Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category

J.B. Handley has decided that his organization aimed at peddling dangerous pseudoscience about vaccines didn’t make him enough of an asshole, so he decided that go for the tried and true way of proving douchebaggery: misogyny.

In case you missed the multiple smack-downs posted by some awesome science bloggers, here’s some background: Amy Wallace writes an article on how anti-vaccination loons (henceforth called antivaccaloons) are creating panic out of thin air and ignorance. J.B. Handley does his usual job of throwing shit at anyone criticizing him and takes it one step further by emailing Wallace some pretty fucked-up shit. Here have it straight from the horse’s (or rather horse fucker’s*) mouth:

Warning: discussion of rape and date-rape drugs (more…)


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I know I should have stopped after the last post. I really should have just left it alone. I should have published that post and never gone back to Male Chauvinist Woman’s blog, but for some reason I seek out stuff that hurts my brain. Oh boy, did I find some truly brain-breaking material.

These two posts seem to be a reply to yesterday’s post. One of them is a PSA informing me that:

If you take off your panties and get into bed with a man, he will conclude that you want to have sex with him. Counterintuitive, I know, but there ya go.

So, anytime a woman not wearing a chastity belt gets in bed with a man she can expect to wake up with his penis in her vagina? Seriously, this has not been the experience of my friends and me.

Two heterosexual people of the opposite sex have been known to sleep in the same bed, sometimes even nude, and not end up having sex. Really it’s not magic; it’s simply two people agreeing that since one, or both, of them isn’t interested in sex tonight that there won’t be sex. Unless, of course, you believe that a man’s penis completely takes over his brain whenever he see a great pair of tits and ass. (…this, by the way, is from the same mind that concludes women are irrational.)

In a reply to Hex*, MCW brings up many a man’s objection to the confusing signals modern women send to men [/sarcasm]:

So if a woman took off her panties, got into your bed and rubbed up against you, meanwhile breathing, “No,” into your ear, you claim that wouldn’t be a mixed signal? I pity the women who actually want to sleep with you; what do they have to do, put it on a billboard?

Actually, all it really takes is the woman saying “Yes, I want to have sex” and the man feeling sure of her sincerity. Seriously, asking and waiting until she clearly states that she want to have sex isn’t difficult. I know it’ll completely ruin people’s romanticized version of hot, rough sex filled with violence, but frankly I don’t care for it unless there’s clear consent and a safeword involved.

*He now has his own blog. GO. READ. He’s a better writer than I am.

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I’m not quite sure if adding “feminism” to my Google Alerts was a good idea. On the one hand, I get awesome articles occasionally. On the other hand, I occasionally get articles which are not so awesome.

I wouldn’t have bothered clicking— the words “Female Misogynist” are so rarely a good sign— but the half-sentence blurb included a referece to Isis the Scientist, so I was curious. I clicked; I read; I facepalmed. Then I went over to Learn Hexadecimal’s house and shared the horror. When he learned that comments on that blog are moderated, he acquiesced to co-write this post with me, which is why this post contains words like “acquiesced”.

Warning: Discussion of rape

Things that are wrong with the linked article: where do we start? The title certainly isn’t promising. Why feminists claim rape has no connection to sex. It’s always nice to analyze people who disagree with you in the aggregate, so that there’s no possibility that the object of your musings will come along and say “Actually, you’re wrong. That’s not what I was thinking at all.”

Dear “Male Chauvinist Woman”, on behalf of feminists everywhere: actually, you’re wrong. That’s not what we were thinking at all. And your name distresses the hell out of me.

That issue aside, the title is also more than a little disingenuous. When feminists argue that rape isn’t about sex, that’s not to say there’s no connection between the two concepts. There obviously is, it’s ridiculous to assert that there isn’t, and nobody is making any such assertion.

The assertion we are making is that sex is not the point of rape. We are trying to get rid of the stubborn myth that somewhere out there are hundreds, thousands, millions of men who just cannot control their own penises. It should be just as disingenuous to explain this idea; it should be just as disingenuous to say that we’re battling the falsehood that says rapists are drawn to attractive women by a magnetism so strong that it makes them temporarily forget how to masturbate.

It should be, but it isn’t, because there are people who actually think this.


Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of feminists (Isis the Scientist is one example, the Errant Wife is another) shrilly insisting that women should be able to wear provocative clothing without having men ogle them, or that women whoring around will not inspire violence.

If that ain’t a problematic opening paragraph, I don’t know what is. “Shrilly”? What is the purpose of this word? What are you trying to accomplish with it, Male Chauvinist Woman? According to every dictionary Google has found me, it means high-pitched. This is the Internet, ma’am; there is no pitch. Unless, of course, you live in a world where all feminists speak (and, apparently, type) in squeaky little chipmunk voices, because if you don’t like someone’s message, they were obviously saying it wrong.

I don’t like your message, but I have so far resisted the temptation to do a dramatic reading of your post in the style of Foamy the Squirrel. Please extend us the same courtesy.

As near as Marbles and I can figure, this is what the esteemed Dr. Isis sounds like when she is being “shrill”. We’re not really seeing the Foamy here.

Moving right along: apparently, MCW has figured out why we’re making these “extraordinary claims”. But before she tells us the nature of her epiphany, she’s going to talk about a book she read. An “awesome” book.

One point he makes is that men will do pretty much anything else you can imagine for sex, why wouldn’t they use force?

…I’m beginning to doubt the awesomeness of this book. Men will do pretty much anything you can imagine for sex? Will we really? I sense the Myth of the Uncontrollable PenisTM approaching. Let me tell you, penises are not uncontrollable. Anyone here ever been really, really hungry? Skipped a few too many meals and then all of a sudden discovered your stomach still existed after all, and it wasn’t happy with your neglectful habits? Did you immediately go out and assault the first person you saw who happened to be carrying a delicious sandwich? The same principle applies.

There are exceptions. I slightly know a fat, homely, middle-aged woman who was raped last year. The culprit has apparently raped other women of similarly low attractiveness. Why does he target this type of woman? I have no idea. This guy is the exception, though. Most rapists target fertile women.

Lots and lots of things are wrong with this paragraph, but I’d like to draw attention to the word fertile, because it is the one that bewilders me most. Have some statistics: in 2007, over half (58%) of sexual assault victims were under the age of 18, with children under 12 accounting for 25%. Does that sound fertile to you? Didn’t think so.

There’s a digression here about “deranged liberal egalitarianism”, but Marbles tells me we’re not touching that.

Then, at last, MCW’s theory of feminist reasoning is revealed.

Feminists need to separate sex from rape because that’s the only way they can defend women’s “right” to sashay around in provocative clothing, including late at night in bad neighborhoods.

Scare quotes around the word “right”. Did I just see that? I did, didn’t I.

Yes, Male Chauvinist Woman. You’re right. Feminists believe that in an ideal world, we would all be able to sashay (seriously?) around in whatever the fuck clothing we felt like, in whatever the fuck neighbourhoods we pleased. We also believe that in reality, which is very much not ideal, a woman who chooses to thusly sashay is not responsible for the actions of anyone who chooses to assault her while she’s at it. And unlike you, we actually believe this.

Does a woman who does that deserve to get raped? Absolutely not. Is it a high probability that she will be? Yes, it is.

An analogy: suppose that when I go into the grocery store, I leave my wallet, with fifty-dollar bills sticking out of it, on the seat of my car. Do I deserve to have that wallet stolen? Of course not. Would anybody be at all surprised or sympathetic if someone did steal it? Of course not.

Basically, feminists want women relieved of all responsibility.

So what you’re saying is that you don’t believe women are responsible for their rape, you just… believe that women are responsible for their rape. And apparently that your hypothetical self is responsible for having her hypothetical wallet hypothetically stolen, and apparently that a woman’s bodily autonomy is worth n*50 dollars of your hypothetical money, where n is an integer greater than one and less than the number of bills that can plausibly be stuffed into a single wallet. I don’t think that analogy means what you think it means.

Rape is not theft.

They tell women they have a “right” to do foolhardy things, then insist that there’s no connection between, say, provocative clothing and rape. Does a woman have a “right” to wear a miniskirt and halter top? Of course she does. Does such attire make her more likely to be raped if she’s not careful where she goes and with whom? Of course it does.

This myth is even worse than the Uncontrollable PenisTM. The Uncontrollable PenisTM is risible, that is, you can laugh at it. It’s funny. The underlying principle implied by the words “and with whom” here is not funny at all.

71.9% of rapes are committed by a non-stranger. That includes roughly 7% relatives, 27% friends, and 26% casual acquaintances; the numbers given at the link don’t quite line up straight, but I’m not going to argue with the US Department of Justice’s statistics.

71.9%. Seven out of ten.

It doesn’t matter how careful you are. It doesn’t matter how modestly you dress, or how early you draw your self-imposed curfew, or how thoroughly you restrict which neighbourhoods you walk in. There is no magic formula that will protect you, because— and I cannot express how much it pains me to have to spell this out— the victim does not choose to make rape happen. The attacker does. And seven times out of ten, they choose to attack someone they already know.

I wish I could say that the fail in this post stopped here, but alas. Much like a used diaper dropped from a height, it just keeps accelerating until you reach splat. In this case, right now, splat is merely a smudge on the horizon.

Anyway, I remember a couple of articles they published about rape. In one, a woman related that a man she had been “dating casually” showed up at her apartment unannounced. He started kissing her. She says she was “too frightened” to stop him or protest, even though she admitted that he didn’t threaten her in any way. She lay passively letting him have his way with her. Afterwards, he said, “That would’ve been better if you had, you know, got into it.” She finished, “It was years before I realized that it was RAPE! Sex to any unwilling partner is rape!” Well, how the hell was he supposed to know she was unwilling? Feminists had at that point spent years telling the world that women wanted to have active sex lives just like men!

Active sex lives… passively letting him have his way with her…

Another article: after a date, a woman invited the man into her apartment. While she was pouring some wine, he came up behind her and started kissing her. She said something like, “Don’t, I’ll spill the wine.” He said, “Let it spill,” and embraced her. She submitted without any further protest. She too took years to decide that this was rape.

While Googling around for things to link to, we ran across a phrase that summarized this problem perfectly: non-dissent. Not dissenting isn’t the same thing as assenting.

“How the hell was he supposed to know she was unwilling?” Here’s a novel idea: he could ask. And if he can’t get a clear answer, or if he has reason to doubt her sincerity, he could not have sex. There is no problem of the form “but how could he be sure he wasn’t raping her?” that is not solved by these two basic principles: (1) communicate openly, and (2) when in doubt, don’t fuck.

Oh, but it gets better. And by better, I mean worse.

Yet another, hauntingly remniscent of the Mike Tyson case, though this guy was far more guilty than Mike: a co-ed spent the night in bed with her college boyfriend. She was wearing a short nightgown and no underwear. She had told him repeatedly that she wasn’t going to have sex with him. Before they went to sleep, he kept moving his hands up her thighs and she kept telling him to stop. Then she went to sleep. She woke up when he penetrated her. She screamed. He kept on. Now, I suppose this one does qualify as rape, but this woman was behaving with incredible stupidity. (Thankfully, one letter to the editor did point this out.) He behaved wrongly, but really. What was this woman thinking? Did she really think that she could spend the night in bed with a man who had made it clear that he wanted to have sex with her, wearing a shortie nightgown, and still be a virgin in the morning? See, all those hidebound rules about how nice girls behave around boys – i.e., not spending the night in bed with them without any underwear on – was to protect stupid bimbos, and the hapless males they date, from exactly this sort of thing. I doubt this young man believed he was committing rape. She was sending out extremely mixed signals, and he was a college-age male flush with hormones.

That paragraph is a bit of a beast, so I’m just going to pick out the relevant parts:

She had told him repeatedly that she wasn’t going to have sex with him. Before they went to sleep, he kept moving his hands up her thighs and she kept telling him to stop. Then she went to sleep. She woke up when he penetrated her. She screamed. He kept on.

I doubt this young man believed he was committing rape. She was sending out extremely mixed signals, and he was a college-age male flush with hormones.

Splat. Ladies and gentlemen, the diaper has hit the pavement.

Like the title of this post says, “no” is not a mixed signal. “I’m not going to have sex with you” is not a mixed signal. Screaming is not a mixed goddamn signal. As Marbles puts it, anyone who ignores all three should have his penis permit revoked. When in doubt, don’t fuck. It’s not that difficult.

(By the way, it case it wasn’t extraordinarily obvious already: any uses of first-person pronouns past the second paragraph should be taken to mean that I, Hex, am talking out of my hexagonal ass. Where Marbles has input, I use “we” or her name.)

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On this part of the blogosphere there’s been a lot of discussion about rape*, but similar conversations are also happening elsewhere. Pyth linked me to an LJ post On Rape and Men**, which calls decent guys out for not talking to other guys about being decent. You really ought to read the comments where women and some men talk about their experiences with/being That Guy. You know, the guy that doesn’t take advantage of a drunk or vulnerable woman or the guy who prevents his frat buddies from raping a women. These are the types of stories men need to tell other men rather than ignoring or making excuses for your friends’/coworkers’/etc. dangerous atittudes toward rape.

But don’t expect cookies or admiration from us because this isn’t about being a great guy, it’s about doing the decent thing.

*While we’re at it go click through the blogs donating as part of the Silence is the Enemy

**There’s an crossposted version here

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Most mecha anime is equal parts male wish-fulfillment and a boys coming of age story. There’s nothing inherently wrong with writing shows like that and a lot of my favourites are just this type of story. There is a universal quality in the stories of Amuro or Kamille being trust into war, essentially adulthood, and realizing that their actions and inaction affect others, or Simon learning to believe in himself, or — Well you get my point. I like these stories, but sometimes the focus on men gets annoying.

The problem with a lot of mecha anime is what they do to the female characters. Since they are written about boys/men for boys/men, the women often end up being entirely defined by their relationships with men. For example, Lalah Sune isn’t important as a person because all that matters is her impact on Char and Amuro. Even worse is the tendency to make a female character’s entire inner life about romance or supporting her man (See: Ranka Lee. Everything I do or don’t do depends on how things are going with Alto).

The can sometimes become very frustrating to me as a woman watching these shows. Which is why I tend to fall in love with the few shows that do it right. One of these shows is Bubblegum Crisis. I can’t remember what made me love the show as a 14-year-old, it could have been the gritty cyberpunk setting or simply because rampaging robots are awesome, but I know that I keep coming back to the show years after because I get to see women who are as fully human as any cartoon character can be kicking ass. Priss, Linna, Sylvia, and Nene aren’t the cute girls sitting on the sidelines cheering their men. In fact, there is no romance for the lead characters. They kick ass. They have their own life, interests, and day jobs. They aren’t just there because the guys need a romantic interest or attention and I love them for it.

Oh, who am I kidding. The really important part of Bubblegum Crisis is the cheestastic 80s music:

P.S. If you are remotely interested in anime, check out We Remember Love. I’ve spend a good part of my day reading the archives of this blog and at this point I gotta say it’s my favourite animeblog.

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The recent conversations about d00ds and feminism at Zuska’s and Dr. Isis’ have been interesting yet full of FAIL because some d00ds just refuse to get it. One of the things these d00ds often refuse to get is why we’re just talking about it instead of DoingSomething™. And this isn’t just used by d00ds who don’t get feminism, the phrase has been repeated over and over and over again by people of privileged groups in discussions of social justice.

As awesome a writer as I am (not), I have friends who are much more eloquent and coincidentally one of them is Learn Hexadecimal who posted a comment in another discussion about just this topic, so I asked him if I could repost it.

Speech is action.

Let me be more specific: every word that is on this page right now is a contribution to the social and cultural gestalt of humanity. Every person who has read these words, or read some of them, or skimmed them, or heard somebody talk about them once, has been affected by them. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. But to dismiss a conversation like this, to unroll a banner emblazoned “Talk Is Cheap” and prance away towards far-off charity websites, is to elide a very important aspect of what it is to be human: that we can communicate, and that our communication can affect others and allow us to be affected by them in turn when they communicate back to us.

I don’t think anyone here actually forgot that fact. It would be kind of difficult. But I never want to hear “virtual virtue” derided as meaningless. It isn’t. It can’t be. Virtual virtue, Internet virtue, is the exercise of virtue in communication. Such exercise is crucial to all other aspects of what it means to be human and humane and good. How can we be virtuous if we never learn what virtue means? How can we be virtuous if we never teach that meaning to others– never discuss it– never remark on its presence or absence in the stories that shape our minds?

Lois Bujold/110, you tell us talk is cheap, and then you demonstrate that it isn’t. You tell us that we tipped you over from intention to action; you tell us that this conversation, this dialogue we’re having right here, had a material effect on your material contributions to one or more causes.

You’re right: holding admirable opinions and doing nothing is indistinguishable from holding execrable opinions and doing nothing. Because if we hold admirable opinions and keep them locked inside our skulls, nobody will ever know about them. But if we hold admirable opinions and talk about them, and defend them in the court of public discourse whose standards of due process you so diligently uphold, we can change other people’s minds. Such a powerful phrase, when you think about it: to change someone’s mind. That is action. That is admirable.

Lois Bujold/121 , I see more of the same. Your stance on falsehood and the provability of motivations, while interesting, isn’t my primary concern at the moment.

Consider this: you ask us to rule our statements in the court of public discourse by the measure of due process, and by that, you mean we ought to read a book before discussing why we don’t like it. Why can’t we ask Patricia Wrede to rule her statements in the public discourse of fiction– and fiction is a discourse; vast, slow, indirect, but a discourse all the same– by the measure of virtuous speech?

And by that, I mean that you are engaging in exactly the task which you imply is cheap and easy and not enough for you. Here we are, expressing our dislike for yet another erasure in yet another place of a people who are erased too often already; here you are, expressing your dislike for yet another case in yet another comment thread where people talk a book down without ever having picked up a copy. It must in some sense be a worthwhile task to you, or you wouldn’t be doing it.

Yes, monetary donations to charitable organizations often have a more concrete, or at least more measurable, impact on issues than words on the Internet. But somebody still has to say those words. Somebody has to say “no, this is wrong, this story has problems”, because if nobody ever does, then the people who write those stories will never realize that they could be doing it better.

You are, if I’m to believe the name attached to your comments, a writer of stories. Realize that you could be doing it better. Realize that everyone you know who also writes stories could be doing it better. In other words, what Stella Omega/133 said.

Fiction_Theory/131, you made a good point extremely well. I’m now in the middle of reading the blog post you linked in the course of introducing that point, and it is a work of further excellence. I encourage anyone whose eyes are passing over these words right now to go and read both of the above; you will be improved thereby.

The context to the post, in case you are wondering (and I hope you are), is a massive FAIL on the part of author Patricia Wrede. Last week, a review of Patricia Wrede’s new book Thirteenth Child was posted and immediatedly is spawned a lot of discussion due to its premise. You see, she wanted to write an American settlement story with MAMMOTHS and other megafauna. That sounds kind of cool and may have made a good book if she had not decided that to do this she had to write Native Americans out of her book’s history. Erasing a group that has been a victim of genocide and who has been marginizalized in US and Canadian history is wrong, unacceptable, and wrong. People rightfully got on her ass and on the asses of all the vapid jackasses defending her or attempting to derail the conversation. Naraht has complied a few links on the topic.

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I wasn’t planning on writing about the sexist comments made toward Sheril Kirshenbaum on the Bad Astronomy Blog since other people have written some very good commentary on this shit. But after reading and commenting in the post on CPP’s blog (which is filled with awesome commenters, trolls, and clueless fools), I decided that I had some things to say that are probably a bit teal deer for a comment. I’ll probably be repeating some things mention in the posts linked above.

Point #1: This whole issue to me isn’t simply about people commenting on/judging Sheril based on her appearance. Because while that is admittedly a shitty thing to do, I think there is a deeper issue with the with the comments. The problem I see is that too often the metric for judging women is attractiveness ( defined: How much men should want to stick their penis in a particular woman).

This kind of judgement is often made based on what a woman looks like (it was in this case), but it’s not exclusive to appearances. Commenting on how sexy a woman is based one her intelligence, interests, hobbies, or a particular personality trait is not as widespread, but it happens and it’s still unacceptable.

I’ve mention before some of my interests. Most of the people who share these interests tend to be male and this means that if I want to talk about them the community I’ll be joining will be made up of 90% men. And such was the case on one forum where I post. Of course, I post under a pseudonym and it happens to be a masculine sounding pseudonym. This made a lot of people assume that I a man and I was treated as decently as anyone there can expect to be treated.

After a month or so of posting for whatever reason, I can’t remember, it came out that I was a woman. The response that followed was interesting. There was the expected reaction; some people insisted that I must fit their stereotype of a woman and therefore I would infect their precious community with feminine shit. There was also a response I did not expect. I did not expect to receive come-ons that ranged from the almost innocent to the obscene. These were from people who had no clue what I looked like and only knew that I have an interest in certain shows.

This doesn’t happen as often in real life, as it’s much easier to sexualize based on appearance, but it indicates that the problem with how many men treat women as sexual objects extends passed just finding them physically attractive. And this is what I find offensive about the comments. It’s that a women was treated as if her first, if not only, role is to sexually please a man. This kind of treatment denies us the ability to be fully human. This is even more troubling in the context of the history of women’s oppression. For thousands of years women have been treated as if their only possible role was to breed and be mothers.

Point #2: Some comments were made indicating that we where just overreacting to an innocent complement. I hope the above convinced you that the comments, while possibly made innocently, are not at all innocent. But lets assume that those comments are harmless. Lets assume that we are living in a historical vacuum. Even in that case I think that the people defending them should apologize and shut the fuck up.

Why? Well, that involves trying to understand what a goddamn compliment is. A compliment isn’t simply saying the X is a good trait of Y person. When I compliment one of my aims is to make the person being complimented feel good. I think that’s the more important part of compliments and that’s why I try not to offend people with inappropriate praise.

Now, if you read all the follow-up to the comments, you’d have realized that quiet a lot of women found the comments offensive, including Sheril. So your compliment failed. All you did was offend the person you wanted to compliment and therefore you should apologize and STFU.

Point#3: “When is it appropriate to comment on a woman’s attractiveness?” you ask.

I would say the best guidline is to think, “Would she want to know or care whether I want to bone her or not?” It’s really as simple as that. Well, unless you think that every woman is here as as your personal cockwarmer. But then you’re an irredeemable misogynistic waste of air.

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