Feminist Theory & "Women's Issues" Discussion Thread: All Gender Identities Are Encouraged To Participate

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Something of a companion thread to Feminist Blogs/Communities I Have Known... but less focused on blogs.

Also a space where we can have multi-gendered dialogue from the outset, so we don't have any confusion.

emil.y, Sunday, 12 February 2012 22:56 (3 years ago) Permalink

I'm v v confused about gender and what it all means but that's p inherent in the discussion I guess?

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:03 (3 years ago) Permalink

Well, yeah - I purposefully phrased the title in a way that allows for those whose identity is not always recognised. I was initially going to include queer theory in the thread concept, as I've recently found myself with groups where feminism and queer politics are completely intertwined, but I don't feel that I should be the person to say whether or not this is a good place to discuss that.

emil.y, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

Actually, "completely" is not true. I think that would be impossible. But they work closely together, a lot.

emil.y, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

Ha ha no, I understood what you meant in naming the title that, I like the inclusivity of it. I'm mostly confused by mine own gender and ~what it means~ and always have been so I was just pointing out that confusion is inherent in the process for some ppl. (as recognised by the title)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

Yes. I've never felt like "I'm really a boy" but performatively I often feel more akin to males. But then, that's based around the socially constructed sides of gender, so it's less confusion, more rejection. I didn't always understand that, mind you.

emil.y, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:20 (3 years ago) Permalink

not to get all graduate seminar on this thread but: do we have a good definition of "gender" that isn't culturally essentialist? I'm sure it's out there but my reading in Feminist/Queer/etc theory is lacking. I don't necessarily have a problem with a culturally essentialist reading of gender, but i'd be interested in alternatives. For instance, where and when does the cultural proscribed notions of gender we have run up against actually being attached to, say, a penis? And how do you talk about this intersection without bogus and lame biological essentialism?

ryan, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:46 (3 years ago) Permalink

I really want to look at this question, because not having a satisfying answer to it is one reason why I'm really unhappy defining groups of people as 'men' and 'women' and setting policy accordingly.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:48 (3 years ago) Permalink

I certainly know that most working definitions of gender are crude and essentialist and problematic. I get that. But when talking about many of the blunt force issues I have to confront, I know the people who are perpetuating this shit on me are male bodied ppl who identify as male and a huge part of the reason they were doing it to me was because they perceived me as female and had a specific set of assumptions about what that meant, so it's really hard not tp talk about this stuff without using the shorthand no matter how clumsy it is. Otherwise you end up mumbling vague shut about kierarchy (lord knows how my iPhone will render that) and no one outside a graduate program knows what you're on about.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:58 (3 years ago) Permalink

yeah that's a great point. I think one of the challenges in getting people to accept something like cultural determination of gender is that their first line of defense is a reductio ad absurdum like "is my penis [or whatever] culturally constructed?!?"

it's similar to the "well I know my grandpa wasn't a monkey" defense against evolution.

I think, at bottom, there's an enormous amount of anxiety that goes into gender identity (one might even say this is the entire purpose of gender) that's gonna always leads to exactly the kind of hysteria you see in homophobia and the like. so defusing that anxiety remains, i think, a big part of the goal.

ryan, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

Like Deborah Cameron said in a debate I saw, utterly demolishing that Baron-Cohen "male brain" prick with her magnificent logic "The fact that women give birth is not in any way a Societal Construct. But what it ~MEANS~ that women give birth is completely a Societal Construct"

<3 D-Camz so hard, she cuts through so much of that Mars/Venus guff so effectively.

But um yeah, anxiety around gender is so damaging.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:16 (3 years ago) Permalink

I can see that a lot of the time the shorthand is unavoidable, but what I'm afraid of - in myself and others - is letting the shorthand frame the debate. I see so many people embracing these powerful narratives about what it means to be male or female, that exclude people's real experiences in horrible, damaging ways. In a space like this, where we can afford to be nuanced perhaps more than elsewhere, it would be cool if we could approach it with that in mind - and WCC I'd love to hear some of that grad school stuff if you can explain it to a psych graduate with little to no study of sociology under her belt.

I'm too tired to talk properly now, but anyway let it be known that I am very much looking forward to getting into this stuff with ILX0rs and I'm *grateful* for the clusterfuck.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 00:18 (3 years ago) Permalink

Hey just remember I didn't go to grad school, I'm an art school dropout I picked up much of this stuff in the library and on the web and from a friend who is doing a PhD in feminist linguistics or sociolinguistics or whatever it's called. I sm not an expert.

I get tongue tied up in this bcuz so much of my *need* for feminism comes from not conforming to trad expectations of "woman" and wanting to widen up the definitions of "woman" when maybe I should be getting rid of gender entirely? But back when I was 20 queer theorists didn't want to talk to me (bcuz bisexuality or pansexuality didnt ~exist~ back then as far as those individuals were concerned) but feminist theorists did so that's where I ended up.

I always want to widen the idea of "woman" not narrow it but that has a tension with the desire for a safe space bcuz who defines or owns the idea of woman? It's a recognized tension, we have to work to resolve.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:26 (3 years ago) Permalink

Sorry to go off topic, but I'm so tempted to take this out of context: <3 D-Camz so hard. You love David Cameron! You love David Cameron!

Back on topic, yes, grad-school discussion is more than welcome from my perspective: I know bits and pieces, from A Level Sociology, lit theory, and philosophy, but I could definitely do with more thinkers to pursue and avenues to contemplate.

emil.y, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:29 (3 years ago) Permalink

"A Level Sociology" is one clause there, I progressed some way beyond that in the latter two disciplines, ha. (Not braggin', just sayin')

emil.y, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:29 (3 years ago) Permalink

Deborah Cameron. Don't get over excited.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:30 (3 years ago) Permalink

what I like about that Deborah Cameron quote (i should look her up) is that it nicely points out that yes there is biology and whatnot but that we can't TALK or THINK about this stuff except within the parameters of MEANING...you'd dont get to crawl outside of cultural meaning using a ladder called "biology" or whatever.

ryan, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:37 (3 years ago) Permalink

so yes there is an "outside" or limit to culture/meaning but we only have access to it as a kind of negative capability.

ryan, Monday, 13 February 2012 00:38 (3 years ago) Permalink

gender's odd. it's clearly a cultural construct, both in a hazy, general sense that exists outside any specific individual and in the various ways we all individually (re)construct & perceive it. but that's not all it is. unlike "race", there's a substantial biological component to gender. of course, as others itt have pointed out, we can only understand what this might mean at several levels of remove, as filtered through a thicket of complex constructions from which we can't even sensibly hope to extricate our perspectives.

i'm biologically male. for better or worse, i find that my subjective experience of gendered-ness squares pretty well with what my culture seems to describe as generic masculinity. i deviate from what i take to be the "masculine norm" in all sorts of ways, some trivial, some quite dramatic, but i assume that this is true of most everyone (everyone worth knowing, anyway), and i'm pretty happy with the space i've carved out between cultural expectations and the seemingly gendered aspects of my own internal landscape.

unfashionable as it may be to say, it seems to me that biological gender drives a great deal of human behavior and that these drivings do sometimes reciprocate those "dubious" cultural constructs we've inherited. men, for example, seem in general to be more openly and aggressive than women, to the extent that male violence is a serious problem the world over. would say the same with varying degrees of confidence about things like female nurturance and consensus-building, male vs female approaches to competition and "mating behavior", masculine self-sufficiency, etc.

while biological gender is generally self-evident, gender identification can only by known when it is communicated. we know that someone identifies as female when they tell us so. we also know that that the things people say aren't always true. perhaps for this reason, i suspect that many of us would have trouble accepting the presence of an apparently straight-normative biological male in a women's bathroom or domestic violence shelter simply on the basis of her reassurance that it's ok because she "identifies as female". much as we might like to reduce all gender to pliable constructs, it can be very hard to let go of the last shreds of biological essentialism.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 09:26 (3 years ago) Permalink

i am glad this thread is here.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Monday, 13 February 2012 09:44 (3 years ago) Permalink


tmi but (Z S), Monday, 13 February 2012 10:18 (3 years ago) Permalink

Any time that anyone starts going on about the "substantial biological component to gender" I just want to refer them to Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine and Pink Brain Blue Brain by Lise Elliott (sp?) and just carry on repeating - outside the obvious physical documented secondary sexual characteristics (the girl/boy lego) the actual measurable differences in cognition, in brain function, in all that stuff that matters are TINY. Not only that, but even with the DOCUMENTED and measurable differences (for example, height) - the variation WITHIN each gender is often FAR GREATER than the "difference" between genders.

This isn't just one or two outlier studies suggesting this. There are HUGE bodies of work on this. Analysis. Meta-analysis. Meta analysis of meta analysis. The OUTLIER studies which suggest men's and women's brains are from different planets are the ones that get all the attention BECAUSE THEY ARE OUTLIERS. And they are often NOT replicable. Which is your guaranteed sign of being NOT SCIENCE.

I'm not just "deferring to a authority" here. I am saying, there is shitloads of evidence on this one if you even scratch the surface of doing research on it. There is, like, "Climate change is a real thing" levels of evidence on this one. And I'm just saying, in advance, that if anyone is going to continue to insist that gender is a ~biological~ thing, I'm going to treat them like a climate change denier, and just not engage with nonsense.

Gender is a construct. Just because something is a construct does not mean it is not *meaningful* or that it does not have real world consequences. (Money is also a construct, but try doing without that one in western society.) But construct means "we made up the rules" and it also means "other societies or other possible societies can put the rules in different places and in different orders." (Try walking into a shop in England and buying something with an American dollar. Money is a construct that means different things in different places.)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 12:55 (3 years ago) Permalink

that seems very otm. people who talk about aspects of humanity that are "outside of culture" shd probably point to some examples of humans that exist outside of culture. good luck with that.

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 February 2012 13:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

I had to get off line to compose the next bit so this is a continuation of the previous bit, rather than a response to you, NV, but here goes:

i find that my subjective experience of gendered-ness squares pretty well with what my culture seems to describe as generic masculinity. i deviate from what i take to be the "masculine norm" in all sorts of ways, some trivial, some quite dramatic, but i assume that this is true of most everyone

This is the problematic bit with the whole "biological" conception of gender. It's not biological at all, it's what your culture says is "masculine."

And if you, as a Western (I think you're North American?) man who conforms fairly well to your culture's expectations of masculinity were suddenly dropped into, e.g. Ancient Sparta, you would be thought of as an effeminate wimp or e.g. 18th Century French Court you would be thought of as a rude uncultured boer (bore? boar?) who needed to sort out a more masculine wig immediately.

For *me* (specific, personal) the problem is not whether someone identifies with their visible biological gender (though I recognise for many, many people this is a completely valid problem and source of oppression) it's how arbitrary the divisions into "masculine" and "feminine" are - how *brutally* they are policed - and policed in the service or protection of *whom*?

But those are conversations you can't really have without the entry of that nebulous concept of kierarchy (which spell check tells me isn't even a word.)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 13:28 (3 years ago) Permalink

idk i'm kindof with that and not with it.

i know trans guys who have talked about the really visceral physico-psychological feelings of taking testosterone for the first time. and pretty much anyone who has ever been a teenager probably knows that hormones tend to do things to you. and yeah there are varying degrees of testosterone and oestrogen. and the binary of gender is culturally substantiated.

i mean i don't want to be misunderstood, this is not to say that we can understand some set of biological imperatives, primordial urges. i think its closer to what monique wittig meant when somebody asked her if she had a vagina and she said "no." i mean maybe i should explain that monique wittig was a lesbian and concluded that as she was a lesbian, she was not a woman because woman is something that is constructed within heterosexist gender relations. she's not insane, she wasn't denying that physiologically her body corresponds to a female body, but that the the body itself is something that is constructed by language and culture. still though, the matrix of signification is not one that is closed at the level of "culture" but that bodies are *part* of culture. folds of sensations, particular materialities, pleasures, warmth, movements, hormones. its not that these things are anterior to culture but it isn't the other way around either.

judith, Monday, 13 February 2012 13:35 (3 years ago) Permalink

yeah sorry i certainly wasn't trying to privilege culture-and-nothing-else, just reflecting that the links are inextricable and not reducible to "this but not that" arguments

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 February 2012 13:41 (3 years ago) Permalink

<I>"The problem with the word 'vagina' is that vaginas seem to be just straight-out bad luck. Only a masochist would want one, because only awful things happen to them. Vaginas get torn. Vaginas get ‘examined’. Evidence is found in them. Serial killers leave things in them, to taunt Morse . . . No one wants one of those."</I>

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 13 February 2012 13:59 (3 years ago) Permalink

Though obviously my inability to click the "Convert Simple HTML to BBcode" button is due to Evolutionary Psychology.

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:01 (3 years ago) Permalink

Yeah but that whole "men are just biologically different because: hormones!" ignores the fact that women also have a set of those exact chemicals sloshing around our bodies (except doctors call them androgens we have them) and not to mention the fact that it's even sometimes sold as a pseudo health concern by the kind of behavior police-y magazines all "OMG do you have an interest in maps and systems thinking? You might suffer from too much testosterone giving you ~male brain~ oh noes panic!" (This was an actual article I read in the launderette.)

And how things get interpreted like - I dunno, maybe I have an endocrine malfunction I should get checked out bcuz I totally get very male-coded aggro if I'm driving a car I get v aggressive about defending my territory (one of many reasons I don't drive) but when men do that, they have "testosterone" as their excuse but If I'm being all competitive in that pissing contest sense and male-coded, do I just do it bcuz I missed that particular bit of training in how to be ladylike? Or can I blame my ~androgens~?

I don't buy the "it's hormones" excuse entirely

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

I type so much less coherently when I'm on an iPhone. Don't know if the little screen makes me male brain or iv it's just the lack of ability to see the whole post to sense check it. That was almost incoherent. Sorry.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:11 (3 years ago) Permalink

that can apply to "personality" across the board tho. western society is increasingly big on medicalising personality in general - "are you like this? maybe the chemicals in your body need readjustment". there are maybe models for personality that rely less on societal norms - we can think about people's personal goals or happiness, ask whether their behaviours are self-limiting or destructive in some way - but a lot of hormonal/brain chemistry/genetic arguments have become standardised ways of looking at humanity and life experience. it's an excuse, as you say, and takes on virulent forms when used against women - lol PMT etc - but personality in general is increasingly policed, i guess, in ways that previously the power structures only sought to police behaviours.

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:15 (3 years ago) Permalink

and yeah there are double standards, sometimes we are at the mercy of our internal chemistry and sometimes it makes us who we are

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

...runs the argument

dayove cool (Noodle Vague), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

Yes, all that, too.

What I'm trying to say is, it varies within gender as well as between them. Some women are aggressive and competitive. Some men are warm and nurturing. (Most humans have some mixture of the two.) You can say "it's testosterone" or you can say "it's cultural conditioning" but the important thing is that it varies and that variance is OK.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:23 (3 years ago) Permalink

Hey Emily - Thank you. :)

wolf kabob (ENBB), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:26 (3 years ago) Permalink

gonna check in later because this will likely be a thread to learn from, just please do me a favour and explain/link any jargon ( "culturally essentialist" up there threw me, though to be fair it also took me three attempts at processing "climate change denier" before I realised it wasn't talking about sheerer stockings.)

thomasintrouble, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:31 (3 years ago) Permalink

Anyone who takes potshots at the surreal typing lysdexia caused by my iPhone is gonna get a crack on the head for asking. Just saying, like. My spelling is gonna be all over the shop.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:34 (3 years ago) Permalink

Yes I am aware of the hilarity involved in an amateur Li ghost (that was linguist, iPhone - but I'm gonna leave that to show what this thing does to me) who cannot spell but chomski my Sapir-wharf hypothesARSE if u wanna rib me about it. ;-)

^^^^^ha ha this is all a clumsy joke but if you ever can't google something or want a clarification pls say "srs question" and I'll try to de-jargon-ify

It's not so much learning new jargon as learning a new language requires a new way of thinking coz replacing words w/o replacing the thought processes is not progress. It's trying to unlearn so many of the kierarchy's ideas which is often the hard part.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:42 (3 years ago) Permalink

Right, why is why "can't google" isn't necessarily the problem - a lot of this is going to be "but what do you mean by that word / in this context?"

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:45 (3 years ago) Permalink

the funniest iphone autocorrect i've seen is changing "sexting" to "destiny" :/

first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Monday, 13 February 2012 14:50 (3 years ago) Permalink

Yeah but there's a difference between "who is Dale Spender" and "what do you mean by kierarchy in this context" - happy to discuss the latter. Not so much the former.

I dunno, "cultural essentialist" seemed to be the opposite/corollary of "biological essentialist" and didn't really need clarification? But I guess maybe we should touch on how there are two (opposing?) schools of thought saying gender difference is the result of nature or nurture. Obv almost all arguments of this kind are at their heart an and/both proposition not an either/or.

But the biggest difference is that the Cultural crew believe that this stuff is nurture - and therefore can be changed and the Biological crew think this is impossible (and maybe even "against nature") to try to strive for gender equality

(see if you can guess which side I'm on, huh?)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 14:56 (3 years ago) Permalink

if anyone is going to continue to insist that gender is a ~biological~ thing, I'm going to treat them like a climate change denier, and just not engage with nonsense.

biological gender IS a thing, and anyone who continues to insist that it isn't is simply wrong, full stop. in an overall sense, we can measure the differences between men and women any number of ways, not just in terms of the gross architecture of the body, but also in terms of more subtle things like its chemistry and DNA. we don't fully understand what all of this means, of course, and individuals vary greatly, but this doesn't mean that we can't scientifically "perceive" biological gender. we can.

of course and like i very clearly said before, we can only perceive and understand the significance of biological gender at a remove, as filtered through the understandings of gender that we've inherited. that's what makes this subject interesting. we know that we are driven both by biology and by the cultural constructs that compose our understanding, and there's no way to clearly distinguish between the two.

to repeat another thing i said earlier, we can see the workings of gender in male violence as a phenomenon. male violence exists and is a problem in every culture in the world, and this has always been true throughout human history so far as we know. you suggested that if i were dropped into ancient sparta, i would be perceived as a wimp. of course i would. in case you missed it, that was the entire point of the paragraph you were responding to: that gender is, to a substantial extent, a cultural construct. but it's worth noting that ancient sparta was no less dominated by male violence than our world is today. this does not conclusively "prove" that male violence is a product of male biology, of course, but it does incline me to suspect that biology plays a role.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 17:37 (3 years ago) Permalink

You're not *even* wrong.

You seem to inhabit this weird fantasy world where male power is not prized and rewarded at every turn, and female power is not demonised and punished at every turn. Where male violence is not *fetishised* and portrayed as noble and good and female violence is not denied in order to keep some wonderful "pure" vision of "femininity" as opposed to "masculinity."

This fantasy world where violent women from Boudiccea to Margaret Thatcher can just be handwaved away.

A fantasy world where structural inequality does not codify "male" supremacy over "female" at every step because the rules were written to keep it that way. These ideas are not reinforced with cultural narrative over and again until ppl believe they are true bcuz other views just don't get presented, or are actively derided by those w the most to lose?

And then you want to turn around and talk about this highly contrived and exaggerated version of "masculinity" as being somehow inevitable, even biological?

And I just call: bullshit.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 18:30 (3 years ago) Permalink

I've been looking for the past half hour to see if I can find any studies that strongly demonstrate even the simple premise that testosterone leads to increased aggression. Can't find anything. And conversely, if you google 'violent women' you get lots of hits about violence against women, a review of a book about Hollywood fetishisation of female violence, and a Daily Mail article about teenage girl gangs.

If the starting assumption for discourse is that men are perpetrators and women are victims, which it seems to be, it excludes from serious consideration the violence women do against men, the violence women do against each other, and the (sexual) violence men inflict on other men. I'll keep looking for biological underpinnings to the assumption, there may well be something, but I'm inclined to think it'll turn out to be by far the lesser factor.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 18:42 (3 years ago) Permalink

I mean let's get this straight. I'm not denying that there's such a * thing* as male violence, or that male violence especially as used as a method of control against women (hello Chris Brown and domestic violence awareness) is not hugely problematic.

What I'm denying is this idea that violence is something automatically and essentially coded into masculinity from biological sex up - rather than something which is learned, reinforced and rewarded at every step of a man's life.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 18:43 (3 years ago) Permalink

i think you're responding to an imaginary person in your head, cuz it sure as hell isn't me.

of course male power is prized and rewarded at every turn. or course female power is demonized and punished i don't wave any counter examples away. but the history of human violence, not just in western culture but in every culture ever known, is predominantly the history of male violence. to my mind, in conjunction with what little we do know about male and female biology, this makes it reasonable (not certain, just reasonable) to suppose that male biology plays a role in male violence.

would say the same of many other ostensibly gendered characteristics and behaviors, that biology probably does play some role. again though, it's impossible to clearly distinguish between the urgings of biology and cultural conditioning. but the fact that we can't know exactly what role biology plays does not mean that biology plays no role. in order to understand such things clearly, we have to accept huge amount of uncertainty. i.e., if you align yourself with either "crew", Cultural or Biological, you're missing the larger picture.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 18:45 (3 years ago) Permalink

What I'm denying is this idea that violence is something automatically and essentially coded into masculinity from biological sex up - rather than something which is learned, reinforced and rewarded at every step of a man's life.

i suspect that both factors play a role, nature & nurture.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 18:45 (3 years ago) Permalink

Zora there's evidence that testosterone is released by men who are victors *after* the aggression is over but little evidence that testosterone causes violence or aggression. It's complicated, as all hormonal things involving humans tend to be.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 18:45 (3 years ago) Permalink

If the starting assumption for discourse is that men are perpetrators and women are victims, which it seems to be, it excludes from serious consideration...

i don't think you need a starting assumption. i think it's better to look at the available information and work up from there.

Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 18:47 (3 years ago) Permalink

Contenderizer you keep repeating the same things over and over as if you haven't read what I've posted (and certainly none of the books I've referenced) so you are also having a conversation with someone who is not me.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 18:48 (3 years ago) Permalink


mookieproof, Saturday, 25 October 2014 02:43 (5 months ago) Permalink

that article is basically an ad for the sugar daddy site?

Walter MIDI (Crabbits), Sunday, 2 November 2014 17:40 (5 months ago) Permalink

Most of us will never be rich enough or beautiful enough to qualify, so this is just another media story using our fantasies as the bait on their hook.

oh no! must be the season of the rich (Aimless), Sunday, 2 November 2014 18:11 (5 months ago) Permalink

LIKE If you are against racism (omar little), Sunday, 2 November 2014 18:16 (5 months ago) Permalink

At happy hour, Boston’s coworkers pump him for details: How is going out with a sugar baby different from hiring an escort? He answers that he hires escorts, too, but that sugar babies are more like real dates. He doesn’t care if his peers judge him—he is transparent (Bruce Boston is his real name), awash in women, and, frankly, effervescent about it. Sugaring, he says, has changed his life. - See more at: http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/im-rich-youre-hot#sthash.YwXUpvjs.dpuf

LIKE If you are against racism (omar little), Sunday, 2 November 2014 18:17 (5 months ago) Permalink

the uber of creepazoids

Steve 'n' Seagulls and Flock of Van Dammes (forksclovetofu), Monday, 3 November 2014 00:30 (5 months ago) Permalink


What's with all of the smug / scary "atheist" / libertarians attacking or misrepresenting feminists? The woman in the video is not impersonable at all! She makes a fair point.

I don't understand sexist atheists at all.

Threat Assessment Division (I M Losted), Monday, 3 November 2014 14:40 (5 months ago) Permalink

What's wrong with being a sexy atheist?

my jaw left (Hurting 2), Monday, 3 November 2014 15:33 (5 months ago) Permalink

Hypothesis: atheist libertarians are just your basic, simple-minded libertarians, who see feminism as a special interest group that distorts the free market by demanding equal pay for equal work and promotes other types of government meddling with their efforts to turn society into the war of all against all.

oh no! must be the season of the rich (Aimless), Monday, 3 November 2014 18:01 (5 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...


One of the problems with simply assuming that sexism drives the tendency of students to giving higher ratings to men than women is that students are evaluating professors as a whole, making it hard to separate the impact of gender from other factors, like teaching style and coursework. But North Carolina researcher Lillian MacNell, along with co-authors Dr. Adam Driscoll and Dr. Andrea Hunt, found a way to blind students to the actual gender of instructors by focusing on online course studies. The researchers took two online course instructors, one male and one female, and gave them two classes to teach. Each professor presented as his or her own gender to one class and the opposite to the other.

The results were astonishing. Students gave professors they thought were male much higher evaluations across the board than they did professors they thought were female, regardless of what gender the professors actually were. When they told students they were men, both the male and female professors got a bump in ratings. When they told the students they were women, they took a hit in ratings. Because everything else was the same about them, this difference has to be the result of gender bias.

“The difference in the promptness rating is a good example for discussion,” MacNell explains in the press release for the study. "Classwork was graded and returned to students at the same time by both instructors. But the instructor students thought was male was given a 4.35 rating out of 5. The instructor students thought was female got a 3.55 rating.” Considering that professors were rated on a five-point scale, losing an entire point on the "promptness" question just because students think you're female is a major hit.

This particular study is small, so we shouldn't get carried away about its results. But it certainly suggests an important avenue for future research. Students penalized the perceived female professor in all 12 categories, including in qualities that women are usually assumed to excel at, such as being caring and respectful. This comports with other studies that show that while female professors are judged somewhat less harshly if they conform more to female stereotypes, men still get bonus points for showing up male.

, Wednesday, 10 December 2014 14:27 (4 months ago) Permalink

Hmm. Yes.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Wednesday, 10 December 2014 14:53 (4 months ago) Permalink

I recently readthis interesting article on American teaching, which touches on its genderedness among other things. at center is the following conception of the teacher:

Indeed, the biggest insult to the intelligence of American teachers is the idea that their intelligence doesn’t matter. “The teaching of A, B, C, and the multiplication table has no quality of sacredness in it,” Horace Mann said in 1839. Instead of focusing on students’ mental skills, Mann urged, teachers should promote “good-will towards men” and “reverence to God.” Teachers need to be good, more than they need to be smart; their job is to nurture souls, not minds. So Garret Keizer’s first supervisor worried that he might have too many grades of A on his college transcript to succeed as a high school teacher, and Elizabeth Green concludes her otherwise skeptical book with the much-heard platitude that teachers need to “love” their students.

I wonder if American perceptions of woman faculty at American universities is shaped in reaction to American students' experiences with primary & secondary ed teachers who model that conception: shaped by a sense that there must be some reason there are a lot of men teaching at the university level but not at the primary & secondary levels, and that whatever that reason is, it entails that women university teachers are worse than men. if so, then as with many problems with American university learning, the source of the problem is in American attitudes toward primary & secondary ed.

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:57 (4 months ago) Permalink

Also American attitudes toward gender and gender roles.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Wednesday, 10 December 2014 16:05 (4 months ago) Permalink

good, that's one of the roots of American attitudes toward (esp) primary ed

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 10 December 2014 16:16 (4 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...


goole, Thursday, 29 January 2015 23:01 (2 months ago) Permalink

10 min podcast about two women who write via tinyletter

goole, Thursday, 29 January 2015 23:02 (2 months ago) Permalink

Charlotte Shane is pretty cool in general.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Thursday, 29 January 2015 23:26 (2 months ago) Permalink


mookieproof, Saturday, 31 January 2015 03:47 (2 months ago) Permalink

so that's what a podcast sounds like

j., Saturday, 31 January 2015 04:40 (2 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

i'd put this in the right-wingery thread, but nobody reads it


conservative writer considers the forgotten female anti-suffragists (while rerehearsing a bunch of their arguments, and airing out some dirty suffragette laundry [like the one who became a fascist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norah_Elam seriously the 20th cent was so fucked up]). she's right about one thing: i'd never heard of any of these people.

really tho it's an explicit warning to the anti-gay-marriage crowd (see the closing). it's a weird phenomenon now to hear your NOM types speak in full knowledge they are destined for oblivion.

goole, Wednesday, 4 March 2015 00:20 (1 month ago) Permalink

That essay was gross.

That shit right there is precedented. (cryptosicko), Tuesday, 10 March 2015 15:44 (1 month ago) Permalink

However, you will never be able to see these women clearly if you insist, anachronistically, on seeing suffrage as a fundamental human right. ... No one was having their humanity denied—not £7 householders in 1866, not women in 1914. If you do not understand that, you will never understand women like Mary Ward.

A loss I can live with.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Tuesday, 10 March 2015 15:51 (1 month ago) Permalink

And wow it only gets more gross from there.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Tuesday, 10 March 2015 15:52 (1 month ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...


We so rarely hear from those who really choose to be childless, and there are few essays from women who don’t regret having had an abortion, who wouldn’t have been “ready” at a later age, who had the money for IVF and childcare but who chose not to go there. The mainstream conversation is colored by if-arguments, eerily reminiscent of the 1950s, when women without children were pitied (and, possibly, pitied themselves). If I had found the right partner… If I had had enough money… If my childhood hadn’t been so bad… Whatever the reasons, they all suggest that something went wrong.

I don’t have any if-arguments (which doesn’t mean that things don’t go wrong in my life). I simply never wanted to have children. Not when I was 20, not when I was 30 and not today.

I didn't read the whole thing but this part sums up my feelings so well that i just wanted to put it somewhere http://blog.longreads.com/2015/04/02/the-answer-is-never/

groundless round (La Lechera), Thursday, 2 April 2015 15:26 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

good piece!

Pic Verry (mattresslessness), Thursday, 2 April 2015 19:57 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

i should really read more simone de beauvoir. what a writer.

Pic Verry (mattresslessness), Thursday, 2 April 2015 20:14 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

she is my very favorite of the old school anarchists, especially search her pieces in the Mother Earth anthology called "Anarchy!"


sleeve, Thursday, 2 April 2015 20:18 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

argh so sorry I thought you meant Voltairine De Cleyre

I also need to read more SDB

sleeve, Thursday, 2 April 2015 20:19 (2 weeks ago) Permalink

i am looking at facebook's live feed of people sharing the report on the rolling stone's retracted campus rape story, and it's incredibly disheartening

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Tuesday, 7 April 2015 04:52 (1 week ago) Permalink

the report itself, the article, the things people say about it ("why does no one talk about the war on men on our nation's campuses" oh god)

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Tuesday, 7 April 2015 04:53 (1 week ago) Permalink

the retraction article is pretty excellent i think? i mean what people are going to say about it is still gonna be terrible but as far as case studies in how journalism goes wrong it seems like it really is something people can read and learn from.

creaks, whines and trife (s.clover), Tuesday, 7 April 2015 04:55 (1 week ago) Permalink

idk im at the bit where the authors claim erdedy should have shared all the details of her investigation with phi kappa psi because she had no reason to believe they would not have acted in good faith and ... really?

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Tuesday, 7 April 2015 05:00 (1 week ago) Permalink

" a morass of resentment, insecurity, longing and disappointment for those who don’t find the right man in time to mate (the terms “childless by circumstance” and “social infertility” have been coined to describe this group); an ungovernable tangle of anxiety, confusion and exhaustion for those who combat infertility issues with costly and invasive assisted reproductive technologies; and a pervasive fog of self-recrimination and angst for those who simply don’t know what they want. "

skim-reading this I initially mistook it for a description of those who do have kids; obv I am projecting a hell of a lot bc I read blogs about how parents find themselves feeling 'not cut out for this'

kinder, Tuesday, 7 April 2015 20:53 (1 week ago) Permalink

i got an email from statewide library org with this:

immediately started writing a response to the guy who sent it, a reference librarian for the LDS church btw, pointing out that it was sexist ageist and disrespectful etc. then revised to say how it "could" be read the wrong way. now i feel like there's probably nothing worthwhile about pointing out possible negative interpretations in a dumb email instigated because i was offended by some typically tone-deaf thing sent from someone who works for the stupid church i hate so fn much. two hours gone. blechhhhhhhhhh. is it even objectionable in any way? i can't trust myself tbh.

Epic Verry (mattresslessness), Thursday, 9 April 2015 21:48 (1 week ago) Permalink

it seems objectionable to me; my sister is a librarian... think I'll share with her.

Maybe in 100 years someone will say damn Dawn was dope. (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 9 April 2015 21:51 (1 week ago) Permalink

thanks. this is what i'm considering sending in response but i'll have to sleep on it.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about this presentation. I just wanted to let you know that the promotional image in your email could be interpreted in an unfortunate way: the words could be read as a comment on the women in the photograph, not just the card catalog. I am sure that is not what you intended. I just wanted to pass this information along to you in the hope that you’ll consider it as you plan announcements in the future.

Epic Verry (mattresslessness), Thursday, 9 April 2015 21:58 (1 week ago) Permalink

my thirtysomething librarian sister just wrote back "yeah, this is tone deaf" so there you go

Maybe in 100 years someone will say damn Dawn was dope. (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 9 April 2015 22:05 (1 week ago) Permalink

Maybe if it were indicated that it's the librarians in the photo speaking, sharing the sentiment that they want/need better resources too? Could be like Married to the Sea speech bubbles or something.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Thursday, 9 April 2015 22:09 (1 week ago) Permalink

agreed; the "we" doesn't read as the librarians, they read as "old resources"

Maybe in 100 years someone will say damn Dawn was dope. (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 9 April 2015 22:12 (1 week ago) Permalink

yes. i asked a colleague and she also said it could have been intended that the pictured librarians are "tired of the same old resources". i think tone-deaf is the accurate read then.

Epic Verry (mattresslessness), Thursday, 9 April 2015 22:17 (1 week ago) Permalink

i'm going to rewrite this imagining myself as a friend pointing out someone's innocent faux pas.

Epic Verry (mattresslessness), Thursday, 9 April 2015 22:24 (1 week ago) Permalink

^did that as briefly as i could, he responded that it hadn't even crossed his mind, thanked me, nbd.

Epic Verry (mattresslessness), Friday, 10 April 2015 16:29 (1 week ago) Permalink

I feel like I've seen dozens of things like that in the library world--especially because young digital folks are always finding lol old photos whiles scanning images

Is It Any Wonder I'm Not the (President Keyes), Friday, 10 April 2015 16:33 (1 week ago) Permalink

yeah i feel like it's been a pretty common angle on the "web" in library world ... for 20 years. he's asking for new web resources but afaict the best "new" content out there is digitized old stuff. using the "old is tired" angle prob. not the best way to reach the special collections / archives people.

Epic Verry (mattresslessness), Friday, 10 April 2015 16:48 (1 week ago) Permalink

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