I'm an awful person. I mean, when they have that basic factoid wrong, I'm going to find the rest of what they say highly suspect.

Although, I also acknowledge that blogging and interaction doesn't always need to have the goal of changing people's opinions - I certainly don't write this blog with the number one goal of convincing anti-feminists to become feminists!  I write this blog more for those who are already feminists, as enough people have written to me over the years, expressing gratitude for validating their life experiences.

But (and I hope you knew there'd be a but, here), deBoer's piece also seems like the usual complaining that many privileged people engage in when others call out, in an insufficiently nice manner, the problematic things they do.  So:

26 Perfect Jessica Lange "American Horror Story" GIFs For Every Situation

I think people can be genuinely jerky about call-outs, but oftentimes, there is no way to gently educate, as deBoer suggests, other people (especially those with various privileges) about something problematic they said or did without that person perceiving it as an attack on themselves.  When I was a resident lesbian, feminist guest blogger at the conservative-leaning Family Scholars Blog, we seemed to have these conversations on practically a weekly basis for at least a year!

No matter how tepidly we tip-toed around the dreaded b-word (bigot, that is), no matter how many assurances I and other pro-LGBT folks gave that we believed equality opponents could still be generally kind people, if we admitted that we thought their opposition to equality was "anti-gay," they perceived that label to be an abhorrent attack meant to silence them. The term bigot and anti-gay were, to many of them, hostile. Abusive. Harassment.

Like, I had actual conversations in which I assured Maggie Gallagher, one of the largest opponents of LGBT equality, that I thought she was an okay person.  I'm agnostic on that point (I don't personally know her well enough to say!), but at the time I recognized that showing her that I didn't outright assume her to be an irredeemable Awful Person was a necessary first step in (a) letting the conversation progress and (b) having her somewhat hear the other things I was saying.

And gawd!

What queer person wants to continually have such conversations with folks who think we are irredeemably flawed and sinful?  What feminist wants to continually, oh-so-gently educate (assuming they're even here to genuinely be educated by us) every man who pops in at our blogs with a, "Now, let me just play Devil's Advocate here" just so we can possibly get more people being feminists?  Those interactions, I have found, take a toll and I find it disturbing whenever I grow numb and complacent to arguing with people who treat my basic rights and human dignity as an intellectual, abstract debating exercise.

Yet, it does seem to be a practical reality that, in any conversation with political opponents, we have to be civil to those we find hostile to us (or "problematic") if our goal is to try to get them to understand us, let alone change their minds or behavior in the ways we want.

And, of course, all of this gets complicated and jumbled in actual conversations when people co-opt and appropriate the language of privilege, abuse, harassment in these really polarizing ways such that if one is (or believes themselves) to be a victim in one context, they believe they are justified in inflicting harassment in another context (while calling it self-defense or justifiable).

Lastly, I'd note that it's certainly not just a liberal phenomenon to think people are existentially bad for liking certain things or being a certain way.  Social conservatives certainly have their own orthodox lists of things that shouldn't be said, done, read, watched, drank, eaten, or smoked by people who are Good.  And, for all their whinging about political correctness and oversensitive liberals/feminists, they have their own silly things they are gravely offended by, such as swearing, sex in general, and having to bake cakes for lesbian weddings.

I'm still trying to better articulate my thoughts on these topics as I continue further teasing out the nuances.  Before I get accused of saying otherwise, I think it is absolutely necessary to render critique within social movements (and at political opponents).  It also often seems that a key issue here is people being extremely quick to mistakenly treat people as though making one, or several, mis-steps means they're 100% evil.  Even though, in reality, even - like - Fred Phelps wasn't 100% evil.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Reddit Very Concerned With Privacy of Person Who Breached Privacy of Women

"Reddit has become a particular hub for the photos [that hackers illegal obtained of female celebrities]. While Reddit hosts none of the photos itself, its users are linking to them off-site and discussing them with impunity—and now the moderators of the new community (called a subreddit) r/thefappening claim that the site’s admins are aware of the photos and happy to see them shared on Reddit, despite the threat of legal action
Reddit’s site-wide rules forbid the posting of “person information,” which these photos certainly seem to constitute. Posting “publicly available” information on celebrities is acceptable—but “it is not okay” to post links to “screenshots of Facebook profiles,” or anything potentially “inviting harassment.” If a users’ Facebook photos are a no-go, then it seems implausible in the extreme to suggest that stolen intimate photos could not also be considered “personal information.” Despite this, links to previous leaked photos shared on the site—including of Demi Lovato and Jennette McCurdy—remain live, several months later."
Via a screenshot at The Daily Dot, a Reddit moderator also posted a note threatening that anyone who posted the private information about the person who leaked the photos would be banned.  Because of course.

I've engaged with many people on Internet who take a certain pride in their participation in "anything goes" forums on Internet, such as Reddit.  They think it makes them seem tough, while those who prefer to participate in forums with rules about commenting are "over-sensitive" and weak.  

I've written before and I'll repeat that for all their libertarian blustering about free speech, oftentimes the real agenda of many Internet abusers is the re-affirmation of a status quo that privileges people like themselves and aims to threaten, demean, and silence everyone else, particularly women. For, even white men likely feel very differently about their precious free speech rights when they, as a group, are maybe on the receiving end of loads of harassment, threats, and invasions of privacy (see also, on Privilege and Fear). 

Anyway, from now on, whenever I think of Reddit, I'll think of groups of loser men who whinge about government invasions of their privacy even as they huddle around their computers jacking off to illegally-obtained nude photos of women, masturbating less to the photos themselves and more to the fact that their Internet lair protects their ability to be creepy assholes in private most of all.

Friday, September 5, 2014

7th Circuit: Same-Sex Marriage Bans Unconstitutional


As expected due to Judge Richard Posner's blistering, and quite wonderful, questioning of "marriage defense" attorneys during oral arguments, the 7th Circuit has found that Indiana and Wisconsin do not have a reasonable basis for denying same-sex couples the right to marry (PDF of opinion).

I've read the entire opinion, of which no doubt NOM and company are already issuing their reactionary cries of judicial activism gone awry.  But, it's a paragraph at the very beginning that I want to highlight today:
"The argument that the states press hardest in defense of their prohibition of same-sex marriage is that the only reason government encourages marriage is to induce heterosexuals to marry so that there will be fewer 'accidental births,' which when they occur outside of marriage often lead to abandonment of the child to the mother (unaided by the father) or to foster care. Overlooked by this argument is that many of those abandoned children are adopted by homosexual couples, and those children would be better off both emotionally and economically if their adoptive parents were married."
This observation is, for me, what has always made "marriage defenders" seem particularly cruel and oblivious to the reality.

So many "pro-family" conservatives wring their hands about the hoards of purportedly irresponsible heterosexuals, particularly men, who have children out of wedlock and yet their top policy solution is, "I know, let's make life more difficult for a subset of the parents who adopt the resulting children!"

If these people were sincere in their desire to actually help the families that exist in the real world, they would be grateful to same-sex couples and looking for ways to work with us to provide the best environments for all families, not just those families they deem to be the bestest most supreme families of all.

In their zeal to prevent same-sex couples from marriage, they also present one of the worst PR campaigns for marriage ever:
Marriage: It's for pressuring straight men into sticking around and raising the unintended children that they don't even want!
Brilliant strategy, folks!  Put these people in charge of all the things!  /sarcastic thumbs up sign

But seriously, combined with their correlative opposition to abortion, same-sex adoption and parenting, no fault divorce, and sex ed, it's almost like some social conservatives are intentionally trying to create the world's most unhappy, miserable people. Or, at least, more babies in orphanages.

Yet, their policies they refer to as "good old-fashioned common sense."  And, policies that acknowledge the other families that exist in the real world, they dismiss as political correctness gone awry, as though we exist primarily to annoy them and not because we have life aspirations of our own.  This kind of self-centeredness of privileged folks is the worst.

Also, one of the plaintiffs in the above-cited case is named Virginia Wolf.  Which is awesome and why is no one talking about that?!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blog Update

You may have noticed that the blog has a new color scheme.  Just because, well, everyone's a fuckin' critic, yeah?

Well, that, and I've been wanting to change the color layout for some time now, but have been too busy to get in the back-end of the blog and do it.    

I'm not 100% happy with this layout, even though I call it The Menses Extravaganza, so I also can't promise that it won't change again soon.  Or, you know, it could be another 3 years or so before I get around to changing it.  

In other news, I have read some of the critique, "critique," and concerns at a certain site about myself and my purported opinions, and well, it's super shitty that so many feminists seem to think that I (and other intelligent women) are bamboozled, hoodwinked, and otherwise brainwashed by who they assume is our Ultimate Feminist Leader.

How do they know what I've read and seen for myself?  Why assume I only know what's going on from second- and third-hand information?

Just a note that if people are trying to convince other people that we should listen to them, maybe start by assuming we are capable of thinking for ourselves, forming our own opinions, and coming to our own conclusions about things instead of being pre-emptively "disappointed" in our behavior.

And, for everyone else who has no idea what I'm talking about, this is for you:

Comment and Privacy Policy- Updated 5/25/18

By commenting here, you agree to the following. If you do not agree, please do not comment here. As a preliminary, general rule, please understand that as the person who owns and maintains this site, I have the right to set whatever boundaries I deem appropriate here.

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A. Responsibility
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Generally, I allow comments to remain unless they contain potentially illegal content or are overly-abusive. I find that allowing anti-feminist, anti-LGBT, and misogynistic commenters "space" to share their views actually hurts their own cause as they often do little more than engage in personal attacks, make threats, and demonstrate the depths of their own absurdity.

Sometimes, allowing such commenters does lead to worthwhile conversation.  Many times, it does not.  If I don't have time to fully engage with someone who is massively derailing or dominating a conversation, I will end the conversation.

If you have been banned, please do not try to "sock-puppet" here by commenting under a different name.

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No Surprise Here

Via Kieran Snyder at Fortune:
"The question I wanted to answer was: Did review tone or content differed based on the employee’s gender? I also wanted to know whether the manager’s gender was a factor in how they reviewed their employees. I was especially interested in employees who shared reviews given by both male and female managers. 
In all, I collected 248 reviews from 180 people, 105 men and 75 women. The reviews come from 28 different companies and include large technology corporations, mid-size companies, and smaller environments.... 
....This kind of negative personality criticism—watch your tone! step back! stop being so judgmental!—shows up twice in the 83 critical reviews received by men. It shows up in 71 of the 94 critical reviews received by women." (emphasis added)
That's quite a discrepancy, yeah?

The author also found that men more often had critique framed as constructive suggestions for additional skills to develop, rather than as personality failings.

These findings suggest that men and women are often judged differently for engaging in similar or the same behavior - men are "go-getters" when they're assertive or conversation-dominating in the workplace, while women are "bitchy" and "too talkative."

Yet, I also wonder if perhaps women are critiqued more frequently and in a more personal way because  supervisors know, think, or instinctively pick up on, men on average being highly sensitive to critique.  Women, of course, are often portrayed as overly sensitive, but anyone who's spent about 2 seconds on Internet has experienced how hell hath no fury like (many) male egos being taken down a notch or three.

My suggestion here is just that, a suggestion.  Yet, it seems no coincidence that these findings were in the tech industry, specifically - although I also wouldn't be surprised if they're replicable in other industries.

It is, after all, highly demonstrable that, just on Internet - where many tech guys and self-proclaimed geek guys- hang out, many men can't even handle "their" games, TV shows, movies, and other shit being substantively critiqued without groups of them banding together to derail all mature conversations into rape threats, temper tantrums, and other varied expressions of violent misogyny.

See, for just recent incidents, this link roundup at Geek Feminism Blog (which, by the way, consistently has some of the best link roundups out there, in my opinion!).

Maybe one reason women endure more criticism is because people know women probably won't go apeshit after hearing it.  Not that that makes the super-personal criticism okay in the workplace.  It's just something to consider as another contributing factor both to this criticism discrepancy and to male overconfidence.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Feminist Addresses Misogynist's Questions

Ha ha *snort*

Amanda Marcotte has taken the time to answer a video entitled, "Questions For So-Called 'Real' Feminists."

So, right away, you can imagine what those questions are like.  Sample: Who is the current leader of the feminist movement? Where can I go to find an official detailed list of the goals of feminism?

Her answers are pretty good and funny.  Anti-feminists, MRAs, and other misogynistic types seem to be really uncomfortable with feminism not being a monolithic movement, and I've received questions like these before, too, in my years of feminist blogging.

When we answer these asinine questions and respond, truthfully, that feminism doesn't have a current leader or one single definition or platform because it's not a monolithic movement, these guys (and it's almost always guys) treat feminism as though it's irredeemably flawed. Or, as though they've caught us up in some big "gotcha" that proves feminism is wrong about everything. Or, as though we're lying and  secretly withholding from them The Feminist Hivemind Manifesto.

I suspect they really want to pin down feminism because then it would be much easier for them to hone in on and destroy if feminism were just 1 thing, led by 1 person.

I'll also note that Marcotte is one of the widely-known Internet feminists who anti-feminists, misogynists, and MRAs seem to particularly loathe. Most probably because she speaks publicly, and has a relatively large platform, while being a feminist woman.

I've been thinking a lot lately about feminist infighting and even attacks that feminists engage in against other feminists.  I don't expect other feminists to be 100% perfect at all times. I don't expect (and nor do I) agree with other feminists 100% of the time about all things.  I still believe it's possible, and even desirable, for me to quote other feminists' work even if they're not 100% perfect and even if they sometimes, in fact, say or do "problematic" things.

Given the pervasive attacks that feminists experience from those who are not feminists, it's frustrating to me when we, within feminism, seek to marginalize other feminist voices because we deem them insufficiently perfect at feminism. I believe in the value of internal criticism and dialogue, but some of what goes on on Internet under the guise of "critique" is super shitty.

I know that's vague, and I hope to write more about that topic in the near future, when I have time to firm up my thoughts.