Friday, October 11, 2013

Being a Young Single Lesbian

For me, often meant feeling elated when famous women I admired turned out to be lesbians too, followed almost immediately by the disappointed realization that I still had no chance with them, ever.

All joking aside - after all, I am now older, wiser, and happily civil union'ed - congratulations to the couple!


Women's World Cup Final Sets Records

League Shuts Down Abby Wambach's Team

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Regnerus Promoting New Family Study

Mark Regnerus has taken to Internet to promote another study that purportedly proves the popular anti-equality platitude that "a married mom and dad really do matter," a platitude that's supposed to imply that therefore same-sex couples should not raise children or have equal marriage rights.

Regnerus' promotion of this study is posted at  the Witherspoon Institute's Public Discourse blog, where Regnerus has posted his anti-equality opinions previously.

The Witherspoon Institute is the organization that recruited and funded Regnerus to run his widely-critiqued New Family Structures Study and that, contrary to claims otherwise, was later revealed to have played a role in the study's design and timing.

This past summer, Mark Regnerus spoke at The Ruth Institute's "It Takes a Family" conference.

The study Regnerus is promoting is by Douglas Allen, who sits on the board of the Ruth Institute (tagline: "One Man One Woman For Life").

Douglas Allen has also spoken at the anti-equality National Organization for Marriage's (NOM) conference in 2012, where he opined that women's menstrual cycles make lesbian relationships particularly unstable.

This week, the National Organization for Marriage has been promoting Allen's study, as well as Regnerus' promotion of the study.

And just so you know, it's the homosexualists who are alleged to have the coordinated agenda. Heh.

I will be posting my full review of the study shortly to see the extent to which these folks have or have not fairly represented it thus far.


Journal Audit Finds Severe Flaws in Regnerus Study

Scholars Critique Regnerus Study

Bryan Fischer: Regnerus Shows that "Underground Railroad" Needed to Rescue Kids in Gay Families

American College of Pediatricians Misuses Regnerus Study in Amicus Brief

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Scalia In a Nutshell

I've spared all of you the trouble of reading New York Magazine Jennifer Senior's recent interview with conservative US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Here's my summary of important tidbits:

His primary source of news is "talk guys" on the radio, he literally believes in the entity called "the Devil," he especially disapproves of "ladies" saying the "f word," he finds the "soup Nazi" thing in Seinfeld "hilarious," and he suspects he has some "homosexual friends" but they haven't, for some reason, come out to him yet even though he doesn't hate gays or anything.   

He also proclaims, with an air of intellectual superiority, that "words mean things" within the same conversation in which he uses only the masculine pronoun to refer to all attorneys, law students, and law clerks. And, finally, he definitely doesn't care about his potential legacy as being on the wrong side of history. He has Absolute Truth on his side.

What a neat guy.

A few months ago, I noted my glee with how the anti-gay right's attempts to sway the Supreme Court via the much-critiqued Regnerus study didn't work all that well in this past summer's DOMA case.

As I read the above interview with Scalia and his attendant affirmation of conservative dude culture, and reflected upon his especially bitter, scathing dissent in Windsor, I once again admit that I am glad - like really glad and probably more glad than I politely should be - that this guy lost a case he seems to have cared greatly about.  That likely means something importantly progressive actually did happen.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Angry, Concerned Student is Angry, Concerned

[Content note: trans bigotry]

You might have seen some conservative "anti-PC" types enthusiastically praising University of Wisconsin grad student Jason Morgan for his rant against, basically, political correctness gone awry.

His letter to the University's Graduate Director, which he (in true conservative outrage, shit-stirring style!) also sent to various news outlets, seems to have been inspired by the University's mandated diversity trainings that teaching assistants have to attend.

So, you can imagine it already.

In addition to railing against rampant leftism and expressing outrage at the trainings' "overriding presumption" that attendees might be racist, he takes particular issue with the sessions on transgender issues.  He writes:

"At the end of yesterday’s diversity 're-education,' we were told that our next session would include a presentation on 'Trans Students'. At that coming session, according to the handout we were given, we will learn how to let students ‘choose their own pronouns’, how to correct other students who mistakenly use the wrong pronouns, and how to ask people which pronouns they prefer ('I use the pronouns he/him/his. I want to make sure I address you correctly. What pronouns do you use?'). Also on the agenda for next week are 'important trans struggles, as well as those of the intersexed and other gender-variant communities,' 'stand[ing] up to the rules of gender,' and a very helpful glossary of related terms and acronyms, to wit: 'Trans': for those who 'identify along the gender-variant spectrum,' and 'Genderqueer': 'for those who consider their gender outside the binary gender system'. I hasten to reiterate that I am quoting from diversity handouts; I am not making any of this up. 

.... It is an honor and a great joy to teach students the history of Japan. I take my job very seriously, and I look forward to coming to work each day. 

It is most certainly not my job, though, to cheer along anyone, student or otherwise, in their psychological confusion. I am not in graduate school to learn how to encourage poor souls in their sexual experimentation, nor am I receiving generous stipends of taxpayer monies from the good people of the Great State of Wisconsin to play along with fantasies or accommodate public cross-dressing.

In this instance, while Morgan may get lots of standing o's from like-minded, close-minded types, he actually, quite sadly, demonstrates pretty well why such trainings are and should be required for public employees who have to interact with a diverse student body.

I mean, the very way he discusses gender issues is largely an ignorant mischaracterization. Referring to transgender and/or genderqueer people (it's not super clear how or whether he even distinguishes the two) as "poor souls" who engage in "cross-dressing" "fantasies" does a pretty good job of diminishing his credibility as an informed academic who is so enlighteningly-above needing to learn more about gender.

Wanna-be intellectual freedom crusaders further lose credibility when they treat discussions that in any way diverge from their own provincial "Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus"  thinking about gender as so self-evidently absurd that they don't even require rebuttal.  With his sneering "I am not making any of this up," it's as though he's confronted, for perhaps the very first time, thoughts about gender that differ from his own and that, mistakenly, everyone else is a n00b to gender issues as well.

Yet, transgender people actually exist in the real world even if Jason Morgan doesn't know, doesn't want to know, or doesn't think he knows, any!

Genderqueer people actually exist in the real world even if Jason Morgan doesn't know, doesn't want to know, or doesn't think he knows, any!

Most people want to be addressed by the gender pronouns they identify with and it's generally good manners to call people what they want to be called.

So, what's the fucking problem, dude?

The other day, I read a piece at Salon about (other easily-offended white people might want to close their eyes now) white privilege in the debate about naming mascots after Native American caricatures. In it, Steven Salaita (or his editor) notes in the sub-title that there's "nothing scarier than a nervous white man."


The way that white people angrily defend certain mascots of their ballsports' teams seems similar to the way that some people angrily defend their "intellectual freedom" to remain ignorant and close-minded about diversity and transgender issues. To be a white cisgender man in the US used to be something very, extremely important compared to being other types of people. At least, that seems to have been the promise made to many such folks: that they were, would be, and deserved to be the real movers and shakers in the world, with other people relegated mostly to supporting, subordinate, and awestruck roles.

As white cisgender men increasingly confront the brokenness of that promise in an era of increasing civil rights and awareness, everyone else has to increasingly deal with the angry, anxious white man fallout of them periodically stamping their feet about it while other dudes cheer them on at, say, the Wall Street Journal.

Salaita continues that the perpetuation of offensive mascots are "products of an American will to name what has been conquered and to maintain power through a refusal to reconsider traditions of naming." Just as masses of white people scream, and I do mean scream, about PC gone awry in the mascot debate, cisgender people often refuse to reconsider naming transgender people what transgender people want to be named even as these cisgender people evidence not even an iota of understanding of transgender issues.

Again, I reference Morgan's "I am not making this up" snark as though he, rather than transgender people or people who study gender for a living, is the real namer of whether transgender lives are authentic or not.

Men who cheer on Morgan's rant are likely those who treat diversity training as though it viscerally pains them, and is an assault on their intellectual freedom, to be confronted with the reality that people who aren't like them both exist and do not all go waiving around "White Men Are #1" foam fingers all day long 24/7/365. From reading his letter, one might think that the diversity training is mandating that he personally clothe transgender women in poodle skirts each morning, whilst then donning pom-pons and megaphones, perhaps with the added humiliation of being forced to apply a couple of layers of mascara as well.

Yet, all he, or anyone, really has to do to be even just a halfway okay person is call someone by their preferred pronoun and not, like, physically assault someone because they're trans. And that's a pretty fucking low bar when you think about it.

His letter doesn't seek so-called intellectual freedom. It demands the power to name reality and asks the rest of us to participate in the charade of white male supremacy.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Haters Next Door

I'm not surprised by this man's white supremacist views. They're shared by many, sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly.

What I find interesting about the above-cited article is its framing:

"Richard Spencer sat sipping his chai latte at the Red Caboose, a train-themed coffee shop in downtown Whitefish, Mont. Clean-cut and restrained, he reminded me of a hundred outdoors-obsessed people I had known growing up here in the Flathead Valley, a resort area nestled in the shadows of Glacier National Park.

But Spencer’s tidy appearance is about more than his sense of propriety; it’s a recruitment tool. Spencer advocates for white separatism and he wants to shake his movement’s reputation for brutality and backwardness. 

'We have to look good,' Spencer said, adding that if his movement means 'being part of something that is crazed or ugly or vicious or just stupid, no one is going to want to be a part of it.' Those stereotypes of 'redneck, tattooed, illiterate, no-teeth' people, Spencer said, are blocking his progress. Organizations that monitor domestic hate groups say it’s just this unthreatening approachability that makes Spencer so insidious.

The lesson isn't just that nice-seeming people, like the good-neighborly-seeming Westboro members, can hold incredibly-problematic views and that organizations can be awful even if they aren't, say, explicitly named the Institute For Arch Villainry.  It's that those who are problematic often carefully, precisely, and mindfully cultivate an image that suggests exactly the opposite about themselves, their views, and their activity. 

They know what the stereotypes are about those who hold bigoted views and they consciously try to subvert those stereotypes. They aren't haters, they say, they just want what's best for the kinds of people who really matter.

We see this PR/image cultivation not just with racists, but with all sorts of bigots and abusers. Other examples that come to my mind, of course, are some of the professional outfits who oppose LGBT equality.

Any others?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Quote of the Day

"A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to 'debate' on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science."  -Suzanne LaBarre, Popular Science, "Why We're Shutting Off Our Comments"

Here, I particularly like the image of comment sections being a "grotesque reflection" of the media culture. US media culture seems to particularly value angry, binary, and certain opinions while devaluing and even outright mocking civil, nuanced, and thoughtful discourse.  And that's certainly reflected in comment sections of, especially, large media outlets. 

I'm not sure if commenters take their cues from popular political commentators or whether political commentators take their cues from their viewers. Maybe it's both and cyclical.

Whatever the case, I'm once again reminded that comment moderation takes actual work. Actual resources have to be put into creating a forum in which thoughtful, civil conversation in which people are able to set, and must also respect, boundaries of the conversation. While some folks huff and puff about a so-called silencing effect of comment moderation, laud the purported virtues of Anything Goes Forums, and express annoyance at meta-conversations about civility, civil discourse does not actually just spontaneously happen on Internet without effort and mindfulness.

Also - as a related FYI, comment moderation is restored to its regular status here in Fannie's Room, meaning comments will appear without having to be pre-approved.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fun with the Homo Hivemind!

I can't stand rhetorical sloppiness like this. Straight from the nation's most prominent national group opposing same-sex marriage:

"Many in the gay marriage movement claim that they have no desire to force their lifestyle on anyone else, they only want the freedom to love and marry whomever they wish. But sometimes this carefully-crafted claim is undermined by the real-world actions of the homosexual community itself."

Emphasis added, because, likewise, if some gay people say they hate ice cream, but then some other gay people go and actually have an ice cream social, it means that the gay people who claimed they hated ice cream were obviously lying and in on the ice cream extravaganza the whole time!  

So, basically, that's the level of rational thought coming from the National Organization for Marriage.

It's kind of a good starting point for thinking about the other shit they do.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Blogging Note

Just as an FYI, blogging will be light around here for a week or so due to some non-blog-related business.

27 Ways You And Your Best Friend Are Romy And Michele

During this time, I'm going to change the comment moderation settings so that comments have to be approved before they're posted, until I'm able to engage in a more timely, regular manner.

I'll switch the settings back to their regular status probably next week!

Friday, September 20, 2013

On Trans-Inclusive Feminism

I'm committed to it.

In Whipping Girl, Julia Serrano issued a call to challenge gender entitlement, which she defined as  "privileging one's own perceptions, interpretations, and evaluations of other people's genders over the way those people understand themselves."

Frankly, I'm repulsed and angered by the gender entitlement, misgendering of trans* people, and policing that some feminists orchestrate both in the name of feminism and in the name of allegedly protecting cis women. By doing so, they contribute to the marginalization of transgender people and align themselves with gender traditionalists who audit people's own lived experiences of themselves.

Details and background information about what spurred this post can be found here.

At this link is information on how you can sign on, as well.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Men Are Simple v. Women Are Complicated

It is a truth universally acknowledged among the feminist hivemind that Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus thinking is the stuff of really bad stand-up comedy straight from the Golly G. Shucks Skool of Gender Common Sense where everything a woman is, a man is the opposite.

So, I read the following two articles back to back, and got some serious whiplash.

Over at the Good Men Project, Noah Brand (or his editor) claims, "It’s true, men are complicated and confusing." He then proceeds to tell his audience five "important things" that women purportedly don't know about men.

Over at Rod Dreher's blog at The American Conservative, he approvingly highlights and agrees with a commenter who asserts, "Honestly, ladies, men are pretty [emotionally] simple. Women are more complicated than we are, and so you assume that we are complicated, too. Sorry to disappoint you!"

To be clear, I'm not confused by these two contradictory statements. Men aren't a monolithic hivemind any more than women, the gays, or the feminists are, actually. Which, you know, actually does seem like it'd be a big Newsflash to lots of people. Today, though, I want to delve into that we men simple, women complicated, ooga booga grunt grunt thing that's so tiresome and not-reality-based. 

For one, I'm not surprised that the "men are simple, women are complicated" narrative is one that the conservative Dreher buys into, as his religion fabricates sex differences, roles, and hierarchy. What is mildly amusing, though, is the way his own everyday writing subverts the very pop gender psychology he promotes.

I've been reading his blog for a good year now, and compared to the incredibly-diverse range of blogs I read, I find his posts to be about as navel-gazey and emotional as they come. In the midst of writing about bullying, "Campus Feminist[s]", Imaginary Racism, and other assorted topics, he regularly displays anger, sadness, disgust, disapproval, grief, happiness, ridicule, and pleasure. I would even call the way he writes about food, and his Christian religion, to be effete.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just that while I rarely agree with him, his posts are what could be expected from an emotionally-complex human being, rather than an emotionally "simple" robot-man, posting stuff on the Internet.

Which brings me to my larger point. As appealing, romantic, and reassuring as these Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus stories might be to some people, men and women aren't monolithic categorical groups. Meta-analyes consistently show that men and women are actually similar on most psychological variables, indicating that we aren't, actually, "opposites" or "complementary" and that it's inaccurate to portray men and women as being inherently, essentially in contradistinction to one another. In other words, average differences between men and women might exist at a group level, but at an individual level, it would be inaccurate to assume that any given man is a woman's "opposite" based on gender alone.

Indeed, just because it was amusing I input the text of Dreher's "men are pretty simple" commenter into the also-kinda-essentialist Gender Guesser, which estimates a person's gender based on word usage. Mr. "men are pretty simple" came back as "weak male" with so-called male word usage coming in at 53%. Dreher's recent food post, here, came back as "weak male" at 54% (for formal writing, it would have been "weak female"). 

One of my most recent blog posts came in as "male" at 60%.

I'm adamantly not using these numbers for purposes of invoking shame or humiliation. Anyone who thinks that I think there's something embarrassing about a man's writing being categorized as "weak male" (ie- like a woman) or "weak female" doesn't know the first thing about my opinions. Rather, the take-away is that talking about men and women as categorical opposites, or very very different and possibly even alien species compared to one another, is of marginal utility in describing reality where most people display both stereotypically masculine and feminine traits, despite their gender identity.

Yet, narratives claiming otherwise persist.

For one, it seems that such narratives are simply appealing to many, on a romantic level - as though they want to believe they're bridging some great, inherent planetary divide, rather than traversing a boring continuum, among the genders when they engage in heterosexual relations.  Some people think that difference and mystery are sexy. Yet, how often is it, really, that what's most sexy, different, and mysterious (or even funny) about a person is that they are a man, rather than a woman, or vice versa?  

As writer Jane Espenson, who maybe knows a thing or two about such things, has noted, "A joke that pokes fun at a person is sharpest, funniest, when it finds that perfect detail, the most subtle observation of what sets that person apart."  And rarely is gender alone that sharp detail about a person that maybe tells us all we need to know about what that person is like.

Two, many people are simply benefit from the certainty of thinking of men and women as essentially different and/or opposite. While the "men are simple" thing has always struck me as demeaning toward men, it's also a backhanded compliment to women. It's dog whistle for "you're irrational." "Wrong." "Not credible." And, if a man is a woman's opposite, he is by definition, well, the opposite of those things.  So maybe Dreher, no fan of transgender advocacy and folks, perhaps needs to continue thinking of gender in the fixed way that he does to keep lots of other opinions from tumbling down.

So, while I don't often agree with things at GMP either, I can at least appreciate Noah Brand's subversion of the "men are simple, women are complicated" trope in his article. 

In some ways, I think his article speaks to a larger, more accurate point:  Namely, that while many men might think of themselves as being "simple" compared to women, actually many of us human beings, to ourselves, seem more simple and less complicated than other people, what with their own inner thoughts and all, seem to be. 

From that perspective it seems almost deeply self-centered to proclaim the people in one's own group to be "simple" compared to those other kinds of people. Indeed, maybe it's not so much that men as a group are emotionally simple, many of them just think they are.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Digital Dualism in the Electronic Frontier

[Content note: Sexism, racist slur, rape apologia]

From a Slate article about Business Insider's former Chief Technology Officer Pax Dickinson, who apparently has a history of tweeting sexist and racist statements:

"Dickinson may see the Internet as a freewheeling alterna-reality where he’s liberated to air his 'unpopular truths' about the ills of women’s suffrage and employment. But the Internet is also the workplace. It’s perplexing why Business Insider would employ someone as openly racist and sexist as Pax Dickinson is, but it’s positively mind-boggling that Business Insider hired a CTO who doesn’t even understand that the Internet is real life."

Some of Dickinson's Tweets include gems of Deep Thought such as, “Women's suffrage and individual freedom are incompatible. How's that for an unpopular truth?” and “In The Passion Of The Christ 2, Jesus gets raped by a pack of n[******]. It's his own fault for dressing like a whore though.”

A few months ago, I wrote of the digital dualism fallacy in which many people believe that what happens online is not authentic, especially compared to what happens offline. There, I noted:

I would contend that when people are rude online, they at least have asshole-y thoughts offline (and don't we all, really, to some degree?). Online venues merely give people an appropriate context to express those thoughts.

In fact, in some ways, social media and blogging enables many people to reveal our more authentic selves, through our writing, than face-to-face interactions do. The surprise to me isn't that so many people are mean online, but that so many people seem surprised that they might face offline for their online behavior.

Of course, I suspect that many Internet harassers know that on some level they can face offline consequences. While so many so-called trolls have no qualms about, say, running women out of Internet forums via rape threats, they howl in protest whenever they perceive their own precious "free speech rights" in any way constricted.

I've said before and I'll re-iterate. For all their talk of free speech values and inclusion of all viewpoints, promoters of Anything Goes forums cultivate their own hivemind, and it's a hivemind of intimidation, threats, and exclusion of those who in any way threaten their conception of what the electronic frontier should be like.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Preferably a Boy

I've seen a lot of people post this article on various social networking sites.

In it, Ben Shapiro takes issue with the Christian anti-vaccine crowd. Or something, I stopped reading after this:

"If Fred Phelps wants to believe that vaccines violate the word of God, thats fine. It's no skin off my back if the evangelical community wants to believe that God doesn't trust them with their own bodies. The problem for me is that someday I plan on impregnating a woman with my penis. Nine months later, we’ll be blessed with a little wriggly child (preferably a boy), and I want to make sure that he grows up big and strong and doesn’t accidently contract an old disease—especially one that most doctors don’t know how to treat anymore—because my neighbors decide not to vaccinate their child."

Too bad for his daughter, I guess, if she ever googles her dad's name and reads about his child preferences.

I actually did read the entire article, and found it mostly bad. Like maybe he thinks he's a lot of funnier than he actually is by, say, erroneously or willfully conflating autism with mental retardation.

To a larger point here, anti-religion dudes often paint religious women as being stupid and duped for being a part of sexist religions.

But, really, how many non-religious men and male critics of religion offer women ways of thinking about gender that are significantly better?

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Family's Good, Thanks

Welp, I got a big kick out of this post, where a Catholic man who runs an outfit called Fix the Family opines that people should not send their daughter to college.

I first found out about the article via Shakesville, where Liss accurately billed it as the "worst thing you're going to read today." And, it was. It really really was, for me! Like, so much so that one wonders if feminists are being punked. Because, wow, the two dudes who started this organization are not into feminism! I mean, they're into feminism in the sense that, wow, it looks like a fave topic for them to talk about! But, like not in a good way.

The content itself is really just a bunch of blah blah blah concern trolling about how college turns "girls" into sluts and makes them forego their "god-given" most important roles in life as being sperm receptacles for their husbands and, relatedly, fetal vessels for the Catholic Church.

Sample text:

"We believe in women making wise prudent choices for themselves. The indoctrination of the feminist culture and the practicing of a sexually promiscuous lifestyle severely cloud, practically blind that good judgment. Getting a college degree often makes a young lady feel an 'obligation' to use it, to make money. Often her husband doesn’t want to see it go to 'waste,' So the degree is what actually traps her. Not having a degree frees her to enter into a marriage with proper roles in which her husband will provide for her and their children. Christian marriage by definition does place her in a submissive role to her husband, but no one forces anyone to marry anyone."

So, we see. College degrees trap women in the.... job market? Which, if true, would be... a.... bad? thing... for women... to be employed. Because all women everywhere.... should actually be... trapped in marriages in which they are economically dependent upon their .... husbands. I mean, what could go wrong, really?

These fellows do a lot of blustering about how practically everyone who's commented on their site are calling their opinions "chauvinstic" for, like no reason at all. And really, what can one do except find that a big hoot!? Internet never agrees on anything!  Internet Commenters are the absolute worst (present company excluded). But, like, these guys are so far off that even Internet is backing away slowly like, "Ummm, dudes we want nothing to do with you."

Of particular note, this "Fix the Family" website also has a video series where one of the founders has made 10 whole entire videos in a series called "Feminist Lies." That's fun to contrast with the site's "Man Room," which sits there like a little turd floating in the kiddie pool, neglected, devoid of content, with only a promise: "Coming Soon!" 

Of course.

How very anti-feminist of them. Nothing to offer men except misogyny.

Well, that and cheap promises of a heavenly, magical, oxymoronic, paradoxical, equal hierarchical marital relationship in which women-chattel are simultaneously placed on a condescending pedestal while also being expected to be entirely dependent upon their husband-masters for their survival in the world.

Wow, sign me right up, mister!

A Comprehensive Glossary Of Gifs

Friday, September 13, 2013

Women's Sports No Haven For LGBT Athletes

Jessica Luther has written an important piece over at ThinkProgress, in which I'm quoted, about the perhaps-counterintuitive reality that women's sports, and female athletes, are not always super welcoming to non-heterosexual and transgender athletes.

In the piece, she references WNBA player Sophia Young's confused-seeming tweet regarding her opposition to marriage equality for same-sex couples. "Confused-seeming" because she tweeted an image of herself at a rally against an a anti-discrimination ordinance that, actually, wasn't a marriage ordinance.


Anyway, the larger point is that women's sports, of all levels, aren't the haven of acceptance that mainstream audiences might believe they are. I was reading the recent obituary of a former player in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, the league featured in the movie A League of Their Own, and the player, a lesbian, recounted both the the league's firing of her for getting a "butch" haircut and its active exclusion of so-called "freaks" and "Amazons." (And, to its credit, League actually did somewhat portray this gender policing).

Even today, coaches at major colleges are widely known or rumored to engage in lesbian baiting of other coaches during athlete recruitment, trying to dissuade players from going to certain schools that are more accepting of LGBT students. Lesbian coaches are numerous, but rarely allowed to be officially "out" to players, parents, fans, and the media.

Girls and women often actively police the gender conformity and sexual orientations of their teammates and ridicule other players for not looking, or being, "sufficiently" feminine.

And, well, Anna Kournikova is, like, maybe okay, for the Male Gaze that purportedly comprises all of sports fandom, and it's a fun parlor trick for some dudes to watch Jenny Finch strike out professional baseball players. But, largely, male sports fans often demean female athletes of all orientations as being too manly, dykey, and/or sucky to warrant the status of an authentic athlete worthy of something other than ridicule and contempt.

I wonder, too, how a desire for mainstream and male acceptance plays into the bigotry expressed by some female athletes.  It's as though some female athletes view non-heterosexual female athletes as a lavendar menace of women's sports, hamstringing the ability of all female athletes to be taken seriously by the real power-brokers of sports - heterosexual men.

Luther notes:

"As I’ve written elsewhere, there is evidence to suggest that even if coming out may be easier for female athletes than it is for men, that doesn’t mean it is easy. Only 6 years ago, Penn State forced the resignation of their women’s basketball coach, Rene Portland, because of her known 'no-lesbians' policy. Three years before [out lesbian Brittney] Griner arrived at Baylor, Sophia Young was the star of that team. Young led her squad to the national championship in 2005. Unlike the WNBA, Young’s position on gay rights put her in a clear majority at Baylor, where Griner also won a national title but did it while living a less open life than she does now. Openly gay women’s college basketball coaches have said that homophobia hurts their recruiting. Sue Wicks, a former player, said she was asked to deny interview requests to lesbian publications while serving as an assistant coach. Others have identified a 'homonegative environment' as one factor in the decline of female coaches in women’s collegiate sports."

Have I mentioned before that I think Brittney Griner is awesome?

Welp, she is awesome.

And while I'm at it, Doris and "All the Way" Mae always struck me as being girlfriends. There, I said it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Quote of the Day

From an article entitled "Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?," at the Harvard Business Review Blog Network:

"The truth of the matter is that pretty much anywhere in the world men tend to think that they that are much smarter than women. Yet arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group. Indeed, whether in sports, politics or business, the best leaders are usually humble — and whether through nature or nurture, humility is a much more common feature in women than men. For example, women outperform men on emotional intelligence, which is a strong driver of modest behaviors. Furthermore,a quantitative review of gender differences in personality involving more than 23,000 participants in 26 cultures indicated that women are more sensitive, considerate, and humble than men, which is arguably one of the least counter-intuitive findings in the social sciences. An even clearer picture emerges when one examines the dark side of personality: for instance, our normative data, which includes thousands of managers from across all industry sectors and 40 countries, shows that men are consistently more arrogant, manipulative and risk-prone than women."

The article is discussing statistical trends and so, it often bears reminding, the findings don't apply to all men or all women. Women can be bad leaders or good leaders, and men can be bad leaders or good leaders. At the individual level, I've had experiences with all of these.

It's an interesting read, though, especially in light of how, in both secular and religious aspects of the US, leadership is coded as a masculine/manly endeavor. Men, many religions tell us, are the purported "spiritual leaders" of their homes and, on a larger scale, also of religious institutions. Many (most?) religions are, in fact, structured so that men don't have to compete against women for leadership positions at all. Leadership is, in a very literal sense and for no legitimate reason, equated with manhood. Men are also purported natural leaders of business, the state, sports teams, and - really- groups of all kinds.

I appreciate the article even as it's somewhat frustrating to read because, really, what are women tangibly supposed to do with this information? Circulate it widely and reap the resulting mansplainy, asshole hyper-defensive comments and accusations of man-hating? I mean, the whole phenomenon of mansplaining itself seems to exist precisely because of the same group-level observations from this article, right?

Overconfidence + Illusory Superiority = lots of men thinking they have lots to teach the ladies.

Yet at the same time, it's validating. I know what my life experience is, and this article resonates with many of my experiences in the working world of seeing incompetent men regularly promoted and lauded over more qualified and more competent women. (And oh how I would love to write that memoir!) Indeed, Cordelia Fine has noted the phenomenon of the glass escalator, whereby men in feminine-coded occupations often advance, and advance in leadership positions, much more quickly and easily than women.

 Narratives regularly tell women that if we are to be Good Leaders Like How Men Are, that we must emulate men and their conventional traits of so-called leadership. Yet, as the author of the cited article suggests, maybe it's time we trash, rather than adopt, "dysfunctional leadership traits" like hubris, self-centeredness, and overconfidence.

Accordingly, it also seems necessary for people to remain vigilant about their own implicit biases and, perhaps, uncritical assumptions about what traits are good for different leadership positions. Of course, many people are highly invested and reap large rewards for doing otherwise.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

And They Say We Want Special Rights

Sign on the storefront of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, which the owners seem to have temporarily closed during an investigation about their refusal to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding:

"This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong. Your religious freedom is becoming not Free anymore. This is ridiculous that we can not practice our faith. The LORD is good and we will continue to serve HIM with all our heart." 

Will someone please, for the love, direct me to the passage in the Bible that sayeth, "Thou shalt not bake cakes for gay weddings"?

Because if that clause doesn't exist, it's difficult to see the above quote as anything other than imaginary martyrdom and contrived persecution. These people are operating a business, not a church or private club. They are not being preventing from going to church. Rather, as businessowners, they are being expected to comply with the law rather than being granted special rights to discriminate against some classes of people.

One of the owners of the bakery tries to explain:

“Discrimination is really the wrong terminology for what took place,” said Aaron Klein in an interview with KATU. “I didn’t want to be a part of her marriage, which I think is wrong."

That's weird.

Aside from the fact that Mr. Klein should maybe familiarize himself with the meaning of "discrimination," do bakers usually attend and participate in the wedding they bake for, or do they mostly bake the cake and have it delivered or picked up to be taken to the ceremony? At my Immoral Lesbian Wedding, we picked our cake up, never interacted with the bakery owners, and talked to the baker for like 15 minutes.

I'm sure it was very traumatic for her.

And, that's what gets to me.

Why, why is same-sex marriage and homosexuality the line in the sand, for some people? 

If the argument is now that baking while Christian constitutes "practicing" one's "faith," then I want to see Christians really own that argument and start applying it, ahem, indiscriminately to instances of sin other than homosexuality. For instance, presumably, anti-gay Christian bakers who cherish their religious freedoms do not inquire into whether, say, the cake they are baking is for someone's second or third or fourth marriage. They bake the cake even though they are possibly baking a cake for a relationship that goes against their religious beliefs and morals. They might even, say, bake a cake for a dog wedding even though they refuse to bake cakes for same-sex couples.

Presumably, they sell cupcakes even to non-Christians, and to those who lie, who cheat, who steal, who rape, who molest, and perhaps who even kill.  Even though their baked good is not necessarily complicit in these immoral deeds, the baked good, if good, would be contributing to the pleasure and happiness of the immoral person. And, well, to bake is to practice one's religion, so.

Furthermore, Oregon's anti-discrimination law also includes race and sex, among other characteristics.  That means, that even if someone holds a strong religious belief that, say, women should not be pastors, a bakery could probably still not legally refuse to bake a cake to celebrate a woman's ordination. It could likely not legally refuse, on religious grounds, to bake cupcakes for an African-American man's graduation from medical school, even if the owner strongly believed, for religious reasons, that it was immoral for anyone other than white people to go to college.

That businesses, even if they're owned by Christians, are expected to comply with anti-discrimination statutes is not some brand new threat to so-called religious freedom brought about by same-sex marriage. People have been discriminating against others for religious reasons since this country's founding and demanding the right to do so.

In a way, I'm almost sad when I hear of unsavvy businessowners who seem convinced that being a Christian means that they get to expect some extra special entitlement to engage in illegal activities whilst simultaneously seeming to believe that if they don't get those special rights they, and their religious freedoms, are under attack!  They take this stand, this one stand, and choose to jeopardize their business and for what, really?  To fulfill fantasies of purported Christian martydom?

The bakery owner continues:

“There’s a lot of close-minded people out there that would like to pretend to be very tolerant and just want equal rights,” Aaron said. “But on the other hand, they’ve been very, very mean-spirited. They’ve been militant. The best way I can describe it is they’ve used mafia tactics against the business. Basically, if you do business with Sweet Cakes [by Melissa], we will shut you down.”

Ah yes, the Tolerance Trap.  Don't fall for it, dear readers!  It's okay to not be tolerant of other people's intolerance of you! It. really. is.

And the so-called "mafia tactics"? One of the bakery's trucks was broken into, although no one has been apprehended or charged. Illegal actions and violence should be widely condemned and I can think of no LGBT group or individual, myself included, who would condone such actions. What's unfortunate, though, is that Homosexual Activists seem to be guilty until proven innocent with respect to that incident, which is a similar narrative with echoes from the absurdly accusatory "Price of Prop 8" propaganda piece.

The other "mafia tactics" seem to exclusively involve non-violent boycotting of this business, an approach that social justice and civil rights advocates widely-recognized and lauded for their non-violent activism have successfully used throughout this nation's history.

But, when it comes to same-sex marriage, it seems that many Christians just really want special rights. They want to take this stand, even though, in reality, they could be taking stands against a myriad of other ways that the legal system holds them to the same (or lower!) anti-discrimination standards it holds others to even though those standards might conflict with their religious beliefs.

[Update: And the purportedly small-but-vocal anti-gay definitely-not-bigoted-though fringe is reacting to this bakery incident in their typical measured, loving, and rational way. Hmmm, let's see if any of those gazillions of nice, civil "marriage defenders" condemn this violent rhetoric or, you know, specifically and personally call him out.  As a related note, I am deeply intolerant of speech that calls for my death at my wedding ceremony. Yes, I admit it. The bigots caught me!]

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Yes, Please Submit This Anti-Gay Marriage Brief!

Welp, this was an... interesting article on same-sex marriage, penned by a David Usher who apparently is President of an outfit called the Center for Marriage Policy.

In it, Usher, whose bio does not say he's a licensed attorney, has sputtered some bizarre, word salad-ish "legal" arguments against same-sex marriage. Stay with me here, though, because that part of his article is actually pretty boring. His arguments are not clear or well articulated, and they do not, in my opinion, coherently reference relevant legal principles despite his assertion that his organization is working on a neat legal brief with a "ranking constitutional scholar" to challenge same-sex marriage.

The basic argument, and here's where shit gets funny, is that the US Supreme Court's recent DOMA ruling has created "three classes" of marriage, a structure that places "mother-mother marriage" at the top, "heterosexual marriages" in the middle, and "male-male marriages" at the bottom. No word on where non-mother lady/lady marriages fit into this schema, they seem not to exist.

You really kind of have to read a few paragraphs to get the full effect of the article.

It's a peculiar twining of MRA ideology with gender traditionalist homobigotry that, frankly, I haven't seen a lot of.  Add in the implicit argument that sexual orientation isn't an actual trait, with consequent notion that gay people therefore don't actually exist or aren't relevant to the issue of "gay marriage" and, well we get arguments that aren't anywhere near rationally related to reality, let alone rationally related to legit government purposes.

Furthermore, I expect many opponents of same-sex marriage to have some level of hatred/disgust toward lesbians and bisexual women, but many of them also have a somewhat traditionalist, simultaneously condescending and idealized view of heterosexual women, especially those who are mothers.

Usher, though, kind of lays it all out by insinuating that all women are basically greedy sperm-burglars who opt to marry other women, not because they're gay, but because women basically want the extra help around the house, in addition to wanting boyfriends on the side who will pay them child support and give them a little pickle tickle on the side I guess.

For real. His own words:

"When two women marry, it is a three-way contract among two women and
the government. Most women will bear children by men outside the
marriage – often by pretending they are using birth control when they
are not. Entrapped men become economically-conscripted third parties to
these marriages, but get nothing in return.

This is a significant advantage compelling women who would otherwise
become (or are) single mothers to choose to marry a woman instead of a
man. They can combine incomes, double-up on tax-free child support and
welfare benefits, decrease costs, and double the human resources
available to raise children and run their household.
 They are sexually liberated with boyfriends often cohabiting with them to provide additional undeclared income and human resources without worrying about what happens when they break up with their boyfriends." 

I emphasized a sentence in there that really highlights the traditionalist view of gender. Note the stark admission: In male-female households, Usher takes for granted that only one parent, the mother, is available to raise children and run the household, even though, presumably, two adults exist in that household.  In female-female households, he asserts that the human resources available to raise children and run the household are magically "doubled."

I'll say it again that gender traditionalists are often their own worst PR campaign for "traditional marriage."

Usher goes on to whinge that it's so unfair that heterosexual marriages, what he calls "class 2" marriages, have to "subsidize" the other two classes of marriage. Mumblemumblesomethingjust'cuz.

Things get fun again when he starts talking about "class 3" marriages, that is, male-male marriages. He opines:

"Marriages between two men are destined to be the marital underclass. In
most cases, these men will become un-consenting 'fathers' by
reproductive entrapment. Men in male-male marriages who become fathers
by deceptive means will be forced to pay child support to women in
bi-maternal marriages, and become economically enslaved to Class-1

Again, this is what happens when people deny that sexual orientation is relevant to the larger marriage conversation. It's as though heterosexual men who are duped by female sperm burglars will throw their hands in the air and resign themselves to marrying other men, where they will live lives of financial servitude to the Matriarchalist Overlords.

I mean, the whole article is like watching a conservative "think tank" guy mistake his own crappy MRA speculative fiction fantasy story for a legal argument.

So, I just want to reiterate.

According to this Usher dude, "The Center for Marriage Policy is currently drafting a preliminary brief [asserting these theories]
with the assistance of a ranking constitutional scholar."

Good luck with that.

25 Situations Only Nonprofit People Can Understand

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Nyad Completes Historic Swim!

I've written about one of her previous attempts before, but on Monday Diana Nyad became the first person to swim the 110 miles between Cuba and Key West without a shark cage.  Nyad is 64 years old.

Congratulations to her, and her team of supporters, on the remarkable accomplishment!

You know, I've read a few articles about this story and I've noted the way many commenters following the story, men especially, minimizing and undercutting Nyad's achievement.

People were calling her a "he-she," commenting that there are "more important things" the news media should be focusing on, saying that she was selfish for trying, and were ridiculing her because it took her 5 tries to accomplish her feat (although, I'm not sure what that says about everyone else in the entire world, as we haven't ever accomplished that).

How sad for these negative commenters and how truly typical when a female athlete gets any sort of positive press coverage - question her femininity, trivialize her sport as not being a real sport worthy of coverage, attack her, and suggest that a man could have done it better.

Rather than being happy for someone else achieving a major goal and setting a record, some people feel so incredibly insecure about what Nyad's achievement, and the public celebration of it, represents to purported male supremacy.



Lady Bicycle Faces

Baseball Team Forfeits, Rather Than Compete Against Girl

Weightlifting While Female

Ladies, You Too Can Work Out!

UConn Women BReak Record, Man Not Impressed

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The War on Pop-Tart Guns

Oh gag me with a spoon.

Feminist critic Christina Hoff Sommers has done what she does best, badly, this time writing in Time about her fave topic, the so-called War On Boys in schools.

"As school begins in the coming weeks, parents of boys should ask
themselves a question: Is my son really welcome? A flurry of incidents
last spring suggests that the answer is no. In May, Christopher Marshall, age 7, was suspended from his Virginia school for picking up a pencil and using it to “shoot” a “bad guy” — his friend, who was also suspended. A few months earlier, Josh Welch,
also 7, was sent home from his Maryland school for nibbling off the
corners of a strawberry Pop-Tart to shape it into a gun. At about the
same time, Colorado’s Alex Evans, age 7, was suspended for throwing an imaginary hand grenade at “bad guys” in order to “save the world.”

In all these cases, school officials found the children to be in
violation of the school’s zero-tolerance policies for firearms, which is
clearly a ludicrous application of the rule. But common sense isn’t the
only thing at stake here. In the name of zero tolerance, our schools are becoming hostile environments for young boys."

Is it ironic that this so-called war on boys prevents boys from playing war in schools? Who knows!  Who cares! Those male persecution complexes aren't going to feed into themselves!

What I do know for sure is that first and foremost girls and women were formally and/or legally banned from many forms and levels of education for many years in US history.  And, feminists who reference that history and context today in terms of their lingering effects are largely thought of as thin-skinned dummies who get our panties in a bunch over nothing.

Might gender gaps in wages and certain fields maybe be explained by this history and the concomitant social conditioning around gender? Nah. We're instead to believe that sure all that stuff about women's oppression happened a long time ago, but then a buncha other stuff happened mumble mumble equal opportunity not equal outcomes everything's fair now except boys have it worse now that they're expected to compete against girls and women as equals! *insert big "Men are #1" foam finger and start waiving it around*

But my my my, just look at the outrage! the hyperbole! the exaggeration! in the rhetoric when the so-called feminized school system does even the tiniest little thing to take away a boy's god-given, rightful place in the world to shape his pop-tarts into guns during lunchtime at his school.

Suddenly, the whole entire educational system is rigged against him! Suddenly, getting in trouble over playing at violence explains EVERYTHING about EVERY gender gap in which women might be outperforming men.

Which brings me to point two. The whole "schools is rigged against boys because they can't pretend violence anymore" argument only works if one believes that violence is inherent to boys and therefore cannot and should not ever be tempered.

That is, it's just another fuckin' way to say that it's a boy's world and everyone else just lives in it, because boys are violent and rough 'n tumble and whuddaryagunna do, ladies? Tut tut, you better keep yourselves safe and not go and get yourselves shot or raped!

And even though society wrings its non-existent hands every time a boy commits another school shooting, if we dare suggest that little boys not minimize gun violence by treating it as a form of play, or maybe if we even want to explore why little Tommy feels so compelled to nibble his pop-tart into a gun in the first place, it's a war I tell ya, a war! A war not against violence, but against boys!


Seriously, anti-feminists. Calm the fuck down.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Public Discourse Promotes Anti-Equality "Primer"

Back in June, I took note of a creepy "primer" purporting to give marriage equality opponents tips on how to better frame the marriage debate.

As I noted back then, key takeaways from this propaganda manual, er, "primer" include "elevat[ing] as spokesmen" gay people who oppose same-sex marriage, "telling bigger stories" that reverse who the victims and victimizers are, and subverting the "marriage equality" meme with "stickier" anti-equality memes.

So, basically more of the same "winning" strategies the anti-gay movement has been using for years all jotted down in one handy-dandy document which I hope will be in the appendix of a future history book as actual proof of there being an actual anti-equality agenda.  Because really, I'm starting to wonder if many anti-equality folks are so insular and insulated from opposing views that they maybe don't get that it's the reliance on these very strategies, strategies that gaslight LGBT people's lived experiences and aim to divide and drive wedges between marginalized populations, that many people find hateful.

Brian Brown (who doesn't seem to be the same guy from the National Organization for Marriage), has written a piece at the Public Discourse, promoting this new "primer" and discussing its key concepts. Funnily enough, his article's title is a sarcastic admission of sorts, "Now That We're All Haters..."

The ellipses are in the original title, for dramatic effect I suppose?, but *spoiler alert* his punchline isn't a conciliatory and apologetic "Sorry for the harm we've caused gay people, let's see how can come to a better understanding and try to temper this culture war a little."


Now that opponents of marriage equality think that everyone else thinks they're haters (but do we, really?)... the new goal seems to be to try to not look like haters whilst still opposing equality for same-sex couples while parroting superficial platitudes and sound-bites that don't embiggen the discourse.  

Because yes yes, we know. Whether or not people think marriage defenders are hateful bigots is the single most pressing concern in this entire culture war, a concern that must be centered in all conversations, especially mixed-company ones. Because god forbid we just not magically accept as benign the notion that "true marriage is more diverse" unlike "mono-gendered" marriage, and pretend that a catchphrase like that is not rooted in some serious sexist, supremacist, and shallow bullshit thinking about gender and sexuality.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Some Good News on a Friday

[Content note: gun violence]

This woman is a hero.

On Tuesday, a man entered a grade school in Atlanta armed with an assault rifle, exchanged shots with police, and ultimately surrendered. The school's bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff, was held hostage by the gunman and, in an interview with Diane Sawyer, reports convincing him to put his weapons down and surrender:

"'He told me he was sorry for what he was doing. He was willing to die,' Tuff told ABC. 

She told him her life story, about how her marriage fell apart after 33 years and the 'roller coaster' of opening her own business. 

'I told him, 'OK, we all have situations in our lives,' she said. 'It was going to be OK. If I could recover, he could, too.' 

Then Tuff said she asked the suspect to put his weapons down, empty his pockets and backpack on the floor. 

'I told the police he was giving himself up. I just talked him through it,' she said.

In an interview with WSB, an ABC affiliate, Tuff said she tried to keep Hill talking to prevent him from walking into the hallway or through the school building. 

'He had a look on him that he was willing to kill — matter of fact he said it. He said that he didn't have any reason to live and that he knew he was going to die today,' Tuff said, adding that Hill told her he was sure he'd be killed because he'd shot at police officers. 'I knew that if he got out that door he was gonna kill everybody,' she said."


After a gunman fatally shot 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, anti-feminist Charlotte Allen used her voice at the National Review Online to bemoan our purportedly "feminized" (i.e.- bad, weak, powerless) school system that purportedly allowed the incident to happen.

Specifically, she wondered how things might have turned out differently had there been a male janitor around to "heave his bucket" at the killer, or maybe even some "huskier twelve-year-old boys" to somehow converge on the killer and disarm him of his semi-automatic weapons. Of the women who threw themselves in front of bullets to protect children, not a word regarding their heroism.

Well, this woman - Antoinette Tuff, that is - did a heroic thing by using her humanity to connect with the humanity of a potential killer to de-escalate a terrifying situation. That is not a thing that is easy to do, especially when confronted with, potentially, one's own imminent death.  A common reaction, as Charlotte Allen demonstrates, is instead to dehumanize any real or perceived threat and then seek to eliminate it by, say, throwing buckets or, erm, 12-year-old boys at it.

Ms. Tuff is a hero despite the narratives that tell us that heroes must be physically violent, physically overpowering, and most importantly of all male (and usually white, as well).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wage Gap Begins Early

When I was a kid, I was good friends with some neighbors, who I'll call the Hendersons.  The Hendersons had 3 kids, consisting of two girls and a boy, all roughly close to my own age back then.

We spent many summers playing baseball or kickball on our relatively-rural street, hiding from our mean neighbor when our ball accidentally hit his house, and riding our bikes to various swimming holes around town. Just kidding about the swimming holes part, this wasn't 1950. We actually swam in a pool.

But I digress.

One afternoon, I went over to the Henderson's, and the boy, I'll call him Timmy, answered the door. I asked if they wanted to play basketball. Timmy said that he would be right out but that his sisters were busy cleaning his room that day. Confused, I asked him why he wasn't cleaning his own room and, in my direct 12-year-old way, suggested that he might be lazy.

Reflecting back, Timmy himself seemed confused as to why I would be confused about why his parents were making Timmy's female siblings clean his room for him while he got to sit around and watch Full House. I remember him huffily retorting, "I'm not lazy! I play sports and stuff!"

I've thought about that interaction from time to time, especially when noting larger patterns of the phenomenon whereby work is often perceived as Very Valued And Important if it is done by a man or boy, but it's dismissed and undervalued if it's done by a woman or girl.

Over at Salon, Soraya Chemaly has noted some studies showing that even young girls do more housework than young boys, with boys getting more hours of play and more money for chores when they do them. One of the studies linked to (PDF) notes, "...girls spend more time doing housework than they do playing, while boys spend 30 percent less time doing household chores than girls and more than twice as much playing."

I've been thinking about and debating gender stuff for long enough that I could do a re-cap of the comments without even actually reading the comments. Let me guess. Maybe some folks might chalk these disparities up to inherent and essential differences in "interest" between boys and girls, as though it's a defining feature of girls to just want to do chores rather than play, and that it's a defining feature of boys to want to play rather than do chores.

And, wait wait, maybe somebody's saying that efforts to maybe make boys do more housework and allow girls to play sports more frequently would be "social engineering" that goes against each gender's very nature and blah blah blah. I bet some people in the comments were even noting that the work that little boys do just is more valuable and more dangerous and harder and whatnot than the simple, menial tasks that little girls do! And whatever, little girls just want to take time off to take care of their dolls, so. Boom! It's all settled! The wage gap in kids' allowances is just a logical, foregone, unalterable biological conclusion.

My overarching point here is that I think these findings are mostly sad.

People seem really quick to look to "biology" and "inherent gender differences" to explain away disparities to then justify segregating work by gender, and to justify women and girls' work being devalued and taken for granted.

It can be illuminating, though, to juxtapose the Salon piece with yesterday's post, which quoted a Christian pastor boasting about how he was indoctrinating his daughters to be entirely dependent on men. I mean, dude has to try, like work really hard, to teach his girl children how to be suitably dependent, servile, submissive, and (purportedly) feminine. He has to teach them that, because deep down he knows they don't come out of the womb knowing how to be authentic girls, although if pressed he'd likely blame any gender non-conformity on feminist propaganda.

We are to believe that traditional gender indoctrination doesn't happen and that these so-called feminine traits are inherent to girls and women, indeed vital and essential to their very beings as girls, and yet at the same unattainable to them without the proper education. And, if we do not accept this belief as 100% True Common Sense, gender traditionalists mock us as unreasonable, irrational, politically correct feminazis who don't understand the Truths about gender.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quote of the Day

[Content note: misogyny]

Via Echidne, linking to the words of Christian pastor Steven Anderson:

"'I’m gonna tell you this: It’s not gonna be humanly possible for anyone to commit fornication with my daughters. [Laughter] And you know what? You’re laughing but I’m not kidding… You say, what about when they go get a job? Well, they’re not going to get a job. Why would my daughters go get a job? What do they need a job for? You know what, I’m gonna pay for them, I’m gonna pay their bills. And you know what? When I’m done paying for them, their husband’s gonna pay for them.'"

It's interesting because, well, conservative Christians usually tend to express an opposition toward the exchange of sex and childbearing for resources and money.

It seems as though at least some of them make an important distinction between coercing sex work upon their daughters for religious reasons (acceptable) and having their daughters choose sex work for themselves without explicit parental coercion for non-religious reasons (not acceptable).

Makes..... sense?

In Right-Wing Women, Andrea Dworkin noted that many right-wing women are drawn to conservatism because "traditional marriage" meant selling sex to one man, rather than to the hundreds purportedly demanded by the liberal, male-centric sexual revolution, and that they therefore saw traditionalism as "the better deal."

Although, she noted, both liberalism and conservatism treated women like they existed in states of perpetual consent to sex, and neither offered women full autonomy.

Dworkin was writing in 1983, but even today I tend not to get too caught up in liberal versus conservative identity politics in the US, as I am largely repulsed by the male-centric and anti-feminist tendencies within both political movements.

Too often, men in both movements decry misogyny only insofar as they can score political points against "guys on the other side," without actually taking meaningful measures to address it because addressing it is a good in its own right.  Too often, some of the few things men in both movements agree upon is that feminism is sucky, man-hating, and completely unnecessary these days.

Suffice it to say that, yes, I do get anxious when liberals and conservatives start patting themselves on the back for having purportedly "new conversations" together, among themselves, about marriage - especially when these conversations are largely devoid of feminist input.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Another One for the History Books

I saw this quote highlighted over at G-A-Y.

It was uttered by Matt Barber, Associate Dean at Liberty University School of Law and former Policy Director of the Concerned Women for America (ha, of course, get back in the kitchen, wimmenz!):

"Those of us who wish to remain obedient to God will not – indeed, cannot – accommodate you and play along with your sin-centric 'gay marriage' delusion.

Ain’t gonna happen.


Look, you have every right to dress up in two wedding gowns or two tuxedos, get pretend 'married' and play house to your hearts’ content. You do not have the right, however, to force others to abandon their sincerely held religious beliefs, thousands of years of history and the immutable reality of human biology to engage your little fantasy. No amount of hand-wringing, gnashing of teeth, suing Christians or filing charges against those of us who live in marriage reality will make us recognize your silly so-called 'marriage equality.'”

This quote can go in the chapter I hope is called, "Yep, pretty sure anti-gay bigotry really was a real thing that really motivated laws against same-sex marriage!"

Or maybe that's too wordy.

In any event, again, as a non-Christian, I find it somewhat entertaining in a "wow, dude's massively projecting" kind of way, to be accused of engaging in make-believe by an avowed Christian who Just Knows Things from his definitely-not-made-up religion.

Not sorry but when "god" starts to look just like Matt Barber, that's probably not a great PR campaign for Christianity.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I Have to Admit

I did laugh a little when I initially read this story of bigotry gone awry, but only because the family was ultimately safe in the end. It would have actually been tragic had the family been lost at sea indefinitely.

To summarize, a family fled the US on a sailboat because they "don't believe in" "abortion, homosexuality, or the state-controlled church." The strategy for their get-away mostly seems to have involved hopping on a small boat in San Diego, letting Jesus take the wheel, and hoping they'd end up in Kiribati, a remote group of islands in the Pacific between Hawaii and Australia.

Turns out, they ran into some storms and ended up lost for weeks "in the middle of nowhere," until they were  ultimately rescued by a fishing boat and eventually returned to the US courtesy of the government from which they had been hoping to escape.

Anyway, my points here are that, first of all, I had to look up on Snopes whether this story was a real thing that happened in the real world (it seems legit!). Secondly, I'm not sure it's even coherent to "not believe in" things that actually exist in the world, such as abortion and homosexuality. And finally, I don't blame the Homosexual Agenda, feminists, or the US government one bit for this family's predicament or desire to flee.

Rather, I blame all those oogedy-boogedy voices that repeatedly tell those who belong to the largest, most powerful, and most prominent religion in the US that they are oppressed, persecuted, and under attack by the Feminazi Homosexualist Agenda that apparently rules the entire world, except for Kiribati, and are therefore in imminent danger of becoming martyrs. (Although, that danger seems less a  realistic danger, and more a hopeful fantasy for some Christians, as it would allow them to fulfill a Christian Persecution narrative?)

The family, according to the above-cited article, is currently coming up with a "new plan."