I’m on spring break! I get to read a lot! Enjoy.
1. Chavisory talks about emotional discussions:
It took me a long time to learn that almost whenever someone tells you that you’re being “too emotional,” what they mean is that you are being perfectly appropriately emotional about something that they simply don’t want to have to acknowledge or think about. That being emotional is not a disqualification from argument. Being emotional is human.
Un-emotionality is not the equivalent of having a rational argument, or a reliable indicator that someone does. It is not the same as having a grasp of facts or science or of the actual conditions under discussion.
2. Kaoru takes one for the team and fact-checks A Voice For Men:
The MRM has some legitimate concerns, but they will ultimately fail to have any sort of major impact on them because they are more concerned with trolling feminists than actually addressing the systematic problems that result in what they’re concerned about. That, and those legitimate problems are buried beneath pointless garbage like how unfair it is that sometimes they have to take paternity tests.
3. Mia McKenzie on the Steubenville verdict:
I, unlike many people reacting to today’s verdict, am not just thrilled to death that two 16-year-old boys are going to jail. What they did was terrible. There is no excuse. They have to be two seriously fucked-up kids to have done what they did. But what I know for damn sure is that jail does not fix broken people. It only breaks them harder.
The fact is that once these boys enter the prison system, even in juvenile detention, chances are that they will return to it. It will, with little doubt, fuck them up more than they are already fucked-up. They will not likely emerge from prison as two well-adjusted men who respect women and understand that sexual assault against them is not okay. That’s not what prison does for people.
4. Patrick explains one of the ways in which Dan Savage misunderstands and promotes harmful stereotypes about bisexuality, and connects it to the ongoing debate in Minnesota about marriage equality:
Biphobia in the queer community legitimizes homophobia in the dominant culture. Kicking out the bisexuals doesn’t help you, it hurts you. Telling half of the LGBT population that they don’t belong just shrinks our numbers and takes power away from all of us. Biphobia by leaders in the gay and lesbian communities allows straight haters to use biphobia as a wedge to divide us – and these people are experts at using wedges.
5. Janet D. Stemwedel has one of the best takes on the PyCon incident that I’ve seen:
There has been the predictable dissection of Adria Richards’ every blog post, tweet, and professional utterance prior to this event, with the apparent intention of demonstrating that she has engaged in jokes about sex organs herself, or that she has a history of looking for things to get mad about, or she’s just mean, and who is she to be calling other people out for bad behavior?
This has to be the least persuasive tu quoque I’ve seen all year.
If identifying problematic behavior in a community is something that can only be done by perfect people — people who have never sinned themselves, who have never pissed anyone off, who emerged from the womb incapable of engaging in bad behavior themselves — then we are screwed.
6. Leopard writes about the stereotype that women need to be “spoiled” and “pampered”:
An extremely pervasive idea exists in society— that women are to be pampered, especially by the men in their lives. Everywhere you look, adverts for flowers, chocolates and jewellery encourage men to ‘pamper her’, ‘spoil her’, ‘indulge her’, and even on International Women’s Day yesterday, which originated in 1909 to promote gender equality, my Facebook feed was full of friends and acquaintances talking about what they, or someone else had done for IWD, which usually boiled down to (you guessed it) giving/receiving flowers, chocolates or cards, stripping the day of all political meaning.
Look, you’re a feminist who, in this particular case, made the non-feminist choice. That’s all. I assume it was the right choice for you, or you wouldn’t have done it, and that’s fine! But feminism is not, in fact, all about choosing your choice. It is mostly about recognizing when things are fucked up for women at the societal level, and talking about that, and trying to change it. So sometimes, even when a decision is right for you, you still need to recognize that you made that decision within a social context that overwhelmingly supports your choice, and punishes women who make a different one.
8. That Monsanto Protection Act everyone’s been up in arms about? Not really a thing. Although we should absolutely keep criticizing the shit out of Monsanto.
9. Captain Awkward gives a bunch of great advice to someone who wants to be less negative and critical:
There’s this fallacy that “authenticity” always means talking about things with the most negative, critical eye. Not sharing every opinion that you have does not equal “being fake” or “lying.” Every dinner party doesn’t have to turn into a Platonic discussion of What is the Good?
10. I’ve just discovered this brilliant blog about asexuality and found this slightly older post about the concept of “platonic love”:
The “romantic-sexual/platonic” love dichotomy leaves no room for the real emotional nuances people experience in their attachments, and I think that it often causes us to live with simplified relationships not because we want to or because we have simple desires and feelings but because we have no experience, cultural context, or language to accommodate a complex social life or set of relationships. This is why language is so important. This is why words and labels matter. How can you have the kind of relationships you want with anyone, if you don’t even have the words to accurately express how you feel?
11. Keely writes about the sex-negative messages she received as a teenager and how they may have contributed to an unhealthy relationship she had:
if the background noise of my life at 16 or 17 or 18 had contained the kind of overt positive messaging about feminism and boundaries and consent, the kind of messaging that I am trying to spread around in my little bubble and that I am seeing more and more of all the time…. that would have mattered. It may not have changed everything–my bad relationship became toxic for a variety of reasons, and sex was only one of them. But it still would have taken that much less time to shake the toxic beliefs that helped keep me with him.
12. Elyse criticizes the “love your body” narrative:
But here’s the thing… It’s okay to not love my body. It’s okay to not even like my body. They’re my feelings and it’s my body and I will use those feelings to feel however I want to about my body. I don’t need you to tell me how to feel.
We don’t have to find ourselves beautiful. Beauty is not the one thing that makes us and our bodies worth loving. We don’t have to distort an already fucked-up definition of beauty, and pretend we fit into it, just to feel like we are people worthy of being loved.
13. Ana Mardoll explains why she doesn’t call herself a feminist offline:
I live in a community where I have on more than one occasion been forced to haul out the words “because my husband doesn’t like me to” in order to get out of situations where I was being bullied and pressured into doing things that I didn’t feel comfortable doing. After saying firmly and repeatedly that I didn’t want to do these things, that I wouldn’t do these things, and that I didn’t feel comfortable being repeatedly asked to do these things — all to no avail — I dragged out the magic words that I hate-hate-hate to use. “My husband doesn’t like me to” is the mantra that evaporates every objection in my community; a protective cloak that I resent being forced to wear by a community that considers my own consent to be meaningless even as it values my husband’s consent not for who he is but for what he represents.
14. If the atheist group on Kiva reaches 25,000 members by Sunday, it’ll get $10,000 in matching loans! Signing up is free and you get $25 to loan out just for joining. More details at Crommunist’s. Do it! There’s literally no excuse not to. :)