xenologer: (do not even)
I can't help but wonder if there isn't something non-men can learn from discussions of how fragile masculinity is and how structurally flawed it makes people who build their sense of self on top of it.

Toxic masculinity says that men shouldn't have to try to cope. They shouldn't have to learn to process. They don't have to bear their own emotional burdens because the rare ones too heavy to be bootstrapped out of? Well that is what non-men are for.

Toxic masculinity says that some things are not to be tolerated, and to know about them is to be burdened by them, and it is a man's right not to be burdened.

Toxic masculinity teaches that either a man is impervious or he is a weakling without worth, because a man has to be invulnerable to conquer his lessers.

This desperation to be untouchably elevated, above struggle and self-adjustment and doubt, it wouldn't be so desperate if it weren't covering up a more fragile reality. It wouldn't be so frightening to fall short and lose value if men didn't know that one misstep could happen to them so so so easily.

But toxic masculinity teaches that to be aware is to be burdened, and to be burdened is to be attacked. So these fears hide where only everyone else can see them. That's a handy thing, since we have to see them to survive the panicked retaliation that kills so many of us. We need to know that not only does toxic masculinity create men who refuse to see our realities, it creates men who truly cannot endure them. It creates men who spend so much of themselves dodging that they have nothing left to soak the damage that does get through. And we suffer when the shocking experience of being wounded has them flailing in indignation, looking for someone else to lay the pain on.

Having power, having male privilege, leaves so much room to be personally weak. Structural shielding takes the place of individual sturdiness. Unfortunately, even though we should have every right to be just as brittle and do just as well, we don't have the free structural protection to compensate. Even great personal sturdiness is not truly enough, even is it is mandatory. It just doesn't add up to the kind of protection that comes from man-proofing the world by softening its corners and padding any steep drops.

I bring this up because when men act like they can't handle rough awakenings, they aren't being insincere. I really don't think they are. I think they really are overwhelmed and overloaded by even these weak secondhand shocks picked up and conducted through people who experience them every day at full strength. Don't get me wrong, they CAN GET STRONGER. They can. But before they get stronger and while they ate getting stronger, they act like they're weak because they think they are and they think they are weak because it is still true.

I watch men do this, and I see it in myself along other axes. I know there are non-men who watch this and see this in men but still personally blame their own less protected neighbors for the teensiness of their personal hit point bar. Cis women watch men do this and then lash out when they are presented with transmisogyny. White women get used as scratching posts by weak men faced with a reality they never accepted was real, and are aghast when a black woman brushes up against their own bubble.

White women in particular tell men to suck it up because this is our lives and they are choosing to abandon us to preserve a lifestyle that lets them stay lazily weak. But woe to anybody who suggests we take our turn. Like men, white feminists may have other struggles, but we like to remain weak when we can, too. Whiteness lets us be weak but buying into it is how we work to stay that way, punishing those who attack us by burdening us by being honest with us.

White fragility is real. We aren't faking. Nobody ever said we were. Everyone else can see, in fact, that we are not. It isn't wrong because it is deceptive, or directly malicious. It is wrong because it is both brutally corrosive and entirely preventable.

White tears are sincere. White fragility is a genuine frailty.

That is kind of the problem, because there is so much work to be done that only we can do. We do not exempt ourselves from that duty by remaining too weak to discharge it properly; we just guarantee we will be failures.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
I grew up being referred to as "a firecracker" and "a pistol" and still getting slammed down every time that cute sparky spirit was being directed at them (the horror!)

Over time it just felt more and more like I was being praised for being a spirited horse. The only reason a lot of men want a strong woman is so that they can feel even more manly for being able to break a higher-level beast than the next guy did.

Makes me wish I could poop on them just by lifting my tail. Horses know the way.

Sadly, pooping in public is frowned upon, so I will have to settle for shredding every man who thinks he can use me as his personal attack dog. No, boys, you don't get to treat this bitch however you want and still have her fight for you, and being on the other end of my leash isn't as fun as you're thinking. What it really means is that the only person who isn't safe from me is you.


They just don't think sometimes, do they?
xenologer: (Ravenna)
Okay, this is too long to reproduce it all here, but if you want a linkdump for all the clusterfuckery going down as a result of Ron Lindsay (apparently) being deeply ambivalent about the reason we all came together and expressing that in his introduction, here is what I have.
xenologer: (human monsters)
I stumbled across this interesting article that focuses on students firing on their own schools, but which might be generalizable to some extent to other instances of "suicide by mass murder." It's only fifteen pages long, but it's worth a read.

There is something wrong with our culture, and while the proliferation of guns determines the expression of it, the problem with our culture needs to be addressed for itself.

Suicide by mass murder: Masculinity, aggrieved entitlement, and rampage school shootings
In this theoretical essay, we examine school shootings that culminate in the suicide of the assailant(s). We do so to elucidate how the culture of hegemonic masculinity available to young American men encourages the use of violence to avenge a perceived challenge to their masculine identity. When these attacks to one’s masculine identity affect someone to the point of suicidal ideation, committing mass murder can be an instrumental way to achieve a sense of power; and framing one’s suicide with violence and aggression may serve to make it appear a more potent act.
xenologer: (ooh!)
PSA: Your Default Narrative Settings Are Not Apolitical

Which leads me back to the issue of prejudice: specifically, to the claim that including such characters in SFF stories, by dint of contradicting the model of straight, white, male homogeneity laid down by Tolkien and taken as gospel ever since, is an inherently political – and therefore suspect – act. To which I say: what on Earth makes you think that the classic SWM default is apolitical? If it can reasonably argued that a character’s gender, race and sexual orientation have political implications, then why should that verdict only apply to characters who differ from both yourself and your expectations? Isn’t the assertion that straight white men are narratively neutral itself a political statement, one which seeks to marginalise as exceptional or abnormal the experiences of every other possible type of person on the planet despite the fact that straight white men are themselves a global minority? And even if a particular character was deliberately written to make a political point, why should that threaten you? Why should it matter that people with different beliefs and backgrounds are using fiction to write inspirational wish-fulfillment characters for themselves, but from whose struggle and empowerment you feel personally estranged? That’s not bad writing, and as we’ve established by now, it’s certainly not bad history – and particularly not when you remember (as so many people seem to forget) that fictional cultures are under no obligation whatsoever to conform to historical mores. It just means that someone has managed to write a successful story that doesn’t consider you to be its primary audience – and if the prospect of not being wholly, overwhelmingly catered to is something you find disturbing, threatening, wrong? Then yeah: I’m going to call you a bigot, and I probably won’t be wrong.

I want to enter into a committed long-term relationship with this article.

This is one reason I have a hard time finding fantasy settings that I really click with. Too many writers, worldbuilders, and roleplayers either A: don't want "politics" (read: minorities) in their pretendy funtime games, or B: really think that the only people who've ever led narratively interesting lives were straight white cisgender people, and that for the sake of realism they can have wizards and fairies but cannot have more than a couple token POC in their setting.

I console myself by reminding myself that if that's the level of thought they put into their writing and worldbuilding, they're probably pretty mediocre at both. Odds are I'm not missing much.

It's also worth adding that Tolkien didn't want to create the enormously racially-screwy and gender-backward narrative that he did with Lord of the Rings. When it was pointed out to him (by which I mean, sometime around when the Nazis wrote to him and said, "Dude we love you!"), he went, "Oh no, look what I did," and decided to use his future writings to undermine that a great deal and do better. Sadly, he died before he got to finish that, but the Silmarillion helps and he evidently had more improvement plans in his notes.

So I am kinda both saying I want worldbuilders to be less like Tolkien in how they worldbuild, and more like Tolkien in how they respond to criticism about their worldbuilding. Not all stories have to be about magical straight white people. Frankly, there are only so many stories to be told in identically-"medieval" whitewashed patriarchal fantasy settings.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
My quote of the day comes from the comments to TheFerrett's "But If I Can't Buy You A Coffee, How Will Our Species Reproduce?": How To Hit On Women

You can claim all you like that “it’s not about fucking.” But realistically, what you want is to talk, and get to know her, and go on a few dates, and make it a very intimate relationship…

…and then fuck.

And if fucking’s not a part of it, chances are extremely good that you’re going to feel like she’s wasted your time. Which makes you a liar. It’s like you’re saying, “Oh, no, going out to a restaurant’s not about the eating! It’s about the atmosphere, the good conversation, the experience.” But if you got the bill and went home hungry, you’d be ripped off.

The point is that yes, maybe fucking isn’t your primary intention, but it’s certainly well in the mix. And they know that. And you going up to them and dancing around your boner, going, “No, this is about getting to know each other! It’s about conversation!” is the kind of sad tactic that makes women not trust you. Because yeah. You want other stuff, but all that is stuff you could get elsewhere. You could have many fine friends who you don’t fuck. Instead, you’re lying about the friendship, and what you really want is the sex.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, except that you apparently feel that it is wrong. Most people want sex. But you, you’re going, “No, no, it’s more than that,” missing the point that since all of this camaraderie is going to be worthless WITHOUT the sex, you’ve pretty much made sex the core of it. That’s a scummy lie you’re telling yourself, and it’s doing you no favors, because chances are good women know what you’re really after, and are turned off by your dishonesty.

You say it’s not the first thing on your mind. But I’m willing to bet that if you’re straight, you don’t approach guys like this for fun conversations, or angst about it this much if they reject your hand in close friendship. That means that you’re lying to yourself, because really… it IS the first thing on your mind. You just are doing a little dance to pretend otherwise.

We really can tell.

Ferrett's replying to a guy who commented and seemed to be in denial about what he's really after when he talks to women. What Ferrett is pointing out is not that it's silly to try to get anything out of a woman but sex, but that it's bullshit to pretend that sex isn't the point when to everybody else it's obvious that it is.

So it's less, "Stop wanting things that aren't sex," and more, "Stop pretending you want to get to know her when you'll lose interest if she fails to put out. You are not subtle."

I've never been romantically involved with anybody I didn't consider a friend first. This is not to say that I wouldn't ever under any circumstances hook up with someone I didn't know, but after a lifetime of this shit I actually do sort of need my potential partners to demonstrate to me that my sole winning quality is not in the promise of getting a leg over.

If I think that you would see me as a pointless waste of time without the promise of sex, I personally am done with you as a human being.

I think at this point in my life I would seriously rather have a man come up to me and say, "Hey! I was just noticing how gorgeous you are. Are you looking to hook up with anyone tonight?" Then I can just say, "Nah." I would prefer this over the unmistakeable experience of a man talking to me because he's heard chicks like that and he's sure if he button-mashes enough he will figure out the combination to the supermove that takes off my pants.

If you can't figure out how to talk to women, you need to start with the small stuff and learn how to be friends with women. I don't mean circling around her ankles like a needy cat waiting for her to rub your penis belly; I mean actually figuring out a way for women to feel like you are a good friend to them, and don't do it for the sex. Do it because women are people to you and having female friends is nice. Seriously, though, don't make it about sex, even in your head.

Is this you? Do you have many female friends? If you even have to think, "Do I have many female friends?" you don't. If you don't have female friends, you are probably doing something fucked up that women notice and you don't and until that is resolved, you are not ready to chase us for booty.

I am not kidding.

If you can't befriend women, you'll be a shitty romantic partner and your ass is not ready.

And AGAIN friendship is not some kind of half-romance that needs to evolve into Real Romance. If you have female friends that you value completely apart from the question of getting your dick wet, you have already won. You don't need to do anything else to those relationships. They are already good.

I know you are thinking, "If I can just get them to be friends with me, our relationship will evolve and I will finally be repaid for my investment with the sex I have earned."

You are wrong. You are so wrong that you will ruin everything.

Or less. If it saves you time, I hate you now.
xenologer: (vagina)
A Guide for Men with Good Intentions

As the title indicates, this is not a post for men who don't care whether their sexual advances frighten women. This is not a post for men who think that a woman can ever do anything to deserve being raped. This is not a post for men who just have a serious problem with women in general because their big sister never shared the Nintendo controller or whatever. This is a post for the men who really do respect women and either are being confused with the assholes or are simply afraid they might be.

This is for men with good intentions. I am creating this in the hopes that it will be linkable to men in multiple situations whose good intentions may not always be coming across. Given that, if you have been linked this, it is not necessarily because someone thought every single one of these headers was about you. If you have been linked this, it is because someone absolutely does think you care about them and the other people around you and because they believe that you have the empathy and self-awareness to be both willing and able to consider how your actions affect others.

Basically, if you got linked this, someone thinks you're a good person.

If they didn't think that, they probably wouldn't be talking to you at all, let alone going to the trouble of reading, collecting, and linking resources that will help you have as many positive relationships as possible. If they didn't think you deserved to have the people around you be comfortable with you and be intimate with you, they would be spending their energy to mess with you instead.

So please take this in that spirit. I am not trying to talk down to you, but if you have not ever lived as anything other than a man then I am going to be talking about experiences you have not had. That makes you not the expert on them, and that doesn't mean you're bad. It just means that we're talking about stuff you probably won't understand unless you consider the accounts of people who have experienced it.

As an aside, women are not the only people who could explain this to you. A trans man, for example, is a man, but has probably been erroneously treated like a woman at some point in his life and can therefore probably give you some perspective on what it is like to live without male privilege. Even if he is currently identifying and identified by others as male, this is probably stuff he has seen. Ditto for genderqueer individuals who are or have been misidentified by others as female. Odds are that they also know things.

Despite that, I am going to use "woman" as shorthand for "someone who lives without male privilege" despite the fact that that is not even close to covering absolutely all such people, just because "woman" is far more concise than "someone who lives without male privilege."

This all means there are plenty of people who can and often will give you a picture of what's going on in the world for people with a different set of pressures than your own, and odds are if they are sharing their experiences with you it's not because they think you suck; it's because they are operating under the assumption that you care, and if they're right, this entry is for you.

Read more... )

As is typical, the entry to link (should you desire to do so) is here at DoaW.
xenologer: (bye bye)
So when women are like, "Hey don't sexually harass me," there are always people who say, "But I am so awkward/autistic that I cannot tell the difference between harassment and flirting BAWWWWW you are so ablist BAWWWWWWW."

No, awkwardness is no excuse.

Tell it, Captain Awkward.
If you alert someone to an unwelcome behavior, and the person keeps doing that thing and/or angrily arguing that they shouldn’t have to change anything, the problem is not Asperger’s. Even if they do have Asperger’s. People with Asperger’s can knowingly or unknowingly violate someone’s boundaries. They can also have their boundaries violated! A lot of people who are Very Worried About The Aspies do not themselves have Asperger’s and are using this as a straw man to derail the conversation away from their own behaviors. They’re also insulting people with Asperger’s by assuming that even close to a statistically significant portion of creepy behavior can be blamed on them. Who’s able-ist now?

I hate how people who sexually harass people and persist in ignoring boundaries hide behind (or are hidden behind by others) "social awkwardness" as though there were any degree of awkwardness that could recontextualize "no" to mean "yes." If you come to this comment thread to explain that Asperger's is why you shouldn't have to stop scaring the women you hit on, I hope every boundary-respecting Aspie on my friends list punches you in the mouth.

Also, all of the men I know who have persisted in sexually harassing women and then been sheltered by mutual friends have actually been entirely socially savvy... when it comes to situations and people they actually give a shit about.

For example, any harasser who has managed to surround himself with enablers who'll say "oh he's just awkward so he can't change" and targets who'll say "well there's no way to get him to stop so I'll just shut up and try not to make drama over it" is a harasser who is actually very very good at what he does, socially. He gets away with sexually harassing people precisely because he is not awkward.

What he is... is a man who doesn't believe that women are qualified to define and defend our own boundaries, and who has figured out what kinds of people to keep around him so that he doesn't EVER have to feel real pressure to adjust his behavior. And THAT is not the behavior of a man who's bad with social cues. He's just a man who is bad.

This rant can also be found at Dissent of a Woman. That's the linkable public version, mostly because there are people on my friends list who know some of the creepers I am talking about and their privacy may be a factor here, too.
xenologer: (vagina)
Sunny brought me my beautiful internet wisdom of the day!

"One of the worst ways to stop someone from telling sexist jokes is to tell him the joke isn’t funny. He’ll assume that you’re humorless and that he needs to save the good stuff for the right audience. If you really want someone to stop telling sexist jokes, you need to tell him, “I don’t get it” and then step back as he tries not to say, “It’s funny because women are stupid.""
xenologer: (do not even)
No one can speak for all women, but I think it's good to speak for the women who constantly get shut down when we try to explain why "benevolent" sexism is still messed up and not okay.

If you are a woman who disagrees with this, congratulations on agreeing with the dominant narrative. Our culture is clearly more comfortable for you than it has been for most of the women I know, and I'll be happy for your good fortune if you will let someone express a more critical perspective.

Reader letter to the FeministDisney tumblr, and FD's answer.
And so if a guy likes me I don’t really hold it against them that maybe they’re covering their bases by saying they can pay for it, even if that in itself tends to make me uncofortable since you have to go through this longass routine of “no, really, I’LL pay for it” “NO I insist!” blah blah.

What I do pay attention to- and judge- is the way they respond to my polite request to pay for myself. I don’t honestly want to be with someone who thinks that “men always should pay first” is enough of a reason to keep insisting on it, because that’s really low on my list of social conventions that I want to buy into and indicates that we’re probably not going to see eye-to-eye on a large range of social subjects.
xenologer: (Lisbeth)
Trigger Warning: Rape Apologism!

Disclaimer: Statistically the vast majority of rapists are men, and the majority of rape victims are women. Nota bene: men do get raped, and that comes with its own set of extra bullshit that the victims have to deal with. LGBT people are also at serious risk for sexual assault no matter their gender identity or expression (but particularly transgender people).

I say these things because I am going to talk about rapists and rape victims in terms of their statistically prominent genders, but you should not take that as a cue that those are the only genders of authentic rapists or the only genders of authentic rape victims. It's for simplicity's sake, but it's important to me to make sure that readers be aware that the full demographics of rape include more than "cis men raping cis women."

Anyway. Onward.

Read more... )
xenologer: (Ravenna)
Overall Review

This movie was very pretty and most of the acting was absolutely spot on. I will say that Kristen Stewart needs to close her mouth or she's gonna get a bug in there, and that I had been hoping Twilight had simply been a particularly poor exhibition of her acting skills (since her job in those movies has been to stare a lot and weep beautifully and basically nothing more), but I am coming to the conclusion that that's really all she can do. Propers to the young woman for crying on cue, because that's not easy, but I really want to run her through the facial warm-ups that we did in high school before speech meets so that she can find the muscles that move her eyes and mouth.

You know how they say that strippers often dance with this dead-eyed absent expression? She went through the movie like that. Needless to say, I found it less inspiring than all of the other characters seemed to. To be brutally honest? Her acting was so flat that she made everyone else around her look like worse actors because they seemed like they were responding way out of proportion to her simply because they were actually acting. The "twist" surrounding Snow White's reawakening shouldn't have been a twist at all, because there should have been enough chemistry between Snow White and the Huntsman to make it... maybe not obvious, but detectable would have been nice.

Kristen Stewart so dismally fails at screen presence that even Chris Hemsworth could not create chemistry between them. I defy anybody reading this who is attracted to men to fail to respond to Chris Hemsworth. So let's just think about how utterly absent the character of Snow White would have to be from Kristen Stewart's acting to make it a complete surprise that they have a connection. That's pretty serious.

I didn't go see it for her, though. I went to see it for Ravenna, for the queen. She was everything I had hoped for and more, and as a bonus this movie provided me with quite possibly the most balls to the wall fantastic soundtrack I have purchased in a long time. Prometheus? Decent soundtrack. Snow White and the Huntsman? This movie owned the bejesus out of most of the other soundtracks on my computer. It's got competition from... maybe... Donnie Darko, Lord of the Rings, The Dark Knight (which he did with Hans Zimmer), and Murray Gold's Doctor Who. I do not say those things lightly.

This is about what I went to see and what it turned out to be like, though. This is about Ravenna, about whom I have all manner of srs bsns thinky thoughts.

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xenologer: (Lisbeth)
So Elisabeth Cornwell spoke at the Reason Rally. The video is behind this link. My commentary is reproduced on that page, but I wanted it here as well to boost the signal on this, because it is not okay. It is not.

Trigger warning: mention of sexual assault.

The systematic degradation of women's control over their own bodies and lives is not just bad, it is monstrous. It is an act of war, as rape is an act of war. There are even a lot of parallels to how female slaves were treated, because they were considered always-accessible subhuman incubators for the valuable property of their masters, much as a disposable class of unsupported children is valuable for rich white dudes today who benefit from trapping other communities in generational poverty. There are a lot of parallels, and even if it was a little hyperbolic... I expect hyperbole at a rally.

There is a problem, though. I was there at the rally and I listened to Cornwell talking about how women in America are being enslaved then invoke the alleged ideals and opinions of Thomas Jefferson, to convey how appalled he would be by this kind of inroad toward theocracy. I realize that this is a thing easily forgotten by white people in this country, but Jefferson actually personally himself enslaved women. You know who made their reproductive choices? Jefferson did after he bought them. Sure, he'd potentially stand with the white women in the audience in their struggle for reproductive freedom, but if you think he'd stand with the women of color, I don't know where you got your history education. More likely you just didn't consider that what he did to black women reflects as strongly on his character as what the theocrats are trying to do to you now.

This is a problem.

How much more strongly can someone imply that black women aren't real women, their enslavement not pressing until it is shared by white women? I can think of no other reason why Jefferson's status as a famed enslaver and rapist of slave women should be overlooked so that he can be called upon as an ideological ally to modern women, except that to some people his serial rapes and violations of the reproductive autonomy of *black* women were less important as a measure of his character than his excellent insights about religion.

We did a good job on diversity of speakers and guests at the accompanying convention this year, but if you want to be mindful of not seeming like a movement run by white people for white people, please be mindful of whom you're asking your audience to idolize. We're talking about a guy whose reputation for raping slaves and forcing them to bear his children is so legendary that there are entire geneology projects dedicated to tracing just his descendants among people of color.

Jefferson's political theory was a good place to start (particularly when it comes to his views on religion), but it's a terrible place to finish and we sure as heck shouldn't retreat back to it to stop the enslavement of women. So let's keep that in mind before we canonize the man and ask the women of color in the audience to look up to the guy who raped so many of their great-great-grandmothers and forced them to carry and bear his "property" against their will. Maybe some of his nasty personal/"business" habits are overlookable by a financially secure white activist, but the fact that you can overlook it doesn't mean other people are going to be able to handwave it so easily.

I appreciated the rally and had a lovely time both there and at the convention. The sense of community was beautiful and necessary. It's just sad that it had to be undermined by something like this at a time when we are all clearly making an effort toward including the full range of atheists in all our diversity.
xenologer: (I have arrived)
I have become sort of well-known for my walls of text in conversations of privilege and marginalization, and one of the reasons I post them is because simply telling people to educate themselves doesn't work. I mean, realistically, we are all grown adults who know how to use The Google. Given sufficient interest in not hurting each other's feelings, a person so motivated could just... go find one of the many many places on the internet where this has been explained and just learn how on their own.

Realistically, though, people are kinda lazy... particularly when the only thing at stake is someone else's feelings.

Consequently, while these insufficiently-motivated people are not entitled to any more expended energy on behalf of others than they're willing to give, I actually happen to care about what's going to happen the next time they run and act a fool and hurt somebody, and right now I have the spoons to... well, spoonfeed some people.

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xenologer: (bye bye)
But I have been following shit on FB so that I can back up those few people who actually bother to speak up for marginalized people and their "divisive identity politics."

I don't know if I can keep doing that.

I am so burnt out on this movement because I came here to try and use my education and experience to do some fucking good, and instead I have spent the last FIVE FUCKING MONTHS BEGGING PEOPLE TO TREAT ME LIKE I AM AS GOOD AS THEY ARE.

And now people are allowing her to claim that people just shouldn't be "announcing" that they're LGBT or whatever.


No, fuck you. No.

Five fucking months! Unfuckingbelieveable.
xenologer: (vagina)
Today I was told that my ballsiness (word used deliberately) and general macho heroism make me masculine enough to be respectable, and then someone else called me a fag. Patriarchy, man. I am all up in it today.
xenologer: (objection!)
Okay, I have yet again had "this country was intended to function like X and we need to put it back like that" thrown at me, this time by a Ron Paul supporter but eh. It's too pervasive for me to just point at them and say it's their argument, though I'll get to him when I've picked apart that little highly-polished ball of shit.

Here's my feeling.

I am a lot less reverent of "the way things were intended to be" than I am "how things would need to be so that privileged and currently-marginalized people can have equality of opportunity."

The country we create means a lot more to me than the degree to which it matches someone else's idea of sufficient faithfulness to the ideological orthodoxy of a group of social contract theorists two centuries ago who had no more experience with the kind of culture I want to live in now than anybody else did at the time.

So rather than spending the rest of my life building a political theory around slavish obedience to the ideals of men who owned black people and mostly didn't think women were qualified to vote, I'm going to look at politics and government as a problem-solving exercise, not a test of my loyalty to "the founders."

Some of the same people who'd never argue that we should do whatever the Bible says (or seems to say) because it's a book written by people will nonetheless kill and die to demonstrate their unwillingness to depart from centuries-old ideas about what America should be like. I don't get it.

I don't think "the founders" were necessarily any wiser men than we have today. They had great ideas (though a lot of that was just them having the sense to identify ideas worth copying from other cultures), but they gave us a starting point. The Constitution they wrote is a great place to start, but it's not perfect enough as a place to finish.

That's why I can't join the libertarian party's devotional cult dedicated to "the founders" or their ideals. I am fairly familiar with what they wanted, where they differed with one another, and with whom I'd likely have agreed if I'd been around then.

Fact remains, though, that we're further along in this experiment than they were. We know things now that they didn't then, and if we're more concerned about orthodoxy than which policies will actually create a nation of equal opportunity... then I feel like that's way more of a betrayal of their legacy than anything I'm arguing for.

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xenologer: (vagina)
So I posted the following link on FB, and it prompted a great discussion. I won't reproduce it here because people disclosed and shared and otherwise got personal and it'd be hugely skeevy to copy-paste it.

The link!

Men Get Raped Too--A Response
And as a feminist, let me say this: Guys, I understand that bad things happen to you. I understand that you experience rape, harassment, problems related to sexuality and your masculinity. I get that. When I talk about me? It’s not because I’m refusing to talk about you. You’re allowed in. Share your stories, but stop acting like there’s something wrong with me if I don’t talk about yours every single time I talk about mine. Tell us what happened to you and how it made you feel and why you feel that way. Sit down at the proverbial table with us, have a drink, and tell us what makes you sad about the world.

But don’t you dare fucking interrupt me while you do it. This is a conversation, and in a polite conversation you have to listen and wait for your turn.

There are a lot of people who don't quite grok the problem, though, and so I wanted to add to the proliferation of links to explanations just in case for whatever reason I put it in that special way that works for someone who read the others and thought, "WTF is this shit," and walked away still not getting it.

After all, not everybody is going to have the patience to sit down and type hundreds of words. A lot of people have had The Derailing Conversation too many times, and are so sick of it that now they may well just say "screw it" and give up on the whole thing. If you've ever brought up men's problems in a discussion about the problems women face and gotten this reaction...

...then you just met them after about the thousandth time this has come up. They are very tired. I am not (today), so here is a thing that I wrote that I thought might help.

Read more... )

April 2016

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