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Sometimes a bunny is just a bunny

I just despair.

There is sexism everywhere, and there are battles to be fought. I agree completely that there are strong strains of odious stereotypy running through our culture, and that we have to be vocal in opposing them. Much of it is unconscious and not intended maliciously, but it still perpetuates a problem. It’s good to oppose it.

But this morning a raging flame war exploded in a thread about a cute bunny cartoon. The bunny who is the voice of religion is wearing a dress; the practical bunny playing the role of science wears pants. Some people said it’s sexist; some people said it wasn’t. And then the war was launched.

This is the WRONG BATTLE.

Are you really fighting for the right for the cute bunny in the dress in a cartoon to not be the religious one? I have never seen feminism reduced to such appalling depths of triviality as I have in that thread. I am literally embarrassed to see a 300+-comment thread erupt over this inanity, and to see it begin in only the second comment to the thread…it’s ridiculous.

I tried tracing down the source of the image, with no luck; it appeared on reddit, on a couple of discussion forums, but no one seems to give credit to the artist. If we found more examples of this person’s work, and there were a pattern of always making the girl bunny the dumb bunny, then you’d have a case — the artist is consciously or unconsciously expressing a sexist trope. Without more information, you cannot possibly judge this cartoon as a reflection of an underlying bias against women. You cannot see a pattern in a sample of one. It’s also simply not true that portraying women as stupid is a staple of cartoons — from Fred Flintstone to Homer Simpson, the trend goes the other way. Yes, it’s still sexism — but if the comic in question had swapped the pants and dress on the bunnies, someone could object just as strongly. Given only two characters, one representing reason and one irrationality, there is actually no combination of sexes that isn’t going to offend someone, if you choose to see it only as a parable of sexual relations.

It isn’t. The two characters are having a conversation about science and religion, they are not using gendered language, and they’ve both been made childlike by portraying them as little cute bunnies. It’s fair to note that there are sexist biases in our culture, and that many of them belittle women, but that’s not what the comic was about; note it and move on.

Move on to change it where it matters. You want to say society diminishes women’s roles? I’ll agree with you. You want to complain about the unjustified authority given to men? I’ll back you 100%. You found some weasel who wants to deny that women are treated like second-rate citizens? I’ll join in the stomping. But show prolonged outrage at one twee cartoon that just happens to have a bunny in a dress playing the role of Simplicio, and you’ve lost me.

I’m going off to Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m not going to pay any attention to Pharyngula for a while. Go ahead and make me the target for your ire for a while, I expect this thread to turn into a screaming melee, too. I’ll be more impressed, though, if you take a moment to instead come up with real instances of oppression, discrimination, and intimidation of women (they’re not hard to find), rather than railing about the importance of toy bunny dresses.

Comments

  1. says

    Mick:

    So the author might have unconsciously assigned the less rational rabbit a female gender

    Oh FFS. The author/artist made a deliberate, conscious choice. Read the damn thread.

  2. Cameron says

    Perhaps both the bunnys are male, one just likes to dress as a woman and it turns out we haven’t seen the ‘female’ version of this particular bunny and it looks nothing like this male version because of sexual dimorphism :O

    I agree with PZ, but I also agree with dress + pink writing = girl, although pink and blue are nice, soft contrasting colours which are useful for coloured font. Blue also used to be the colour for girls and pink the colour for boys back in the day.

    So yeah, there might be underlying sexism but is it saying that females are more likely to be religious or to be irrational and therefore religious?

    I also agree that the argument only really started when people started saying there was no possibility of sexism but I also think, in my privileged way, that it was suicide to bring up a possible case of sexism, that could be easily disputed, on this forum.

    So I lean towards PZ’s side but wouldn’t want to stop people from talking about possible cases of sexism but I would also want people to be able to reasonably dispute those claims without being called a misogynist.

  3. Smoochie says

    This is weird.

    Point the first
    PZ does his level best to be The Perfect Liberal(TM), and pays excruciating attention to avoid bias based on gender, sexual orientation, race or religion (ok, the lack of bias on the last point extends to assuming they’re all idiots). I believe this is down to his sincere belief that, at heart, all humans have equal rights and an equal potential to be good, bad, clever, or stupid.

    Point the second
    We have a thread where a large number of people have him classed as an MRA wannabee.

    Point the third
    Does this mean that (a) PZ has lost his marbles, (b) PZ’s past behaviour has been a years-long set-up for an epic troll, or (c) Some commentators have lost a little perspective?

    Am I an MRA wannabee too?

  4. setar, too lazy to log in on his blackberry says

    Caine #403: It’s not just now. I’m always late, and if not that I just get ignored probably because I’m so calmand direct compared to most here which makes it stupidly unreasonable to complain about the tone of my posts.

    I hatebit. Everyone else gets to be awesomely smart and I get to follow in their footsteps seemingly doing everything right and being told that I’m smart too.

    -sigh-

  5. Cameron says

    @Caine, Fleur du Mal (still don’t know how to quote yet, sorry)

    Ah, just saw the updates in your post above me. Interesting. If I was that guy, I wouldn’t leave it down to the internets even if the “facts/stats” were right, it would have to be an subconscious choice on my part otherwise I’d probably de-sex both the rabbits.

    Surprised the author didn’t go as far as assigning “girl” and “boy” in the speech bubbles.

  6. says

    Setar:

    I’m always late, and if not that I just get ignored

    Hey, I was late on this one and left the first thread early and if it makes you feel better, I’ve been pretty much ignored in this thread too. It happens, lots of people talking. It doesn’t mean you aren’t read or appreciated.

    Don’t go clubbing yourself over the head.

  7. Fleegman says

    I thought the whole point of all this was the unfortunate sexism on display in the cartoon, regardless of whether or not the author meant it. With that in mind, I’m not sure I understand why the intentions of the artist makes a difference, regarding your opinion in the OP, PZ.

    So now we find out that the author decided on the genders based on which one is more likely to be religious. You call this a “smoking gun” and because of that, apparently all the rantings and ravings you were complaining about in the last thread is somehow ok, now, and totally justified.

    Further, if the intentions of the author were relevent, here, those intentions sound anything but sexist. It sounds like they were “which gender is more likely to be religious?” as opposed to “I’ll make the girl the credulous one, because that’s my personal preference” (I’m not convinced 100% about this, since he said he suspected it would be the female)

    If the author had simply flipped a coin, PZ, would your original comments about the last thread still stand?

    It just seems like you’ve made a U-turn on the basis of something irrelevent in order to avoid being thrown under the same bus as Dawkins for making the same kind of comment he made.

  8. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Cameron @506:

    Here’s your free, radioactive, heat-seeking, sexually-kinky but safeword-deaf, zombie porcupine.

    see #472 for offer details.

  9. says

    I’m really glad about PZ’s post #430.

    However, it does suggest that he changed his mind after ascertaining the intent of the artist. But many have said, and I agree, that even if the artist hadn’t intended for the cartoon to be sexist, that would still not rule out ingrained, unintended sexism. Also, #430 didn’t really address the question about the shit storm that broke loose in reaction to a short observation regarding the inherent sexism.

    David M: the first time I ever heard of the watermelon stereotype when this incident happened, involving a math professor working Condoleezza Rice and watermelons into an exam question:

    http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/news/2006/09/14/suspend

  10. setar, too lazy to log in on his blackberry says

    It’s a deeper issue than just Pharyngula, Caine. All my life I’ve been lauded as being smart but it seems like others are not only as smart, but they seem to get more opportunities and do more stuff and have a life while I’m stuck off in the corner supposedly smart but ridiculed for it and my other ‘weird’ behaviour far more often than I am praised, get manipulated or mostly ignored when I try to socialize and wonder why I don’t get these other opportunities if I’m so smart and thus distrust others when they say it because it must be some personal failing that keeps me off in this sort of limbo.

    I think I have Asperger syndrome, but at current I have no avenue to get tested for it and when I last raised the possibility to my mother she, well…kind of dismissed it x.x

  11. Sammywol says

    I came to this all backwards. I read this post of PZ’s first and then went to the thread with the actual ‘cartoon’. Over the last few years, since long before ElevatorGate I have been impressed by PZ’s efforts in championing feminist issues so I was all primed to agree with him about the bunnies. Except … wince! With the pink and blue speech bubbles the gender assignation couldn’t have been clearer and while I loved the analogy and laughed and all there was that very familiar sting of ‘oh, this again’ sexism. Not flaming MRA nuttery. Not frothing, raging misogyny. But definitely a ‘check your privilege’ moment. (Although my opinions did harden a good deal once I read the comments and found it wasn’t totally unconscious on the artist’s part but a deliberate choice of gendering.)

    And no it doesn’t matter if this was the only piece the guy had ever done it is not a data point of one. It is pink microscope territory.

    It is probably entirely my own problem though that throughout this thread and the last one my most consistent emotion has been a wounded howl from my onetime academic psyche of ‘It’s not a bloody ‘cartoon’!!!!’ Time to go put my tantrum-ing inner pedant on timeout I think.

  12. says

    Crip Dyke:

    Cameron @506:

    Here’s your free, radioactive, heat-seeking, sexually-kinky but safeword-deaf, zombie porcupine.

    Cameron was an asshole of note in the last feminism thread:

    Try explain things rationally and carefully, get your point across and you may have to be nice (to get rid of the stereotypic image of a feminist) so the guy actually listens to you and takes in what you say and maybe even understand and agrees with you.

  13. says

    Cameron:

    Surprised the author didn’t go as far as assigning “girl” and “boy” in the speech bubbles.

    Dense as ever, I see. What did you think the pink and blue colours in the speech bubbles were doing, if not assigning gender? :eyeroll:

    Do me a favour and don’t reply to me. Just try to think.

  14. RahXephon231 says

    you may have to be nice (to get rid of the stereotypic image of a feminist) so the guy actually listens to you and takes in what you say and maybe even understand and agrees with you.

    LOL. Yeah, that’s why men have ignored feminists for so long: they weren’t sufficiently kiss-assy.

  15. says

    Setar:

    I think I have Asperger syndrome, but at current I have no avenue to get tested for it and when I last raised the possibility to my mother she, well…kind of dismissed it x.x

    Shit. That’s not helpful. Can we talk about this on TET, so as not to derail here?

  16. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Caine @518:

    I actually remembered that comment, tho’ I didn’t remember Cameron, (it was the part about getting rid of the ‘feminist’ stereotype part that I couldn’t forget).

    Nonetheless, I’m starting a 2nd rampage here and don’t feel at all discomfited if he’s already had a porcupine-fitting previously.

  17. says

    Crip Dyke:

    Nonetheless, I’m starting a 2nd rampage here and don’t feel at all discomfited if he’s already had a porcupine-fitting previously.

    No, of course not. Full speed ahead and cram the porcupines!

  18. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    What difference does it make if the artist made a conscious decision to make the girl bunny the irrational one or not? The sexism is inherent in the cartoon regardless of a deliberate internet search for gender religiousity.

    I didn’t initially see the sexism but when it was pointed out then there it was, plain enough for privileged me to see it. It was a case of just one more example of a stereotype being reinforced.

  19. says

    ‘Tis:

    What difference does it make if the artist made a conscious decision to make the girl bunny the irrational one or not?

    Apparently, in this case, intent is magic. Or evidence. Or something else.

    By the way, sorry I missed the Caine Signal in the first thread, I was away from home.

  20. Jett Perrobone says

    Elena @496:

    Unfortunately we’re stuck with the world where girls are routinely told that they belong with fairies (sky or not) and pink kitchens, and boys are told that they belong with astronauts and the cool non-pink microscopes that actually work. *sad face*

    You’re exactly right. Gender stereotypes are thrust upon us even at an early age. I’m not sure why; maybe it’s because parents don’t want their children to be bullied by classmates for being different. I wish it wasn’t that way.

    So what do you think would be more conductive to your utopia?

    Maybe, if ever we notice there are too many “stupid girl bunny / smart boy bunny” comics (or what have you) we could counter them by creating “stupid boy bunny / smart girl bunny” comics. This would weaken the stereotype that women are stupid and that men are smart, and should end up minimising examples of sexism.
    I prefer this scenario to the one where neither comic is acceptable, where we live in a less interesting ultra-PC world.

  21. =8)-DX says

    “The flame war started when some denied even the possibility that there may have been subconscious sexism.”
    Thread. You. Were. Trolled.
    You took PaulG seriously. He should have been left in the bucket of his own mental shit he created. Furthermore the zealots (yes zealots – you were behaving that way, thread, I was there) started including every comment that disagreed with them in any slightest way as “the sexist male enemy”.

    Refraining from engaging with the reasonable people in a thread and engaging only with trolls or constantly beating an off-topic horse.. That is trolling in itself.

    I’m sad that there were only a few people who actually responded to the issue at hand, because in the context of this cartoon it was much more interesting, stimulating and poignant than unintended sexism in bunny bubble-colour choice.

  22. Emrysmyrddin says

    After a night of…not much…sleep, I’m glad to come back to this and see that PZ has reconsidered this, especially in the light of the artist’s comments in the link I provided (and thanks to Caine for reposting it for the dense). I don’t think that the artist’s intent is a smoking gun, though, because the stereotype was mildly pointed out before the intent was known. It was already there.

    I’m going to (full of hope) put the expression of the OP down to the strange USAnian ritual of Turkey Day, with all the busyness and family obligations that entail, and take it in that spirit; it would be too crushing after all the previous progress on this blog over the last few years (long time lurker) to find that dismissiveness is still the default position.

    Thanks to Carlie, Caine, happiestsadist, ahs, Josh and everyone else I’ve missed for getting the (originally mild) point.

  23. Richard Eis says

    Sigh, I was going to respond to the Spokesgay signal and Josh beat me to it (and probably handled it better anyway), though Caine had already covered everything beautifully. Now PZ has finally agreed with us, i feel slightly disappointed I don’t get to oppose our high chief any longer.

    …and i’m out of popcorn.

    …Next!

  24. Mick says

    @ Caine, Fleur du Mal

    I read the thread, and the source and some guy posted it on reddit.
    I couldn’t see anything explaining the authors motivations.

    Care to post a quote so the rest of us can see it?

  25. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    mick @530:

    The link has actually been posted at least twice, that I saw. Look upthread.

  26. says

    Richard:

    Sigh, I was going to respond to the Spokesgay signal and Josh beat me to it (and probably handled it better anyway), though Caine had already covered everything beautifully.

    I don’t think another perspective would be a bad thing, Richard. I think it would be helpful.

    Now PZ has finally agreed with us

    Except…I still have this uneasy feeling. Just won’t go away. I’m not sure why PZ was so upset with us in the first place, and not the idjits who started it up, a la “Fuck you. Paranoid killjoy.” along with the intent now being the all of it.

  27. says

    Emrysmyrddin:

    it would be too crushing after all the previous progress on this blog over the last few years (long time lurker) to find that dismissiveness is still the default position.

    Word.

  28. Mick says

    @ Caine, Fleur du Mal

    Right, the author was being a sexist douche. OK.

    That still doesn’t make the OP comparable to Dawkins Muslima comment in any way shape or form.

    Thank for bringing this information to light, I didn’t know that-I don’t know if PZ knew that at the time this thread was posted. That makes us unaware of information to which you were privy, not dense.

    Learn the difference!

  29. says

    Jett Perrobone

    You’re exactly right. Gender stereotypes are thrust upon us even at an early age. I’m not sure why; maybe it’s because parents don’t want their children to be bullied by classmates for being different. I wish it wasn’t that way.

    Partly it’s a simple feedback-loop. Partly it’s the roll-back we’ve been experiencing those last years.
    To start out, parents aren’t the only people who buy stuff for kids. When our first daughter was born, we ended up with a surprising number of pink things even though we didn’t buy any of them and those close to us didn’t buy any of them either because they knew how much I hate stereotypes.
    First of all, it wasn’t easy finding stuff that wasn’t pink/blue, especially for the nursery (or black. The rockstar-baby just came into fashion).
    So, many people who surely don’t think that girls must wear pink all bought one pink article.
    And since most parents aren’t that critical, most girls end up with even more pink than mine.
    And kids are really quick at picking up rules, even though nobody ever tells them. If three kids are playing on a carpet who’ve taken their slippers off, the fourth one will do so, too.
    So if the girl sees other girls wearing pink, but never blue, and never a boy wearing purple, she deducts that those are “the rules” and goes on demanding pink.
    *sigh*

  30. Elena says

    Jett @526: It’s not that we don’t have Hermiones or Lisa Simpsons. It’s that with a distressing frequency they’re are the only girls in the main cast, and they are always secondary characters. We have the hero (male), the best friend (male), the rival (male), the villain (male), the mentor (male) and… and… hey, the Girl! (female). We’re going to be progressive, guys, and we’re going to make her the smartest one. But she can’t be the *protagonist*, see, because who wants to watch a show with a *girl* as a leader?

    Which is why people are recommendind MLP:FiM so much in this thread.

    I’d add for contrast the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which deconstructs the magical girl genre and has, like, one male character. Who is a love interest and has no role in the action whatsoever.

  31. Mick says

    I sincerely apologize for my failure to trawl through each and every comment on this thread and wonder in awe at your attention to detail!

  32. John Morales says

    Caine,

    I’m not sure why PZ was so upset with us in the first place, and not the idjits who started it up, a la “Fuck you. Paranoid killjoy.” along with the intent now being the all of it.

    It may be he wanted discussion to center on the allegory, not on what was an incidental, and was thus disappointed

  33. John Morales says

    Giliell:

    And kids are really quick at picking up rules, even though nobody ever tells them. If three kids are playing on a carpet who’ve taken their slippers off, the fourth one will do so, too.

    You’re over-generalising. There are also people like me, too.

  34. I am therefore I think says

    So the house is on fire and you all are trying to save the curtains?

    Wow.

    This was such a great comic until I scrolled down and read the comments of the good old irrational Pharyngula commenters. You guys always manage to light a village on fire.

    This is why I mostly lurk and read from google reader, to much stress below the posts :)

  35. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @John – #539:

    FU paranoid killjoy is substantially more derailing than :sigh:

    The point is not, why was PZ upset. The point is why wasn’t he upset with the people who were actually doing something wrong, as opposed to doing something right that wasn’t what PZ wanted us to do?

    We all understood your point quite a while ago. It’s been made upthread and even on the original thread. Your question adds nothing here.

  36. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Mick @535:

    Thank for bringing this information to light, I didn’t know that-I don’t know if PZ knew that at the time this thread was posted.

    You haven’t seen #430?

    (Your incompetence/laziness is noted)

  37. John Morales says

    Crip Dyke:

    The point is not, why was PZ upset.

    You did see what I quoted, and to which I responded? — to wit: “I’m not sure why PZ was so upset with us in the first place […]”

    Your question adds nothing here.

    To what question do you refer? I made none in the comment you quoted.

  38. says

    Mick:

    Right, the author was being a sexist douche. OK.

    No. I don’t know that the author is a sexist douche and I did not once say that, nor did anyone else who mildly pointed out the problem with the ‘toon, which was simply that it was repeating a tired, sexist trope.

    That still doesn’t make the OP comparable to Dawkins Muslima comment in any way shape or form.

    Oh?

    I have never seen feminism reduced to such appalling depths of triviality as I have in that thread. I am literally embarrassed to see a 300+-comment thread erupt over this inanity, and to see it begin in only the second comment to the thread…it’s ridiculous.

    come up with real instances of oppression, discrimination, and intimidation of women (they’re not hard to find), rather than railing about the importance of toy bunny dresses.

    It might not be reminiscent of Dear Muslima to you, however it is to me and quite a few others. It’s not just what PZ wrote, either, it’s what a lot of people wrote in both threads. In this thread, I got that shit from ‘Gentry’ who kept harping on “real” feminism, which apparently does not include raising awareness on the internet, because it’s a waste of time.

    Thank for bringing this information to light, I didn’t know that-

    It was in the thread, quoted, repeatedly. You weren’t reading carefully, if you were actually reading at all. One of the ways you learn is to take the time to read.

    I don’t know if PZ knew that at the time this thread was posted. That makes us unaware of information to which you were privy, not dense.

    It shouldn’t matter. The sexist trope was still in the toon, before the matter of how the author chose was discovered. I was not privy to that info any sooner than everyone else. I found out about it when Emrysmyrddin posted it. I didn’t require the author’s intent to see the trope.

    Learn the difference!

    I know the difference and if you don’t mind, I don’t much care for preaching from someone who can’t manage to read.

  39. Kristin says

    If you’re interested in who actually made it, it was “jerfoo,” a self-described “anti-theist” who originally posted it to reddit a month ago (http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/kvpbc/evidence_vs_belief_a_tale_of_two_bunnies/). Here is the thread where he says he was the creator and links to where to find the bunny toys: http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/mnz21/think_outside_the_box_the_cutest_response_to/c32l1xh?context=3

    I think you should try and contact him about this. And in terms of the content this post, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. I’m sure sexism was not the intention, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not there and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t mention it or how the cartoon could be misused/misinterpreted. I feel its message would have been much more powerful had the bunnies been the same gender or gender neutral. I would hate to see something that’s clearly about religion being laughed at as, “Har har, girls are dumb!” (Of course, the original thread should not have been derailed, either, and it spiraled out of control.) Other than the gender implications, which I truly believe were unintentional, I think the cartoon is great, and I’d like to see more of the author’s work, if he has made others.

  40. Fleegman says

    Well, I read comment #430, John, and as I and several other posters have said in response, I’m not sure what difference it makes, and why the intention of the author made PZ make such a drastic U-turn on his opinion on what went on in the first thread on this topic.

  41. Kristin says

    Whoops, I see someone has already linked to one of his comments on reddit. It appears gender may have been a deliberate choice. Sorry. I’m usually one to read all the comments, but I started skimming and missed it.

  42. John Morales says

    Fleegman, I referred to #430 in response to Mick’s claim (which I quoted) that he didn’t know whether PZ was informed about the basis for the gendering when writing the OP; when presented with the information, he wrote “Now THAT’s a smoking gun. OK, point accepted:”, the which clearly indicates he was not.

    As for your characterisation of it as a U-turn, I call hyperbole; he had initially stated he had no basis for adjudication and that a sample of one was not indicative of a trend — points made moot when the allegory’s author’s basis was adduced.

    (IOW, PZ was consistent)

  43. Richard Eis says

    Except…I still have this uneasy feeling. Just won’t go away.

    I suspect he is as sick to death of this as the rest of us, highly stressed at the moment and didn’t have time to read and process the millionty comments so went with the skeptical attitude of “not enough info”.

    He did however open up a new thread with his own thoughts instead of just closing down discussion. Then later changed his mind which is why I come here…

    …and he is right it WAS a little thing on the surface. So little that I didn’t notice either, until i looked under the water and realised the tiny iceberg was a tad bigger than I first thought.

  44. says

    (IOW, PZ was consistent)

    In that I agree with you, John. And that also means that PZ didn’t change his premises, which is what several posters have been talking about, pace #430.

  45. says

    John:

    It may be he wanted discussion to center on the allegory, not on what was an incidental, and was thus disappointed

    The reaction seems disproportionate, along with who he was reacting to. It was a mild enough observation, about the pink/blue, girls=fuzzy stupid trope, it would have passed and discussion gone on to the allegory if it hadn’t have been for reactions like “Fuck you. Paranoid Killjoy.” and others which followed. My first post about the cartoon was:

    :laughs: Wonderful.

    That doesn’t mean I didn’t notice the sexist trope, I did. I didn’t have anything to say about that until the over-reactions to Chrys T’s and Carlie’s posts came rolling in. Even then, my posts were mild, explanatory and calm. The point I kept trying to get across, in both threads, was that while the message and format of the cartoon were wonderful, it could be better and it wouldn’t have taken the author much thought to make it so it employed no sexist trope at all. It shouldn’t be such an awful thing, to bring that up, especially when we’re surrounded by such tropes all the time.

    A lot of us got the feeling we should sit down and shut the fuck up and never, ever bring up something repeating a sexist trope because it wasn’t that kind of a post/thread. It felt like being slapped.

    I’m sorry if PZ was disappointed, however, I’d say we got that disappointment back, in spades.

  46. Fleegman says

    @John Morales

    As for your characterisation of it as a U-turn, I call hyperbole; he had initially stated he had no basis for adjudication and that a sample of one was not indicative of a trend – points made moot when the allegory’s author’s basis was adduced

    Part of PZ’s original complaint, as you point out, was that the posters in the original thread, as well as he, had no basis for adjudication, and admonished the behaviour therein.

    The fact that we now know the basis of the author’s decision on the gender roles to adopt doesn’t make any difference as to the knowledge of the commenters in the original thread. And that was PZ’s original point: making a big fuss over nothing.

    As I asked before, if the author had simply flipped a coin, would that mean that PZ would still be standing by his comments in the OP?

    What difference does the intention of the author make?

  47. Cesar Hechler says

    I just hope that the baby isn’t thrown out with the banthawater here. As Caine pointed out, it is a wonderful concept. Maybe by way of apology the cartoonist will give us nekkid bunnies with beige talk bubbles and we can get back to agreeing there is no duck. If duck existed there would have been better sexism detectors designed into all the bunnies.

  48. amc says

    If I was the cartoonist I would have switched the genders, as that would have boosted its overall message.

    But its target audience won’t be able to appreciate the inherent sexism for another decade or so anyway; let alone its actual message. Which I guess Is PZ’s point.

  49. John Morales says

    Caine, I dispute nothing in your #553.

    (There’s plenty of disappointment to go around, alas)

    Fleegman:

    And that was PZ’s original point: making a big fuss over nothing.

    But, as it turns out, it wasn’t over nothing, was it? :)

    (He was wrong)

    As I asked before, if the author had simply flipped a coin, would that mean that PZ would still be standing by his comments in the OP?

    Since he has been consistent, presumably yes.

    What difference does the intention of the author make?

    In this case, it justifies those who noted the sexist stereotyping and caused PZ to acknowledge the point.

  50. John Morales says

    [postscript to Caine]

    A lot of us got the feeling we should sit down and shut the fuck up and never, ever bring up something repeating a sexist trope because it wasn’t that kind of a post/thread. It felt like being slapped.

    When I first read the original post, I was reminded (not gonna search for a link atm, it’s past my bed-time) of an incident some years back when various people (SC first, IIRC) noted the ratio of men to women in a panel as indicative, because the same claims of a hyper-sensitive false positive were made to that claim.

  51. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If you are unable to formulate your ideas without insult then your argument is weak or non-existent.

    And who made you tone master fuckwitted idjit? Those who complain about tone are losers of the argument. If they were winning, tone wouldn’t matter.

  52. KG says

    Total crap from you in the OP, PZ. Glad to see you can change your mind.

    From the last thread
    Oh and the c word isn’t a gendered slur in the UK. – PaulG

    It doesn’t matter how often this lie is told, it doesn’t become true.

  53. Fleegman says

    @John Morales

    But, as it turns out, it wasn’t over nothing, was it? :)

    No, it wasn’t over nothing, and that’s the whole point isn’t it? It wasn’t over nothing from the very start and not “as it turns out.”

    The fact that we now know the author’s thought processes doesn’t make the tiniest bit of difference. That doesn’t make it “over something” as opposed to “over nothing” does it?

    It was over the reaction to comment #2, as far as I can see, and yet PZ lumped comment #2 in with the rest of them.

    Look, maybe I’m just a big old thicko, and there’s some subtle or not-so-subtle thing I’m missing, here. I just don’t think the intentions of the author changes anything as far as PZ’s reaction to the first thread, because everything that happened in the first thread happened without that knowledge.

  54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m concerned about getting a point across in a civil manner. Apparently you don’t get that, so I have to cuss and berate you and call you name, like fuckface, fuckface.

    Those who care about tone and civility have to things going against them. Who appointed you the arbiter of tone for this blog, since it is PZs, who wants us to be lewd, rewd, and crewd. You are uncivily are usurping his authority, and you know it. And a little language doesn’t bother me, as I can take it, not being a pearl-clutching wimp. If you want civility, go elsewhere.

  55. Cassius Corodes says

    There is one point that I am still confused on – in the report that is linked to earlier in the threat its shown that women are more likely to identify as religious (in the US) – echoing the point made by the comic author. Doesn’t this bolster rather than weaken the case that the gender assignment was not made on sexist trope grounds?

    I understand the point about the need for a comic equivalent of affirmative action – however this point is about the authors intent – which is my mind is redeemed by the facts involved. In particular I am confused about PZ’s last reply which seem to suggest the opposite.

  56. Cassius Corodes says

    Nerd: “And who made you tone master fuckwitted idjit? Those who complain about tone are losers of the argument. If they were winning, tone wouldn’t matter.”

    Your concern is noted.

  57. Carlie says

    Thanks, Caine. Glad it’s not just me! Or wait, I’m sad it’s everybody… I’m especially annoyed with myself because I’m the tool person in the family, and yet I still go men=tools.* However, I will say that I then went to the hardware store at 5am and it was packed.

    I suspect he is as sick to death of this as the rest of us

    Probably. But there is a bit of a difference between being sick of hearing how someone is being stepped on, and being sick of being stepped on.**

    But I assume PZ’s reaction had mostly to do with it being a holiday and him noticing there was some huge uptick in activity to deal with on a day off, damn it, and can’t we ever just give it a break and be light on commenting from time to time? Because he’s conscientious and responsible and will check on whatever looks like it might be a problem even if it ruins his day. So I would think that’s the source of it.***

    *And I can’t count the number of times my own children have said something about scientists being boys while looking right at me, and then I say “What about me?” and then it’s “Oh yeah, and you”. I’m the only scientist they know on a personal and close basis, and yet I’m still somehow the exception rather than the rule.

    **Yes, one even gets tired of being accidentally stepped on.

    *** When the heck did I start using footnotes for my comments? Jeez, pretty soon I’ll have to attach appendices.

  58. Felinaeus says

    *facepalm*
    And the point of the whole thing is lost on some of the masses.

    My friends wonder why I weep for the state of intelligence in our world, when it’s reduced to arguing over colours and clothing.

    Happy American Turkey Day (belated).

  59. pharylon says

    I absolutely love Pharyngula. One of my favorite blogs. But in trying to join discussions about sexism, I’ve pretty much found it to be a cesspool of hate and vitriol. So, yeah. I’m kind of surprised you’re just now noticing.

    He has noticed, that’s why he normally has a low tolerance for MRAs.

    OH! You mean it’s the feminists who are the cesspool of hate and vitriol!

    So, yeah, this is a response from waaaaaay up there, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the couple times I’ve delurked here, it’s if I try to follow a Pharyngula comment thread, I will be very sad.

    Anyway, no, that’s not what I meant. I can understand why you think I meant that, though. My bad on post construction. No, I mean, the comments here are a cesspool of hate and vitriol, and that’s coming from everyone.

    But here’s the thing: PZ is confrontational. I like that about him, and I think we need both people like him if we’re ever going to make serious inroads into enlightening the vast majority of this world.

    Many people here have taken this to heart, and relentlessly attack, with hate and vitriol. And that’s all well and good on subjects we all agree on. Fucking Muslims, fucking Catholics, fucking Climate Deniers. They’re all idiots beneath contempt or whatever. It’s not so fun when that vitriol gets turned on each other. And confrontational doesn’t always mean rude. You attack someone, and they tend to dig in more, that’s human nature. PZ rarely drops the F bomb, he rarely infuses his posts with hate. Indeed, he usually keeps calm, just in a mocking and confrontational.

    There are issues that I can see the argument for both sides. This is one of them. The girl bunny is the idiot, I can see why many people would see that as fitting into stereotypes. On the other hand, maybe the comic author just gave them pink and blue because they’re little kid’s toys, and those are kid’s colors, and that whole comic had a kiddy theme. I mean, one of them had to be the foil, right? Can’t the girl bunny ever be the religious one?

    Well, yes. This is definitely an “issue” that can be seen two ways. Reasonable people – reasonable feminists – can have a different take on it, as we’ve seen in this thread.

    But many in the commenting community take PRIDE in their attitude, in their language, and their angry, hateful tone. You can see multiple people above basically coping to being an asshole. “But it’s OK,” they say, “because I’m open about being an asshole.” Well, no it’s not. You’re still an asshole.

    And when a community takes pride in being assholes disagree on something, they are naturally going to be assholes to each other, and hello flamewar!

    So, in a roundabout way, what I’m saying is the problem isn’t this issue. The problem is with a culture that thrives on attack, tribalism, and insulting anyone who disagrees (on whatever point they hold) as ignorant at best and malicious at worst.

    Both sides are to blame, both sides are doing this, because both sides are assholes and proud of it.

  60. says

    Felinaeus:

    My friends wonder why I weep for the state of intelligence in our world, when it’s reduced to arguing over colours and clothing.

    You’d best weep for the state of your own intelligence, because there was no argument over colours and clothing. You could, of course, learn this by reading, however I suspect that’s something you won’t do.

  61. says

    Why did PZ need the artist to point out that xe was indeed intentionally using harmful gender stereotypes to recognize that the artist was indeed using harmful gender stereotypes?

    Because how you come to your conclusion is important. If you’re going to judge sexism based on asymmetries in particular instances, you’re going to see a lot of false positives. If someone had gone digging and discovered that the artist had been conscious of potential sexism, and had flipped a coin to place his girl bunny in a role, or if he had a series of these in which he was careful to alternate the dumb bunnies sex…how many of you would change your mind and say that the original wasn’t sexist?

    Or would you continue to insist that the appearance of sexism in the first cartoon was unacceptable, despite context and evidence? Because what I was seeing was a lot of people insisting that it had to be a sexist trope on the most superficial grounds, and further that any portrayal of any female character that fit a stereotype was unacceptable.

    Intent and context matter, because a world in which guys are consistently and unfairly portrayed as dumb bunnies would be just as sexist as the one we’re in.

  62. G.Shelley says

    Yeah, I read those comments. The whining about how it’s sexist because one was wearing a dress and the other was wearing pants would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. Though the fantasies where they point out to the author the inherent sexism in the work and he responds with “well of course, in future I will be aware of that” rather than the far more likely “for fuck’s sake, get over yourself they are a pair of fucking bunnies you paranoid killjoy” was amusing

  63. says

    Pharylon:

    On the other hand, maybe the comic author just gave them pink and blue because they’re little kid’s toys, and those are kid’s colors, and that whole comic had a kiddy theme. I mean, one of them had to be the foil, right? Can’t the girl bunny ever be the religious one?

    This is not the case, which has been repeatedly posted about throughout this thread. If you bothered to read the damn thread, rather than spending time on a lengthy Tone & Concern Troll, you might have learned that. I’ll make it easy for you – it’s in convenient, can’t miss bold type in #505. You might want to read #430 too, ’cause it’s where PZ changed his mind.

    Also, pink and blue aren’t “kid’s colors” for fuck’s sake. They have long been assigned as gender markers, pink for girls, blue for boys. You haven’t read one damn post, have you? Try reading Giliell’s for some education on “kid’s colors”.

    But many in the commenting community take PRIDE in their attitude

    People here handle things in their own individual ways. I’m often quite nice to people, shocking as that may be. I’m willing to go that extra mile to help educate if there’s an honest desire to learn. Many people here never type one impolite word, such Sastra and Desert Son.

    Yes, there’s happiness in Pharyngula being a place where intelligent, sharp people can down to the business of meaty discussions without having to bother with flowery language more suited to strangling expression than anything else. There are many, many places on the net, most of them considerably more concerned with tone. If that’s what one prefers, that’s great, go there. Here, content rules, not tone.

    And because you seem to be overly enamored of your tone trolling, from the Standards & Practices:

    This is a rude blog. We like to argue — heck, we like a loud angry brawl. Don’t waste time whining at anyone that they’re not nice, because this gang will take pride in that and rhetorically hand you a rotting porcupine and tell you to stuff it up your nether orifice. If you intrude here and violate any of the previous three mores, people won’t like you, and they won’t hold back—they’ll tell you so, probably in colorful terms.

    We do have a general guideline for handling new people. If you’re a first time commenter, you get three strikes: you can make three comments, and the regulars are supposed to restrain themselves and try to get you to engage rationally before they are allowed to release the rabid hounds. They are hoping you will oblige them and give them an excuse to let slip the leash, so be warned.

  64. naturebox83 says

    Life must be depressing for those who go through life looking for discrimination where there is none. There are enough blatant instances without trying this hard to fabricate them.

  65. Cesar Hechler says

    Hopefully this hasn’t been turned into Something-gate. You never know if the rest of the weblogosphere is adept at following a thread or jumping to the wrong conclusions. PZ has generally had everyone’s back on the right side of issues since the first day of the web log and wouldn’t deserve a RD type keelhauling.

    I’m wondering now if Walton will be disappointed he missed out on the fun. These 2 pages were right up his debate-team alley.

    Tune in next week for Something-else-gate.

  66. pharylon says

    Intent and context matter, because a world in which guys are consistently and unfairly portrayed as dumb bunnies would be just as sexist as the one we’re in.

    I just want to stress something PZ said: Intent does matter. The original artist is someone that needs to be educated better, but clearly he’s on “our side.” His initial comment when asked about why the girl bunny was the religious one said:

    “I know, I know. I deliberated on it for a while then I let the Internets decide. I did a few searches to confirm my suspicions: women are more likely to believe in god… so girl bunny lost this round.”

    Ironically, he was trying NOT to be sexist. He decided on the pink/blue kiddie theme, worried about assigning which gender the “godbot” role, and in the end decided to be impartial and just go with Reality and look up which sex tended to be more religious.

    Now, as we all know, reality can be a sexist. And I would argue that the gender roles that we are trying to fight probably push women into religion disproportionately. So in a very roundabout fashion, by trying to be impartially not sexist, he was. But only a bit, only a smidge, and only because he used a flawed way of avoiding sexism.

    And that doesn’t make the comic itself sexist, because the message was the same no matter which sex was the godly one. The fact that he deliberated over gender choices, and tried to come up with the non-sexist solution, well, that’s great! He did it wrong, but still, it’s to be commended. And since if his Googling had turned up studies showing Men being religious he’d have done it the other way, that doesn’t make the comic itself sexist at all. The message is the same either way.

  67. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So, in a roundabout way, what I’m saying is the problem isn’t this issue. The problem is with a culture that thrives on attack, tribalism, and insulting anyone who disagrees (on whatever point they hold) as ignorant at best and malicious at worst.

    And who appointed you the one to decide the tone for Pharyngula??? Last I knew, this was PZ’s blog, and he sets the standards, not you. Why do you even think you can tell other adults how they must behave, without being condescending and rude by doing so? Tone trolls like you are the biggest hypocrites around. Mature up, and listen to what is said rather than how it is said. You might actually learn something. But I doubt it.

  68. Jas says

    The artist may have meant this to be sexist, in which case that’s terrible. Potentially they didn’t mean it to be sexist and the choice of bunnies was purely random. This could also be a replay of an actual conversation and the gender choice is based on that actual conversation. This could be part of a much wider cast of bunnies in a regular online comic strip which shows much diversity overall, and this one example is taken out of context. Without finding the source, we can’t know the intentions of the person who made it. Without intention or context, I don’t think that we can reach an ethical conclusion about the creation of this work. We could have suspicions, but none beyond reasonable doubt. There are perhaps people genuinely upset by this. That would suggest to some that there is a moral wrong here regardless of the intention and context. I’m not sure I would agree. As a sceptic I’m happily sitting on the fence.

  69. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    If you had not brought the different sexes of the bunnies into light, I never would have noticed.

    And that, my friend, is the very definition of privilege. I missed it, too.

    I’m sorry, but this all just seems beyond insanely retarded to me.

    Please do not use mental retardation as a n insult. My sister-in-law has Down’s Syndrome.

    Calling the cartoon sexist is like the probably female bunny saying she has the real picture.

    Not probably. Read the fucking links provided to the Reddit discussion.

    It means you can’t focus on a particular instance and declare it an example of the general phenomenon.

    But every example is a particular instance. Whether an artist repeats those particular instances does not change the possibility of sexism within the one particular instance.

    However, I’m not gonna sit here and “raise awareness” on the comments section of Pharyngula to enlighten only the people that read this site.

    What makes you think this is my only interaction with the body politic?

    I’m allowed to have an opinion on what is sexist and what isn’t.

    So you are. So am I. However, I would not presume to tell a woman that behaviour she percieves as sexist is not. Just as I would not tell a gay or lesbian that behaviour xe sees as homophobic is not.

    I disagree that the artist went out of their way to assign stereotyped gender roles. It’s not making a point about sex! For all any of us know, the artist flipped a coin to determine which of their two bunny dolls would take which role.

    No, PZ, the artist did not flip a coin. The artist made a conscious decision to depict the theist as a female based on some internet research done by the artist pointing to women being more likely to believe in gods than men. It has been linked to a couple of times.

    It’s Yanksgiving (because it’s only in the US today). You’re supposed to be yelling at relatives, not SIWOTI’s on the intertube thingies.

    I’m in Pennsylvania. My relatives are in Maine and Florida. This place is also my family.

    So, if it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it just might be a duck.

    No, Pooh and Tigger. Weren’t you paying attention?

    To anyone who thinks this comic is sexist: are you saying that we can’t EVER have a cartoon where the man is right and the woman is wrong?

    I know it would take some work, but could you be troubled to actually read the thread before tossing in your two noncents?

    I can honestly say that I didn’t pay any attention to the sexes of these bunnies when I read the cartoon.

    (If you are male) This is called unexamined privilege. I missed it myself and am glad that it was pointed out.

    There was a 50% chance the girl bunny would get the religious part.

    No, it was a conscious decision. Read the fucking comments.

    Perhaps both the bunnys are male, one just likes to dress as a woman and it turns out we haven’t seen the ‘female’ version of this particular bunny and it looks nothing like this male version because of sexual dimorphism

    No. Read the thread, asshole!

  70. says

    Because how you come to your conclusion is important. If you’re going to judge sexism based on asymmetries in particular instances, you’re going to see a lot of false positives

    How does the intent of the artist change the perceived message?
    Intent isn’t magic, once again.
    The conclusion most of us arrived at was that the artist used gendered stereotypes and before knowing of his intentions, most of us ascribed this choice to unconscious sexism, the kind all of us have and that some of us are watching in our own behaviour.
    No. Big. Deal.
    Really

    Or would you continue to insist that the appearance of sexism in the first cartoon was unacceptable, despite context and evidence? Because what I was seeing was a lot of people insisting that it had to be a sexist trope on the most superficial grounds, and further that any portrayal of any female character that fit a stereotype was unacceptable.

    Well, I never said anything about “unacceptable”. I think the strongest I used was “unfortunate”. A minor point of an overall great cartoon. A simple thing that could have been easily avoided.
    To my knowledge, nobody else made the demand that no female character must ever be portrayed as a stereotype. What people said was that one should be aware of stereotypes and if using them, should do it right.*

    Intent and context matter, because a world in which guys are consistently and unfairly portrayed as dumb bunnies would be just as sexist as the one we’re in.

    Which was also not anthing anybody demanded. Sure, several people mentioned that, even though the reverse was also sexist, it would, because of stereotypes, be less harmful, but clearly not the best possible. The favourite version was ungendered bunnies, followed by same sex bunnies. Three ways to avoid all negative gendered stereotyping against men and women alike.

    *Kids are allowed to watch Pipi Longstockings at the moment. The woman who wants to get her into the orphanage is a walking, talking stereotype, but so are the policemen and the thieves. Most adults in that series are stereotypes who constantly lose against the kids. No problem.

  71. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Without finding the source, we can’t know the intentions of the person who made it.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. We do know the intent of the artist. It has been discussed repeatedly on this thread. Read pharylon’s comment just upthread a little bit. Or read the whole thread.

  72. pharylon says

    Pharylon:

    On the other hand, maybe the comic author just gave them pink and blue because they’re little kid’s toys, and those are kid’s colors, and that whole comic had a kiddy theme. I mean, one of them had to be the foil, right? Can’t the girl bunny ever be the religious one?

    This is not the case, which has been repeatedly posted about throughout this thread. If you bothered to read the damn thread, rather than spending time on a lengthy Tone & Concern Troll, you might have learned that. I’ll make it easy for you – it’s in convenient, can’t miss bold type in #505. You might want to read #430 too, ’cause it’s where PZ changed his mind.

    I’m aware of that, but the argument had devolved into mudslinging long before someone found that comment from the artist, so the point stands. In fact, that wasn’t brought up in the original thread that got closed at all.

    Also, pink and blue aren’t “kid’s colors” for fuck’s sake. They have long been assigned as gender markers, pink for girls, blue for boys. You haven’t read one damn post, have you? Try reading Giliell’s for some education on “kid’s colors”.

    Bullshit. Blue/Pink are kid’s colors, at least in America. I haven’t worn blue in years (I’m an autumn, as my wife says), but my parents (and most parents) sure dressed me in it a lot as a kid. My wife, similarly, has one shirt with pink on it, but you can bet she had pink on her when she was in a stroller.

    Blue and Pink follow both sexes into maturity to some extend (pink for girls, probably moreso) but to claim that it isn’t much more predominant at a very young age is just crazy. Especially the pastel pink and blue in the comic. Come on, be serious now.

    But many in the commenting community take PRIDE in their attitude

    People here handle things in their own individual ways. I’m often quite nice to people, shocking as that may be. I’m willing to go that extra mile to help educate if there’s an honest desire to learn. Many people here never type one impolite word, such Sastra and Desert Son.

    Yes, there’s happiness in Pharyngula being a place where intelligent, sharp people can down to the business of meaty discussions without having to bother with flowery language more suited to strangling expression than anything else. There are many, many places on the net, most of them considerably more concerned with tone. If that’s what one prefers, that’s great, go there. Here, content rules, not tone.

    And because you seem to be overly enamored of your tone trolling, from the Standards & Practices:

    I’m aware of the Standards and Practices. But PZ was disappointed with where the last thread went. My point is, basically, why should he be surprised? That kind of discourse is not only permitted, it’s encouraged. When being an asshole is a point of pride, people tend to be assholes a lot.

    And I totally agree, content is far more important than tone. But I think there’s something to be said for tone. Picking the right tone for the right discussion is important. Sometimes, mocking condescension is the way to go and sometimes an all out assault of vulgarity is called for.

    But when we’re talking to other open minded atheists who just need to be educated (like, for instance, the person that did the comic), a polite educating tone is better. But hey, that’s just me.

  73. ChasCPeterson says

    wow
    *agape*
    Missed the whole thing.

    Pretty much caught up now though.
    We now know that the photocartoonist started with the gendered rabbits–no decision was made to feature a male and a female bunny; instead, this was a constraint. Therefore arguments like

    Why make one feminine and the other masculine, when it isn’t even needed and only distracts, unless you’re making a point?

    are irrelevant once the decision to use the bunnies is stipulated. There are only two possibilities, and PZ’s original point–about judging from an N of 1–would, I think, apply.
    However, we have a bit more information than that–the cartoonist’s stated gender-assignment process–which caused PZ to change his mind and display it in comic sans.
    But according to my interpretation of cartoonist’s statement, the assignment of characters was based on data, not on “a sexist stereotype gleaned from the internet”. If so, then the intent of the cartoonist was, it seems to me, explicitly not the perpetuation of a sterotypical trope.

    So if the author’s intent is important in deciding how to feel about the depiction of anthropomorphized-bunny genders in this cartoon, then the evidence suggests to me that 1) the cartoonist was constrained to the one-male one-female cast by the availability of the maximally cute juvenile bunnies, 2)

  74. ChasCPeterson says

    god fucking damn it that wasn’t supposed to post yet. I might not have posted it at all.

    Fuck it, there’s no reason anybody should care about my opinion on the subject anyway.

  75. Richard Eis says

    I can’t help noticing a disproportionate amount of people on one side of this are constantly and clearly not reading past posts before voicing their opinion.

    ..and before they start, I should point out it’s their fault that there are so many posts. Self fulfilling stupidity perhaps.

  76. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    I’m aware of that, but the argument had devolved into mudslinging long before someone found that comment from the artist, so the point stands.

    The mudslinging began when certain commenters refused to entertain even the possibility of conscious or unconscious sexism.

    Blue/Pink are kid’s colors, at least in America.

    Sounds like a good sociological experiment. Dress a baby in pink, walk through a mall, and log how many people ask what her name is. Come back the next day with the same baby dressed in blue and log how many people ask what his name is. Or age.

  77. says

    municipalis

    I would rather “my friend” teach their daughter critical thinking and expose her to a wide variety of viewpoints rather than censor otherwise good material on the shallow basis that it is not explicitly opposing gender-stereotyping, or any other nastiness.

    Crip Dyke’s response at #491 is more comprehensive than what I’d planned, so please read it.

    I do believe your preference comes from a very respectable motivation, municipalis. I just think it’s rather simplistic. I haven’t suggested avoiding disturbing concepts. Indeed, I expect that by earliest adolescence (I’m not a parent, so I’m just guessing, but ages 8-10 seem plausible), it could even be useful to say “now we’re going to study some explicitly racist and sexist art, because you’re going to find a lot of this in the world.”

    And if a parent wanted to use this cartoon to point out and study the representation of gender even in otherwise positive works, that could be very educational. If I’d thought out my example in more detail, I would have said I’m thinking of how giving this cartoon to a child without some kind of warning could be detrimental.

    As to how it could be detrimental: stereotype threat. If one wants their daughter to be as economically successful as she can be when she grows up, this is an issue the parent may need to consciously navigate.

    +++++
    With that groundwork, a reply to PZ:

    we won’t achieve [equality] by self-consciously making the man the villain or dummy in every fictional dialog. You’re raising a ludicrous straw man here.

    This is rather a straw man of my position, if we’re going to be uncharitable. Last thread I said “given binary options, there are four possible combinations, three of which would not have relied on stereotypes against femininity.” Two of those combinations do not involve making “the man the villain or dummy”.

    The claim that equality is delayed if we don’t force every plot decision in a story to favor a woman is absurd.

    And one of those combinations involves no woman to favor.

    I try to avoid ideals, preferring to focus on predictable consequences, and I think I’ve maintained that approach here. We can reasonably expect that stereotype threat, and other reinforcements of bias, may occur from this particular combination of binary options. Of the four, this combination is the most likely to have that result.

    If the little things matter, then it is more likely that equality is delayed ever so slightly every time the dumb bunny is the one in the dress.

    That’s suppression of diversity and denial of reality, and it’s just as sexist as painting women as uniformly ditzy.

    If men are in fact currently being disadvantaged, relative to women, by artistic representations as a whole—a topic you might want to revisit, after your post on Zimbardo—then it’s sexist. I contend that we are not, so it isn’t.

    And then he puts another datum on the internets to further bias the case.

    Hello there, my point. What are you doing on PZ’s keyboard?

  78. Jas says

    @Father Ogvorbis, OMoron
    Thanks. I hadn’t read the 500+ posts before replying to the original blog post. I don’t have all the time in the world. If there is extra material information available, bloggers are not unknown to add an edit to their post so that commenters don’t have to read all 500+ comments. I’m not sure that deserves a “for fuck’s sake”. I withdraw my previous post based on this new data which you have (un)kindly helped me out with.

  79. says

    Sort of a semi-meta question here, that these two comment threads made me consider:

    Are accusations of privilege and/or sexism falsifiable? Mostly privilege, though, since one of the established aspects of privilege is that it is often invisible to the beneficiary. It seems like when someone calls “privilege” and they automatically “win” because there’s absolutely no response that cannot also be attributed to privilege. Sort of like the old joke accusation that someone is an alcoholic. When they say “no I’m not!” the response is “AHA!! Denial is a sign of alcoholism!”

    Is it possible to tell the difference between someone who has a different view on a specific instance because of privilege, and someone who has a reasonable difference of opinion? Because I’m looking at these threads, and I see a little bit of completely unfair assholery, a fair amount of rudeness and name-calling, and a whole bunch of people on all sides who seem to have reasonable-but-conflicting views.

  80. 3zebras says

    @575

    Are you kidding? Life isn’t depressing for these people. They are outrage junkies. They feed off being offended. It makes them feel alive inside, and this applies to the ones outraged by the cartoon and ones outraged by the outrage. They are no better than the fundamentalist shrilly denouncing the President for not mentioning God in his thanksgiving speech.

    And the lot of them give me the absolute shits.

  81. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Jas:

    Take the “for fuck’s sake” with a grain of salt. The shear number of commenters who have been (and will most likely continue) to show up and repeat just what you wrote has frustrated me and others.

  82. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But I think there’s something to be said for tone.

    Yep, the person who talks about tone tends to be supercilious snobs. Like you. I met a few like you back in my academic days. Assistant and associate professors in humanities usually, who thought they know more and were smarter than everybody else in the room. So NOT. Try listening, not pontificating/preaching.

  83. says

    … shit. Fuck. Damn.

    I meant to add that the falsifiable problem works both ways. Someone can be privileged/sexist, and simply say “you feminists are always making kneejerk accusations, so I’m going to ignore you.”

  84. says

    Sounds like a good sociological experiment. Dress a baby in pink, walk through a mall, and log how many people ask what her name is. Come back the next day with the same baby dressed in blue and log how many people ask what his name is. Or age.

    Lots.
    And some become angry when you point out that the kid in blue is indeed a girl.
    But she’s dressed in blue!, as if that were a crime.
    You can add another data point: How many people will touch the “girl” vs the “boy”.

    Oh, and a bit of research as to how those stereotypes, whether intended or not, are in fact being harmful

  85. says

    Giliell,

    regarding Pipi Longstockings, there is also the problem with the racist stereotypes and the use of racist terms such as “negro princess” and “negro king” (or rather negerprinsessa and negerkung). In Germany, due to the wishes of Lindgren’s estate to “honour” the original text, this has been kept so far as “Negerprinzessin” and “Negerkönig”.

    Here’s an article on the debate in Sweden
    http://www.dn.se/kultur-noje/pippis-pappa-inte-langre-negerkung
    (or rather it is about the fact that the Norwegian translation now no longer refers to her father as a “negro king” but as a “king of a south sea island”, the Swedish solution has been so far to keep the text untouched, but to have a foreword written by Lindgren’s daughter explaining that the language use reflects a different time)

    Here’s a blog entry from a German linguistics professor regarding the terminology in the translated books (he faced the problem when he wanted to read the books to his daughter). It’s one of many, apparently many people felt his concerns were “overblown” too.
    http://www.scilogs.de/wblogs/blog/sprachlog/sprachwandel/2011-08-08/pippi-langstrumpf-negerprinzessin-und-uebersetzungsproblem

  86. says

    Still thinking about Moff’s law.

    How many times a week on The Endless Thread do people talk about how they liked or disliked this or that sci-fi piece partly because of how the female characters were written? I don’t even participate in those discussions; just not my thing; but they’re sometimes illuminating.

    Are folks here suddenly supposed to approach this particular cartoon without analyzing gender in it? I see plenty of nuance being applied even to this short piece; lots of people have said something similar to Dhorvath’s comment:

    “I am concerned. This doesn’t seem complicated, the comic was good, but it could have been better, voicing concerns over how it could have been better shouldn’t produce a shitstorm. That it has is the push, and resisting that is important even if the specific issue was slight. I can’t see this post as doing anything save discouraging people from resisting that push.”

  87. Dianne says

    Are accusations of privilege and/or sexism falsifiable?

    Completely falsifiable, no. Something that can be defended against, yes. The key is not to just jump up and down and yell, “I’m not sexist! I love women! The women around me love me! I’m NOT sexist, I’M NOT!!!” but rather to calm down and respond sensibly to accusations. I’m by no means the definitive expert on sexism or feminism and I certainly have privilege in a lot of areas, but I have some suggestions as to how to deal with accusations of sexism or privilege:

    1. Think about what was being said. Maybe this is an area where you have some bias. This does not mean that you’re an evil sexist person, just that you have some blind spots.

    2. Maybe after thinking about it, you’ll conclude that the accusation was wrong. That happens. Some women are oversensitive in some circumstances. I thought PZ’s argument that this cartoon in isolation and without the author’s statement that s/he chose the female bunny to be the religious one intentionally is not necessarily sexist was a reasonable one.

    If so, make your case calmly and using facts and logic. “I don’t think this is sexist because in other cartoons the author shows the female bunny being smart and sensible and the male bunny acting illogically*” is a reasonable argument. “I don’t think it’s sexist and my girlfriend agrees” is not.

    3. If one person tells you you’re still wrong, especially if they do so offensively, shrug it off. If the majority of responders, especially responders if the less privileged group, tell you you’re wrong, go back to step 1 and repeat.

    No one’s perfect. We’ve all had our racist, sexist, homophobic, culturally insensitive moments. If someone calls you on one, think about it. You don’t have to agree, just think it through.

    Oh, and I’m not an alcoholic. The evidence is not my denial, but the fact that I hate alcohol and avoid it if I possibly can, have never sought it out for pleasure or to remove pain, and drink alcohol about once a decade when refusing to do so would cause social awkwardness. Isn’t that statement more believable than “NO I’M NOT!”?

    *Wrong, it turns out, in this case, but reasonable.

  88. says

    Two more notes regarding Pipi Longstockings:

    1. apparently in the 2009 edition, the German version was modified and now reads as “south sea princess”. The problem about the racial stereotypes persist, that can’t be changed just by modifying words.

    2. if anyone growing up with the English versions is wondering about this, the American translators never used “negro princess/king” as that would have been inappropriate to an English speaking audience already in the 1940s, so they went with “cannibal princess/king” instead.

  89. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Amazing! Or perhaps pathetic is the more appropriate term. Chys T and Carlie were shown to be correct in how they saw the intent of the comic. Some hit and run troll still insist on how one can tell the intent of the creator and the rest goes off on how trivial the argument is and how hateful the regulars are.

    Even when feminists are right, they are still vindictive assholes.

    *spits*

  90. scriabin says

    …way late to the party.

    But if PZ is going to (rightfully) work up the anti-gelato guy brigade like he did earlier, then I think it’s problematic to disapprove of other offences potentially taken or felt by people based on societal biases.

    There is no de minimis threshold for observations of systemic (or personal) discrimination.

    And to be fair, I think most of the self-described feminists on this site *did* “note it and move on”. But they were provoked/triggered by other commenters. And in the post-Elevatorgate context, who can blame them for engaging?

  91. JDG says

    Reading through, I’ll have to disagree with Myers’ original statement. Small battles can add up to big things if enough of them are won.

    Interesting alcohol analogy. Except, where I’m from, if you’re the guy at the party not drinking? Everyone assumes you’re an alcoholic.

    I have my sexist/homophobic/whatever moments. We all do. I try to own up when I put my foot firmly in my mouth.

  92. rachelswirsky says

    Intent matters if we are criticizing the artist. (The artist is sexist.) Intent is not particularly important if we are criticizing the art. (The art is sexist.)

    Although, again, if we’re using more accurate language, I’d rather say “reflects some unfortunate sexist tropes” instead of “is sexist.”

    I’m not interested in the artist–I haven’t read anything else by him or her, although I’d be happy to because this was cute and funny.

    I am interested in the art.

    I am *certainly* not interested in a world wherein all cartoons portray males as the dumb bunnies.

    I strongly suspect there’s somewhere in this discussion that communication *isn’t* happening… and I think it’s when PZ imagines himself as the creator of the cartoon. (I’m really sorry if this is wrong; it’s just my best guess.) There are two characters; there’s not room for a wide range of representation. Likewise there are two positions, the correct and the incorrect, so you’re stuck in a binary. Someone’s going to be the character who can’t see winnie the pooh for the duck.

    So if you’re imaginging wanting to have a girl character and a boy character for general “it’s nice to have one of each” purposes, and you know that one must be deluded and the other perceptive, then there aren’t a lot of options. Boy will be dumb or girl will be dumb, and in an ideal world, we’d be seeing 50/50. And certainly, changing the messaging from “girls are ditzy” to “boys are lazy” is unhelpful.

    But I think this framing is part of the issue. When you’re beginning a piece of artwork, you don’t have to start with this set of assumptions–that the characters must have a gender. That’s kind of a weird thing for most people to grok, actually, on a basic level, I think–we *want* to gender things; it’s one of the first things we think about when we look at people (and the bunnies here represent people); things that are gender ambiguous make most people (or at least most Americans) profoundly uncomfortable. (Which is one reason for gender defaulting; if you can’t see a signal, and it’s uncomfortable to see something as ambiguous, then you default without thinking about it.)

    Two bunnies hanging out being pastel green and pastel yellow are going to be much more gender neutral representations *even if one of them is in a dress* because they won’t be signaling masculine and feminine presentations as strongly.( Although really, are dresses the visual equivalent of exaggerated eyelashes–a signifier detached from the signal it indicates? How many little girls spend most of their time wearing them?)

    There’s a stacking of the deck here, a layering of symbols to make sure we get the point. This bunny is THE GIRL BUNNY. It’s the bunny in the dress. It’s the bunny speaking pink. It’s got all these signifiers pointing in one direction. All we know about this bunny is PINK + DRESS = GIRL, and UNWILLINGNESS TO LISTEN TO EVIDENCE. She’s not wearing a dora the explorer t-shirt which might give us a hint of some other kind of personality; she’s standing in as Iconic Girl.

    Given the condensed nature of the cartoon (which is necessary for it to make its point), there’s no space to give her an inner life. But that doesn’t mean that when you have two bunnies, one has to be Stereotypical Girl and one Stereotypical Boy. *Even if there is a girl bunny and a boy bunny,* the bunnies don’t have to play into stereotypes of what boys and girls are. A girl bunny can speak in yellow or whatever; at least then you’re not saying “everything about the representation of this bunny in this comic is about reinforcing the idea that it is a girl, oh, and also that it’s deluded.”

    When reading stories that people submit to the magazines I’ve helped edit, we see this stuff all the time–the victim of the monster is a Little Girl with Big Blue Eyes who plays Tea with Her Dolls. Then it’s very ugh–little girls are so innocent and feminine and they’re always the ones being murdered by monsters so their daddies can have motivations to go off and experience badly written adventures. But if the little girl isn’t a cliche–if she’s a little girl with a miscroscope that fucking isn’t pink who has been curing her dolls of ebola, or is a wannabe singer who has Distinct Opinions on rock stars from the 90s that her contemporaries haven’t ever heard of, or whatever–then she’s not Little Girl Who Dies anymore, or at least not *only* that. She’s Jessica. Or Leah. And when her father mourns her, he’s not just mourning an idea of a child.

    This is THE GIRL BUNNY. The Girl Bunny speaks in PINK. She wears a DRESS. She is a UNIVERSAL. So when The Girl Bunny says “why look at evidence when we could accept authority because girls are religious!” she’s speaking For Girls.

    The girl bunny in yellow with a Dora the Explorer t-shirt is speaking for a bunny that’s not just an Abstraction of Girl.

    Anyway, this is all relatively insider baseball for content creators, but the point is that the basic formation of the comic shows some assumptions about gender when taken in context with the rest of contemporary American culture. The creator’s intentions are not deeply relevant since he could easily have gone “you know who’s more religious? I read it’s women” unconsciously as well as consciously; we’re not interacting with her, we’re interacting with her work. (Sorry for gender flipping; I’m writing w/o the ability to edit easily so I decided gender flipping would be easier than editing for his/her.) This writer had some received ideas about gender that he/she recapitulated, and they intersected with his/her message in an unfortunate way.

    Basically, oh well, the cartoon is still cute.

    But for those of us who are content creators, it’s instructive to see how that happens so you can not do it.

    And for people who are reading, well, observing the unfortunate way that received gender roles and the message interacted here is a reasonable thing to do.

    It doesn’t ruin the cartoon any more than bad acting ruins a good play. It’s just one bit of the whole.

  93. says

    pelamun
    I know, I always cringe when she sings her little monkey “Schlaf mein kleines Negerkind”.
    The day the kids will ask what that actually means I’ll explain them that it was something people used in the past, why it is bad and why the wonderful Astrid Lindgren probably wasn’t aware of this.
    The same one’d have to do for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

    See, nobody called for the books to be burned ;). I still hold authors/artists in 2011 to a higher standard than in the 1940s.

    Thanx for the links.
    I love Lindgren, I named the little one Madita ;)

    2. if anyone growing up with the English versions is wondering about this, the American translators never used “negro princess/king” as that would have been inappropriate to an English speaking audience already in the 1940s, so they went with “cannibal princess/king” instead.

    Oh the irony….

  94. pharylon says

    Lots.
    And some become angry when you point out that the kid in blue is indeed a girl.
    But she’s dressed in blue!, as if that were a crime.
    You can add another data point: How many people will touch the “girl” vs the “boy”.

    Well, babies do pretty much look the same. The blue/pink thing can be a good shorthand for what sex the baby is. It’s not the colors themselves that are sexist, because as someone else pointed out, the colors used to be more or less reversed with pink being a shade of manly red and blue being a feminine color.

    There are a lot of issues with sexism being thrust on children at a young age, but I don’t think gender-color is one of them. The color is a useful shorthand and if someone ever got upset at me for assuming their baby in pink was a girl, or vice-versa, I’d just roll my eyes.

    I’m sorry, I can’t look at an infant and tell the gender, so I rely on social context. Don’t get me wrong, I told my wife I don’t want to do the pink/blue thing. We’re working on getting pregnant now, and I’m lobbying hard for yellows and greens in the nursery to avoid sexual stereotypes as much as possible. But at the same time, it’s polite to give some social cues to others as to your baby’s gender. So while a daughter of mine won’t be wearing a bunch of frilly pink, a little pink here and there will probably show up.

    And if I dress her one day with no pink and a lot of blue, well, I couldn’t blame anyone for assuming she’s a boy.

  95. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    @ rachelswirsky

    Very well said.

    It doesn’t ruin the cartoon any more than bad acting ruins a good play. It’s just one bit of the whole.

    Yeah, if a bit of sexism or sexist tropes in something led to me having to scream “ROONT! IT’S ROONT FOREVA!”, I’d *never* be able to enjoy anything I read/watch/play. (Okay, well almost never, since we’re being snitty on the absolutes today, though I honestly cannot think of any book I read or show I watched that didn’t have that little moment of stab…)

    Dealing with that little stab that says “Oh crap that’s unfortunate. Again.” and pushing through nonetheless, trying to still see the rest of the picture and not be put off (in this case, still enjoying the bunny cartoon and chuckling at it) – this is just part and parcel of the Female Experience Tee Em.

  96. Emrysmyrddin says

    RachelSwirsky: I agree completely. I’m going to re-post one of my comments from the previous thread, as I really can’t think of a better way to illustrate my reaction to it:

    And many have pointed out that this is but one example of an overweening problem with the perception of women in popular culture. Part of the whole, not the whole of the problem.

    When I see this, I think: “Hah, that’s a great cartoon, funny, point well made. Hey, I had those toys as a kid.”

    …and then the tiny little part that resides at the back of my fuzzy pink ladybrain lets out a teeny puff of a lonesome wistful sigh, whispering: “…but if only my gender wasn’t pegged as the dumb one, again…”

    No revolution. No flamethrowers. Just – sigh, this again.

    If there were enough variance, it wouldn’t be a trope in the first place. This is, excuse the parallel, just another puzzle piece.

    We ‘noted and moved on’. It wasn’t even a big deal – just a few remarks. I notice this sort of thing because it’s happened on many occasions throughout my entire (female) life. It’s not a ‘big deal’ in terms of OMG World Ending!1!!, just another data point in a lifetime of being forced to choose from the pink aisle. And pointing out a possibly interesting aspect of a piece of art shouldn’t lead to mass flaming for daring to talk about it.

  97. says

    Dianne,

    Thanks for the response. I’m lucky in that I’m married to a smart woman who isn’t shy about kicking me in the ass when I need it, so I try to run my more incendiary comments past her before hitting the “submit” button. :) Someone mentioned earlier how these smaller instances are the tough ones to talk about, because the big ones are so obvious that the correct response is equally obvious. One of the contradictions I see is that if it is acknowledged to be a small problem or “microaggression”, it seems out of proportion to attack people who don’t consider it sexism at all. It would seem to me that the difference between “insignificant” and “almost insignificant” wouldn’t generate much heat.

    Of course, context and intent. I get that some feminists are quick on the draw and for very good reasons, which complicates things for me even further. If someone has been mauled by a pit bull, you don’t call them “silly” and “too sensitive” if they are panicked by any dog they see. And even if someone is overreacting, they can still be more or less correct.

    So I see almost every perspective as having at least some validity in this instance, but some of the attacks on people for being sexist or privileged or “mansplaining” seemed at least a little misplaced. Just my perspective…

  98. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    I’m sorry, I can’t look at an infant and tell the gender, so I rely on social context.

    Have you ever wondered why it is so important for you to be able to label infants according to a restrictive gender binary?

  99. pharylon says

    Anyone else ever notice that the people most obsessed with tone are the assholes who claim that it doesn’t matter? I’m getting tired of seeing this:

    Person A posts something polite.

    Person B disagrees with a few facts sandwiched in string of insults.

    Person A says, hey you bring up some interesting points. Let’s discuss this, maybe without the baseless insults.

    Person B calls in the WHAAAAAmbulance. Person B is insulted! How dare Person A!

    To all the Person Bs out there: if you don’t care about tone, as you say, then shut the fuck up about it already.

  100. Dianne says

    I’m sorry, I can’t look at an infant and tell the gender, so I rely on social context.

    Unless you’re changing its diapers, why do you need to know a baby’s gender? To know what pronoun to use, I suppose…I tend to talk around the issue, i.e. “Oh, what a cutie! What’s your name?” rather than “What a cute girl/boy! What’s his/her name?” but really I’d be happier if we had a really good, universally accepted gender neutral pronoun that doesn’t imply non-sentience (the way using “it” would) so people wouldn’t have to worry so much about the gender of the infant they’re playing with while waiting for the elevator or whatever.

  101. Emrysmyrddin says

    I tend to use ‘they’. I know that it could possibly indicate a plural, but it’s the only mainstream neutral word that English can cope with at present.

  102. says

    pharylon

    I’m sorry, I can’t look at an infant and tell the gender, so I rely on social context. Don’t get me wrong, I told my wife I don’t want to do the pink/blue thing.

    I’m sad to tell you, the pink/blue thing will do you.
    I just had to bake pink cookies. :(
    Think about it like that: Why do you need to know the sex of a strange child at the mall anyway?

  103. pharylon says

    Unless you’re changing its diapers, why do you need to know a baby’s gender? To know what pronoun to use, I suppose…I tend to talk around the issue, i.e. “Oh, what a cutie! What’s your name?” rather than “What a cute girl/boy! What’s his/her name?” but really I’d be happier if we had a really good, universally accepted gender neutral pronoun that doesn’t imply non-sentience (the way using “it” would) so people wouldn’t have to worry so much about the gender of the infant they’re playing with while waiting for the elevator or whatever.

    I can’t argue with that – especially the need for a gender neutral pronoun – but I suppose the main reason is to avoid the wrong assumption being made. I dunno.

    I guess what I’m thinking is, and this is obviously way out on a tangent, that we tend to assign symbols to stuff. That’s just human nature. If it wasn’t blue or pink, it’d be some other color to be gender shorthand. Or if not a color, some other form symbology. So it’s pointless to be annoyed at the color pink for girls, because what we’re all really annoyed at is the overly-girly stuff that pink can represent (especially the stereotypical frilly pink dress). But if pink were eradicated as shorthand for “girly” something else would fill that gap. Humans love symbols and social cues, after all.

    What needs to be done is change what pink represents. I mentioned earlier my wife has one pink shirt. This is it:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&sa=N&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1280&bih=872&tbm=isch&tbnid=iGW2fe3iOvnoAM:&imgrefurl=http://www.penny-arcade.com/2006/06/16&docid=8hEheSXE9iIBjM&imgurl=http://www.penny-arcade.com/pa_annarchy.jpg&w=400&h=520&ei=rrzPTrL5EKHw0gGXh9H4Dw&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=316&sig=108928550091004094582&page=1&tbnh=147&tbnw=116&start=0&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:0&tx=51&ty=122

    What we need to change is the things that people associate with “being a girl,” or “being a boy,” and then the things that pink/blue (or whatever gender-color/symbol shorthand is in fashion at the time) will naturally follow.

  104. Dianne says

    It would seem to me that the difference between “insignificant” and “almost insignificant” wouldn’t generate much heat.

    I blame the internet. It’s hard to back down gracefully and subtle points get lost easily.

    Actually, no, there are probably other things to blame as well. Like history: historically, these little almost insignificant acts of prejudice have added up to major highly significant pieces of prejudice. There are daily battles in the US over whether and to what extent women have the right to control their sexuality and reproduction. We really are fighting for our lives. This makes it hard to leave any potentially winnable battle unfought. No, that’s not your fault. But it is the world you’re living in and the one you have to deal with when deciding how to answer an accusation of sexism.

    I meant to add that the falsifiable problem works both ways. Someone can be privileged/sexist, and simply say “you feminists are always making kneejerk accusations, so I’m going to ignore you.”

    I hadn’t seen this when I originally posted, but just to address it a little…There are some circumstances where you can’t win. There are a few “radical feminists” out there who insist that men are simply not worth talking to and never will be. That’s not rational and there’s no real way to respond to it. The same with the “you feminists” quote: it’s categorically denying the possibility that the other person may be right and really there’s not much to do about it. OTOH, I would consider a statement like, “I think you’re seeing sexism where there is none in this instance.” to be a reasonable statement that one can discuss.

  105. municipalis says

    (590) ahs ॐ:I do believe your preference comes from a very respectable motivation, municipalis. I just think it’s rather simplistic. I haven’t suggested avoiding disturbing concepts.

    Perhaps I misunderstood your original post then. You had said:

    It’s cute, and it has a good point, but I’m sure my daughter is exposed to ten stereotype-reinforcing representations of women at school each day, and I don’t want to read her an eleventh at bedtime.”

    I read it as “Because my daughter is exposed to N stereotypes per day outside of my control, I would not provider her with a piece material which is otherwise solid, but may fall into some cultural traps.” I still don’t see that reading of your text as incorrect. I advocated discussion rather than complete censorship, and since you seem to be advocating that in your latest post as well, I think we’re in agreement.

    (491) Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden: LOL – seriously, brains just seem to rot at the first mention of sexism.

    Read the example again: “expose her to a wide variety of viewpoints” is exactly what ahs proposes to do: there are 10 identical effing books during the day, and so the parent cuts out the one more identical book at night! Following your advice!

    1) Fuck you too.
    2) Why are you assuming that the books (or media, as ahs ॐ did not actually specify books) are “identical”?
    3) Perhaps you should read my clarification at #253.

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden: Except that’s not your advice, because since sexism is what all eleven books have in common, it’s okay.

    I have no clue how you got that from my comments. Please re-read them, and maybe do a search for my name so you can see my follow-ups. It might help.

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden: We don’t need to have diversity of opinion on sex stereotyping for kids. As long as we have diversity of opinion on the colors of dress a girl can wear, we’re doing fine. Quit complaining! No feminist books for you, overreactor! /snark

    And now you’ve gone into the crazyland of interpretation. Where the hell did you get the notion that I would oppose feminist books?

  106. says

    how strange; from where I’m sitting, it looks as if Person A is the one who didn’t manage to shut up about tone, not Person B. Are you sure you know what you’re doing, pharylon?

  107. Milos says

    You know, it doesn’t really matter what erv or hoggel say. Nothing can really prepare you for actually coming here and reading the baboonery first hand. I really thought they were exaggerating about what happens here. Understating more like it. You people are another species altogether. Unbelievable.

  108. Kaylakaze says

    Maybe if you don’t want people saying you’re shrill and over-reacting, maybe you shouldn’t respond by over-reacting shrilly. This whole conversation is a pathetic joke. It’s people like you all who give feminism and liberalism in general a bad name. None of you would have said a damn thing if the roles were reversed. You’re hypocrites. Do you want to now start a conversation about how the background on this page is white so it’s an example of white privilege? Maybe you want to bitch about how since PZ uses his initials, it’s an insult to all the female scientists and authors throughout history that had to use initials for their names in papers to be taken seriously?

    And guess what? Last time I checked, it was statistically more likely that the woman WOULD be the promoter of religion or woo. Sad, but true.

    If every single time you see a bush move you start screaming wolf, not only will people not listen when there’s a real wolf, but they’ll think you’re an annoying attention whore.

  109. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Pharylon the clueless:

    To all the Person Bs out there: if you don’t care about tone, as you say, then shut the fuck up about it already.

    Here’s the thing cupcake. It is clueless idjits like yourself who keep bringing up civility, and won’t drop it. We will respond each and every time you bring tone up, including every time you try to get in the last word on tone. Why can’t you just drop talking about tone? Why must you try to get the last word in? Ego maybe? It amounts to trolling about tone.

  110. says

    incidentally, I did recently try, just for shits and giggles, to follow the advice of “tone trolls” and not use any “bad” words in my responses to assorted people I was arguing with. the result was either that my posts were summarily ignored, or that I was accused of flinging shit anyway.

    *shrug*

  111. Pteryxx says

    Pharylon: Flagging small children and infants by gender at all, by color or any other means, is problematic because it enables adults to treat them stereotypically; and children DO internalize those stereotypes at a very young age*. Plenty of studies, as well as commentors’ anecdotes above, demonstrate how prevalent this behavior is and how hard it is to stop oneself doing it. It’s unfair to the children to feed them false assumptions about what gender identity requires or disallows, assumptions that may take many years of effort to un-learn, and which cause measurable damage in the meantime – not just to girls via stereotype threat**, but to boys via toxic masculinity, to kids who will become gay or bi (because of the coupling of homophobia with strict binary gender roles), and to nonbinary kids.

    * New UW study finds that children as young as second grade associate boys with math, girls with reading

    ** B&W – How to make your brains leak out

  112. municipalis says

    pharylon: I can’t argue with that – especially the need for a gender neutral pronoun – but I suppose the main reason is to avoid the wrong assumption being made. I dunno.

    Interestingly enough, Estonian has no he/she or his/hers only the gender-neutral “ta” and “tema”.

    In English it is considered acceptable to use “they” and “their” in the singular, but it’s not common practice and sometimes sounds a bit awkward.

  113. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @Gileill #583

    How does the intent of the artist change the perceived message?

    Holy crap some of you guys are complete philistines. Intent and context are central to art and you don’t have to have your mind addled by postmodernist nonsense to understand this. For example a few years ago there was an exhibition in Dublin which contained a number of exhibits some people found offensive including a clapping model caricature of a black performer entitled “The Laughing Nigger.”

    Objections were made by a number of people until it was pointed out to them that the exhibit was created by a former member of the Wailers (as in Bob Marley and) and was meant to be a satire on how black performers have been portrayed in popular culture.

    Intent and context transformed a piece from deeply racist and offensive to anti-racist and satirical. The actual exhibit didn’t change at all.

    So how is my example relevant to this discussion? Its relevant because its an example of how you clearly haven’t got a clue about how art intersects society and there you go preaching on about how this art is “wrong.” Just another thoughtcrime, eh?
    ——–
    There is some uneducated bias among some posters here against people who studied humanities as if art and literature have no value and have nothing to teach us about politics and society. I despair when I see that – its nearly as bad as the humanities educated science journalists who blindly regurgitate press releases or jump on crackpots bandwagons.

  114. says

    Actually, no, there are probably other things to blame as well. Like history: historically, these little almost insignificant acts of prejudice have added up to major highly significant pieces of prejudice. There are daily battles in the US over whether and to what extent women have the right to control their sexuality and reproduction. We really are fighting for our lives. This makes it hard to leave any potentially winnable battle unfought. No, that’s not your fault. But it is the world you’re living in and the one you have to deal with when deciding how to answer an accusation of sexism.

    Fair enough, which is why there’s a difference between good faith and bad faith claims. I think it is fair to say that you don’t see sexism, and maybe even of being a killjoy(because someone can be a killjoy and still be correct), but to act as though feminists are just making shit up because they are sensitive or have an agenda is actually sexist.

    As far as the word “fault”… that’s a tough one, because of privilege. I’ve had that conversation most often from the perspective of race-based civil rights issues, and the conclusion I’ve come to is that we need to separate “fault/blame” from “responsibility.” I’m not to blame for sexism, but I have a responsibility to be aware of it and not take part in it or create a space where it can thrive. Some random white person on the street isn’t to blame for the racism I’ve faced, but they have a responsibility to not perpetuate racism. It is important to not unfairly assign blame, but it is more important to accept your responsibility to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

    OTOH, I would consider a statement like, “I think you’re seeing sexism where there is none in this instance.” to be a reasonable statement that one can discuss.I think there were people who were saying the exact opposite at one point, that it is sexist and dismissive to tell a woman that she sees sexism that isn’t there. I agree that it is something that sexist people will say, but it shouldn’t be assumed to be an automatic sign of sexism. Like you said, it depends on what points you make and how you make them. Some people were being sexist, and I think some people may not have been.

    I think that might be what was frustrating PZ so much in the other comments, that there wasn’t more discussion and less poo-flinging… which makes me wonder if it is possible to “tone troll” your own blog?

  115. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @Richard Eis #588

    I can’t help noticing a disproportionate amount of people on one side of this are constantly and clearly not reading past posts before voicing their opinion.

    ..and before they start, I should point out it’s their fault that there are so many posts. Self fulfilling stupidity perhaps.

    I can’t help noticing a disproportionate number of people on one side of this seem to have nothing to do all day except read and write internet posts.
    If only the rest of us were so lucky…

  116. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    And the cavalcade of fools continue to rush in in order to inform us about how terrible we are.

    Gunboat Idiot, perhaps your example would be relevant in the creator of the bunny cartoon was a woman.

  117. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @Janine

    Perhaps if people say obviously stupid and ignorant things like “How does the intent of the artist change the perceived message?” YOU should call them out on it instead of leaving it to trollish ol’ moi.

  118. says

    PZ

    And then he puts another datum on the internets to further bias the case.

    You are now being hypocritical, by acknowledging that this is a problem, while not acknowledging that comment #2 said no more than this.

    Remember, this is what you identified as embarrassing you:

    “Please tell me that in the above, it isn’t the little girl rabbit who is brainlessly insisting on believing the box whereas the intelligent little boy rabbit bravely insist on working out the solution for himself. Because that would truly suck.”

    but this comment amounts to saying only that it’s unfortunate that someone has added another datum. That’s it. That’s all it says. It doesn’t say “this is evidence of the artist’s implicit sexism” or anything else that you later took issue with.

    +++++
    PZ, your disagreement now with my act-consequentialist statements about how “equality is delayed ever so slightly” remains a separate matter from what you initially identified as the problem. You blamed comment #2.

    Now it looks to me like you’ve agreed with the substance of #2, without rescinding your complaint against it.

  119. Richard Eis says

    Kaylakaze –

    None of you would have said a damn thing if the roles were reversed. You’re hypocrites.

    It could be worse, we could be accusing peoople of hypocrisy with no evidence and then making ridiculous strawmen before shrilly declaring everyone as being …well…shrill.

    Hypocrisy doesn’t appear to mean what you think it means.

  120. Pteryxx says

    bah – missed the second half of my point to Pharylon:

    Blue/Pink are kid’s colors, at least in America. I haven’t worn blue in years (I’m an autumn, as my wife says), but my parents (and most parents) sure dressed me in it a lot as a kid. My wife, similarly, has one shirt with pink on it, but you can bet she had pink on her when she was in a stroller.

    Blue and pink are kids’ colors in the service of gender stereotyping. They’re ways of assigning obvious gender flags because very young children aren’t distinguishable otherwise (and aren’t in a position to do anything about it.) It’s more accurate to separate the gender cues from little-kid cues (as much as possible) and say that pastels are kids’ colors.

  121. happiestsadist says

    Crip Dyke, I think you may have misread me. My objection was based on dude saying essentially that chosen visual presentation is irrelevant when it comes to gender as a means of avoiding acknowledging that the bunny was likely female, and identified as a girl bunny and I can’t believe I just write that phrase. it was stated as a means of discounting presenation in favour of what they “really” are, or possibly just really confusedly conflating trans with being a crossdresser. Hard to say. There’s not a thing particularly wrong with saying that especially binary people should be generally identified as the gender they present (barring times where they unwillingly must closet, obviously.) So take three of those porcupines yourself, I thought you were smarter than that.

  122. municipalis says

    Improbable Joe: I think that might be what was frustrating PZ so much in the other comments, that there wasn’t more discussion and less poo-flinging… which makes me wonder if it is possible to “tone troll” your own blog?

    I think the problem is a lot of commentators have started using “tone troll” as a shield for anything they say. As I understand it, the term originated to be derisive of people who would counter atheist arguments with “Be nice! It’s disrespectful to say that god doesn’t exist!”.

    Too often in the comments here I see it used to defend the equivalent of an atheist yelling “I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD YOU STUPID FUCKWIT” to someone who said “God Bless You” after a sneeze.

    I’m all for being direct and not mincing words in an argument, but I think being direct doesn’t mean you can’t also show some basic civility, provided your opponent does the same.

  123. jose says

    Careful about those broad statements about “human nature”. More often than not, what people think is “human nature” is actually “some regional human culture that has been around for about 50-100 years”.

  124. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Too often in the comments here I see it used to defend the equivalent of an atheist yelling “I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD YOU STUPID FUCKWIT” to someone who said “God Bless You” after a sneeze.

    Bad analogy, spleen weasel. The god botherers who are showing up here are not saying “bless you” after a sneeze.

  125. Richard Eis says

    I can’t help noticing a disproportionate number of people on one side of this seem to have nothing to do all day except read and write internet posts.
    If only the rest of us were so lucky…

    It’s a slow Friday, so sue me :)

    Actually if you can catch up with the deluge, the occasional flick back to see what’s new is fairly easy, and we are regular hands at speed reading posts for the juicy tidbits.

  126. municipalis says

    ahs ॐ :You are now being hypocritical, by acknowledging that this is a problem, while not acknowledging that comment #2 said no more than this.

    But since comment #2 in all likelihood (especially considering their phrasing), did not have any actual evidence of how the author derived the genders of the bunnies, the comment was needless. Had they found the reddit comment and posted that, I’m sure PZ would have agreed off the bat.

    The issue isn’t whether #2 was right or wrong in hindsight, the issue is whether they had the evidence to back up their assertion in the first place. I thought not immediately jumping to conclusions is the hallmark of scepticism.

  127. says

    PZ,

    Why did PZ need the artist to point out that xe was indeed intentionally using harmful gender stereotypes to recognize that the artist was indeed using harmful gender stereotypes?

    Because how you come to your conclusion is important. If you’re going to judge sexism based on asymmetries in particular instances, you’re going to see a lot of false positives.

    But if it is in fact a problem when someone “puts another datum on the internets to further bias the case” then this problem exists regardless of anyone’s intent.

    The datum doesn’t care about anyone’s intent; it just exists.

    Your position so far seems to be confused. If further biasing the case—for someone else’s future understanding, presumably—is objectionable, this future biasing is objectionable separately from whether someone concludes anything about the artist’s implicit sexism now.

    If someone had gone digging and discovered that the artist had been conscious of potential sexism, and had flipped a coin to place his girl bunny in a role, or if he had a series of these in which he was careful to alternate the dumb bunnies sex…how many of you would change your mind and say that the original wasn’t sexist?

    I would be saying the same thing I’ve been saying the whole time, because I haven’t been talking about the artist’s intent, only consequences. You will not find any claim I made about the artist’s intent. Sexism is disparities in the world, and it often happens even with the best intentions. In those cases we have to find careful ways of talking to the person so that they understand they’re not being judged as malicious, but we don’t have the luxury of just looking the other way.

    Keep flipping that coin to eternity and there will be periods of thousands of years when every coin flip turns up “make the feminine character be stupid”. None of us want to live in those aeons. It doesn’t matter if it’s malicious or random; it’s a problem either way.

    And you’ll have a sorites paradox if you try to say that just one coin flip is inherently unobjectionable.

  128. says

    “Janine, the term ‘spleen weasel’ is not only nonsensical(weasel made of spleen? or very small weasels that live in your spleen?) but awfully shrill. I’m sure you are capable of making a good point, but I can’t see past your name-calling…”

    Now THAT’S tone trolling, right?

  129. municipalis says

    Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM: Bad analogy, spleen weasel. The god botherers who are showing up here are not saying “bless you” after a sneeze.

    A slightly more careful reading of my post would have clued you into the caveat I added, “provided your opponent does the same.”

  130. says

    municipalis, you are only pretending not to get it. The objection in #2 is not against how someone decides to do X. The objection is only with the presence of X.

    The issue isn’t whether #2 was right or wrong in hindsight, the issue is whether they had the evidence to back up their assertion in the first place. I thought not immediately jumping to conclusions is the hallmark of scepticism.

    What assertion?

    Here is the entire comment:

    “Please tell me that in the above, it isn’t the little girl rabbit who is brainlessly insisting on believing the box whereas the intelligent little boy rabbit bravely insist on working out the solution for himself. Because that would truly suck.”

    It contains no assertions except “that would truly suck”, which is a statement of preference. You are now saying people aren’t allowed to have preferences?

  131. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    The issue isn’t whether #2 was right or wrong in hindsight, the issue is whether they had the evidence to back up their assertion in the first place. I thought not immediately jumping to conclusions is the hallmark of scepticism.

    As far as I can tell, that question was originally posed in a speculative tone, asking for more input.

    The real issue here is whether or not it’s possible to pose such a speculative request for further input without being accused of being a “paranoid killjoy” and being told to STFU.

  132. says

    PZ, your disagreement now with my act-consequentialist statements about how “equality is delayed ever so slightly” remains a separate matter from what you initially identified as the problem. You blamed comment #2.

    My disagreement with you still stands. It was a ridiculous blanket statement.

    Now it looks to me like you’ve agreed with the substance of #2, without rescinding your complaint against it.

    Because I still have a complaint with it. As I clearly said, how we know something is critical. Counting boys and girls or complaining about their roles in a single instance is not sufficient, since there can be perfectly innocuous alternative explanations.

    These two threads would have gone in entirely different directions (this one wouldn’t exist) if instead, #2 had said, “I found a description on reddit of how the artist assigned gender roles, and it was sexist”. A vague accusation provoked a massive derailment. My complaint will not be rescinded.

  133. municipalis says

    ahs ॐ :

    I think that’s disingenuous. It’s like when Fox news posts a story like “IS OBAMA BRAINWASHING CHILDREN?”, sure, they are ‘only asking a question’, but the question is leading to a foregone conclusion. By comment #6 in that thread the “question” had shifted to a positive answer.

  134. Pteryxx says

    The issue isn’t whether #2 was right or wrong in hindsight, the issue is whether they had the evidence to back up their assertion in the first place. I thought not immediately jumping to conclusions is the hallmark of scepticism.

    You might note that #2 MADE A PREDICTION:

    “Please tell me that in the above, it isn’t the little girl rabbit who is brainlessly insisting on believing the box whereas the intelligent little boy rabbit bravely insist on working out the solution for himself. Because that would truly suck.”

    Made a prediction. Namely, that in a depiction of intelligent skeptic versus brainless fundie, brainless character would turn out to be girl, and intelligent character would be boy. And that prediction was proven correct. The same prediction I made, with sinking heart, on the very first glimpse of pink-versus-blue word balloons. The same that many of us made.

    Why was that prediction accurate? Because that pairing of brainless/religious/wrongness with femaleness happens over and over and OVER again. There’s evidence for it. It’s a trope. It’s predictable.

  135. says

    Keep flipping that coin to eternity and there will be periods of thousands of years when every coin flip turns up “make the feminine character be stupid”. None of us want to live in those aeons. It doesn’t matter if it’s malicious or random; it’s a problem either way.

    That is an awesomely stupid statement.

  136. Candra Rain says

    The cartoon was just a paper cut.

    Who complains about a paper cut?

    Perhaps the person who already has ten, or a hundred, or a thousand.

    And who says, “Oh, it’s just a paper cut! Stop making such a fuss!”

    Perhaps the person who never or only rarely ever gets one.

  137. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    These two threads would have gone in entirely different directions (this one wouldn’t exist) if instead, #2 had said, “I found a description on reddit of how the artist assigned gender roles, and it was sexist”. A vague accusation provoked a massive derailment. My complaint will not be rescinded.

    Dammit, PZ! You know better then that. If Chys T had opened with that, we still would have the mansplainers hand waving the gender coding away. You have seen this happen too many times just on your own blog.

  138. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    So, because the reaction from anti-feminists is so vastly out of proportion to any actual complaint presented, the burden is hereby placed entirely on the shoulders of feminists to ensure that every observation or complaint is backed up 100% by peer-reviewed data.

    It’s a nice ideal, but why is it our responsibility to avoid derailment? The derailing came AFTER the complaint; the complaint itself was not derailing, but the response to it was.

  139. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Municipalis, #

    I read it as “Because my daughter is exposed to N stereotypes per day outside of my control, I would not provider her with a piece material which is otherwise solid, but may fall into some cultural traps.” I still don’t see that reading of your text as incorrect.

    It wasn’t incorrect, as I read it. But it is also incomplete: ahs suggests providing material n+1 that is otherwise solid and does *not* fall into the same cultural traps. This failure to appreciate the implications of this suggestion made it possible for you, in your original post, to say the following:

    I would rather “my friend” teach their daughter critical thinking and expose her to a wide variety of viewpoints rather than censor otherwise good material on the shallow basis that it is not explicitly opposing gender-stereotyping, or any other nastiness. Not being explicitly sexist, racists, etc. is enough for me.

    1st off: failing to buy and read book X is not the same as censoring. There are literally millions of books that I have never bought or read. In fact, I have never once bought or red any books in Hindi, Chinese, or Polish.

    And yet, I am not now, nor have I ever been, engaging in censorship of books of any language. This may seem a, “duh,” comment, but that reflects on your original comment, not mine.

    2nd off:

    I advocated discussion rather than complete censorship, and since you seem to be advocating that in your latest post as well, I think we’re in agreement.

    which was a major point of mine: ahs suggested that multiple perspectives would be a good reason to decline to buy a book with the OPs comic. You suggested multiple perspectives. Sounds like a good brain going to rot to me that you couldn’t figure out you were in agreement the first time around. Which I then proceeded to say.

    3rd off:

    2) Why are you assuming that the books (or media, as ahs ॐ did not actually specify books) are “identical”?
    3) Perhaps you should read my clarification at #253.

    Only one aspect of the materials was being discussed. That was the stereotypes employed. They were asserted to be the same in that way. Thus they were identical on the point under discussion. I could have clarified that the 11 books were “identical in the quality we are discussing, but, obviously, not identical in ever respect because otherwise we would just say 1 book read 11 times” but I thought that was obvious to anyone with basic reading comprehension. Or at least the average pharyngulite. I can break things down for you more explicitly in the future if you like.

    …as for #3 – I read your clarification under #253. It didn’t change the fact that your comment, in its most reasonable interpretation, seemed to be disagreeing with ahs, as in the part where you say, “I would rather … expose her to a wide variety of viewpoints rather than censor otherwise good material on the shallow basis that it is not explicitly opposing gender-stereotyping”. In fact, it merely seemed to belabor that point. You had already said, ” Not being explicitly sexist, racists, etc. is enough for me,” which one could easily take to mean that being explicitly oppressive would not meet your standards. Sure enough, that’s all you really added in #253.

    Then, I pointed out (with snark included at no extra charge) that your argument amounts to saying that you would not join ahs in countering implicit sexism with an explicitly anti-sexist book, “rather than censor[ing] otherwise good material.”

    You even called repeated exposure to implicit sexism a “shallow basis” for **not spending one’s own money** on a book.

    It seemed very weird that you wanted a “diversity” of views, but when 10 books present the same implicit sexism, an 11th that monotonously repeates that sexist refrain should be added as bedtime reading. Yet, that’s what you wanted. That’s what you argued.

    So I took note of the fact that you thought the 11th book should be bought while striking a pose that advocated “diversity” in this quote:

    Except that’s not your advice, because since sexism is what all eleven books have in common, it’s okay.

    and how did you respond?

    I have no clue how you got that from my comments. …And now you’ve gone into the crazyland of interpretation. Where the hell did you get the notion that I would oppose feminist books?

    By saying that I was in “crazyland” for thinking that you had advocated purchasing an 11th book with implicit sexism over providing an anti-sexist book as a counterweight to the first 10 books, all, according to the hypothetical, repeating the same, mindless, implicit sexism.

    Here’s a clue: when you say that you wouldn’t purchase an anti-sexist counterweight to implicitly sexist books, and that you would actually spend money to buy yet another book repeating sexist tropes despite your child having been force fed implicit sexism all day long, other people will read that as you opposing diversity of opinion around sexism for your child.

    I didn’t say you would oppose all feminist books. What I said reasonably responded to your assertion that buying an 11th book with implicit sexism was somehow “pro-diversity” and “anti-censorship” because we should certainly not, as parents, oppose books on the “shallow basis” that they merely portray sexism in a matter-of-fact way without saying, “act like this character or no one will love you” or some such in the front of the book.

    Now that you have some clue how I got what I did from your comments, would you like to explicitly retract any of your statements? Or would you simply like to call me crazy some more?

  140. says

    If she had opened with that, and the mansplainers had started complaining, we’d have had evidence to smack them with. It wouldn’t shut them up, but there wouldn’t have been the prolonged spectacle of baseless floundering to encourage them.

    That was my disagreement — not that sexism wasn’t possible here, but damn, that was some horribly bad argument over a petty phenomenon.

  141. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    It could have been so easy: “Oh yes Chrys T, it is possible that there’s some sexism there; hard to say (personally I don’t see it), but you’re right, it would be disappointing if it were. Anyway, about the content of the cartoon… it is truly cute and funny, isn’t it?”

  142. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As I understand it, the term originated to be derisive of people who would counter atheist arguments with “Be nice! It’s disrespectful to say that god doesn’t exist!”.

    Nope, it came about because some people came here with the idea that the most polite person won the debate, instead of the one presenting the best evidence/argument. Occasionally they were preaching, but not always. That is where “tone troll” came from.

    It does appear a lot of pious types don’t like our normal language though. So we keep a large stock of clutching pearls and readily available fainting couches for those types.

  143. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    That was my disagreement — not that sexism wasn’t possible here, but damn, that was some horribly bad argument over a petty phenomenon.

    It wasn’t the BEST argument, even though it turned out to be correct, despite being vague and poorly phrased at the beginning…

    That doesn’t excuse what happened afterward, and it really seems unfair to hold Chrys T at fault for the entire derailment.

  144. says

    So, because the reaction from anti-feminists is so vastly out of proportion to any actual complaint presented, the burden is hereby placed entirely on the shoulders of feminists to ensure that every observation or complaint is backed up 100% by peer-reviewed data.

    Yes. Because we’re better than they are.

    And no, not quite right. Subjective experience is real, and anecdotes can be a legitimate part of the story. But this didn’t even qualify as an anecdote — it was an observation looking for an explanation, and a hypothesis was flung around as if it were data, and all people had to do was infer it frequently enough to turn it into something solid.

  145. municipalis says

    Pteryxx: Made a prediction.

    I’m sorry, I don’t see how that’s a prediction so much as a leading question. See #652 as well.

    Pteryxx:Made a prediction. Namely, that in a depiction of intelligent skeptic versus brainless fundie, brainless character would turn out to be girl, and intelligent character would be boy.

    Maybe I misunderstand you here, but it’s not really a ‘prediction’ if you know the answer already…

  146. says

    That doesn’t excuse what happened afterward, and it really seems unfair to hold Chrys T at fault for the entire derailment.

    Why would I do that? These things are properties of group dynamics — it takes two to make an argument. And if it were as trivial as two people bickering, which we’ve seen happen before, it would be obvious. This took a whole mob to turn into such a mess.

  147. says

    PZ

    My disagreement with you still stands.

    I know.

    Because I still have a complaint with it. As I clearly said, how we know something is critical.

    But wait. What is the “something” that we know from #2? This is why I’m trying to get you to quote the quote and dissect it, because you keep firing these near misses that do not actually apply to what was said:

    “Please tell me that in the above, it isn’t the little girl rabbit who is brainlessly insisting on believing the box whereas the intelligent little boy rabbit bravely insist on working out the solution for himself. Because that would truly suck.”

    What we know from #2 is that it would truly suck if the artist had put another datum on the internets. That is all.

    Nothing was said about the artist’s intentions; the commenter at #2 only takes the position that this piece of art could have been better if it been done differently.

    Is that it, then? Are we no longer supposed to express preferences about any given artistic representation?

    Counting boys and girls or complaining about their roles in a single instance is not sufficient,

    Another near miss. Not sufficient for what? Apparently you want this comment to be something more than it was, so that your generalization of many comments will apply to it as well.

    since there can be perfectly innocuous alternative explanations.

    Comment #2 did not attempt to explain anything. It was a statement of preference.

    These two threads would have gone in entirely different directions (this one wouldn’t exist) if instead, #2 had said, “I found a description on reddit of how the artist assigned gender roles, and it was sexist”.

    Hah. You’ve seen what happens even when the case is open and shut.

    A vague accusation provoked a massive derailment.

    Near miss. What was the accusation?

    +++++
    To put it in your own terms, you can’t take other commenters’ words as evidence that this one comment was an accusation of sexism. N=1, you know.

  148. crissakentavr says

    If the cartoon was misogynistic for implying that the foolish character was female, then is it *ever* acceptable to create a completely fictional negative character that’s female?

    One thing which was pointed out fairly early – like thirty comments in – about minimizing irrelevant differences between characters pointing out an argument. So yes, it would have been avoided had the characters not had gendered speech bubbles and clothes.

    But the problem isn’t this one instance – it is that this instance is in a culture where the majority of examples have a male voice as the rational one. So change that culture and this would not be an example of it anymore, would it?

    That time is neither now, and it’s unlikely to be true any time within our lifetimes.

  149. says

    That is an awesomely stupid statement.

    I see in your coin flip scenario an implication that humans, living in middle world, who have for millions of years fought against the destructive effects of randomness, ought not to take issue with any given random act. I find that awesomely stupid enough to deserve an appropriate reductio.

    That was my disagreement — not that sexism wasn’t possible here, but damn, that was some horribly bad argument over a petty phenomenon.

    Then have you also silently been taking issue with every discussion of preference for gender representation in sci-fi that takes place on TET? Are you really that guy?

    But this didn’t even qualify as an anecdote — it was an observation looking for an explanation, and a hypothesis was flung around as if it were data, and all people had to do was infer it frequently enough to turn it into something solid.

    FTFY.

  150. Heehaw says

    I’ve got a question, what if each bunny represented someone in his life. The blue bunny was him, and then the pink bunny was an ex-girlfriend or something.

    In this case the comic would have been deliberately silly girl vs rational boy, but based on true events.

    Do the pharyngulites believe that that would still be sexist, if it were based on real people, one who happened to be a rationalist male and another who happened to be a a less than rational girl?

  151. trianglethief says

    “If she had opened with that, and the mansplainers had started complaining, we’d have had evidence to smack them with…. That was my disagreement.”

    That doesn’t appear to be your disagreement at all. You plainly state in your post up top that your disagreement was with pointing out the possibility of sexism in this instance in the first place – whether or not the first mention of it measures up to some arbitrary standard of evidence-based argument. ‘Wrong battle’ etc. Am I misreading horribly? I am finding this all very strange and upsetting having finally made it to the end of both threads, so..

    Not to mention that it was merely a tired observation, not the opening gambit in a vigorous dissection of the super-importance of never, ever using crap stereotypes in comics lest we undermine all the goals of feminism forever and ever. Man, if I had to hunt down irrefutable evidence of sexist intent every time I made a sadface at someone for doing something unintentionally sexist.. well, it would be impossible, because that is the entire point of ‘unintentional’ and I’m really not seeing an admission of deliberate sexism from the original poster of the comic ANYWAY so, as far as I can tell, intent STILL doesn’t fucking matter.

  152. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    But this didn’t even qualify as an anecdote — it was an observation looking for an explanation, and a hypothesis was flung around as if it were data, and all people had to do was infer it frequently enough to turn it into something solid.

    It’s really too bad that the testerical reaction of the anti-feminists prevented the commentariat from having that discussion as well.

  153. Pteryxx says

    municipalis: Maybe I misunderstand you here, but it’s not really a ‘prediction’ if you know the answer already…

    Yeah, you misunderstand. I glanced at the very first frame of the cartoon, saw pink and blue speech balloons, and thought “That looks gendered. Might be a bad thing.” Reading the actual dialogue and looking at the rest of the cartoon provided all the cues necessary to confirm that it really was pairing “stupid” with “girl”. (And no cues to counter that inference, not even neutral cues.) I presume that #2 and others went through a similar process, based on their comments.

    That’s one reason I object to the sexism, or Unfortunate Implication if you prefer, because coloring the speech balloons pink and blue is the first impression, while the comic’s actual metaphor doesn’t become clear until reading a ways into it. I think the overt gender coding distracts from the message, and the comic would work better without it. Which has only been my point all along.

  154. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Why would I do that? These things are properties of group dynamics — it takes two to make an argument. And if it were as trivial as two people bickering, which we’ve seen happen before, it would be obvious. This took a whole mob to turn into such a mess.

    PZ, please refer back to the cartoon by Gabby. This would not have happened if the hogglers had to shout about a (What turned out to be an accurate) statement. What was a minor point was made into the only topic of discussion. And, quite fucking frankly, all of the people arguing against the hand wavers were in the right.

    And, as I stated before, the bunny cartoon could have made the same point without the gender tropes.

  155. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Happiest Sadist – #640:

    And I called him out on it.

    “trans people exist, therefore when I see no gender in obvious gender signals, I’m right, and if you use obvious gender signals to attempt to ID sexism, you’re wrong,” is fucked up & was used many times on these 2 threads. It’s wrong and was the focus of my post.

    But it’s not wrong because some people who are trans are part of the binary. It’s wrong because it’s

    a) cultural appropriation, assuming the person isn’t trans

    and
    b) an accountability avoidance mechanism, whether the person is trans or not.

    It’s wrong because it’s a derail. It’s not wrong because person X wore pants on tuesday. If you start saying that it’s wrong because some trans folk exist in the binary, the other person can simply come back with, “well some trans people don’t,” and now where are we?

    Plus, your statement was tautologous: “those trans people that don’t violate gender norms don’t violate gender norms.” How does that really advance the conversation?

    Finally, even tho’ many trans people violate the expectation of having a certain sex while having hum-drum gender expression for their gender ID, many don’t. Then there are all kinds of people who aren’t trans, but who nonetheless violate gender mores in some way or another. Because of that, it’s actually a good thing if people make fewer gendered assumptions, including assumptions about another person’s gender ID, based on limited information – especially limited information that mainly relates to stereotypes.

    In short, it’s actually not bad advice to get people to stop assuming that a short hair = ID’ing as a man OR pink clothes = ID’ing as a woman. What is fucked up is how so many people use the existence of trans folk for their own benefit when they want to weasel out of accountability for understanding harmful gender dynamics in the first place by saying, “oh, but gender is complicated and never automatically means that anyway!”

    As a post-script, if you re-read what I said @ 472, absolutely NONE of those porcupines were directed at you. I’m with you on everything but tactics, because I don’t believe that your tactics actually addressed what was fundamentally wrong with what PaulG and others said.

    I think if you re-read it carefully, you’ll see what I said to you was not at all hostile, and was, in fact, a friendly disagreement about how to handle a problem we were both interested in tackling. Certainly I offered you no porcupines, so I don’t see how you had 3 to offer me “back.”

    I, therefore, sit in comfort and hope that you will soon realize that we have no major disagreement and that, to the extent that we do have a disagreement, it is one that calls for no porcupinage whatsoever, radioactive, zombie, or otherwise.

    Of course, if you continue to feel I deserve porcupines, feel free to tell me why. Also, you can answer my original question if you wish, the one wondering why you used the strategy you did (about binary-comfortable trans folk) instead of directly calling them out on cultural appropriation and derailing to avoid accountability. There may be a reason I haven’t considered. But until you bring up a specific reason, I’m going to consider my tactics more direct and therefore more effective.

  156. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I think the problem is a lot of commentators have started using “tone troll” as a shield for anything they say. As I understand it, the term originated to be derisive of people who would counter atheist arguments with “Be nice! It’s disrespectful to say that god doesn’t exist!”.

    Tone trolling is when somebody whines “you guys are using naughty language, if only you were nice then I’d be so much happier.” It’s often used when the tone troll is losing an argument and complains about how something is said rather than what is said.

    “You’re wrong because of fact A” means exactly the same as “you’re wrong because of fact A, you idiot.” The tone troll will whine about “you idiot” instead of trying to refute or reinterpret fact A.

    Too often in the comments here I see it used to defend the equivalent of an atheist yelling “I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD YOU STUPID FUCKWIT” to someone who said “God Bless You” after a sneeze.

    You’re close. An atheist yelling “I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD YOU STUPID FUCKWIT” is usually in response to fuckwittery like “everyone believes in god, you’re just angry at him” or “if you don’t believe in god then you’ll burn in Hell” or even “I’ll pray for you.” In other words, a goddist is insulting the atheist in some fashion (“I’ll pray for you” is goddese for “fuck you, atheists”) and the atheist insults back.

    I’m all for being direct and not mincing words in an argument, but I think being direct doesn’t mean you can’t also show some basic civility, provided your opponent does the same.

    Your concern is noted.

  157. Gregory Greenwood says

    PZ @ 298;

    This is entirely true. The question is whether the cartoon is trying to promote it.

    I think that this is the wrong question. As I pointed out at 218;

    In isolation, the cartoon is harmless, and I think it likely that sexism was not consciously intended, but it is the unconscious replication of discriminatory tropes that is the hardest to eradicate, and this cartoon has to be viewed in its broader social context as part of a clear pattern of depictions of women in our society as lacking critical faculties and a serious turn of mind.

    It is not a question of whether or not the cartoon actively or intentionally promotes the idea that women are less rational – posters like myself are merely pointing out that it is yet another example of an oft repeated meme in our society that has to be viewed in context.

    Equality does not mean that the smart bunny in the dialog will always be the one in the dress.

    I do not recall suggesting that this was my definition of equality. The problem is not an isolated example of the depiction of a female character as irrational, it is the fact that the meme has become ubiquitous in our society, and that this is just one more expression of that trope among a great many. Afterall, why bother placing gender indicators in relation to the characters at all? In what way would the message by diluted by simply having ungenderd bunnies using gender neutral colours for their speech bubbles? Or by having two bunnies of the same gender?

    As you yourself point out, equality in depiction;

    …does mean that the bunny in the dress isn’t always the dumb one.

    But in our society, the female character is depicted disproportionally often as, if not the ‘dumb’ one, then as the one less given to rationality, and more given to emotion. As the one less scientific, and more ‘intuitive’. As the gender that is better at humanities than sciences, and better at languages than mathematics – the construction of gender roles is everywhere, and even an on-the-face-of-it minor example such as this can still contribute to the broader trend.

    There is a difference between those two sentences, you know. It means you can’t focus on a particular instance and declare it an example of the general phenomenon.

    As Father Ogvorbis, OMoron points out @ 581, isn’t every example a single instance if viewed in isolation? Sometimes, the significance of a particular attribute of a singular instance can only be appreciated when many such instances are viewed in aggregate as part of a broader social context. This cartoon doesn’t exist in a cultural vacuum.

    @ 430;

    Now THAT’s a smoking gun. OK, point accepted: the cartoon was originally made with part of the point being perpetuation of a sexist stereotype gleaned from the internet. In light of the evidence, I change my mind.

    What was the guy thinking? He let the internets decide? Stupid. And then he puts another datum on the internets to further bias the case.

    and @ 572;

    Intent and context matter…

    I am glad that you changed your mind on this – the susceptibility to evidence is the best thing about being rational – but part of the point here is that even without clear evidence of intent this cartoon would still replicate a sexist trope in society. As I noted in my post, subconscious sexism is extremely hard to tackle but can easily be every bit as toxic as intended sexism. If evidence of intent is required before we can point out that something replicates sexist tropes, then how is it possible to address the unconscious replication of sexist memes that can still have a chilling effect on the aspirations of women? Is not the purpose of consciousness raising to expose people to the idea that their unexamined privilege could lead to the unintentional propagation of sexism?

    @ 572;

    …because a world in which guys are consistently and unfairly portrayed as dumb bunnies would be just as sexist as the one we’re in.

    I have read through both threads, and I don’t remember anyone actually suggesting this.

  158. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    PZ says: “Counting boys and girls or complaining about their roles in a single instance is not sufficient, since there can be perfectly innocuous alternative explanations.”
    But doesn’t assessing the assignment of roles to gender in general require noting the assignment in each particular case. And while it is the trends that are important, trends are after all composed of individual cases.
    I think that perhaps the disappointment here can in part be attributed to the cleverness of the cartoon. It is tremendously disappointing to see something clever and then have to wonder whether there is not also a message directed at oneself as a minority member of the community.
    If the smart bunny had been white and the dumb bunny black, it would have raised similar questions.
    The issue is that since the cartoon can be interpreted as playing to stereotypes of the minority community portrayed, members of that community, who have often experienced just such pigeonholing, have to wonder whether the assignment was by intent. We in the majority community need to be aware enough to avoid such misimpressions.

  159. Patrick says

    @430

    “What was the guy thinking? He let the internets decide? Stupid. And then he puts another datum on the internets to further bias the case.”

    I don’t think that’s quite what he’s saying. My guess is that he Googled something like “religiosity and gender,” as I just did.

    “Among social scientists who pay attention to religion, it is commonly accepted that women are more religious than men. Numerous surveys going back at least a century have found this to be the case.’.Consequently Walter and Davie’s observation (1998, p. 640) that ‘women are more religious than men on every measure of religosity'(which is the opening statement, not the conclusion, of their survey of research on women’s religiosity) [b]comes as close to accepted truth as may be possible in the social sciences[/b].” (Sullins, 2006). Emphasis mine, and note that this particular paper was actually about the exceptions to this “rule,” and that this and other authors categorically reject explanation of this trend as due to some innate biological tendency. Nonetheless, it seems more than fair to accept this as an observation.

    Reading the author’s explanation, it seems that he just went with whatever slight majority exists in US culture, rather than flip a coin or advance a social agenda. It’s probably not what I would have done, but…shrug?

  160. charles says

    Are you really fighting for the right for the cute bunny in the dress in a cartoon to not be the religious one? I have never seen feminism reduced to such appalling depths of triviality as I have in that thread

    ?!?!? Well then PZ, I guess you haven’t been paying attention to Pharyngula for the last six months…

  161. Dianne says

    That was my disagreement — not that sexism wasn’t possible here, but damn, that was some horribly bad argument over a petty phenomenon.

    If people are disagreeing violently over what appears to be a petty phenomenon, perhaps it’s a sign that there’s something nasty connected to the apparently petty phenomenon that needs to be explored further. I’d suggest that it would be worth considering whether people are getting upset over the bunnies because of deeper problems of which the bunnies are an example or because of underlying problems that the bunnies are an excuse to bring up. In either case, further exploration of the underlying problems might be worthwhile. OTOH, maybe it’s just a bunch of people with too much time on their hands spoiling for a flame war. That’s perfectly plausible too.

  162. Lexic says

    Can’t it just be an observation? We know the stereo type exists so acknowledging it isn’t really that surprising. It seems to me there was more effort made in suppressing the possibility of sexism in the cartoon then there was in making it the main discussion. Let women roll their eyes note that once again women are not representing logic and science, agree, and then move on to the conversation about religion. Because even though one example is not enough to prove sexism, the existence of those stereo types is enough to make it possible. Can’t a woman notice the inequalities (intentional or not) without a man trying to shut her up?

  163. municipalis says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden: It wasn’t incorrect, as I read it. But it is also incomplete: ahs suggests providing material n+1 that is otherwise solid and does *not* fall into the same cultural traps.

    Fair enough, but – being a tad pragmatic – the amount of cultural material out there which does not fall into any such traps is rather limited.

    Crip Dyke: 1st off: failing to buy and read book X is not the same as censoring.

    Books are not equally interchangable. There is only one Farewell to Arms. It doesn’t mean you have to read it, but the nature of its content also doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading. If you refuse to read Hemmingway or anything else that offends your sensibilites, it is self-censorship. If you refuse to expose your kids to it rather than having a critical discussion afterwards you are censoring them.

    Crip Dyke: which was a major point of mine: ahs suggested that multiple perspectives would be a good reason to decline to buy a book with the OPs comic.

    I’m sorry, I didn’t see ahs saying that. She said it after, but there was no sign of such nuance in the first statement.

    Crip Dyke: Only one aspect of the materials was being discussed. That was the stereotypes employed. They were asserted to be the same in that way. Thus they were identical on the point under discussion.

    I don’t see how you can strip away everything except the stereotypes being employed. Context matters. Is this comic really “identical” to Barbie’s Pink Dreamhouse and High-Heel Shopping Bonanza or can we show a bit of nuance?

    Crip Dyke: Then, I pointed out (with snark included at no extra charge) that your argument amounts to saying that you would not join ahs in countering implicit sexism with an explicitly anti-sexist book, “rather than censor[ing] otherwise good material.”

    I am still failing to see where the existence of an “explicitly ant-sexist book” has come from; that was never offered as an alternative here. If such an alternative existed, sure, let’s go with that. But in many cases such alternatives don’t exist – and I wouldn’t shelter my hypothetical children from good books or other media on the basis that it doesn’t conform to modern standards of political correctness. That’s all I’m saying.

    Crip Dyke: Here’s a clue: when you say that you wouldn’t purchase an anti-sexist counterweight to implicitly sexist books, and that you would actually spend money to buy yet another book repeating sexist tropes despite your child having been force fed implicit sexism all day long, other people will read that as you opposing diversity of opinion around sexism for your child.

    Again, I have never claimed I wouldn’t purchase an “anti-sexist counterweight”; I have only said that the quality of being “anti-sexist” is not a determining factor in my purchase of books. The rest of your paragraph is purely conjecture.

    Crip Dyke: I didn’t say you would oppose all feminist books.

    Except you just did, in the paragraph above: “when you say that you wouldn’t purchase an anti-sexist counterweight to implicitly sexist books”. Clearly we both share this inference from your previous statements.

    Crip Dyke: Now that you have some clue how I got what I did from your comments, would you like to explicitly retract any of your statements? Or would you simply like to call me crazy some more?

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden: It wasn’t incorrect, as I read it. But it is also incomplete: ahs suggests providing material n+1 that is otherwise solid and does *not* fall into the same cultural traps.

    Fair enough, but – being a tad pragmatic – the amount of cultural material out there which does not fall into any such traps is rather limited.

    Crip Dyke: 1st off: failing to buy and read book X is not the same as censoring.

    Books are not equally interchangable. There is only one Farewell to Arms. It doesn’t mean you have to read it, but the nature of its content also doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading. If you refuse to read Hemmingway or anything else that offends your sensibilites, it is self-censorship. If you refuse to expose your kids to it rather than having a critical discussion afterwards you are censoring them.

    Crip Dyke: which was a major point of mine: ahs suggested that multiple perspectives would be a good reason to decline to buy a book with the OPs comic.

    I’m sorry, I didn’t see ahs saying that. She said it after, but there was no sign of such nuance in the first statement.

    Crip Dyke: Only one aspect of the materials was being discussed. That was the stereotypes employed. They were asserted to be the same in that way. Thus they were identical on the point under discussion.

    I don’t see how you can strip away everything except the stereotypes being employed. Context matters. Is this comic really “identical” to Barbie’s Pink Dreamhouse and High-Heel Shopping Bonanza or can we show a bit of nuance?

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden: Then, I pointed out (with snark included at no extra charge) that your argument amounts to saying that you would not join ahs in countering implicit sexism with an explicitly anti-sexist book, “rather than censor[ing] otherwise good material.”

    I am still failing to see where the existence of an “explicitly ant-sexist book” has come from; that was never offered as an alternative here. If such an alternative existed, sure, let’s go with that. But in many cases such alternatives don’t exist – and I wouldn’t shelter my hypothetical children from good books or other media on the basis that it doesn’t conform to modern standards of political correctness. That’s all I’m saying.

    Crip Dyke: Here’s a clue: when you say that you wouldn’t purchase an anti-sexist counterweight to implicitly sexist books, and that you would actually spend money to buy yet another book repeating sexist tropes despite your child having been force fed implicit sexism all day long, other people will read that as you opposing diversity of opinion around sexism for your child.

    Again, where have I said I wouldn’t purchase an “anti-sexist counterweight”? I have only said that the quality of being “anti-sexist” is not a determining factor in my purchase of books. B does not imply A, in this case. The rest of your paragraph is purely conjecture.

    Crip Dyke: I didn’t say you would oppose all feminist books.

    Except you just did, in the paragraph above: “when you say that you wouldn’t purchase an anti-sexist counterweight to implicitly sexist books”. Clearly we both share this inference from your previous statements.

    Crip Dyke: Now that you have some clue how I got what I did from your comments, would you like to explicitly retract any of your statements? Or would you simply like to call me crazy some more?

    The only “clue” I have as to how you interpreted your comments is that you misread them to be saying something that was never even close to being implied.

  164. anthonyallen says

    I don’t generally read the comment thread (I get the blog in my RSS reader) but the only thing I thought about that cartoon was that it was really cute.

    I didn’t even notice that one was male and one was female… they were bunnies.

    Some of you really need to stop overanalyzing.

    /re-lurk

  165. Agent Smith says

    What I’ve found most disappointing is how the cartoon’s author did what the internet told him to do. No one can behave like that and remain inspirational.

    The glow on this one had a short half-life.

  166. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Because even though one example is not enough to prove sexism, the existence of those stereo types is enough to make it possible. Can’t a woman feminist notice the inequalities (intentional or not) without a man male supremacist trying to shut her up?

    Edited for accuracy. Otherwise, great comment. That’s really the only thing that’s at issue here.

  167. says

    First, to the watchdogs of bunny sexism, why would it be ok if the male bunny were the irrational one? It’s ok to show men in an unflattering light, but not women? The argument generally goes “oh but our culture shows women in an unflattering light all the time, so we have to reverse this!” Ok, but when is it sufficiently reversed we can actually have, y’know, equality? Does every piece of modern literature/art/whatever have to show men as stupid and women as smart, or men as weak and women as strong, to make up for displays of patriarchal sexism? I’m not denying sexism against women is sadly strong today, but that doesn’t mean every display of an irrational, weak, or stupid woman is hate against women.

    Second, why are we assuming the pants-wearing bunny is a guy? Don’t girls wear pants too? Heck, when it comes down to it, the dress wearer could be a transvestite, or a Scotsman. :D

  168. Circe says

    If I get the discussion here are right, all the following examples are sexist (arguments inspired from those of Pteryx):
    1. http://xkcd.com/327/ (Being a mother is feminine-associated, being prone to give diminutive names to children is feminine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”).

    2. All of Jesus and Mo is sexist (Being a barmaid is feminine associated. Not shrieking back is feminine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”. Or, being Jesus and/or Mo is masculine associated. Being religiously dogmatic and shrieking abut it is masculine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”.)

    3. All portrayals of Marie Antoinette, ever. (Behaving in a queenly vain manner is feminine-associated. Behaving in a possibly fatally ignorant blissful way is feminine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”)

    4. All of James Bond, and not so for the usually given reason. The real reason is that being a daredevil is masculine associated. Being a playboy of sorts is also masculine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”.

    For reference, Pteryx’s original argument was:
    “Pink is feminine-associated. Not being worth listened to is feminine-associated.” Ergo, “sexism”.

  169. municipalis says

    Pteryxx: Yeah, you misunderstand. I glanced at the very first frame of the cartoon, saw pink and blue speech balloons, and thought “That looks gendered. Might be a bad thing.” Reading the actual dialogue and looking at the rest of the cartoon provided all the cues necessary to confirm that it really was pairing “stupid” with “girl”. (And no cues to counter that inference, not even neutral cues.) I presume that #2 and others went through a similar process, based on their comments.

    But this goes back to what I had originally said – the claim of sexism because the girl bunny happened to be the fool – even in light of gendered speech – was jumping to a conclusion too far from the evidence. Crys T’s original comment likewise made a premature jump to such a conclusion, and thus the shitstorm.

    Pteryxx: I think the overt gender coding distracts from the message, and the comic would work better without it.

    Agreed. I think these two threads are certainly evidence of that!

  170. Pteryxx says

    It occurs to me, there are lots of comments like this one (just the most recent):

    I didn’t even notice that one was male and one was female… they were bunnies.

    The statement “I didn’t even notice…” can only mean the commentor didn’t consciously notice. It’s possible that a subconscious, implicit association may still be formed or reinforced. That’s basically how bias works (as opposed to bigotry): in implicit bias, someone unknowingly makes inferences based on stereotypes instead of facts, while in stereotype threat, someone unknowingly conforms to a stereotype when cued.

    As noted by tool-department anecdotes above, even dedicated feminists find themselves making these gaffes. Also, when presented with a stereotype cue, many people will feel vaguely uncomfortable or unwelcome without being able to consciously articulate or identify the reason why.

    But the only tools we have to combat implicit bias are conscious recognition of the problems, and presenting environments as free of stereotype cues as possible.

    Which makes comments like:

    Some of you really need to stop overanalyzing.

    completely wrong.

  171. Candra Rain says

    I just re-read PZ’s OP on this thread and the second time had one sentence really sticking out for me. (I also read every comment up to this point here and on the other thread.)

    But show prolonged outrage at one twee cartoon that just happens to have a bunny in a dress playing the role of Simplicio, and you’ve lost me.

    I literally saw no outrage at the cartoon, let alone prolonged outrage.

    I saw tiredness. No, one cartoon, regardless of the intent of the author is nothing but a small blip. Nobody who voiced an opinion over the sexist trope said “oooh, bad author”, but rather “we wish it had been two male/female bunnies” so no implied sexism was there. Not for the male to be made the buffoon, but to just not repeat the meme of “women are the dumb ones”.

    The tiredness comes, I think, from people thinking it’s ok to say “that’s not a problem, not worth your time – here’s the problem!” When in fact it’s the accumulated weight of the “that’s not a problem” things.

    For some, it’s a pebble to be kicked aside and for others it’s another stone to add to the backpack.

  172. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    I didn’t even notice that one was male and one was female… they were bunnies.

    Some of you really need to stop overanalyzing.

    And if fucking took the time to read instead of lecturing at us, you would know that the creator of the comic was making the point that women are more prone to be religious.

  173. Circe says

    SallyStrange:

    Because even though one example is not enough to prove sexism, the existence of those stereo types is enough to make it possible. Can’t a woman feminist notice the inequalities (intentional or not) without a man male supremacist trying to shut her up?

    Do you really want to say that criticizing a feminist is tantamount to “trying to shut her up” and being a “male supremacist”?

  174. municipalis says

    Morpheus91: The argument generally goes “oh but our culture shows women in an unflattering light all the time, so we have to reverse this!” Ok, but when is it sufficiently reversed we can actually have, y’know, equality?

    I don’t think its fair to say that the argument “generally” goes that way, as several others have noted above. I don’t think feminism should be seen as a tit-for-tat reaction.

    Morepheus91:I’m not denying sexism against women is sadly strong today, but that doesn’t mean every display of an irrational, weak, or stupid woman is hate against women.

    Few feminists would make that claim either.

  175. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    was jumping to a conclusion too far from the evidence.

    Nope, justified based on the evidence. Your opinion is worthless, as you are simply “poo-pooing” her feelings.

    Do you really want to say that criticizing a feminist is tantamount to “trying to shut her up” and being a “male supremacist”?

    It is, if those doing the criticizing do it until they do intimidate her. Respect is a two way street, and the MRA brigade doesn’t do two way streets.

  176. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    But this goes back to what I had originally said – the claim of sexism because the girl bunny happened to be the fool – even in light of gendered speech – was jumping to a conclusion too far from the evidence. Crys T’s original comment likewise made a premature jump to such a conclusion, and thus the shitstorm.

    The shitstorm is not because Crys T jumped to a conclusion and people were pointing out her mistake. It is because they were telling her that she was wrong to bring it up.

    There is a huge fucking difference.

  177. Pteryxx says

    For reference, Pteryx’s original argument was:
    “Pink is feminine-associated. Not being worth listened to is feminine-associated.” Ergo, “sexism”.

    Circe, since you don’t seem to have read any of my comments for comprehension, I suggest you go watch the episode of My Little Pony: FiM that I linked and recommended earlier as a counterexample.

  178. Pteryxx says

    I’m not denying sexism against women is sadly strong today, but that doesn’t mean every display of an irrational, weak, or stupid woman is hate against women.

    OH FFS *fluffyrage*

  179. says

    Hey, irregular poster here.
    I got to about post 567 before skipping ahead to post so I apologize if I’m missing anything that came after.

    Firstly, I think this is a perfect example of why these threads are important. I, like PZ, thought having a 300+ post war over feminism on a cute comic about bunnies was stupid. But then I took the time to think about it and realized how Caine and other champions of feminism were right about most of what they said. That’s the thing, these huge threads about feminism do serve a purpose. This one changed my mind, I was under the impression that some people reacted hysterically to perceived sexism. I WAS WRONG. THAT is the value of having these discussions. THAT is why showing prolonged outrage on a thread is important even though there are more serious feminist causes. Thank you all, except for the trolls and the MRAssoholes.

    Secondly, I didn’t notice any sexism in the bunny comic until it was pointed out. I don’t think it’s that big a deal that the author used genders in the way he did; I assumed it was just an attempt to make the comic more cute with the use of pink and baby blue and rabbits dressed like people. I think even though it turned out that the author was perpetrating a sexist stereotype, having an irrational female character compared to a rational male does not constitute sexism. That’s not what the problem is though. Some people pointed out that there are good reasons to think it could be considered sexist, and were immediately called paranoid killjoys. That is bad, that is sexist, that is why there was a flame war.

    Lastly, although I think PZ’s criticisms were a little Dawkinsian. Let’s not accuse him of being Dawkins. It was an honest mistake nowhere near as malicious as hating on Rebecca Watson for being scared of rape. PZ didn’t pull out the “How dare you be offended, worse things happen elsewhere” meme. He thought this was simply a misfiring of good feminist intention.

    those are my two cents, hopefully i didn’t bore y’all

  180. says

    I see in your coin flip scenario an implication that humans, living in middle world, who have for millions of years fought against the destructive effects of randomness, ought not to take issue with any given random act. I find that awesomely stupid enough to deserve an appropriate reductio.

    A blatantly false statement does not constitute a reductio.

  181. Cameron says

    @Caine, Fleur du Mal (519)

    Holy crap, I was actually agreeing with you and you still managed to argue with me.

    I said that I was surprised the artist didn’t add ‘girl/boy’ in the speech bubbles because he had such CLEAR INTENTIONS to put the point across that he wanted GIRLS as the dumb religious ones. I probably should have said “Im surprised the artist didn’t go as far as adding “girl” or “boy” to the speech bubbles”.

    That would imply that I’m surprised by a lack of action that I would have expected from someone like him.

    Look at my first post in this thread, I already agreed dress + pink = girl in my mind.

    I guess this is proof that you fail to have the ability to rationalise clearly. Seriously, I was agreeing with everything you said in this thread to me.

    Surely others can read my post (510 or something like that) and clearly see I’m agreeing with you guys and the intent of what I said was supportive of your view points.

    Do me a favour and read next time, Caine.

    @’Tis Himself, OM (524)
    @Caine, Fleur du Mal (525)
    Not sure if this was a reply to me saying that I would never put a girl as the religious one in this comic unless it was a subconscious decision. What I meant by that was I could never knowingly choose a girl as the character in this comic, only unknowingly in my privileged way could I pick a girl as an underlying sign of sexism that I may or may not possess.

    This thread just further reinforces my suspicion that you guys and girls here are just witch hunters, you don’t give a crap about what someone says, you just misinterpret it and hunt them for no reason.

    PLEASE READ MY POSTS CAREFULLY.

  182. A. R says

    I was just reading the cartoon author’s comments again, and they seemed most unusual and rather thin. Perhaps he really did not actively select the female character for the position of the irrational bunny intentionally, but used that to cover his privilege blindness when the issue was brought up to him?

  183. coldflesh says

    And if fucking took the time to read instead of lecturing at us, you would know that the creator of the comic was making the point that women are more prone to be religious.

    How do you know that? The author made the choice of roles in the cartoon based on information he found on the internet pointing towards women being statistically more prone to be religious. Nothing in the comic or in the thread where he explained his choice supports your claim about his point with the cartoon.

  184. Candra Rain says

    PZ didn’t pull out the “How dare you be offended, worse things happen elsewhere” meme. He thought this was simply a misfiring of good feminist intention.

    Move on to change it where it matters. You want to say society diminishes women’s roles? I’ll agree with you. You want to complain about the unjustified authority given to men? I’ll back you 100%. You found some weasel who wants to deny that women are treated like second-rate citizens? I’ll join in the stomping. But show prolonged outrage at one twee cartoon that just happens to have a bunny in a dress playing the role of Simplicio, and you’ve lost me.

    If it feels like a slap to the person who was slapped, it’s probably a slap – no matter the intent.

  185. municipalis says

    Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM: The shitstorm is not because Crys T jumped to a conclusion and people were pointing out her mistake. It is because they were telling her that she was wrong to bring it up.

    There is a huge fucking difference.

    Yes, there is a huge difference, but PZ’s post here was pretty clearly aimed at the fact that Crys T brought it up without evidence. I didn’t participate in the last thread, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt there. As I’ve said above, I’m all for raising the point and having the discussion, but just don’t jump to conclusions.

  186. happiestsadist says

    Oh shit, Crip Dyke. Upon re-reading, I have no earthly idea how I manage to misinterpret what you said as badly as I did. I mean wow. I am sincerely sorry, and kind of amazed at my own epic (somewhat wet) brainfart there.

    I think we do mostly agree. I suppose my main quibble, such as it is, lies with the problem of an incredibly gendered society and while I’d really, really like to not have people wanting to code others upon seeing them (I want it more than I want a black forest cake and Rainbow Dash hair, and I want those a lot. It’d be the only way people wouldn’t misgender me.), as it stands, there is some degree of coding going on. So the least awful way to go about it would be to trust people’s presentation. (And maybe not just have two options.) Which I think is what I tried to say way upthread. I think I just got really revolted by whats’shisface’s insistence that trans is a gender itself.

    Instead, I offer only living, adorable baby porcupines who have yet to have their quills harden, and are being adorable as they usually are. (Am I the only one who thinks they’re adorable?)

  187. Circe says

    Pteryx at #699:

    I said your argument was “Pink is feminine-associated. Not being worth listened to is feminine-associated.” and you promptly decided I had never read any of your comments. To remind you of some of them, here is a quote from your comment number 258:

    I specifically said that pink is feminine-associated, and being not worth listening to is also feminine-associated,

    and then you make the point that any criticism of your argument is not valid if the above associations is true.

    I’ll suggest you reread your own comments.

  188. Circe says

    Nerd of Redhead, #697:

    Yes, respect is a two-street, and it seems to me that it is the critics who are trying to be be intimidated into shutting up their criticisms of the “feminists”. I used quotes because I am pretty sure not all feminists adhere to those views.

  189. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Because even though one example is not enough to prove sexism, the existence of those stereo types is enough to make it possible. Can’t a woman feminist notice the inequalities (intentional or not) without a man male supremacist trying to shut her up?

    Do you really want to say that criticizing a feminist is tantamount to “trying to shut her up” and being a “male supremacist”?

    Criticism?

    “Fuck you. Paranoid killjoy.”

    “Get over yourselves gals! Quit looking for issues to make people snarky and save your angst for the issues that really matter.”

    “ONLY BOYS CAN BE STUPID you sexist cartoon!” <–an attempt at sarcasm

    What criticism? From where I’m standing, it looks like all the attempts to critique Crys T’s initial impression came from people who were also feminists. Some feminists agreed it might be sexist, others disagreed. Many did so while also praising the cartoon and its contents.

    The anti-feminists took it as an opportunity to express knee-jerk anger and hostility at a woman for having the audacity to notice sexism. No actual criticism from them.

    So, no, I’m not saying that all criticism of feminists is “trying to shut [them] up,” nor that all people who criticize feminists are male supremacists. What I am saying is that male supremacists try to shut feminists up and rarely offer actual criticism. THEY are the ones responsible for derailing the thread. Crys T, and those who agreed with her, are not responsible, no matter how poorly their argument was worded.

  190. Circe says

    The grammar is my last comment became somewhat mangled. Apologies.

    Nerd of Redhead, #697:

    Yes, respect is a two-street, and it seems to me that it is the critics who are being intimidated into shutting up any of their criticisms of the “feminists”. I used quotes because I am pretty sure not all feminists adhere to the hyper-analytic tendencies of the self-styled “feminists” here. I, for one, consider myself a feminist and I don’t agree with most of the nitpicking about blue and pink being done here.

  191. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Yes, there is a huge difference, but PZ’s post here was pretty clearly aimed at the fact that Crys T brought it up without evidence. I didn’t participate in the last thread, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt there. As I’ve said above, I’m all for raising the point and having the discussion, but just don’t jump to conclusions.

    So, it is wrong to question what is happening when the cartoon was full of gender tropes?

    *eyeroll*

  192. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    (Am I the only one who thinks they’re adorable?)

    I’m even a bit fond of the adult ones.

  193. nmmng says

    LOL! PZ thought that making himself a neutered lap-dog of the all-men-are-rapists brigade would keep him safe. He should have known it was only a matter of time before they turned on him.

  194. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    I, for one, consider myself a feminist and I don’t agree with most of the nitpicking about blue and pink being done here.

    Do you react with anger and hostility when someone picks a nit about pink and blue? Then you’re not the problem.

    Personally, I thought the cartoon might be deliberately trying to reflect the fact that women are more likely to be religious than men. As it turns out, my supposition was correct. In that case, my only real criticism of the author would be that he was insufficiently critical of the sexist status quo. I would have chosen to reverse the genders, or avoid gender signifiers (which would have been easy), in an effort to push back that status quo. It’s really not a big deal though.

    The people who took it as a big deal, who fired off angry posts accusing feminists of being hypersensitive, of deliberately looking for things to get upset about, of making things up, etc.–those are the people who fucked up. Those are the male supremacists I’m talking about who are incapable, because of their emotional, bigoted reaction to the subject of sexism, of offering truly useful criticism of an ill-formed feminist argument.

  195. municipalis says

    Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM: So, it is wrong to question what is happening when the cartoon was full of gender tropes?

    More disingenuity. Saying “It annoyed me that the speech bubbles were gender-coloured. Could this be a sign of something?” is not the same as implying “the little girl rabbit [is] brainlessly insisting on believing the box whereas the intelligent little boy rabbit bravely insist on working out the solution for himself”

    To spell it out: The former asks a question which leaves the door open for more evidence or interpretation. The latter presents a loaded hypothesis without substantial evidence.

  196. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    PZ thought that making himself a neutered lap-dog of the all-men-are-rapists brigade would keep him safe.

    Is this the kind of nuanced criticism you had in mind, Circe? Am I wrong for characterizing this poster as a male supremacist more interested in shutting feminists up than he is in offering useful criticisms to poorly thought-out feminist arguments?

  197. Circe says

    Sally: you put up three examples and concluded “no criticism” (even giving in to your claim that sarcasm does not constitute criticism). What about these: $670 and #705, the first paragraph of #689 features no sarcasm and makes a valid point (the second paragraph has some sarcasm, so you would probably not count it), #685 made an innocuous criticism that he didn’t even notice the genders of the bunnies and was promptly shot down in several following expletive-adorned comments, implying he had no right to voice his opinion till he had read the whole thread. This last one is especially the kind of thing I am trying to point out.

  198. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    The former asks a question which leaves the door open for more evidence or interpretation. The latter presents a loaded hypothesis without substantial evidence.

    So it does. And the proper response is, “You need to reformulate your argument or question so that it doesn’t present a loaded hypothesis,” not, “YU ARE SO CRAZY YOU DUMB FEMINISTS ARE ALWAYS LOOKING TO GET MAD ABOUT SOMETHING!!”

  199. says

    But hey, PZ, just use whatever diversion you need to avoid confronting the fact that you have totally mischaracterized the #2 comment.

    +++++

    Because I still have a complaint with it. As I clearly said, how we know something is critical.

    But wait. What is the “something” that we know from #2? This is why I’m trying to get you to quote the quote and dissect it, because you keep firing these near misses that do not actually apply to what was said:

    “Please tell me that in the above, it isn’t the little girl rabbit who is brainlessly insisting on believing the box whereas the intelligent little boy rabbit bravely insist on working out the solution for himself. Because that would truly suck.”

    What we know from #2 is that it would truly suck if the artist had put another datum on the internets. That is all.

    Nothing was said about the artist’s intentions; the commenter at #2 only takes the position that this piece of art could have been better if it been done differently.

    Is that it, then? Are we no longer supposed to express preferences about any given artistic representation?

    Counting boys and girls or complaining about their roles in a single instance is not sufficient,

    Another near miss. Not sufficient for what? Apparently you want this comment to be something more than it was, so that your generalization of many comments will apply to it as well.

    since there can be perfectly innocuous alternative explanations.

    Comment #2 did not attempt to explain anything. It was a statement of preference.

    These two threads would have gone in entirely different directions (this one wouldn’t exist) if instead, #2 had said, “I found a description on reddit of how the artist assigned gender roles, and it was sexist”.

    Hah. You’ve seen what happens even when the case is open and shut.

    A vague accusation provoked a massive derailment.

    Near miss. What was the accusation?

    +++++
    To put it in your own terms, you can’t take other commenters’ words as evidence that this one comment was an accusation of sexism. N=1, you know.

    +++++
    You are just making #2 into whatever you need it to be. Talk about blatantly false statements. Everything you’ve said about #2 was flat out wrong. It doesn’t say what you want it to say, and you, for some reason, can’t bear to backtrack and actually deal with what it did say.

  200. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Sally: you put up three examples and concluded “no criticism” (even giving in to your claim that sarcasm does not constitute criticism). What about these: $670 and #705, the first paragraph of #689 features no sarcasm and makes a valid point (the second paragraph has some sarcasm, so you would probably not count it), #685 made an innocuous criticism that he didn’t even notice the genders of the bunnies and was promptly shot down in several following expletive-adorned comments, implying he had no right to voice his opinion till he had read the whole thread. This last one is especially the kind of thing I am trying to point out.

    If you have the time to look them up, surely you have the time to quote them.

  201. Circe says

    Sally at #718, #720: I agree mostly with your charectrization of the comments you quoted in #718. What I don’t get is why people like the ones I listed in #719 also get the same “*** ****, you are a male supremacist” treatment?

  202. Dr. Who? says

    Just a side note – the one thing that really cracks me up is that this entire debate stemmed from an idea that, because one of the rabbits was wearing trousers, that rabbit automatically must be male. What, women can’t wear trousers?
    I’ve no desire to get dragged into the rest of the debate. Just noting that one little piece of irony in seemingly nearly everyone’s thinking. Clearly, both the rabbits were female.

  203. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    The real Dr. Who would have read the thread and seen that that “criticism” had been brought up, and addressed, multiple times. Because the real Doctor is smart like that.

  204. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    damn, that was some horribly bad argument over a petty phenomenon.

    And I still disagree with you. The ‘splosion was not over the notice taken of a petty phenomenon. The flame war came about because some commenters denied that there was even the possibility of sexism — latent or other — within that one cartoon. But, y’know what? Screw it. I’m fucking sick and tired of being reasonable. Or trying to be reasonable. Why bother?

  205. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Happiestsadist – #708:

    Ooooooh! cute baby porcupines!!!! Why, thank you, happiestsadist!

    Epic fail forgiven. I spent enough time praising Tpyos earlier today that I actually typed in “red” instead of “read” at one point, which annoyed the pee out of me.

    I get what you’re saying about gender presentation. I think (tell me if I’m wrong) that it comes from wanting to have some effing control over how you are seen by others. That desire to have some freakin control is **way** understandable to me.

    I think that it is ultimately not as useful in the long run b/c “trust the presentation” and “believe the stereotypes” can look very much the same, while, “doubt yourself *every time,* don’t doubt *other people* only when they look trans,” has more liberatory potential, but can be scary because it is inviting more scrutiny when scrutiny is so often fraught with danger.

    But that is about whether harm reduction or eradication is a better tactic, and the HR v. E tactical question gives different answers in different contexts, so reasonable disagreement is to be expected.

    In any case, glad we worked that out – and look! I get free porcupines!

  206. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    O – and happiestsadist, are you in the USA? And if so, in the PNW? Just curious.

  207. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yes, respect is a two-street, and it seems to me that it is the critics who are being intimidated into shutting up any of their criticisms of the “feminists”.

    No, the critics are being refuted. The critics don’t present real evidence, merely obfuscation under the guise of discussing the issue, in hopes of sweeping it under the rug.

    I, for one, consider myself a feminist and I don’t agree with most of the nitpicking about blue and pink being done here.

    Fine, you have expressed your opinion. I don’t agree, and spotted the problem in my first reading. Now, what will it take for you to change your mind? A discussion can’t happen if you aren’t open to changing your mind. Show me evidence, not opinions, and that could change my mind. For example, blue and pink are not gender based means of readily identifying male and female babies/toddlers. Oops, it is.

  208. physioprof says

    PZ, you are totally on the wrong side of this. As has been pointed out, the “tempest” was started by d00ds flat-out denying that the cartoon could be propagating misogynist tropes, flat-out asserting that all that matters is the intent of the author, and flat-out asserting that even if the cartoon might be propagating misogynist tropes, it isn’t important and bitchez should STFU.

    As a skeptic, you ought to scrutinize your own reaction to the “tempest”, unpack the influence of patriarchy and misogyny on that reaction, and apologize for getting this so wrong.

  209. says

    Dr. Who:

    Just a side note – the one thing that really cracks me up is that this entire debate stemmed from an idea that, because one of the rabbits was wearing trousers, that rabbit automatically must be male. What, women can’t wear trousers?

    It was possible (before we knew the artist’s intentions, which we now do) that both bunnies were intended to be female.

    Please see my first comment in the previous thread:

    “Regardless of each bunny’s gender identity, it is a problem that the one who presents as stereotypically feminine has been portrayed as an airhead.”

  210. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    What I don’t get is why people like the ones I listed in #719 also get the same “*** ****, you are a male supremacist” treatment?

    1. Is that really the case? Since you haven’t bothered to quote the things you count as “legitimate criticism,” I’m not clear on exactly what constitutes the criticism, nor am I about to scroll the thread looking for replies to those comments. If you have evidence that those posters got treated as male supremacists trying to shut down the conversation rather than enrich it, please present it.

    2. Were they repeating an argument that had already been rehashed several times over? In that case, people may be annoyed at having to repeat themselves for the benefit of people who are too lazy to read the entire thing before injecting their underinformed opinions.

    3. Until the anti-feminists stop ruining things for everybody, the more reasonable voices will continue to be lost in the fray. So please, in the interests of making this a better place for discussions for everybody (except misogynists, of course) join us in requesting that Pharyngula be an okay place to observe and remark upon the existence of feminism.

    4. I hope we can both agree that “Fuck you. Paranoid killjoy,” and remarks along the lines of “You are too sensitive,” “You are making things up,” and other silencing tactics add nothing to the discussion and reveal only that the poster has a knee-jerk reaction of hostility and anger towards feminism.

  211. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Correction:

    join us in requesting that Pharyngula be an okay place to observe and remark upon the existence of feminism sexism.

    Brain fart. Sorry.

  212. Dez Crawford says

    I admit to a fleeting moment of mild annoyance that the “dumb bunny” was dressed as a female human.

    It puzzled me more that the bunnies had to be genderized, and clothed. Indeed, why couldn’t they just be bunnies?

  213. says

    PZ, you are totally on the wrong side of this. As has been pointed out, the “tempest” was started by d00ds flat-out denying that the cartoon could be propagating misogynist tropes, flat-out asserting that all that matters is the intent of the author, and flat-out asserting that even if the cartoon might be propagating misogynist tropes, it isn’t important and bitchez should STFU.

    Perfect example right there. You’ve just inflated what I said into “bitchez should STFU”, but oh, no, it’s the other side of the argument that is entirely responsible for the tempest.

    Care to mischaracterize me further? That’s sure to persuade me that I was totally in error.

  214. Caru says

    :/ When I first saw the comic, I actually thought it was gonna be one of PZ’s feminist pieces. It looks like something I would get in an english exam.
    “What stereotype is portrayed in the comic? (1 mark)”
    “How might the artist rectify this without altering the message? (3 marks)”
    I’m going to look this up in my english textbook now to see if it’s on the list of stereotypes to watch out for. Wtf you guys, I thought this was normal.

  215. says

    Perfect example right there. You’ve just inflated what I said

    Nope. You’ve mischaracterized physioprof now.

    physioprof drew a distinction: in the first paragraph the tempest, and in the second paragraph, your reaction to the tempest:

    As a skeptic, you ought to scrutinize your own reaction to the “tempest”

  216. physioprof says

    You’ve just inflated what I said into “bitchez should STFU”[.]

    Dude, try to read more carefully. That is not at all what I claimed about what you said. It was the d00ds in the original comment thread whom I asserted were all “bitchez should STFU”.

    The fact that your hackles are all raised about this should be a sign to you that you ought to question the origins of your gut reaction to the whole thing, and your conclusion that “sometimes a bunny is just a bunny”. In a misogynist patriarchal society such as we live in, nothing is *ever* just nothing.

  217. happiestsadist says

    CripDyke: I am as far south and West as I have ever been in my life. That is to say, I’m in Toronto.:) I’m from Fredericton, New Brunswick originally, and we had plenty of porcupines roaming free. I think they’re pretty cute, but then I neither drive nor have owned pets that go outdoors and thus don’t have much cause for grudge.

    Much of my ire about gender presentation comes from the fact that currently, the best I can really hope for is that eventually, if htings go really well, long after I’m gone, non-binary folks might get recognized as such.

    I don’t think we actually even disagree, as it wounds like we’re both irked and puzzled at how do handle the problem as it is.

  218. lipwig says

    I noticed the pink and blue talk bubbles before I had finished reading PZ’s post about it. And I had a moment of “why pink and blue?”
    And it did influence my reaction to the comic because I was unable to concile why the pink-bubble-bunny was the dumb one.
    I do “get” the comic – it’s about dumb religious attitudes. But I didn’t get that that pink-bubbled-bunny had to be the irrational one.
    And then the thread exploded….

  219. Candra Rain says

    It’s one thing if (generic) you don’t see it.

    It’s another thing to say there’s nothing to see.

  220. A Fellow Eukaryote says

    Perfect example right there. You’ve just inflated what I said into “bitchez should STFU”, but oh, no, it’s the other side of the argument that is entirely responsible for the tempest.

    Care to mischaracterize me further? That’s sure to persuade me that I was totally in error.

    No one’s mischaracterizing you, PZ. We did NOT claim that you said “bitchez should STFU”. Did you read what physioprof even said? He was talking about the MRAs. You’re the one acting as though any such criticism is an attack on you. Physioprof was only saying that you are on the wrong side of this argument–as in, we don’t give a FLYING FUCK whether the cartoon was actually intended to be sexist? Do you understand what that comment #2 was about?

    “Please tell me that in the above, it isn’t the little girl rabbit who is brainlessly insisting on believing the box whereas the intelligent little boy rabbit bravely insist on working out the solution for himself. Because that would truly suck.”

    Just noted that it would be unfortunate if it was intended that way, and that the cartoon could potentially have unfortunate implications. THAT’S IT. A simple observation. DONE.

    Then the MRAs came whining and spewing. That’s ALL that caused the flamewar. You continue to act so damn offended that a flamewar started at all on your blog that wasn’t on your own terms. Any criticism of your position is immediately conflated with us associating you with MRAs. Well guess what? That right there IS an MRA tactic–whenever we criticize them, they conflate it with something more extreme, like comparing them to rapists.

    And you gotta admit, all this is sounding more and more Muslima by the second. Just because you’ve been so strong on our side in the past, don’t think this allows you to claim “feminist cred”. That’s not how feminism, or any other anti-bigotry, works. It’s a process–you’re not always going to get it perfect (I sure a hell don’t) but the whole point is that you step back and reexamine your assumptions, and how your actions and words come across (wow, I’m telling feminists how to be feminists, telling them it’s the wrong battle, acting as though more than one battle can’t be fought at a time, blaming them for MRAs flocking in and derailing). Feminism is not this ultimate Nirvana state where you get to say, “I’m an official Feminist (TM), so I get to decide what counts as feminist, and you can’t say I’m wrong because I’m a Feminist (TM)”.

    You yourself have recognized this difference in the past. Please stop digging. Just a plain “look guys, I recognize that the MRAs derailed the thread, and I was pissed of because I wasn’t expecting sexism of all things to appear in a discussion about atheism, religion, and bunnies. Lost my temper, guys, won’t be so quick to judge again”, would really help.

  221. Horace says

    PZ,

    would you be willing to consider that there is a place for tone trolling on your blog ? Once people start casually throwing insults around you can end up with ridiculous and lengthy arguments about minor issue ?

    A word of advice from the netnanny.

  222. Oren says

    (1) Two characters are created with identical looking toys for the sake of adding some humour to a message. Since they look the same, but each character needs to be identifiable continuously with its position from frame to frame. The clothes that came with the toys are the simplest solution.

    (2) For the sake of argument, let’s say you randomly assigned gender roles and which one is the fool by coin flip. If you did this, 50% of all the iterations would be a Male/Female pairing. 25% Of all the iterations would feature the female character as the buffoon.

    Therefore, 25% of the iterations are sexist. It might not be conscious sexism, though.

    (3) One commenter saw sexism in the cartoon and had a tilt at the windmill. The first person to point out this sloppy thinking was an MRA twit; even a broken clock can be right twice a day.

    Boom. Perfect storm.

  223. happiestsadist says

    Horace, you perhaps are not the one to decide what constitutes minor. Cram your smug tone-trolling with walnuts.

  224. happiestsadist says

    Oren: Read the fucking comments. It was not unintentional gender stereotyping. And if it were? It wouldn’t fucking matter, because intent is worth about as much as a cat fart.

  225. says

    intent is worth about as much as a cat fart.

    Intent matters, but context does too. Whether the artist did it intentionally or not, influences my reception of the cartoon. I mean the original complaint was that it was gender stereotyping, which might have been unintentional.*) Which was enough to bring forth the shit storm we all saw unfold..

    *)But even if unintentional, without further context I’d agree with the assessment that the cartoon would have imparted an ingrained kind of sexism.

  226. Circe says

    Sally: I put up the numbers of the comments, and it is easy enough to find them given those (I put up only 4, for brevity). I don’t see any point in increasing the page load size by pointless duplication.

    Nerd of Redhead:

    Fine, you have expressed your opinion. I don’t agree, and spotted the problem in my first reading. Now, what will it take for you to change your mind? A discussion can’t happen if you aren’t open to changing your mind. Show me evidence, not opinions, and that could change my mind. For example, blue and pink are not gender based means of readily identifying male and female babies/toddlers. Oops, it is.

    My point is not that those associations don’t exist (and as an aside, they are not absolute the colors for toddlers used to be the other way round for quite some time). The point is whether whenever such associations exist, is it the correct diagnosis to cry “sexism”? Would you for example say that any particular depiction of a particular female psychotic killer in a horror story is sexist if she is often described as wearing pink dresses, while the police officers trying to catch are (whether men or women) are described as wearing trousers?

    I hate to bring things to this level of hypothetical imagery, but it seems all the argument is taking place at similarly rarefied heights.

  227. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Horace #744

    would you be willing to consider that there is a place for tone trolling on your blog ? Once people start casually throwing insults around you can end up with ridiculous and lengthy arguments about minor issue ?

    Oh look, Horace the Tone Trolling Asshole is trying to justify his assholish tone trolling. Isn’t it cute? Good boy, Horace. Who’s a tone trolling asshole? Have a nice cupcake to go with the decaying porcupine. You can shove both of then up your tone trolling rectum.

    Have a nice day, Horace. :-þ

  228. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    happiestsadist –

    I didn’t want to presume that we agreed, but no, I didn’t see a disagreement except that I didn’t think your original objection to PaulG provided enough info to really tell him why & how what he was doing was so effed up… and I thought that amounted to the Harm Reduction v. Eradication thing. Looks like I was right. I won’t pull the thread off topic any farther, since we’re in the same place metaphorically (even if nowhere near each other geographically –tho’ I have a couple friends in Vancouver BC that I visit from time to time).

    Anyway, to return to the major topic @ hand, while in the original thread & the first 100-200 posts of this one I found lots of posts that dropped the word transgender as way to discredit anyone who was doing any analysis of the original comic, it’s moved on in a weird way to either using ‘lesbians’ or just stating, “what, can’t women wear pants?”

    While this doesn’t push the specific button that made me start handing out radioactive, zombie porcupines that tend to ignore sexual boundaries, it’s the kind of accountability-dodging claptrap that deserves at least a zombie porcupine in its own right. Especially since it was made clear on the original thread that associating certain tropes with femininity is contributing to sexism even if it’s not connected to a specific woman or specific woman character. (“Hair ribbons are for idiots who can’t add 2+2. If you wear hair ribbons you probably shouldn’t bother showing up to school.” is problematic as a sentiment even though the hair ribbons aren’t stated to be attached to a girl or woman. Saying that it merely critiques hair ribbon wearers of any gender doesn’t cut it.)

    Thus, I’ll start handing out zombie porcupines for that as well: fair warning to cupcakes.

    I’ll be nice, tho’ and as long as you aren’t trying to go the extra mile & say trans people disprove analysis of sexism, I won’t pass you the radioactive, boundary-ignoring ones.

  229. rachelswirsky says

    PZ *is* a feminist as long as he identifies as one. He *does* have feminist cred.

    No, that doesn’t stop him from having (in my opinion) hold of the wrong end of the stick here.

    But he *is* an ally; I *do* admire the work he does; and I hope that just as no one would claim that doing good feminist work prevents one from being sometimes wrong, one would also not claim that being sometimes wrong negates one’s good feminist work.

    I’m sure no one has intentionally been making that argument, and that no one (or effectively no one) believes it, but I want to repeat my objection to it. Because as Dianne says, the internet makes backing down gracefully so difficult, and can lend itself to absolutism, and I think it’s good to be explicit sometimes about this sort of thing.

  230. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The point is whether whenever such associations exist, is it the correct diagnosis to cry “sexism”?

    Why isn’t it? You haven’t explained that with evidence, merely derided the facts, which you acknowledge, by obvious by obfuscation. That is my point too. People can and did correctly read potential sexism into the cartoon. They pointed it out. Why must they and their feeling be shouted down by the like of you and your inane apologetics? That is what I’m seeing. Shout down the feminists to shut them up. Why don’t you take the high road and allow them their feelings? No, you have to belittle their feelings for your own purposes, not rationality.

  231. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Circe #749 –

    Putting up the #s of the comments doesn’t give us what we’re looking for and what Sally specifically asked for:

    Where are the **responses** to the comments that you listed? Specifically, which comments treat reasonable criticism the same way that trolls and cupcakes are treated?

    You’ve said we’re overreacting & giving a hard time to folks who don’t deserve such. We’re wondering where the evidence for that is.

    You’ve given us #s of comments that you believe include useful criticism. Can you connect specific useful criticisms to specific overreactions, however? The mere fact that useful/non-sexist arguments or critiques exist does not prove your argument.

  232. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and Circe, you failed to answer my question of what it would take to change your mind. I will presume your mind in closed and you are preaching until that question is answered…

  233. rachelswirsky says

    (To be clear, I was responding to something in particular at 752, but I don’t think it accomplishes anything to call it out specifically, except inasmuch as I think it’s helpful sometimes to be on record with an objection to implications.

    Also, I generally apologize for my commenting style being not-so-appropriate to a blog that piles comments as fast as this one does. I guess I’ve gotten used to quieter corners of the internet.)

  234. says

    Feminism is not this ultimate Nirvana state where you get to say, “I’m an official Feminist (TM), so I get to decide what counts as feminist, and you can’t say I’m wrong because I’m a Feminist (TM)”.

    And there we go again, stuffing words into my mouth.

    Let’s not pretend that I haven’t been lumped in with the MRAs here, OK? No, I have never pretended to be Mr Do-No-Wrong on anything, so if you want to piss me off, go ahead, claim I have.

    Just a plain “look guys, I recognize that the MRAs derailed the thread, and I was pissed of because I wasn’t expecting sexism of all things to appear in a discussion about atheism, religion, and bunnies. Lost my temper, guys, won’t be so quick to judge again”, would really help.

    Man, my mouth is really getting full here.

    You want to know how I feel about it all? You’ve got it completely wrong. If you want to compare it to anything, look back at how I feel about all the MRAs who were invading every thread that involved women with tales of their poor affronted circumcised penises. I can sympathize, but I also resent every thread getting turned into their personal crusade, especially ones that discuss other real problems. So there’s that…I do not want the diversity of the arguments turned into a monotone. Try to look into that mirror for a moment, OK?

    There is no shortage of threads here that are about feminism. There are open threads where you can talk about anything. You think I’m upset at a flamewar? I incite flamewars all the time, and yes, I encourage vigorous argument for feminism now and then, too. Fairly often, actually.

    I know what it’s about. Let’s also not pretend that you can blame this entirely on the MRAs: the feminists here do not lie back passively, all aghast at how cruelly those guys stomp all over them. They fight back. They’re willing to shoot first, too. So it is utterly infuriating when you now try to play this stupid game of “it was all their fault”. I can believe it when you say “they were all wrong”, or “they were stupidly obtuse,” but not this faux-innocent shit that the flamewar is all one sided.

    Also, step back. Look at what you’re fighting for. Every feminist here would almost certainly agree, I hope, that girl bunnies vs. boy bunnies is trivial — it’s one tiny drop in the chinese water torture of sexism. The recognition of this fact is everywhere in these threads: you compare it to one paper cut among many, to another tiny insult in a lifetime of them. And I do not disagree with that, especially since the revelation that the gender roles in the cartoon were consciously a product of sexist bias.

    But I am being honest when I say I found it embarrassing to discover that this is the one drop of the torture that turns into an affronted battle (again, don’t even try to pretend that no one on the feminist side didn’t joyously leap into the fray, either). From the outside, it looks entirely ridiculous — everyone is fighting ferociously over toy bunny rabbits? You’ve succeeded in making it easy to trivialize a serious problem of pervasive bigotry.

    That bigotry is worth fighting. The bunny rabbit cartoon was a symptom, not a cause, and worse, it was a distorting lens that made a joke of a serious issue. That’s what I mean when I say pick your battles. Not that this issue isn’t a war worth fighting, but that you did a lousy job of picking the battleground.

    And there’s another personal source of my ire. I want this to be a strong safe place for women to express themselves, and it should also be a place with some credibility for taking feminist issues seriously. It’s taken a hit because people have been baited into a flamewar over goddamned stuffed bunnies. Sure, you see it as an aspect of anti-woman bias, but try, just try, to see it how the rest of the world sees it.

    So yes, I’m angry about some things, but now I’m also getting pissed off at these misguided psychoanalyses that completely miss the mark. It’s also probably entirely futile to explain what has annoyed me, since I expect any explanation will get ignored to try and wedge me into the MRA box again.

  235. Richard Eis says

    (2) For the sake of argument, let’s say you randomly assigned gender roles and which one is the fool by coin flip.

    For the sake of no more arguing how about you check for what the author ACTUALLY said about why he SPECIFICALLY chose those gender roles and why PZ did a pretty much FULL U-TURN on his positiion after reading such.

    A search for PZ’s comments will suffice to find it.

  236. says

    PZ

    Let’s not pretend that I haven’t been lumped in with the MRAs here, OK?

    You obviously feel that you have. How about we don’t pretend that anyone did that, without you at least citing evidence for that claim. You got physioprof wrong. Anybody else?

  237. says

    PZ

    I know what it’s about. Let’s also not pretend that you can blame this entirely on the MRAs: the feminists here do not lie back passively, all aghast at how cruelly those guys stomp all over them. They fight back. They’re willing to shoot first, too.

    So you’ve asserted that this is what occurred with comment #2 in the last thread.

    You’ve been leaning on this assertion the whole time, without backing up your claim.

    How about you actually dissect that comment and show it? Here you go:

    “Please tell me that in the above, it isn’t the little girl rabbit who is brainlessly insisting on believing the box whereas the intelligent little boy rabbit bravely insist on working out the solution for himself. Because that would truly suck.”

    You assert that this comment made an accusation.

    What accusation did it make?

  238. Richard Eis says

    since I expect any explanation will get ignored to try and wedge me into the MRA box again.

    Considering comment 715, I don’t think you’re allowed in their club house any more.

  239. KG says

    From the outside, it looks entirely ridiculous — everyone is fighting ferociously over toy bunny rabbits? – PZ

    Then why wasn’t it ridiculous to use toy bunny rabbits to point up the foolishness of religion?

  240. says

    ahs, are you always going to be this hypocritical?

    When women feel that they’ve been insulted by a bunny rabbit in a dress, we should take it seriously and not deny their feelings. Those are genuine feelings, and they’re a product of a long history of bias.

    When I tell you that I feel these threads have been mischaracterizing me, and take the time to explain exactly what has annoyed me, ahs is there to say I’m wrong.

    If physioprof wasn’t trying to place me in the same category with the MRA doodz, then the bunny rabbit cartoon wasn’t stereotyping women.

  241. KG says

    There are open threads where you can talk about anything. – PZ

    And in the thread about the bunny cartoon, people were talking about the bunny cartoon. Where’s the problem? That they saw something in it that you missed? (I might well have missed it myself – I only read the thread after 300+ comments had been made – but it was entirely legitimate to point out that aspect of it.)

  242. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @A Fellow Eukaryote – #743

    I actually believe that feminist cred matters exactly to the extent that intent matters. There are some contexts where intent matters – it’s never magic, but it can matter.

    For instance, “Dyke”. I use it for myself, and within my community, we use it frequently. Dyke is also used as an insult (by people who are decidedly NOT part of my community). While there is nothing inherently insulting about the word or its meaning, when intended to be an insult, heterosexism is being acted out and it is reasonable to take offense. The reason for care that so many take around this word is that if I don’t know you, and you refer to me as a dyke, I have no idea if intent to insult exists or not.

    However, if you have a long history of fighting heterosexism, then it would be quite bizarre to believe that you think being a dyke (i.e. being a woman who falls in love and/or has sex with women and makes no apologies for it) is a bad thing. Thus enough trust (or “cred”) exists for you to use that word without causing harm or offense.

    Likewise, some arguments could be made to derail discussion of sexism that look very much like the arguments a feminist on a bad day might make. Or, at other times, one feminist might make a claim about sexism that was truly wrong, and hearing, “You’re wrong: there’s no sexism in this poem,” gets heard differently when you trust the other person is a feminist simply because you can start with the assumption that there’s no effort at minimization or derailing going on.

    I do not believe that PZ is minimizing or derailing. Yet he’s repeating some things that are being said by people who, I believe, would not seriously entertain a discussion about sexism.

    This is also why people who are unknown & package, “You’re wrong,” with, “Why are you always whining,” get a much more hostile reception than folks who say, “I think you might be wrong, because X, Y, & Z.” It might be a small thing, but saying, ‘I think,’ makes it more likely that the person is being open to being proved wrong, which means that the person is more likely inviting a true dialog.

    And yet, people with feminist cred, who have been willing to have hard conversations before, and who maybe have admitted to error before, have proven through past action that they are willing to have the conversation and thus they need not frame their sentences quite as carefully.

    It is in this way that feminist cred matters. Ultimately we’re still judging by the same criteria, but “cred” is, essentially, an extra body evidence that may be used during that judging.

    This is how cred should always operate – never giving anyone a free pass, never causing anyone to be judged by a different standard, just being willing to acknowledge that the context of a comment or argument includes relevant history as well.

  243. says

    But I am being honest when I say I found it embarrassing to discover that this is the one drop of the torture that turns into an affronted battle (again, don’t even try to pretend that no one on the feminist side didn’t joyously leap into the fray, either).

    How many times a week on The Endless Thread do people talk about how they liked or disliked this or that sci-fi piece partly because of how the female characters were written?

    Are folks here suddenly supposed to approach this particular cartoon without analyzing gender in it?

    From the outside, it looks entirely ridiculous — everyone is fighting ferociously over toy bunny rabbits? You’ve succeeded in making it easy to trivialize a serious problem of pervasive bigotry.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/07/backlash_harming_the_cause_whe.php

    When there are assertions that gnus’ behavior will lead to a backlash that will hurt the cause, we demand evidence.

    I want evidence that feminists saying this cartoon would “would truly suck” does in fact hurt the cause.

    Or in lieu of that, how about “both approaches”?

    +++++
    All I really see here is that you don’t think it’s worth mentioning:

    Of all the…dear god, they are cute little toy bunnies. I refuse to consider their sex until they are stripped, flipped over, and I get to poke around with a teeny-tiny toy speculum.

    and therefore no one else should think so either.

  244. KG says

    *Bookmarks the thread as another good one to link to the next time some moron says Pharyngula is full of PZ’s sycophants*

  245. Richard Eis says

    You obviously feel that you have. How about we don’t pretend that anyone did that, without you at least citing evidence for that claim. You got physioprof wrong. Anybody else?

    When there are two clear sides over an argument and you end up arguing with one side, it is natural to assume that you have been placed on the opposing team by said people. The more they argue, the more you get pushed away. There will be no document detailing your position though.

    Chasing PZ through myriad, long since forgotten quotes and statements really isn’t going to win you anything. Feel free to continue your dogged pursuit of “truth”, but i advise against it.

  246. says

    When women feel that they’ve been insulted by a bunny rabbit in a dress, we should take it seriously and not deny their feelings. Those are genuine feelings, and they’re a product of a long history of bias.

    They are genuine feelings in both cases.

    When I tell you that I feel these threads have been mischaracterizing me, and take the time to explain exactly what has annoyed me, ahs is there to say I’m wrong.

    And because they are genuine feelings, I said: You obviously feel that you have.

    I think that’s unfortunate, PZ. I saw it coming yesterday, remember? And I did what I could to emphasize that it wasn’t about you being a bad guy.

    If, however, you want to say “I have been lumped in with the MRAs”, then that is a claim which requires evidence. If you mean only that you feel that you have, then the claim stands prima facie; of course your feelings are legitimate.

    In the latter case, it would be a good idea for anyone who’s said anything that they worry might be construed as saying you’re being an MRA to make clear what their thoughts on the matter are. physioprof did that at #739.

    I’m worried now that you think I think similarly. I’ll emphasize: I do not believe you’re an MRA. I regard you as a fellow feminist ally. I want clarity, I want claims to be backed up with evidence, but I do not want you to feel besieged by me. So I will slow down now.

  247. SallyStrange says

    Clubhouse? How silly. Look, I still think of PZ as a feminist and an ally; I just think he’s wrong on this one. This is still one of the best blogs ever, I’m not planning on excluding myself or anyone else because of this.

  248. says

    Sally, I think Richard Eis meant the MRAs, such as nmmng, wouldn’t let him into their clubhouse anyway. I’m sure that’s probably true, at least, not without years of hazing.

  249. says

    Dear god, ahs, fuck off, you dishonest hypocrite and slinger of innuendo.

    This is the last time I will address any of your crap.

    The accusation in comment #2 is clear: that the comic was intentionally stereotyping women. Evidence was later found that it was, but to pretend that it was not bringing up an accusation is palpably dishonest.

    I have no idea why you bring up the discussion of portrayals of women in scifi — it’s abysmal, I know. It’s a legitimate topic of discussion, as is the biased portrayal of women in all media. So?

    I do not consider a discussion of bias in that comic to have been off limits; I do not condemn comment #2. You have a very black&white, absolutist perspective on this; I am not singling out any one comment as the instant descent into raging horror. This was a joint effort by many people over many comments building up into a noisy wrangle.

    I have not anywhere made this sweeping claim that something will “hurt the cause”. You have. Repeatedly. Four times in this thread. I have said that the battle over the bunnies looks entirely ridiculous from the outside, and it does — and I take it personally that it makes the seriousness of the discussion on this blog look ridiculous.

    Now we’re done. I don’t even know why I bothered, since I am entirely confident that you will completely ignore my explanations to continue to strain to shoehorn me into your predetermined box.

  250. physioprof says

    One of the most important jobs of an ally is to not get all butthurt when those who are being allied with point out that the ally’s behavior in a particular instance is harmful, and to not focus the discussion onto the ally’s hurt fee-fees and how those hurt fee-fees are going to make the ally not want to be an ally anymore.

  251. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    For the record PZ, and because I asserted above that you have used an argument that MRAs have used, let me be absolutely clear:

    MRAs also use the word, “Hello.” I am NOT saying that by using a word or argument that has also been used by an MRA that you are also an MRA.

    I do NOT believe that you are an MRA. I do NOT believe that you have attempted to derail a discussion of sexism. I do NOT believe that you are not on my side.

    However, I do think that physioprof was describing what MRAs do and you mistakenly thought he was describing what you do. I do think that you have both gotten the point and not gotten it: I absolutely LOVE the “water torture” metaphor.

    I can think of this comic, “ARRRRRGHH. Here I am, strapped down. Having suffered 50k drips of water and it’s driving me crazy. Hey, look at that – is that a crystal on that mobile swinging into the light? yes! And it’s making a rainbow! How pretty! “Plop”. Awww, FFS, did the pretty crystal have to drip on me, too?”

    That’s fantastic. I love it. The water torture, with the crazy-making that it does, does a wonderful job of communicating how trivial (one drop of water?) and how deadly serious this is.

    That’s part of how you’ve gotten it. Part of how you haven’t seemed to have gotten it is this:

    Imagine that the mobile is in the dungeon because the torturer likes it.It’s pretty. No other reason. Imagine that the ceiling on the other side of the dungeon drips condensation onto the crystal, which causes it to spin into the light – giving me my first opportunity to see it even though I’ve been down here for days. And now the drop of condensation falls on me, during my water torture session but totally unintentionally.

    This is how intent does not matter.

    Now it does matter if I want to accuse the palace plumber of participating in my torture, but if all I’m saying is, “that drop sucked,” the truth of that statement changes not at all with the intent of the torturer, the plumber, or anyone else.

    MRAs love to focus on intent because it is notoriously difficult to prove – and because if you do sexism all the time, it can be such a habit that you don’t even think about it, which means that if intent is the necessary & sufficient condition for being identified as acting sexist, you can get off scott free without changing habits at all. I tend not to worry about intent as much. It means, metaphorically, that you can never put anyone away for the full term of murder, but nobody who commits manslaughter walks away without accountability.

    So I count myself sad that you want to focus on the intent. But I don’t place you with the MRAs – not at all.

  252. says

    PZ:

    And there’s another personal source of my ire. I want this to be a strong safe place for women to express themselves, and it should also be a place with some credibility for taking feminist issues seriously. It’s taken a hit because people have been baited into a flamewar over goddamned stuffed bunnies. Sure, you see it as an aspect of anti-woman bias, but try, just try, to see it how the rest of the world sees it.

    What’s the solution then, PZ? Are we supposed to not mention anything to do with a possible sexist trope on non-feminism threads? Are we supposed to stay silent when the MRAs invade?

    I have a clearer idea of your position and frustration, but right now this isn’t feeling like a strong safe place.

  253. says

    SallyStrange:

    I still think of PZ as a feminist and an ally; I just think he’s wrong on this one. This is still one of the best blogs ever, I’m not planning on excluding myself or anyone else because of this.

    Seconding.

  254. says

    Now we’re done. I don’t even know why I bothered, since I am entirely confident that you will completely ignore my explanations to continue to strain to shoehorn me into your predetermined box.

    Obviously you were writing this while I was writing #769.

    I hope it’s as clear to you, as it is to me, that there is some misunderstanding between us.

    I don’t have any box for you. You’ve always been decent to me, and I appreciate this.

  255. says

    not focus the discussion onto the ally’s hurt fee-fees and how those hurt fee-fees are going to make the ally not want to be an ally anymore.

    Let’s all just get a lot more deranged, OK? Where has there even been the slightest hint that I plan to take my ball home if you don’t agree with me on everything?

    Nothing changes. If you think I write what I write because I want to inspire a cozy friendly home and pander to a bunch of people so they’ll be nice to me, boy have you been reading this blog wrong. I say what I want because it’s what I want to say, not because someone else wants me to say. I thrive and profit off antagonism and good argumentative conflicts. In case you hadn’t noticed, this isn’t the happy-touchy-feely blog on FtB.

    But I said good argument. This hasn’t been. For reasons I’ve explained multiple times now. You can get much more vicious here if you’d like, and it won’t change my opinion on women’s issues in the slightest. Just like you can get much more personally vicious against me and it won’t change my opinion on evolution. Some things just are true.

    But you will insult me and get me very, very angry if you even try to imply that my positions are a product of pandering to a clique.

  256. sandiseattle says

    OT:

    O – and happiestsadist, are you in the USA? And if so, in the PNW? Just curious.

    y am i envisioning a “all the crazy people are in the PNW” trope flag to be raised here soon?

  257. Circe says

    #754: The comment

    I don’t generally read the comment thread (I get the blog in my RSS reader) but the only thing I thought about that cartoon was that it was really cute.

    I didn’t even notice that one was male and one was female… they were bunnies.

    Some of you really need to stop overanalyzing.

    at #689 got the following responses, for example.

    @ anthonyallen

    You need to lurk some more and fucking actually read what’s been said here.

    And if fucking took the time to read instead of lecturing at us, you would know that the creator of the comic was making the point that women are more prone to be religious.

    and further here is a response to my own comments:

    They pointed it out. Why must they and their feeling be shouted down by the like of you and your inane apologetics? That is what I’m seeing. Shout down the feminists to shut them up. Why don’t you take the high road and allow them their feelings? No, you have to belittle their feelings for your own purposes, not rationality.

    I’d leave you to judge you is shouting down whom.

  258. Circe says

    Nerd of Redhead: I don’t know what “changing of mind” you are talking about. I said I think the stuff about bunny is nitpicking, and just asked a couple of questions (that probably has been asked too many time now): would you consider any fiction which portrays women as weak “sexist”? Would you do the same if “women” in the last sentence was replaced by “men”? This was never answered, and I have only been variously accused of “shouting down” others, “preaching”, having a “closed mind” etc etc. I even gave examples of works of fictions which I thought would be considered “sexist” if the yardstick being applied here is applied to them, and nobody told me if I was right or wrong about applying those. Here are the examples again:

    If I get the discussion here are right, all the following examples are sexist (arguments inspired from those of Pteryx): 1. http://xkcd.com/327/ (Being a mother is feminine-associated, being prone to give diminutive names to children is feminine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”). 2. All of Jesus and Mo is sexist (Being a barmaid is feminine associated. Not shrieking back is feminine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”. Or, being Jesus and/or Mo is masculine associated. Being religiously dogmatic and shrieking abut it is masculine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”.) 3. All portrayals of Marie Antoinette, ever. (Behaving in a queenly vain manner is feminine-associated. Behaving in a possibly fatally ignorant blissful way is feminine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”) 4. All of James Bond, and not so for the usually given reason. The real reason is that being a daredevil is masculine associated. Being a playboy of sorts is also masculine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”. For reference, Pteryx’s original argument was: “Pink is feminine-associated. Not being worth listened to is feminine-associated.” Ergo, “sexism”.

    The only reply I got was Pteryx’s comment that

    Circe, since you don’t seem to have read any of my comments for comprehension, I suggest you go watch the episode of My Little Pony: FiM that I linked and recommended earlier as a counterexample.

    even though what I was doing was quoting his/her argument.

  259. says

    What’s the solution then, PZ? Are we supposed to not mention anything to do with a possible sexist trope on non-feminism threads? Are we supposed to stay silent when the MRAs invade?

    No. As I said up there, I have no problem with discussions of these issues, and that I expect the feminists here to fight back. I don’t pin blame on any one individual in the chaos.

    Maybe we just have to blame it on group dynamics gone mad, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do, and I just have to resign myself to these eruptions.

    With hindsight (easy now, but I’ve been buried in end-of-semester work, so I’ve been catching everything belatedly), if I’d been able to pay closer attention, here’s what I would have done. I’d have stopped it cold in the first thread, created a new thread on greater global issues of bias against women in the media, and let everyone go to town on that one, and try to get the argument going on a bigger picture of the problem, untainted by the public pettiness of toy rabbits.

    But in the real world where I’m dealing with a stack of deadlines, that wasn’t going to happen.

  260. Mick says

    @ John Morales

    I was responding to the new post, when I received information that said I was wrong I conceded.

    You are still a fucking dick and a raging wanker! Fuck you with a rusty chainsaw dipped in lime you self-satisfied turd.

  261. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Sandiseattle –

    That was a friendly connection-seeking thing between me & happiestsadist. I don’t see any reason why it would lead to the trope you’re suggesting. Tho’ I’m perfectly willing to admit to having had depression.

  262. physioprof says

    I thrive and profit off antagonism and good argumentative conflicts[.]

    Then why did you choose this particular instance to poo-poo one side of an argumentative conflict as being much-ado-about-nothing?

  263. A Fellow Eukaryote says

    No, PZ, I know your heart is in the right place. That’s why I’ve been a loyal lurker for years (I’d’ve been a regular commenter too, if everyone else hadn’t been so good at saying everything I wanted to say but fifty times better). If I was not so obviously clear, dammit, no I don’t fucking think you’re an MRA–that would kinda require amnesia and raving stupidity on my part, no? But, while I realize you never said any of that cred-claiming stuff (I literally said that you HAVE recognized the difference between claiming cred and actual feminism, throughout Pharyngula history), I put all of that there to make a point, which is that no one is exempt from examining themselves.

    And speaking of reexamining–pay attention to what you’re ignoring. Yeah, of course we feminists here passionately throw ourselves into the fray. You even admit we have plenty of reason to be on hair triggers (red pill, anyone?). But what did we start up in response to? Are you seriously suggesting comment #2, which I quoted, was the actual start of the flamewar? A mild, truly mild little offhand comment about unfortunate implications? Should we have ignored the MRAs who oozed in afterward? Should ignoring misogynist trolls instead of stomping them become a policy feminists must adopt?

    ^And note: I’m NOT putting words in your mouth here. Yes, PZ, you didn’t say any of that either. But that’s how it comes off to some of us. Yeah, we were provoked. Yeah, we’d much rather enjoy a fucking cartoon with fucking bunnies about fucking religion vs. science. I liked it when I first read it, myself. But I hope you don’t think we’d have gone all flamey if misogynists didn’t come whining. You appear to be doing a whole lot of mouth-stuffing yourself, as some of us feel like we’re being mischaracterized, like we saw a religious bunny in a dress and then immediately started foaming at the mouth, ready to explode into tirades against this newest assault on women as fiercely as if it were a law legalizing rape. Because that’s not how it happened.

  264. A. R says

    I have to say, this is the first thread that has pushed me to killfile a regular commenter, and an OM nonetheless.

  265. SallyStrange says

    Circe, you’re seriously proposing that we should take “I didn’t see this, therefore you are all over-analyzing, and you should stop” as a nuanced, helpful critique?

    I’m sorry, but if that’s your standard then I’m going to have a hard time taking YOU seriously.

  266. physioprof says

    It’s not a good argument that coding foolish religious gibberish as feminine and rational atheist reality as masculine is misogynist?

  267. A Fellow Eukaryote says

    Posted before I could read PZ’s later response emphasizing that he doesn’t want to pin the flamewar down on any one comment. Ok, I’m happy for that, because it seemed like that’s what you were doing.

    I think Crip Dyke in #774 said it best.

    SallyStrange:
    I still think of PZ as a feminist and an ally; I just think he’s wrong on this one. This is still one of the best blogs ever, I’m not planning on excluding myself or anyone else because of this.

    Thirding.

  268. says

    Nitpicking. Yes, exactly, what an excellent analogy that is! Nits are larval lice, and have to be picked, lest you end up with a nasty infestation. And then we’d be lousy, and our community would be lousy. It really doesn’t help to vociferously object that you’re perfectly clean and don’t have nits at all and besides its not a nit it’s a bit of lint and nits are all in your mind anyway.

    This should be required reading:
    The truth is, if I actually spent my days actively paying attention to every example of misogyny around me, I would be a profoundly unhappy woman. Not bitchy or grumpy or short-tempered, but paralyzingly depressed. Women have to train themselves to avoid consciously reacting to every bit of misogynistic detritus permeating the culture through which we all move, lest they go quite insane.

    PZ @782 – thank you, that does help.

  269. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I think I’ve discovered something that PZ appears confused about. In #772 he wrote:

    The accusation in comment #2 is clear: that the comic was intentionally stereotyping women. [emphasis added]

    My reading of #2 was the comic was unintentionally stereotyping women. Certainly until further evidence was revealed, the general perception was the stereotyping was unintentional.

  270. says

    PZ:

    With hindsight (easy now, but I’ve been buried in end-of-semester work, so I’ve been catching everything belatedly), if I’d been able to pay closer attention, here’s what I would have done. I’d have stopped it cold in the first thread, created a new thread on greater global issues of bias against women in the media, and let everyone go to town on that one, and try to get the argument going on a bigger picture of the problem, untainted by the public pettiness of toy rabbits.

    Hindsight’s a wonderful thing. This would have been a great way to handle it, because there is a lot to discuss when it comes to media.

    I would have seriously enjoyed a good, in-depth discussion of the cartoon as well, because I did think it was good and I liked the novel approach.

  271. Circe says

    Sally: I find that view at least as nuanced and constructive as the view that anybody saying that is a “male supremacist”.

  272. says

    A.R.:

    I have to say, this is the first thread that has pushed me to killfile a regular commenter, and an OM nonetheless.

    No one fucking cares. If you have nothing pertinent to say, don’t say anything.

  273. says

    Circe:

    “male supremacist”

    Male supremacist is used by some here instead of MRA, because the type of MRAs we get here are not actual Men’s Rights Advocates. You might be able to understand what people are attempting to tell you if you get over this particular bit.

  274. A. R says

    Caine @ 796: I think it is quite pertinent, considering it as a comment on the rapid degradation of the level of conversation here.

  275. SallyStrange says

    Well, nobody called that guy a male supremacist, so what’s your fucking problem, eh Circe? Why should we take shit arguments like that seriously? And please note that the essence of the message was “SHUT UP,” which, when applied to feminist discourse, is a male supremacist position to take. And you are defending it. What the fuck is up with that?

  276. pharylon says

    Dear Fuckwit (aka Nerd of Redhead),

    If you demonstrated basic literacy skills by reading my posts, you might have noticed that I am not a “Cupcake.” I am fully in favor of cursing, mocking, and derisive tone when it is appropriate.

    But, and I know this might be difficult for either of your two functioning brain cells to understand, it’s not always appropriate. In any discussion, tone is an important aspect. And being rude, calling names, and relentlessly mocking someone has it’s place- and that place is when the person you’re mocking isn’t the target. When we make fun of Catholics, Climate Deniers, or whatever, we’re not trying to convince them we’re right. We’re not trying to change their mind; we know they’re a lost cause. We’re trying to show others how dumb they are, how clearly wrong they are.

    When you’re talking to a fellow open-minded skeptic, attacking them isn’t the way to get them to change their mind. People who get attacked tend to dig in. That’s just human nature. I know someone of your limited intellect might have trouble understanding this, but sometimes engaging someone in a civil argument is the way to win.

    There are multiple ways to do this! If you REALLY care about educating fellow skeptics who have an honest difference of opinion about why you’re right and they’re wrong, and not just being a living example of John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, then maybe you can learn that different tones are like different weapons on the battlefield of ideas, and you’re someone who only knows how to use a shotgun.

    But probably not, since you’re clearly incapable of understanding how human interaction works.

  277. says

    SallyStrange:

    Well, nobody called that guy a male supremacist, so what’s your fucking problem, eh Circe?

    Circe seems to have a real problem with all the “no, you’re wrong. Read the fucking thread.” responses to all the umptieth crap posts saying “oh, well, what if the author… and what if the boy rabbit is a girl wearing pants” and other assorted shit.

    It’s annoying as all fuck to have to constantly state the same information over and over and over and over and over because hundreds of assholes can’t be bothered to read the thread.

  278. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Circe #780 –

    Thanks for being specific about your complaints. Now I can judge for myself.

    I’ve definitely noticed a tendency towards harsh treatment of people who bring up arguments that have already been dealt with earlier in a long thread. The first example you cite fits in with that. It’s definitely something that I don’t tend to do, but it’s also got a long tradition here. I haven’t ever made an effort to address it. In general, tone trolling doesn’t go over well here & I’m not one to tell someone how to express an argument in this space (even if I might have opinions in other spaces) specifically because this has been created as an environment where people are free to stomp on stupidity.

    The first half of the second comment was also clearly a call to read the thread before inserting redundant comments. Again, rude, but failing to read the thread is counted as a form of stupidity and stupidity is stomped hard here.

    This doesn’t come across as harshing on insufficiently feminist statements. It feels like the pharyngula tradition of drop-kicking people unwilling to read before posting. I didn’t see any comment like, “*** ****, you are a male supremacist”.

    It seems you were making two arguments, one was:
    What I don’t get is why people like the ones I listed in #719 also get the same “*** ****, you are a male supremacist” treatment?

    and the other was:
    “[there were some comments] implying he had no right to voice his opinion till he had read the whole thread. This last one is especially the kind of thing I am trying to point out.”

    I would say your second case is proven, but the first isn’t. I am sympathetic to what you are arguing in case 2, but I won’t go as far as to ask people to change the character of pharyngula. This is a place where stomping hard is allowed and, over time, one of the misdeeds for which stomping has been deemed appropriate is posting on a thread without reading it and having your post’s content be substantially the same argument as has been made multiple times before.

    It also seems like earlier you were more concerned about case 1, but later you changed your mind & were more worried about case 2. Now that you’ve proven case 2, do you want to still look for examples of case 1, or did you get confirmation of what was most important to you?

    Just so you know, if there were examples of case 1, I would want to know & would find that useful.

  279. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    FYI – If you got here & are wondering why I have referred to a post in the 700s when my post is #5, threading is set to 800 comments max before it partitions it out & starts counting over.

    To get to the previous posts, just above “Leave A Reply” after all the comments in the current series is a small blue link, “Older Comments”. Hit that & you’ll get the first 800 comments on this thread.

    That is all.

  280. A Fellow Eukaryote says

    Caine,
    Hindsight’s a wonderful thing. This would have been a great way to handle it, because there is a lot to discuss when it comes to media.

    I would have seriously enjoyed a good, in-depth discussion of the cartoon as well, because I did think it was good and I liked the novel approach

    I agree. I’m also glad PZ’s coming round, and there’s a better sense of where we all actually stand. And I’m happy he’s been repeatedly emphasizing that he still takes these issues seriously, because I too want this to be a safe space.

  281. gddiver says

    OK, we now have a tea party of the rational left. Let’s throw a fellow rationalist under the bus because he (a sexist assumption on my part?) may (emphasize may) have had a made subconscious sexist assumption. Even if the cartoonist harbors a latent sexist attitude, and I do not believe for a minute that this cartoon proves that it does, appreciate the point he is making. This cartoonist is on our side Crys T. Put your sense of righteous anger to use where it is really needed our you will eventually find yourself alone in your own little universe with no allies, raging against the picayune.

  282. Tristan says

    PZ’s rght, y knw. Ths thrd s crrntly n pr wth Gltgt, nd s rpdly pprchng lvtrgt lvls f rdclsnss.

    [Another wallower in the misogyny cesspit who has no place commenting here. Go away. –pzm]

  283. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Well, it’s nice to see that gddiver has caught up to comments #2 on the original thread. Just 1150 comments to go before you have some idea what you’re talking about!

  284. physioprof says

    The only thing that could make this discussion ridiculous is the assumption that atheism is serious shitte and feminism is a niche special interest.

  285. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t know what “changing of mind” you are talking about.

    Changing from this being a non-case to a case. What else could I mean. If you are a regular, you would know I often challenge folks on what they are arguing, namely what evidence is required to change your mind on your point? That is when real discussion can occur. At the moment, in my experienced opinion, you are preaching and not listening.

  286. says

    You know, as a rational atheist skeptic I don’t believe in fate, and certainly not in tempting fate. Nevertheless, in the lizard bit of my brain I feel a tingling sensation that I’m going to jinx this whole business by telling Tristan that this hasn’t approached the same continent as Elevatorgate.

  287. says

    gddiver:

    Let’s throw a fellow rationalist under the bus because he (a sexist assumption on my part?) may (emphasize may) have had a made subconscious sexist assumption.

    Jesus fucking Christ. Is it really too much to ask that you read the goddamn thread before you spout off? We know how and why the author/artist chose the representations.

    Try going back and reading #505, it’s the special edition for those who can’t manage to read, and then going and reading PZ’s post @ #430.

  288. gddiver says

    Hey Crip Dyke, I don’t need to read 810 post like yours to understand what is going on. PZ summarized it nicely and my point still stands. Getting upset over a dress on a cartoon character and ignoring the real issue is why we laugh at the fundamentalist. Just keep attacking your allies for no reason because a circular firing squad is the quickest way to end an argument.

  289. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ Caine #14 –

    I was going to direct him to #11 of the original thread. His comment seemed to have a lot in common with it & he really ought to know his concerns have been previously noted.

  290. says

    gddiver:

    Hey Crip Dyke, I don’t need to read 810 post like yours to understand what is going on. PZ summarized it nicely and my point still stands.

    All this ^ does is to paint you as an idiot in bright, neon colours. The author/artist’s choice and methodology is known and PZ changed his stance.

    So, it’s rather obvious you do need to read the thread, at least if you have any desire to avoid being an idiot. It seems to be a role you’re comfortable with though, so carry on being stupid.

  291. says

    Crip Dyke:

    I was going to direct him to #11 of the original thread. His comment seemed to have a lot in common with it & he really ought to know his concerns have been previously noted.

    Point away! I doubt it will do much good in this case though, as this isn’t the first time gddiver has been an asshole in a thread and simply digs their heels in when it’s pointed out.

  292. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @gddiver #16 –

    That was an attack? Really?

    Look, I’ve handed out a porcupine or two in my time, but really, I’m not one of the ones you need to worry about. If you had read pretty much **any** of the thread, you would have known that your comment has been made many, many times. So why make it again?

    Plus, as far as attacking goes, I said you didn’t know what was going on in the thread because you hadn’t read it. And I was right. Stating facts is an attack?

    But you, no you say:

    Put your sense of righteous anger to use where it is really needed our you will eventually find yourself alone in your own little universe with no allies, raging against the picayune

    Which is the attack? My correct statement that you’d read so little of what was going on that you didn’t even realize that your comment added nothing new? Or your, ‘clean up your act or die whining and alone’ bit?

    yeah, that’s what I thought.

  293. Richard Eis says

    I see nothing wrong with having a “media portrayal” post still. It’s not too late… But all should be welcome, there are plenty of male stereotypes i want to vent over.

  294. says

    If you ask me, it’s sexist to assume that the one wearing pants is a boy and the one wearing a dress is a girl. Whom is not to say they are both women… or men? This is the classic categorization of how masculine/feminine men and women have to be to be identified as one sex or the other. That’s sexism, not this crap being heatedly debated about in this thread.

  295. says

    gddiver:

    There’s a difference between telling people that you disagree with them on an issue, and telling people that they are doing their particular ‘-ism’ incorrectly. The first at least has a somewhat decent chance of being backed up by some sort of logic or evidence. The second is almost always doomed to failure, because it is almost always wrong.

    Maybe if you don’t barge in and treat people like they are arguing in bad faith, they won’t treat you like you are doing the same. And if they do anyway then you actually might have the moral high ground.

  296. shawnthesheep says

    Josh,

    In response to your @454 (sorry, I have severe blockquote fail issues with this blog)

    1. People were questioning that I was a progressive guy who fights against sexism. One poster equated my position with “some of my best friends are black.” This implies that I not only don’t fight against sexism but that I’m a bigot.

    2. I acknowledged in several of my posts that I have blind spots. As I stated previously, there are plenty of feminist women whose opinions I seek out on gender bias/sexism, because I want to try and minimize my blind spots. In these matters, I almost always respect their opinions above my own. I’ve even consulted a couple of feminist friends on the bunny issue, and they agreed with me. I’m not just dismissing the opinions of women regarding this issue. What I found so troublesome about the initial cry of sexism is that it was done without the person who objected having any context about the piece. What if this had been one of a series of cartoons in which the genders were alternated or in which the male bunny was in the negative role the majority of the time? Poster #2 in the original bunny thread jumped to a conclusion of sexism with few facts to support it.

    3. I do have blind spots. Absolutely. But members of oppressed groups have blind spots, too. And sometimes they (myself included) are responsible for the same sorts of stereotyping/generalizing that they fight against. Sometimes, you fight so long and so hard against an entrenched enemy that you see that enemy everywhere, even in bunnies.

    4. I was getting indignant and defensive because my character was being questioned, and I was told that, due to my sex, my opinion was meaningless. I take issue with that. If you dismiss the opinions of everyone who is not a member of an oppressed group, then you dismiss the opinions of a lot of allies who can help you achieve equality. No oppressed group can achieve equality without the help of allies who are members of the privileged group.

    5. I still find this whole thing ridiculous. I don’t find concerns of gender-bias ridiculous. I don’t find arguments about the pervasiveness of gender inequality in our society to be ridiculous. Whenever the discussion turns to sexism, I’m on the side of the feminists 99.99999999999999999% of the time. This just happens to be one of those times where I disagree with some feminists. I can do that without being unconsciously sexist or insensitive. I understand completely why a woman would filter everything through a gender inequality cheesecloth. But just because something is pervasive doesn’t mean it’s everywhere. It is possible for the member of an oppressed group to see bias where it does not exist.

    6. I never claimed I have a get out of jail free card. I was just trying to explain that I was not the enemy. Sure, I have been guilty of sexist actions in my life. I have said and done things that were misogynistic. I’m not sure anyone who is raised in a society as gender-biased as ours could ever be completely gender neutral. But I’m a progressive activist, and I learned my progressivism and activism at the feet of some hardcore, old-school feminists. So for someone to completely dismiss my opinion with a wave of their hand because of the genitalia I possess is offensive to me. I have marched and been arrested for gender equality. I’ve risked my own personal safety to assist battered women. I’ve had fundamentalist pelt me with tomatoes, survived bomb scares and death threats. This is not simply a philosophical/intellectual exercise for me. So if you want to dismiss my support for gender equality with something like, “and I’m sure some of your best friends are black,” because I disagree with you over a bunny cartoon, then I will righteously and indignantly say, “FUCK YOU.”

    As for your concluding statement, my gut reaction was that the bunny cartoon controversy was silly. But I did re-examine that reaction. I sought the opinion of a couple of feminist women I know and respect, and asked, “Is this a blind spot?” Their response was a very definitive NO. Anyway, arguing over this is counter-productive. I’m off to have lunch with a dear friend, a retired ob/gyn and fellow feminist the local fundamentalist doctors have labeled the poofter abortionist. Some of my best friends are poofter abortionists, too.

  297. says

    gddiver: just *sigh* WHY must you and so many others leap from “huh good one, but it’s a pity that the sexist trope detracts from the message” to “throwing him under the bus”? The magnitude of the leap astonishes me every time. It’s like you’ve said “Hey, psst, mate, your fly’s undone” and they’ve replied “Y U WANT CASTRATE ME?!!”

    When (not if, when) people of good will accidentally use sexist tropes, metaphors, language etc, we expect them to say “oops, my bad, I’ll try not to do that again.” That’s a response from an ally. The other one … isn’t.

    And because this got lost in the page turn and I’m kind of proud of it:

    Nitpicking. Yes, exactly, what an excellent analogy that is! Nits are larval lice, and have to be picked, lest you end up with a nasty infestation. And then we’d be lousy, and our community would be lousy. It really doesn’t help to vociferously object that you’re perfectly clean and don’t have nits at all and besides its not a nit it’s a bit of lint and nits are all in your mind anyway and nits are just trivial distracting from the real issue.

  298. Circe says

    Crip Dyke: Thanks for the reasoned comments. I don’t think however that I was tone trolling: as far as I am concerned the tone-trolling was being done by a “regular” who armed with his or her “experienced opinion” declared that I, and presumably others raising points similar to mine, were “shouting people down”, without bothering to answer why the same yardstick could not be applied to conclude whether 1)
    All fiction portraying women unfavorably should be considered “sexist” 2) All fiction portraying mean unfavourably should be considered “sexist”?

    With that out of the way, thanks again for clarifying what you referred to as case 2. As for case 1, here is an example (not the exact statement I quoted, for which I apologize, but close enough)

    Because even though one example is not enough to prove sexism, the existence of those stereo types is enough to make it possible. Can’t a woman feminist notice the inequalities (intentional or not) without a man male supremacist trying to shut her up?

    Edited for accuracy. Otherwise, great comment. That’s really the only thing that’s at issue here.

    Admittedly, when I pointed this out I did get a response from the commenter clarifying that they were not trying to paint all critics with the same brush. However, that did not prevent some people with presumably “experienced opinion” going after me without even addressing the questions I raised (why shouldn’t the same yardsticks be used for all fiction? Why isn’t for example, all of Jmes Bond “sexist” in its treatment of men, giving the impression that all men are careless playboy daredevils? Is every fictional treatment of Marie Antoinette “sexist” since it has to show Marie Antoinette wearing dresses?)

    Nevertheless, thanks for pointing out that some people here so love stomping on others. It seem, however, that some of them, unlike you, can’t stand any criticism without leveling accusations of “shouting down” and “preaching”.

    Nerdhead: In my not-so-experienced-on-Pharyngula-but-with-some-experience-in-the-real-world opinion, it is you who are not framing your case properly. I specifically referred to what my questions were in my post, and you just seem to have ignored them, taking the high road of declaring that I was “preaching”, and implying that you should be right just because you are a regular. For your easy reference, some of those question appear in this post too. Please answer at leisure. Or maybe, just call me a tone-troll while accusing me of “preaching” and “shouting down”.

  299. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Oh, is this the same Shawn who said he “reveres” women?

    I’m so glad you came back, so I could tell you what utter fucking bullshit that is.

    Anyone who claims to revere me, simply on the basis of my genitalia or gender identity is either stupid or lying.

  300. says

    Richard:

    I see nothing wrong with having a “media portrayal” post still. It’s not too late… But all should be welcome, there are plenty of male stereotypes i want to vent over.

    There was one not long ago.

    Male stereotypes in media are egregious and infuriating. Same goes for GLBT stereotypes and female stereotypes.

  301. says

    SallyStrange:

    Oh, is this the same Shawn who said he “reveres” women?

    Yes.

    I’m so glad you came back, so I could tell you what utter fucking bullshit that is.

    Anyone who claims to revere me, simply on the basis of my genitalia or gender identity is either stupid or lying.

    I made that point, strongly. I doubt it will be addressed.

  302. says

    shawnthesheep:

    “FUCK YOU.”

    For someone who maundered on and on and on about how much he “loves and respects” women, you spent a good deal of your time telling women what life as woman is really like and then telling them they were full of shit and to fuck off.

    You have issues, which I addressed, specifically to you in #388. I did have the thought you would cope better if my points came from Josh, but I see it didn’t help any. For someone who claims to have considered their viewpoint, you’re still being the same ass, so I have to wonder just how much considering you did.

    Are you aware that PZ changed his mind about the bunnies? That’s an example of someone who reconsidered the issue and when presented with evidence, changed their stance. You could take a lesson. You could also really work on that whole listening to women too.

  303. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If you ask me,

    Nobody asked you, you came here on your own, and gave nothing but inane opinion. Why should we believe you are anything other than a MRA troll???

  304. says

    shawnthesheep

    Poster #2 in the original bunny thread jumped to a conclusion of sexism

    Nope. This is still an unevidenced claim, no matter who makes it.

  305. Tethys says

    Althea H. Claw

    Isn’t it a bizarre over-reaction? I shake my head over the pointing out small possible sexism = exile and death hyperbole.

    Very few comments were about the author of the strip except to gather more data. I didn’t see any comments suggesting he should shut-up and die.
    ——

    There are several other interesting issues to discuss.

    Why are humans so compelled to classify according to gender? Why are those toys manufactured as male/female pairs?

    Are female bunnies more prone to religion?

    What would account for the gender discrepancy?

  306. says

    shawnthesheep:

    Poster #2 in the original bunny thread jumped to a conclusion of sexism

    Your insistence on this is pure assholism. Crys T’s post was an observation and a request for other opinions.

    It was Otranreg’s post @ #11:

    Fuck you. Paranoid killjoy.

    Which sent out the idiot signal.

  307. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @shawnthesheep – #25

    People were questioning that I was a progressive guy who fights against sexism. One poster equated my position with “some of my best friends are black.” This implies that I not only don’t fight against sexism but that I’m a bigot.

    No. This does NOT imply that you’re a bigot, nor does it imply that you don’t fight against sexism.

    however, having friends that are women or friends that are feminist doesn’t say anything about the argument at hand – and, worse, it is often used as a tactic to avoid accountability on a given issue. This is typically a matter of defensiveness, not oppression per se, but if one cannot be accountable, oppression cannot be fought.

    So when you said, and Dianne replied:

    I love and respect women. I revere women. I long for the day when they gain true and full and lasting equality.

    And some of your best friends are black too, no doubt.

    You were saying something defensive that didn’t address the argument at hand – your argument stands or falls regardless of how many friends you have of what kind.

    Dianne was merely pointing out that, “I revere women,” and, “Some of my best friends are…,” are functionally equivalent statements.

    It is you that has said that the manner in which they are functionally equivalent is in calling you a bigot.

    I say this to tell you: Take a breath!

    Also, this: if you feel you’ve done nothing wrong, and you go away and think about things & still think you’ve done nothing wrong, then you had a good exercise in thinking that won’t do you any harm AND no one on these boards is coming after you IRL. It sounds like you’ve done exactly that.

    People will respond to your posts, often with harsh language, but no one is forcing you to read anything. If this thread isn’t working for you, skip it & go to the next one. You are even using a ‘nym that is not at all the same as an IRL name, so it’s not like you even have to be afraid of someone getting the wrong idea about you as a person b/c of something someone said about your ‘nym. Either they know you well & won’t be swayed by something someone they don’t know said in a thread on Pharyngula, or they don’t know you well & won’t put your ‘nym together with you the person.

    In short, no one that I’ve noticed has called you a bigot and nothing on this thread is of any permanent injury to you.

    If you feel you’ve been treated badly, you’re perfectly welcome to think less of anyone that you believe has done that. You can care about that as much as you want or as little as you want. And you get to move on whenever you want.

  308. says

    Tethys:

    I didn’t see any comments suggesting he should shut-up and die.

    Not only that, but I had to correct a bunch of people when they called the author a sexist douche, misogynist or other assorted nonsense. Pteryxx was doing damn near constant correction on that score.

    You can’t even get across that it was simple weariness at seeing an old sexist trope being employed again. Instead, there’s this assumption that feminazis are screaming “misogynist douchecake! off with hir head!”

  309. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    I would just like to say thank you to Carlie for eloquence and clarity (and to a lot of other people too) for endless patience – and to youse lot who have given us some great metaphors; the single fibre in a hawser, the ten-thousandth papercut, the need to pick nits if you want to avoid succumbing to an infestation of lice.

    Like a lot of people have said, better than I can: nice cartoon – like it a lot – pity about the tired old trope (i.e., pity about the author’s choice to add an irrelevant detail which doesn’t help the message but distracts by echoing the prevailing gender stereotypes that it would have been so incredibly easy to avoid. And no, that does not mean they have to be reproduced in reverse, ffs). So far, no problem.

    “Fuck you. Paranoid killjoy,”

    And that’s the start of the problem right there.

  310. Carlie says

    I’ll second this, too. It helped me a lot, thank you.

    Just got caught up, and thirded. Thank you.

    After approximately 1200 comments, roughly 500 of which directly addressed both why it’s clear which genders were specified and how and that the author clearly stated which ones were which:

    If you ask me, it’s sexist to assume that the one wearing pants is a boy and the one wearing a dress is a girl. Whom is not to say they are both women… or men?

    Oh. My. Fucking. God.

  311. says

    Why should we believe you are anything other than a MRA troll???

    I looked at Taylor R.’s website and I think the evidence indicates Taylor is not an MRA troll.

    +++++
    Taylor R.,

    If you ask me, it’s sexist to assume that the one wearing pants is a boy and the one wearing a dress is a girl. Whom is not to say they are both women… or men? This is the classic categorization of how masculine/feminine men and women have to be to be identified as one sex or the other.

    We’ve been over this a few times now. I’ll repeat what I said earlier:

    “Regardless of each bunny’s gender identity, it is a problem that the one who presents as stereotypically feminine has been portrayed as an airhead.”

    For the record, we do now know that the artist intended them as boy and girl, because the artist said so.

    But if, perhaps, someone were to look at the picture and take it to be two female bunnies, then there’s still the problem of associating stereotypically feminine dress with irrationality.

  312. John Morales says

    [meta + OT]

    A Fellow Eukaryote, previous page @787:

    No, PZ, I know your heart is in the right place. That’s why I’ve been a loyal lurker for years (I’d’ve been a regular commenter too, if everyone else hadn’t been so good at saying everything I wanted to say but fifty times better).

    I’m a regular, and I tell you I think you’re wrong; on the evidence, you’re no worse and perhaps better than some of us at saying stuff.

    (Yes, I am encouraging you to be more than a lurker)

  313. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ Taylor R. – #23:

    Have a free, zombie porcupine and a smile!

    For full offer details, see #751

  314. says

    Passed them all

    It’s impossible to fail when you take these tests.

    The willingness to take the test means you pass.

    I have a slight preference for white faces. I’m not surprised.

  315. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Please answer at leisure. Or maybe, just call me a tone-troll while accusing me of “preaching” and “shouting down”.

    And where is the answer to the question, “what will change your mind”. I didn’t see that…Evidently, you can’t change your mind…

    it is you who are not framing your case properly.

    And what is wrong with my framing? You are wrong until you prove yourself right with evidence, not opinion. Welcome to science.

  316. eigenperson says

    I’m not convinced that the results of the IAT can be properly interpreted for individuals (as opposed to groups). When I took it a couple years ago, it showed that I had a moderate preference for black faces, which I doubt, because (1) I think the opposite is probably true and (2) I took another one which showed I had a slight preference for light skin. I suspect my particular results have more to do with the order in which the tasks were presented. The aggregate results, of course, compensate for this by randomizing the order.

    On the other hand, I did do the “Presidents” one, which informed me that I have a strong preference for Abraham Lincoln as compared to George W. Bush. Well, they got that one right, for sure.

  317. Dhorvath, OM says

    I have an implicit bias for tests that run on my computer. Sad, I love these sorts of things.

  318. Grace says

    Crys T says:
    “Please tell me that in the above, it isn’t the little girl rabbit who is brainlessly insisting on believing the box whereas the intelligent little boy rabbit bravely insist on working out the solution for himself.”

    “Because that would truly suck.”

    Seriously? That’s all that was said? This caused you all go apeshit over the silly overreacting wimmin who can’t pick their fucking battles?

    Poor PZ, I feel your despair over this irrational poster and the depths of triviality this comment conveys. You should have censored Crys T immediately for this outrage. Thank you, thank you for telling us lamebrains when to pick our ‘battles.’ Only the comment didnt’ sound like a battle cry, just a minor observation. But you needed to make a big deal out of this, of course, to prove women see sexism EVERYWHERE.

    Don’t ever make a casual comment on the possible stereotyping of girls as dumb. You are guarunteed to get an 800 comment smackdown and have the blog owner mansplain’ that you need to shut the hell up because you are making him sad :( and you can’t prove girls are constantly portrayed as dumb and unscientific (well, actually you can).

    So, what, another “Elevatorgate” here? “That would truly suck” is the new “don’t do that guys”?

  319. Circe says

    Nerd of Redhead:

    And where is the answer to the question, “what will change your mind”. I didn’t see that…Evidently, you can’t change your mind…

    And what is wrong with my framing? You are wrong until you prove yourself right with evidence, not opinion. Welcome to science.

    Thank you for welcoming me to science. Thank you also for for bestowing upon me the hidden knowledge that when one asks questions (as opposed to “makes assertions”) one has to provide “evidence” and “prove” one’s questions, but that no such thing is needed when one is just making assertions about other people’s beliefs.

    Also, since you think you love the scientific procedure so well, let me try once again: I was not making any assertions except that I thought the reaction to the bunnygate issue rather over the top. To understand the reaction better I posed a series of questions to know what definition of sexism you (and Pteryx) were using. I have repeated those questions four times on this thread now, and having done some science before, I think that would be considered an adequate enough explanation of my position.

    Perhaps there is some other kind of science I missed learning about, where you just assume the other party has some beliefs, don’t say what they are, and go on claiming that they are not prepared to change their beliefs, while simultaneously refusing to listen to the other party when they try to point out that they have already made their position clear and are expecting an answer to a small set of well defined questions. At least in the kind of science I do to earn my living, that is considered a very unprofessional thing to do.

  320. says

    Grace, please, read the damn thread before you do anymore yelling. It’s very tiring seeing people continuing to do this. If you did bother to read before screaming, you would have found that PZ changed his mind.

  321. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Circe, you have your own perspective and opinions. It came through loud and clear. To pretend that all you were doing was gathering data on other people’s viewpoints would be disingenuous.

  322. Tethys says

    The age association test presents the findings as a positive negative scale with age groups placed accordingly.

    I am biased towards children being good, young adults and elderly as neutral and middle aged slightly towards the negative end of neutral.

    I’m not quite sure what to make of that.

  323. Grace says

    Was I yelling? You can hear me over the internet? PZ’s blog post was obnoxious and stupid. I see this shit and don’t feel like wading through a thousand comments. Maybe he should have added that he changed his mind ot the original thread. But really I don’t care anymore. This is just fucking stupid to have to deal with all the fucking time. In his Clockwork Orange post, now it’s been ‘pointed out’ that four men in the photo and no women is totally ‘sexist.’ Y’know. I’m stupid.

  324. Dhorvath, OM says

    I don’t know, PZ has a post that expresses a specific point of view, is it really fair to expect people to spend two hours catching up? I think a new post to clarify would be a nice touch.

  325. chigau (本当) says

    Grace
    Between the first bunny post and this one there are over 1100 comments, some of them by PZ.
    PZ’s “little intro” tells nothing like the whole story.

  326. says

    Tethys:

    I am biased towards children being good

    Really? I think I’d most likely tend to it being the other way.

    Dhorvath:

    is it really fair to expect people to spend two hours catching up?

    It isn’t about fairness, it’s about having all the information and not putting your idiocy on display. FFS. PZ is under no obligation to make yet another fucking post about all this. Someone doesn’t want to bother reading? Fine, they don’t have to do so, however, they should be prepared when called out on it.

  327. Tethys says

    Grace

    You are correct in your assessment, but nearly 24 hours late to the thread so you missed PZ agreeing that this is an example of stereotyping back in the 400 to 500 area.

    We have moved on to self-bias assessment.

  328. Carlie says

    I see this shit and don’t feel like wading through a thousand comments.

    Fine. But don’t comment, then. You don’t want to listen to what other people are saying, then don’t butt in to the conversation.

    is it really fair to expect people to spend two hours catching up?

    Maybe not the whole thing, but the last 50 comments or so ought to be an easy thing to expect people to read before they comment.

  329. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Grace:

    I see this shit and don’t feel like wading through a thousand comments.

    Yet it didn’t stop you from writing “You are guarunteed to get an 800 comment smackdown”.

    (Argument from ignorance, how does it fuckin’ work?)

  330. Carlie says

    Grace – if you refuse to read what others have to say, why on earth should they read what you have to say?

  331. Dhorvath, OM says

    Caine,

    That idiot is indicating how most of the people who encounter this post are reacting to it: without reading the comments. Sure it would be nice if they all had the time and inclination to catch up on the whole picture, but most of them either can’t or won’t do so. You seem comfortable dismissing them because they don’t do so, I am not sure I can follow you there.

    And I don’t think PZ has any obligation, I do think that he will be misrepresented though.

  332. says

    Some might disagree that his “revelation” at #430 is actually “PZ agreeing that this is an example of stereotyping.”

    He only agrees because the author flat-out admitted that was his intent. If the author had just flipped a coin, he claims it would not still have been a sexist outcome.

    CPP points out that one does not have to be intentionally sexist to in fact, be sexist. http://freethoughtblogs.com/physioprof/2011/11/25/skeptic-skepticize-yourself/ Intentional sexism is only a small part of sexism. Intent is irrelevant. If you unintentionally step on someone’s toe, you still cause pain.

    We also point out that one does not actually need to make the two discussants of different genders. If gender isn’t a point then make both male, both female, or both different animals of indeterminate gender. One doesn’t even need to flip a coin.

  333. says

    Dhorvath:

    That idiot is indicating how most of the people who encounter this post are reacting to it: without reading the comments.

    Then they have no business commenting. Those who are intellectually honest and have an actual interest in the discussion manage to read the thread, or at least skim it.

    People who simply want to scream or troll or repeat something which has been posted 500 times already aren’t interested in a discussion.

    This gets played out every time there’s a long thread, and people who do want a discussion manage to handle the thread. The screamers, trolls and other assorted idiots don’t need someone being all concerned about them refusing to use their little brains to figure out what’s going on.

    As for fairness, it’s hardly fair to those who have read the thread to continually summarize for those who can’t be arsed. If someone wants their contributions to be considered, they can damn well take the time to see what other people’s contributions were.

  334. says

    Pteryxx:

    Catching up… thanks, Caine. You’re a frickin’ awesomenessmachine.

    :D So are you! Thank you so much for catching and correcting all those who were so intent on distorting the issues.

  335. chigau (本当) says

    If you don’t know what the conversation is about and you cannot be bothered to find out what the conversation is about it would be better to close the tab and move on without commenting.

  336. David Marjanović, OM says

    Prediction confirmed: PZ doesn’t read every comment on this thread. So, to increase the chances that PZ will read these arguments that have all already been made several times now, I’ll repeat them:

    As has been observed by other commentators, the trope that women are flighty, irrational and emotional, whereas men are supposedly empirical, logical and considered – the ‘bimbo meme’ if you will – is pervasive in our culture.

    This is entirely true. The question is whether the cartoon is trying to promote it.

    No. The question is whether it promotes it.

    No. I am not claiming that equality has been achieved, but that we won’t achieve it by self-consciously making the man the villain or dummy in every fictional dialog. You’re raising a ludicrous straw man here.

    What do you mean by “the man”? There didn’t have to be any man in this cartoon. Or any woman, for that matter.

    Now THAT’s a smoking gun. OK, point accepted: the cartoon was originally made with part of the point being perpetuation of a sexist stereotype gleaned from the internet. In light of the evidence, I change my mind.

    Good. The link to that evidence was already posted in comments 115, 119, and 138. It’s shameful that you jumped in somewhere around comment 300 and didn’t care about what was written before.

    When you don’t have time to read a thread, why do you add to it?

    Why?

    Except…I still have this uneasy feeling. Just won’t go away. I’m not sure why PZ was so upset with us in the first place, and not the idjits who started it up, a la “Fuck you. Paranoid killjoy.” along with the intent now being the all of it.

    Because… he… didn’t… read… enough… of… the… thread… before… commenting… on… it.

    ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

    I’ve emailed this thread to a few female feminists I respect and none of them seem to have an issue with it.

    …Wow.

    He actually says “the lurkers support me in e-mail”.

    I’m out of words!

    Oh, and mansplaining is still a sexist term. Just because it’s a term the oppressed use to describe their oppressors does not mean it’s any less gender-biased.

    Granted, but how much damage can it really do? Nigger and cracker aren’t comparable to each other…

    It would seem that sexism is a fractal problem, the deeper you go, the more you see. I must concede (to my embarrassment) that my own eyes are not sufficiently in focus to see the fine grained nature of it without squinting. It is easy for me to see the Elephant in the Fridge and the 800-Pound Gorrilla in the Living Room. But the CL-20 Weilding Tardigrades? There I need some help.

    It pays off, though. Tardigrades are teh awsum.

    Teh Supremacy of Cats

    Happiness is a warm cat. ^_^

    a math professor working Condoleezza Rice and watermelons into an exam question:

    Whoa.

    We have the hero (male), the best friend (male), the rival (male), the villain (male), the mentor (male) and… and… hey, the Girl! (female).

    …where “the girl” is a role just like “the hero”, “the rival”, “the mentor”… *headdesk*

    “Smurfette Principle” is a good name for it.

    And kids are really quick at picking up rules, even though nobody ever tells them. If three kids are playing on a carpet who’ve taken their slippers off, the fourth one will do so, too.

    You’re over-generalising. There are also people like me, too.

    Yes, but there aren’t many of us. And even I picked up the pink/blue dichotomy quite quickly, for example – I can’t remember ever having not known it.

    Ironically, he was trying NOT to be sexist. He decided on the pink/blue kiddie theme

    BZZZT! Does not compute.

    We now know that the photocartoonist started with the gendered rabbits –no decision was made to feature a male and a female bunny; instead, this was a constraint.

    Why use these rabbits and not something else?

    I can’t help noticing a disproportionate amount of people on one side of this are constantly and clearly not reading past posts before voicing their opinion.

    ..and before they start, I should point out it’s their fault that there are so many posts. Self fulfilling stupidity perhaps.

    QFT.

    I hadn’t read the 500+ posts before replying to the original blog post. I don’t have all the time in the world.

    That means you didn’t have time to reply to the original blog post!

    2. if anyone growing up with the English versions is wondering about this, the American translators never used “negro princess/king” as that would have been inappropriate to an English speaking audience already in the 1940s, so they went with “cannibal princess/king” instead.

    In a very twisted way, this is… awesome. So bad it’s good.

    But at the same time, it’s polite to give some social cues to others as to your baby’s gender.

    Why?

    And if I dress her one day with no pink and a lot of blue, well, I couldn’t blame anyone for assuming she’s a boy.

    …which would be… somehow… utterly horrible or something. Downright scary to even imagine. Right?

    You know, it doesn’t really matter what erv or hoggel say. Nothing can really prepare you for actually coming here and reading the baboonery first hand. I really thought they were exaggerating about what happens here. Understating more like it. You people are another species altogether. Unbelievable.

    *long, drawn-out toothy yawn*

    We’re Vulcans without the kolinahr. And baboons are pretty awesome.

    Interestingly enough, Estonian has no he/she or his/hers only the gender-neutral “ta” and “tema”.

    Most languages lack grammatical gender even in personal pronouns. The Indo-European (like English) and Afro-Asiatic (like Arabic) languages are actually the odd ones out.

    I can’t help noticing a disproportionate number of people on one side of this seem to have nothing to do all day except read and write internet posts.
    If only the rest of us were so lucky…

    As I just said: if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.

    I think the problem is a lot of commentators have started using “tone troll” as a shield for anything they say. As I understand it, the term originated to be derisive of people who would counter atheist arguments with “Be nice! It’s disrespectful to say that god doesn’t exist!”.

    No. It originated to be derisive of people who said “oh look – you used a bad word/don’t verbally cuddle me enough; this proves you don’t have any arguments at all whatsoever, and I can safely ignore everything you say”.

    “Janine, the term ‘spleen weasel’ is not only nonsensical(weasel made of spleen? or very small weasels that live in your spleen?) but awfully shrill. I’m sure you are capable of making a good point, but I can’t see past your name-calling…”

    Now THAT’S tone trolling, right?

    It should become a textbook example once somebody writes the textbook.

    PLEASE READ MY POSTS CAREFULLY.

    Please write your comments carefully, Cameron. It was not at all obvious that you meant it the way you meant it.

    When I started writing scientific papers, my PhD supervisor taught me two things: you will be misunderstood (by someone, sometime, somewhere), and therefore it’s your responsibility to minimize the number of opportunities at which you could be misunderstood.

    I don’t know, PZ has a post that expresses a specific point of view, is it really fair to expect people to spend two hours catching up?

    If they want to contribute – yes, absolutely. I just spent four and a half hours catching up instead of going to bed.

  337. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    For Grace… but also everyone else, especially the lurkers afraid to comment:

    when I comment without reading the entire thread, there are often good reasons, but I always announce that I haven’t read & am prepared to take my lumps if I’m bringing up something that has been said & dealt with quite a number of times.

    Honestly, I would prefer a friendlier response to people who do this, but it does guarantee that when I comment without reading, that I always comment in response to particular, specific things and try to say something that is unlikely to have been said many times by others. This makes my posts better.

    And there is an arrogance to posting without reading. Not that I think it’s not understandable, but yeah, to see a thread with 1200 posts and assume, “I don’t have to read that, I’ll just say what’s on the top of my brain & it will certainly contribute to the discussion,” comes across to others as, “Y’all are so stupid that what popped to the top of my brain after reading the OP is unlikely to have emerged in a discussion of only 1200 comments over 18 hours involving 100 or more people.”

    I get that. And this is PZs blog. Not mine. He runs it how he runs it. He prefers a blog that stomps on stupidity, even if that makes it seem intimidating or unfriendly to some folk. He’s consistent about that, so that even when the stupidity is of a very common type, like failing to read the thread and assuming you have something unique to contribute anyway (which, judging by my own impulses and the number of times I’ve seen others do it, is quite a common form of stupidity), he’s perfectly fine with allowing the horde to jump on that as well.

    And the thing is, even if I’m slightly more mild mannered than some, that doesn’t make me **better** mannered than those others: In the context of pharyngula, stomping on stupid is valued for the way it sharpens the discussion over the long haul. People are forced to think about the points that they are making, lest they face the wrath of the horde. It’s a very different way to think about what constitutes being polite, but in the community that PZ has created, (dare I say it?) it is polite and a favor to others to encourage the Darwinian honing of arguments through the crushing of unsuccessful memes and practices.

    I am far more ruthless on this blog than I am elsewhere, because I understand its values. I’ve handed out as many porcupines on this thread as anyone else, even if I do it with a little less profanity along the way. And the beautiful thing? People who express themselves in ways that I wouldn’t express myself give me permission to pass out porcupines. I might feel far too reticent to do such a thing if others weren’t doing it all the time. That, in turn, makes me more useful in clamping down on certain tropes that I am more likely to notice than other commenters (we all have our certain areas of expertise).

    I can be sympathetic to certain people when I read statements directed at others. I sometimes even cringe. But I never tell people not to do it, not least because this isn’t my community to run. I respect the rules and the mores, and I can appreciate how they are functional.

    It may sound unfriendly, but there really are lots of other communities on the internet where discussion takes place under very different rules. This place makes space for good argument, and it helps create that space by stomping on bad argument – including argument that is redundant or that is oblivious to the discussion happening all around that argument.

    I dont’ want people that get stomped on to go away. I want them to learn about the community & become better and more productive contributors. But that process isn’t painless. The very first time I commented on Pharyngula, PZ himself took notice and called me “anal” and some other words implying that I had very little intelligence on offer. A good half dozen of the regulars roundly criticized me. I still think I was right: PZ used sloppy language that included a vast over-generalization. Others pointed out that, in context, one should be able to understand that he didn’t mean the generalization, even though it was the literal and obvious meaning of the words he wrote. And they weren’t wrong. But I’m passionate about words and want people to say what they mean. I didn’t feel PZ did that.

    I will not lie: that stung. I felt swarmed by the regulars even before PZ weighed in, which he rarely does, pace this thread. But I continued to lurk, and reminded myself what I knew before I posted the first time: regulars get in spats with each other all the time, and language much stronger has been used between other regulars that was directed toward me that day. And, mostly, those people had significant points of agreement and/or friendly discussions on other threads.

    It feels personal when we get called out for saying something that either is a bad argument or is a bad comment for another reason (like the content is redundant with multiple other comments and the writer should have known that before commenting). But no one hunts you down. It feels as if we are being called stupid when are arguments are stomped – in fact, often times, we literally are being called stupid. Yet, if you come back a second time and make an argument that contributes, it will be welcomed.

    This truly is a meritocracy. It has it’s own rules, and they can be intimidating. However, the rules are there for a reason. What is rude elsewhere is politeness here, In fact, while atrocious comments will get massive attention, the second worst response a comment can receive is sometimes silence.

    So, Grace and all you lurkers out there: Please, let yourself be stomped at least as many times as I have. When you get stomped, read what was said. It is almost always clear what you could have done differently to avoid the stomping. When it isn’t clear, ask for clarification. In fact, demand it: if they can’t do you the courtesy of stomping with clarity, the by all means, stomp the fuckwit back – and hard – until they learn to put a useful line of reasoning in with their porcupines.

    Soon you’ll be as valued as anyone with an OM, and, not incidentally, you’ll be better at arguing your point.

  338. Dhorvath, OM says

    Caine,

    This gets played out every time there’s a long thread, and people who do want a discussion manage to handle the thread.

    You are of course correct that it happens regularly and is deeply aggravating.

    As for fairness, it’s hardly fair to those who have read the thread to continually summarize for those who can’t be arsed. If someone wants their contributions to be considered, they can damn well take the time to see what other people’s contributions were.

    I doubt that on a different day I would have said anything and I am sure that I don’t want to have this argument. There is something about this that feels odd to me, but it’s not the time to dig into it. I have not had much part in this conversation, I am following but not stringing my thoughts well enough today to participate, which should have been my cue to continue reading and not chime in. My apologies for making this thread harder.

  339. says

    Grace, please, read the damn thread before you do anymore yelling. It’s very tiring seeing people continuing to do this. If you did bother to read before screaming, you would have found that PZ changed his mind.

    Whoa, what? About comment #2 by Crys T? No he didn’t, Caine. No he didn’t. His last comment on the matter:

    [PZ:] The accusation in comment #2 is clear: that the comic was intentionally stereotyping women. Evidence was later found that it was, but to pretend that it was not bringing up an accusation is palpably dishonest.

    Note that ‘Tis Himself responded then at #793, and you said shawnthesheep’s comment—”Poster #2 in the original bunny thread jumped to a conclusion of sexism”—was “pure assholism. Crys T’s post was an observation and a request for other opinions.”

    I agree with your reply to shawnthesheep, but look twice. Shawnthesheep is agreeing with PZ.

  340. says

    Chigau:

    If you don’t know what the conversation is about and you cannot be bothered to find out what the conversation is about it would be better to close the tab and move on without commenting.

    QFT.

  341. Circe says

    Sally:

    Circe, you have your own perspective and opinions. It came through loud and clear. To pretend that all you were doing was gathering data on other people’s viewpoints would be disingenuous.

    I had my perspective, and I put is forward. Then I put some questions to understand the other perspective, and then “Nerd of Redhead” started to ask me for “evidence” for those “questions” and generally showing off how impeccable his/her knowledge of the scientific method is, without bothering to even acknowledge the existence of those questions: indeed, even going to the extent of saying I has a closed mind and wouldn’t change my mind for anything. And yet some of the same people who go ballistic when somebody says they hadn’t read all the comments call me “disingenuous”. That seems to be all the data I have so far.

  342. Tethys says

    Nicoleandmaggie,

    All of your points have been extensively covered in this long ass thread. PZ agreed. He is a good ally who made a small error which he has acknowledged.

    I suspect he will write another post on the subject after some well earned holiday R&R.

    By all means continue to discuss unconscious bias, but I myself am weary of people rushing in to do battle without having read the entire thread.

  343. says

    ahs:

    Whoa, what? About comment #2 by Crys T?

    I didn’t specify that, so don’t be jumping on me. I said PZ changed his mind. He did. If someone wants to know the details of that, they can read the damn thread.

  344. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Also, since you think you love the scientific procedure so well, let me try once again: I was not making any assertions except that I thought the reaction to the bunnygate issue rather over the top.

    Well, I’m a terminal degreed 30+ year practitioner of science, a hard science. What are your qualifications to talk about science?

    I was not making any assertions except that I thought the reaction to the bunnygate issue rather over the top.

    Yep, opinion. Now what evidence backs up that opinion so I should take it seriously, and not dismiss it for UNEVIDENCED OPINION? Quit arguing like a philosopher/lawyer. Try arguing as a person of evidence, not questions, must.

    I have repeated those questions four times on this thread now, and having done some science before, I think that would be considered an adequate enough explanation of my position.

    Wrong. Science is not about bloviating philosophical questions. Science is about evidence and falsification. Which is why I keep asking you what evidence will change your mind, which is the crucial question for science. Still no answer to a simple question. You are preaching. And will be considered a preacher who is to be blown off until you do. Welcome to real science, not your inane version of it.

  345. physioprof says

    How fucken difficult is it to understand that the internal mental state of the cartoonist who drew the motherfucken bunny cartoon is 100% completely totally absolutely irrelevant to the analysis of the relationship between the motherfucken bunny cartoon and the systemic misogyny that permeates our society?

  346. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Crip Dyke @87, I find that a most excellent comment, and one that people should peruse.

    Kudos.

    (To those who may have skipped it as TL;DR, I encourage you to do so)

    PS I want you to know that I have a lot of respect for you (and that not based on that single comment, either!).

  347. says

    Oh, but Caine.

    I didn’t specify that, so don’t be jumping on me. I said PZ changed his mind. He did. If someone wants to know the details of that, they can read the damn thread.

    He did not change his mind about the exact thing that Grace took issue with. So your reply to Grace is, at best, misleading.

    (Extra lulz for smacking down shawnthesheep while defending PZ. It’s surrealist comedy?)

    +++++
    Also this:

    [PZ:] Because I still have a complaint with it. As I clearly said, how we know something is critical. Counting boys and girls or complaining about their roles in a single instance is not sufficient, since there can be perfectly innocuous alternative explanations.

    These two threads would have gone in entirely different directions (this one wouldn’t exist) if instead, #2 had said, “I found a description on reddit of how the artist assigned gender roles, and it was sexist”. A vague accusation provoked a massive derailment. My complaint will not be rescinded.

    +++++

    He only agrees because the author flat-out admitted that was his intent. If the author had just flipped a coin, he claims it would not still have been a sexist outcome.

    Yep.

  348. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ John Morales – #96

    Why…thank you!

  349. says

    Phyioprof:

    How fucken difficult is it to understand that the internal mental state of the cartoonist who drew the motherfucken bunny cartoon is 100% completely totally absolutely irrelevant to the analysis of the relationship between the motherfucken bunny cartoon and the systemic misogyny that permeates our society?

    I don’t think it is completely irrelevant.

    I’m going to call you out on using systemic misogyny, too. There is a difference between entrenched, tired sexist tropes and misogyny. Much of the time, when sexist tropes are used, they are simply used by those who haven’t given the status quo much thought. Those are people who are able to have their awareness raised and are able to learn from the situation.

    Someone who is soaking in misogyny is likely to have far different motivations and isn’t interested in learning.

  350. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    without bothering to even acknowledge the existence of those questions:

    Questions are philosophical, not evidence based. Your questions need evidence for falsification one way or the other. You must supply that evidence, not, as the person making the assertion. Where is your evidence, not bloviated opinion????

  351. shawnthesheep says

    #39

    I didn’t simply state that I was not sexist because I had female friends. I said that in the context of a larger discussion about me being labeled a sexist asshole. That might not have been the exact terminology used, but I don’t think I misinterpreted some of the insulting things that people were saying about me based on my opinion of the bunnies.

    The reason I even bothered to respond again was to make a larger point. I am a feminist. It does not matter if the people on this board believe it, because it happens to be true. I’m on your side. No, I’m not a woman. No, I will never know what it’s like to be a woman. But, sometimes, people inside a group can learn things from the observations and opinions of someone outside the group. Sometimes, when a group has been oppressed for so long and suffered so much discrimination they see enemies where there are none.

    That’s my point. Agree with it, don’t. It’s up to you. But if you judge me differently for my opinion because I’m a man and a feminist instead of a woman and a feminist, then perhaps you should examine your own gender bias, just as I try to examine my own.

  352. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But, sometimes, people inside a group can learn things from the observations and opinions of someone outside the group. Sometimes, when a group has been oppressed for so long and suffered so much discrimination they see enemies where there are none.

    Prove your assertion, not just make it. Otherwise, how to you know you aren’t wrong. And what will change you mind about this situation? If you can’t come up with something, you are preaching, not discussing.

  353. Circe says

    #94 Nerd of Redhead:

    Well, I’m a terminal degreed 30+ year practitioner of science, a hard science. What are your qualifications to talk about science?

    Nice to know. I am not a terminal degreed practitioner of science, but I would just say that I am not even 30 years of age yet, but I also do a “hard” science for my living. I’d also point out that this is not a slinging match about who has more “experience” in science. Indeed, proofs by authority are rather looked down upon wherever I have worked and it was you who played the authority card (which I must confesses, would have somewhat diluted my respect for you as a scientist if I actually knew you).

    Need I point out we are not doing hard science here? As I have noted n number of times so far, I expressed an opinion, and then asked a few questions to test my understanding about the definition of “sexism” being used to formulate the other opinion (which is presumably your opinion too). As far as I see there is no hard “evidence” that can be presented here, since one’s definition of “sexism” is what one’s opinion hinges on. The only possible exception might be if the author himself states that he wanted to portray women in general in a bad light, which as I see was claimed on the thread, but was debunked. Given that avenue is closed, I asked a few questions to see if I got my definition of “sexism” the same as that of others. And yet somehow I get called for practicing an “inane” version of science (presumable all non-inane scientists get their science ratified by you: I am sorry as a junior scientist I failed to notice that was a requirement).

    To me the telling thing is that there is still no attempt you have made to answer those questions: it seems you are just more interested in calling me inane, flaunting your experience with science, and repeating the word “evidence” ad infinitum. To which I ask, what would make you change your mind? I claim the only possible answer is “evidence that my definition of sexism is slightly different from yours”, which is what I have been asking so far. I should also point out my question were not “bloviating philosophical” questions: they were very clear applications of the definition of sexism which seemed to be in use in declaring the cartoon sexist, to other scenarios. In the hard science I do, that is considered a very valuable method: take a concept and stretch it to its limits to understand it properly. In fact, some of the “30+ years experienced terminal degreed” practitioners in my field (which I am not) would claim it is one of the most valuable tools in all of the field.

    Also I would very much prefer if we kept “proofs by authority” out of it. I have pointed out you are much more experienced to me, and also that in science that does not constitute that your ideas are correct and mine are not. I have also pointed that you started imposing proof by intimidation and authority on me, and I reassert that I would not embarrass all the teachers and mentors I have had by falling for it.

  354. says

    shawnthesheep, this one’s for you:

    http://stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com/2010/02/think-they-get-to-decide-whats-racist.html

    As a gay man, I occasionally see other LGBT folks complaining about something that I find silly. It does not mean that I’m homophobic or uncommitted to LGBT equality. It just means that sometimes everyone–women, men, feminists, fundamentalists, astronauts, epidemiologists, sexists–are silly. I don’t have to agree with every member of an oppressed group in every instance to be considered an ally to that group.

    Yep. That is all true.

    But you also don’t have to fight your allies when they decide something is important to them and you don’t see why. You can instead go off and spend your time doing something you think is more important.

    You want to hang out in this thread and fight about it? Be our guest, shawn, but you’re going to be offered some porcupines. You are making extra work for your ostensible allies.

  355. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    But if you judge me differently for my opinion because I’m a man and a feminist instead of a woman and a feminist, then perhaps you should examine your own gender bias, just as I try to examine my own.

    I judge you because you said you “revere” women. As in, “all women.” I judge you to be either stupid or lying. If you sincerely believe that my gender identity entitles me to your love or reverence then I mistrust your intelligence. If you’re not sincere then I mistrust your motives. The thing is, I usually only hear this sort of idiocy about adoring ALL members of a certain gender from the mouths of men, so I imagine that being a man plays into it, but I’m not stupid enough to think that the mere possession of a penis (or preference for male gender identity) automatically makes you into an idiot who offers undeserved reverence to 50% of the human race.

  356. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I expressed an opinion, and then asked a few questions to test my understanding about the definition of “sexism” being used to formulate the other opinion

    Science, you are doing it wrong. YOUR DEFINITION is the one in question, and what you must defend. Nada ,zip,zilch zero. Your method to to put us on the defensive. Now, lay out your evidence required for you to change your mind. Until you do, you are preaching, not discussing, doing, science, or even philosophy. If you can’t be wrong, you can’t be right.

    To me the telling thing is that there is still no attempt you have made to answer those questions:

    Why should I answer your inane questions when you refuse to answer my one question? As everybody here has noticed. Why are you so afraid of that question? A very simple question any scientist is familiar with. But you must not like the implications of that question. That you might be WRONG. And as far as I am concerned, until you answer it, you are wrong.

  357. Grace says

    Carlie says:
    “Grace – if you refuse to read what others have to say, why on earth should they read what you have to say?”

    Carlie I didn’t “refuse” to read what others had to say. I read the blog post. And then read a few of the gazillion comments to find the offending post PZ was referring to. And suprise! A very mild comment on how it looked like typical stereotyping saying girls:dumb, boys:logical. I wanted to see what started this whole Sometimes A Bunny Is A Just Bunny post by PZ that vilified the second poster as somehow ruining feminism and how “This is the WRONG BATTLE” and “I have never seen feminism reduced to such appalling depths of triviality.”

    My problem is with PZ blog post. It was arrogant and patronizing, unbelievably so. And yes, I saw the sheer volumne of comments and, not being a masochist, didn’t jump in and read them all. (I’ve learned a lot from the “elevatorgate” fiasco).

    Again that is irrelevent since I read the original blog post and the comment PZ referred to that he found so offensive. Sorry that my psychic abilities are so rusty, I had no idea PZ retracted his original assessment of the sad state of female commenters who don’t know when to pick their battles and are wallowing in trivialities. Oh wait, he actually didn’t. Thanks ahs ॐ.

    So his OP stands and my comment also stands.

    Then I saw latest Pharyngula post and the few comments that are implying women see sexism everywhere (it’s still going). That post doesn’t have a thousand comments. But PZ set the tone and it seems the fellas are quite comfortable saying women get in a “tizzy” over sexism and cute bunnies (I like how PZ kept throwing “cute” in there…because only a psycho could see sexism in cute little bunnies!) So now it seems like it’s common knowledge that women are irrational and overreact to sexism here at Pharyngula.

    @shawnthesheep “But if you judge me differently for my opinion because I’m a man and a feminist instead of a woman and a feminist, then perhaps you should examine your own gender bias, just as I try to examine my own.”

    Oh, dear Gawd. I often go to African-American blogs and tell people how my opinion as a white person is just as valid as their lifetime experience being subjected to racism, and they’re totally racists if they judge me as if I didn’t have a lifetime of experience dealing with racism. And I certainly tell them when I think they are overreacting because they’re not a good judge of what is racist because they see racism, like, everywhere so they are totally biased. (no, actually I don’t, because that would be ludicrous).

  358. says

    shawnthesheep:

    First of all, people have nyms, Shawnthesheep. Use them.

    No, I will never know what it’s like to be a woman. But, sometimes, people inside a group can learn things from the observations and opinions of someone outside the group. Sometimes, when a group has been oppressed for so long and suffered so much discrimination they see enemies where there are none.

    Sure, people can learn from observations of others. People in this thread have been trying like hell to get you to pay attention to their observations about your attitudes. You aren’t listening.

    You did not address my post to you @388, you have not addressed anyone else who has a problem with your whole “I love women” shtick and you are insistent that your point of view is more valuable and right than that of any woman in this thread.

    Any time a woman does address something you’ve said, you handwave and dismiss it.

    Being a feminist doesn’t hand anyone a I can’t fuck up! card, either. Your continued stress of how you are a feminist seems to indicate that you feel your credibility is threatened. It isn’t, so cool down on that. Yes, you’re a feminist. That’s great. However, you keep sliding into areas where you aren’t helping, such as implying that SallyStrange has a problem with you because you are a man and feminist. Nope. Get off that one right away, please.

    Like myself, SallyStrange doesn’t have a problem with men. We both have a problem with assholes.

    You are quite blind in several areas and people keep trying to let you know that. Consider if multiple people are all saying the same thing to you, there’s a good probability that the problem does lie with you.

  359. says

    I do not like this shawnthesheep, but there’s a reason he’s feeling his feminist cred questioned. It was questioned.

    I would rather look the other way while y’all eat him alive, but it was just a couple weeks ago that I was whinging how self-identified feminists who are not obviously lying MRA fuckweasels ought to be afforded recognition of their identification.

  360. Circe says

    Nerd of Redhead: How many times do I have to say this. My definition of sexism might not be the one people here believe. And possibly, yes, I could even be proved wrong in a real scientific sense (rather than in Nerd of Redhead “what I say is science” sense) by presenting evidence that my opinion carried no weight because the original author himslef/herself intended to portray women in a bad light. So far none of that has happened, as I pointed out before. The only other evidence that would make make me change my mind is if you show me that you definition does not lead us to seduce “sexism” in the scenarios I presented in my questions. And sorry,just because everybody here believe that their definition of “sexism” is the right one, that does not make it the null hypothesis.

    You are doing the science wrong, by mixing it with proofs from intimidation, authority and majority, and by implying that your definition of “sexism” is the one that everybody has to adhere to. There is not, and I have been trying to see exactly how you apply you definition of “sexism” to scenarios you presented to understand it better and to change mine if I see that is the right thing to do. I am perfectly willing to change my mind, and I have stated ample number of time what would induce me to. But at the risk of repeating myself, all I get is flawed claims about the scientific method backed with the weight of implied authority.

  361. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Grace:

    Carlie I didn’t “refuse” to read what others had to say.[…] And yes, I saw the sheer volumne of comments and, not being a masochist, didn’t jump in and read them all.

    So… you didn’t refuse to do so, you merely chose not to do so.

    (Sophistry is sophistic)

    My problem is with PZ blog post. It was arrogant and patronizing, unbelievably so. […] So his OP stands and my comment also stands.

    I do not think that word (‘stands’) means what you think it means. :)

    But PZ set the tone and it seems the fellas are quite comfortable saying women get in a “tizzy” over sexism and cute bunnies

    To you, perhaps; certainly not to me.

    So now it seems like it’s common knowledge that women are irrational and overreact to sexism here at Pharyngula.

    You write that as if it were the conclusion to an argument you’ve made, rather than as a re-statement of your own perception.

    Sorry that my psychic abilities are so rusty, I had no idea PZ retracted his original assessment of the sad state of female commenters who don’t know when to pick their battles and are wallowing in trivialities. Oh wait, he actually didn’t.
    […]
    I often go to African-American blogs and [blah] […] (no, actually I don’t, because that would be ludicrous)

    When it comes to sarcasm, you try too hard and you do it very poorly.

  362. says

    ahs:

    I would rather look the other way while y’all eat him alive

    I’m not looking to eat him alive, I’d prefer he start using his brain and being honest, which he is not doing at the moment. Whether or not it goes to Bread and Circuses is up to him now.

  363. Cesar Hechler says

    I have to qualify what I say here with an ‘I’ve read the thread’ and, as someone else pointed out, if someone has been bitten by a pit bull they have every right to be afraid of dogs. The people who have complained about sexism have a very valid point, their experiences have made them much more aware of the issue than others. However, sometimes the message isn’t obscured by a social faux pas. Upon showing the cartoon to the women in the house the only responses were, ‘OOOOOH! Tzing! Score one for our side!’ and the gender-related comment, ‘Ha, funny…hey, why is the bunny’s top falling off?’ Maybe, if we’re lucky, the piece will be redone with costumes off and neutral talk balloons. Wagner and Lovecraft don’t have to be discarded for racism, just as this piece, or at least an edited version, shouldn’t be tossed in file 13 for sexism.

  364. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Nerd @107: “YOUR DEFINITION [of “sexism”] is the one in question, and what you must defend.”

    Circe @111: “You are doing the science wrong, […] by implying that your definition of “sexism” is the one that everybody has to adhere to. ”

    Circe, it doesn’t look good when you lie about what Nerd has written.

  365. Grace says

    Thanks for the nitpicking there John Morales. You do it poorly. I stand BY my statement just as PZ stands by his original assesment.

  366. says

    I would rather look the other way while y’all eat him alive

    I don’t know what came over me.

    I would rather watch while y’all eat him alive.

    Just wanted to point out, that comment from Gregory is probably where his insecurity began.

  367. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Grace, my nitpicking might be poor, but nonetheless it encouraged you to correct your phrasing so that what you’ve written expresses what you actually meant.

    (You are welcome)

  368. says

    ahs:

    Just wanted to point out, that comment from Gregory is probably where his insecurity began.

    Probably. I’m trying to work right now (and obviously not very hard), so I’m not going to go back and search every interaction. Thanks for the pointer, though, because after Gregory’s post, shawnthesheep seemed to really up the “I’m gay!” and “I loves women!” and “I’m a feminist, I’m on your side!” stuff.

  369. says

    But, wtf. My comment about that is best directed at Gregory anyway.

    I would rather look the other way while y’all eat him alive

    I don’t know what came over me.

    I would rather watch while y’all eat him alive.

  370. Circe says

    @John Morales: I made my statement clearer in the same post, by stating explicitly that Nerd was assuming her definition was the null hypothesis, which is indeed what she was doing. But I agree, taken by itself without the context of the post, that sentence does seem to be misrepresenting her position. I apologize for the lack of clarity in writing.

    @Nerd of Redhead: I think I would leave now to go and do my day job (aka: trying to prove stuff). Thanks for affording me a great break, and for reinforcing the age-old lesson that a young scientist should always be wary of proofs from authority. Sorry for any personal remarks I may have made, but I stand by my comments that I was not provided the evidence I stated would change my definitions/opinions, and also that this not for want of asking. It was a pleasure arguing with a scientist as experienced as you. I wish I knew you and could also have had the opportunity of perusing your scientific work, but in the interests of internet anonymity, that is sadly not to be.

    Good night (assuming you are in the Western Hemisphere) and have a great weekend!

  371. says

    Something went wonky with my connection and I didn’t realize I was successfully posting. Sorry about the double post.

    Whether or not it goes to Bread and Circuses is up to him now.

    I lol’d.

  372. Cameron says

    @David Marjanović, OM.

    Yup, fair enough. I plan on doing my masters once I’m done with my degree so I should learn to be clear in my comments now rather than later.

    Couldn’t find the page where all the other responses are and this is the only response to me on this page. Think everyone gets what I was trying to say now.

  373. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Whether or not it goes to Bread and Circuses is up to him now.

    Come on, Shaun, don’t disappoint us. I’ve got a nice bit of brie sitting in the refrigerator that needs some bread to be truly appreciated.

  374. Tethys says

    Circe

    I made my statement clearer in the same post, by stating explicitly that Nerd was assuming her definition was the null hypothesis

    You really need to work on your reading comprehension skills Circe.

    I am getting a good laugh out of the latest iteration of the “Nerd is the only woman on pharyngula” trope.

  375. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My definition of sexism might not be the one people here believe.

    Then why are you trying to ram it down our throats?

    by presenting evidence that my opinion carried no weight because the original author himslef/herself intended to portray women in a bad light.

    Ah, intent versus reality. Sorry, the author did deliberately used the female as the religious one. Intent. He used the colors pink and blue for balloons for the female and male respectively. Intent. You lose. Intent isn’t reality, but it made it so in this case.

    The only other evidence that would make make me change my mind is if you show me that you definition does not lead us to seduce “sexism” in the scenarios I presented in my questions.

    Why should I play your game? I’m not doing that. You aren’t the boss here, and you are really pretending you are the authority, and you have been behaving ina manner that is typical of what we call the MRA brigade in trying to ram your definitions and opinions down our throats through sheer persistence. Why aren’t the folks here entitled to our opinions that differ from yours? Why must you keep persisting aggressively attempting to change our minds? It is people like you how have made this thread so long. Those who disagree with us, and can’t put up the evidence to change our minds, or just state their case, and then fade back into the bandwidth like a civil person would do, are those who have blown up the thread and caused the flamewars. So, what is your problem in that, since you have stated your case, and nobody is agreeing with you, you can’t just fade civilly fade into the bandwidth? What ego is causing you to require us to submit to your opinions?

    I’ve never said you have to agree with me. Just that in order to convince me, you need to supply the evidence I asked for in my first response to you. And you haven’t done so. So I don’t.

    You may not like my questions, but introspection is needed on your part. For me, bed time.

  376. says

    Tethys:

    I am getting a good laugh out of the latest iteration of the “Nerd is the only woman on pharyngula” trope.

    It’s a trope for a reason. :D It is interesting to see how many people can’t read Nerd’s nym correctly.

  377. John Morales says

    [OT + meta]

    Cameron:

    Couldn’t find the page where all the other responses are

    Look above the comment box, over ‘Leave a Reply’, where it has a link labelled « Older Comments. That link will take you there.

  378. says

    ‘Tis:

    Come on, Shaun, don’t disappoint us. I’ve got a nice bit of brie sitting in the refrigerator that needs some bread to be truly appreciated.

    Are you humming Send in the Clowns?

  379. Pteryxx says

    Caught up now, more or less. Mostly I’m responding to Circe; partly to summarize my own comments spread over this thread, and partly because Circe keeps complaining that nobody’s addressed ‘ir list of specific examples aimed at me. So yeah. It’s easy enough to do a Find on my comments, but apparently ‘e wants the personal treatment.

    To Circe: I don’t think your supposed questions need to be addressed at all, because all you did was misstate my position as a true-false argument, and then parody it with a list of yes-no checkboxes (in your #690 and #781 if anyone cares to look). From #690:

    For reference, Pteryx’s original argument was:
    “Pink is feminine-associated. Not being worth listened to is feminine-associated.” Ergo, “sexism”.

    Which misrepresents #258, where I had clarified my argument to you:

    You may note that when I critiqued this comic way back in #19, I specifically said that pink is feminine-associated, and being not worth listening to is also feminine-associated, with references. For any reasonable argument, I’d expect someone who disagrees to say “I don’t think this is sexist, and here’s why” or at least “I don’t think those associations you’re describing hold up, and here’s why”. Not to use blanket statements like “always” and “never” as a lazy discounting tactic.

    And my original argument in #19 was:

    The initial flag for me was the association of pink with unreliable opinions in the word balloons alone. (And yes, pink is associated with femininity [link], and so is having a discountable opinion [link].) If there were no characters portrayed at all, but solely puzzle pieces, box and text, I’d still dislike that pairing. Having the bunnies in gendered clothing just doubled-down on the unfortunate association.

    I pointed out the same unfortunate association that others have critiqued. But all over this thread, those arguments have been misrepresented as extreme and absolute. Usually in the form of statements such as “you expect women to NEVER be the dumb ones” and similar. I called out those absolutist caricatures posing as legitimate critiques in #241 and #258 (along with my #275, 392, 402, 421… okay, most of my contribution to this thread.)

    By misrepresenting my objections to this cartoon as FLAG + FLAG = SEXISM, you’re making a similarly flawed argument. In spite of everything I’ve said, you still insist on an absolute, binary view. Perhaps you think I can provide some sort of sexism dipstick test that you can stick into any given situation on your list and get a + or – result. That is not and was never my point.

    To assume that of me, you must have failed to comprehend any of my call-outs of absolutism. You missed #145 where I said the gendering went too far and I suggested changing the speech bubbles’ color to compensate. You missed my entire conversation with Ganner, including my statement from #318:

    In my critique, I just described what change I would have made to that comic to reduce (i.e. “dial back”) its problematic sexist association to a level I’d find acceptable. It would then be a comic portraying a woman as less rational than a man, in a manner acceptable to me.

    You missed #340 and #398 where I mentioned how subtle this particular instance was. And, you missed my response to Liesmith at #392, where I gave examples of negative female characters that I don’t consider stereotypical to prove that such characters exist.

    I even cited and linked to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic as an example of what I consider acceptable female characters, even though they have blatantly stereotypical aspects. From my #392:

    Honestly, there’s a reason I keep mentioning My Little Pony: FIM in this conversation. It’s the best and most accessible example I know of well-played female characters, where being cute or dainty or clueless are just part of someone instead of the end of them.

    I think I’d adequately established that the mere presence of stereotypical elements does not make a work sexist in and of itself, before you ever began demanding answers to your list. I’d be glad to have a conversation with someone who actually understood that concept.

    So my answer to you at #699 stands:

    Circe, since you don’t seem to have read any of my comments for comprehension, I suggest you go watch the episode of My Little Pony: FiM that I linked and recommended earlier as a counterexample.

    And maybe that will help show you the difference between a cute girly character that’s sexist, and a cute girly character that I can respect and stand behind.

    Those youtube links again:

    Best Night Ever part 1

    Best Night Ever part 2

    *goes to watch*

  380. says

    Chigau:

    Why are only women defined by hair-colour?

    That’s what has always amused me the most about the assumption that Nerd is female. People see ‘Redhead’ and it automagically equates to ‘woman’, as if there are no men with red hair.

  381. Tethys says

    Circe quoting Circe

    If I get the discussion here are right, all the following examples are sexist (arguments inspired from those of Pteryx): 1. http://xkcd.com/327/ (Being a mother is feminine-associated, being prone to give diminutive names to children is feminine-associated. Ergo, “sexism”).

    You clearly do not get the discussion and you completely misunderstood what pteryxx was saying.

    Then you go on to interpret the xkcd comic in a grossly idiotic manner. Let me correct your misconceptions.

    Being a mother is feminine due to biology.
    Giving people diminutive nicknames is not inherently feminine.
    So ergo…No sexism.

    You also missed the actual point of the comic.
    Panel A-B Shows a mother on the phone to her son’s school because of some computer issues.
    Panel C reveals that her sons name is Robert) ; Drop Table Students aka Little Bobby Tables. (It’s a computer code command you dolt, guess what it does?)
    Panel D School “We’ve lost this years students records, I hope your happy.” Mom: “And I hope you’ve learned to sanitize your database inputs.”

    Your examples show you don’t even have a basic grasp of the concept of sexist stereotypes. They do show that you consistently fail to read for content and have a highly suspect definition of sexism.

  382. says

    Tethys:

    Your examples show you don’t even have a basic grasp of the concept of sexist stereotypes. They do show that you consistently fail to read for content and have a highly suspect definition of sexism.

    I’ve noticed for quite some time now that whenever Circe shows up in a feminist or sexism thread, xe is always vaguely on the side of the sexism and finding a myriad of problems with whatever feminists have to say on any given subject.

    I imagine hir definition of sexism is…interesting.

  383. Allie says

    Grace–I completely agree with you. PZ’s post is wrong and patronizing. I don’t need to be told which battles to pick, kthanks. And also the cries on the other thread (and here) about how we’re ‘hurting the movement’ are ridiculous, not the least because I consider sexism to be a much bigger problem in our society–and one that affects me daily more deeply–than anti-atheist bigotry (not religiosity, note. I would probably judge those to be equally pernicious, if I had the ability to judge them.)

    Caine–Where did PZ change his position? Certainly not in the OP and I read all 344 comments of the last thread (some here are saying there are 800+ comments but I see PZ closing the thread at 344. Is there another place where ppl are commenting?)

    General–I had my 13-year old look at the first frame of the comment and said, “Tell me about these bunnies.” And she immediately said, “They are stuffed and cute. And one’s a boy and one’s a girl.” So easy a 13-year old can see it!

  384. says

    Allie:

    Caine–Where did PZ change his position? Certainly not in the OP and I read all 344 comments of the last thread (some here are saying there are 800+ comments but I see PZ closing the thread at 344. Is there another place where ppl are commenting?)

    It’s comment #430 of this thread. Pagination kicks in once 800 posts are reached. See the ‘Older comments’ right above ‘Leave a Reply’? Click that for the first page.

  385. Allie says

    Caine–Where did PZ change his position? Certainly not in the OP and I read all 344 comments of the last thread (some here are saying there are 800+ comments but I see PZ closing the thread at 344. Is there another place where ppl are commenting?)

    Eep, nm, John Morales answered by question @ #129. /blinders off

    HAVE I BEEN MISSING ALL THESE COMMENTS THE ENTIRE TIME I’VE BEEN READING THIS BLOG????

    Yes. Yes, I have.

  386. Tethys says

    Caine

    People see ‘Redhead’ and it automagically equates to ‘woman

    I think it gets read as Nerd the Redhead, rather than Nerd of Redhead. Oops, there’s that reading comprehension thing again.

    On a rather depressing note, the only other thing that I can think of that is identified by its hair color is horses ie; paint roan, bay, dappled gray. (sorry cicely!)

  387. John Morales says

    chigau,

    Why are only women defined by hair-colour?
    redhead
    blonde
    brunette
    [/rhetorical]

    So, I did a quick-and-dirty check on this by plugging those terms alone into Google Images.

    (Warning: If you want to replicate my method but pr0n bothers you, use the “Safe Search” option*. Seriously.)

    I note that the results are overwhelmingly** (if not universally) indicative that you are, indeed, quite correct.

    * I personally never use it, but then I’m not normal.

    ** I am not using hyperbole, either!

  388. Allie says

    John,

    Unsurprising. A woman’s worth has traditionally (been and still is) associated with her beauty/physical attributes.

  389. says

    Well, a woman’s hair has always been a specific focus. “A woman’s hair is her crowning glory.” and all that. There’s also been the traditional notion that a woman should always have long hair, and it should be bound up in public, the owner husband being the only one who should see it in its, er, full glory.

  390. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ Caine – #130:

    Arrrgghh. I am so with you. Especially after #6. He really deserved to wander…

  391. Cesar Hechler says

    If hair hadn’t been turned into a ‘thing’ the entire ‘product’ cosmetics industry would collapse. There would be widespread panicking and economic catastrophe! Oh, too late for that…nevermind.

    Anyway…

    Fructis 2in1: $2.95
    or
    Hair Salon Product: $49.95

    Definitely looks like someone is being scammed there.

  392. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Ack! I’d forgotten about Crip Dyke’s #6; I properly should’ve referred to that in my #129 (which, though ostensibly aimed at Cameron, was really for any new readers).

    (My bad)

  393. chigau (本当) says

    Woman-as-hair could also account for the “feminist hair” thing.
    link
    I wasn’t going to link to that thread but it’s all cleaned up now.
    We all just look like we’re talking to an imaginary “friend”.

  394. says

    Chigau:

    Woman-as-hair could also account for the “feminist hair” thing.

    It could, as in “you did unnatural things to your hair, you ___!” and feminist is replacing slut.

  395. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    [meta]

    I don’t know if I’m just being naively optimistic here or what, but I’ve noticed over the last couple of “feminism” threads (bar the bunny one PZ closed), it ended with a good and interesting discussion on gender and bias related things rather than STILL trying to get some trolls sorted until they loose interest and wander off.

    For me, this is incredible. I love it.

    [/meta]

  396. Grace says

    Hi Allie,
    Thanks! I just was amazed at how tame the original comment was that made PZ think all da femanists were wigging out/getting in a tizzy over nothing.

    This:

    “Please tell me that in the above, it isn’t the little girl rabbit who is brainlessly insisting on believing the box whereas the intelligent little boy rabbit bravely insist on working out the solution for himself.”
    “Because that would truly suck.” – Crys T.

    Sounds like a pretty tame thing to say, no? Not like some World War 3 battle cry? Jeez!

  397. Tethys says

    Sounds like a pretty tame thing to say, no? Not like some World War 3 battle cry? Jeez!

    It amazes me that such simple observations as “That would suck” and “Guys, dont do that.” get turned into flamewars.

    It was the #11 killjoy comment that really got the battle going though, don’t blame ChrysT.

  398. ibbica says

    I feel the need to ask:

    If the comic was redone with naked bunnies and green & yellow speech bubbles…. what would the resulting discussion be? What would YOU (i.e. anyone reading this comment) have bothered to say about it?

    Sure, it might have been meant by PZ as a simple “hey, look at this, it’s funny ‘cuz it’s true” quickie post (and if not, I do apologize for that assumption). That can be nice from time to time, and I respect PZ’s decision to make of his blog what he will. But I typically look to other sites for that sort of thing and have come to expect more substance from this particular blog.

    Frankly, I for one have found *this* discussion to be far more interesting (and even, to some, enlightening!) than any “on topic” discussion that could have resulted from PZ’s audience reading what amounts to a statement along the lines of “Fundamentalists can’t see past their own fundamentalism” (and no, I don’t consider obvious trolls to be “interesting”). But perhaps I’m simply lacking in imagination.

  399. A. R says

    ibbica: We would have probably had an enlightening conversation about the stupidity and evidence-blindness of religious people and ended the thread at one hundred or so comments. But the moment any thread takes a feminist bent, the trolls come streaming in (how the fuck do they know what we’re talking about anyway) and you get a gigantic megathread like this one.

  400. KG says

    I plan on doing my masters once I’m done with my degree – Cameron

    Are we supposed to be impressed by your level of education? There are plenty of regulars here with doctorates, but it’s the quality of your arguments here that matters.

  401. KG says

    Upon showing the cartoon to the women in the house the only responses were, ‘OOOOOH! Tzing! Score one for our side!’ and the gender-related comment, ‘Ha, funny…hey, why is the bunny’s top falling off?’ – Cesar Hechler

    You forgot to tell us that your girlfriend doesn’t think it’s sexist.

  402. says

    Gunboat Diplomat

    Holy crap some of you guys are complete philistines. Intent and context are central to art and you don’t have to have your mind addled by postmodernist nonsense to understand this.

    Helllo-ooo, cupcake, where have you been those last few decades of cultural theory?
    Yep, context matters. And this cartoon doesn’t have an artistic context of being embedded in the broader work of the artist or an exhibition. It’s stand-alone, it doesn’t come with an explenation or disclaimer what the artist was thinking.
    And, just standing alone, whether the artist intended it or not, it reinforces stereotypes.
    You don’t need to understand postmodernism to understand that.

    municipalis
    The problem with your argument is that (I’m consciously over-generalizing now) your child gets Hemingway all day long. There never is anything else in school or popculture except Hemingway and a few others like him. And Rosamunde Pilcher. Your kid had it all day long. So, your choice is to have 1 hour of Margret Atwood at night or another hour of Hemingway and Pilcher. Even if it’s the best work he’s ever written, are you going to go for it or do you think that maybe it’s time for a bit of diversity?

    Shak
    Great big thank you

    Sally Strange

    I still think of PZ as a feminist and an ally; I just think he’s wrong on this one. This is still one of the best blogs ever, I’m not planning on excluding myself or anyone else because of this.

    QFT

    gddiver

    Let’s throw a fellow rationalist under the bus because he (a sexist assumption on my part?) may (emphasize may) have had a made subconscious sexist assumption.

    Entertaining the idea that you were correct, that he had made the subconscious sexist assumption (which is what most people actually thought), can you please tell us where he was thrown under the bus? He received some mild criticism while the comic in general was greeted with lots of approval.
    Well, of course by now we know that he explicitly chose the gendered version. Still nobody calling for his execution.

    Crip Dyke

    when I comment without reading the entire thread, there are often good reasons, but I always announce that I haven’t read & am prepared to take my lumps if I’m bringing up something that has been said & dealt with quite a number of times.

    QFFT
    And guess what, nobody has ever told me to fuck off, shut up etc. Sometimes people kindly directed me towards the relevant comments on the points I raised.

  403. Pteryxx says

    ibbica: what A. R said. I think using puzzle pieces is a decent metaphor, it’s well-written and very carefully staged and photographed.

    (I’d make a few tweaks besides the speech bubbles and clothing, but enough about that. ~;>

    But the moment any thread takes a feminist bent, the trolls come streaming in (how the fuck do they know what we’re talking about anyway) and you get a gigantic megathread like this one.

    Well, PZ apparently sourced the original from here: (link) and then appeared the following comment:

    (UID# ) Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    November 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Just so you know this cartoon started up a shitstorm of angry feminism at pharyngula.

    freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/11/24/sometimes-a-bunny-is-just-a-bunny/#comments

    Apparently making the girl bunny the credulous one was SEXIST! Naughty boy. Or girl.

    So I’d guess that whenever a woman dares to say “That’s not cool”, the word goes out that Feminists! Angry! On the Internet! and the flying monkey militia needs to swoop through and drop a few turds. It just amazes me how much more reactionary these ones are than the godbots or the animal activists. Even the libertarians aren’t this touchy, though they’re a lot longer-winded.

  404. Richard Eis says

    Unsurprising. A woman’s worth has traditionally (been and still is) associated with her beauty/physical attributes.

    I hope and pray that men are never measured by their hair.
    Especially the over 30’s.

  405. Richard Eis says

    We would have probably had an enlightening conversation about the stupidity and evidence-blindness of religious people and ended the thread at one hundred or so comments.

    There would have been about 25 comments, all pretty much saying “yup…so true”… and i’d have had a much more dull day.

    ..but lower blood pressure.

  406. julian says

    Sorry if this has already been touched on but, why exactly do so many people insist on making comments like ‘only a true sexist would notice the pink/blue!1!’?

    It’s well known boys are expected to wear blue and girls are expectred to where pink. Any toys, clothing or maternal ward will tell you that. Pointing out another instance of that should not create so much contention.

  407. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Even the libertarians aren’t this touchy, though they’re a lot longer-winded.

    That’s because whining about the government requires more explanation than bitches ain’t shit! does.

  408. Nimravid says

    I’ve been lurking for a few years. I read all of the comments.

    PZ says:

    And there’s another personal source of my ire. I want this to be a strong safe place for women to express themselves, and it should also be a place with some credibility for taking feminist issues seriously. It’s taken a hit because people have been baited into a flamewar over goddamned stuffed bunnies. Sure, you see it as an aspect of anti-woman bias, but try, just try, to see it how the rest of the world sees it.

    People who don’t notice or care about sexism aren’t the entire “rest of the world.” I’m part of the rest of the world. But when I see comments about how it’s trivial and petty to bring up issues of bias against women, how we should take one for the team and hold our tongues so that “nobody” (nobody male) is bothered by our speaking up, only talk about things “the rest of the world” thinks are important, that the person who points out the problem is the problem maker, that of course women should accept some small amount of disrespect, it’s irrational and overreacting to object to just a little contempt, we should pick our battles (the ones that some outside and no doubt more rational point of view has chosen for us) – that does not define a safe space for women to express themselves. It doesn’t damage feminist credibility to take the smaller issues of sexism seriously, but dismissing any discussion and telling people they’re a derail from real issues does.
    If the “rest of the” fucking “world” thought bias against women was even a minor concern, there wouldn’t be a fucking flame war. The “rest of the” fucking “world” thinks bias against women is nothing to get all het up about. They aren’t ever going to notice unless someone makes a comment. Shutting up those comments leaves low level sexism unchallenged and normalizes it. That low hum of “women are irrational, unimportant, not too smart, not quite as human as men” is constant, and always letting it go enables more egregious sexism. If the fucking “rest of the world” didn’t think it was natural and right for me to eat just a little bit of shit (and it had better be without any complaint that would distract men from the real issues), we’d have no disagreement at all. So I am thinking about how the “rest of the” fucking “world” perceives an objection to sexism; that’s why we have to have a goddamn flamewar about the fucking bunnies.

  409. Carlie says

    Nimravid – oh my, why have you only been lurking??? :)

    If the fucking “rest of the world” didn’t think it was natural and right for me to eat just a little bit of shit (and it had better be without any complaint that would distract men from the real issues), we’d have no disagreement at all.

    Yes, exactly.

  410. Cesar Hechler says

    KG @156 –

    “You forgot to tell us that your girlfriend doesn’t think it’s sexist.” – KG

    I purposefully left that part out (and it’s wife, not gf, btw). I will just say that her opinion, upon discovering the goings-on here, would just offend the offended. I won’t elaborate as there’s already enough bruised and battered bodies in this thread.

  411. says

    Having slept (poorly, mind you) on the whole thing, and having read all of the comments, I’ve decided that there are several reactions to the initial cartoon, and the reaction to post #2, and PZ’s response to the whole first comment section, and my reaction, and your reaction whether you agree with me or disagree slightly or disagree 100%, and most of you probably had 2-3 of these different reactions. And they are all the SAME reaction:

    “This again?”

    Someone sees the bunnies, notices the gender coding, and says “this again?” Someone sees that posts, dislikes feminism, and says “this again? fuck you!” Someone sees that, remembers Elevatorgate, and says “this again?” The whole thing turns into a giant shitstorm that ignores the initial point of the post, PZ says “this again?” and shuts it down. I’m sure somewhere on the Internet a pack of wild MRAs stopped sharing tips on getting women drunk for cheap in order to look over here and say “this again?” before emailing Abbie Smith en masse to start a new “monument” thread.

    It would be nice if someone could figure out a way to nip some of this in the bud, because it really isn’t as productive or as interesting as it could be. Maybe PZ should be quicker on the draw to split conversations off so that he can have the blog conversations he wants to see without stifling the natural off-topic conversations that are always going to happen. Which I think he mentioned; I’ve read all the comments but I’ll be damned if I’m wading through them again! Maybe when that’s effectively in place threads won’t get derailed as quickly because people will hold out for the split.

    And, of course, no solution for the trolls. Someone’s going to win a Nobel Peace Prize when they figure out that one.

  412. julian says

    I won’t elaborate as there’s already enough bruised and battered bodies in this thread.

    If you actually gave a fuck you wouldn’t have replied. But you just had to get that last lick in, kick them one more time, before moving on.

  413. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Cesar, you have a lot to learn about eliding your belief about others’ opinions.

    (Gee, I wonder what you think it may be, given what you’ve written?)

  414. John Morales says

    Improbable Joe:

    “This again?”

    There’d be less of it if people such as you didn’t post comments such as that, wouldn’t there?

    (People will respond)

  415. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nimravid, well said.

    QFT, a nice read before coffee. Stick around Nimravid. *goes in search of coffee*

  416. physioprof says

    Sometimes, when a group has been oppressed for so long and suffered so much discrimination they see enemies where there are none.

    That you think any of this has to do with searching for “enemies” indcates very clearly that your claims to be a feminist are empty. Achieve a basic understanding of feminist theory, and you will discover that feminism has nothing to do with dividing the world into individuals who are sexist–and thus “enemies” to be attacked because they are the cause of women’s oppression–and individuals who are non-sexist–and thus “friends” who are immune from criticism because nothing they do causes women’s oppression.

    Just because you supposedly “revere” women doesn’t make you a feminist. If you really do give a shitte about feminism–and don’t just want to use it as a platform for ignorant mansplaining–you’ll go do your fucken homework before you open your mouth again.

  417. ChasCPeterson says

    There didn’t have to be any man in this cartoon. Or any woman, for that matter.

    lol
    Maybe look again?
    Sometimes a couple of baby bunnies are just a couple of baby bunnies.

    Why use these rabbits and not something else?

    According to the cartoonist, the ultracute baby bunny toys are hir daughter’s. They are ultramegacute as mentioned. Hence the decision to photograph them for a cartoon that takes place in a world of children’s toys.
    I really don’t think the choice of toys can be fairly criticized here. The perceived problem was the assignment of roles.
    oh but wait:

    If gender isn’t a point then make both male, both female, or both different animals of indeterminate gender. One doesn’t even need to flip a coin.

    So your position is that cartoons in which gender isn’t a point should not portray any animals that are sexually dimorphic in morphology or clothing. No more mice in dresses and bows, no more elephants. No more humans.
    I’m certain that all of the major cartoonists’ organizations will be getting right on board with your decree.

    I revere women

    2 words: midnight ride. Knowhatimean? *wink*

  418. Nimravid says

    Thanks for the nice welcome. But I’ve stayed up too long reading the flame war, so I’ll have to catch up on any fresh horrors later.

  419. Carlie says

    Maybe look again?
    Sometimes a couple of baby bunnies are just a couple of baby bunnies.

    This again?

    For great atheism comic without any gender baggage, see tree lobsters.

    For dumb bunnies, both male and female, who do not reinforce gender stereotypes regarding stupidity or irrationality, see The Dumb Bunnies.

    I don’t see that it’s such a huge imposition to say that if one creates a situation wherein there are adorable figures of any species who are gendered and in their gendering conform to a very specific stereotype (and in this case, it’s not girl=stupid, it’s girl=irrational nonskeptic who must have the truth explained to her by the guy, and is therefore an outsider to the atheist movement), that someone else may notice and comment on that. Is that such a terrible fate? Because that’s all we’re talking about here – commenting on it. And maybe hoping that people who are involved in creative work might stop and think to themselves whether they have included any tired stereotypes in their work before they hit publish. If it does, and they decide their artistic vision demands it to be so, then just be prepared to deal with that criticism. Ye gods, people who create messages and/or art might get some critique on it when they put it to the public. What is the world coming to?

  420. says

    Carlie@#179

    Correct me if I’m misreading what you’re saying, but I’m getting that this is in some sense artistic criticism with a feminist focus? The dumb one can be the woman if there’s an actual character being presented. If you’re not building actual characters, it is easy/lazy to use cultural tropes to help put your idea over. Maybe you signal “smart” by putting glasses on the character, and “dumb” by making the character a football player. Making the irrational character a woman is the same sort of easy/lazy thing, except that no one makes 20-25% less per hour at their job because they wear glasses or played football. So when it doubt and you’re not creating whole characters, and especially if they are going to be non-human and there’s no reason for the characters to have gender, best to make them talking trees or naked non-gendered bunnies. Maybe give the dumb one bad teeth or something.

    I’m just trying to make sure I’ve got this exactly right.

  421. Emrysmyrddin says

    Nimravid, great post.

    Improbable Joe, that’s exactly what it was – a bit of deconstruction with a feminist bent, a few comments, a noticing of ‘this again’. Someone upthread referred to the well-known problem of ‘the hero, the sidekick, the smart one, the girl‘ – growing up with this as a constant becomes wearying because there are so few examples of women with actual character not related to her being female in the first place that it becomes an everyday irritant. Note for the hair-triggers amongst us – an irritant, not a life-consuming drama of misandry. Pointing it out gets people who hadn’t noticed or thought about the coding to notice it and think about it, and wonder why the coding is so prevalent. Wondering why is important.

  422. says

    Improbable Joe:

    I’m just trying to make sure I’ve got this exactly right.

    No you aren’t, you’re trying to be an asshole. Carlie was perfectly clear and provided links to examples. If at first you don’t comprehend, read, read, read again. Don’t expect people to spoonfeed you.

  423. says

    What I wonder is what would have happened if that “killjoy” person could have choked down the “fuck you” business. I mean, there’s probably a way to say that without being a giant asshole about it, maybe in a humorous joking sort of way? You know, like “I’ll bet you shout ‘Greedo shot first’ every time you see anything Star Wars-related” or something. The “fuck you” business was a huge overreaction to a minor observation, which seems to be what set this off and running.

    I’d love to take a stronger stand on some aspect of this and argue vociferously for it, but I think that even the people disagreeing have at lease some validity to their position, except for the obvious trolls. And hell, I think I read something from at least one troll that might have been valid, even though that would have been completely accidental on their part.

  424. says

    Caine, I didn’t say or do anything to rate being called an “asshole”. I was trying to make sure that I wasn’t filtering what was said into what I wanted it to say. You know, avoiding bias and snap judgments.

  425. Emrysmyrddin says

    Improbably Joe – I think that honest disagreement maybe wouldn’t have turned into the essplosion. The ‘shouldn’t be talking about this’ and ‘you’re seeing things that are not there‘ were the sort of comments that understandably got peoples’ backs up. Dismissal rather than discussion.

  426. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

    This is the kind of thing that makes me laugh, then cry. I mean really people? 1000s of posts because of a bunny cartoon? For those of you like me, living in ‘merika, *this* is how you spend your long weekend? For shame, for shame.

    *goes back to the real world*

  427. Gregory Greenwood says

    ahs ॐ ‘110;

    I do not like this shawnthesheep, but there’s a reason he’s feeling his feminist cred questioned. It was questioned.

    Mea culpa, I seeems I jumped the gun somewhat with that post. I read a post that seemed to state something along the lines of “I am a male feminist, and here is where all you lady feminsists are going wrong…”, followed by a complaint about how terms like ‘mansplaining’ just aren’t constructive, and I allowed my suspicious nature to get the better of me.

    It seems that I misread what I thought were signs of another passive aggressive MRA troll coming to try to silence the voice of women while hiding behind a mask of faux-feminist righteousness, and as such I poisoned a possibly fruitful debate between differing feminst perspectives before it began, and as such I apologise without reservation to Shaun and to the other participants in the thread. I will try to be more careful in future.

  428. Carlie says

    Joe – to me, at least, it isn’t quite that generic. We’ve just gone through a solid eight months or so in the atheistosphere having arguments about whether or not the atheist movement is welcoming to women, and how much sexism there is in the atheist movement, and how difficult it is to talk about more than in other places because so many people want to believe they’re rational and egalitarian and not at all sexist, when really everyone growing up in most cultures is sexist to some degree. And before that it’s been a couple of years of someone asking “Why aren’t there more women in the atheist movement?” and then women saying “Well, here’s why (list of many reasons)” and men saying “Oh, that can’t possibly be it, you’re wrong.” And then when something like (one of many reasons) happens, some woman tries to point it out as an example of “Here, this is what I meant”, and then gets attacked as a reverse sexist or feminazi blowing everything out of proportion or what have you.

    So go ahead and make women characters dumb sometimes. I know some fairly dumb women myself. But when it’s in this context, when it’s another “ha, women are irrational” from our own side, specifically how rationalists are men and irrational zealots are women, given how we’ve been treated in the movement itself, it rankles more than a bit. It’s kind of the difference between poking me in the shoulder and poking me in the spot on my shoulder where I got a bad bruise yesterday.

    And for the other part, it’s so tiring when every mild critique gets attacked so strongly, as has already been said a few hundred times. Is it so hard to say “huh, didn’t notice”, and move on? Apparently so, to some guys who feel they must charge in and defend the status quo at all costs.

  429. says

    Gregory:

    Mea culpa, I seeems I jumped the gun somewhat with that post.

    There’s no need for a mea culpa, you were right. Shawnthesheep has been less than honest and denying he has any blind spots at all. You’ll see these issues brought up, again, on this page.

  430. KG says

    Cesar Hechler@167,

    Come on, you’re an undercover agent for radical feminist separatists, aren’t you? You fooled me with your first dumbshit, but the second was way over the top.

  431. Pteryxx says

    Heya Improbable Joe. I hope you know one of the biggest reasons I respect you is your brutal honesty while being mistaken about something. ~;>

    So in response to your @181: I think discussing the messages conveyed in the bunny cartoon itself absolutely constitutes artistic criticism. (Currently I’m an art student, so I may be a tad biased.) Gender signalling is one such significant message. The artist’s intent may count as well, though in this case his decision seems pretty blatant. As opposed to discussing, say, gender signals overall, stereotype threat, what constitutes sexism and so forth – those can be backed up with research.

    However, an artistic critique (instead of a scientific one) is subject to disagreement. In this case, making the speech balloons neutral would’ve weakened the association of feminine with stupid enough for me to accept it. That’s also an easy, quick fix that’s well within the artist’s capabilities; therefore I feel justified in expecting him to have thought of it. Better still would be to have nongendered characters at all; but that would’ve required more effort. There are other options with their own pros and cons. This is part of what makes art critique so complicated; there aren’t any absolute right or wrong answers.

    So I think your analysis in #181, while clumsy, is a good start.

    Well, until you said this:

    I’m just trying to make sure I’ve got this exactly right.

    …*twitch* *twitch* … But I’ll… f-f-forgive you that. Once. *twitch*

    Besides that MLP episode, here’s another couple articles deconstructing specific sexist portrayals:

    Sigourney Weaver’s costume choice in Aliens

    A 7 year old girl responds to DC Comics’ sexed-up reboot of Starfire

  432. says

    @Carlie:

    So maybe more feminism with a splash of artistic criticism… I didn’t mean to minimize the feminist aspect of it. And I agree completely that if someone didn’t see the sexism in it, even if they still don’t see it, I don’t see how it is unreasonable to accept that other people do, let alone a “fuck you” response immediately.

    And even though I get where PZ is coming from especially since this is his “house,” on the other hand I also feel like no one really gets to tell anyone how to practice their “-isms” whether they be atheism or feminism or whatever. The same way we atheists get steamed when people try to concern troll us into being more accommodating, I’m guessing lots of people reacted to PZ saying “you’re picking the wrong battles.” Not such a great thing.

    You know, the more I type this stuff out the more it sort of shakes itself out… so thanks a bunch for replying to me. You don’t owe me shit and you don’t have to be helpful, so I appreciate it.

  433. says

    Pteryxx, I’ve been wrong exactly 14.5 times in my entire life. :)

    I’ve seen your link about the comic books, which bugged me enough to not pick up any of the relaunch comics at all. The Ripley thing I hadn’t seen, but I always figured that was a response to them getting Weaver into her undies at the end of the first movie for absolutely no good reason. I respect the decision to go back for the cat, that’s something I might do.

    As far as getting things “exactly right” or being especially clumsy… I don’t see the problem, and maybe you can fill me in. Not any more clumsy than normal, at any rate.

  434. Pteryxx says

    Gah! I mean, look at this BS caricaturing:

    So your position is that cartoons in which gender isn’t a point should not portray any animals that are sexually dimorphic in morphology or clothing. No more mice in dresses and bows, no more elephants. No more humans.
    I’m certain that all of the major cartoonists’ organizations will be getting right on board with your decree. [emphasis mine and I’ve got more where that came from]

    WTF, supposedly rational sensible folks who can’t distinguish between a simple critique and the End of the Wooooorld?

    physioprof:

    Achieve a basic understanding of feminist theory, and you will discover that feminism has nothing to do with dividing the world into individuals who are sexist–and thus “enemies” to be attacked because they are the cause of women’s oppression–and individuals who are non-sexist–and thus “friends” who are immune from criticism because nothing they do causes women’s oppression.

    *applauds*

  435. says

    I just wanted to say that I am thankful for threads like this because they show me I still have some blind spots; I wouldn’t have even noticed the sexist trope had it not been pointed out. As a recovering misogynist striving to be a better person I’ll take any opportunity I can get to have my awareness raised. So thanks.

    Now back to lurking.

  436. Pteryxx says

    Improbable Joe:

    I’ve seen your link about the comic books, which bugged me enough to not pick up any of the relaunch comics at all. The Ripley thing I hadn’t seen, but I always figured that was a response to them getting Weaver into her undies at the end of the first movie for absolutely no good reason. I respect the decision to go back for the cat, that’s something I might do.

    Well, from this paragraph you seem able to do critique in general, but maybe you didn’t notice that the articles I gave specifically deconstructed the sexism in those character portrayals. Going back for the cat makes sense to you, and you’re willing to back it up even though I might say it was a stupid decision. You can see that a different version of Ripley might have made a different decision, and that would say something about the character, right?

    Now, can you learn to read for sexism, and say that you agree or disagree with Ripley’s costume (for instance), what that says about the character, and why?

    As far as getting things “exactly right” or being especially clumsy… I don’t see the problem, and maybe you can fill me in. Not any more clumsy than normal, at any rate.

    …Yeah, I can see you don’t. Working on that, bud.

  437. Pteryxx says

    Feminism/sexism threads bring out the worst in Chas.

    Huh. All I know is the name looked vaguely familiar. That’d be my blind spot…

  438. Pteryxx says

    Chas used to have the nym Sven DiMilo.

    Uh, I appreciate it Caine, but that name just looks vaguely familiar to me also. *shrug* I stand by my critique; if it turns out I’ve been too harsh on a regular, I’m sure y’all who actually recognize people will smack me down, and thank you for it.

  439. says

    Pteryxx:

    I stand by my critique; if it turns out I’ve been too harsh on a regular

    Nope, your critique was fine and you weren’t too harsh at all. Chas has a history in these types of threads, he finds them hyperbolic (and often considers them wrong) and it gets worse when people disagree with him, yada, yada, yada.

    Basically, the type of thing you quoted was typical for Chas in a thread like this.

  440. piranhaintheguppytank says

    At least blue-captioned bunny didn’t ask, “Want to come back to my place for coffee or whatever?”