Category Archives: Links

No such thing as reverse sexism.

The excellent Feminism 101 entry about sexism includes discussions of reverse sexism, benevolent sexism and unintentional sexism.

A running theme in a lot of feminist theory is that of institutional power: men as a class have it, women as a class don’t. Obviously the power dynamics do shift around depending on the culture and the time period (not to mention the individual, the other privileges that the person does/does not have, etc etc), but ultimately the scales remain tipped in favor of men in general (if you disagree with that statement, please go read the Why do we still need feminism? FAQ entry first before proceeding).

What this imbalance of power translates to on an individual level is a difference in the impact of a man being prejudiced towards a woman and a woman being prejudiced towards a man. While both parties are human, and therefore have the same capacity to be hurt by the prejudice, whether they like it or not, the men have a whole system of history, traditions, assumptions, and in some cases legal systems and “scientific” evidence giving their words a weight that the women don’t have access to.

An entry against skepticism.

This entry, and indeed the whole site as far as I can tell, has disappeared since I first found it, but I got it back on Internet Archive because it’s so rare that you see a rational criticism of skepticism that it’s worth saving. There’s a lot of thoughtful material here and I can’t really summarize it into one good quote, but here’s something:

Skepticism, of course, is only one of the many online interests which attract barely-closeted sexists. But the particular attraction of skepticism is also its particular problem: it allows the sexist to disguise his prejudice as rationality and “common sense”. You can spot guys like this easily on skeptic forums: the word “feminism” brings them crawling out, like slugs after a downpour. For them, feminism is an unscientific discipline (but how could it be otherwise?), as nonsensical as astrology or Roman Catholicism, and as ripe and essential for debunking. They’re okay with women’s lib, within reason; but now it’s gone too far, and the firm hand of reason must rein it in. Reason, weirdly enough, never seems to disrupt their own grip on power. It’s always on the side of the patriarchy.

To be fair, such unabashed sexists are a minority on skeptic forums, but to be fairer, the general attitude to women isn’t exactly healthy. Women are present on skeptic forums in much the same way that women are present in early Star Trek episodes: while the men can take on a variety of roles, the women are always sex characters. Their every attribute is sexualised and objectified. Intelligence in a male skeptic is taken for granted; intelligence in a female skeptic is a turn-on. When a male scientist knows about science, it’s expected and goes unremarked; when a female scientist knows about science, she’s hot! And she’ll be barely visible beneath the throng of nerds trying to fap off over her lab coat.

Too often, the skeptic nerd who tries to display his women-friendly credentials ends up revealing himself only as a sexist creep. He’s all in favour of women, as long as they satisfy his own ideals of what a woman should be.

Disproving the evopsych belief that men want sex more.

It is one of the basic positions of evolutionary psychology that men want sex more than women, and women want security more than men. This is disproven by anthropological data, but we don’t even have to go that far. All we need to do is go back to the 1600s.

The idea that men are naturally more interested in sex than women is ubiquitous that it’s difficult to imagine that people ever believed differently. And yet for most of Western history, from ancient Greece to beginning of the nineteenth century, women were assumed to be the sex-crazed porn fiends of their day. In one ancient Greek myth, Zeus and Hera argue about whether men or women enjoy sex more. They ask the prophet Tiresias, whom Hera had once transformed into a woman, to settle the debate. He answers, “if sexual pleasure were divided into ten parts, only one part would go to the man, and and nine parts to the woman.” Later, women were considered to be temptresses who inherited their treachery from Eve. Their sexual passion was seen as a sign of their inferior morality, reason and intellect, and justified tight control by husbands and fathers. Men, who were not so consumed with lust and who had superior abilities of self-control, were the gender more naturally suited to holding positions of power and influence.

Welcome to the Manosphere, have a fedora.

Drew Fairweather, of Toothpaste for Dinner, also writes for Something Awful. In this entry, he talks about the requirements of becoming a member of the Manosphere.

MISANDRY! That’s the word for the imaginary phenomenon of unfair bias against Alpha Men such as the ones we’ve seen here, and it’s the premise of Men On Strike, a book that claims that American society is anti-male. Not only does it claim that mens’ lives in 2014 are patently unfair, it also suggests that women’s suffrage should be reversed, and that abortion and birth control are unfair because men have no say in whether women use them. It does all this under the banner of “Men’s Rights Advocacy,” an Internet-based complaint topic that’s picked up a small but devoted following in the past few years.

Becoming a homemaker is NOT as valid as actually helping society.

Amy Glass questions why we celebrate breeding and homemaking so much and devalue women who do actual important things in the world (unfortunately she seems to suffer from the disease known as “I’m not a feminist, I just think that…”).

Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?

If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?

I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance. The dominate cultural voice will tell you these are things you can do with a husband and kids, but as I’ve written before, that’s a lie. It’s just not reality.

Ask a Question 7

I have three questions this time. That’s 1.5 times the usual levels of FUN!

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Name: ondrea
Comment: is the world today more towards a culture of life,or towards a culture of death ,and why?

That’s a complicated question because the terms can be used in many different ways. From an antinatalist standpoint, we can meaningfully say that we live in a culture of life, in the sense that people do not question the necessity to create new human beings and the assertion that sentient life is worth preserving. From another standpoint, I’ve written an entry about how we live in a culture of death, in the sense that we are desensitized to death, preach death, have death-oriented religions, and want to stamp out all that’s vital in children.

So it’s really a matter of the metaphorical aspect you’re using when you’re using the terms “life” and “death.”

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Name: Louise
Comment: Hi -

First of all I really like your posts on sex positivism and couldn’t agree with you more!

I’m also interested in your opinions on anti-natalism – would you mind elaborating on your stance a little? I’m working towards a PhD on motherhood and I know very little about this movement – would love to know more.

Thanks and all the best,
Louise

Your question was not very specific, so I don’t really know what you want me to clarify. I’ve written quite a bit on the subject. For a sort of introduction-level reading, I would recommend the following:

A little lexicon: childfree, antinatalist, efilist.
Making the case for antinatalism.

Please don’t hesitate to ask me another question if you want to get into more specific issues.

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Name: Ethan
Comment: Hello there. Awhile ago a friend had linked me to your work that was discussing critique of radical feminism from a transgender persons perspective. It’s my understanding that some radical feminists or “TERFS” as they’re commonly called, don’t believe that transgendered women can rightly claim womanhood. Could you elaborate more on your position in relation to this? I understand that gender is purely a social construct, but I don’t understand what’s inherently wrong about choosing to make your biological sex match up to what’s in your head, or as Gloria Steinem says “making the shoe fit” and I don’t understand why we shouldn’t ally ourselves with transgender people in the struggle against patriarchy. I condemn people like Cathy Brennan that actively seek to stand in the way of transgender rights, but it also seems that the word “TERF” is often used as a snarl world to dismiss legitimate points such as biological femaleness being an integral part of women’s oppression. Could you offer some clarity or insight into this issue?

I do have entries on this term “TERF” and criticizing trans genderist arguments coming later, but I will answer your question in general terms.

You say “some” radical feminists are TERFs (although you should be aware that the term “TERF” is used as a slur most of the time), but this is incorrect. All radical feminists are against gender to some degree and must therefore be TERFs, because the concept of “trans inclusion” necessarily means acceptance of the doctrine of trans genderism in toto- including the belief that gender does dictate behavior, and that people who act in ways incompatible with their gender must switch to the other gender for their behavior to agree with their gender.

This is why your statement that we should all ally with transgender people against patriarchy doesn’t make any sense. Trans genderism is just another form of genderism and is no more liberatory for women than traditional genderism (patriarchy).

You also refer to “make your biological sex match up to what’s in your head.” The latter is the concept of innate gender, which is a construct made up by trans genderists, as I’ve discussed here. I honestly don’t care what transgender people do with their own bodies, and they can adjust their bodies to fit some imaginary mental gender if they want to. I no more begrudge them that right than I begrudge a religious person’s right to worship the god they feel exists in their “hearts.” But that does not confer any obligation upon any feminist to recognize gender as valid, any more than revelation confers any obligation upon atheists to recognize God as real. And most importantly, I also recognize that both the religious believer’s feelings and the transgender person’s feelings are heavily conditioned by society: they did not appear out of nowhere or out of some hidden part of their brain.

The primordial issue is protecting women’s spaces. That is a vital issue because women’s spaces are absolutely necessary for feminism to advance, and that’s always been true historically. People who are born and socialized as men do not understand male privilege (unless they make the effort to listen to women and understand their position, which is something very few men ever attempt) and should not participate in feminist dialogue. Most transwomen believe that, by becoming transwomen, they are automatically entitled to the status of woman, while retaining their socialization as men.

You will note that most treatments of this issue, even the more serious treatments of the issue by transgender people, do not discuss socialization, because they have no ready answer to it (except the very weak gambit of “but we’re all raised differently,” which is not denied by the framework of socialization anyway). I am aware that such treatments do exist, however, and I intend to address them at a later time.

As an anti-genderist, I don’t believe in the validity of “womanhood,” and neither do most radical feminists, so this is not a concern. The issue of whether transwomen are “really women” or not diverts attention from the fact that they were socialized as men, which is the real issue. On that issue, I definitely think they were socialized as men: that’s an undeniable fact. On the other hand, transmen were socialized as women, which is why they are considered part of women-only spaces.

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How revolutions work.


From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Liberalism v radicalism.


From The Evil Feminist.

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