“Get your antifemininity out of my feminism”

This essay by s. e. smith is something I honestly wish I could have written myself (but see Comment 1 below), because it’s a point that is rarely raised in fighting against misogynist sentiment and the gender roles that enable it. That point is, eliminating those gender stereotypes does not entail actually eliminating the stereotyped behaviour. Making this society safe for manly and effeminate behaviours from both sexes is paramount, regardless of whether or not the specific behaviours conform with the proscribed gender roles.

I want to live in a world where little girls are not pinkified, but where little girls who like pink are not punished for it, either. We can certainly talk about the social pressures surrounding gender roles, and the concerns that people have when they see girls and young women who appear to be forced into performances of femininity by the society around them, but let’s stop acting like they have no agency and free will. Let’s stop acting like women who choose to be feminine are somehow colluders, betraying the movement, bamboozled into thinking that they want to be feminine. Let’s stop denying women their own autonomy by telling them that their expressions of femininity are bad and wrong.

Antifemininity is misogynist. What you are saying when you engage in this type of rhetoric is that you think things traditionally associated with women are wrong. Which is misogynist. By telling feminine women that they don’t belong in the feminist movement, you are reinforcing the idea that to be feminine and a woman is wrong, that women who want to be taken seriously need to be more masculine, because most people view gender presentation in binary ways. This rewards the ‘one of the boys’ type rhetoric I encounter all over the place from self-avowed feminists who seem to think that bashing on women is a good way to prove how serious they are when it comes to caring about women and bringing men into the feminist movement.

There’s much, much more right here. What do you folks think?

The new coder culture: “Brogrammers”

A few days ago, Neil McAllister of Fatal Exception covered the age and gender disparity in the software development world, and it sounds strikingly similar to stories about the science research world, video gaming communities, the various atheist communities online, and hell, even the “Brony” community. Apparently, a sort of generalized culture has emerged within a number of software development companies where programmers act like fraternity brothers, and pretty well the only ones who can get and stay in their positions are young males willing to binge-drink. Everyone else experiences the sort of chilly climate we’ve discussed in those aforementioned, more proximate cultures.

Some say the problem is our education system. Schools and colleges should be doing more to encourage girls and young women to explore computing. Right now that’s not happening. Overall enrollment in university computer science programs is up 10 percent from last year, but enrollment among women is down.

Others say companies should provide the encouragement. Some companies already are; Etsy, for example, is offering $50,000 in grants to send women to its Hacker School training program in New York City this summer.

That’s admirable, but it falls short of addressing the real problem, which is that software development isn’t just failing to attract women. It’s actively pushing them away. Worse, they’re not the only ones.

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Nothing is true, everything is permitted — except a female Assassin

One of the really cool things about the Assassin’s Creed series is how many liberties it takes with the historical source materials, in order to build a vast conspiracy theory of Templars vs Assassins. The story goes about assigning historical figures throughout the ages to one or the other faction, putting them into direct conflict for artifacts of a precursor civilization from which, it seems, every religion in history drew inspiration. The entire franchise is history-inspired fiction. Assassin’s Creed 3 is due to be set in the American Revolution.

And yet when Kotaku asked creative director Alex Hutchinson whether AC3 could feature a female assassin, considering the story from 1 through the Ezio trilogy that makes up 2 is absolutely chock full of killer ladies, he suggested that the story of the American Revolution is a story about dudes.

“It’s always up in the air,” the new game’s creative director, Alex Hutchinson, said, “I think lots of people want it, [but] in this period it’s been a bit of a pain. The history of the American Revolution is the history of men. … There are a few people, like John Adams’ wife, [Abigail]—they tried very hard in the TV series to not make it look like a bunch of dudes, but it really is a bunch of dudes. It felt like, if you had all these men in every scene and you’re secretly, stealthily in crowds of dudes [as a female assassin], it starts to feel kind of wrong. People would stop believing it.”

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Pat Robertson: “Man up” and give money to the church against wife’s wishes

Oh yeah. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s the kinda take-charge attitude that’ll get you divorced in a hurry. Wife’s not a Christian? Family budget is in the red? Wife more concerned about feeding the kids than about your spiritual needs? Worried that God won’t like you if you don’t give ten percent of your earnings to the church? Well our buddy Pat Robertson says: put God before your wife and kids, and tithe anyway!

Pat is just so precious with his “man is the spiritual leader of the house” and “God really only likes people who sacrifice 10% of their money to a church that cares more about your tithing than feeding the kids”.

I wonder if Pat tithed 10% of the money he made off that slave-driven Liberian gold mine.

16 year old girl Hacks the Tube almost into space to get into MIT

Via Boing Boing, this is absolutely awesome. As part of their Early Action Admits, MIT challenges prospective students to hack the tube the enrollment letter came in into something cool. So one 16-year-old girl put a camera, a GPS, and two Ham radio transmitters, strapped it to an 800 gram helium balloon, and sent it nearly 91,000ft from Earth’s surface. That’s well into the stratosphere. 90% of the mass of the atmosphere is below the 52,000ft mark, and very nearly 100% below the 330,000ft mark, so that’s above a significant proportion of the atmosphere — as good as into space, as far as I’m concerned.

She’s of course been admitted. And she’s going to make one damn fine engineer, I expect.

Three year old girl has gender marketing all figured out

Via Unicorn Booty, a three-year-old realizes there’s something very wrong with gender marketing and goes on a rant. I don’t know how much she’s been taught to look out for this stuff, but either way, she’s the next generation and it warms my heart.

When three year olds can come to such feminist realizations unbidden, I have some hope for the eventual destruction of gender roles and the gender-specific marketing that goes with it. Compare and contrast with the recent attempt to pinkwash LEGO.

I hope this girl grows up to like superheroes if she wants, and only buys pink things if she decides she likes pink.

In defense of my male feminism

I’ve had listed for some time, as part of my profile on the right, the fact that I consider myself a feminist. I put it in shortly after joining Freethought Blogs and being assailed in very short order by the winged monkeys who have this absurd tendency of descending onto any pro-feminism post, shouting down the defenders of equality with absurd accusations of being misandrist. Merely by considering our patriarchy to be heavily weighted against women, who despite making up over half our population seem to get the short end of the stick more often than not, you are de facto anti-male, apparently. I added that descriptive out of spite for the denizens of the slimepit who consider women fighting for women’s rights to be evil, and men fighting for women’s rights to be “fauxminists” just looking to get laid.

And, frankly, I think I fit the descriptive of “feminist” well enough that I did not hesitate in adding it, though until that point I called myself pretty much exclusively an egalitarian. I despise the gender roles that harm both men and women in different ways, and I recognize that the ways in which women are disadvantaged significantly outweigh the disadvantages that men have, especially taken in concert with the advantages that male privilege confers. I want gender roles to simply evaporate, to disappear entirely, to be cast off like the vestigial organs that they are in light of the harm that they do to humans of all genders, and that simply won’t happen without taking out the cultural institutions that reinforce them with each generation.

So imagine my surprise when I saw a post by fellow FtB blogger Comrade PhysioProffe, excoriating a disturbing trend of taking the name of “feminism” under troubling pretenses, like the case of Hugo Schwyzer. My surprise came not from the fact that Schwyzer deserves more scrutiny — after all, he built a career of teaching women how to be feminists out of some expressed remorse for having attempted to murder an ex girlfriend, so he damn well deserves scrutiny as a result.

My surprise, rather, was borne out of the fact that Comrade caught me in the blast.
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Reports of gender roles’ death are greatly exaggerated

Via Right Wing Watch, James Dobson and Bill Bennett mourn the death of traditional male gender roles, thanks to those meddling gays and feminists. If only those roles were actually dead!

Dobson: You’re concerned about manhood today, aren’t you?

Bennett: Yes.

Dobson: Especially in the Western world, we’ve forgotten what it means to be a man. And we’re not teaching our boy’s to be men. Why?

Bennett: That’s exactly right, because… moral relativism, the notion that there’s no right and wrong, who’s to say? The dizzying array of signals, the gay culture, which has confused an awful lot of boys, the message is there.

Dobson: The feminist movement has just hammered away at what manhood means.

Bennett: The feminist movement, remember Gloria Steinem, ‘a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.’ If you put on TV, if you go to the universities, if you check the popular culture, there is not a consistent message to boys about what it means to be a man, and as a result they’re confused.

Why exactly is it so hard for these people who are so anti-feminist to understand that there have been multiple waves of feminism, just as there has been multiple waves of the civil rights movement (including the fringe Black Panthers), and that not everyone in a movement believes as the fringe does? And that Gloria Steinem, with her criticisms of transsexualism and pornography and even of enjoying the company of men, by no means represents even a majority of feminists, much less all feminists in the movement? I mean, these are the same people who would throw violent right-wing Christian extremists under the bus for “not being true Christians” when they murder abortion doctors or gays. How is this difficult for them to comprehend, when they say the exact same thing when we talk about their violent fringe, and they demand that we not paint all believers with the same brush?

Forgetting what it means “to be a man” is not a bad thing. None of the things that these lackwits believe makes “a man” are intrinsic to maleness. I know too many women — heterosexual sex-enjoying women who wage constant war with this patriarchy we live in — who are more “man” by those standards than Dobson and Bennett. Likewise with gay men, who face oppression every single damned day just for enjoying cock regardless of what else makes up their personalities. Never mind that their other attributes are never in question, just their preference in genitalia.