Why I am an atheist – Elias Ahmed Serulle »« I hope you don’t want any ice cream right now

Comments

  1. 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.

  2. shaneevans says

    This is perfect! I wish I had this a few weeks ago when I was telling my students about Francis Bacon and his book Novum Organum.

  3. Carlie says

    Crys T – given the color coding of the word boxes, I’m inclined to believe that you’re correct. And it does, indeed, suck. Unintended subconscious sexism adding a teensy knife in the back of an otherwise fantastic comic ftw.*

    However, I choose to interpret it as two girl bunnies, one of whom is wearing trousers.

    Or two boy bunnies, one of whom is wearing any variety of caftan/apron/kilt – like outfit.

    *before anyone says it, yes, of course it’s possible to completely coincidentally have chosen the girl as the zealot and the boy as a skeptic. It just so happens that that follows right in direct line with every other trope about men being the intelligent rational ones and women being irrational and overly religious, that’s all.

  4. CircumvallatePapillae says

    A) lol, clever.
    b) that puzzle has 24 peices, the box states that their is 25 inside the box.
    C) The image on the box is different from those on the puzzle peices

    Leading to the conclusion that the box is not the box that the puzzle originally came in.

  5. TrineBM says

    Crys T: No, I won’t tell you that, because it IS the widdle cute girl who’s insisting that the box is right. SIGH … just … SIGH

  6. Carlie says

    Fuck you. Paranoid killjoy.

    All xe did was point out that yes, it does suck when something so cute still subtly reinforces the idea that I’m not that smart because of my gender. You’re the one taking it badly.

  7. Carlie says

    I only wish the picture in the box had been a dog instead of a duck.

    Or that the picture on the box was a banana. :D

  8. Bob Loblaw says

    I agree with Chris T. When it is two bunnies of the same gender either can be the zealot. When the two bunnies are of differing genders then it is only appropriate for the male to be the buffoon cause that makes up for past bunny errors and misogyny. ONLY BOYS CAN BE STUPID you sexist cartoon!

  9. Violette says

    I also noted the girl bunny/boy bunny thing. I’m certain no intentional sexism was intended. And yeah, I guess I’m sensitive about it, but that’s because I see people buying into this very same stupid stereotype all the time. It’s just good to make note of these stereotypes when they pop up so people become aware of them.

    But the analogy is very good.

  10. says

    Otranreg:

    Fuck you. Paranoid killjoy.

    Have a decaying porcupine, Cupcake. It’s not paranoid to point out the standard sexism in what is otherwise a clever ‘toon making a good point. Crys T* wasn’t the only one who noticed the girl/boy business and wasn’t the only one who registered disappointment and a bit of that sinking feeling. I did too. So did others.

    These sorts of things don’t change unless people are made aware of them. No one said the ‘toon was worthless or bad, just that it’s a shame a bad, sexist trope was employed when it could have just as easily been avoided, say by putting both bunnies in identical or similar dress and using, oh, green and purple for the text bubbles.

    The tropes are more than obvious (dress/pants, pink/blue, girl=no critical thinking/boy=critical thinking). When you see these things all your life, it gets tiresome seeing them still employed, even when it is a good cause and a good message otherwise.

    *By the way, if you’re going to go out of your way to tell someone to fuck off, at least have the courtesy to get their nym right.

  11. Anteprepro says

    Funny. Two trolls already whining about someone daring to point out that having the irrational bunny be female plays into stereotypes. And both of them misspelled Crys as Chris. Is it really that hard to copy and paste, if you can’t be bothered to remember the proper order of four letters?

  12. john says

    I must congratulate the author of this cartoon for attempting to break the “boys are stupid buffoons” stereotype. It is rather tiresome to see boys portrayed over and over as unthinking god-bots. Well done.

  13. Otranreg says

    @14 Carlie

    something so cute still subtly reinforces the idea

    No it doesn’t. Not even subtly. First, you have to look pretty closely to recognise the cartoonish sex markers which are pretty vague anyway (as it has been pointed out, whatever sex combination is possible. I personally don’t see them as sexual at all, it’s beyond the point that the comic makes (not to mention my doubt as to balls’ and fannies’ being stuck between their leg-things at all)).

    Second, even if it is a ‘boy’ and a ‘girl’, and the ‘girl’ is the moron, so what? Girls can’t be idiots? Not every thing you see must be a piece of gender-stereotype-breaking activism. I agree, patronising and dismissive attitude towards women is a serious issue, but going all-pareidolic and seeing a patriarchy conspiracy in something as innocuous as this is wrong and stupid.

    Now if there were a girl-mouse and a bunch of old-dude-mice with long beards chuckling at her for her silly ideas…

  14. justawriter says

    I’m surprised no one has commented on the sexualization and depersonalization of the girl bunny by picturing her topless.

  15. says

    Bob Loblaw:

    ONLY BOYS CAN BE STUPID you sexist cartoon!

    You do realize that the sexist trope could have been done away with by making both the bunnies girls, don’t you? Or are you attempting to prove your statement?

  16. shouldbeworking says

    WTF? I didn’t noticed the colors or the skirt/pants thing. I just thought the cartoon was a funny and accurate representation of a certain mindset ( in concrete). My excuse: I’m colorblind, I haven’t had my morning pot f coffee and I’m using a netbook with a small screen and even smaller keyboard and autocorrect is driving me crazy.

    Finally the coffee is ready. Sanity ( or a close approximation) is at hand and cup.

  17. J_Brisby says

    If only this didn’t reinforce the anthrocentric notion that animals are either cute, edible, or other. By putting forth the idea that rabbits are lovable and cuddly, this encourages the abuse and neglect of animals purchased as pets.

  18. says

    Violette:

    I’m certain no intentional sexism was intended.

    While I’m certain it was intended. The person who made that cartoon made a conscious choice to have a girl & boy bunny, made a deliberate choice to have the girl bunny be the wilfully dumb, gullible one who doesn’t want to think, and emphasising the choice by using pink and blue balloons.

    There are lots of ways it could have been avoided: reverse traditional gender stereotypes and have the girl bunny be the inquisitive, smart one; have no clothes on the bunnies; have similar clothing on the bunnies to either make them the same gender* or of unspecified gender; get rid of the gender-coded speech balloons…

    *To take it one step further, if going this route, make both bunnies female, so as not to perpetuate the notion that male is the default gender.

  19. Jeffrey says

    Attn: #1: I don’t know what “Sylvian” rabbits are, but those two rabbits are from a toy set my daughters have. They’re part of the Calico Critters on Cloverleaf Corners collection. It’s an excellent toy company that deserves better exposure. Christmas is coming, and if you give gifts to children, keep an eye out for the Calico Critters.

  20. says

    First, you have to look pretty closely to recognise the cartoonish sex markers which are pretty vague anyway

    oh yeah; skirt+pink, pants+blue; totally vague and difficult to notice, which is I guess why a lot of people instantly noticed. Your own inability to spot a stereotype is a flaw in you, not in other people

  21. Violette says

    @25 Otrenrag

    Well, several people noticed the genders right away, so it’s certainly obvious to some people.

    And “Not every thing you see must be a piece of gender-stereotype-breaking activism”? Yes it does, that’s the point. Patriarchy and sexist attitudes permeate everything. We’re not saying that girl bunnies can’t be stupid. It’s just that we need to acknowledge it when we come across these stereotypes. I can’t wait until we live in a society where it doesn’t matter if one’s a girl bunny and one’s a boy bunny. But we’re not there yet.

  22. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Thanks, Crys T et al, my consciousness towards my male privilege has been raised a bit more. Another bit of raising is due to the ones complaining about the inherent sexism seem to have names like Mark and Bob.

  23. Carlie says

    It always goes this way.

    Scene: Corner table at a cafe.

    Person 1: Look at this cute cartoon I made!
    Person 2: Aw, that’s awesome! But…
    Person 1: What?
    Person 2: Well, you made it a stupid girl and a smart boy.

    (Optional:
    Person 1: stares blankly
    Person 2: stares expectantly)

    Person 2: You know, it’s kind of really old hat to make the girl the stupid one and the boy the smart one who knows better, and kind of sexist too. Not everybody would notice, but that makes it hurt a bit and detracts from the main message you’re trying to send.
    Person 1: Crap, I didn’t even think about it that way.
    Person 2: I know you didn’t. That’s why I’m telling you.
    Person 1: Ok, so for the next one I’ll put them both in similar outfits and use different colors for the word balloons, would that work?
    Person 2: That would be fantastic, thanks.
    Person 1: No problem. I’m glad you pointed it out. Hey, I’m going to go up to the counter for a refill. Need anything?
    Person 2: No thanks, I’m good.

    MRA: Runs streaking naked into the room past them, screaming “YOU ARE MAKING SO MUCH DRAMA!!!!!!!!!”

  24. says

    First, you have to look pretty closely to recognise the cartoonish sex markers which are pretty vague anyway

    Not true. PZ noticed the sex marker in the OP: “never trust anyone who speaks in pink word balloons”. The fact that the sexism of it has to be pointed out just speaks to privilege and the generality of sexism in our media. We’re so used to seeing the sexist stereotypes it takes effort to actually notice them.

    I personally don’t see them as sexual at all

    Bully for you. I guess you (and all the other people like you) don’t have to change and we can keep going on stereotyping girls as vapid bimbos who can’t analytically think their way out of a paper bag.

  25. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Sorry, in my post #36 the last sentence should read:

    Another bit of raising is due to the ones complaining about noticing the inherent sexism seem to have names like Mark and Bob.

  26. rad_pumpkin says

    Uhm, those are identical plush toys with different clothing. How exactly is anybody going to ascribe gender roles to them?

    Anyway, whenever I’m stuck in an argument with somebody and I reach this point, I usually just grab a bottle of bourbon, beat them over the head with it, and proceed to drink the contents. Only thing keeping me sane in face of the stupidity displayed (by the girl, obviously, for only females say idiotic things)…

  27. Violette says

    @31 Ibis3

    I meant that it was probably not conscious. That’s the problem with these stereotypes. People accept them at face value and don’t think critically about what they’re actually saying. I’m thinking whoever made this cartoon is probably just clueless.

  28. HappyHead says

    Apparently there’s something wrong with my head – on the first read through, I associated the pink/red speech bubbles with the bunny wearing pink/red, and didn’t even realize those were pants. I didn’t even think that it could be interpreted the other way until I started reading the comments.

    I did briefly wonder where the top half of the other bunny’s dress went though.

  29. says

    rad_pumpkin:

    Uhm, those are identical plush toys with different clothing. How exactly is anybody going to ascribe gender roles to them?

    FFS, how many times does it need to be pointed out? From mine @ 21:

    The tropes are more than obvious (dress/pants, pink/blue, girl=no critical thinking/boy=critical thinking).

    Do most of the men you know run around in a dress or skirt? Perhaps that’s what is causing your confusion.

  30. Gliewmeden says

    Oh come on! How to ruin a perfectly wonderful story. I too didn’t see the gender in the characters. Just two buddies chatting. The gender roles could have easily been switched, and no, not with an intent to make the blue bunny into a dumb bunny. I was gleefully smiling until the cranky fembots came in and decided it was all about them. Get over yourselves gals! Quit looking for issues to make people snarky and save your angst for the issues that really matter.

  31. says

    I don’t know what the big deal about jigsaw puzzles is. They’re not that difficult. I once put one together in only two weeks, when it said “3-5 years” on the box.

  32. Gliewmeden says

    In fact, the supposed male bunny is in PINK!!!! So……. what exactly are you saying dearies? Pink. And red suspenders.

  33. says

    Gliewmeden:

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

    Are you going to next tell us that women in other parts of the world have it so much worse, so dealing with yet another example of entrenched sexism is silly?

    You forgot to tell us just how fun life is if we stop being nasty feminazis and be chill girls instead, ’cause it’s seriously cool almost being one of the guys, ya know?

    Thanks for the near-fatal eyeroll, Cupcake.

  34. PaulG says

    So just because one of them is wearing a dress it automatically makes them a girl and the one in trousers a boy? What about the unintended sexism and transgender prejudice in this assumption?

  35. says

    In fact, the supposed male bunny is in PINK!!!! So……. what exactly are you saying dearies? Pink. And red suspenders.

    The male bunny is gray, wearing thin plaid (red, gray, white) pants with red suspenders. No pink, over exclaimed or otherwise.

  36. MizzMazz says

    Snap, we’ve just been told. Us women just need to get over it, and we’re cranky fembots, not people. Thanks, guy.

  37. Richard Eis says

    Quit looking for issues to make people snarky and save your angst for the issues that really matter.

    Oh god…. I am so not getting involved.

    Nope…not at all.

    Gah…..

    Because gender equality isn’t an issue on this planet?????

    You do realise that women doing what they are told and being treated as dumb “IS” a prominent feature of the religious thinking that this cartoon is supposed to be mocking.

    ..damn…now i feel dirty.

  38. peterh says

    Returning to PZ’s opening point: I have come to regard pink anything as clearly symbolic of the blatant clichés our culture presently wallows in.

    @# 47:

    Both little bunnnies are grey; the “little boy bunny” has white trousers with a red & blue pattern.

    The otherwise cute little schtick remains (at least unconsciously) sexist.

  39. PaulG says

    “Get back in the dungeon, fuckwit.”

    There’s no assumptions made by associating an asexual children’s toy wearing trousers with a masculine gender?

  40. rad_pumpkin says

    FFS, how many times does it need to be pointed out? From mine @ 21:

    The tropes are more than obvious (dress/pants, pink/blue, girl=no critical thinking/boy=critical thinking).

    Do most of the men you know run around in a dress or skirt? Perhaps that’s what is causing your confusion.

    When I opened the comments up to add my own sarcastic tripe, it was only up to 18. Sorry, I kinda like to obey the law of causality, so no, I had not seen #21 while I was writing my own.

    Second, how the hell do you know this is in any way intentional? Those are stuffed bunnies, which are anatomically identical, or whatever the proper term for dolls happens to be, so any personality they have was ascribed by YOU, the observer, the reader, the maker, the dresser, the whatever.

    I did not pay any attention to them, because they are dolls. I saw two things that were supposed to represent people, and differently colored dialog boxes to differentiate between the two. Was there any indication in the dialog that the-bunny-in-the-dress-and-the-pinkish-dialog-field was stubbornly stupid because somebody decided to put some dress-thing on it? Likewise, was the other bunny destined to be a critical thinker by virtue of his suspenders (or whatever that thing is) and its magical blue dialog box?

    Let me try to explain this in another way. We have to have two individuals. If we were to assign genders (and again, the strip makes no mention of them in the first place!), we could have four possible combinations: FF, FM, MF, MM. This strip is just one combination. So what if there had been two “male” bunnies, which would be shown by both of them wearing those strange suspender things. Or two “females”, both of whom wear those dresses. Or what if their supposed genders were switched. Would that have made any difference to you? Or far more importantly, would that have changed the strip in any way? I honestly can’t believe that anybody would read so much into two bunnies having an imaginary conversation about what a puzzles is going to look when finished (though granted, that’s obviously metaphorical).

    All that said, I have no idea why the colors in the dialog boxes are the way they are. Could be an overt display of sexism, or just somebody picking two complimentary colors at random. Regardless, it’s still up to you to show how any of this is intentionally sexist.

  41. Richard Eis says

    There’s no assumptions made by associating an asexual children’s toy wearing trousers with a masculine gender?

    Next time you go to a public toilet, look at the symbols on the door. Although if you think the author meant the man to be in a dress, i am happy to take that bet up with you.

  42. Carlie says

    Let me try to explain this in another way.

    Hey, look! I pre-answered you all the way back at comment #6.

    Regardless, it’s still up to you to show how any of this is intentionally sexist.

    Sexism doesn’t have to be intentional. In fact, it’s more insidious and harder to weed out when it isn’t, which is why it’s so important to point out those unintentional occurrences.

  43. Emrysmyrddin says

    In the UK the range is called Sylvanian Families, I used to have loads of them as a kid; it’s (deliberately I think) a very fifties toy, all gingham and ginger beer and aprons on the mummy animals. And yeah, I noticed the bimbo trope too.

  44. Emrysmyrddin says

    It doesn’t matter if it’s unintentional, and we’re not even ascribing conscious ulterior motives – it’s just worth pointing out each time it happens so that the clueless realise how prevalent it is…

  45. Tulse says

    All that said, I have no idea why the colors in the dialog boxes are the way they are. Could be an overt display of sexism, or just somebody picking two complimentary colors at random.

    You think it is just random that the bunny in the dress got the “random” colour pink, and the bunny in the pants got the “random” colour blue? Really?

  46. PaulG says

    “Next time you go to a public toilet, look at the symbols on the door. Although if you think the author meant the man to be in a dress, i am happy to take that bet up with you”

    Yes, public toilets make presumptions that are inherently unfair towards transgender/transexuals aswell. I’m aware of this. This doesn’t mean that everyone else does the same thing.

    It doesn’t matter what the author intended, as people here have been at pain to point out, it’s the unintentional sexism, I am pointing out the unintentional assumptions made towards certain styles of clothing as belonging to male/female roles.

  47. PaulG says

    “You think it is just random that the bunny in the dress got the “random” colour pink, and the bunny in the pants got the “random” colour blue? Really?”

    I don’t. But then I don’t think it’s either intentionally or unintentionally sexist, given that there’s such a high chance of the roles playing out the way they have. Had there been 5 different cartoons all depicting “pink and female” as the dumb, irrational ones then yes I’d say there was definite intended or unintended sexism. I don’t think it’s fair to jump to that conclusion from just the one cartoon.

  48. says

    just somebody picking two complimentary colors at random.

    :snort: No, pink and blue, when assigned to girl and boy characters, is not random. Not at all.

    As I said upthread, why not have both bunnies in the same or similar clothing and actual random colours for the text bubbles? Colours which are not traditionally associated with gender.

    It would have been very easy to do. Instead, the old, tired, sexist tropes were used.

  49. Tulse says

    I don’t think it’s either intentionally or unintentionally sexist

    It’s probably not intentionally sexist, but it’s kinda silly to suggest that it was not unreflectively supporting traditional gender markers.

  50. PaulG says

    “PaulG One of those persistent assholes who got himself banned for obnoxious behavior at the old site, under multiple pseudonyms: MonkeyGenes, SlantedScience, and several others. Now he’s banned here, too. If past behavior is any indication, he’ll invent a new pseudonym and come back, but his idiotic nature will expose him again”

    LOL. Now I understand the dungeon comment. I’ve just been informed on http://www.rationalskepticism.org. Sorry, I’m a different PaulG, the one that posts on that site.

  51. Butch Pansy says

    If you are blind to the inherent sexism of this cartoon, you are blind to your own privileged sexism.

  52. Crys T says

    I just can’t even…..seriously, how many frigging times do we have to do this dance?

    No one with a shred of intellectual honesty can say that putting one character in a dress & another in trousers is not ascribing gender to those characters. Just like not putting anything at all on a character means that it’s coded “male” and putting a bow and eyelashes* on a character codes it “female.” You can see this done even if the character are things that, in the real world, are inanimate objects, like teapots or cars. We all know this–though apparently whether some of us are willing to admit it or not is another issue entirely.

    Also, making the girl rabbit the idiot is not occuring in some fucking social vacuum. And the solution, as some wag above sarcastically suggested is not to make the boy rabbit the idiot. A suggestion, by the way, that says a lot more about Bob’s mentality than mine–I don’t see any need to belittle men in order to respect women, and the fact that for Bob doing so would be the only possible alternative is depressing.

    *because guys don’t have eyelashes? what’s up with that one, anyway?

  53. PaulG says

    “It’s probably not intentionally sexist, but it’s kinda silly to suggest that it was not unreflectively supporting traditional gender markers”

    In short, I don’t think it’s fair to jump to this conclusion based on one cartoon.

    Butch Pansy,

    Please, I’m well aware of certain privaleges I’m afforded on account of being male, I actively oppose them and I’ll be happy to fight against both intentional sexism and point out unintentional sexism, I’m just hesitant about using this one cartoon as an example.

  54. =8)-DX says

    On the sexism issue there’s one thing I’d like to point out: this cartoon is actually less sexist in one way – USUALLY ITS TWO BOYS DISCUSSING PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION OR SCIENCE.

    There, I got that out of my system. I agree that it would be a step further to exchange the roles but look for example at the great link Thorbinator sent: two BOYS are discussing human knowledge. Nuff said.

    As for the pink = girls / blue = boys, I don’t think that’s really sexist – colour has in this case pretty neutral symbolism. The stereotype this is playing on is two kids – comparing religious stupidity to childlike stubbornness – girl rabbit just wants to be right and boy rabbit wants to solve the puzzle. Perhaps girl rabbit wants build with blocks instead of making a puzzle? I actually think girl rabbit knew there was one piece missing and the box was wrong and is teasing boy rabbit. How naive and single-minded he is not to see she’s leading him on! If you saw two kids playing this way you wouldn’t think one is less intelligent, kids are too clever for that.

  55. A. R says

    I agree the the cartoon is likely an example of implicit bias, but that is no reason to discredit the point it makes or take it any less seriously. Any chance we can talk about the willful ignorance of religious people instead of letting antifeminist trolls derail the thread?

  56. happiestsadist says

    Wow, sure are a lot of defensive, irrational men throwing tantrums in this thread this morning.

    I love Bob Loblaw’s standing up for the poor men, and how underrepresented they are in skepticism, and how the skeptic movement makes men out to be always stupid zealots. I feel your pain, Bob. Maybe if we try really hard, we can someday have a man headline a skeptic event.

    The point is how deeply entrenched sexist stereotypes are. It doesn’t HAVE to be conscious. It’s part of the fucking atmosphere at this point.

    Also, I totally had those toys as a kid, or some that looked nearly identical. They were cute.

  57. says

    PaulG and others appear to be intent on demonstrating the very definition of “mansplaining”.

    Several women: “There are clear ingrained societal indicators in these bunnies that one is a boy and the other is a girl, and bothers us that the girl bunny is the irrational one.”

    Several men: “You’re wrong, and here’s why…”

    Mansplaining.

  58. says

    happiestsadist:

    Wow, sure are a lot of defensive, irrational men throwing tantrums in this thread this morning.

    I wouldn’t be so sure that they are all men. We’ve had our fair share of women slinging the MRA manure here.

  59. Richard Eis says

    Any chance we can talk about the willful ignorance of religious people instead of letting antifeminist trolls derail the thread?

    May as well sit yourself down and have some popcorn…cos that ain’t gonna happen now.

  60. Otranreg says

    @35 Violette

    And “Not every thing you see must be a piece of gender-stereotype-breaking activism”? Yes it does, that’s the point. Patriarchy and sexist attitudes permeate everything. We’re not saying that girl bunnies can’t be stupid. It’s just that we need to acknowledge it when we come across these stereotypes. I can’t wait until we live in a society where it doesn’t matter if one’s a girl bunny and one’s a boy bunny. But we’re not there yet.

    No, it doesn’t. Why an artist must restrict his or her expression, fearing lest their work shouldn’t follow certain rules of a certain activist group? And the fact that our world is utterly deplorable when it comes to equality means nothing here. I put myself in the author’s place and I see that I want to be able to put whatever clothes on the dolls I take pictures of, and make them whichever characters the way I like them to be, without someone’s wagging their fingers and calling me very, very naughty and decrying intentions that weren’t mine to begin with. Hell, what if the author just has two dolls with clothes sewn onto them? What if the author is a man and he’s had a frustrating argument with his too religious and not too bright sister? What if?

    @38 Ibis3

    Bully for you. I guess you (and all the other people like you) don’t have to change and we can keep going on stereotyping girls as vapid bimbos who can’t analytically think their way out of a paper bag.

    The comic doesn’t do that. What’s made you think that it does? That the girly-looking doll is the wrong one?

  61. rad_pumpkin says

    @Tulse,
    Those light-blue and pink colors are complimentary and “friendly” colors, so they seem natural choices for dialog boxes in a strip with bunnies doing puzzles, at least to me. Again, we have 4 possible combination of genders for the stuffed things (and I still can’t believe anybody with a sane mind would ascribe gender to an stuffed toy…). Let’s for the sake of argument assume that only shades of blue and pink could be used as backdrops to the dialog boxes. We then have 6 possible combinations for bunnies+dialog fields, MM-PB, MM-BP, MF-PB, MF-BP, FF-PB, FF-BP. So, the probability of choosing any one set in particular is 1/6, or roughly 16%. Yes, this definitely falls under random. We could of course use any other two colors, and result would still be the same! 16% probability of picking a combination.

    Woohoo, my math degree gets used to explain how the dresses and dialog-box-colors of two stuffed bunnies in a strip can in fact be the product of random selection…I feel ever so proud.

    @ Carlie,
    Nice red herring. Shame those things are meant to unambiguously differentiate between the two sexes…

  62. fredbloggs says

    Assuming that rabbits have 2 sexes, it’s a 50-50 chance that either rabbit is male or female. the female could be Creationist Rabbit, the male Scientist Rabbit or vice-versa.

    Assuming that the cuddly toys that are used do actually represent a female rabbit wearing a dress and a male rabbit wearing trousers (in itself, a sexist assumption), all you can tell from the cartoon is that IN THIS CASE a female cuddly toy rabbit presented the creationist position, the male cuddly toy rabbit the enquiring sceptic position.

    Or are those crying “sexism” stating that there are no female creationists, in which case I would agree it’s an expression of prejudice.

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

    (and I still can’t believe anybody with a sane mind would ascribe gender to an stuffed toy…)

    *blink*

    We live in a society that genders microscopes for children.

  64. Richard Eis says

    Woohoo, my math degree gets used to explain how the dresses and dialog-box-colors of two stuffed bunnies in a strip can in fact be the product of random selection…I feel ever so proud.

    By that logic evolution “could” work purely randomly. Just as the creationists believe. Those creatures forming spontaneously is a possibility after all…

  65. PaulG says

    “PaulG and others appear to be intent on demonstrating the very definition of “mansplaining”.

    Several women: “There are clear ingrained societal indicators in these bunnies that one is a boy and the other is a girl, and bothers us that the girl bunny is the irrational one.”

    Several men: “You’re wrong, and here’s why…”

    Mansplaining”

    Fucking hell.

  66. PaulG says

    No explaining WHY I’m wrong, I must be just dismissing everyone because I’m the arch anti-feminist.

  67. happiestsadist says

    Oh, and to Paul G, attempting to concern troll for trans people: Trans people who ID within the binary will usually wear the clothes typical to the gender they are. So you pants concern, and your attempting to bring in public toilets is bullshit. Stop appropriating trans issues as an excuse to be sexist.

    If gender perceptions by others weren’t so very fucking enforced, then I wouldn’t have to overcompensate with boyness to be read as anything but female every fucking time I leave the house.

  68. happiestsadist says

    People have been explaining, Paul, you trolling shitsicle. If that didn’t help, look it up your useless fucking self.

  69. rad_pumpkin says

    Richard,
    seriously? Are you kidding me? I said “probability of choosing,” didn’t I? That implies the actions of an outside force, doesn’t it? I’m not a biologist, but I do feel quite justified in calling you an idiot for the comparison. Idiot.

  70. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Mansplaining”

    Fucking hell.

    Yep, that’s what you are doing, mansplaining. If you don’t want the label, shut the fuck up. Only idjit fuckwits will do the definition of mansplaining, and then be upset by the label. Silence will avoid that label…

  71. Carlie says

    Why an artist must restrict his or her expression, fearing lest their work shouldn’t follow certain rules of a certain activist group?

    I don’t know, maybe so that people will talk about the message of the work rather than getting derailed into the unconscious inherent sexism of the piece? Just guessin’.

    Nice red herring.

    The question was indignantly asked how on earth one could ascribe genders to two identical figures simply because one is wearing a skirt. My answer was to show that identical figures, on in a skirt, is fairly universally used in western society to distinguish genders. In a pretty important way, in fact; one of the biggest arguments that tanked the equal rights amendment was the specter of women using men’s bathrooms. Can’t get that iconography wrong, because someone walking into the wrong bathroom will be the END OF SOCIETY AS WE KNOW IT. Having the skirt/nonskirt indicate such a hugely important difference does indeed answer the question on how we ascribe genders to figures based on whether they are wearing skirts.

  72. happiestsadist says

    I love* the contortions that these mansplaining dudes (and Chill Girls, thanks for pointing them out as well, Caine) are working themselves into rather than going for the simplest, likeliest, most well-documented explanation. It’s awfully irrational of them.

  73. says

    just somebody picking two complimentary colors at random.

    O.o

    I don’t know how flattering the colors are, but blue and pink aren’t complementary colors.[/spelling] [/color design]

    girl rabbit just wants to be right and boy rabbit wants to solve the puzzle. Perhaps girl rabbit wants build with blocks instead of making a puzzle? I actually think girl rabbit knew there was one piece missing and the box was wrong and is teasing boy rabbit. How naive and single-minded he is not to see she’s leading him on! If you saw two kids playing this way you wouldn’t think one is less intelligent, kids are too clever for that.

    wut. that entire paragraph is full of gender-stereotypes far beyond what’s going on in the cartoon

    Why an artist must restrict his or her expression,

    lol; perpetuating stereotypes =! artistic freedom; it’s not even creative, it’s a sign of lazy thinking. your insistence that asking people to think and not lazily perpetuate stereotypes is a limit on creativity is an insult to actually creative people

  74. HappyHead says

    I’m still seeing the red/pink boxes belonging to the red/pink outfit. I think it’s because I’m used to seeing things with color coded sub-titles or something, but the bunny’s gestures could go either way – in the only case where one of them is calling attention to something (the puzzle piece with trees on it), they’re both looking at it. In panels four, five, and seven, where the pink speech balloon is referencing the picture being a duck and insisting that this is reality, the red bunny is pointing at the box.

    If the blue boxes were yellow like this instead, matching the dress, would the comic still appear to be sexist?

  75. Carlie says

    HappyHead – when the balloons are both at the top or bottom, the pink is always over the skirt and the blue is always over the pants. One usually doesn’t consistently cross word balloons in a comic.

  76. PaulG says

    Are personal attacks for disagreeing the norm on this site?

    “Please, I’m well aware of certain privaleges I’m afforded on account of being male, I actively oppose them and I’ll be happy to fight against both intentional sexism and point out unintentional sexism, I’m just hesitant about using this one cartoon as an example”

    Did anyone miss this part or the part where I explained I’m not the PaulG troll that was sent to the dungeon?

    I’m not concern trolling for transgendered people. I still note that not one person has explain WHY I’m wrong, just resorted to abuse, accusations of trolling and attacking what are perceived to be my intentions rather than my arguments, this is not rational debate.

    I don’t think your uppity women, I don’t think you’re wrong to highlight the perceived sexism in the cartoon, I just DISAGREE. If you think I’m wrong, explain WHY.

  77. Richard Eis says

    rad_pumpkin biological pressures playing invisibly with the final form of a creature. Societal pressure playing invisibly with the final form of a piece of artwork. Neither final form is created through mere mathematical chance.

    Actually I think the touch of irony about “easy acceptance of what we are told” adds to the final cartoon. Unintended though it was.

  78. Abelard says

    Is the girl bunny’s name George Berkeley? lol. She is clearly a subjective idealist since she views perception and reality to be one and the same thing and the notion of the bunny on the box to be paramount. The other bunny clearly believes that there is an objective reality that can be perceived, that perception and reality are two different things. It’s an old philosophical argument dating from the early 18th century. Berkeley was a rabid bible-thumping religious fanatic who believed that God held everything in His perception. He regularly attacked the freethinkers and skeptics of his day with utter nonsense like subjectivism. I always find it hilarious that religious apologists still cling to subjective idealism as a valid epistemology (but don’t know why they do, just that it is “proper” to do so) This funny comic points out the fatal epistemological flaw of subjective idealism: inductive reasoning is impossible.

  79. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No explaining WHY I’m wrong, I must be just dismissing everyone because I’m the arch anti-feminist.

    You are wrong. Until you can admit that, you won’t learn…We have nothing to learn from your wrongness…

  80. PaulG says

    “You are wrong. Until you can admit that, you won’t learn…We have nothing to learn from your wrongness…”

    Don’t womesplain things to me!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111111111111

  81. says

    I seriously fail to see what pointing out stereotypical gender roles in a cartoon has to do with being transgendered; are you confused because both terms have the word “gender” in it? because those two issues are entirely orthogonal to each other in reality

  82. The very model of a modern armchair general says

    When i first read the comic, I didn’t notice what the bunnies were wearing, and I only thought of the pink and blue speech bubbles as an easy way to keep track of who says what. But now that others have pointed out the implicit sexism, there’s no arguing against it. To give the author the benefit of the doubt, maybe he came up with the idea first, wrote the dialogue, and only later chose “boy” and “girl” bunnies to be the protagonists. Maybe it’s only unconscious sexism. But it’s sexism, no doubt about it.

    Yes, they could have been just randomly chosen colours, and maybe the author flipped a coin to decide which bunny would be which character. But, come ON. Occam’s razor makes swift work of that idea.

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Don’t womesplain things to me!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111111111111

    Then the answer to that is very simple. Go away or not read if you aren’t trying to learn. Either you are here to learn or you are trolling. Make up your mind…if you have one.

  84. PaulG says

    “I seriously fail to see what pointing out stereotypical gender roles in a cartoon has to do with being transgendered; are you confused because both terms have the word “gender” in it? because those two issues are entirely orthogonal to each other in reality”

    Assuming the rabbit is a dress must be female BECAUSE it’s wearing a dress. Assumption based on stereotypes.

    Assuming a women is irrational and using her to demonstrate religious irrationality. Assumption based on stereotypes and sexism.

    Obviously I’m just using this as an excuse because I’m sexist *sigh*

  85. Emrysmyrddin says

    No one’s shouting at anyone here (although if they were, it still wouldn’t change the point).

    A mild pointing-out of a well-worn and unamusing trope (while acknowledging the aim of the cartoon, it’s intended message, and that the bias was most probably unconscious) does not constitute either the suppression of artistic freedom or the castration of commenters who simply don’t see it. It’s meant to draw the attention of the clueless or unbothered to something that happens over and over, and something that is noticeable because of that prevalence.

    Merely noting the existence of said trope does not constitute hand-wringing nor hypersensitivity – it’s just pointing it out. Why the desperation to ignore the gender assignations? Why the flamethrower reaction to the point that this is how women are often portrayed? ‘I just don’t see it’ is all you need to say. Then you need to sit back, O One Who Has Nowt To Contribute, and listen to the people who do see it, and wonder: ‘Is it me?’ How else will you begin to see things previously (and possibly magically) socially invisible to you?

  86. Spector567 says

    This has to be one of the stupidest thread ever.

    I bet 99% people didn’t even notice the bunny had genders, and if they did they didn’t care.

    For that 1% that did.

    WELCOME to gender equality. There was a 50/50 chance that’d you’d be offended. We all think the sexes should be equal the only ones who don’t are the ones who demand that it has to be a 0/100 chance lest we offend them.

  87. PaulG says

    “Why the desperation to ignore the gender assignations?”

    Why assume desperation? Why not accept that people disagree and not simply because they’re male?

    I’ve explained my position a million times now.

  88. happiestsadist says

    As I said, Paul, you transphobic skidmark, trans people who are part of the binary tend to dress according to their gender. So you are making abso-fucking-lutely no fucking sense. That you don’t know what trans means is one ignorance, don’t fucking compound it by using it to concern troll shit you also don’t understand.

  89. Tom S. Fox says

    To all those who complain about the supposed sexism: Would you have complained if it had been the other way around? If not, then you are hypocrites!

  90. Carlie says

    Assumption based on stereotypes.

    Three separate stereotypes, all conforming exactly in the same direction to the same stereotypes. Probability of that being a coincidence?

  91. Heliantus says

    If you saw two kids playing this way you wouldn’t think one is less intelligent

    Something must be wrong with me. I would think one is being pig-headed and spoiling the fun of the other. The other being the smart one finishing the puzzle, despite not having the right picture in from of him.

    those are identical plush toys with different clothing. How exactly is anybody going to ascribe gender roles to them?

    I must have been a really sex-obsessed kid. Deciphering the dress code/hair length was one of the first thing I was doing upon seeing of a new anthropomorphic toy, so I can talk about it as a he or a she.
    Funny enough, I was (still am) doing the same thing when meeting a new person, in order to know if I should say Sir or Madam.
    Maybe it’s because I’m one of these sex-crazy French guys.

    I loved the story, until my brain caught on the rabbit dress code (funny enough, the baloon color was at the limit of detection – my brain could do better). Fancy that, the stubbornly-deny-the-evidence is the girlish one.
    I still love the story, in part because I myself regularly fall for the God-in-the-gap fallacy. But couldn’t it have been two boy rabbits, or two girl rabbits?

  92. says

    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.

    It was nice to see over a 100 comments pile up so quickly, but I should have known…the most common way for a thread to get that popular is for a massive derail to have occurred.

    Cute bunnies. Both equally adorable. I think the intent was to be disarmingly charming and not treat either one as evil or stupid, and ask you to think about the message. Most of you aren’t.

    Is there any combination of genders that could have been used in this cartoon that wouldn’t have set someone off?

  93. says

    PaulG – it’s been explained to you. The societal indicators of gender are so ingrained several of us noticed right away that one is a boy bunny and one is a girl bunny. You (and others) can try all you want to explain why it’s not the case, but those indicators are very real (look at Mickey and Minnie Mouse or Daisy and Donald Duck to see how they differentiate the sexes in very identical looking characters).

    This is why you’re wrong. Do you want to try to explain to us now how we don’t really know if Minnie is supposed to be female and Mickey is supposed to be male?

  94. happiestsadist says

    You are wrong, Paul, and can’t seen to figure this out because of a combination of male privilege and the easy, ingrained sexism that accompanies it, and defensive whininess, compelling you to explain (Well, mansplain) over and over to people who DO understand sexism better than you, and are inherently more likely to pick it up than you are why the obvious cannot possibly be so.

  95. Carlie says

    It’s so sad the way they try so hard to defend the sexism and gaslight everyone else into ignorning it, rather than saying “huh, guess the author shouldn’t do that next time”.

    Dudez, y u take things so hard?

  96. Heliantus says

    To all those who complain about the supposed sexism: Would you have complained if it had been the other way around? If not, then you are hypocrites!

    Actually, yes.

  97. Otranreg says

    @96 Carlie

    I don’t know, maybe so that people will talk about the message of the work rather than getting derailed into the unconscious inherent sexism of the piece? Just guessin’.

    So, it’s the author’s fault: the author must try very hard not to make some odd people see a turd where the author clearly puts a steak. Absolutely. It actually kind of helps and sort of tickles.

    @98 Jadehawk

    Oh, my:

    lol; perpetuating stereotypes =! artistic freedom; it’s not even creative, it’s a sign of lazy thinking. your insistence that asking people to think and not lazily perpetuate stereotypes is a limit on creativity is an insult to actually creative people

    ‘Lazily’? ‘Perpetuate stereotypes’? I’ve said none of this. Although it doesn’t surprise me that my words are being twisted. Anyhow, what’s next? Sky green and fields blue? A mandatory panel praising the Secretary General and the line of the Not-Perpetuating-Stereotypes-in-Ways-Only-We-Recognise Party in front of each comic?

    I may insult creative people, it’s you who’s proposing to shackle them.

  98. Carlie says

    I think the intent was to be disarmingly charming and not treat either one as evil or stupid,

    Of course it was. And the fact that it was a religious girl bunny who was wrong was simply pointed out as unfortunate. And then the menz brigade rushed in screaming and brandishing their.. um, verbal swords. We weren’t the ones who made a big deal out of it. It was just being pointed out as something to avoid next time.

  99. Emrysmyrddin says

    It’s not even necessarily the widdle bunnies cartoon itself – but the reaction to those who even mildly speculate as to the artist’s subconscious intent. Immediate essplosion!!1! to even the faintest hint that ‘girl=stupid is a really tired and overused trope’.

  100. happiestsadist says

    PZ, really? The cartoon is cute, the bunnies are cuter (maybe I want to get a set of them), but sexism is sexism. I will still share the cartoon around, because the message is pretty awesome, but it would be even better if it weren’t for that one detail.

  101. says

    Assuming the rabbit is a dress must be female BECAUSE it’s wearing a dress. Assumption based on stereotypes.

    Assuming a women is irrational and using her to demonstrate religious irrationality. Assumption based on stereotypes and sexism.

    dude… what part of “perpetuating traditional gender roles” did you not get? it doesn’t matter whether in the artists’ mind the bunny in the dress is a man, and is otherwise a brilliant neuroscientist. the images perform cultural work by themselves, not by the magic of intent. and the combination of “dress, pink, stupid” vs “pants, blue, clever” is perpetuating traditional gender-role stereotypes. And that’s regardless of what other explanations for that combination are available, since the way these alternative explanations are processed is cognitively different from the associative power of the images (fast evaluation and slow evaluation happen in different parts of the brain).

    and if no one had mentioned the stereotypical representation, no one would be talking about the alternatives anyway, and the images would perform their work of teaching certain associations by mere exposure and classical conditioning

  102. PaulG says

    “As I said, Paul, you transphobic skidmark, trans people who are part of the binary tend to dress according to their gender. So you are making abso-fucking-lutely no fucking sense. That you don’t know what trans means is one ignorance, don’t fucking compound it by using it to concern troll shit you also don’t understand”

    “Transgender is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles”

    Please don’t group all transgender people as one homogenous entity. It is an assumption that just because someone is wearing female or male clothes they are a either male or female. It matters little what percentage they make up.

    You can insult me all you want and make insinuations about my lack of knowledge all night, it won’t phase me.

  103. PaulG says

    “You are wrong, Paul, and can’t seen to figure this out because of a combination of male privilege and the easy, ingrained sexism that accompanies it, and defensive whininess, compelling you to explain (Well, mansplain) over and over to people who DO understand sexism better than you, and are inherently more likely to pick it up than you are why the obvious cannot possibly be so”

    Telling someone they are wrong isn’t an argument. Telling them it is because of male privilege that they can’t see something isn’t an argument. Calling them sexist isn’t an argument. Telling someone they don’t understand sexism isn’t an argument.

    Any more insults to add? Any more faulty arguments based on the fact that I’m male and can’t possibly understand sexism?

  104. Richard Eis says

    I may insult creative people, it’s you who’s proposing to shackle them.

    You shackle people by pointing out their inherent biases in a unbalanced society.

    I thought this kind of thing was pure gold to artists and comedians? Aren’t they the people who try to get us to see our biases and foibles for what they are?

  105. says

    ‘Lazily’? ‘Perpetuate stereotypes’? I’ve said none of this.

    are you stupid or something? I at no point imply that you mentioned the perpetuating of stereotypes or acknowledged how lazy it is. In fact, your avoidance of this acknowledgment under the banner of creative freedom is precisely what I pointed out in that response. Do try to read for comprehension next time.

    I may insult creative people, it’s you who’s proposing to shackle them.

    there you are again, doing again what I commented on earlier: pretending as if asking people not to perpetuate stereotypes limits creativity rather than forcing people to actually BE creative rather than lazily copypasta-ing easily available cultural tropes in different combinations.

  106. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve explained my position a million times now.

    What part of we have nothing to learn from you don’t you understand? For us to learn requires cogency from you, which is always lacking…

    You can insult me all you want and make insinuations about my lack of knowledge all night, it won’t phase me.

    Which shows you lack of introspection and the ability to learn. Proving our points again and again for us.

  107. happiestsadist says

    Paul, maybe you should make sure the person you’re arguing what trans means isn’t, oh, say, trans themself. Might save you some real fucking embarrassment. Especially when I was specifically referring to binary trans people.

    I thought you were demanding we educate you?

  108. =8)-DX says

    @Abelard – YES! This is the discussion we should be having!

    @Caine, Fleur du Mal
    Re my: “girl rabbit just wants to be right and boy rabbit wants to solve the puzzle.”
    CFdM: “Uh huh. And this crap^ isn’t sexist, either. :eyeroll:”

    When was I being sexist? By describing the actual situation depicted. Now you are not being sexist, you’re being asshollish.

    This cartoon was not about sexism. Yes, it is sexist to have the girl being the dumb person, which I said in my post. The fact that you vacuously role your eyes around doesn’t make you right, it makes you snobbish. The cartoon (albeit probably unintentionally and slightly sexist) was not ABOUT sexism.

    If you’d read what I wrote without all that eye-rolling, you might have noticed I was writing about the “intention” of the comic, which seemed to me to be a comparison of *religion* to *child’s play*. I have a small daughter and she behaves this way all the time – blindly asserting her point of view, despite the evidence I provide for my case, while at other times it is the other way round: I tell her the facts (It’s in the box, trust me), and she repeatedly wants to go and look, to get evidence for herself, to see and touch a thing for herself. The point is that this comic was intended to explain religion as a stubborn, child-like behaviour which is NORMAL in the context of children’s play – and common to both girls and boys, but ABSURD in the adult world, where we should already know how to distinguish trust issues from fact issues and the value of science.

    The unintentional sexism of the comic has been aknowledged repeatedly (apart from a few …), now let’s be interested in the underlying idea.

    Cheers.

  109. says

    I thought this kind of thing was pure gold to artists and comedians? Aren’t they the people who try to get us to see our biases and foibles for what they are?

    actual creatives and artists? yes. lazy hacks and their defenders? no. lazy hacks rely on readily available tropes and stereotypes for story-telling, and pointing this out to them might indeed limit their output; I just fail to see how limiting the output of lazy hacks is a negative.

    **disclaimer: I am not saying that the creator of the cartoon is a lazy hack; I have not seen enough of their work to see if they routinely rely on such stereotypical characterization to tell their story. So far, all they’ve done is use one stereotype; an easy mistake to make, and if they care for the cultural work their art does, they’ll take these stereotypical messages into account next time**

  110. Butch Pansy says

    “Duck” is a funny word in this culture. Why, I am not sure, but it does rhyme with “fuck”: good enough for me; a good chuckle and a good fuckle are important ingredients of a good day.

  111. PaulG says

    ” it’s been explained to you. The societal indicators of gender are so ingrained several of us noticed right away that one is a boy bunny and one is a girl bunny. You (and others) can try all you want to explain why it’s not the case, but those indicators are very real (look at Mickey and Minnie Mouse or Daisy and Donald Duck to see how they differentiate the sexes in very identical looking characters).

    This is why you’re wrong. Do you want to try to explain to us now how we don’t really know if Minnie is supposed to be female and Mickey is supposed to be male?”

    Right, I get it now, you haven’t been listening to me.

    Those examples are sexist. There is sexism in the media. There is unintentional sexism everywhere. Sometimes men can’t see it, sometimes women can’t see it. I appreciate the effort of consciousness raising, it is a very good thing.

    I am not blind, privileged, in denial or any other such nonsense. I JUST DISAGREE ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR EXAMPLE.

    Am I going to be insulted yet again now?

  112. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Any more faulty arguments based on the fact that I’m male and can’t possibly understand sexism?

    You only understand sexism sufficiently to throw doubt onto the idea. You do nothing to add to the discussion. Which is why you are treated like the fuckwit you are.

  113. says

    left out a word or two out of one of my previous posts. was supposed to be:

    and if no one had mentioned the stereotypical representation, no one would be talking about the alternatives anyway, and the images would perform their work of teaching certain associations by mere exposure and classical conditioning unchallenged and unnoticed

  114. Otranreg says

    Anyhow, no one forces anyone to read this vicious and insulting comic.

    I’ve read the comic, my opinion of female intelligence hasn’t gone worse, or male intelligence — better. Though I have enjoyed the eloquent message and cute characters.

    It’s your business if you cannot but see the crude and demeaning monstrosities trampling so heinously the things you hold so dear, and hear the diabolical laughter of the author of this abominable squib whose devious design has come another step closer to fruition: mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

  115. PaulG says

    “Paul, maybe you should make sure the person you’re arguing what trans means isn’t, oh, say, trans themself. Might save you some real fucking embarrassment. Especially when I was specifically referring to binary trans people.

    I thought you were demanding we educate you?”

    That makes no difference. You’re either knowledgable about something or you’re not. I’m not Christian, but I know a lot about the Bible, as do many atheists. It is insulting to suggest someone knows more about transgender issues simply because the are themselves, I am passionate about the subject as I am gay rights.

    You introduced binary transgender, not me.

    I have yet to insult anyone, yet the insults and accusations keep flying.

  116. rad_pumpkin says

    <blockquote<I loved the story, until my brain caught on the rabbit dress code (funny enough, the baloon color was at the limit of detection – my brain could do better). Fancy that, the stubbornly-deny-the-evidence is the girlish one.
    I still love the story, in part because I myself regularly fall for the God-in-the-gap fallacy. But couldn’t it have been two boy rabbits, or two girl rabbits?

    It could have been, and that was precisely my point! There is no reason to suspect anything other than random selection for the two bunnies (and I still refuse to ascribe gender to a bunch of cotton!). There is no hint in the comic of them being anything other than stand-in characters with no name, history, or personality (sans the stated). Hell, it’s just as likely that the producer/author of the strip overheard the very same argument between two people and made this, with the bunnies representing the people they saw.

    And thank you, PZ! They’re bloody (adorable?) bunnies! In a cartoon. With a significantly more obvious message. One that doesn’t require tedious interpretation. At all.

    Jadehawk,
    yes, I misspelled “complementary,” pardon. Not that it matters, as it is apparently the wrong word to describe two readily discernible colors. Alright, I picked the wrong word, and I even managed to screw up its spelling. Yes, I’m an idiot for that.

    Richard,
    we are not talking about evolution, and you still have not conclusively demonstrated that there is any “Societal pressure playing invisibly with the final form of a piece of artwork” in this case. Anybody can make assertions, backing them up isn’t so easy.

  117. says

    . I JUST DISAGREE ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR EXAMPLE.

    that’s nice. but you haven’t provided any argument for how it doesn’t perform the cultural work of perpetuating traditional gender roles // gender stereotypes. You merely asserted that it could be interpreted differently, which simply ignores the ways in which attitude formation happens

  118. PaulG says

    “Any more faulty arguments based on the fact that I’m male and can’t possibly understand sexism?

    You only understand sexism sufficiently to throw doubt onto the idea. You do nothing to add to the discussion. Which is why you are treated like the fuckwit you are”

    Do you think name calling has any place in rational debate?

    What’s with people on this site? Are you going to call Pz a fuckwit aswell?

  119. says

    There is no reason to suspect anything other than random selection for the two bunnies

    1)humans are not computers; we suck at “random”, and nothing we do is done randomly
    2)even if it had been random, it would still perform the cultural work of perpetuating gender stereotypes; intent is not relevant here.

  120. says

    PaulG – yes, it’s wrong to be able to use nothing but eyelashes and a skirt to differentiate a male mouse from a female mouse.
    However, there’s a very good reason why this is done over and over and over again – it works. And whether you mean it or not, you are telling us the fault is with us that we see a female rabbit being irrational in the above photo comic while a boy rabbit is being patiently rational with her and we shouldn’t be bothered by that.
    In other words, we say something bothers us about comic, and you’ve put a lot of energy into telling us why we are wrong to be bothered by it. You have been mansplaining.

  121. PaulG says

    ‘I JUST DISAGREE ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR EXAMPLE.

    that’s nice. but you haven’t provided any argument for how it doesn’t perform the cultural work of perpetuating traditional gender roles // gender stereotypes. You merely asserted that it could be interpreted differently, which simply ignores the ways in which attitude formation happens’

    No, I said it’s too small an example to extrapolate sexism from.

    For this I’ve been told I’m mansplaining, been called a fuckwit, a concern troll, trying to hijack the plight of tansgendered people, told I don’t understand sexism because I’m male and told to get back in my dungeon with no apology for mistaking my identity.

    Is this rational debate? Seriously?

  122. PaulG says

    “PaulG – yes, it’s wrong to be able to use nothing but eyelashes and a skirt to differentiate a male mouse from a female mouse.
    However, there’s a very good reason why this is done over and over and over again – it works. And whether you mean it or not, you are telling us the fault is with us that we see a female rabbit being irrational in the above photo comic while a boy rabbit is being patiently rational with her and we shouldn’t be bothered by that.
    In other words, we say something bothers us about comic, and you’ve put a lot of energy into telling us why we are wrong to be bothered by it. You have been mansplaining”

    No, no, no. I am not telling you not to be bothered by it. I’m glad the issue has been raised, you are not at fault, you are not overly sensitive women or any crap like that. I have not said any of this, others have and they are wrong. Seriously, I imagine you probably do get sexist trolls here, which is maybe why everyone’s insulting me, I dunno?

  123. happiestsadist says

    Yes, name calling has a place here, shitforbrains Paul. Don’t like it, GTFO and don’t let the door hit you.

    And yes, actual lived experience as a minority will make you better informed on the realities of being that minority than being a privileged dumbass bloviating about shit he doesn’t know the first thing about. You might be passionate, but from what you’ve shown here, you’re worse than clueless, you’re just WRONG.

    Here’s your dead porcupine, dude. Use it.

  124. rad_pumpkin says

    1)humans are not computers; we suck at “random”, and nothing we do is done randomly
    2)even if it had been random, it would still perform the cultural work of perpetuating gender stereotypes; intent is not relevant here.

    1) Grabbing two out of a box without looking, assuming said box contains at least three of those damned bunnies is perfectly random.
    2) How the hell does that make any sense at all?

  125. jasonmartin says

    One of the first things I was taught (and one of the most helpful things) as a teacher was to pick your battles. If you run around trying to correct every single wrong, every instance of bad behavior, every sleight, every offense, no matter how small, you’ll actually end up doing yourself a disservice. The people who find offense with this cartoon will attack me for saying this, but I think they do their cause more harm than good by failing to pick their battles more wisely. Now, you might not care, but to the vast majority of people out there, your argument here seems petty, annoying, and, frankly, distrubing. You seem utterly humorless, and deeply paranoid: you see patterns where none exist, you see lions in the weeds when it’s just the wind. If you want people to listen to your arguments, then pick your battles batter and stop beating people over the head at every turn. All you’re doing is discouraging the vast majority of people from wanting to enter into a discussion with you. Your humorless self-righteousness and constant browbeating is not winning you any converts. Maybe you don’t really care, but if you do, you’ll learn to pick your battles.

  126. happiestsadist says

    Hey Paul G: If you’re saying everything sexist troll here say and you sound as informed as they do, and you whine about the customs of the place you decided to cling to like a pathetic barnacle, guess what? You’re part of the fucking problem.

    You are less likely to be able to understand sexism fully, because you’re a dude. Yes, really. Simple fucking facts.

  127. =8)-DX says

    @Heliantus
    Re my: “If you saw two kids playing this way you wouldn’t think one is less intelligent”
    Your: “Something must be wrong with me. I would think one is being pig-headed and spoiling the fun of the other. The other being the smart one finishing the puzzle, despite not having the right picture in from of him.”

    Well you don’t have or know children, or have a different experience of them from me (that is if you think pig-headedness and a willingness to spoil fun is less intelligent – I don’t). I wrote similarly in my other post but to reiterate: small children (of the bunny, 3-5 variety) have a different value system from adults. They are excessively praised for being “right” and at other times praised for “trying” as well as being full of many confusing emotions and moods. It is perfectly understandable for pink-baloon bunny not to want to admit she was wrong in the face of evidence, just as it is for blue-baloon bunny to want to show how he was “cleverer-er” than her. Seeing a child behave like this I would not think the child was so stupid as to not understand she was wrong. Such a child would be either teasing the other, or angry at herself and unwilling to concede a point. (Which is why children have fights where “it was *both* his/her fault”). Yes, adults who believe in god are commiting this same fallacy, but this fallacy is exceptable (and inevitable) in children, because of their lack of experience and differing control\values.

    To rate a child’s intelligence based on it’s initial inference (it should have been a duck – it was clever to say that), subsequent situational awareness (I want him to stop putting the puzzle together) and then emotional unwillingness to admit failure (It’s a Duck) – that’s absurd.

    tl;dr;
    1) Religion is childishly stubborn bullshit.
    2) Adults behaving like this is stupid (therefore sexist to depict these gender roles).
    3) Children behaving like this is normal and not indicative of intellect.

  128. Otranreg says

    @137 Richard Eis

    I thought this kind of thing was pure gold to artists and comedians? Aren’t they the people who try to get us to see our biases and foibles for what they are?

    I never said that raising consciousness about these things cannot be an expressive tool. It is and it is great. My point is that it cannot be mandatory.

  129. Emrysmyrddin says

    PaulG:

    No, I said it’s too small an example to extrapolate sexism from.

    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.

  130. PaulG says

    “Yes, name calling has a place here, shitforbrains Paul. Don’t like it, GTFO and don’t let the door hit you.

    And yes, actual lived experience as a minority will make you better informed on the realities of being that minority than being a privileged dumbass bloviating about shit he doesn’t know the first thing about. You might be passionate, but from what you’ve shown here, you’re worse than clueless, you’re just WRONG.

    Here’s your dead porcupine, dude. Use it”

    Great argument.

    I know what life is a like as a minority having a fucking physical disability and mental illness in the UK and being treated like shit by the government, media and health service, you presumptious fucking cunt.

    [I noticed this comment at 1:40pm on 24 November. I am now giving you official warning: call anyone a "cunt" after this, and you will be banned. No argument. Your personal experience with oppression does not justify abusing other people based on their gender. --pzm]

  131. happiestsadist says

    Jasonmartin @ #160: Thank god you’re here to tell those silly womenz when they’re overreacting and how to bring up sexism. Here’s a tip: It wouldn’t have blown up had it not been for sexist, profoundly ignorant dudes and their hangers-on. Whine at them.

  132. Otranreg says

    Jadehawk: I’m not responding to your last remark or probably any other. Your arrogance surpasses even mine and you appear to have strayed from the point of the argument so far that I’ve come to think that you mistook this thread for another.

  133. Emrysmyrddin says

    PaulG, you might be new here – this place gets MRA-trolled regularly by the lowest of the low. If people bite hard, it’s because they’re used to *spit* real denizens. I get your point, ofc – although I disagree – but if you look through the history of this site and it’s threads, you’ll understand why Pharyngula has a very low tolerance for possible antifeminist-trolls.

  134. happiestsadist says

    Aww, look! Gendered slurs! What a fierce anti-sexist you are!

    One factor of oppression doesn’t cancel out the heaps of privilege you’re rolling around in there, Skippy, you ignorant, whiny bit of caked-on guano.

    (Also, if we’re going there, you’ve got nothing there I don’t too. Who’s presumptuous?)

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

    All of the standard gender tropes are in place. But, really, it means nothing.

    In related news, the letters that make up these words does not spell out what you think.

    This message is not even in English.

  136. says

    What’s with people on this site? Are you going to call Pz a fuckwit aswell?

    Probably not, but I am disappointed in him. Usually when it comes to subjects like this, he will be one of the first to say “listen to the women” when we say something has bothered us. During a previous incident (which I’m loathe to refer to because it will derail things even further) he very clearly understood that just because there are worse incidences of sexism we shouldn’t tolerate those that are comparatively minor.
    Yet the only comment he’s posted so far in this thread (though he may have posted again while I’ve been writing this comment), he’s brushed aside our concerns with “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.”

    So yes, I’m disappointed in him.

  137. Joachim says

    Sure it´s sexist, just like evolution is cruel and gravitiy maliciously limits your freedom to fly around. But it´s true, or would anybody deny that the atheist movement or natural sciences are unfortunately boys clubs? And no, I´m not saying it´s because women lack intelligence because some of the smartest Atheists or scientists are women – it´s just the numbers that bother me.

    Apart from that, I looked through the comments and confirmed everything that we know about evolutionists:

    – They cannot look at the whole picture.

    – They try to disprove that it´s a duck. That´s all they want, so it´s only natural that the duck does not appear to them.

    – If what they see in the picture was true, a tigerbear would inevitably exist. So the´re wrong.

    – A cute little duck represents a much nicer world than those carnivores. So who is morally superior, the duckists or the disneyists?

    – a majority of scholars who have thought deeply about this issue has decided that it´s a duck. But the puzzle fascists don´t accept that.

    – The picture that they suggest is just offensive to all duckists. It demonstrates a serious lack of respect.

    Cheers, Joachim

  138. jasonmartin says

    Happiestsadist, you may well be right here, and on this blog you may have most people on your side. You may well decide that this perceived offense must be dealt with as harshly as any other offense. Go ahead, but I’m telling you that the majority of people, the everyday working-class Joe or Sally is going to find you humorless and off-putting. There’s a time and place to wage your war; you need to pick your spots or people are just going to ending up rolling their eyes and walking away.

  139. PaulG says

    “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”

    Do you not see an increasing acceptance of women as the more intelligent and rational sex? I live in the UK, not sure where you are and it’s increasingly the case, especially amongst the younger generation.

    Look, I’m honestly sorry if I’ve upset anyone or if anyone’s felt like I’m dismissing the plight of women facing sexism, all I can do is assure you that isn’t the case. Take it or leave it.

  140. Seamus says

    Nice analogy! Very funny too! But is it just me or is it limited to fundamentalist views?
    Maybe we need a version for moderates that includes revisionism……;-)

    As for the gender stereotyping arguments: I didn’t assume anything about gender, because gender isn’t part of the storyline.
    However, I can see how it is a relevant discussion as western society has an excessive amount of stereotyping and culturally induced gender discrimination that subtly reinforces anachronisms.
    I don’t agree that this is happening here, though, for the following reasons:

    I wouldn’t consider purple a significantly more ‘male’ colour than pink/peach to be honest, so suggesting that the balloon colours confirm the status of the second bunny as male is a stretch, for me. I would say the same about the colours of the dungarees!!

    If you are saying that the second bunny is a male purely because of the type of clothing, isn’t that gender stereotyping?

    So the argument as I see it is this:
    “based on an application of gender stereotyping, I feel this cartoon is sexist because it reinforces gender stereotyping!”

    Maybe someone should do a cartoon to deal with that!!

    But I forgot, I am a man….so feel free to dismiss my comments, as I am clearly unqualified to comment !

  141. Butch Pansy says

    Deductivism is a theoretical nicety: induction is the way we think; metaphor is the language we use. How do you know that the sun will come up tomorrow? Induction. For millions of people, it won’t: again, inductive reasoning. Deduction only truly works in hindsight, is relativistic and perspectival.

  142. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    Are you going to call Pz a fuckwit aswell?

    Not as if *that* hasn’t happened before. He’s affectionately known as “poopyhead” around here, actually.

    Yes, there is some inherent sexism in the cartoon – the kind so deeply ingrained that it’s easy to miss or to handwave away until you actually look at it. The kind that permeates our society. The kind we need to eradicate tooth and nail BECAUSE it dresses itself up as being oh so innocent and unintended so where’s the harm, then?

    Once you see it, it’s clear.

    No one is saying that $CartoonCreator is a BAD BAD EVIL PERSON or anything like that – someone just pointed out that it’s a common and clearly sexist trope. That much is not a matter of opinion: it’s a clearly sexist trope employe here.

    No one’s saying it was malicious and/or intentional, though. I mean my maude, we all fuck up sometimes. As Zuska put it so unforgettably:

    I’m talking about you, you whiney whiners. Those of you who get all whiney and defensive whenever anyone dares to point out that you have stepped in the dogshit. Stepping in dogshit is an accident and it is something that all of us do upon occasion. Now, when you step in dogshit, do you want to just go blithely prancing about the place, spreading the dogshit hither and yon, stinking up the place to high heaven? Or do you want someone to point out that, jesus h. christ, there’s a great big steaming heap o’ smelly dog turds trailing off your right shoe, why don’t you go scrap ‘em off? Or better yet, just get yourself a whole new pair of shoes, for sure Isis can recommend something stylish.

    For more info on how this could have gone down if the privilege deniers didn’t wet their pants at any mention of hinting towards privilege and sexism, please see Carlie @37.

    Yes, it really can be as simple as that.

    As for the cartoon, it’s very cute. I had a lovely chuckle about it myself.

  143. PaulG says

    “Probably not, but I am disappointed in him. Usually when it comes to subjects like this, he will be one of the first to say “listen to the women” when we say something has bothered us. During a previous incident (which I’m loathe to refer to because it will derail things even further) he very clearly understood that just because there are worse incidences of sexism we shouldn’t tolerate those that are comparatively minor.
    Yet the only comment he’s posted so far in this thread (though he may have posted again while I’ve been writing this comment), he’s brushed aside our concerns with “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.”

    So yes, I’m disappointed in him”

    I know the incident.

    I agree with you, any sexism no matter how subtle should be discussed. I am discussing it!

    Maybe he has a bunny fetish.

  144. jasonmartin says

    Should we as atheists attack religion every single time we see it in public? Hell no. We need to pick our spots or people are going to be right when they call us humorless, self-righteous blowhards. Congratulate yourselves on catching the prejudice in the cartoon and move on.

  145. pensnest says

    PaulG, #68 I don’t think it’s fair to jump to that conclusion from just the one cartoon.

    Thing is, it’s not ‘just the one’. It’s ‘yet another one’.

  146. Emrysmyrddin says

    Maybe he has a bunny fetish.

    Weeeeeell, first ponies, now bunnies…methinks PZ’s being lured slowly but surely into the world of the furry ;)

  147. happiestsadist says

    Chigau: I should not have been taking a sip of tea there. *wipes rooibos off glasses*

    Seamus! So good of you to join us and repeat all the bullshit that’s already been swatted down! Here, have a seat! (upon a rotting porcupine).

  148. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    *shakes head*

    Oh Seamus, Seamus @179. You were doing so well until that last line.

  149. PaulG says

    “Hey Paul G: If you’re saying everything sexist troll here say and you sound as informed as they do, and you whine about the customs of the place you decided to cling to like a pathetic barnacle, guess what? You’re part of the fucking problem.

    You are less likely to be able to understand sexism fully, because you’re a dude. Yes, really. Simple fucking facts.”

    You seriously just used the if you don’t like it get out argument? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    I’d love to continue this pointless troll war but I just realised I’m not 15.

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

    While not as egregious as Richard Dawkins’ Dear Muslima post, PZ still seems just a tad bit dismissive of the point.

    This work could have been done without the gender tropes and still have been just as “cute”.

    (Sorry. I have a low tolerance for “cute”.)

  151. says

    No, I said it’s too small an example to extrapolate sexism from.

    wut. the sexism is not extrapolated; this comic perpetuates traditional gender-roles, by itself, regardless of what other works by this artist do. a larger sample-size would be required to see whether the person who created it habitually uses stereotypical characterizations in his work showing implicit biases; or to see whether the sexism was maybe entirely explicit. but none of these are relevant to the cultural work that particular comic performs, all by itself. And that work is anti-religious, yes; but also sexist.

  152. PaulG says

    “PaulG, #68 I don’t think it’s fair to jump to that conclusion from just the one cartoon.

    Thing is, it’s not ‘just the one’. It’s ‘yet another one’”

    How many should depict men being stupid and how many should depict women being stupid?

    50% each? Inline with exam results?

  153. happiestsadist says

    Also, Jasonmartin, I AM an “everyday workingclass Joe or Sally”. Just sayin’.

    And yeah, cleaning up deeply engrained bullshit does require paying attention to a lot of things and caring enough to do what’s right. I’m sorry you don’t feel that way.

  154. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Congratulate yourselves on catching the prejudice in the cartoon and move on.

    Which would make lots of sense except that there are a few commenters who absofuckinglutely refuse to accept even the possibility that conscious or unconscious sexism was involved in the gender choice for the cartoon.

    I think the cartoon beautifully skewers the god of gaps style of theism. Well done.

  155. PaulG says

    PaulG, you might be new here – this place gets MRA-trolled regularly by the lowest of the low. If people bite hard, it’s because they’re used to *spit* real denizens. I get your point, ofc – although I disagree – but if you look through the history of this site and it’s threads, you’ll understand why Pharyngula has a very low tolerance for possible antifeminist-trolls.”

    Point taken.

    Oh and the c word isn’t a gendered slur in the UK. Apologies to those in the US, genuine mistake.

  156. says

    There’s no assumptions made by associating an asexual children’s toy wearing trousers with a masculine gender?

    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.

  157. PaulG says

    No, I said it’s too small an example to extrapolate sexism from.

    “wut. the sexism is not extrapolated; this comic perpetuates traditional gender-roles, by itself, regardless of what other works by this artist do. a larger sample-size would be required to see whether the person who created it habitually uses stereotypical characterizations in his work showing implicit biases; or to see whether the sexism was maybe entirely explicit. but none of these are relevant to the cultural work that particular comic performs, all by itself. And that work is anti-religious, yes; but also sexist”

    Yes you would need a larger sample size.

  158. Emrysmyrddin says

    Oh and the c word isn’t a gendered slur in the UK. Apologies to those in the US, genuine mistake.

    Er, we may use it a hell of a lot more in the UK, but at it’s root it’s a gendered slur, like bitch, or dick – words that are aslo unacceptable here. You might want to read the Pharyngula wiki for posting guidelines if you’re unclear and don’t want to get (rightly) trampled. However, you do get bonus points for creative non-gendered insults here – the more fandangled and rumbumptious the better.

    Rule of thumb: if it’s an inherent, non-fault human quality, don’t use it as an insult.

  159. happiestsadist says

    PaulG: It’s using slang term for a body part mostly owned by cis women as an insult. Yes it fucking is a gendered slur.

  160. =8)-DX says

    @Joachim
    Troll.. or Quack?
    I think more eloquent trickster.

    As for the Duck question I’d say that depends. Depends on what Daddy-bunny promised. If Daddy-bunny promised a duck puzzle, but in fact he bought it cheaply at the second-hand shop and inside was a Winnie-the-Pooh one. Well! I’d say that this is a perfect example of the power of “total-familial failure”. Daddy-bunny failed to provide a duck-puzzle in a duck box. Girl-bunny failed to accept that she had been cheated. Boy-bunny failed to bemoan the unfairness of the daddy-bunny-duck-promise failure.

    Now Mummy-bunny? I think she is busy working at her pharmacy, becuase despite the fact that she wanted to extend her maternity leave, the recession has left them in want of a steady income and her skillset brings material advantage to the family.

    Over the next few years she may feel that she was not *there* as much as she should’ve been for her children, but as Daddy takes on the teaching job and the kids start going to school, they live happily ever after as an equal-opportunity, equal-parenting family.

    They never found the Duck, either.

  161. happiestsadist says

    ahs @ #196 nails it. Regardless of what bits or gender identity the fuzzy toy bunny could possess, it’s still about the feminine and the sexist stereotype of the feminine airhead. Well said.

  162. says

    2) How the hell does that make any sense at all?

    if you don’t understand basic terms, maybe you shouldn’t be in this conversation, since you’re obviously woefully underinformed on the subject.

    but fine, let me explain it to you in small words:

    “cultural work” is a term for effects a person/object has on people within a particular culture.
    a piece of art that portrays stereotypical gender roles even by accident of chance performs the cultural work of perpetuating them, because it contributes to attitude formation* via classical conditioning**, and it does so regardless of whether the artist meant it to, because intent is not visible or perceptible; only the images are

    *”attitude formation” is a term from psychology; it roughly means the formation of opinions, evaluations, thoughts, feelings, etc. on/towards a particular subject, both consciously and subconsciously

    **”classical conditioning” is a means of subconscious attitude-formation by simply associating two or more things with each other because one sees or hears them together regularly enough

  163. =8)-DX says

    “bitch, or dick – words that are aslo unacceptable here.”
    What? Dick is unacceptable here? So I can’t mention the Richard Dawkins foundation!>!?!?
    LOL sorry, I just had to explain to a non-EFL-person recently what Dick meant.

  164. PaulG says

    Oh and the c word isn’t a gendered slur in the UK. Apologies to those in the US, genuine mistake.

    Er, we may use it a hell of a lot more in the UK, but at it’s root it’s a gendered slur, like bitch, or dick – words that are aslo unacceptable here. You might want to read the Pharyngula wiki for posting guidelines if you’re unclear and don’t want to get (rightly) trampled. However, you do get bonus points for creative non-gendered insults here – the more fandangled and rumbumptious the better.

    Rule of thumb: if it’s an inherent, non-fault human quality, don’t use it as an insult.

    Nope, where I’m from it gets used all the time and very much more by men towards other men. Etymology isn interesting an all but not if the meaning has changed. Sorry if I did cause offence though, definitely not meant as a gendered slur.

    Erm, you stupid sasquatch fucking goat sucking degenerate? :/

  165. Emrysmyrddin says

    Ah, the lawfs we had during school dinners, when ‘Spotted’ were on the menu…

    A truncuated form of Richard is about the only time you’ll get away with it here, old chap – although it is fitting on occasion… ;)

  166. jasonmartin says

    Happiestsadist, so am I. Surely then, you know these people. They tend to lean right of center, (I’m a working class son of a miner) and they are not persuaded in the same way as the educated classes. Honestly, do you really think that the average person on the street would find offense with such a cartoon? No, they wouldn’t. And that doesn’t mean that there’s not an example of systematic sexism here; but it does mean that this would be a bad example to set up for the average person. They’re more likely to find your arguments petty, humorless, and self-righteous, even if you’re correct. That’s why we need to pick our battles whether we be atheists, parents with kids, teachers, etc. This example of offense leaves a bad taste in the mouth and hurts you more than it helps.

  167. Geoff says

    I honestly didn’t notice the genders of the bunnies, and I don’t think religious people are stupid* anyway. Personally I like to think of myself as a feminist (trying my best at least) but I do think it’s possible to overdo the sexism spotting. I guess it would arguably have been better to avoid any apparent gender cues in the bunnies, but like I say, I honestly didn’t even register them.

    * Some stupid people are religious, sure, and being stupid probably does make falling for ridiculous stories more likely, but the power of religion lies in its ability to use a variety of neat hacks to make intelligent people accept crazy beliefs. If it only fooled the foolish, it would be less of a problem.

  168. Emrysmyrddin says

    Erm, you stupid sasquatch fucking goat sucking degenerate? :/

    Good show. Work a decaying porcupine in there and you’re away.

    However, ignoring the etymological root of a word in a discussion about meanings of words won’t get you too much further. It’s kind of inherent, there. Better luck next time.

  169. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    No, I said it’s too small an example to extrapolate sexism from.

    How many examples have to exist independently before one could consider it extrapolatable?

  170. says

    Is there any combination of genders that could have been used in this cartoon that wouldn’t have set someone off?

    Given binary options, there are four possible combinations, three of which would not have relied on stereotypes against femininity.

  171. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    PaulG
    Nope, where I’m from it gets used all the time and very much more by men towards other men.

    My Maude, you don’t even know the basics, do you?

    A GENDERED insult is one whose INSULT depends on vilifying a GENDER attribute.

    What has no influence on whether an insult is gendered:

    1.) Who uses it more, men or women
    2.) Against whom it’s used more, men or women

    Like with “dick”, “cunt” refers to (cis-women’s) genitalia for the purpose of making the person so-called look worse for being associated with said genitalia. It’s gendered and relies on denigrating an entire gender. Don’t do that. Sheesh.

  172. PaulG says

    “My Maude, you don’t even know the basics, do you?

    A GENDERED insult is one whose INSULT depends on vilifying a GENDER attribute.

    What has no influence on whether an insult is gendered:

    1.) Who uses it more, men or women
    2.) Against whom it’s used more, men or women

    Like with “dick”, “cunt” refers to (cis-women’s) genitalia for the purpose of making the person so-called look worse for being associated with said genitalia. It’s gendered and relies on denigrating an entire gender. Don’t do that. Sheesh”

    Denigrating an entire gender? My god. Call the overreaction police.

  173. PaulG says

    “No, I said it’s too small an example to extrapolate sexism from.

    How many examples have to exist independently before one could consider it extrapolatable?”

    6.

  174. says

    Jadehawk: I’m not responding to your last remark or probably any other. Your arrogance surpasses even mine and you appear to have strayed from the point of the argument so far that I’ve come to think that you mistook this thread for another.

    your inability to respond and meek flounce have been duly noted.

    Oh and the c word isn’t a gendered slur in the UK. Apologies to those in the US, genuine mistake.

    like fuck it isn’t.

    Yes you would need a larger sample size.

    that’s not a response that makes any sense in the context of what you’re supposedly responding to. did you miss what I said? do i need to re-explain it?

  175. Carlie says

    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.

    Exactly this, Emrysmyrddin. And then your little sigh gets met by screams that you’re being hysterical and overreactive and shut the fuck up because you’re ruining everything for everyone. And then you try to defend yourself, and then watch out, because now you really are hysterical and overreactive, see? Because now you’re getting upset and won’t stop talking about it.

    Oh and the c word isn’t a gendered slur in the UK.

    And yet, you chose to use it specifically for women who were saying things you didn’t like. Funny, that.

    No, I said it’s too small an example to extrapolate sexism from.

    Feminists look for things to get mad about

    And, in a very real way, ignoring “the little things” in favor of “the big stuff” makes the big stuff that much harder to eradicate, because it is the pervasive, ubiquitous, inescapable little things that create the foundation of a sexist culture on which the big stuff is dependent for its survival. It’s the little things, the constant drumbeat of inequality and objectification, that inure us to increasingly horrible acts and attitudes toward women.

    Irrespective of intent, the recommendation to “ignore the little stuff,” so often intertwined with accusations of looking for things about which to get offended, is not just ill-advised, but counter to the ultimate goal of full equality. It’s like a knife in my gut when I see feminists accusing other feminists of “hurting the cause” by focusing on “the little stuff,” because that’s It—that’s the stuff, that’s the fertile soil in which everything else takes root and from whence everything else springs, that’s the way that the fundamental idea that women are not equal to men is conveyed over and over and over again.

  176. PaulG says

    Erm, you stupid sasquatch fucking goat sucking degenerate? :/

    “Good show. Work a decaying porcupine in there and you’re away.

    However, ignoring the etymological root of a word in a discussion about meanings of words won’t get you too much further. It’s kind of inherent, there. Better luck next time”

    No, I like to be original. Plus you’ve been hiding all the decaying porcupines up your arse. BOOM TSH.

    That’s ok right, because both women and men have them???????

  177. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    Hey jasonmartin who is OH SO WORRIED AND CONCERNED that teh wimminz are doin feminizm rong:

    What you are doing? Trying to dictate what people spend their energy on when protesting a larger issue of discrimination? It’s called derailing and has been consistenly used by the Privileged to shut up the non-priviledged, to stop them from challenging privilege and becoming all uppity and saying stuffs you don’t like.

    You may also want to Google Concern Troll.

    Stop it. Sheesh.

  178. Emrysmyrddin says

    PaulG: When you call your mate ‘a cunt’, acknowledge it or not, you’re likening him to cis-female genitalia. This is supposed to be shaming, like calling him a ‘sissy’ (unmanly) or a ‘poof’ (gay, therefore unmanly or feminine). Again, it’s pretty inherent.

    Think about it before you make another post. None of that essentialist shaming is allowed here, and it’s a much safer and more creative space because of it.

  179. =8)-DX says

    @ahs ॐ
    “Given binary options, there are four possible combinations, three of which would not have relied on stereotypes against femininity.”

    In a way I would contend. I wrote this previously, but most often these kind of theist-vs-atheist, philosophy-vs-science problems are depicted as:
    MAN – vs – MAN
    FF and FM are the only combination that breaks the usual stereotypes in this situation. Which is why I would go for FM vs MF alternately (Because I think FF would divert focus on the gender issue), but I would love the FF version as well (comcis? with only two women? you gotta be kidding!). A series of comics explaining religion as childish intellectual flaws alternating the genders would be perfect.

  180. Pteryxx says

    When I saw “never trust anyone who speaks in pink word balloons” my antennae already went up, just from the pairing of “pink” with “untrustworthy”. Actually reading the comic just confirmed my sinking suspicion.

    Implicit assumptions are everywhere, once you know to recognize them; for instance:

    Gliewmeden says:
    24 November 2011 at 9:26 am

    Oh come on! How to ruin a perfectly wonderful story. I too didn’t see the gender in the characters. Just two buddies chatting. [emphasis added]

    (So even discounting the feminine-coding of pink didn’t rescue the assumption that characters default to male unless otherwise specified. Sigh…)

    And contrary to this:

    jasonmartin says:
    24 November 2011 at 11:35 am

    One of the first things I was taught (and one of the most helpful things) as a teacher was to pick your battles. If you run around trying to correct every single wrong, every instance of bad behavior, every sleight, every offense, no matter how small, you’ll actually end up doing yourself a disservice.

    Unconscious and implicit associations DO need to be pointed out overtly to break their reinforcement. Because:

    The results: women were interrupted (invariably by men) at least three times more often than the men. Sandler shared her results with her male colleagues, who were predictably defensive, claiming she must have miscounted or been biased in some way because of course they would never do such a thing. But the next day, when the meeting resumed, the men were far more careful not to interrupt when the women were speaking. Their awareness of the problem altered the way they treated the women in the meeting, even though they denied the problem existed. And Sandler realized, “Oh — this is changeable behavior.” She’s been working to change those behaviors ever since.

    quoted from here

    Pointing out the little things WORKS.

  181. PaulG says

    Oh and the c word isn’t a gendered slur in the UK.

    “And yet, you chose to use it specifically for women who were saying things you didn’t like. Funny, that”

    OMFG you have got to be kidding me? You’d see sexism in a potato.

  182. PaulG says

    ” A series of comics explaining religion as childish intellectual flaws alternating the genders would be perfect”

    Why don’t we/you/some people make them then? More effective that this thread.

  183. Agent Smith says

    We have almost everything in place that we need to define this as an example of institutionalized sexism, unintentional though it may be. But there’s still one piece missing. The voiceover. Until we find that, I can only conclude that it’s a cute comic featuring bunnies of indeterminate gender.

  184. PaulG says

    ’m from it gets used all the time and very much more by men towards other men.

    “yeah, insulting men by comparing them to a female body part is totes not sexist

    *sigh*”

    Yeah, when I used that word it’s totally to compare them to a vagina. That’s why the word is used. I won’t also happily use dick, because I’m a man and women have vaginas and vaginas are bad.

  185. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Denigrating an entire gender? My god. Call the overreaction police.

    When a man calls another man a ‘cunt’, he is saying that the man is not a man. Just like calling a man a ‘pussy’.

    ======

    6.

    So you cannot name five more comics or cartoons which use sexist stereotypes to reinforce misogyny? Is this really the first comic you have ever seen in which the female character is portrayed in a negative light?

  186. Agent Smith says

    Emrysmyrddin

    lol, arse is fine: like opinions, everyone has ‘em.

    Then what does it mean to be opinionated?

  187. Emrysmyrddin says

    OMFG you have got to be kidding me? You’d see sexism in a potato.

    More effective that this thread.

    Denigrating an entire gender? My god. Call the overreaction police.

    As I said earlier, whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re using the same arguments and dismissals as previous MRA-trolls. Take a look at this example website, take a look at what you’ve posted here, and then see why people have been reacting so strongly to you. You seem new, so I hope that you’ll take some learnin’ away from it all.

    http://derailingfordummies.com/

  188. says

    I worry that PZ might be taking this more personally than he ought. (My worry might be unfounded, but I still worry.)

    So I want to note something*

    I don’t see anyone here suggesting that you’re a bad guy for posting it, PZ.

    It’s just that once an aesthetic work is up for display, we need to talk about the sexism we notice.

    *if anyone disagrees with my observation, please say so.

  189. =8)-DX says

    “When you call your mate ‘a cunt’, acknowledge it or not, you’re likening him to cis-female genitalia. This is supposed to be shaming, like calling him a ‘sissy’ (unmanly) or a ‘poof’ (gay, therefore unmanly or feminine).”

    Yes.. we all know that. There’s also the fact that men in general compare each other to… wait for it… body parts. “You d*ck” vs “you c*nt” vs “you assh*le”. Our genitalia aren’t very intelligent you know.. so comparing people to genitalia is derisive of their intellect. I KNOW vaginas are taken to mean “soft,weak,accessible”, but there is also the basic level of any insult and that of comparing a whole individual (or a whole brain), to a single-function body part.
    I think that is why PaulG is confused. He misses the sexism and therefore only takes into account the intentional part of things.

    Of to the pub. Have a nice Pharyngula people!

  190. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    PaulG @216
    Denigrating an entire gender? My god. Call the overreaction police.

    Why hello thar Mr. Gaslighting! I knew we’d see you soon.

  191. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why don’t we/you/some people make them then? More effective that this thread.

    Why don’t you do something creative. You are the moaning about things. You need to do something to change our opinions of you.

  192. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    I don’t see anyone here suggesting that you’re a bad guy for posting it, PZ.

    It’s just that once an aesthetic work is up for display, we need to talk about the sexism we notice.

    Totally. Once again, no one can say it better than Carlie did in comment #37

  193. Emrysmyrddin says

    Then what does it mean to be opinionated?

    You like to share it around? Some of them are not fit to be seen in public? If you get it out too often, you may cause offence?

    Speaking as an opinionated person, I would often call myself an arse. Doesn’t mean my opinions aren’t worthy or right… ;)

  194. says

    Yeah, when I used that word it’s totally to compare them to a vagina. That’s why the word is used.

    do you even have the ability to comprehend what makes “cunt” an insult?

    it’s precisely the fact that it’s a word for vagina that it has the power to insult. “dick” has connotations of too much stereotypically male attributes, which thus also derives its power to insult from being a male-coded word.

    do you know anything about how language works?

  195. bla says

    I was thinking if we can’t calculate the probability of the author being biased knowing he’ve choosen F over M for ‘stupid-role’. But I guess the distribution of gender-bias in society might be biased and not uniform… so i’d be impossible.

  196. Emrysmyrddin says

    Yes.. we all know that. There’s also the fact that men in general compare each other to… wait for it… body parts. “You d*ck” vs “you c*nt” vs “you assh*le”. Our genitalia aren’t very intelligent you know.. so comparing people to genitalia is derisive of their intellect. I KNOW vaginas are taken to mean “soft,weak,accessible”, but there is also the basic level of any insult and that of comparing a whole individual (or a whole brain), to a single-function body part.
    I think that is why PaulG is confused. He misses the sexism and therefore only takes into account the intentional part of things.

    Yeah, I think it’s unintentional, that’s why I’m trying to be ‘nice’ about it. Continued obliviousness will result in my giving up, however, and stepping out of his way so that people with far sninier teefs are completely unimpeded.

    Of to the pub. Have a nice Pharyngula people!

    Lucky sod. Have a good one!

  197. Pteryxx says

    But there’s still one piece missing. The voiceover. Until we find that, I can only conclude that it’s a cute comic featuring bunnies of indeterminate gender.

    *grin* Why assume a given person’s gender can be reliably told from their voice? Some of us might surprise you. (see: Nancy Cartwright)

  198. PaulG says

    “Denigrating an entire gender? My god. Call the overreaction police.

    When a man calls another man a ‘cunt’, he is saying that the man is not a man. Just like calling a man a ‘pussy’”

    It is not denigrating an entire gender. Pussy is different to the…”c word”. I don’t use the word pussy or fag because of it’s connotations. C*** is used as a blanket insult, nobody thinks it’s an insult BECAUSE it’s a woman’s body part and the same for D***. I’d say it’s more that genitals in general are viewed as ugly and unsavoury, rather than specifically women or male genitals, both are used as insults. Because they are genitals.

    “So you cannot name five more comics or cartoons which use sexist stereotypes to reinforce misogyny? Is this really the first comic you have ever seen in which the female character is portrayed in a negative light?”

    Sorry, not going to explain myself again.

  199. jasonmartin says

    Hey Gen, Like I said, I’m not stopping you from being concerned about anything. Go right ahead, but just know that when you do, you’re only really having a conversation with yourself and people who think exactly like you do. If that’s cool with you, then by all means continue. What I’m saying, and I’ll bet you sort of agree, is that the average person on the street is going to be turned off by what they’ll almost certainly perceive as hypersensitivity. If you have a message, then find a spot where it’ll reach some people. If you want to run around pointing out offense at every turn, then knock yourself out. At the end of the day, you’ll find yourself looking a lot like Don Quixote tilting at windmills.

  200. Agent Smith says

    Hmm, PaulG, I know you didn’t mean anything mendacious, but it’s best to avoid the seaword. Regardless of what you meant it to mean, that word inevitably arrives at its recipient(s) with a destructive misogynistic payload. Good people suffer emotional wounding and distress, and I’m sure you don’t want that.

  201. Emrysmyrddin says

    nobody thinks it’s an insult BECAUSE it’s a woman’s body part and the same for D***

    Er, there is evidence to the contrary right here, don’tyathink?

  202. PaulG says

    “do you even have the ability to comprehend what makes “cunt” an insult?

    it’s precisely the fact that it’s a word for vagina that it has the power to insult. “dick” has connotations of too much stereotypically male attributes, which thus also derives its power to insult from being a male-coded word.

    do you know anything about how language works?”

    Oh FFS, Why do you have to argue like such an angry fuck?

    DO U EVEN HAVE TEH ABILITY BLAH BLAH BLAH

    Look above, I explained it. What is the actual point of PZ’s blog? Just for people to act like 15 year old internet trolls?

  203. says

    this is obviously and evidently false; by “nobody” you obviously just mean yourself, and possibly the people you hang out with.

    er. that doesn’t make grammatical sense. probably should have phrased it as “not you and possibly not the people you hang out with”

  204. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    *snort bloggle* @ Mr. PaulG, the egalitarian, perhaps the only one amongst us! who can’t grok the concept of gendered insults.

    Fuckin’ insults, how do they work?

    “It’s not sexist because that’s not what *I* meant when I used it”. Sure, d00d. Now if only there was a word for an underlying structure that permeates everything from the way we were raised to think about things to which qualities we assume are “good” qualities to have and why those specific qualities are considered “good”.

    Nope, can’t imagine what that might be.

    Thanks for playing, dood.

  205. Seamus says

    Dear Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom @ 187

    “*shakes head*

    Oh Seamus, Seamus @179. You were doing so well until that last line.”

    LOL!!
    Please clarify how your comment isn’t both condescending and also proving my point at the same time? Why do you get to shake your head? Your comment has the air of someone grading a paper….a natural presumption of superior knowledge.
    (I promise to try harder next time, teacher!!)

    If I may borrow from mathematics, I think QED is the way for me to sign off this time!

  206. PaulG says

    “Hmm, PaulG, I know you didn’t mean anything mendacious, but it’s best to avoid the seaword. Regardless of what you meant it to mean, that word inevitably arrives at its recipient(s) with a destructive misogynistic payload. Good people suffer emotional wounding and distress, and I’m sure you don’t want that”

    I’ve apologised already.

    No it doesn’t.

  207. says

    Oh FFS, Why do you have to argue like such an angry fuck?

    I’m not the one abusing the capslock.

    Look above, I explained it.

    no, you haven’t. you’ve demonstrated your own ignorance about the connotations and meaning of the word, and also failed to refute any of the arguments others made.

  208. jFruh says

    Nice way of representing religion vs science. I’m going to be using this a lot with members of my family :).
    It’s too bad the boy/girl representation did end up being a bad idea, though I’m sure the author didn’t realise the possible implications.

    But then… we’re also a bit guilty of sex generalisation, when we’re assuming that the “duck bunny” is girl bunny, JUST because it’s wearing a robe and it’s bubble is pink.
    After all… men all over the world wear skirts…. this could be a Sri Lankan bunny.

  209. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    nobody thinks it’s an insult BECAUSE it’s a woman’s body part

    You really fail to see that calling a man a woman’s body part is a gender-based insult? Despite multiple people explaining it to you? And you still insist on this?

  210. PaulG says

    Y U SOOOO ANNGRRYRRRYYY1!!!11!

    Now you’re being a douchewad. I give up”

    Ha, hypocrisy at it’s finest. Pretty sure I’m still here after all the mindless trolling and crap insults.

    What’s a douche by the way? I wouldn’t use feminine hygiene products as an insult after the spill you’ve just given.

  211. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    What I’m saying, and I’ll bet you sort of agree, is that the average person on the street is going to be turned off by what they’ll almost certainly perceive as hypersensitivity.

    Wow, jasonmartin. You really need to learn the meaning of the word ASS-u-ME.

    I would, in fact NOT agree with what you state. I would counter-argue that it was, in fact, this very kind of thing (“hypersensitivity” LOL), the fact that shit like this is CONSTANT and EVERY FUCKING WHERE that made me get off my intellectually lazy ass and start fucking investigating for some answers, which then led to feminism.

    An “ally” turned off the truth of YO WOMEN ARE PEOPLE TOO by such perceived “hypersensitivity” was never an ally to begin with so good riddance to bad rubbish and all that.

  212. Joachim says

    @202 =8)-DX:
    You may not find the duck but the duck will find you. The duck is pure love. Better believe all I´m saying or eternity in a rotting egg yolk awaits.

  213. PaulG says

    Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe says:
    24 November 2011 at 12:31 pm
    No it doesn’t.

    assertion counter to available evidence.

    Read start of thread. Realise stupidity of statement.

  214. PaulG says

    nobody thinks it’s an insult BECAUSE it’s a woman’s body part

    You really fail to see that calling a man a woman’s body part is a gender-based insult? Despite multiple people explaining it to you? And you still insist on this?”

    Actual facepalm.

  215. Emrysmyrddin says

    Again, it’s basic courtesy to read the wiki for posting rules before shooting your mouth off. A douche is NOT a feminine hygiene product – it is a cruel and unhygienic and thoroughly debunked quack product. Okayed for use here because of it’s root. Y’know, knowledge of nuance? Which you’re failing to display?

  216. says

    I would submit that calling someone a cunt, and then complaining that people are only supposed to think of you the way that you think of yourself, is well beneath the behavior of any competent 15 year old internet troll.

  217. says

    What’s a douche by the way? I wouldn’t use feminine hygiene products as an insult after the spill you’ve just given.

    a douche is not simply a feminine hygiene product, it’s a product that physically harms women and that promotes the idea that there’s something wrong with women’s bodies

  218. jasonmartin says

    You don’t get it. You’re so busy being offended and angry that you’ve forgotten that most people are sitting on their asses every day watching Dancing With the Stars and Survivor. They don’t give a rat’s ass about gender stereotypes in a cartoon. No way, no how. If you disagree, then I think you’re going to have a serious PR issue with your cause. The optics of your complaint are bad. To all the people I know who work with their hands, drive haul trucks, weld, etc. you just look like a bore and your message about sexism, in this case, right or wrong, sounds shrill and annoying. If you want to piss people off, then you’re on the right path. If you want to educate people, then pick your fucking battles, man. This ain’t it.

  219. says

    Again, it’s basic courtesy to read the wiki for posting rules before shooting your mouth off. A douche is NOT a feminine hygiene product – it is a cruel and unhygienic and thoroughly debunked quack product.

    Well, this isn’t on our wiki. It is over at http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Douche

    I guess I’ll do the Special:Export and Special:Import process after dinner if no one else beats me to it.

    /lazy

  220. Emrysmyrddin says

    My apologies – I’ve been reading so long I just assumed it’d be up there. Thanks ahs ॐ!

  221. says

    They don’t give a rat’s ass about gender stereotypes in a cartoon.

    which is precisely why we need to “give a rats ass”: if most people simply passively absorb this stuff and are thus conditioned by it to particular attitude formations, it’s our job to minimize the amount of classical conditioning that perpetuates sexist (and other) stereotypes, by making as many creators of art aware of this. d’uh?

  222. says

    I guess I’ll do the Special:Export and Special:Import process after dinner if no one else beats me to it.

    With the full history (that’s how we comply with CC licensing) if someone would like to beat me to it.

  223. jasonmartin says

    Gen, I see many parallels here with the atheist struggle. I’m no hard accomodationist, but if we walk around debunking and criticizing and mocking and educating the ignorant masses at every single instance then we’re done for. It hurts us more than it helps. We need to let some things go, and find out which issues are most important and start there. For example, though the Amish are just as irrational as the Southern Baptists, I’m not too worried about them at the moment.

  224. says

    Honestly, do you really think that the average person on the street would find offense with such a cartoon?

    In any case, we’re not talking to the average person on the street.

    We’re talking to the average Pharyngula reader.

    (And even a few of the extraordinary Pharyngula readers!)

    It seems it is you, jasonmartin, who does not understand how to pick his battles.

  225. The very model of a modern armchair general says

    I don’t often use offensive language, but when I do, I doubt if I’m ever thinking about the word’s etymological origins.

  226. jasonmartin says

    Oh Ahs, I see you’ve moved on to me. It is relevant to speak here about how best to communicate a message, whether it be about religion, science, alternative medic ine, feminism, etc. It’s worth thinking about how to spread your message to others beyond the Pharyngula bubble.

  227. Joachim says

    The author probably simply bought a nice little box with a pair of mice. They don´t sell gay or lesbian mice couples usually so that´s what he got. Done.

  228. The Rat King says

    You know, not too long ago pink and blue were pretty much interchangeable for boys and girls. Hell it was 50/50 in the West over the belief as to just which colour was ‘proper’ for either sex. On the one side of the disagreement was the belief that pink was for boys because it is a colour that stands out, and blue was for girls because it is a soft and subdued colour.

    To me, the arguments of sexism here are just ridiculous; it is taking away from a frankly brilliant piece of god-bot bothering.

    Over-reaction hurts the movement.

  229. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    Gen, I see many parallels here with the atheist struggle.

    I agree.

    I’m no hard accomodationist but

    Oh, is this like “I’m not racist but…” or “I’m not sexist but…”? Why yes, there it is!

    but if we walk around debunking and criticizing and mocking and educating the ignorant masses at every single instance then we’re done for. It hurts us more than it helps.

    You’re absolutely and completely wrong. Demonstrably wrong, even, since no progress has ever been made while the oppressed stayed nice and civil, throughout history. It takes ANGER, it takes PASSION to effect the kind of change we need.

    But hey, the important thing is to feel superior to “both” sides (accomodationalism vs LOUDMOUTHS, in both feminism and atheism). Right? (Source)

  230. Gallstones says

    Some vagina people are stupid. Some penis people are stupid. Some vagina people are intelligent. Some penis people are intelligent. Most vagina and penis people are average.

    It is a fucking cartoon making a point about religious fundamentalism, there is only sexism if a stupid vagina or penis person projects sexism onto it.

    Holy shit some people just can’t think–or don’t bother to.

    I’d bother to be embarrassed by this stupidity but I am a vagina person who is too smart for that.

  231. says

    You don’t get it. You’re so busy being offended and angry that you’ve forgotten that most people are sitting on their asses every day watching Dancing With the Stars and Survivor. They don’t give a rat’s ass about gender stereotypes in a cartoon. No way, no how. If you disagree, then I think you’re going to have a serious PR issue with your cause. The optics of your complaint are bad. To all the people I know who work with their hands, drive haul trucks, weld, etc. you just look like a bore and your message about sexism, in this case, right or wrong, sounds shrill and annoying. If you want to piss people off, then you’re on the right path. If you want to educate people, then pick your fucking battles, man. This ain’t it.

    First, I’m a Survivor fan.

    Second, so we’re not supposed to try to educate people on how the little things contribute to the big picture? Are we only supposed to speak up on major offenses? Where do we draw the line? Would you also presume to tell people affected by racism and/or homophobia where they should draw the line? You keep comparing this to atheist activism, but the fact of the matter is that when you’re part of the traditionally oppressed group, you’re free to say where the line should be, but when you’re not, trying to tell us where to draw the line comes across as patronizing lecturing.

  232. Pteryxx says

    The average person doesn’t know or care about lots of systemic problems that detract from their lives. That’s why some of us go around raising awareness, so some total stranger’s kids grow up in a less sexist, unequal, and toxic world.

  233. says

    I was away for a while and have only partially caught up with the carnival of sexist apology. Am leaving again now, but here’s one for the road:

    To all those who complain about the supposed sexism: Would you have complained if it had been the other way around? If not, then you are hypocrites!

    Yeah. Totally. Because if this had been a cartoon with a black person as a criminal and a white person as a cop, and someone had pointed out the racism of that stereotype, they’d be hypocrites to suggest that an improvement (though not the ideal way to counter the stereotype) would have been to have a black cop and a white criminal instead.

    Why can’t we even get beyond the denial stage?? It’s so frustrating.

  234. says

    Uh, guys, really?

    In a group of idiots, roughly half will be female. That’s just how gender distribution works.

    Would you rather that characters who just so happen to be female NEVER get depicted as stupid or flawed? That’s just silly. What you’re suggesting is that when an artist makes a cartoon, they HAVE to have mono-gendered casts. If it’s a stupid girl and a smart boy, it’s sexist. If it’s a stupid boy and a smart girl, it’s still sexist. But if EVERYONE is one gender, that’s plain unrealistic.

    It’s wrong to even suggest that an artist can never design a dumb character that is female. If we have true gender equality, then we’re free to assign whatever gender we want to characters. Walking over eggshells when something as silly as BUNNY GENDERS comes up is superficial and useless.

    And before you accuse me of being MRA or mansplaining, I am female. I just think that pointing out non-issues like this trivializes legitimate issues.

    Seriously, unless you can come up with a solution to this problem that doesn’t involve ALWAYS making everyone (even bunnies!) the same gender, then it’s a damned silly problem.

    Really. Sometimes females are stupid. Sometimes males are stupid. Sometimes females are smart. Sometimes males are smart. If we want to be equal we can’t gripe about portraying these possibilities equally.

  235. Gen, or The RadFem of Dhoom says

    The average person doesn’t know or care about lots of systemic problems that detract from their lives. That’s why some of us go around raising awareness, so some total stranger’s kids grow up in a less sexist, unequal, and toxic world.

    GodDAMN!

  236. Gregory Greenwood says

    Oh, this is going to be one of those threads, I take it?

    I know I should resist the urge to take the mansplainers and male supremacists to task. I’ll just look through the thread and see if any comment about the willful ignorance of theists occurs to me…

    *peruses thread*

    It is not denigrating an entire gender. Pussy is different to the…”c word”. I don’t use the word pussy or fag because of it’s connotations. C*** is used as a blanket insult, nobody thinks it’s an insult BECAUSE it’s a woman’s body part and the same for D***. I’d say it’s more that genitals in general are viewed as ugly and unsavoury, rather than specifically women or male genitals, both are used as insults. Because they are genitals.

    Oh come on! How the fictional hell trope am I supposed to ignore that?

    *grinds teeth* Must… fight…urge… to… engage…in…derail…

    Bah! I am just not strong enough!

    —————————————————————-

    @ PaulG;

    Don’t you see that the very use of a slang term for a genital organ as an insult has the intended effect of rendering the target of that insult down to their genitalia? It associates negative personality attributes with the fact of gender or, if say ‘p*ssy’ or ‘c*nt’ are applied to a man, then the insult functions by using a reference to female genitalia as an insult in and of itself? Simultaneously denigrating womanhood as ‘lesser’ and expressing homophobia by playing into the idea that any trait in a man that is viewed as ‘effiminate’ is devalued?

    Then there is the specific history of the term. Given that women have hstorically been treated as literal chattel of men for centuries, and in most cases that idea of women as property had specific connotations of women as sexual property*, then is it any surprise that an insult that renders a woman down to her genitalia , to the very thing that determins her only ‘value’ in the eyes of patriarchal culture, is particularly problematic?

    * Complete with the idea that the male ‘owner’ had a right to sexual congress with the woman he owned his wife/concubines/female servants in the same way he had the right to ride his horse or, in the case of an unmarried virgin woman, that her father or other male relatives had the right to barter her body for ecoonomic, social or political advantage. Women were treated not so much as people derserving of respect as humans, but as ambulatory vaginas that had no ‘value’ outside their marriageability and as a means to male sexual gratification and vectors for the next generation.

  237. Joachim says

    @284 The Rat King:
    They are mice. You cannot prove there is no long tail just because you are not able to see… Oh Deja vu…

  238. jasonmartin says

    I know what the problem is gen, we just disagree with how to go about solving it. When carolers show up at my door I don’t browbeat them about their religious assumptions. But that’s just me.

  239. says

    If it’s a stupid girl and a smart boy, it’s sexist. If it’s a stupid boy and a smart girl, it’s still sexist.

    no. there is no cultural trope that says men are more religious or less likely to be critical thinkers; thus, the gender-reversal would not perpetuate sexist stereotypes and would not contribute to stereotypical attitude formation.

    I’m fucking sick of ignorant people who feel the urgent need to share their ignorant opinions.

  240. Gregmusings says

    I thought I’d delurk to add a thought or two. This cartoon so reminds me of reading storybooks to my daughter 25 years ago. It was nearly impossible to find books with girl heroes and most of the side characters were also male. Sure, there were some books with many girls in them, but the preponderance were about boys. It got to where I was randomly changing the sex of some boy characters just to even things out. So while this is just one cartoon, it exists in a sea of other cartoons, books, and media in which girls aren’t as active and clever as boys.

    But back to the original cartoon, I think it’s wonderful. What a cute way to show two ways of thinking.

  241. Gallstones says

    [:deep sigh:] I used to enjoy Pharyngula. If this is what it has become, I’m just……disappointed. Rationality has lost another element.

  242. Lycanthrope says

    …My brain is full of fuck…

    It’s really not that difficult to grasp. When I first read the comic, I didn’t see the gender stereotyping. When it was pointed out, I thought, “Huh, that is unfortunate. It would indeed have been easy to avoid that trap altogether. I hope the artist will think about that in future.” Like ‘Tis Himself, I took it as a bit of consciousness-raising regarding my male privilege.

    No one is demonizing the artist, or saying the comic is worthless because of this. They’re just saying, “Isn’t that unfortunate. It was probably unintentional, but I hope the artist considers this in the future.”

    Disclaimer: I read ~140 comments, then skipped the rest.

  243. Gallstones says

    Absolutist zealotry has to be pathological. No one can sustain a cogent existence in that frame of mind.

    Either that or some people will get a clue when the realities of life catch up and overtake their immaturity.

  244. Gallstones says

    O_o I notice that every post I have made has a “pink” icon attached.

    It’s oppressive sexism I tell ya’!!!!!!!!

    I demand a more neutral color.

  245. jasonmartin says

    Getting back to the cartoon’s message, I think a creationist could look at it and still fell good about himself by simply reversing the roles. He could say that the dogmatic one is the scientist who insists on materialistic evolution. The one putting the peices together finds God in the picture. I’m not sure they’d get it.

  246. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Gallstones #298

    I used to enjoy Pharyngula. If this is what it has become, I’m just……disappointed. Rationality has lost another element.

    Good bye. Have a nice rest of your life. Nobody will miss you. Don’t forget to pick up your porcupine on your way out, it fits up your asshole.

  247. Gregory Greenwood says

    Ibis3, denizen of a spiteful ghetto @ 287;

    Because if this had been a cartoon with a black person as a criminal and a white person as a cop, and someone had pointed out the racism of that stereotype, they’d be hypocrites to suggest that an improvement (though not the ideal way to counter the stereotype) would have been to have a black cop and a white criminal instead.

    This occurred to me too. What if the only changes to the above cartoon that we made were that both bunnies were male, but the rational one was white and in a neat business suit, and the irrational one was black and wearing one of those knitted hats commonly associated with Bob Marley, perhaps with a dreadlock or two sticking out from underneath it? And the speech bubbles had a light coloured background with black text for the white bunny, and a dark coloured background with white text for the black bunny? Would people be so quick to dismiss statements that this version of the image replicated unfair stereotypes? If the thread were infested by people saying that it is simply paranoid to see racism, and that the idea that the image is reflective of a broader tendency toward racial discrimination in society is ridiculous, would those people be let off easily? And if they weren’t, would numerous others arrive to condemn ‘race equality radicals’ for being unreasonable?

  248. says

    When I saw the first picture of the cartoon, I thought “please don’t let it go that way”.
    And I was disappointed.
    When I saw the thread I thought “please, don’t let it go that way*”
    And I was disappointed.

    To me, the arguments of sexism here are just ridiculous; it is taking away from a frankly brilliant piece of god-bot bothering.

    Over-reaction hurts the movement.

    Yeah, lie back and think of the movement!
    I’m wondering if people would dare to make the same argument if a person of colour complained about some stupid stereotype that was reinforced.
    Well, actually that’s a rethorical question. Course they wouldn’t. It’s only ever OK to tell women to shut up and stop complaining because they’re hurting the movement

    BTW, there’s a decaying porcupine over there

    *You know, somebody mentioning casually that it is a great cartoon indeed but it would be even greater if it didn’t reinforce hurtful gender stereotypes.

  249. says

    jasonmartin

    Oh Ahs, I see you’ve moved on to me.

    Bawwww?

    It is relevant to speak here about how best to communicate a message, whether it be about religion, science, alternative medic ine, feminism, etc. It’s worth thinking about how to spread your message to others beyond the Pharyngula bubble.

    But that’s not what you’ve done here, and so you’re portraying your own actions disingenuously.

    What you said:

    The people who find offense with this cartoon will attack me for saying this, but I think they do their cause more harm than good by failing to pick their battles more wisely.

    You’re talking about this conversation right here at Pharyngula right now, and saying that it hurts “the cause.”

    If someone was proposing “let’s go call the artist a misogynistic neanderthal!” then your sniny new backtracked objection v2.0 would be plausibly relevant to the discussion (even if still arguably incorrect).

    Congratulate yourselves on catching the prejudice in the cartoon and move on.

    I already congratulated myself for my awesomely insightful comment at #196, thanks!

    Now I’m waiting for you to move on and quit berating people here for having different priorities than you.

  250. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    O_o I notice that every post I have made has a “pink” icon attached.

    It’s oppressive sexism I tell ya’!!!!!!!!

    I demand a more neutral color.

    Since you didn’t set up a gravatar, an abstract one was assigned randomly to you. The pink goes lovely with your prose. You could complain to the software that runs the blog, but I think it won’t listen.

  251. pelamun says

    I also think the gender roles in the cartoon were clear and might constitute inherent sexism. This could’ve been noted shortly and that would’ve been it, were it not for the vehement reaction of some posters here.

    Anyhow, just one thing about the linguistic aspect: etymology is never a valid argument about synchronic usage. Period. What matters is synchronic language use. Many words have changed their meaning over time. If you introduce etymology as a valid argument, then you open up a whole nother can of worms.

    I’ve heard the argument before that in some dialects of BrE “cunt” has lost its genderedness, but I haven’t actually been able to confirm this. As long as it can refer to the female genitals, it cannot be said to have become ungendered. If hypothetically speaking, in a given dialect, cunt is never used in that way, and generically to refer to people of either gender, then yes, one could claim that.

    Also, a person could claim that in their idiolect, “cunt” was ungendered. Unless they can be shown to actually use it differently, one wouldn’t be able to argue against it..

    But these points are moot, as the convention here is that if a word is gendered/discriminiatory in any dialect of English, it shouldn’t be used.

  252. Seamus says

    On behalf of the non-human members of the animal kingdom, I would like to make a very serious complaint about the ridiculous degree of anthropomorphising that occurs in the human world. Why should humans be allowed to suggest that all species are alike and that all have human traits aspirations and perspectives?
    If humans want to create deities that they percieve to be just like them that is their right! But to drag poor innocent cuddly furry mammals into their arguments is simply unacceptable!!
    And to dress such poor creatures in non-descript (but apparently gender indicative) role-playing scenarios is simply too much to take!
    These bunnies (or mice) would much rather be making more bunnies (or mice) than wearing human (whether actually male or female in nature) clothing!
    Why can’t we all just, get along?

  253. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Bunny 1: Hey look, there’s a few signs of sexism in this puzzle I’m putting together. Look, there’s a girl bunny being portrayed as an idiot, once again. It looks a lot like these other pieces, where girl bunnies are shown to be less intelligent and less interested in critical thinking than boy bunnies.

    Bunny 2: Nuh uh. It says right here on the box: “Pure 100% equality contained.” No sexism.

    Bunny 1: Really? Because showing girl bunnies as stupid is a pretty common sexist stereotype, and it’s been shown by scientific research to have a damaging effect on the performance of actual girls on various types of tests.

    Bunny 2: You don’t even know if that bunny is really a girl. It could be a boy bunny wearing a dress and talking in pink bubbles.

    Bunny 1: Oh come on. Everyone knows that dresses and pink are associated with girliness.

    Bunny 2: Well, maybe it was completely random. Maybe the author of the puzzle just picked colors at random and came up with blue and pink, and picked clothing at random, and came up with a pair of pants and a dress. And then totally randomly assigned the “stupid” role to the pink-dress-bunny.

    Bunny 1: That is theoretically possible, but it seems extremely unlikely. It’s far more likely that the author of the puzzle simply has a bit of ingrained, subconscious sexist bias, as many people do, including me and you.

    Bunny 2: WHAT?!? How dare you accuse me of being sexist! You’re so hysterical! Look, I don’t know what is wrong with you–you keep on seeing sexism in this puzzle even though the box clearly says there’s no sexism in this puzzle! What a stupid cunt you are.

    Bunny 1: Sigh…

  254. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Can the zealot ever see himself as a zealot?

    Can the troll ever see himself as just a troll?

  255. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    It is an excellent cartoon. Very representative of what it’s like to deal with someone who’s clinging to ANY sort of irrational belief.

  256. jasonmartin says

    The problem isn’t that it’s sexist. The problem is that there are a handful of zealots on this blog who think it necessary to browbeat people everytime they come across it. On this bklog, there will be a highly disproportionate number of people who agree with them that it should be mentioned here and used to educate others. My opinion is that, even though this may indeed be a case of sexism, it is a poorly chosen example because it seems ridiculous to average people. Everyone here must have at least an inkling of an idea of how stupid this is outside of their own little bubble. Does anyone think that we should be browbeating Christmas carolers who come to our door? Should we treat all religious privilege as offensive or should we know when to walk away. The zealots on this board don’t know when to walk away. They can’t help themselves. Nobody likes zealots, no matter what the cause.

  257. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Jasonmartin, now YOU are the one who’s dragging the discussion out. Why can’t YOU let it go? I can.

  258. says

    I like how jasonmartin acknowledges there is sexism in the cartoon

    Congratulate yourselves on catching the prejudice in the cartoon

    but insists that you’re a zealot if you want to talk about it in any way not pre-approved by jasonmartin.

    I wonder, in particular, if there is anyone in this thread other than jasonmartin who has acknowledged the sexism but is not being a zealot about it. Can you name anyone else, jasonmartin, or are you the only one here who knows precisely how to talk about sexism?

    It appears that if a feminist responds to someone who disgrees, then the feminist is therefore a zealot, quod erat demonstrandum.

    +++++
    I also like how jasonmartin’s idea of “moving on” is that jasonmartin gets to keep talking about it, and people who say it’s not sexist get to keep asserting that it’s not, ad infinitum. Only responding to jasonmartin et al constitutes not moving on.

  259. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The problem is that there are a handful of zealots on this blog who think it necessary to browbeat people everytime they come across it.

    And how to expect things to change if the problem isn’t challenged. Oh, right, you are a concern troll grade 1.

    My opinion

    And why should we care about your concern trolling type 1 opinion?

    Does anyone think that we should be browbeating Christmas carolers who come to our door?

    This is a non-sequitur. Typical of concern trolls grade 1 trying to make something else into the problem, and not the problem under discussion. Misdirection, not the problem.

    Nobody likes zealots, no matter what the cause.

    That’s right concern troll grade 1 zealot. We don’t like you either.

  260. says

    Round and round he goes.

    My opinion is that, even though this may indeed be a case of sexism, it is a poorly chosen example because it seems ridiculous to average people.

    We already knew your opinion, jasonmartin. Observe:

    “In any case, we’re not talking to the average person on the street.

    We’re talking to the average Pharyngula reader.

    (And even a few of the extraordinary Pharyngula readers!)

    It seems it is you, jasonmartin, who does not understand how to pick his battles.”

  261. says

    Can the zealot ever see himself as a zealot?

    Kudos. I’m glad you’ve decided to stop talking about any of the women here as zealots.

    (Yes, I know damned well what you meant, but I’ll be glad to pick the masculine pronoun as default battle with you if you consider that one more appropriate. Frankly I wouldn’t know because I never received your memo about which battles are appropriate over at Feminism HQ.)

  262. jasonmartin says

    Well, you’ll be pleased to note that I have to go now on other business and will not post again on this thread. Besides, there’s no such thing as a conversation with zealots. Never has been, never will. How long will you zealots lurk here looking for red meat? Don’t sweat the small stuff, my mother used to say.

  263. rachelswirsky says

    I’m wondering if people would dare to make the same argument if a person of colour complained about some stupid stereotype that was reinforced.
    Well, actually that’s a rethorical question. Course they wouldn’t. It’s only ever OK to tell women to shut up and stop complaining because they’re hurting the movement

    I just wanted to say that this is really untrue.

    I sympathize with the frustration here, but POC are often told to shut up because they are overreacting and that they are diminishing “real” racism by pointing out incidents that “merely” reinforce the status quo.

    I cannot actually think of an oppressed population that *isn’t* treated to this particular concern trolling actually.

  264. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Don’t sweat the small stuff, my mother used to say.

    Definitely not sweating jasonmartin.

  265. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Besides, there’s no such thing as a conversation with zealots. Never has been, never will.

    Which is why you are bailing out, as a zealot you finally recognized we weren’t listening to you as you were outed for what you are. Nothing in your opinion on sexism would be big enough to fight for. I had your number with your first post. It isn’t like we haven’t seen this before. You are simply another zealot trying to keep change in privilege from happening. You lose…

  266. monad says

    Is it really still a trope to have the woman be the dumb one? It always seemed to me that in most comics, that’s the one they skip or reverse. That way, even when it turns out she’s nothing but an over-emotional motherly amalgam of other 1950s gender stereotypes, you can fall back on “but she’s the competent one!”

  267. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    *blinks in awe at the Caine signal*

    *sets up a tankard of seven-day-old grog for the artist*

  268. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    Monad:

    Yes, it still is in some comics. Ones far more recent than the 1950s. Check out the Smurfs for an example. (Though Smurfette is more a passive plot-furthering victim than an airhead. . . .)

  269. Gallstones says

    Zealotry is faux concern. It is irrational and aggressive and myopic. An exaggerated, internal fabrication of personal affront and threat. It is a kind of drunkenness, and there is no reasoning with it. Unfortunately, unlike drunks, zealots don’t sober up.

  270. Carlie says

    Zealotry is faux concern. It is irrational and aggressive and myopic. An exaggerated, internal fabrication of personal affront and threat. It is a kind of drunkenness, and there is no reasoning with it. Unfortunately, unlike drunks, zealots don’t sober up.

    You have perfectly described the guys who get all offended and upset and come roaring in to scream in all caps and exclamation points that we are overreacting and who cry that we hurt the movement by asking nicely for it to not hurt women so much.

  271. says

    Thank you for that, Gallstones, because the little hurts certainly don’t matter and should never be pointed out. Only zealots care about anything other than the big hurts.

  272. shawnthesheep says

    #2
    I’m pretty sure that if you examined these rabbits you’d find they both lack a gender. So applying your gender norms to these rabbits is far from fair. What if they are both boy rabbits, and one boy rabbit just happens to like wearing dresses?

  273. Father Ogvorbis, OMoron says

    shawnthesheep:

    And if you read the whole thread, you will note that yours is not an original observation and it has been rather thoroughly discussed. Repeatedly.