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Jun 03 2014

To hell with making sense, eh?

This is what I mean. kellym linked to a bit of Twitter harassment of Pamela Gay, so I took a look at the guy doing the harassing, and this is that guy.

ivan

one can speak either yes and no about everything… My social views: I am against racism, homophobia, capitalism, fundamentalism, and feminism

This is what I keep saying. People who recoil in horror at the very idea of being racist or homophobic…proudly declare themselves opposed to feminism. That’s what I don’t get.

Racial equality; good. Sexual preference equality; good. Gender equality; ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Is it just obvious? Racial equality, meh, he doesn’t have to do anything. Sexual preference equality, meh, he doesn’t have to do anything. But gender equality – omigod that might get right up in his very own personal face!!!

Just shitty selfish shittyness, is it? Just feeling threatened? Just not being worried about his white privilege or his straight privilege but worried as fuck about his male privilege?

I don’t know. To me it’s like those Which Of These Things Is Not Like The Others? thing that kids used to do – there’s a bear, a lion, a pineapple, a tiger, and a wolf.

Or it’s just a random collection. I’m against sugar in pasta sauce, plaid trousers, global warming, bedbugs, feminism, and the Ford Motor Company.

I don’t know. For that list to make sense, it should go: I am against racism, homophobia, capitalism, fundamentalism, and sexism. The way it does go, Ivan is just flattering himself. “I’m right-on except when it might cut into my special extra advantages.”

Maybe he knows that, and that’s why he takes the trouble to pester Pamela Gay.

30 comments

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  1. 1
    leni

    I know this is superficial, but what if civil rights activists had called themselves “blackists”?

    It might not be wrong and it’s especially not wrong if you are able to grasp reality and maybe even just a little nuance, but I can also immediately see why it wouldn’t be the best label. It’s too easy to target as some sort of supremacist movement and it does not accurately and easily describe what racial equality is about.

    I know it is superficial, but I also know that people are superficial. I am apparently, because I also think “blackism”, “transism” or “disableism” or “gayism” would be terrible fucking names for what activists for those groups do.

    No, I’m not naive enough to think that a rephrasing would magically make everyone more amenable. I also am not naive enough to think that the well hasn’t been long poisoned against nearly everything “feminine”, including the word “feminism”.

    But it also know it sounds horrible in every other context I can imagine. “Asianism”? “Masculinism”? It just makes me cringe. I know that’s the word we’ve all settled on, but it also sounds to me like handing a freebie to people who are just looking for reasons. Why? Force them to play on your turf, which is equality and fairness. Call it that from the get-go and make them do the work of getting around that problem first.

  2. 2
    leni

    PS and no, I don’t think the asshole who posted that tweet wouldn’t have. I just think it wouldn’t have been so easy.

  3. 3
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    He also appears be against not-being-an-asshole-ism.

  4. 4
    Jafafa Hots

    “I know this is superficial, but what if civil rights activists had called themselves “blackists”?”

    NAACP.

    And yep, I’ve heard people object to the name before.
    Of course there’s also a NAAWP now too.

  5. 5
    leni

    Of course there’s also a NAAWP now too.

    Ok fair point. There is no easy win. Maybe there is no win no matter what you do.

    But they still have to work harder than whitist.

  6. 6
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Women’s Liberation(-ist) ended up being problematic, too, which is at least one reason why it was largely abandoned in favor of the French féminism / féministe. Both terms are problematic because sexism and racism. Problematic to asshats who are sexists and racists.

    Still, one can talk of, say, gender equality all one wants, or equal rights, but the problem is that privileged douchebongs don’t like their privilege threatened, or their odd mental stories about these special creatures called women altered.

    Ivan K’s problem seems to be that rather idiotic idea that somehow feminism is meant to claim women’s superiority over men and give them all sorts of special privileges which teh menz don’t have, while simultaneously removing their current privilege. If you free the slaves, they will run wild, steal your corn and hogs, and rape everyone. The proletariat will be in ur garden, stealin ur cheeze.Gawd only knows what women would do if they were treated as equal human beings. They’d probably destroy marriage like teh gay, for starters.

  7. 7
    Blanche Quizno

    I hate to say it, but I find those “one of these things is not like the others” not only compelling, but obsession-worthy O_O

  8. 8
    Blanche Quizno

    @6: You misspelled “teh ghey” O_O

  9. 9
    latsot

    Ah yes, Wimmin’s Lib. Burning bras. Damn uppity women jumping in front of the king’s horse. Patronising sitcoms. Patronising sketch shows. Bluff, honest CEOs explaining why they can’t possibly pay women the same as men because babies, menstruation, hormones and they’d only spend it on fashion and hair anyway.

    I spend half my time being genuinely shocked on remembering that we live in the 21st century and the other half being even more surprised that we obviously still live in the fucking 70s.

    I grew up in those exact fucking 70s in the UK. The very concept of feminism was widely and blandly treated as a joke. Why, feminists didn’t even shave their armpits! They wanted non-sexist language! They frowned upon rape! Ridiculous, I know, but we men indulged their little fancies. We gave them a weekly pittance so they could indulge their fascination with gossip by visiting their non-threatening friends on the way back from doing the shopping. And all we asked in return was our dinner on the table and couldn’t you just put a nice frock on once in a while despite working, looking after the children and looking after me as if I myself were a child? We as a nation rolled our eyes at their silly attempts to be like men and smugly congratulated ourselves for indulging feminism by mocking it on a societal level. We sure as shit spent more time creating media that portrayed feminism as infantile than we did actually, you know, listening to complaints, raising our consciousness or adjusting society so it was fair.

    And here we are four decades later and though many things have changed for the better, the prevailing attitude seems to be exactly the same. It reminds me of those experiments – also done in the 70s (and earlier) – where people wore special glasses that split their vision in half. The subjects had difficulty commanding their limbs to do various things.

    There’s an idea some people have that their brains are split in half because they feel they have to accept what they know is true (women are people) while simultaneously pining for the days when it was acceptable, even desirable in society, to treat them like they weren’t.

    I think those people blame women for their brains being split in half. Their brains aren’t split in half, though. Get over that cognitive hump – men – and everything is better. Dawkins made two good points right at the start of The God Delusion: the concepts of Raising Consciousness and I Didn’t Know I Could. It’s an astonishing shame that he doesn’t apply either of those excellent concepts to himself.

    Sorry, Ophelia. I’m ranting again but LATSOT MAD, pink trousers ripped, and I hope you’ll excuse it. My work is about making tools people can use to level playing fields and it’s so frustrating that I can hardly tell the attitudes of today from those of forty years ago,

  10. 10
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ latsot : Well said.

  11. 11
    Athywren

    what if civil rights activists had called themselves “blackists”?

    Well… their label would be more precise and make it obvious what they were fighting for? I mean, civil rights is a great label, but they weren’t fighting for civil rights in general, otherwise feminism and the LGBTQ movement would be redundant now.

    Part of me loves that all of the arguments against feminism [with which I've been presented so far] are built on fallacies and lies, but it kinda horrifies me that real, actual, live people who identify as skeptics, and do a fair job of skepticking in other cases buy into them. Makes me wonder what crap I might be perpetuating myself, just because I’m not being reasonable about it.
    A guy added me on steam recently, said he wanted someone to talk to who wouldn’t make him angry (because that’s exactly what I want to be doing in between fighting radscorpions and playing cards with talking dogs). I told him I probably think a lot of things that would make him angry – atheism, skepticism, socialism, feminism. Feminism!? 3rd wave feminism is a cancer on the modern world! Don’t believe me? Watch this video with a woman getting angry at some guy preaching at a gay pride event and not doing a very good job of making her points because she’s angry and edited! Irrelevant and kind of a non sequitur, you say? Well what about this list of carefully pruned and unsourced quotes by such 3rd wave thinkers as Dworkin, Steinem, French, and Solanas? I suspect he would’ve brought out the occasions when feminists had opposed laws “for no reason other than that they help men” next, but I’d arranged to go out to see X-Men at that point in the conversation, so I may never know.
    I can never decide how to react to “arguments” like that… on one hand, it’s reassuring to know that the counter-feminist arguments are so completely vapid, because I do sometimes worry that I’m on the wrong side of almost anything where I’m on a side and, while crap arguments against aren’t good arguments for, at least the arguments against are so consistently worthless. But, on the other hand, people who identify as skeptics present these arguments; the obvious quotemines, ad hominems and non sequiturs, and it’s incredibly distressing that, apparently, skepticism doesn’t grant us any protection from irrationality when we need it the most.

    I don’t think it helps that, among atheists, that Steven Weinberg quote is so popular:

    Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

    Maybe I’m just reading too much into it, but I can’t help but see it as a bad thing to suggest that, if you’re doing bad things, and you’re not religious, then it’s because you’re just bad… it seems like that would make it very easy to dismiss any accusations of wrongdoing as nonsense if your self image is of even a remotely decent person. It also doesn’t help that it fits just as well to say a person doing good can be characterised as evil by religion as that a good person doing evil must be motivated by religion, making it very easy to dismiss as religious any criticism of your actions.
    I mean, I have no evidence that this is how people are thinking about it – it’s entirely possible that the people denying that their actions are bad and accusing feminism of being a religion are being entirely cynical – but it seems to fit.

  12. 12
    Athywren

    but they weren’t fighting for civil rights in general, otherwise feminism and the LGBTQ movement would be redundant now.

    Ok, that’s obviously not true, since racial equality still isn’t there yet, but I mean that they would be redundant as separate movements – it’d all fall under civil rights.

  13. 13
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I am against racism, homophobia, capitalism, fundamentalism, and feminism

    I guess his utopia is a place where all straight men share the hot women equally and get to watch lots of lesbian porn….

  14. 14
    jambonpomplemouse

    Meh, words like “racist” or “homophobic” are seen as insults now by faux-gressives, but that doesn’t stop them from being racist or homophobic. If anything, declaring himself against racism and homophobia is supposed to excuse him from being called out when he says racist or homophobic garbage. At least misogynists are still honest about themselves.

  15. 15
    MyaR

    If anything, declaring himself against racism and homophobia is supposed to excuse him from being called out when he says racist or homophobic garbage.

    Yup. And I will add, most “progressive” white guys seem to think that racism and homophobia are pretty much fixed, so any accusation of such against them is just laughable. Given that he’s also against capitalism, it seems likely that he thinks that any racial inequalities aren’t really racial inequalities, they’re class inequalities, making any accusation of racism all the more laughable. I wonder if he read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Case for Reparations and responded with something like, “Well, the real problem is that all property is theft!” (Note: I’m not necessarily disagreeing with anti-capitalists, just the douchey ones who can’t see intersectionality and differential outcomes based on racism/sexism/etc.)

  16. 16
    corwyn

    This should be taken as evidence that not everybody believes that ‘feminism’ equals ‘non-sexism’. In order to understand and deal with the issue, you will either need to show that they are the same, or just promote non-sexism. Getting indignant that someone doesn’t share your beliefs about the definitions of words is pretty pointless. Taboo the word and move on. Try phrasing all your arguments in words which have no gender implications, that often works.

    He thinks he is making sense.

  17. 17
    Ophelia Benson

    I see. So by the same token if people understand words like “socialist” and “Tory” and “UKIP” as meaning the opposite of their conventionally understood meanings, everyone should just switch to different words rather than point out that that’s a perverse understanding of the words?

  18. 18
    SallyStrange

    This should be taken as evidence that not everybody believes that ‘feminism’ equals ‘non-sexism’.

    No shit, Sherlock. Kind of like how not everybody believes that “scientists say that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are changing the climate” means that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are changing the climate.

    In order to understand and deal with the issue,

    How did you conclude that there was some lack of understanding here about why some people (i.e., sexists and the people who fall for their lies) reject feminism? We’re not puzzled; we’re contemptuous.

    you will either need to show that they are the same,

    Decades of writing and research on the subject already show this.

    or just promote non-sexism.

    Decades of feminism activism already have done this and feminist activists continue to do this.

    Getting indignant that someone doesn’t share your beliefs about the definitions of words is pretty pointless.

    The source of the indignation is not about the lack of shared definitions, but the lack of shared values. Futzing around with word definitions won’t change that.

    Taboo the word and move on.

    No, we’re not going to “taboo” the word feminism because misogynists have mounted a decades-long smear campaign against the movement. Whatever word arose to replace it would be subject to the same smears and disinformation.

    Try phrasing all your arguments in words which have no gender implications, that often works.

    1. No, using gender neutral language to describe gendered phenomena really does not work, for what should be obvious reasons.

    2. Fuck you too.

  19. 19
    AJ Milne

    … well, see, these are brilliantly post-ideological Deep Thinkers*. Their big, manly minds have worked out the trend that things ending in -ism are Baaad. Also, of course, Lysenkoism, Marxism, Communism, expressionism, pessimism, federalism, asceticism, astigmatism…

    … no word on prism, malapropism, nor botulism yet. We’ll get back to you.

    Fun (if probably redundant) fact: this does pass for Deep Thought lots of places. But the whole ‘all ideology is WrongThink’ thing has been getting lots of coverage lately, so, yeah, horse is already dying, and I haven’t the heart.

    (It might be fun just to a general ‘Guilt By Association’ thing here, too, anyway. Y’know… Change our Twitter blurbs for a while to stuff like: ‘People I dislike: Pol Pot, Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler**… also that Ivan K. guy on Twitter.)

    (*/Thought Leaders, we might even say.)

    (**/Optional here: Pauly Shore.)

  20. 20
    Athywren

    Taboo the word and move on.

    Do we have to do this for all words that people wilfully misrepresent over years in order to mislead people? Or just feminism? Do we have to ditch atheism? Humanism? Egalitarianism? Intellectualism? Naturalism? Agnosticism? Socialism? Anarchism? Conservatism? How about words that aren’t labels? What about think? Know? Theory? Believe? Faith? Chicken? Highway? Moose? Banana? Berry? Nut?

  21. 21
    Captaintripps

    Reminds me of a phrase I came up with some years ago: You can have as many peanuts as you want until they’re all gone.

  22. 22
    Anthony K

    Getting indignant that someone doesn’t share your beliefs about the definitions of words is pretty pointless. Taboo the word and move on.

    I’m not familiar with the technical workings of WordPress, but would Jerry Coyne be actually able to rename his blog “Why _______ Is True” until the world’s biologists come up with a suitable replacement for the word that’s chronically misunderstood? How would Google rank it in searches?

  23. 23
    Athywren

    would Jerry Coyne be actually able to rename his blog “Why _______ Is True” until the world’s biologists come up with a suitable replacement for the word that’s chronically misunderstood?

    “Why the relatively slow, with regard to the passage of generations, change in the arrangement of chemical markers along DNA strands which cause an animal to grow subtly different from its parents but significantly different from its distant ancestors, being gradually filtered by the long or short term successfulness of changes such that helpful changes are kept and harmful changes are mostly discarded when they present before reproducing, resulting in wide varieties of life from similar origins Is True”

    I’m no biologist, but how’s that? I think it’s pretty snappy.

  24. 24
    jedibear

    You’re acting as if this is talking about actual feminism as opposed to straw feminism. But a lot of people aren’t very familiar with actual feminism. Straw feminism has perhaps more cultural currency.

    That’s the problem: Feminism doesn’t *have* a commonly-understood definition (anymore?) People judge it by its construction and how it’s commonly used in their experience.

    And it’s not constructed like a word that means “equality.”

    Throw in a large number of people with a vested interest in amplifying the voices of the nuttier self-identified feminists, and a huge helping of disgruntled privilege-blind young men and you arrive at feminism’s current branding problem.

    When you think feminism means that all men are subhuman and should be treated like criminals (hey, it turns out genuine misandry is actually a thing,) it’s pretty hard for a man to get behind that idea.

  25. 25
    theoreticalgrrrl

    You know, Valerie Solanas wrote ONE short satirical book (more like a pamphlet) on flipping things around on men. That was in the ’60′s where radical, shocking things were in. The fact that she tried to kill Andy Warhol had nothing to do with a hatred of men. I was watching a documentary on the Factory scene and she hung out there off and on. She shared her book in that scene and no one was appalled by it. Ultra Violet said she found it interesting. Valerie even played a character similar to the S.C.U.M character in one of Warhol’s films. She was not some prolific feminist writer or an activist, she was a playwright and a heroin addict who was frequently homeless. The motive behind the shooting of Warhol was that he had one of her manuscripts and she wanted it back. Warhol kept telling her he lost it, and she didn’t believe him. (The manuscript was found in he trunk of one of his cars after his death.) There were many people who attempted to kill Warhol, according to the documentary, because he seemed to have a habit of screwing people over (NOT that that excuses any of it), Valerie was just one who was almost successful.

    But anti-feminists keep bringing up her name over and over up as proof that feminists are evil man-haters.

    “…thinkers as Dworkin, Steinem, French, and Solanas..” One of these is not like the others.

  26. 26
    Athywren

    But anti-feminists keep bringing up her name over and over up as proof that feminists are evil man-haters.

    “…thinkers as Dworkin, Steinem, French, and Solanas..” One of these is not like the others.

    Sure, she’s definitely not on par with the others, but my major issue is that he was citing these individuals as a criticism of third wave feminism. ’70s quotes against a ’90s incarnation of the movement, as if it was a monolithic thing that was still mirrored by the incarnation of today… it’s misunderstandings within misunderstandings. I hate to make this comparison, but it’s like debating evolution with a creationist sometimes. You lay out what it is, and try to explain everything simply but comprehensively, and then they demand to see the crocoduck and you just… ugh. And, the quotes from atheists and scientists from 1865 or 1952 are a bit of a parallel too.

    And, yeah, it does amuse me that most quotes that act as “evidence of misandry” are either justifiably angry descriptions of how things were for women in the ’70s or flipping things around and saying “so you’d be cool with this then, yeah?” I mean, I understand why they’d be concerned because, speaking as a male-bodied human being, I don’t want to, for example, be “beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in [my] mouth,” but ffs, Dworkin didn’t want that either. And that’s fucking obvious if you bother to read what she was actually saying beyond those cutesy little quotemines that make up the entirety of their knowledge of her. Not that she was perfect, but that’s an entirely different issue to whether she actually wanted to see men on a serving plate.
    By amuse, I may mean infuriate.

  27. 27
    theoreticalgrrrl

    @Athywren

    I realize you were criticizing people who are clueless about the different “waves” of feminism. I just cringe whenever I see Solanas’ name thrown in with more serious feminist writers, whatever the wave. It’s always the MRA types who never fail to bring up Solanas, along with the quote-mining of people like Dworkin and French.

    I see a lot of ex-coworkers who are facebook friends now totally supporting LGBTQ rights. People who I recall using homophobic slurs when we worked in the same office. Don’t get me started on the sexist shit they would say all the time. Which I did complain about and was just laughed at in response. They seem to have developed progressive views on gay rights and anti-racism, but not feminism.

  28. 28
    leni

    I see. So by the same token if people understand words like “socialist” and “Tory” and “UKIP” as meaning the opposite of their conventionally understood meanings, everyone should just switch to different words rather than point out that that’s a perverse understanding of the words?

    If other words are better why not do both?

  29. 29
    Forbidden Snowflake

    If other words are better why not do both?

    The bolded part assumes facts not in evidence.
    Look, changing terminology would only be beneficial in the long term if the current situation is the result of an honest misunderstanding. It isn’t so it wouldn’t.

  30. 30
    SallyStrange

    Fuckin’ driveby assholes.

  1. 31
    Guest post by latsot: Tools people can use to level playing fields » Butterflies and Wheels

    […] a comment on To hell with making sense, […]

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