Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Very Important Updates

Mansplain is now in Oxford's Dictionary's online dictionary  Along with some other notable additions like side boob, humblebrag, and binge-watch.

In other news, I started Chris Moriarty's Spin series, as part of my ongoing Book Experiment.  Thus far, I've skewed heavily into the science fiction and fantasy genres, and thanks to recommendations of readers and friends, have discovered some new authors I've really liked, such as Jacqueline Carey.

Anyone want to share any other recommendations for my queue?  I'm particularly interested in science fiction and fantasy with LGBT themes and characters.

I'm open to other genres, as well!  For instance, I'm also currently reading Angela Davis' Women, Culture, and Politics.  I've just found that, this year in particular, I've really appreciated the escapism of science fiction and fantasy, compared to non-fiction reading that, in previous years, I've leaned more towards.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Female Pitcher Leads Team to Little League World Series

Via ESPNW,13-year-old baseball player Mo'ne Davis threw a 3-hitter to help get her Philadelphia team to the Little League World Series.  She had 6 strikeouts in the game.

Congratulations to her and her team!

Of course, in the comments to the article some grown-ass adult man had to immediately chime in and say, "I know I'll get blasted here, but I still say it isn't right. She took the spot of another male player....". Which, I'm not sure what's more sad, this guy's entitlement and sexism, or his inability to state his position without pre-emptively framing any critique of his position as aggression against him.  In which case, he doesn't deserve to be taken seriously so here's some Dottie Hinson action:

madonna animated GIF

Relatedly, ESPNW also ran a decent story on the history of girls in Little League and how incredibly hard Little League and lots of grown-ass adults fought to keep it a super special boys-only entitlement.  Although girls in the US are now largely channeled into the sport of softball rather than baseball, Little League has allowed girls to participate since 1974 as a result of lawsuits brought by girls wanting to play.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Writer Concerned That Folks Just Don't Understand Traditionalists Well Enough

Inspired by yesterday's post, today I want to pull out a bit from Damon Linker's (NOM-approved) column urging us to re-consider traditional sexual morality.

Specifically, he writes:
"Welcome to sexual modernity — a world in which the dense web of moral judgments and expectations that used to surround and hem in our sex lives has been almost completely dissolved, replaced by a single moral judgment or consideration: individual consent. As long as everyone involved in a sexual act has chosen to take part in it — from teenagers fumbling through their first act of intercourse to a roomful of leather-clad men and women at a BDSM orgy — anything and everything goes....
...Is the ethic of individual consent sufficient to keep people (mostly men) from acting violently on their sexual desires?"
Note two things here.

One, the assumption that there is something essential to male sexual desire that's inherently violent and that, therefore, social forces need to tame and keep in check. The ethic of individual consent is not enough because, Linker suggestively asks, can men really take no for answer?

MRAs and feminist critics, meet Damon Linker because *ding ding ding* we have a MISANDRY ALERT!   I'm sure the anti-feminists will take their shit up with him ASAP. Oh. No, wait. They'll probably find this post eventually and finagle some way to frame me, the feminist, as the Real Misandrist.

Two, his concern trollish question suggests that the thing needed to keep men's violent sexual desires in check is traditional morality, which has some serious stuff to teach "us." As though, back in the good old days, the fear of "god" was enough to keep people from raping people.

When, no.

Back in the good old days of traditional morality in the US, men were more often allowed to rape - their slaves, their women, their wives - without consequence.  The thing about "trends" is that once we finally start naming events for what they are, it sometimes looks like those events are increasing in frequency.

The sad thing about his article is that some of the questions he raises are serious and many progressives, feminists, and liberals are actually thinking seriously about them, a fact which Linker seems oblivious to.  As he tries to explain what's really up with the traditionalists and admonishes us to "respect" those traditionalists who are "troubled" by these issues of modern-day sexuality he barely concedes that traditionalists so often, themselves, refuse to respect, understand, or listen to us.

We're largely met by ridicule of LGBT identities and fingers-in-ears whinging about "political correctness." We encounter irrational religious tangents about "sin" and slippery slope arguments about the "decay of society."

Linker quotes social conservative Rod Dreher, who practically every day at his blog writes a post mocking transgender people and/or whinging about how LGBT equality is oppressing him as a Christian.  Like here, where he mocks the "freaky-deakiness" of the dispute between some strains of radical feminism and transgenderism, ultimately predicting that the debate itself is "a sign" that our "decadent society" isn't going to "end well."

Yet, if we listen to Linker, progressives are supposed to turn around, respect traditionalists like Dreher, and take his opinions more seriously just because he's super concerned that modern sexual ethics will destroy society.

Okay! /sarcastic thumbs up sign/  Because we haven't been hearing that for years!

Look. I have considered, truly considered traditional values, and for the most part I reject them.  Where this idea comes from that progressives and liberals just haven't given enough thought to traditional values, I have no idea.  These conversations and debates among traditionalists and more tolerant folks have been going on for at least decades and are well-documented in journals, blogposts, articles, media, books, and court cases.

Speaking for myself, about half the blogs I regularly read are blogs written by those with whom I radically disagree.  While I sometimes find areas of agreement, I'm often not impressed with either their arguments or their understandings of the ideologies they disagree with, which they often write about in vague and caricatured ways.

What I could get on board with would be a column saying, "Hey, why don't all people involved in heated debate and conversation try to understand the other side a bit better, yeah?"

I certainly don't need concern troll "translators" trying their best to make either traditional or Christian views more palatable to me by suggesting that it's progressives who just don't understand where traditionalists are coming from.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Deep Thought of the Day

One thing bigots and other anti-LGBT folks need to learn is that their views are crap even if they can find LGBT people and self-described progressives and liberals who agree with them about some stuff.

At the awful National Organization for [Heteroseual] Marriage blog, the "NOM Staff" author approvingly quotes a purportedly progressive person who wrote an article claiming that religious people's objections to marriage equality "aren't trivial."

Seriously, bigots love this shit, the same way misogynists love "women against feminism."  The "ex-gay," the gay man opposed to same-sex marriage, the celibate lesbian who refuses to live in sin.  It's not exactly a startling revelation that anti-LGBT groups love using these people's words and stories to the extent they echo anti-LGBT talking points.

It's just a reminder that the same talking points we've heard and rebutted over and over and over again for years don't suddenly gain respectability and credence just because it's not the same old bigots saying them.

Monday, July 28, 2014

No, Your Beliefs Actually Are Quite Awful

I'm crying the world's largest puddle of misandry tears for Todd Akin, he of "legitimate rape" notoriety, and other people with reprehensible thoughts who think the Real Issue is that their reprehensible thoughts were just taken out of context and that, maybe just maybe, if they framed their thoughts better, they would be seen as less reprehensible.

I'm reminded of conversations with some anti-gay Christians who think that if we understood, just really understood, that people can hate the sin and love the sinner, then we'd understand that nothing about their religion is at all problematic toward gay people, so geeez, why are you gays being so unfair to Christians by calling them bigots?

According to recent statements by Akin, likewise, we're supposed to feel sorry for him because he's been made out to be the "villain of the whole world," a remarkably self-centered claim, that.  Like, a man's criticized for his reprehensible politics and his way of handling it is to claim he's basically the most hated man on Earth. 

What's he going to do next, start fake *ducking* whenever he says anything remotely controversial, just to pre-empt all those violent, unfair progressives and feminists who criticize him for no reason at all?

In the same interview in which he explains how he doesn't have awful views, people just willfully misrepresent him, this happens:
"Finally, Todd asked Akin if he believed there are any exceptional cases in which a woman should be allowed to have an abortion. 
Akin refused to directly answer the question, but did allow that cases in which a nonviable fetus threatens the life of the mother might constitute an “exception” that he could support. 
'I think that what doctors should do is try to save life,' he said. 'I believe that what you do is save the mother. Your objective is not to kill the child. If you’d call that an exception, then that would be an exception.'"
Like, he can barely, barely, no not even concede that a woman should be able to choose to save her own life if, and only if, the fetus she's carrying is non-viable. And, catering to the most extreme forced birther crowd he can barely, just barely, admit that he would maybe allow (because it's his decision, apparently) women to have that one teeny tiny "exception" with respect to our own ability to stay alive.

This is not a man who has been willfully misrepresented or who, from time to time, misspeaks and says stuff that doesn't actually represent his beliefs. This is a man who really does have reprehensible politics and beliefs about women's autonomy, value, and lives.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday's Deep Thought and Open Thread

I pretty much love the movie Pitch Perfect, even though it would have been a thousand times better if Beca and Chloe were girlfriends (NSFW?) in maintext rather than just subtext.

That's all.

Talk about stuff. Or don't! It's Friday!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dude Writers Pissy About Newfangled Non-Male, Non-Straight Characters

Where many feminists rightly critique the media for producing content that excludes female characters or that excludes female audiences, some men of privilege critique the media for producing content that features female characters or that was created to appeal to audiences members who are people other than straight white men.

The latter instance, judging by some men's reactions to being de-centered,  is interpreted as an appalling attack on straight white men, morally equal to (and probably worse than) women being systemically excluded from representation. Because they are used to being the default protagonists of life, TV shows, movies, comic books, and video games, they snark, mock, and ridicule representations that do not center them, their life experiences, and their desires.

Lacking the desire or ability to understand what it's like to not be centered, they do not or cannot concede that people might have good motives for creating characters other than straight white men, or trying to appeal to audiences other than people like themselves. Such is their entitlement. What they have no need or desire for, they think everyone else in the world has no need or desire for.

As one of two recent examples, conservative author John C. Wright has a tantrum over Marvel making comic book character Thor a woman. In a post titled, grossly, "Thor Cropped of his Male Member," he bemoans, what else, but political correctness gone awry™:
"I have recovered my powers of speech and can comment further. Is Marvel Comics out of its collective ever-lovin’ mind? 
Do they not care if they lose 80% of their few remaining readers? 
Does Marvel actually think fangirls want to read about girls acting macho and kicking ass? 
And if you wanted to do a Norse Goddess ass-kicker superheroine, what in the name of Nastrond is wrong with Sif, or Valkyrie, or any other established Marvel Norse heroine? 
Is there anything wrong with either of these Nordic she-soldiers. 
Ah, but the point of Political Correctness is not to tell a story and make it good, but to take a good story and ruin it.

Fanboys, I know, like looking at woman warriors that are leggy and busty and dress in skintight black leather."
Note the condescension, the cocksure certainty that he, a man, just knows what "fangirls" want from "girl" superheroes and "she-soldiers." Observe the lazy, self-centered use of the phrase political correctness to assume that Marvel made this decision solely to hurt people like him by destroying something he thought was cool!  Note the way he places himself as objective arbiter of what is and isn't a good story.

As a second recent example, conservative blogger Rod Dreher clutches his pearls about comic book character Archie (*spoiler alert if people even read Archie still*) dying in an anti-gay hate crime incident. Dreher mocks:
"Seriously, this happens today in the comic universe.... [quotes description of Archie's demise]
Nope, nothing overtly political here. Hey, since I was last in Riverdale, they’ve got teen lesbians, one of whom is a 'fierce Latina.'
Seems like everybody is gay in pop culture today."
I guess it's quaint-funny that Dreher thinks an incident like a hate crime, a character who's a fierce Latina lesbian, or a story being political are Totally Out There in comic book world.  Like, has he read a comic book, ever?  Or, does he only object to representations that don't jive with his seemingly ideal world of straight white guys staying at the center of all things and political content he disagrees with being marginalized? And, for that matter, does he live in the real world, you know, the one that actually consists of Latina lesbians?

And yes, the Archie plot might be heavy-handed which, it seems, is part of what Dreher is objecting to, but his commentary also shows some huffy pouting about gay people and allies being represented at all, in the media.

Dudes can accept a character being bitten by a radioactive spider and hence developing exaggerated super powers of spiders, characters from fairy tales somehow living under the radar in New York City, and thousands of comic book characters seemingly never aging throughout the years, but they draw the line at representations of a hate crime or a female Thor?

It's hard for me to think that something other than shitloads of unexamined privilege, entitlement, and self-centeredness can explain that.

Atlantic Writer: Women's Prison Show Should be More About Men