In which I surprise them

Well, ok, just to confuse everyone, I’m going to disagree with one feminist claim about street harassment. The claim is in a piece by Kat George (whose work I’m not familiar with) on the harassment video and what counts as harassment. She starts with the fact that with any harassment story there are always men and some women who will say “oh but that’s not harassment, it’s just being nice.” True enough. But then she goes on. [Read more...]

He’s never understood how someone could be proud of being gay

I had barely finished that post about Stefan Molyneux and his occasional collaboration with Peter Boghossian and my stubborn difficulty taking in just how right-wing some popular atheist men are, when my attention was drawn to a new provocation by Boghossian.

I’ve never understood how someone could be proud of being gay. How can one be proud of something one didn’t work for?

That’s a tweet as well as a Facebook post. His FB posts are all public, so public discussion is possible.

Lindsay Beyerstein pointed out that one way one can be proud of what one worked for in this context has to do with the courage and work it takes to come out. Is it ok with Boghossian if people are proud of that?

I’m so fed up with smug prosperous non-marginal guys publicly gloating over their good luck and taunting people who don’t have that particular form of luck.

The video also unintentionally makes another point

Hanna Rosin at Slate takes on the glaring flaw in that street harassment video: the shortage of white guys doing any harassing.

The one dude who turns around and says, “Nice,” is white, but the guys who do the most egregious things—like the one who harangues her, “Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful! You should say thank you more,” or the one who follows her down the street too closely for five whole minutes—are not. [Read more...]

Guest post: As women entered the field

Originally a comment by sambarge on Yes yes.

The de-valuation of work by feminization is fully documented in labour history. The reason we talk about pay equity (versus equal pay for the same job) is the valuation or classification of labour or job duties that are viewed a “feminine” or “masculine”. Physical strength, for example, is rated higher than accuracy in data entry and, not surprisingly, physical strength is a stereotypically male trait (unless we’re talking about labour that requires physical strength that is defined as female such as housekeeping or laundry workers, then there are no points or recognition for the physical strength required to do the job).

The easiest examples of the devaluation of work when it is feminized is bank tellers and other clerical work. When clerical work was done almost exclusively by men, the job was considered a skilled and valued profession. As women entered the field (and, importantly, men left it) clerical work was devalued – even as it became more technologically difficult to perform. Likewise, nursing has started to attract more men as it professionalized and started to demand decent remuneration. However, shaking the taboo of a man “doing women’s work” has proven harder than attracting women to work that was historically classified as male. The stigma attached to women’s work is pernicious.

The history of labour is full of examples like those. Social attitudes towards the value of certain work is definitely tied to our perceptions of the maleness or femaleness of certain duties.

Simon talks to Katha

Simon Davis interviews Katha Pollitt for VICE on the launch of her new book saying why abortion is a good thing.

It’s not surprising that many people who don’t want to see all abortion clinics shut down have bought into a few of the assumptions of the pro-life movement. The result is what we have today: a situation where a majority of people believe abortion should be mostly legal but frowned upon.

[Read more...]