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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 39,367

About Me

Whiteness is a scourge on humanity. Voting for Obama that one time is not a get out of being a racist card

Journal Archives

Of Course Women Are Getting Sexually Harassed by Drones

Classic derailment in the comment section. And also What the hell teaches their son this is ok?

As the old saying goes, "If you build it, the forces of patriarchy will co-opt it in order to make women harassed, threatened and/or sexually objectified." And so it is: earlier this week, a woman took to Reddit in order to describe her experiences being sexually harassed by a remote-operated drone.

Per the Daily Dot, a woman writing under the username Forthelulzaccount posted a story about being harassed on a "private, residential beach" in Virginia. She and her mother were sunbathing, she says, when she heard a strange sound overhead:

We heard this whirring noise above us and I looked up and saw a remote-controlled plane—one of the square ones that can move really articulately in all directions. No big deal. I turned back down and napped more.

Then I noticed: a. It was getting really close to women. Like, straight up in their asses close, flying really low, staying there for probably three minutes at a time, and b. it had a camera on it.
In an email, she told the Daily Dot that the drone, which was two-foot-by-two-foot, was "clearly making other women at the beach uncomfortable," probably because it was hovering around their asses for three minutes at a time.


In MRA-land, women have never been oppressed, but men have been “disenfranchised”

Gee some of this sound familiar--just saying

In MRA-land, women have never been oppressed, but men have been “disenfranchised” by having power over them

One classic bad argument against feminism is the disingenuous claim that “we don’t need it any more.” In the bad old days, proponents of this argument would concede, women may have faced some pesky little obstacles, but now that they can vote, and own property, and briefly work as the executive editor of The New York Times, there’s just no need for feminism any more. Problem solved!

But these days the great minds of the Men’s Rights movement have moved beyond this bad argument to a worse one: feminism was never really necessary in the first place, because women have never been oppressed.

The other day a Redditor by the name of cefarix earned himself a couple of dozen upvotes by posting a version of this argument to the Men’s Rights Subreddit.

"I often see feminists make the claim that women have been oppressed for thousands of years. What evidence is there to back up this claim?
Personally, I don’t think this could be the case. Men and women are both integral parts of human society, and the social bonds between close relatives of either gender are stronger than bonds with members of the same gender but unrelated. So it seems to me the idea that men would oppress their own close female relatives and women would just roll over and accept this oppression from their fathers, uncles, brothers, sons, etc, for thousands of years across all/most cultures across all of humanity – and not have that society disintegrate over the course of a couple generations – is ridiculous."

This is so packed with such sheer and obvious wrongness that it’s tempting to just point and laugh and move on. But I’ve seen variations on this argument presented seriously by assorted MRAs again and again so I think it’s worth dealing with in some detail.

Before we even get to the facts of the case, let’s deal with the form of his argument: He’s arguing that history cannot have happened the way feminists say it happened because he doesn’t think that could be the case.

Trouble is, you can’t simply decide what did or did not happen in history based on what makes sense to you. History is history. It’s not a thread on Reddit. You can’t downvote historical facts out of existence the way, say, Men’s Rights Redditors downvote those pointing out facts they don’t like.


Curbing Online Abuse Isn’t Impossible. Here’s Where We Start

I appreciating the gamer community's attempts to tackle this issue. Even coming up with a game plan-pardon the pun--is progress. An interesting read

“Fucking dumb bitch,” the message began, then went on to detail the manner in which Jenny Haniver should be sexually assaulted and murdered. Haniver (her gaming name, not her real one) found it in the voicemail of her Xbox account, left by a male competitor in the online combat game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. For Haniver, this was far from an isolated incident. In another match, after an opponent asked if she was menstruating and opined that “girls” played videogames only for attention, he left Haniver a voicemail that said, “I’m gonna impregnate you with triplets and then make you have a very late-term abortion.” For three and a half years, Haniver has kept track of the invective heaped on her in multiplayer games, posting some 200 incidents on her blog so far.

Haniver, of course, is not alone—harassment on the Internet is ubiquitous, particularly for women. In a 2013 Pew Research survey, 23 percent of people ages 18 to 29 reported being stalked or harassed online; advocacy groups report that around 70 percent of the cases they deal with involve female victims, and one study of online gaming found players with female voices received three times as many negative responses as men.

Too often, though, we talk about online abuse like we talk about bad weather: We shake our heads, shrug, and assume there’s nothing we can do. The behavior is so prevalent that it’s seen as an inextricable part of online culture. As a widely read article in January’s Pacific Standard noted, “Internet harassment is routinely dismissed as ‘harmless locker-room talk,’ perpetrators as ‘juvenile pranksters,’ and victims as ‘overly sensitive complainers.’” What else, in other words, would you expect from the Internet? But the Internet is now where we socialize, where we work. It’s where we meet our spouses, where we build our reputations. Online harassment isn’t just inconvenient, nor is it something we can walk away from with ease. It’s abhorrent behavior that has real social, professional, and economic costs. And the big social networks where most Americans spend time online—Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the rest—aren’t doing nearly enough to address the problem.

The good news, though, is that Internet harassment can be combatted and reduced. While the problem is far from solved, a few online communities—especially in the world of multiplayer gaming, which has long struggled with issues of incivility and abuse—have come up with some innovative techniques to deter harassers and sometimes even reform them. If Facebook and the other social networks were to take a page from these approaches, they could make huge strides in turning the Internet into a less toxic place for everyone. But embracing their lessons would also require a whole new way of thinking about online behavior.


Robert Reich: Right-wing policies are literally killing women

According to a report released last week in the widely-respected health research journal, The Lancet, the United States now ranks 60th out of 180 countries on maternal deaths occurring during pregnancy and childbirth.

To put it bluntly, for every 100,000 births in America last year, 18.5 women died. That’s compared to 8.2 women who died during pregnancy and birth in Canada, 6.1 in Britain, and only 2.4 in Iceland.

A woman giving birth in America is more than twice as likely to die as a woman in Saudi Arabia or China.

You might say international comparisons should be taken with a grain of salt because of difficulties of getting accurate measurements across nations. Maybe China hides the true extent of its maternal deaths. But Canada and Britain?

Even if you’re still skeptical, consider that our rate of maternal death is heading in the wrong direction. It’s risen over the past decade and is now nearly the highest in a quarter century.

In 1990, the maternal mortality rate in America was 12.4 women per 100,000 births. In 2003, it was 17.6. Now it’s 18.5.

That’s not a measurement error because we’ve been measuring the rate of maternal death in the United States the same way for decades.


An influential, vibrant, exciting force: defining African feminism

What does it mean to be a feminist in Africa today? Some of Africa's best commentators share their thoughts. Do the issues raised chime with your experiences? Join our debate

South African girls bring attention to violence against women for the One Billion Rising campaign. Photograph: LynethCrighton/GuardianWitness

A debate has ignited among the Guardian’s Africa network partners. In a guest blog for Ms Afropolitan Doreen Akiyo Yomoah wrote that "you are a woman" was her least favourite word combination in the English language, proceeding to outline the five most irksome assumptions made on the basis of her gender.

This provoked a response from Freda Muyambo, also known as Freedes, who said some of Yomoah’s points reflected more on her as an individual rather than a female. She argues that women are different both biologically and socially – a fact to be celebrated, not dismissed.

Muyambo says her blog was intended as a springboard for debate. This got us thinking and we decided to open up the discussion to commentators on our network and beyond. So, what does it mean to be a feminist in Africa today? What are the main challenges activists are up against? What does the future hold?

Here’s what they had to say:

Doreen Akiyo Yomoah: 'we're responsible for making things right'

"You are a woman"; quite possibly my least favourite words strung together. When people say this to me it’s usually to judge how badly I’m performing my gender. No assumptions should be made about anyone based on those three words. Nevertheless, here are some that I hear regularly.

I have to present myself a certain way. In Ghana (where I’m from originally) everything is stratified by gender, people would say I must wear earrings because I’m a woman.

I can’t do DIY. Once, when I was renting a room from a Ghanaian family, I brought a bookshelf into the house. My landlord’s sister saw me and asked incredulously if I was going to put it together myself. While I was putting it together with my weak female hands, the landlord barged in, grabbed a plank of wood from me, and said "a woman shouldn’t be doing this kind of work". When I objected, he said that he was helping me.

Women can’t change things. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, just because your culture says something, doesn’t mean that it’s right. People create culture, and we’re responsible for making things right.


White privilege 101: Here’s the basic lesson Paul Ryan, Tal Fortgang and Donald Sterling need

And all the DUers that don't understand what the fuck White privilege is. While this article is somewhat intellectual in tone, I'm sure all the ones who are defining their arguments against white male privilege will have no problems understanding it.

And yet, Katie McDonough correctly argued, his denial of racism and his own privileged position represents a new majority view among whites, who think they’re more discriminated against than blacks, despite all manner of evidence to the contrary (more on that below). And this is where the danger and the challenge to progressives lies — as well as the challenge to the Democratic Party. If—as recent research suggests — whites grow increasingly conservative as perceived minority voting power grows, then the “Rising American electorate” argument itself is in danger. It could be every bit as much a fantasy, in its own, much more sophisticated way, as the Tea Party fantasy that the GOP can just double down on where it is, and get by on better messaging and a sprinkling of more diverse spokes/front people.

There is a way to fight back against this very real, and so far unrecognized, threat. And that is for white people — especially white men — to step up and push back (lovingly or forcefully, as the situation dictates) against this sort of polarizing rhetoric and the thinking and feeling that’s connected to it. It’s not just a matter of paternalistically “helping out” women and minorities when they’re attacked. The fortunes of white working-class men have plummeted since the early ’70s — not because women and minorities have stolen their cheese, but because they’re snookered into thinking like that, making themselves easy marks for far more sophisticated actors to take advantage of. And what’s long been true for working-class white men will increasingly become true of white men with college degrees as well. One of Thomas Piketty’s central points is that any sort of labor, however skilled it may be, is going to lose out to inherited capital in the long run, if the basic structures of today’s capitalist economy aren’t changed.

So how do white men fight back, not just for the sake of others, or society as a whole, but for themselves, as well? There are lots of ways they can do this, but here I’d like to focus on just one: by gaining a much a more solid, objective understanding of what minorities (especially blacks) and women already largely understand as a basic fact of life — how racial and gender privilege work, with white male ignorance as a key component. It’s only by unifying against an already unified economic elite that Americans of all races and ethnicities can keep hope alive for a more prosperous future.

Before going any further, I just want to quote from McDonough’s article, where she references a sampling of the information already out there:

It’s likely that Fortgang will have the opportunity at Princeton to learn about the racial wealth gap, the legacy of red-lining, the unemployment rate among college educated men of color versus their white counterparts, the convergence of racism and sexism that leaves women of color disproportionately impacted by domestic violence, the gender pay gap experienced by black women, the deadly violence faced by black children and the myriad other manifestations of racism in the United States. Basically all of the things that he will never have to experience as an extraordinarily privileged white man.


Mother’s Day On Our Radar – Mindy Forsythe Rescues A Tortured Gay Teen (trigger warning)

I also loved the elementary school years, even as a single mom in a wheelchair. My kids were five and ten when I was paralyzed, and that was one very rough first year. But when I think back on that time, I don’t remember that ordeal. I think of Little League games and way-too-indulgent Christmases, and reading “just one more” goodnight story to sleepy little faces.

“In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.”

What I was not good at, and did not enjoy, were the teenage years. When I think of that period of my kids’ lives, words like “sneaky”, “moody”, “selfish” and “ungrateful” start pouring out, so I find it best not to visit there. For me, my kids’ teen years were something I endured, not something I enjoyed. I would never have considered taking another teen into our home, much less a troubled one.

That experience may be why, when I heard the story of Mindy Forsythe who saved a gay teenager from hell at home, I immediately wanted to have her canonized. St. Mindy. Patron saint of lost gay teens.

From the outside looking in, Mindy, her husband Dale and their three children have the picture perfect, happy suburban family. Corey Nichols had anything but.

Fifteen-year-old Corey (right) had the bad fortune to be one of the thousands of gay kids rejected by his religiously homophobic family. Knowing how they felt, he tried to keep his sexuality hidden, but they suspected. Corey told Out In Santa Cruz that his father warned him that gay people were not only sinners, they were sin itself, and when they reached a certain age, they had to be killed. Corey says his father threatened:

“If any fag lived in this house, I would shoot them in the head with a shotgun.”

Corey was miserable – as you can imagine. Then one night, sick and scared, he told his friend Aubrey in an online forum:

“I am desperate. Things here are so bad, I want to slit my wrists. I am not kidding.”

It was the luckiest moment of Corey’s young life, because Aubrey’s mother, our shero Mindy, happened by at that moment and saw what was on her daughter’s computer screen.

“It was like I was possessed by someone else,” Mindy recalls. “I knew I needed to act, and to do something, but everything I did was against my nature and not how I usually act as a person.”


Michelle Obama: In Kidnapped Nigerian Girls, 'We See Our Own Daughters' (VIDEO)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama on Saturday decried the kidnapping of scores of Nigerian schoolgirls who have been missing for nearly a month and used their plight to speak out for the rights of girls everywhere to get an education.

Delivering the weekly presidential radio and Internet address on the eve of the U.S. holiday honoring mothers, the first lady and mother of two said that, like millions of people around the world, she and President Barack Obama are "outraged and heartbroken" over the April 15 abduction of nearly 300 girls from their dormitory.

She asked the nation to pray for their safe return and stressed the importance of education.

"In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters," Mrs. Obama said in the five-minute address, referring to Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12. "We see their hopes, their dreams, and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now."

She said what happened more than three weeks ago in Nigeria was not an isolated incident, but "a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions."

Mrs. Obama mentioned Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who survived a gunshot to the head as she traveled to school in 2012. Malala has become an outspoken advocate for the rights of all girls to get an education.


Could these guys be bigger assholes? (NSFW)

I suppose they could--- perhaps using the 'women eating on the tubes' bullshit to fight global starvation or something.

But something about this brand of assholery is striking--like they've raised being an asshole to an art form. I wasn't going to post anything about this. Still probably shouldn't since they are like malignant children, crying for negative attention. Plus there's an embedded video, and I didn't want to give our stalker friends gratuitous thrills-- because, well, they're the same kind of asshole. And they're proud of it. Which is nausea inducing, involuntary shudderingly, hair crawling creepy. But we know there plenty of creepers around.

But, I gave in.

'Simple Pickup' Films Women On Sex Toy For Female Circumcision Awareness, Undermines Issue

If a video of women riding a sex toy in public were just a stunt to encourage participants to own their sexuality, we’d watch, turn a little red, share with friends (probably not directly to Facebook) and move on.

But this hyper-sexual stunt waged by Simple Pickup -- an all-male group that advises men on topics such as how to pick up women when you’re high –- tried incorporating a devastating human rights issue into the film, and it fell predictably flat.

The three-member posse (whom you may remember from another controversial stunt that involved them motorboating women for breast cancer awareness) brought a Sybian, a female sex toy, to Venice Beach.

They offered female passersby the chance to ride it while also raising awareness and funds for Orchid Project, a nonprofit that fights to stop the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

While there are numerous issues with this awareness campaign, a glaring problem is its inherent insensitivity to one of FGM's most dire consequences. According to UNICEF, one of the reasons communities continue the practice of FGM is to reduce a woman's sexual desire, a pleasure the woman featured in the video unabashedly enjoy.


Meh, OITNB's DeLaria Won't Attend Trans Exclusionary Music Fest (article)

Since this has become a point of some contention, I thought I'd post this particular viewpoint on a particular topic from a Trans woman.

Okay, I know what you're asking right now: how is it possible that someone such as myself would take such a cavalier attitude? I'm a trans woman. I have serious issues with trans exclusionary policies in women's spaces, and so do my cisgender women friends (and cisgender girlfriends/partners). Those women are precisely why I am not worried. The answer to the question about my attitude is actually surprisingly simple: Young cisgender women are voting with their feet, and they're voting against attending.

The numbers at Fest are declining each and every year at the same time as big names refuse to perform or refuse to continue to perform. Dawn Kirby, a long time Fest-goer had this to say:

This year there were more than 3,000 women on the land. I think the biggest year was 1985, the 10-year anniversary, when there were 10,000 women. It's been declining since then. About 98 percent of the women at festival are lesbian. There's a sense that because we're so much more visible these days that festival isn't necessary. Very few of my friends who went in the early days go anymore; they think that it's a lot of work.
Some, perhaps many, both cis and trans, may be tempted to say, "good" and post an accompanying picture of GrumpyCat, but I won't go that far. About all I can really manage is a barely verbalised, "meh." I think MichFest is increasing irrelevant. It's old. It's a dinosaur. It's not that women's spaces are no longer necessary (they are!), especially those that cater specifically (if not exclusively) to queer oriented women (again, Japan's Dyke Weekend and Women's Weekend), but rather there has been a general change in philosophy amongst those younger cisgender women MichFest would look to in order to continue on. Kirby mentions the visibility of lesbians—but it's not just that. There's more to it.

In my own experiences and circles, I see young cisgender queer women increasingly reject the idea of male socialisation as so encompassing, so all-powerful that trans women are incapable of rejecting it or escaping it. My friends, my peers, and my acquaintances both Japanese and Western, who are early thirties or younger—they simply don't buy the argument MichFest is selling, and neither are the women I attended graduate school with at a woman's university. They don't want the product being sold because they find the product out of touch with their values as members of the nebulous identities of "woman" and "lesbian" and "queer" and "feminist."

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