Sacrificing Privilege By far one of the most challenging obstacles to building a meaningful dialogue about privilege is the extreme ease with which we’re able to take it for granted. Quick: when was the last time you thought about proprioception? Unless you’re a neurologist, or read a lot of Oliver Sacks, the answer could very well be “never, I guess”. We don’t think about it because we’ve never gone without it. Privilege can work similarly. But for things like race and gender, we have them, we always have them, they’re a part of us. When the subject of male privilege comes up, in addition to the many cognitive distortions that can get in the way of acknowledging it, like the basic human emotional need to believe we deserve everything we have, men are also limited by their set of lived experiences and observed reality in being able to see that they do indeed possess certain social privileges, and that their lives are in many ways easier than those of others. They aren’t negligible, either. Basically? Damn.
Where Does Validation Come From? A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by Hugo Schwyzer for his article He Wants to Jizz on Your Face, but Not Why You Think. Without stepping into the latest internet uproar about Hugo and the various things people are saying about him online (feel free to google it, if you like), I think there’s actually more to be said about the topic of that post. Hugo’s thesis was that, while facials can certainly be an act of degradation, they can also be interpreted as “men’s desire for that same experience of being validated as desirable, as good, as ‘not dirty.’” For some people, male sexual desire and male bodies are seen as dirty, disgusting, or unpleasant and men who have internalized these ideas might seek a variety of paths to redeem them. Those can take a variety of forms. Some of the responses to that post have argued that US culture glorifies penises and denigrates vulvas and vaginas. The notion that it’s women’s job to civilize or redeem men is nothing new.
Friday Feminism: Blogging while Feminist – a 3-comment rule? « Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog I was reading something over at Pharyngula today where PZ Myers was alerting his commentors to brace for an influx of creationist debaters following a particular story getting picked up by both Digg and Reddit, and he reminded them of his 3-comment rule for dealing with newbie debating opponents. Don’t attack without mercy until they’ve made stupid claims in at least 3 separate comments. PZ recommended this to his readers when he found that the regulars in the comments threads were getting a bit too zealous for his taste, and the discussions were descending into vitriol spitting contests without enough leavening of actual interesting discussion. I am all for vigorous, unhindered language and the expression of strong opinions, and I think dumb ideas need to be dealt with harshly, but we also need to allow opportunities for those ideas to be fully expressed. if it keeps up all we’re going to have left are the twitchiest, most psychopathic contributors. So what do you think?
About consent, or, the legalization of women’s humanity « I Blame The Patriarchy The Problem with consent Although this condition does not obtain with regard to any other crime you can think of, when it comes to rape, women are currently considered to exist in a state of perpetual “yes!”. This is because “yes!” There are rules about what sort of woman can even attempt to make the “I said no” argument in court. Prostituted women are indistinguishable from sex itself. The Twist-Solution My wacky consent scheme flips it around. Women can still have all the hetero-sex they want; if they adjudge that their dude hasn’t raped them, all they have to do is not call the cops. Presto! The cessation of rape would be immediate. I have an idea for a great new product, too. I revisit my wacky consent scheme annually whether it needs it or not.
Some Thoughts on “Crazy Women” A post on HuffPo Women from a few months ago is making the rounds again. Author Yashar Ali’s article A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not “Crazy” makes some excellent points on the ways that some men use accusations of craziness to control women: My friend Anna (all names changed to protect privacy) is married to a man who feels it necessary to make random and unprompted comments about her weight. Whenever she gets upset or frustrated with his insensitive comments, he responds in the same, defeating way, “You’re so sensitive. As Ali points out, this sort of behavior is “gaslighting,” a term which comes from the 1944 film Gaslight. But I think that Ali makes a mistake when he conflates gaslighting and something that may be more common in male/female relationships: men telling women that they’re too sensitive because the guys don’t know how to handle big emotions. Just to be clear, I’m not denying in any way that this is a form of emotional manipulation.
Racism And Meritocracy Editor’s note: Guest contributor Eric Ries is the author of The Lean Startup. Follow him @ericries. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t have missed the recent dust-up over race and Silicon Valley. Like almost every discussion of diversity and meritocracy in this town, it turned ugly fast. One side says: “All I see is white men. I’d like to say a few words about this, but I want to do so under special ground rules. I want to make an argument, step by step, that I hope will convince you to care about this issue, but that doesn’t presuppose that you already agree that diversity is important. So the rules are: No political correctness. So – no hippies, no whiners, no name-calling, and no BS. What accounts for the decidedly non-diverse results in places like Silicon Valley? The problem with both of these theories is that the math just doesn’t work. It’s a fact that the applicant pool to most Silicon Valley startup schools and VCs is skewed. And there’s good news here.
Rape Culture 101 [Trigger warning.] Frequently, I receive requests to provide a definition of the term "rape culture." I've referred people to the Wikipedia entry on rape culture, which is pretty good, and I like the definition provided in Transforming a Rape Culture: A rape culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. But my correspondents—whether they are dewy noobs just coming to feminism, advanced feminists looking for a source, or disbelievers in the existence of the rape culture—always seem to be looking for something more comprehensive and less abstract: What is the rape culture? It is not a definition for which they're looking; not really. Rape culture is encouraging male sexual aggression. Rape culture is treating straight sexuality as the norm. Rape culture is rape being used as a weapon, a tool of war and genocide and oppression. Rape culture is rape jokes.
True Blood: The Vampire as A Multiracial Critique on Multicultural Pluralism (Nicole Rabin) Bon Temps, epitomizes the politics of multiculturalism where differences are accepted asa means for maintaining the status quo. In conjunction with the politics of multiculturalism comes the link between the multiracial phenomenon and post-raceideology/color blindness: multiracials and interracial marriage are used as examples of having reached this idyllic state beyond race (Daniel 125, Gallagher 105). In this type of society, racial injustices and inequality are thought not to exist because the dominantracial ideology of “color-blindness” gives the illusion that racial comity and egalitarianinclusion are not only imminent (Daniel 126), but already in place. In this way, True Blood , declares the relevance of blood purity to its viewers, andimmediately begs the question as to whose blood is true or what blood is true? ). ).