New York Times’ Editorial board calls for drug policy to enter the 21st century

Because, you know, policy that harms more than it heals, laws that create criminals instead of mitigating criminality, is a little bit stupid.

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

It seems silly to call them brave – but, I think, that among other compliments are deserved.

Read the rest.

Plagiarism in the age of instant, digital content

Buzzfeed has fired its “viral politics editor”, Benny Johnson, for numerous (read: forty one so far?) instances of plagiarism. Buzzfeed isn’t some bedroom-based conveyor belt of clickable content, it’s a major site, employing many people, producing original content and sometimes actual journalism.

However, Buzzfeed, as a whole, is an entity existing in an ethical quandary with content creation. [Read more...]

Male entitlement, why it’s a problem, why I (and you should) oppose it

Because, in 2014 (not, you know, 1814), a woman can be sent a document, from her husband, detailing when she said no to sex. Because a website can publish a list of traits “attractive girls” have that, I guess, “unattractive” girls don’t. Because a man who’s not exactly on good terms with women’s equality can make an entire album for his ex-wife about getting her back – and people think it’s cute, not incredibly invasive and creepy.

Because, perhaps worst of all, many responses to such stories express support for the men writing and conveying such worldviews; because people, especially women, who oppose such treatment  are threatened, harassed, abused. Women are owed to men, it seems. [Read more...]

Women, science and the machine of exclusion

In my latest for The Daily Beast, I respond to a piece about how “females” just can’t brain science as well as men – or rather, that “females as a whole” tend to find science boring. Apparently. According to some dodgy data.

Anyway, I had some amazing input from some brilliant scientists who have had experience with this. There is also plenty of data supporting the machine thesis, that of a culture that makes science into a man’s space, that is unwelcoming to women, then uses women’s absence and disinterest (after they’ve been taught to be) that women don’t like science.

Of course while writing it, I forced myself to watch that awful Science: It’s a Girl Thing video again. *Shiver*

Remember this BS?

Yeah. I totally wonder why women found this so horrible! /s

Robin Thicke and self-entitled creepiness

So, I’m not what you’d call a regular listener to radio. I did, however, encounter Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” when it came out – and found it not only a repulsive song, musically, but also morally. I think we should care about what goes into our creative endeavours, but maybe I’m just a crazy person.

Anyway, with the release of his new song and album, his put his creepy factor into a new gear. I was not impressed; and hate the normalisation of viewing women’s rejection as some kind of game or challenge. I wrote more about it over at The Daily Beast.

Against stigma of sex workers and adult performers

In my latest for The Daily Beast, I look at the case of camgirl and adult performer Eden Alexander – who had a fundraiser for important medical bills cut off because… sex work is icky?

The site that processes payments for the fundraiser, WePay, asserted that Alexander had violated their ToS, which strictly prohibits funds being donated in exchange for sexy activities. Except, as you’ll see, that’s not what happened: She retweeted notifications from porn sites that offered “perks”, in return for donating. That was not at Alexander’s doing and it’s bizarre that she should be held accountable for the actions of others – who were finding ways to get, you know, medicine for her. This aside from the dismissal of sex work as work.

It’s a hodgepodge mix of reactionary nonsense and sex worker stigma, which shows in a tangible way what arbitrary prejudice can do (and, no, I’m not claiming WePay “sent” her to the hospital – since, after all, the company is doing what they can to repair a mistake they never should’ve made in the first place). We shouldn’t stand for such mistreatment of innocent people, who are only viewed as “bad” because their work involves something R-Rated.

I hate that companies are ruled by policies that seem catered toward the most conservative moral viewpoint. Especially when they can lead to unnecessary harm.

Keeping “the gays” out of gaming

I wrote a piece for The Daily Beast on Nintendo’s response to wanting same-sex relations in one of their games. For many – including gaming fans – this may seem like so much nonsense. Yet, what it speaks to is a greater problem of exclusion and targeting, of how you do harm by doing “nothing” or ignoring, within a popular medium – in this case, games.

You can examine all sorts of mediums, but the one I’ve dealt with here – because it is my passion – is games. I do challenge you, though, to read the comments without wanting to build a spaceship and find other planets. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I‘ve been Tweeting a bit about so many stupid responses.

It’s pretty bizarre how there still exist such mindsets with such deep-seated hatred for gay people and same-sex attraction. Why? It’s simply something I cannot fathom – and I say that as someone who advocates understanding your opponent in debates. I’m not gay myself, so I’ve never had to face such horrible treatment (Homophobic slurs tossed at me don’t count as experiencing homophobia, merely because I write about sex equality – I think I made some commenters* angrier when I indicated I’m not, in fact, gay).

I just don’t know whether there even exists a debate about whether gay people are persons – so it means I don’t have opponents, so much as people holding completely strange and bigoted worldviews. Of course, this doesn’t mean swearing or treating these opponents badly – it just means that any bridge for comprehension collapsed some time ago. I’d like it to return to have them change their mind, but I don’t know. It is very difficult.

Why hate gay people so much? I mean, geez! Equating them with Nazis? Friggin‘ hell.

*Not ALL commenters.

Abortion, choice and stigma

My latest for The Daily Beast is a criticism of apparent moral hypocrisy regarding a woman’s choice to have an abortion, premised on disliking a women’s chosen career path. There’s more to it than that, of course, but I really dislike the idea that people can be pro-choice – but only for some women (who are not “sluts”, “famewhores , etc., like aspiring model Josie Cunningham).

There’s a debate to have on what “pro-choice” means – which choice, etc. – but that’s different to being a hypocrite, which we all need to be careful of. Especially if it feeds in to an already prevalent and powerful stigma that has damaging repercussions on actual policy.