Gender bias in publishing…

Writer Catherine Nichols talks about the reaction she encountered when she started using a male name on her resume.

I sent the six queries I had planned to send that day. Within 24 hours George had five responses—three manuscript requests and two warm rejections praising his exciting project. For contrast, under my own name, the same letter and pages sent 50 times had netted me a total of two manuscript requests. The responses gave me a little frisson of delight at being called “Mr.” and then I got mad. Three manuscript requests on a Saturday, not even during business hours! The judgments about my work that had seemed as solid as the walls of my house had turned out to be meaningless. My novel wasn’t the problem, it was me—Catherine…

That was when George came to life. I imagined him as a sort of reptilian Michael Fassbender-looking guy, drinking whiskey and walking around train yards at night while I did the work. Most of the agents only heard from one or the other of us, but I did overlap a little. One who sent me a form rejection as Catherine not only wanted to read George’s book, but instead of rejecting it asked if he could send it along to a more senior agent. Even George’s rejections were polite and warm on a level that would have meant everything to me, except that they weren’t to the real me. George’s work was “clever,” it’s “well-constructed” and “exciting.” No one mentioned his sentences being lyrical or whether his main characters were feisty. A few of people sent deeply generous and thoughtful critiques, which made me both grateful and queasy for my dishonesty.

No one person is responsible for the larger effect of the group response to my work, and presumably none of them want to be sexist. I emerged from this experiment with a few theories about the emergent gulf.

Does anti-childism means leaving children unprotected or letting them do anything?


She’s a baaaaaad egg. This must be the fault of anti-childists somehow.

I have been writing a lot about childism (the prejudice that children are inferior to adults), as well as about my own anti-childist position. I haven’t really discussed misunderstandings of the theory before, for a simple reason: childism has received so little attention so far, apart from a book written by Elizabeth Young-Bruehl, my blog, and one other blog out there, that there actually hasn’t been enough engagement from others to start generating misunderstandings. However, I have seen a few reactions to childist theory, and there seems to be some common threads, so I thought I might as well address them right now and hopefully reduce their importance in the future (hope springs eternal, and all that).

The general belief I’ve noted is that anti-childism will lead children to become either unruly and uncontrollable, or that they will be in danger because there’ll be no one to protect them. I think this maps very well with the two models of childhood, the infantile model and the adolescent model. The infantile model, according to which children are innocent, pre-rational, and in need of guidance, implies that, should that guidance be taken away, they will be in constant danger. The adolescent model, according to which children are rebellious and aggressive, implies that, without strict controls, they will become uncontrollable criminals. Whichever view is adopted by a critic probably depends on which model is more salient to them.

Let’s start with the belief that childism is needed to protect children. When said this plainly, it doesn’t make much sense: how can prejudice against children help protect them? Aren’t childists, people who believe children are inferior and deserve to be abused, more likely to harm children than anyone else? Does the belief in someone’s inferiority make you more, or less, likely to attack them?

The implication, I think, is that “childism” is a code-word for the parents, and that what they’re really saying is that a child should have parents. Apart from the arbitrariness of such a position (why does an adult need to be a parent in order to protect a child from danger?), it’s not a valid substitution: childism is an ideology, not a relation. Anyone can be childist, even a child, just like a woman can internalize sexism or a POC internalize racism.

This assumption also underlies the other belief, that anti-childism is basically another term for permissive parenting, that it means just letting children do whatever they want. It mystifies me how anyone could think anti-childism is just another form of pedagogy. It just goes to show you how they can’t even think about dealing with children without thinking of it as some kind of pedagogy. So to them it turns into an attack against parents, when actually I, for one, am not at all interested in engaging with parents. Childism is not about parents but about an attitude that anyone can have towards children, including parents. I don’t dispute that most parents are childists, but it’s not just about parents, it’s about an entire society that puts children’s values last.

To come back to the issue of “leaving children unprotected,” we hear a lot of nonsense. Here’s what a spanking advocate has to say on the subject:

[I]f you oppose, on principle, the exertion of any physical force on a child, you’re going to have to explain WHY. And then you’re going to have to figure out a way to maintain that absolute principle while not precluding yourself from grabbing your kid before he runs into the street, or picking him up and carrying him out of the store when he’s having a tantrum, or forcing him to hold your hand when you cross the road. All of these things are physical exertions imposed on a child against his will.

So, take away childism (in the form of the belief that children should be subjected to criminal assault) and you can no longer justify protecting children from getting run over. But this is a terrible argument. As I’ve pointed out before, there is a huge difference between saving someone’s life and controlling their life, between helping someone and punishing someone. We think it is great for firefighters to rescue people from burning buildings, but we wouldn’t support firefighters punching people in the face as a punishment for not following proper home safety. Preventing a child from getting run over is like the former, and spanking them is like the latter.

Everyone should oppose, on principle, the exertion of physical force on another human being, and children are human beings. Assaulting any human being is wrong, no matter who they are, except in defense of self or others, and even then we recognize some degree of proportionality is necessary (you shouldn’t kill someone for stepping on your lawn). Saving a person from a fire or from getting run over is not assault by any standard, so the reasoning I quoted is disingenuous at best. It is silly to state that we save people’s lives “against their will.”

Now, there are times when people clearly state that they don’t want to be saved, mostly in medical situations. And since our medical system is engineered to serve ruling class interests, not the interests of the patients, their desires are ignored. I agree that such actions are undertaken against someone’s will, and are just as wrong as assault. But that’s not the kind of actions we’re talking about here.

Again, the underlying premise here is that childism (or the acceptable use of “physical force on a child,” especially spanking) is the only reason why we’d protect children from getting run over. But even from the parent’s perspective, that just makes no sense. The parent does not pull their child out of the street because they enjoy using physical force on their child, they pull their child out because they don’t want the child to be harmed. So the conclusion here is simply not true: pulling a child off the street is not “physical force” on the same level that spanking is.

Here is a similar sort of reasoning, but from someone who is, I think, sympathetic. Note that many people use “childism” to describe what I would call “anti-childism,” and this is the case here as well (I follow the convention used for Elizabeth Young-Bruehl’s book of using “childism” to designate the prejudice).

The motto of childism is “children can parent themselves because they can’t do a worse job than us” implies that there are no consequences to actions unless they have learnt them by themselves. A fire will burn… they’ll learn this through burning themselves.

I agree with the good intentions displayed here, but the way it’s formulated reflects some negative biases. For one thing, saying that childism means “children can parent themselves” implies, again, an inability to think outside of the prison of pedagogy, that if parents can’t do it then children should do it to themselves. That is probably not the intention of the commentator, but that’s how it comes off. Also, the concept that children must learn all consequences to their actions might give some hateful bigot (like the one I quoted above) the leeway to say things like “I knew it! You really do want children to get run over!” In practice, children simply can’t learn every consequence of their actions by themselves. It’s unreasonable to ask anyone, no matter the age, to proceed entirely by trial and error in all areas of life.

Acknowledging the fact that children are dependent upon adults is not childist, it’s a fact of reality. While we are all dependent upon other people to a certain extent, this is far more true for children than anyone else (not to mention, completely true for babies and toddlers). The correct, just, egalitarian response to that fact is to do our best to accommodate the dependent people’s needs (e.g. handicapped people, the mentally disabled, people who struggle with disease), not to leave them to die. Children (again, especially babies and toddlers) should not be treated as if they are adults, or as if they are merely future human beings. They should be treated with dignity and with respect, like all human beings deserve.

What that means in practice is that children should not willfully be put in situations where they could be harmed, and that they must be informed of the risks of harm, when they are able to understand such risks. Like other human beings, children are able to make decisions about things that are relevant to their lives, if they are correctly informed. If a child is about to be harmed (as in the standard “about to get run over” scenario), then it is the responsibility of their caretakers (which may be, but are not necessarily, the parents) to at least try to prevent that from happening.

I already mentioned that anti-childism is associated with permissive parenting. I won’t spend too much time on this subject, since I’ve discussed it extensively: basically, childists believe that children are innately “wild” and must be trained in order to live in society and be “successful.” What astounds me is the belief that people speak against childism because they want to change parents’ attitudes or actions. I’ve seen that premise many times.

It’s about as silly as claiming that communism is about changing the attitude of CEOs or feminism is about changing the attitude of conservative politicians. Obviously that would be nice, but that’s not the point, and these ideologies should not construct themselves around appealing to their enemies. I’m not stupid enough to believe that parents will willingly relinquish their privileges. Childism theory aims at understanding how childhood is constructed by the dominant ideologies, how we treat children, and what principles should regulate the interactions between children and adults. As for any other prejudice, if there is a solution, it lies in consciousness-raising and forcing parents’ hands, not in appealing to parents’ benevolence.

The Empire Files – Noam Chomsky & Abby Martin, Electing The President of an Empire

CIA Video Shows That The Soviet Union Was Right All Along VIDEO

Manly News: Local man is color-blind, might be actually blind.

By: Stone Beefgun stone.beefgun@manlynews.com June 19, 2016 Updated: June 19, 2016 at 8:17 pm

Rock Lesford has been praised by many members of our community for his evenhandedness. For a long time, it was believed that Lesford was completely color-blind, making him treat people of color as if they were not being systemically discriminated against. Then it was revealed that Lesford was also gender-blind, and expected men and women to think and act the same regardless of socialization. Now, new information has been released indicating that Lesford may actually have been legally blind this whole time.

“Eye exams have revealed that Mr. Lesford is color-blind and gender-blind,” said Dr. Minmax, optometrist at Manly Hospital. “He’s also shape-blind, texture-blind, movement-blind, and light-blind. In short, we believe that Mr. Lesford is actually blind.”

Lesford has yet to make any comments, as he had an accident on Gunshow St trying to get to our station. No one was hurt, but the car was totalled.

Legalization of prostitution is about helping johns, not women.

Lori Watson, in Logos, discusses why “sex work isn’t work,” and what the consequences of such a view would be in the real world.

Consider further that Courts have found the presence of “pornographic magazines.” “vulgar sexual comments” “sexually oriented pictures in a company- sponsored movie and slide presentation,” “sexually oriented pictures and calendars in the workplace,” all relevant to hostile work environment claims.[44] In Barbetta, “the court held that the proliferation of pornography and demeaning comments, if sufficiently continuous and pervasive “may be found to create an atmosphere in which women are viewed as men’s sexual playthings rather than as their equal coworkers.” How could such a ruling have effect in a brothel: where pornography is used as an accompaniment to sex? Where “vulgar sexual comments” are the eroticized language of clients? Where sex is the job?

Of course, these rulings and regulations are premised upon the fact that sex isn’t the job itself. If the sex is the job, what sense can we make of the claim that treating (unwelcome) sex as a condition of employment is an instance of sexual harassment, and so sex inequality? Legalizing prostitution is not compatible with the legal recognition of sexual harassment as a form of sex inequality. And, supposing advocates argue for a carve out, an exception, for this form of “work,” what message does that convey? Some women are deserving of protection from, or legal recourse in the event of, unwanted sexual harassment while some women are not? And those that aren’t are the least advantaged of all “workers”? This reeks of the all to common view that women that prostitute themselves are whores by nature and deserve whatever they get…

If sexual autonomy is to mean anything, it has to mean the right to refuse sex with anyone, at anytime, for any reason. We may think in one’s personal life refusing to entertain the possibility of dating or becoming sexually involved with someone solely on the basis of their race, religion or disability is an undesirable preference, especially if such preferences are rooted in prejudice or animus more broadly speaking. Nonetheless, everyone has the right to choose their sexual partners on whatever grounds they subjectively judge to be relevant, including the sex and gender of any potential partner. If someone thinks they absolutely don’t want to have sex with anyone over 65, it is absolutely their right to act (or refuse to act) on that preference. We are under no obligation to have sex with someone who might be interested in sex with us. The right to refusal for any reason, whether an “admirable” reason, or not is absolute.

However, where sex is a commercial activity, considered to be work just like any other form of work, its hard to see any rationale for defending the “rights of workers” to refuse service to someone based on their subjective preferences. Should “clients” have the right to sue brothels or particular women for “refusing service” based on their membership in a protected class? If this sounds absurd, consider the evidence New Zealand’s Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) offers: In a report following up on the PRA, five years after its passage, the Review Committee queries, among other things, the ability of “sex workers” to refuse sexual services to a particular client. They found that 60% of “sex workers” felt more able to refuse sex with a particular client than prior to the passage of the PRA, which, of course, means 40% did not feel more able to refuse sex with a particular client.[46] In interviewing both brothel owners and “sex workers”, the Committee reports that although “workers” have “right” to refuse a particular client both “workers” and owners held that refusal was acceptable “only with a good reason.” One brothel owner is quoted as saying, “We won’t allow nationality to be the reason—they [the women selling sex] don’t have a right to discriminate.”

The hijab is an oppressive patriarchal tool.

From Feminism and Social Justices:

Muslim women are one of the most oppressed demographics on this Earth. Muslim countries commit some of the worst atrocities against women. Sorry but choice rhetoric is another method of upholding patriarchy, and in this regard, patriarchy in Muslim communities. It’s not a choice when you’re socialized into it. When you’re brainwashed into thinking it’s a sin to not cover your hair and body. And it has to be taken into account that many many Muslim countries are ruled by a theocracy and so the influence of religion is inescapable. You learn in school, at home, and in the media. This influence still holds strong when Muslims are living in the west.

So many “modern” Muslim women also still believe that yes they should be covering their hair but they don’t and often feel some sort of guilt for not doing so. For disobeying. For not conforming to Muslim patriarchal standards.

Then there are women who are FORCED to wear hijab/veil. So many stories of girls who take off their head scarves or veils when they go to school and then before they come home they put it back on. These women don’t have a “choice”. These women are at risk to be severely abused and/or killed for disobeying.

All this modestly/honor culture in Muslim communities is sickening. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Very recently, when I was a on a plane there were a group of five Muslim couples. Wives and their husbands. These women were covered from head to toe. You couldn’t see their eyes or their hands or their feet. Nothing. All black. On the plane, when the women needed to go to the bathroom, their husbands accompanied them and waited outside until they were finished. Not sure if they went with them because the women probably couldn’t see very well with their veil covering their eye or because these men saw these women as possessions. I think both. Can anyone tell me how empowering this is? How these women are *not* being oppressed? How much *choice* really matters? You’re just an object for your husband. But lmao choice :) :) :)

Also, this is not to say to support dumbass liberal groups like Femen who go around topless to “liberate” Muslim women. I feel like so many people from the west who scream “oppression!!!!” when they look at Muslim women do it because they’re xenophobic/hate Muslims in general rather than actually caring about the plight of Muslim women. They just use it as an excuse to be racist. They don’t actually care about Muslim women. They just see someone who looks different from them and covers up so they gotta be oppressed on that basis alone.

I am 100% for always supporting women for what they wear. Just like I support women who perform femininity (which I actively engage in). But nothing is above critique. Patriarchy relies on you leaving to call it a “choice” so women can continue to feed into their own oppression.

Extract from The Spy who Came in from Tumblr, by Aiden Williams

An exciting new novel, already hailed as “the Great SJW Novel” by literary critics, has made its appearance. It’s Aiden Williams’ first novel and it’s a rip-roaring story of intrigue and personal search for meaning in a confusing world. I have posted a short extract on here so you can see how great the novel is.

Please note that this extract has descriptions of genitals. It’s kindof necessary to understand the central premise of the novel. They are, on the whole, pretty tame.

***

Mauve Dragonheart’s preferred pronouns were purr, purr, purrself, and “roar!” (with the quotation marks: if said out loud, the quotation marks have to be mimed).

Mauve looked around at the public swimming pool bustling with activity. Purr did not observe purr quarry, contrary to plan, but purr had a plan to compensate for that fact. Purr was free to do what purr loved to do best in the world, perv on teenage girls. There was nothing that Mauve was more enthusiastic about than leering lustfully at the supple young bodies of vagina-havers. Purr entered the women’s changing room. There were a few women in various stages of undress. Some gasped at Mauve’s appearance, especially when Mauve lowered purr swim trunks to reveal a ten-inch erect penis.

“Don’t worry, everyone,” Mauve forcefully said in a falsetto voice, “I identify as a woman called Mauvina.” Purr bent purr wrists and batted purr eyelashes. “This organ that you see before you is a ladystick. Everything is fine.”

The other women in the changing room nodded affirmatively, reassured at learning that the person who looked for all the world like a man with a penis was actually a woman with a ladystick. One or two of them even looked at the ladystick with lust, or so Mauvina thought as purr surveyed the room for big breasts to look at. Purr knew that these women accepted purr as one of them, and that only enhanced purr pleasure.

Mauvina left the swimming pool, checking in with purr fellow agents on purr Bluetooth for the location of the target. A fellow agent reported seeing the target at a local restaurant. Mauvina walked to the edge of the sidewalk and identified as a car called Mauviredo. Purr ladystick became a gear shift, and purr body became the chassis of a car. Purr started to flap purr mouth to make motor sounds and bounded into the street with the other cars. The gear shift bounced around as purr accelerated. Some motorists honked at purr, and purr replied by screaming honks at them.

“Get outta the road, you fucking fag!” screamed one passing driver.
“SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU OPPRESSIVE HETERO-OVERPRIVILEGED PATRIARCHIST CIS-ELITIST SCUM! HONK!!!” purr screamed back.

Mauviredo was bouncing as fast as purr could in order to not get hit, which was quite physically demanding. Purr started to sweat profusely, which, in the car identity, meant that the car’s motor was running hot. Purr skin was actually a metallic chassis, so obviously it could not sweat. To state that Mauviredo was sweating would have been bigotry, because it would mean denying Mauviredo purr car identity.

After an hour of near-collisions and strenuous driving, Mauve arrived at the designated location, an Italian restaurant. Purr rolled onto the sidewalk and identified as a fire hydrant called Mauvian Sentinel, in order to observe the diners through the windows without being seen. Purr gear shift became an erect hose outlet, ready for pumping.

After two minutes of observations, interrupted by a nosy dog with thoughts of urinating on the strange human-shaped fire hydrant, Mauvian Sentinel finally spotted purr quarry: the infamous essentialist, cissexist, transphobic, transmisogynist writer Sheila Dines. Sheila Dines was not just an old white vagina-haver, but she was that most repulsive of vagina-havers, a Feminazi. It was well understood that Feminazis were nothing less than a new, modern version of Nazis, who believed that all queers, transgender people, and otherkin should be beaten until bloody, if not outright killed. Feminazis were responsible for the deaths of thousands every year, they had no respect for personal pronouns at all, and someone had to stop them before the worst happened. Mauvian Sentinel knew purr had to do purr part. Purr identified as a cop called Officer Purple, whose hose outlet became a cudgel, and entered the restaurant decisively, making a beeline for the bad guy.

“Sheila Dines,” purr said to the Feminazi who was sniveling while enjoying an evil spaghetti bolognese, “you are under arrest for hate speech. I’m putting you away for a long time!”
“Who are you? Leave me alone,” Dines said in a nazi-like manner. “You’re not even a cop! You don’t have a uniform!” The Feminazi refused to acknowledge Officer Purple’s self-identification!
“You listen here, civilian,” Officer Purple replied manfully. “First of all, the correct pronoun is not ‘you,’ but ‘roar!’,” purr said, making the hand gesture for the quotation marks. “Second, I am a cop. I’ve always thought of myself as a cop from the youngest age. As a two year old, I was much more of an overbearing asshole than all the children around me, and I kept hitting others whether I was angry or not. I knew I was different. Do you understand what it’s like to be so different that you don’t even integrate your socialization the same way as everyone else?” Officer Purple started to cry. “And for your information, I don’t have to ‘dress as a cop’ to be a cop. I just know that I am a cop, whether I have a uniform or not. Is a cop not a cop when they take off their uniform? I’m just as much of a cop as they are, I’m an even better cop than they are, because I wasn’t even trained and yet I am so skilled at it. Look how well I’m arresting you right now,” purr said while putting handcuffs on the bigot Dines. “You have the right to remain silent. Any misgendering will be used against you in a court of law,” purr continued, kicking her prone body until Dines stopped pleading for mercy. “You Goose-Stepping Trans-Exclusionary Old White Feminists are literally just as bad as the Nazis! I hope you get raped in jail and die, you piece of shit!” Officer Purple waved purr cudgel and hit Dines’ face with it. “Take it, you bitch, take it. This is what women are good for.”

***

As you can see, this novel is really raw and edgy. I highly recommend that you read it for yourself.

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