Clarity & Chaos
Jul 23, 2014

3 notes
Conversation is not an equal opportunity activity.

Sally McConnell-Ginet

I found this quote in Deborah Cameron’s Feminism and Linguistic Theoryas part of a discussion of men’s (vs. women’s) dominant linguistic strategies.

Jul 18, 2014

1 note

Our Habitus, Or: Men Are Collateral Damage of Patriarchy

This passage of Toril Moi’s great essay on using Pierre Bourdieu’s work for feminist theory touches on why men are affected by sexist structures - without there being such a thing as reverse sexism: 

 Our habitus is at once produced and expressed through
our movements, gestures, facial expressions, manners, ways of walking, and ways of looking at the world. The  socially produced body is thus necessarily also  a  political body, or  rather an  embodied politics. Thus even such basic activities as teaching children how to move, dress, and eat are thoroughly political, in that they impose
on them an unspoken understanding of legitimate ways to (re)present their body to themselves and  others. The  body-and  its apparel such as clothing, gestures, make-up and so on-becomes  a kind of constant reminder ( of sociosexual power relations.It follows from Bourdieu’s understanding of the social effects of gender divisions that the dominant group -in  this case  men- do not escape the burdens of their own domination.
(Moi, Toril. “Appropriating Bourdieu: Feminist Theory and Pierre Bourdieu’s Sociology of Culture.” New Literary History 22.4 (1991): 1017–1049)
Jun 13, 2014

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"Shoot Her": A Philosophical Example, Normalizing Violence Against Women

In describing his theory of speech acts, J.L Austin uses the scenario “Man1 says to Man2 “shoot her”, Man2 then shoots woman” as an example. Feminist philosopher Rae Langton, in an essay expanding upon the speech act concept and Catherine MacKinnon’s argument against pornography, reuses Austin’s example.
I’d argue that the example shows how ubiquitous, and comparatively accepted, physical violence against women is, especially as part of a generic narrative. It is at least tolerated, by large parts of society, so that it can be used, casually, as an example by an established and well-recognized philosopher in a philosphical-linguistic argument, and then used by feminist scholars as well. There is a slight shock effect, sure, which probably makes it such a memorable example. However, the violent act of the example is not outrageous nor abject. Violence against women, to use Langton’s language, is not an unspeakable act. In more colloquial terms, it’s pretty much accepted as a part of life. The act is a narrative that easily roles of the tongues and keyboards of philosophers, screen writers, and Internet users.
It’s that bad. Especially considering an argument Rae Langton makes: Sexual violence is not simple harm, it is discriminatory behavior.
Jun 7, 2014

5,269 notes
But unlike a lot of what passes for TV feminism, the show’s not just about women being confident or comfortable in their own skin. It’s about reaffirming that their skin, their body, and their decisions are theirs to control. This is the battle all women in America are living with right now, whether they realize it or not. I’m not saying I’m worried about someone owning my DNA, but I am exhausted by people exerting their own values and opinions onto my body.
TV’s Most Important Political Debate Is Happening Right Now on Orphan Black (TV Guide)

(Source: actresssinger7, via flameintobeing)

May 29, 2014

85,702 notes
Being a woman is kind of like being a cyclist in a city where all the cars represent men. You’re supposed to be able to share the road equally with cars, but that’s not how it works. The roads are built for cars and you spend a great deal of physical and mental energy being defensive and trying not to get hurt. Some of the cars WANT you to get hurt. They think you don’t have any place on the road at all. And if you do get hurt by a car, everyone makes excuses that it’s your fault.

A friend of a friend (via onesmallflowerofeternity)

And even further. Let’s expand the metaphor of the cyclist to not only to women but generally human beings who are less privileged. Because let’s face it not all bikes are the same. Some have more gears to help them conquer mountains while other have less air in their tires which makes travel that much harder. 

Some cities don’t care much for their cyclist population but others try to make the life of cyclists better and safer by installing bike lanes making it easier for cyclists to come from a to b.Cars will still be faster but the cyclists will get along faster and safer.

This is a great analogy not just to explain privilege but also to explain how programs help human beings who are less privileged and why they should be in place.

(via seelenfaengerin)

(via seelenfaengerin)

May 29, 2014

1,279 notes

Why is it not helpful to say “not all men are like that”? For lots of reasons. For one, women know this. They already know not every man is a rapist, or a murderer, or violent. They don’t need you to tell them.

Second, it’s defensive. When people are defensive, they aren’t listening to the other person; they’re busy thinking of ways to defend themselves. I watched this happen on Twitter, over and again.

Third, the people saying it aren’t furthering the conversation, they’re sidetracking it. The discussion isn’t about the men who aren’t a problem. (Though, I’ll note, it can be. I’ll get back to that.) Instead of being defensive and distracting from the topic at hand, try staying quiet for a while and actually listening to what the thousands upon thousands of women discussing this are saying.

Fourth—and this is important, so listen carefully—when a woman is walking down the street, or on a blind date, or, yes, in an elevator alone, she doesn’t know which group you’re in. You might be the potential best guy ever in the history of history, but there’s no way for her to know that. A fraction of men out there are most definitely not in that group. Which are you? Inside your head you know, but outside your head it’s impossible to.

This is the reality women deal with all the time.

- #NotAllMen: How Not to Derail Discussions of Women’s Issues (via

(Source: feministfrenchtoast, via cognitivedissonance)

May 26, 2014

4 notes

Must Reads After Isla Vista

This little compilation of links to Monday morning must reads after the terrible Isla Vista shooting Saturday goes out to all my readers, but especially to my fellow cismen.

Laurie Penny in New Statesman makes a lot of great points in an essay titled “Let’s call the Isla Vista killings what they were: misogynist extremism.” Here’s an excerpt: 

We have been told for a long time that the best way to deal with this sort of harrassment and violence is to laugh it off. Women and girls and queer people have been told that online misogynists pose no real threat, even when they’re sharing intimate guides to how to destroy a woman’s self-esteem and force her into sexual submission. Well, now we have seen what the new ideology of misogyny looks like at its most extreme. We have seen incontrovertible evidence of real people being shot and killed in the name of that ideology, by a young man barely out of childhood himself who had been seduced into a disturbing cult of woman-hatred. Elliot Rodger was a victim - but not for the reasons he believed.

Misogyny is nothing new, but there is a specific and frightening trend taking place, and if we’re not going to accept it, we have to call it by its name. The title of the PUA bible belies the truth: this is not a game. Misogynist extremism does not exist in a mystical digital fairyland where there are no consequences. It is real. It does damage. It kills. And this is no longer a topic where abstraction is anything approaching appropriate.

Read the whole damn thing.

Also a must-read (if you can read German) is this text by Charlott at Mädchenmannschaft that adds a bit of context. The articles she links to in the piece are essential reading, too. Check out the #YesAllWomen hashtag on twitter, it highlights how not all men practice violent misogyny, but all women experience it and have to fear it.

I found these words about “gentleman supremacy” as a response after the shooting. But read the women* first.

May 25, 2014

4 notes

Isla Vista and Gentlemen Supremacy

The shooting in Isla Vista is horrifying on its own, my heart goes out to all affected.

The “reasoning” the shooter apparently gave is terrifying in how banal and common it is. His litany is a rant that can be heard in many corners of our online and offline worlds.  In certain “men’s rights” message boards and blogs. We hear it in pop culture, from sitcoms to “pick up artists.”  The arguments, the rejection, the misogyny, the twisted sense of hierarchy, and odd sense of Self and Others.

I by no means have a fully thought out thesis about this tragedy - and probably never will have - but one thing stuck out to me from his rant: Supreme gentleman. It is easy to say that a “true gentleman” would never have done something like this. That was my first thought, too.

But that isn’t actually true. “True gentlemen” have killed throughout history, sometimes for queen and country, sometimes for money, sometimes for honor, sometimes out of hatred. Gentlemen have certainly killed, again and again, when they understood themselves as “supreme.” It is, in my mind, no coincidence that the shooter chose that term. Supremacy, not only white supremacy, conveys the sense of hierarchy, and entitlement that enables violent actions in our societies. Supremacy can lift the individual, especially the male* individual, up so high that they think it is their right to act so inhuman to other humans. Supremacy kills.

In response to one particular line of disgusting thought: No, feminism did not create him. Feminism, if it’s worth its name, is a movement to end precisely the form of supremacy that the shooter thought he acted out of. 

Elliot Rodger, for all I know, was mentally ill. His rampage was, even if he wasn’t diagnosed before, a psychotic break. But he did not have that psychotic break in a vacuum. He acted in a structure that legitimizes both his supremacy and violence. His mental issues are a part of what led him to act on his impulses in this way. To take his beliefs too far. To commit murder. That’s why this is a tragedy, and why it is in international headlines. But he’s not just a “crazy loner” who materialized out of nothing.

May 7, 2014

28,624 notes
Girl Talk goes vaguely feminist. Of course people compared that to Nazi indoctrination, because that’s totally reasonable. Discussion below.








Indoctrination begins early for the feminist agenda. Get ‘em while they still can’t formulate their own opinions about the world and fill them with the lies that will support your ideology. Didn’t the fucking Nazis do that?



You do understand that the Nazis were enforcing discrimination tactics against certain groups of people inside of Germany well before the war or the holocaust, right? Fucking read a book. Not every comparison to the Nazis equals a comparison to the holocaust.
The comment was pointing out that indoctrinating youth is something the Nazis did and I don’t give a fuck how positive you think feminism is. There is zero justification for feeding children the lies of ideologies that box them up into neat little packages of prejudice and biases before they can even critically think or formulate opinions based on real world experience. There are plenty of ways to boost self-esteem and confidence in young girls without using feminism. 

The propaganda tactics alone of the Nazi party has a fucking massive history to it, and if you think that Hitler showed up and the Nazis literally just sprung out of nowhere and started murdering Jews, finish 8th grade history and then we’ll talk. As a Jewish egalitarian, I cordially invite you to fucking try learning something about the lead-up to the shoah and recognizing basic analogies instead of not only being dismissive but contributing to the stereotype about Jews pulling out the ‘offended’ card about the holocaust whenever it’s convenient to an argument. This is not how you dismantle gender roles and this is not how you help young girls understand gender and become empowered properly. Manipulating and indoctrinating people through the media “for a just cause” is still fucked up, and at large, feminism has proven fallible and problematic enough to warrant concern. And for what it’s worth, I have in fact seen a nice slew of casual antisemitism in the feminist community on tumblr.

How is this indoctrination though? I agree that indoctrinating kids is bad, but there is nothing wrong with telling girls that they are awesome.

The problem is tying the ideology of ‘feminism’ to the plan.  Feminism is an ideology.  And like any ideology it has tennants, beliefs, theories and what it believes to be truths.
This is the problem.  The problem is that by injecting feminism into this you are injecting an ideology into a child’s mind before they are able to form their own opinions.  It is indoctrination, pure and simple.
Now, you may argue that feminism is a GOOD ideology and SHOULD be put into kids heads.  Well, if you do you’re a horrible person.  Why?  Because you are still taking away a child’s freedom to choose.  You are forcing an ideology down their throats, removing their autonomy and making their choices for them.
If you believe feminism to be good and only good (I don’t but if you’re really curious as to why you can find more info about it on my blog) then the kid should be able to make their own decision when they are old enough to.  And if it is so good then you shouldn’t be worried that the kid may not choose it.
There are other ways to promote wellness in children and it doesn’t have to tie into an ideology.

Basically nothing in our societies is free of ideology. Certainly nothing in our media landscapes.
There are enough messages in media that teach girls of all ages that they are not amazing, that they need to be prety and skinny to be worthy. Countering that with a message of positivity is valuable - and tying that message to a pro-girl, pro-woman movement, which feminism is at its most basic level, and which the publisher seems to commit to, is not ridiculous or indoctrination. I’d argue it is just being honest to the children. If it is positivity born out of a feminist understanding - why not call it that?
All this new direction does, as far as I can tell, is add to the girly (beauty) tips and celebrity news age-appropriate articles about positive role models, amazing girls, and world events. Which part are the ideology-driven lies?All of this is less dangerous than the body negativity or materialist ideology that other publications spread, that also reach young girls - because even young girls/children in general do not live on a vacuum and are not stupid. They really are amazing.
Also, this is a privately run magazine AFAIK advertising to private individuals, not mandatory propaganda. This isn’t the only publication the children and their parents are aware of, or that they consume. Girls and their parents can still freely choose. Other factors - area she lives in, our economic system, school, group pressure, parents - affect a girl’s freedom to choose more than a single magazine. To call this indoctrination that is dangerous to children is ludicrous, to compare it to Nazi propaganda is disgusting. Yes, there was propaganda before the mass killing started, but from the start Nazi propaganda was a propaganda of aggressive, oppressive supremacy, nationalism, and militarism that was leading up to World War II and the holocaust. Not a message of “hey little ones, you are awesome, you can do a lot of great things.. We think women are awesome and can do a lot of great things. That’s why we’re feminist.” This type of very basic feminism is hardly radical, discriminatory, or misanthropic - three things early fascist indoctrination is. 
You/a parent might dislike this basic form of feminism - then you are free to teach your child otherwise, to consume other media.

Girl Talk goes vaguely feminist. Of course people compared that to Nazi indoctrination, because that’s totally reasonable. Discussion below.

Read More

Apr 26, 2014

24,771 notes
I think the average guy thinks they’re pro-woman, just because they think they’re a nice guy and someone has told them that they’re awesome. But the truth is far from it. Unless you are actively, consciously working against the gravitational pull of the culture, you will predictably, thematically, create these sort of fucked-up representations.
Junot Diaz (via luciaferr)

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