Scott Adams mansplains why feminists are wrong about street harassment or something

I had no idea, OK. I didn’t know Scott Adams, a person I admired for his Dilbert comic, was… well, like this. I wrote an article for The Daily Beast on street harassment and male entitlement in general; let’s just say Mr Adams and I disagree somewhat.

He wrote this blogpost last month, but yeah. OK. So… let’s have a look.

—–

This blog is written for a rational audience

Well, thanks. I guess?

in 2014, sexism is not so much the “can’t vote” type of problem it once was. It’s more of the “Someone is making me uncomfortable” or “I think my gender played a role in a decision” or “I can’t tell if this is a business meeting or a date” sort of thing.

I’d like to point to a small American paper called the New York Times, though I realise I’m quoting from all the way back to three days ago. This is what’s happening in his own country. Right now.

Anti-abortion measures pose a risk to all pregnant women, including those who want to be pregnant.

Such laws are increasingly being used as the basis for arresting women who have no intention of ending a pregnancy and for preventing women from making their own decisions about how they will give birth.

How does this play out? Based on the belief that he had an obligation to give a fetus a chance for life, a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered a critically ill 27-year-old woman who was 26 weeks pregnant to undergo a cesarean section, which he understood might kill her. Neither the woman nor her baby survived.

In Iowa, a pregnant woman who fell down a flight of stairs was reported to the police after seeking help at a hospital. She was arrested for “attempted fetal homicide.”

In Utah, a woman gave birth to twins; one was stillborn. Health care providers believed that the stillbirth was the result of the woman’s decision to delay having a cesarean. She was arrested on charges of fetal homicide.

In Louisiana, a woman who went to the hospital for unexplained vaginal bleeding was locked up for over a year on charges of second-degree murder before medical records revealed she had suffered a miscarriage at 11 to 15 weeks of pregnancy.

You can nail this next to the other numerous incidents of women – still in America, today – being arrested for not stopping abuse while themselves being abused. Oh, but yeah, it’s probably just feminists overreacting – not shitty laws worth opposing, like voting law restrictions which Adams deems proper feminist issue. Nope: voting is far more important than women being locked up and arrested for trying to protect their own bodies and selves and lives and making autonomous decisions. (Note: voting of course matters, but why is this more worthy of feminist sledgehammers than fucking bodily autonomy that still is an issue today?)

Again, I’ve not even mentioned what happens to Muslim women in conservative Muslim countries or elsewhere. Even America sucks when it comes to women, dude.

Then we get this bit of patronizing nonsense (aside from the whole thing).

I pause here to make a clarification for any folks who might have wandered over here from Jezebel.com, HuffingtonPost.com, or Slate.com. I will try to type slowly so you understand this next part: Scott…is…saying…there…is… still …plenty… of …spousal abuse…job discrimination …sex crimes… and …other …horrors…perpetrated against…women.  But in 2014 that stuff looks more like crime than sexism. All women and 98% of men are on the same side when it comes to the criminal stuff.

(I like how he thinks ellipses indicates typing slowly, whereas I could’ve taken an hour to write this sentence.) [Read more…]

UPDATE 3.00: I created a monster called #Readergate on Twitter (UPDATE: It’s in Bustle)

I think.

Anyway, I want to sit here and be proud and pretend I did something for once in my life.

But more importantly, go have a look at some of the brilliant responses from others – and please contribute your own. It’s hilarious and cuts to the heart of the stupidity of #Gamergate. The power of satire can always be useful.

UPDATE: Caitlin White has a succinct yet remarkably accurate write up of its history in Bustle. Great piece.

UPDATE 2: There’s a write up at Salon that’s excellent.

UPDATE 3: I also tried to respond to some #Gamergaters on reddit. I got some reddit Gold for trying, so there’s that.

 

Don’t let Steven Santagati & his supporters be the voice of men in street harassment videos

We all saw that street harassment video.

Here’s a follow up, on CNN, discussing it with comedian Amanda Seales and a… well, a bro.

As soon as The Bro starts speaking, though, good luck trying not to desk-flip.

The Bro in question, Mr Steven Santagati, is the author of the book The MANual: A True Bad Boy Explains How Men Think, Date, and Mate–and What Women Can Do to Come Out on Top. The book cover is wonderful, with various lines stabbing the man’s anatomy – like one pointing to a watch saying “Time to meet another girl” (geddit?), and another pointing to his eye: “Sees you whenever he feels like it” (so bad *giggle*!). So yeah, Santagati was obviously a great representative for men.

Or rather, the men that think catcalling is fine and that women wouldn’t have a problem with it, if the guys catcalling “were hot”.

Yes, Mr Steven Santagati says this, among other insightful things, so let’s review his wise words for the mens. Beware… it’s stupid. And it’s long. Here we go… [Read more…]

An actual journalist gives gamergate a parental talking to

So Boston Globe‘s Jesse Singal had a write-up about Gamergate. It’s a short account, but one that he obviously researched and is a good overview for those wanting to know WTF is happening who don’t care about games. (I mean, if you want meat and fat and all sorts of details, read Kyle Wagner’s epic piece at Deadspin.)

Anyway, someone in proGamergate reddit was not pleased, labelling their link as “Another poorly-researched hit-piece, from the Boston Globe”.

Singal, praise Cthulu, decided to comment on reddit itself and it’s incredible to behold.

Me: I don’t think this is really about corruption as much as it’s about discomfort with feminism. After all, a lot of the heat seems to be aimed at small female devs/commentators of a feminist bent.

GamerGaters on Twitter: Not true! So unfair! Go to KIA!

[Goes to KIA. Suspicions appear to be mostly confirmed.]

As someone who cares about ethics in media, I’m still waiting for what exactly Gamergate wants. So far, I’ve seen childish nonsense or completely debunked assertions. [Read more…]

Women are not props for your “pranks”, they’re people

There are few YouTube “celebs” I follow. One I greatly support is Laci Green. Please watch this important clip of her response to a rather awful-sounding creep & his ilk, who touch and sexually interact with women without their consent.

Women are not props, they’re people. Their bodies are not there to be fondled without their consent; their mouths are not to there to be invaded by your tongues.

This is not funny, it’s disturbing. Creeps need to be shunned, not given a platform at applauded. I’m glad corporations are taking actions against this particular Sam Pepper guy – but given the ubiquity of the mindset that allowed him to do it in the first place, seeing how many copy-cats he has and how many fans laugh in support, we all need to continue our outspoken opposition to mistreatment of women.

“Bad things happen – get over it”

That’s the message from this Rosie Millard piece [DNL url]: “Women get their bottoms pinched. It is part of life. Get over it”.

I don’t know much about the legal aspects, I don’t know whether we charge someone for a crime the victim says she’s over. I think those are complicated questions, deserving of fuller examination on a case-by-case basis. However, Millard goes from these concerns to outright telling people to “get over it”. That’s a separate discussion, but it’s woven in seamlessly into the discussion of prosecuting this guy called David Lee Travis. Just watch (emphasis mine):

The unnamed victim of the assault, who said she was paralysed with fear at the time, has spoken of her luck in being able to get on with the rest of her life after the event – the event being having your breasts squeezed for 15 seconds, backstage at The Mrs Merton Show. Hello? If such things really caused deep trauma, half the female population of the UK would be in long-term therapy. Women get their breasts squeezed. They get their bottoms pinched. Without asking for it. It is not particularly exciting, but it is part of life. Get over it.

But don’t worry, I guess, because it happens all the time in the media.

In the media, where the intoxicating combination of fame is customarily wafted about in what one might deem a bohemian atmosphere, this sort of behaviour is particularly apparent. Again, not something to be proud of, but it is simply part of the setup.

You know like how non-whites in apartheid had to use separate entrances? Yeah, it sucks, but you know: “It’s part of the setup”. I look forward to telling my dad the reason he couldn’t buy a house in another neighbourhood was that it was “part of the setup”; that he should’ve “got over it”. It’s part of life, you know? Geez.

this sort of thing happened all the time, so much so that it was almost funny.

Ah, well, if you think it was “almost funny” I guess no other person should have to worry.

I am not referring to or indeed excusing sexual assault. I am pointing out that there was, and probably always will be, a certain amount of irresponsible behaviour in the entertainment world, whether from Radio 1 DJs or anyone else, and women in particular have to negotiate it as they see fit.

They “negotiate it” by speaking out; they “negotiate” by pointing out who the creeps are.

Dear Rosie Millard: Women and marginalised people will speak out. Get over it. People who think an environment is too protective of powerful men will voice their disaproval. Get over it.

I am sick of people using their platforms to defend the status quo which they themselves acknowledge isn’t safe, secure, helpful. I’m sick of people blowing smoke in the face of awful behaviour because that’s “just” the environment – as if we’re powerless beings who are not fighting back by speaking out. And yet when we do speak out, we are told to “get over it”.

I have to keep asking: Why would you use your finite time, finite resources to yell at people wanting progress and improvement? If you also can acknowledge that things suck, why would you not want them changed? And if you say, I’m just pointing out reality, you’ve done nothing: We know the environments suck, we know women are mistreated. If we didn’t already know that, we wouldn’t be speaking out. Whereas activists are saying “This environment is awful therefore we should change it”, shruggers go “This environment is awful therefore that’s the way it is.” Who cares? We know that’s the way it is and we want it changed.

Environments are created by humans, we change them, improve them. They’re not magically entombed. These wizards from the school of the insultingly obvious seem so keen on taking on activists or those who want change. I can’t really understand why: if they annoy you, who cares? How are you affected except that – shock! – as a marginalised person, you might have a better, more safe environment? Otherwise, why do you want to stay in a creepy environment?

These people are confusing and are targeting the wrong people. I really want them to use their resources and finite time for better ends. We could use it – the creeps don’t fucking need defending. Society in many ways does that already.

“But she’s wrong about Hitman!”

I wrote this as a comment on gaming site I write for  – on Anita Sarkeesian and the topic of disagreement in game culture. Thought I’d post it here so I could curate proper discussion, because this is an issue I’m grappling with as a game and culture “critic” – and as a person trying to be decent. [sic] all around.

I’m not a fan of her work, but don’t see why a woman facing death, rape and bomb threats, who is at least bringing conversation, requires me to do in-depth criticism, 300 youtubes of how she’s wrong about Hitman, etc.

Frankly, I’d rather defend her right to be part of the culture and focus on her and others’ safety, than how they don’t get my favourite game is actually super important and the best thing ever. Games matter less than people’s safety.

Second there are plenty of people who deserve more attention for how wrong they are about games, such as those who say it “causes” violence, journalists who flout their swag, show off and show little engagement with material of games, developers who screw their audience, Kickstarter failures, etc. All these are actually detrimental. One person’s YouTube criticism is not.

I’m actually not interested in people’s criticisms of her work. First, because I have my own; second, who needs to hear it right now? Will the industry die because your voice wasn’t heart against Sarkeesian?

Imagine meeting an astrologer who’s got death threats and demanding he pay you attention, from a screaming mob, so that you can deliver criticism of his pseudoscience. I don’t care that you’re right about astrology; I care that you’re using time and energy to criticise him when you could be using it to defend him against bullies threatening him.

I also want to add: If we want to develop a culture that handles criticism properly, we need to care about people first. For example, those wanting “social issues” removed from game reviews are wanting solidification of the current state; the state that allows so many people to reach this level of anger at harmless women. Games can’t be removed from social dynamics anymore than cars or paintings can be. How you examine such items devoid of the contexts and identities that gave rise to such things in the first place is beyond me – except that you’d be delivering the most neutral, bland inhuman aspects of it. Imagine describing the Mona Lisa by listing the colours and direction of brushstrokes – that’s what it sounds like to me when you plead for objectivity. (No I don’t think every game write-up should analyise the race/sex aspects and what the second tree really means; but I do think such things can be written and should be done without cries of it being not part of gaming – or that it’s “ruining” games.)

You want to criticise Sarkeesian – Great. Work on creating a culture where doing so is done maturely, civilly and with sensitivity to the other person as the default. By pushing through with your criticism, you’re making it clear you don’t care about the current context a harmless person is facing for merely trying to make games better. Whether she’s right is debatable; whether she – and others – should have her life and safety threatened is not. Right now, I know what my priority is in this particular instance.

Maybe one day we can debate the merits of her video – and I might actually agree with you on some points. But now is not that time and, as indicated, there are other targets more worth your criticism. Otherwise you just become part of the climate that is already a room of knives.

In which I make the case against comment sections cos I hate free speech

In the Guardian I made the case. I did! At least according to some commenters.

Yup. Free speech is bad and by removing comment sections I can magically prevent everyone in the world ever having conversations, silence their dissent and such. Did you know before comment sections, no writers or thinkers or people were ever told they were wrong? Yes! Criticism never happened in alternate ways, such as in-depth discussions, letters, and so on.

No. Only comment sections.

I had no idea that shutting off comment sections meant shutting off people’s internet access and ability to start their own blogs, use forums, etc. But as I hate free speech and am a dictator, I am obviously glad. Anyway, I have to go sit on my thrown made of the silent screams of my critics which I will never ever hear ever again because I am all-powerful and none shall ever oppose me.