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You don’t get to be “over” rape

Oh, great. Ben Radford has put his foot in his mouth again. Radford has announced that he is “over” rape, that he doesn’t like the “One Billion Rising” efforts by Eve Ensler because she abuses statistics, and that he’s going to beat up a whole bunch of straw feminists. You can tell he’s got all of his ideas about what feminists believe from listening attentively to anti-feminists — it’s rather like reading an anti-evolution rant from someone who has got all of his information from creationist web sites. It tells us nothing useful about the subject under discussion, but it’s extremely revealing about the critic’s personal biases.

Ophelia has already set all of his straw on fire, but I have to mention that I agree with him on one thing: this One Billion Rising stuff leaves me cold, for reasons that Natalie Gyte articulates so well. Radford’s reasons, though, are classic hyperskepticism. Ensler has said that one in three women will be raped, violated, or beaten in their lifetime, which is where that “one billion” number comes from. Radford objects! It’s not true!

The correct statistic is not that one billion women will be raped in her lifetime (as Ensler said in an interview on Democracy Now!), nor that one in three women “will be raped or beaten” in her lifetime (as Ensler states on the One Billion Rising web site), but instead that one-third of women “has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused” in her lifetime (as referenced in the study linked to on the web site). “Otherwise abused” includes “homicide, intimate partner abuse, psychological abuse, dating violence, same-sex violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape and economic abuse.” All these are serious, legitimate problems, but not all of them are physical beatings or rape (nor even involve men). This is important because mischaracterizing the statistic as reflecting women either being “raped or beaten” harms victimized women instead of empowering them by not reflecting the true diversity of forms of abuse.

You know, when someone tells me that statistics are being distorted for a cause, I imagine someone misrepresenting the data with exaggeration or understatement to bias it in a prejudicial direction. I don’t consider simplifying for a public interview while keeping the core numbers accurate to be using “misleading statistics to support their social agendas.”

One billion women have been victims of “homicide, intimate partner abuse, psychological abuse, dating violence, same-sex violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape and economic abuse,” confirmed by statistics that Radford cites. One billion women. Radford’s hyperskepticism is so fierce that he objects to Ensler using 3 general words — raped, beaten, violated — instead of 26 more specific words, but is willing to overlook the horrific truth that she is correct and one billion women will suffer for their sex in their lifetime.

Maybe it’s a good thing he’s over complex social issues; from now on he can stick to the easy stuff, like debunking bigfoot stories, that are apparently at the upper limit of his intellectual capacity.

Comments

  1. Chris A says

    I think that his inclusion of “nor even involve men” is a bit telling. Because it is all about picking on men really, of course. It has nothing to do with actually being concerned for approximately half the humans on the planet, just another excuse to say how horrible men are!

  2. The Mellow Monkey says

    Ah, Eve Ensler bringing a glossy, media friendly, prettified version of woman empowerment into the media spotlight once more. Give me the The Clitoris Monologues instead. Or better yet, don’t reduce womanhood to a body part.

    From the HuffPo piece:

    I recently listened to a Congolese woman talk in a speak-easy setting of radical grassroots feminists. She was radiantly and beautifully powerful in her unfiltered anger towards the One Billion Rising movement, as she used the words “insulting” and “neo-colonial”. She used the analogy of past crimes against humanity, asking us if we could imagine people turning up at the scenes of atrocities and taking pictures or filming for the purposes of “telling their story to the rest of the world”. Take it one step further and try to imagine a white, middle class, educated, American women turning up on the scene to tell survivors to ‘rise’ above the violence they have seen and experienced by…wait for it…dancing. “Imagine someone doing that to holocaust survivors”, she said.

    Yeah, “insulting and neo-colonial” is a good start.

  3. Bernard Bumner says

    Eve Ensler misjudged a poltical stunt, therefore I am over whatever happens to a sixth of the population?

    Because the only rational response to a political damp squib is to become a delirious intellectual-suicide-bomber for the cause of generalised antipathy?

  4. The Mellow Monkey says

    @Bernard Bumner, of course. Because the real goal is to find an excuse to not care, right?

    That seems to be the most logical explanation in stuff like this. “This description was overly general, therefore rape isn’t something I have to care about.”

  5. fwtbc says

    His hyper-skepticism is really fucking infuriating.

    I read his post earlier, and while I was there, I went and read his post about trigger warnings, and the hyper-skepticism is through the roof in that one.

    He’d clearly woken up in the morning, climbed out of his skeptics bed, put on his skeptics suit and packed himself a good lil’ skeptics lunch and set off to talk to every skeptic contact he knows to see if he can get to the bottom of whether or not forewarning people that the content of a post might be something they’d rather avoid.

    Seriously, just fuck off. So tired of the smug dismissiveness of people like him. Here, go sign Dan’s pledge. I’m sure he’d want us to be really nice to you while you debate whether or not there’s a scientifically justified, peer-reviewed basis for taking 2 seconds to give your readers a heads-up of the upcoming content, because it’s clearly such a contentious, world-shaking topic that simply having lots of people say it’s helpful is too fucking anecdotal.

  6. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    Ah, yes. The quibbling over what is possibly the least relevant aspect of a claim made about something affecting women in society and the insistence that ‘discussing’ that is far more important than that which actually affects people.

    Where have we heard that before?

  7. glodson says

    …date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape…

    There’s a word for all that. It’s rape. That’s rape. Just rape will capture all of them.

    All these are serious, legitimate problems, but not all of them are physical beatings or rape (nor even involve men). This is important because mischaracterizing the statistic as reflecting women either being “raped or beaten” harms victimized women instead of empowering them by not reflecting the true diversity of forms of abuse.[emphasis added]

    Goddamnit, what an asshole. He’s picking this apart because why? Because they aren’t legitimate abuse and rape? I don’t understand how this even remotely supports his point. The women are still abused and raped and harmed at the rate stated. Diminishing the importance of some of this abuse because it isn’t “physical beatings or rape” is missing the point in what I can only assume to be in an intentionally stupid way.

  8. Bernard Bumner says

    Don’t you understand? Each of these completely unrelated problems is statistically insignificant. If you dig into the statistics, you realise that each of these victims really only represents a one in six-billion set of circumstances. By the time you take out all of the non-physical abuse, non-rapes, of which there is some number that only Ben Radford can imagine, these occurrences are so rare as to be unfathomable and unstoppable. There is nothing that can be done about it. Except by the police. The answer is The Police.

  9. carlie says

    I notice he never says that he is over Eve Ensler. Interesting how he totally ignores the woman who performed the actions he doesn’t like in order to use her as a banner to be over all of the actual problems.

  10. carlie says

    It’s so sad that “equality” and “stupidity” have to keep being paired in the keyword tags like that.

  11. says

    I dislike the phrase “hyperskepticism”, as it implies strict adherence to a good thing. Why not “pseudoskepticism”, or just “denialism”?

  12. carlie says

    I give it maybe another 12 hours before Ben Radford writes a scathing post about how nobody understood what he was saying and are all on hair triggers looking for offense when he was actually using a complex writing style that everyone else is too stupid and uneducated to understand.

  13. Larry Poppins says

    I can hardly express how angry I am Radford’s article. What utter horseshit! And that dismissive one about the “fallacious fad” of adding trigger warnings to posts about rape! Just when I’m thinking maybe, maybe try going to a local skeptics meeting. Maybe it won’t be full of hyperskeptics and libertarians, I think. But when these kinds of views are put forward by skeptic authors it makes me wonder if I should even bother. If anyone is looking for another data point showing how anti-feminist rhetoric is making people wary of getting involved with skeptical organizations here I am.

    I don’t really need a pat on the back for not thinking my house has ghosts, or a cookie for believing there are no gods. I sure as hell don’t want a beer for listening to the kind of things Radford is writing.

    [/relurk]

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I dislike the phrase “hyperskepticism”, as it implies strict adherence to a good thing.

    Hyperskepticism is a very appropriate word. It means that a reasonable skepticism has been turned up to the point where no evidence is good enough to change the mind of the skeptic; they have essentially stopped listening. Yes, it is also a form of denialism.

  15. says

    Yep, there’s always some asshole who goes around analyzing things with a microscope and a fine-toothed comb and screaming “A-HA! GOTCHA!” over the slightest detail out of place, or where something has been simplified for rhetorical clarity, or they twist things by hyperskepticism into being “merely” generally correct rather than perfect in every way… and then it justifies being an asshole. Which they were going to be anyways. Definite shades of “legitimate rape” here as well, which is disappointing.

    What’s next? “Well, it isn’t actually one in three, it is really 11 in 35. And current statistics suggest that the number is closer to 950 million rather than one billion. I’m so over rounding things up! And rape!”

  16. Randomfactor says

    Because if it’s not legitimate rape the victim’s body has a way of shutting down the emotional and physical trauma, right?

  17. says

    Ah yeah, I remember a troll pitching a fit because I wrote a piece that, for brevity’s sake, rolled up attempted and completed rapes into the general category of men raping women. Apparently, there is no greater injustice than labeling a man a rapist because tried to rape someone but failed because his victim successfully fought off penetration, though obviously not violation. I’m unclear what the issue was. Perhaps the fear was that the exclusive club of rapists would be dirtied by having to admit men who aren’t successful at subduing their victims.

    Just kidding! I know that what’s going on is that the knee-jerk desire to minimize any violence against women turns misogynists into blithering idiots, arguing about the numbers of angels dancing on a head of a pin while women continue to be violated in a myriad of ways every minute of the day, all of them terrifying and painful for the victims.

  18. anteprepro says

    All these are serious, legitimate problems, but not all of them are physical beatings or rape (nor even involve men).

    You see that part in bold? I get the impression that it is indicative of the underlying motivation behind all that there True Skepticism. Because, you see, we gotta defend the good name of Men! Gotta defend Men from those misandrists and those feminazis and those statisticians. Gotta minimize rape through whatever desperate means possible, gotta minimize men’s major role in rape, and gotta deny deny deny through whatever Skeptical means possible, in order to avoid having to take a deep look at a serious issue.
    “If a third of women have been harmed by sexual violence, by men, that means that a lot of men are pretty fucking foul human beings! I am a man! Ergo, that would make me very uncomfortable if that were true. Ergo, feminists be lying! Somehow! Man logic rules! QED!”

    “homicide, intimate partner abuse, psychological abuse, dating violence, same-sex violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape and economic abuse.”

    Dishonest fuck isn’t going to bother noting that 5 of those 12 are explicitly and exclusively rape, and that 4 (elder abuse, same-sex violence, intimate partner abuse, and dating violence) are categories that pretty well summed by “raped or beaten”? The only three that don’t fit under that umbrella are psychological abuse, economic abuse, and FUCKING HOMICIDE. So, basically, two categories of abuse that these kind of hyperskeptical assholes probably WOULDN’T EVEN CONSIDER ABUSE and another category of abuse that is severe that it results in the victim fucking dying. And this True Skeptic fucking dares to quibble about “raped or beaten” due to it not reflecting “the true diversity of forms of abuse”? I think the real message is clear: She isn’t wrong and dishonest for not explicitly illustrating every form of abuse that women suffer. She is wrong and dishonest if she brings up any mention of the abuse that women suffer at all. Any and every excuse to dismiss that will be thrown in her direction for having the audacity to bring the issue up. And from a True Skeptic trying to pretend to be a decent human being, playing a game of Armchair Social Worker, will scold and tut-tut her for not cataloging every form of abuse when giving a brief summary of the most common kinds of abuse suffered. The good ol’ Skeptic gets to build up Superior Logicality credits, while maintaining plausible deniability and getting to dismiss uppity women. It’s a win-win-win for the True Skeptic. And a lose-lose-lose for those raving, irrational, uncivil feminists who so oppose the Good, Calm, Logical, Civil Menz.

  19. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    The next time you have something that is off topic, sc_a7897c05478ecf7a213c29daadc7b2bc, please take it to Thunderdome.

    I took a look at Damon’s Twitter page. There was a couple of comments in September about coffee and being grateful that he was not considered a potential rapist.

    If you are going to toss about vague accusations so carelessly, you better back up your words.

    If you are going to answer, do not do it here.

  20. Socio-gen, something something... says

    Everyone has their own opinion of One Billion Rising, which is fine. I personally supported it and I participated in an event on campus here at MSUM.

    It was, for us, incredibly powerful. In the lead up and planning, we had women, young and older, from all over MN and from various places around the world talking about their experiences — from the student from Somalia who talked about her own experience with genital mutilation to the 70yo grandmother of one student who talked about being raped as a teenager, something she had never shared with anyone before, to the Japanese student who talked about experiencing groping every single day while attending high school.

    No, none of us were thinking “Oh gosh, this 20 minutes of dancing will make us all better.” It was 20 minutes of joy, because we survived, because we are stronger, because we felt a connection to women (and men) all over the world who were standing up to say “This is wrong. No more.” We were dancing to say “You cannot shame us and you cannot silence us.”

    What others got out of it, I don’t know. But I walked away from the dancing feeling stronger and more powerful.

  21. says

    All these are serious, legitimate problems, but not all of them are physical beatings or rape (nor even involve men).

    And it’s this part that reveals the foolishness of things like One Billion Rising trying to step around discussing the gender politics leading into issues like rape and abuse. Even when an organization tries to separate themselves from talking about the role men play in these issues on average and wants to sterilize the issue of “nasty edges” for public consumption, the various douchewombats will still immediately default to complaining about “women blaming men”.

    And it’s because certain aspects are coded socially as inherently political. Issues that predominately affect women, like rape and assault even if they affect both genders or should be talked about in a larger cultural context, end up being designated as “controversial”, “political”, part of some dualistic struggle between privileged group and minority group. And because it’s controversial and political, no one should ever be talking about or deconstructing it, because then you might have to “pick sides” and “fail to be objective”.

    And conveniently the proper “objective” counter to actually looking at an issue predominately affecting the minority group is a status quo that favors the worst aspects of the privileged class (as in this case where he gets to dismiss all rape ever and efforts to raise awareness of how widespread violence and abuse against women is because… well, it exists and is political and is probably bad on its methodology or something).

  22. says

    Yes — I am not opposed to One Billion Rising, and I can appreciate that some will find value in it. I just said that I’m cold to it — it doesn’t appeal to me at all.

    But I am not about to start dictating what kind of activism people choose to participate in. We’ve got bigger problems with people like Radford belittling others for participating in a particular cause at all.

  23. says

    @ René

    From your linky:

    Ratzinger’s meeting follows upon the apparent receipt by the Vatican of a diplomatic note from an undisclosed European government on February 4, stating its intention to issue an arrest warrant for Ratzinger,…

    This sounds almost too good to be true. I shall lay aside some champagne though, just in case.

  24. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    René@14. Rather OT here, and obvious tosh anyway: while Ratzinger is Pope he has sovereign immunity, so “he’s resigning to avoid arrest” is hooey. Take it to Thunderdome if you want to discuss further.

  25. says

    I imagine that, if CFI were to consider hosting on their page an article about, say, developmental biology, they would probably insist that the author of the article either be a developmental biologist, or know the first fucking thing about developmental biology.

    They certainly wouldn’t consider hosting an article on developmental biology from an author who has a proven track record of writing about developmental biology and getting it really fucking wrong, to the point that readers of the article begin to suspect that he’s been getting his information about developmental biology from the Discovery Institute or Ray Comfort.

    Yet, when it comes to feminism and women’s rights, issues that affect a lot more people, in very direct and concrete ways, than the ins and outs of developmental biology, suddenly it’s, “Oh, Redford, you want to write another badly-misinformed an inflammatory piece about how feminists really chap your ass? Go right ahead! I’m sure you’re learned SO MUCH from all the criticism of your previous badly-misinformed an inflammatory pieces on the subject, so I’m not going to even bother to check if you know what the fuck you’re talking about. Go ahead, just write down whatever you spew out of your ass–that’s what critical inquiry means!”

    Fuck you, Ben Radford, and seriously, fuck the CFI for not laying down the law and telling Radford to knock it off with the feminist-bashing and stick to motherfucking Bigfoot.

  26. says

    It’s worth noting that batterers inevitably emotionally abuse their victims, as well—which is why victims stay, duh. It’s disingenuous to focus on that to make it seem like the number of abused women is being fluffed. In reality, most victims of abuse are victims of multiple forms of abuse. It’s clear that Radford wants you to imagine the category of “emotionally abused” women is discrete from “battered” women, but in fact there’s a lot of overlap there. These statistics are concocted taking a head count of women, not of discrete incidents of abuse. For instance, if a woman reports being raped by a partner, the odds are high that she is ALSO a victim of battering, emotional abuse, and economic abuse, as well. You almost never see a victim of rape-by-partner who isn’t enduring that sort of routine abuse. If you counted up every incident of emotional, sexual, and physical abuse of this particular woman, you would probably have a count of hundreds, often thousands of individual acts of abuse. But she gets counted ONCE for the purposes of statistics gathering about how many women have been abused.

    Someone’s tweaking the numbers here for ideological purposes, in other words, but it’s not Ensler. It’s Radford, in his desperate attempt to minimize violence against women. I can think of a handful of reasons why someone might want to do that, and none of them are good.

  27. Socio-gen, something something... says

    It’s kind of interesting (read: depressing) the lengths the Radfords go to in order to handwave away any implication that violence against women is a worldwide pandemic.

    There is an excellent essay by Rebecca Solnit on Al-Jazeera that discusses this: A rape a minute, a thousand corpses a year

    If we talked about crimes like these and why they are so common, we’d have to talk about what kinds of profound change this society, or this nation, or nearly every nation needs. If we talked about it, we’d be talking about masculinity, or male roles, or maybe patriarchy, and we don’t talk much about that.
    [...]
    Women worldwide ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war and traffic accidents combined,” writes Nicholas D Kristof, one of the few prominent figures to address the issue regularly.

    But, by all means, lets only discuss “real”* violence and worry about the menz some more. Gosh, we don’t ever get enough of that.

    *Defined as “whatever I make up in order to minimize the actual number of women affected so we can all continue to pretend it’s no big deal.”

  28. says

    I heard Eve Ensler on NPR yesterday and she actually spoke quite clearly about the problem being patriarchy. She was feeling optimistic that this movement was getting attention about violence against women being a global problem for all women, and that the reason is deep-rooted patriarchal thinking and practice. I’m not quoting her exactly, nor am I defending One Billion Rising; I’m just reporting what I heard.

  29. says

    I dislike the phrase “hyperskepticism”, as it implies strict adherence to a good thing.

    “Hyper” as a prefix tends to have negative a negative connotation, at least when applied to human behavior. Hyperactive, hypercritical, hyperbolic….

  30. says

    For instance, speaking from personal experience, I’ve suffered five of the violations on that lengthy list. I’m one of the one billion, but I only count once. Some of them are “legitimate”, I guess, by Radford’s eyes, though it’s kind of unclear. I have little doubt he’d prefer to mark me down as “psychological abuse” so he can quietly discount it, and ignore the, oh I don’t know, the time I was raped at a party, a story I’m on the record about.

    I don’t get why he thinks intimate partner violence is somehow different than battering—that’s exactly what intimate partner violence is. Why does he insist on differientiating between “date” rape and stranger rape for the purposes of counting the number of raped women? The only reason could be that he thinks the former doesn’t count. Lots and lots of number-goosing to deny that women are suffering violence. That’s fucked the fuck up.

  31. says

    Wow, the obsessive myth about me faking a rape threat against myself lives on:

    Comment #17 by the Devil’s TowelBoy:
    Same old faces as always. So who’s going to be first to post a threat to themselves and then demonise Ben for encouraging this “rape culture”? Sally, if it’s you, at least use another browser and wait half an hour between the posts.

    RRRRRAGE!!! Fuck this shit, fuck Ben Radford, fuck the slimers, fuck the CFI, fuck the patriarchy. Fuck this shit.

    Hey, if you’re pissed off about this as I am, feel free to piss THEM off by donating to my travel fund to get to the American Atheist’s conference in Austin. I’m NOT going to let these fucking assholes intimidate me out of the movement.

  32. thetalkingstove says

    The ‘feminists think all men are rapists!’ canard is so fucking tiresome, not to mention predictable. Why are some men incapable of hearing the facts about how how the world is without getting self-defensive? Why is their reaction to rape/patriarchy ‘but…it’s not me!’ instead of ‘it’s wrong, let’s work against it’? Is it just self-obsession, an inability to analyse anything in terms that don’t relate to them personally?

    Small donation sent to Sally as a meagre protest at this crap.

  33. skmc says

    Why is their reaction to rape/patriarchy ‘but…it’s not me!’ instead of ‘it’s wrong, let’s work against it’? Is it just self-obsession, an inability to analyse anything in terms that don’t relate to them personally?

    In many cases, that is likely the explanation. In other cases, it may well be that some recognize rape-culture-propagating behaviors in which they themselves have engaged, and since they view themselves as good people, it must be that those behaviors are not as harmful as people say. Naturally, these two groups overlap.

  34. ShowMetheData says

    “the true diversity of forms of abuse.”

    Sounds sadistic – A shitty use of the term “Diversity” to hide abuse dressed up in different costumes – all the better to hide it so nothing gets done about any form of abuse.

  35. says

    So, I liked One Billion Rising despite it’s obvious problems. It happened in the middle of a debate here about sexism and it helped to foster more talk, more focus, more discussion. I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t have gotten the publicity it got without the debate, I’m sure the debate wouldn’t have gone on like it did without it.
    It can’t be a solution, it can only be a starting point.

    And ben Radford: Go looking for Yetis and get lost. At least stuck somewhere without internet.

  36. F [nucular nyandrothol] says

    date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape

    I, too, am not entirely certain about the point of differentiating these in this case (although it is usually some form of attempt at minimization, which seems about right given the statistical infarction Ben is having), but on the other hand, it does call out all these things as rape, some of which do not come to everyone’s mind when rape is mentioned, and which are denied by some as “real rape”. So the denialist sorts reading this at least have to see that all these are rape, even while attempting to process them as nonexistent or less significant.

  37. says

    Also, I love how so much of his post is basically that weird “I’m smart, believe I’m smart in comparison to a woman” thing wherein a man tries to be extra “logical” and “above the petty and small-minded concerns of women” in order to protect the fragile self-identity they have as a smart person in a culture where men are regularly told they are smarter than women as a default.

    I mean, all the things he aside calls her out on in order to create this impression of “oh flighty feminists, always bending the truth” are either petty, meaningless or makes him look like a moron with nearly zero reading comprehension or cultural awareness.

    Like:

    Ensler reappeared on my radar again a decade later with a new movement she created called One Billion Rising. She planned to spark a “revolution” in which one billion women (actually, several thousand)

    What? An aspirational movement designed to reach an entire population only directly involved a self-selected sample of that population who a) had the resources to attend, b) had the free time to attend, c) was close enough to where the events were held, and d) bothered to show up? Truly this changes everything!

    danced on Valentine’s Day around the world to speak out against rape and violence against women. (The “one billion” is a reference to a statistic she cites claiming that “one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime” and that “One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion women dancing is a revolution”).

    He says this like its a bad thing and for the life of me I can’t see where he would. Oh noes, Eve Ensler is… talking about a population affected by a horrible thing and thinks said horrible thing is horrible, but an equal number of the affected population doing a positive thing means that a group of people is capable of doing at least two things with their entire lives and this is hypocrisy… somehow.

    Is he trying to argue that victim populations should spend all their days being victims or that movements trying to reach them are doing them a disservice by trying to lift them out of the “victim class” by letting them do something other than sitting around and lamenting their fate.

    Why dance-instead of, say, volunteer at a local domestic violence shelter or meet with lawmakers to increase penalties for physical and sexual assault?

    Um, she’s also been doing/promoting people doing that and based on the side pamphlets at the last Vagina Monologues I went to, I’d be flabbergasted if those resources weren’t given at least a side performance on what is a performance art piece for awareness designed to be an “approachable” first exposure to thinking broadly on the topic, especially in college districts.

    And yeah, this fucking thing where every person speaking out on an issue can be dismissed because they aren’t physically spending all their time fixing it in direct ways is really fucked up. Visibility and Education are important parts of any rights movement.

    And let’s be honest, if Eve Ensler was giving interviews as like a prominent director of a network of shelters, these same jackasses would dismiss her for not personally going out into the streets with a shovel and a Batgirl costume and caving in the heads of abusive partners.

    I had mixed feelings about the idea; on one hand as a strong supporter of women’s rights

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! Wow, and they said that entitled wanna-be “critical thinkers” had poor senses of humor!

    I have always had little patience for slacktivist petitions, feel-good, do-nothing social stunts and movements, and their ilk. I have criticized many such “efforts” publicly over the years, including anti-bullying campaigns, anti-child abuse campaigns, and even pro-democracy fighters in Iran.

    I long have a tradition of being an asshole who wants to look like a devoted activist disappointed in materials that don’t quite address core issues, but because I’m a privileged white guy who just wants to make the education and visibility part of cultural movements go away, I just end up complaining that depressing things are on my TV rather than in an underfunded social service that I can safely ignore in my daily life.

    (His whole fucking poem)

    Okay, wannabe satirists, listen to me.

    If you’re going to riff something. If you’re going to satirize it, you need to understand it. Not on a superficial level, but what it’s trying to do, what it’s saying, and so on. You need to get it completely. You don’t have to like what you’re riffing on. You might not even respect it, but you gotta understand the culture it is coming from.

    Otherwise you get this where you end up with a rambling garbage “both sides are terrible” thing that thinks it’s way more clever than it is.

    Cause yeah, when you use a piece satirizing attitudes of sexists who are “over rape” and is a call to action against rape culture to basically say that you are over people talking about rape, but “hey, I’m not a bigot, because see I get that beating women to death is bad… for other cultures I don’t belong to”.

    but instead that one-third of women “has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused” in her lifetime (as referenced in the study linked to on the web site). “Otherwise abused” includes “homicide, intimate partner abuse, psychological abuse, dating violence, same-sex violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape and economic abuse.” All these are serious, legitimate problems, but not all of them are physical beatings or rape (nor even involve men). This is important because mischaracterizing the statistic as reflecting women either being “raped or beaten” harms victimized women instead of empowering them by not reflecting the true diversity of forms of abuse.

    So… you’re essentially pretending you are quibbling over “economic abuse”? Yeah, I’m sure you totally have a non-denialist reason for why that’s an important distinction.

    Also? Really? Eve Ensler is many things that can be critiqued, but she’s actually pretty good at talking about the diversity of specific issues (not necessarily showing it 100%, but certainly letting people know it exists). I would be shocked if the same wasn’t true of her current art project (by the way, you do get that Eve Ensler is a performance artist who happens to do political pieces, right?).

    Also, your last sentence is totally an attempt to copy-paste “what dem dere people who actually care say” because it couldn’t have been more ineptly deployed if you were the US military.

    For example “From 1990 to 2005, sexual abuse substantiations went down 51%” and “From 1992 through 2005, physical abuse substantiations declined 46%” (p. 122-147) in Childhood Victimization: Violence, Crime, and Abuse in the Lives of Young People, by David Finkelhor, 2008, Oxford University Press. As two-time Pulitzer prize nominee Steven Pinker notes, the best data “shows that in thirty-five years the rape rate has fallen by an astonishing 80 percent, from 250 per 100,000 people over the age of twelve in 1973 to 50 per 100,000 in 2008…. [Yet] rather than celebrating their success, anti-rape organizations convey an impression that women are more in danger than ever” (p. 403 in The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, 2011, Viking Books; see also pp. 394-415 in the same book for a detailed, fully-referenced analysis of the significant drop in domestic violence, and other forms of physical and sexual abuse). For more on the misuse of sexual and physical assault statistics by social activists, see Damned Lies and Statistics, by Joel Best, 2001, University of California Press; Once Upon a Number, by John Allen Paulos, 1998, Basic Books; and my book Media Mythmakers.

    Yeah, you know who else has been noting that the rape rate has been falling?

    FUCKING FEMINISTS!

    Largely because they have been directly responsible for this rape rate falling. We’ve had better social awareness, better resources, resources available to younger populations, and motions on legal protections, and overall movement on social attitudes all because feminists have been pushing this boulder up the hill.

    I get that you just wanted to give a shout out to your evo psych brothers from a different mothers, but you can’t berate the efforts to fix problems that are shown to have a remarkable difference, because you’re too stupid to realize that you hearing about it more doesn’t mean it’s happening more, but rather that fewer victims are suffering in silence because things are getting better.

    You never used to hear about trans* people being discriminated or killed back in the day either, but that doesn’t somehow mean its shittier for trans* people now or that trans* activists need to stop talking about issues because “they are trying to deceive the public”. The fact that you as a privilege white cis dudebro are hearing about this shit enough to get annoyed at people talking about it is the point and part of the important cycle of making shit suck incrementally less.

    Also, you are an idiot and Eve Ensler is smarter than you. Deal with it and accept it and maybe you won’t be having a privilege tantrum every time she does another performance art piece because she’s a fucking artist, you brainless dolt!

  38. unity says

    Can’t say that I can much for Radford’s overall tone, or his efforts at poetry, but…

    There is genuine issue with zombie statistics in the wider public discourse surrounding violence against women, and by zombie statistics I mean figures that are quoted – usually nth hand – without any consideration of their original source or context, how recent – or old – these figures might be or their limitations and applicability in particular contexts.

    A particular bug bear of mine, for some considerable time, was the use of statistics that originated in the United States in debates surrounding the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in the UK, especially the Mary Koss/Ms Magazine 1 in 4 statistic. For all our similarities, the UK and US are very different places and even for the US the 1 in 4 figure is showing its age and fails to take into account changing trends since it was first published in 1985, which shows the prevalence of rape is falling in the US.

    I should also point out that most of recent research I’ve read on trends in sexual violence in the US attributes a large portion of this fall an increased awareness of the critical importance of consent – no prizes for guessing who’s been behind pushing that argument… starts with an ‘f’ ;-)

    What bugged me was not just that the figure were dubiously provenanced but the speed and ease with which valuable debates were being derailed by wrangling over the accuracy, or otherwise, of a particular statistic, so I decided to try and do something about it for myself and spent a couple of days pouring over all the UK specific data I could find in order to pull together a blogpost giving the best ballpark figures I could could arrive at – there are no right answers only different degrees of wrong, so I made a conscious effort to try and be the least wrong possible – with sources and a clear explanation of how those estimates had been arrived at.

    One of the most striking things that came out of that simple exercise was an estimate for the prevalence of repeat victimisation, an issue that is too easily overlooked for the lack of readily available data. For the UK, it came to an estimate that 1 in every 3 women raped in any given year is victimised on more than one occasion with women who are raped more than once accounting for around 60% of of the estimated number of individual incidents of rape in any given year. It’s a shocking figure but one that makes perfect sense when you realise that a high proportion of rapes occur within the home as a concomitant to other forms of interpersonal violence.

    That blogpost did cause a little bit of problem for one local rape crisis organisation, as I posted it on the same day that they were due to give a presentation to their funders, causing to them to hastily rewrite their presentation and hand-outs to incorporate my figures, especially the repeat victimisation estimates, but that’s the kind of trouble I don’t mind causing as they were satisfied that the new data I’d provided gave them a better hand to play.

    My point here is simple – it’s easy criticise and castigate people for using zombie statistics while forgetting that these are, more often than not, cited in good faith by people who have no real idea just how detached they’ve become from their original source. They’re just repeating something they’ve read elsewhere and a re taking it on trust that their own source is reliable, not realising their that source did the exact same thing, and so on…

    It takes a little more effort to do something positive about it, to go beyond ‘but you’re wrong and that devalues your entire argument’ to ‘yes, you definitely have a point but some of your figures are bit off because… … now how about we work together to put some better/more reliable numbers to your argument!’ but it is worth the effort.

    We all have a choice when we run it someone with a badly designed mousetrap, we can tell them it’s crap or we offer to work with them to build a better one – I know which approach I prefer.

  39. says

    So, I liked One Billion Rising despite it’s obvious problems. It happened in the middle of a debate here about sexism and it helped to foster more talk, more focus, more discussion. I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t have gotten the publicity it got without the debate, I’m sure the debate wouldn’t have gone on like it did without it.
    It can’t be a solution, it can only be a starting point.

    Yeah, I haven’t seen it yet, only seen some of the critiques, but if it’s anything else like Eve Ensler’s other performance art pieces its probably pretty good being a starting point for conversations and breaking through the media silence.

  40. carlie says

    Sooner than I thought. From his comment section:

    33 Ben Radford on Saturday February 16, 2013 at 10:46am
    I find it strange and sad that a piece that is so clearly feminist—and condemns rape so clearly, strongly, and repeatedly—is garnering such criticism. In my opinion, victims of physical and sexual abuse deserve real action and real help, not faux activism and PR-friendly flash mob dances. Apparently many people disagree, and that’s fine. It’s just bizarre to see people arguing AGAINST the suggestion that dancing is not an effective anti-rape measure.

  41. says

    amandamarcotte@32

    I don’t get why he thinks intimate partner violence is somehow different than battering—that’s exactly what intimate partner violence is. Why does he insist on differientiating between “date” rape and stranger rape for the purposes of counting the number of raped women? The only reason could be that he thinks the former doesn’t count. Lots and lots of number-goosing to deny that women are suffering violence. That’s fucked the fuck up.

    Yeah, there’s how weird the separations are if it’s not feeding into a “legitimate vs illegitimate” bullshit sandwich. So many of them are perfectly covered under an umbrella term and most of the abuses actually combine together in actual lived experiences.

    It’s pretty clear that he’s arguing in bad faith there that he just cares about diversity of life experiences, but really just wants a way of separating the truth from his brain.

  42. F [nucular nyandrothol] says

    I read the Natalie Gyte article, and some of the comments as well. I wish I hadn’t done the latter.

  43. anathema2 says

    @ Cerberus:

    I found the complaint that anti-rape organizations were somehow making it seem like more women were being raped now that ever before to really strange. What anti-rape organizations are making these claims?

    RAINN is one of the most prominent anti-rape organizations around. If you go onto their website and read what they have to say about how often sexual assault occurs, you don’t see them claiming that the rates of rape or sexual assault have gone up. They even state quite plainly that “Sexual assault has fallen by more than 60% in recent years.” They even put the words “more than 60%” in bold.

    I have no idea what makes some people think that anti-rape organizations are telling people that the rate at which sexual assaults and rapes occur have gone up.

  44. says

    Sally @33

    Wow, the obsessive myth about me faking a rape threat against myself lives on:

    Comment #17 by the Devil’s TowelBoy:
    Same old faces as always. So who’s going to be first to post a threat to themselves and then demonise Ben for encouraging this “rape culture”? Sally, if it’s you, at least use another browser and wait half an hour between the posts.

    :(

    Where was that bullshit?

  45. Socio-gen, something something... says

    Cerberus:

    Why dance-instead of, say, volunteer at a local domestic violence shelter or meet with lawmakers to increase penalties for physical and sexual assault?

    Um, she’s also been doing/promoting people doing that and based on the side pamphlets at the last Vagina Monologues I went to, I’d be flabbergasted if those resources weren’t given at least a side performance on what is a performance art piece for awareness designed to be an “approachable” first exposure to thinking broadly on the topic, especially in college districts.

    And yeah, this fucking thing where every person speaking out on an issue can be dismissed because they aren’t physically spending all their time fixing it in direct ways is really fucked up. Visibility and Education are important parts of any rights movement.

    That line really stood out to me. Where does this sneering assumption (by Radford and others) come from, that those participating aren’t doing anything else to fight violence?

    Obviously, I can’t speak for other groups, but ours was made up of people who volunteer with the Rape and Abuse Center and the battered women’s shelter, worked to change the sexual assault protocols at our campus, organized Take Back the Night and other events, hold seminars on violence affecting women around the world (from worker exploitation to child marriage) and locally, Safe Zone training, etc etc etc. Most of us were already involved in anti-violence efforts and this was a natural step in raising awareness.

    I think an important part of this was that we were doing the opposite of Radford: instead of breaking various forms of violence into separate (more easily trivialized) pieces, we were putting all of them together to show just how widespread and pervasive violence against women is.

  46. says

    anathema @49

    It’s not. It’s entirely from the entitled privileged asshole who “gets an impression”.

    See, in his life experiences, he used to hear absolutely nothing about rape and sexual assault against women. Now, it’s like everywhere and there be bitches complaining about some kind of War on Women and even ranting at well-meaning dudebros who like totally respect and support women and shit as long as he doesn’t have to acknowledge their reality or be aware of it on any real level.

    So therefore, since he’s now being pummeled by all this information he can’t be blind to anymore, then that means this issue suddenly exists and must be like blowing up everywhere and if it’s not actually getting worse, then those mean old activists must be trying to deceive him by making him have to pretend to care.

    In short, like with everything for these assholes, it’s all about their personal perceptions of reality and if they are misinformed, it’s not because they are a narcissistic douche who uses personal myopia to hand-wave the life experiences of others, but rather because evil Others misinformed him.

  47. says

    I’ve met Radford. He came to the atheist group I used to attend.

    He doesn’t really…. talk….. to women*. What he does is talk about himself, at the men around him, and expect to be praised. (And somebody better talk about how good he looks.)

    It doesn’t surprise me that he’s ‘over’ the subject of rape. After all, it doesn’t have anything to do with his books or self-promotion.

    *(And I was the one making things awkward, of course.)

  48. says

    Socio-gen @51

    You’ll also notice that it’s only the people who are already doing something that are given this shit. Oh, you are speaking out against rape, why aren’t you in a battered women’s shelter right now?

    You never get the reverse. No one is going to go up to Ben Radford and ask him why he’s writing a whiny post on his blog about how mean feminists are rather than setting up a battered men’s shelter or volunteering at the local Planned Parenthood.

    It’s only ever the time and resources of minority populations and invested political activists that are given this “you either invest everything or you stop counting” bullshit.

  49. says

    Also, no one participating in a feminist event owes the (hyper) skeptical public to behave in way they can take seriously, especially when the point of the event is catharsis and/or the ability to discuss one’s assault survival.

  50. says

    Oh, you are speaking out against rape, why aren’t you in a battered women’s shelter right now?

    Similar to the, If you’re fighting against climate change, why are you flying in fossil-fuel-powered airplanes and driving thousands of miles to talk to people about it?

    It’s just another catch-22 silencing tactic. The system is pervasive and impossible to escape. You cannot critique the system until you are entirely independent of it. You can never be truly independent of it, because it’s worked into the fabric of our culture, and you can’t survive without other people, therefore criticism is permanently off-limits and, what a coincidence, chance will never come! You can’t do something without conceptualizing it first, and if it’s a group endeavour, that means talking to other people. Catch-22.

  51. says

    It’s just bizarre to see people arguing AGAINST the suggestion that dancing is not an effective anti-rape measure.

    Uh…where are all the people saying this is an “anti-rape measure”? It’s about visibility. It’s about awareness. It’s about consciousness-raising. Really not difficult to understand.

    All that said, I’d much rather see the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign take place all over the U.S.

  52. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Some comments on Natalie Gyte’s essay:

    monique wilson2

    I strongly disagree with this article. In the Philippines the issues concerning violence against women and all the roots of it – patriarchal society, poverty, state policies that do not protect women, US imperialism & our government’s lamentable dependence on the US and the West that dictate all our national/ political & economic policies that ultimately affect our women & are linked to VAW – are at the heart of our Philippine One Billion Rising campaign. OBR Philippines is led by Gabriela – our largest national alliance of women’s organizations from the grassroots – militant and political. They have mobilized millions of marginalized people around the country and our migrant groups abroad who have all embraced and supported One Billion Rising. They are loudly & proudly anti US imperialist – yet they recognize the strength, importance & value of global solidarity, of a global voice, of a global action, of using art to transform, awaken, educate, inspire and incite people into action. At our Risings we had union workers, farmers, teachers, students, nuns, domestic workers, factory workers, indigenous people,artists, writers, local governments, & men – a lot of men as part of our V-Men Philippine movement, & children – all RISING and DANCING. We had a broad coalition of multi-sectoral groups all coming together- supported by thousands more grassroots groups around the country. Gabriela international network groups like ILPS & IWA also support OBR. We had over 200 Risings in the Philippines & with migrant groups in 22 countries.

    Neema Namadamu

    I am Congolese, a woman, an activist, an underfunded grassroots worker, and a One Billion Rising supporter and participant. This article is very disappointing as you have completely mischaracterized One Billion Rising. With any research at all you can quickly determine that it was about one billion women joining together and taking a stand as One, from over 200 countries around the globe, to demand an end to violence against women. It was a global strike from the norm to visibly gather, make some noise and draw attention to the #1 issue for women across the world today. [...]

    By stating, “I don’t see why it can’t be enough to do essential grassroots work,” you reveal you have completely missed the point about February 14th – V-Day’s 15th anniversary of doing grassroots work! FIFTEEN years of treating VICTIMS! Grassroots work is essential, but obviously it’s not enough. You note yourself that violence against women is not in decline here in East Congo, but rising.

    SRitchey

    At the OBR protest in my small, southern, extraordinarily conservative U.S. town, numerous speakers organized action committees through work in and fundraising for women’s shelters and rape crisis centers, and brought together– truly inspired– an ethnically- and racially-diverse community of people (young and old, men and women, gay and straight, conservative and liberal, survivors and allies) to lobby legislators, reform sexual misconduct policies on our campus, and raise awareness of the causes of gender-related violence. I would consider our humble little OBR campaign as a “mobilisation of autonomous feminist movements.” Perhaps if Gyte had bothered to attend a OBR event she would have seen her own words come to life in real action.

    tulipnoir22

    If we waited for the perfect organizing tool before doing anything – what would that accomplish? While there may be limits to what one billion rising can do, in my community I saw women – of all kinds participating in something that empowered them. Many of them would likely not call themselves feminists – but participating in one billion rising was certainly an entry for them into the feminist movement – a movement that they experienced on this day as vibrant, active and focused on the issue of violence. Women participating in one billion rising- doesn’t preclude other forms of activism or movement building. It’s easy to critique – harder to come up with something better.

    Nobody has quoted Emma Goldman yet? ;)

  53. says

    Sally @56

    Yeah, I see that one now. Fucking hell.

    Well, I think this is why the “Skeptics” who are against intersectionality are probably going to stop being skeptics soon. Bigotry seems to beget conspiracy theories and attempts to invent bizarre fantastical realities to try to avoid the reality of “bad things happen” and “communities I am a part of have bastards in them”.

    I still remember when we had the troll a while back who was completely convinced I was making up the story about my sexual assault and bent over backwards trying to do so.

    And seriously, if you were a l33t hackz0r who was posting anonymous things on their post to make them look bad, why would you make a rape threat against yourself (something that happens all the time naturally on YouTube comment threads and which the community could have defended against simply by not being the type of assholes who cheer rape threats instead of condemning them) rather than I dunno, something that would actually disrupt them and make them feel victimized and hurt.

    I mean, if you were this cartoonishly evil to come up with this supposed plan?

    Sigh, fucking people, man.

  54. Socio-gen, something something... says

    Cerberus:

    You’ll also notice that it’s only the people who are already doing something that are given this shit. Oh, you are speaking out against rape, why aren’t you in a battered women’s shelter right now?

    Exactly. If you’re talking about sexism in the atheist community, why aren’t you talking about FGM? If you’re talking about FGM, why aren’t you talking about child marriages and dowry murders? If you’re talking about dowry murders, why aren’t you talking about women being exploited in factories? If you’re talking about worker exploitation, why aren’t you talking about …. ? And on and on it goes.

    One of the things that attracted me to OBR was Eve Ensler’s response to “Why dance?”

    Dancing insists we take up space, and though it has no set direction, we go there together. Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, and contagious, and it breaks the rules.

    Maybe it sounds weird, but when I first read that, I thought of the commentariat here and what I’ve learned from them. Women here take no guff. They aren’t silent, they aren’t sweet (well, sometimes), they don’t smile and play nice with those who intend harm or argue in bad faith, they refuse to accept other people’s expectations and demands, and they rock the boat hard.

    We were making a scene, demanding attention, being unladylike, refusing to be quiet and polite. I think that freaked a lot of people out.

  55. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Here is what Emma Goldman said about dancing.

    At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening a cousin of Sasha, a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. It was undignified for one who was on the way to become a force in the anarchist movement. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause.
    I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business. I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from convention and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.” Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal.

    It is from her autobiography, Living My Life.

  56. says

    Did some ask for an Emma Goldman quote?

    “At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening a cousin of Sasha, a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause.

    I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business. I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from convention and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.” Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal.”

    Living My Life (1931), p. 56

  57. says

    You know, I was feeling rather neutral towards the One Billion Rising campaign, but now, seeing the sort of reaction it’s provoking from the professional apathists like Radford and the active misogynists like the slimers, I’m considering that it may be more effective than I thought it would be.

    It’s almost like IRL trolling. Oh wow, a bunch of ladies dancing. What a fluffy, non-confrontational, and thus (I thought) ineffectual protest. But, hey, it’s consciousness-raising. Whatever.

    But then it turns out that just dancing is pretty confrontational too. So many people are upset that women are doing it wrong. SlutWalks were wrong because they were too confrontational and aggressive and promoted objectification and ignored the intersectional differences in how gendered epithets like “slut” affect women of different races and because why aren’t you in a women’s shelter right now? One Billion Rising is wrong because it isn’t aggressive enough, doesn’t identify the problem, is too feel-good, and because why aren’t you in a women’s shelter right now?

    Here’s what we need: Dancing in the Streets with OBR every spring and a SlutWalk every fall, in every city, every year until the worldwide epidemic of gendered, sexualized, racialized violence is halted. We need those things, and we need fundraising and volunteering at a shelter and running for office and lobbying and all of it. And we need celebration, and I think it’s perceptive of Eve Ensler to see that, and am not surprised that it took someone who is an artist to see that and to translate it into something concrete. It could probably be done better in many cases, but I’m warming to the idea. And I like dancing anyway.

  58. The Mellow Monkey says

    Caine:

    Uh…where are all the people saying this is an “anti-rape measure”? It’s about visibility. It’s about awareness. It’s about consciousness-raising. Really not difficult to understand.

    All that said, I’d much rather see the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign take place all over the U.S.

    This just pinpointed what has most bothered me about One Billion Rising and, having it now clear in my mind, I guess I’ve been a little too harsh and quick to judge.

    What bothers me is that it is about awareness and visibility and…I just want to be past that. I want to be done with the 101 bullshit and stop having to put so much fucking energy into just making people aware that there’s a problem with how women are treated in the first place. I would rather see the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign and other information movements focusing more on what these issues truly are, instead of the vague feel good stuff that filters through the media’s lens and simplifies whatever message there was beyond recognition.

    But awareness is still necessary. Visibility is still necessary. It pisses me the fuck off, but that’s still where we’re at. It’s not the public conversation I want to have, but it’s still one worth having.

  59. says

    MM:

    I would rather see the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign and other information movements focusing more on what these issues truly are, instead of the vague feel good stuff that filters through the media’s lens and simplifies whatever message there was beyond recognition.

    Yes. I am really tired of women remaining the focus point when it comes to assault and rape. Please, put the focus where it belongs – on the men who do these things.

    But awareness is still necessary. Visibility is still necessary. It pisses me the fuck off, but that’s still where we’re at. It’s not the public conversation I want to have, but it’s still one worth having.

    I agree, it’s necessary. However, like you, I find myself incredibly irritated that we haven’t progressed past this point and we still aren’t targeting the people who need to be targeted. This effort, while a good one (I think), is the type of effort that will be easily handwaved by too many people. Putting the focus on those who might rape (as in the Don’t Be That Guy Campaign) is much harder to dismiss.

  60. ChasCPeterson says

    I get that you just wanted to give a shout out to your evo psych brothers from a different mothers

    Radford’s a whiny privileged self-centered ass, I’ll grant you that.
    But the quote to which this (^) was a response had absolutely jackshit to do with evolutionary psychology. Does your brain go there straight from a mention of Pinker? Or do you actually synonomize sexism and EP?
    Because that would be bullshit. Kind of unsurprising bullshit, but there it is.

  61. Tethys says

    I find it interesting that the focus is on the dancing*, while completely ignoring the reason for dancing.

    Ben may as well travel back in time and harangue civil rights activists. “Sitting? You won’t achieve anything by sitting. I’m done with equality, because I think you’re stupid.”

    People who have experienced abuse Victims coming together to share their stories, and then participating in a shared physical group experience of joy? Apparently these are bad because Ben says so.
    If only they would be quiet about the abuse, and none of that icky dancing. (also ignore the large body of psychological literature that documents the therapeutic effects of dance)

    *you can get gay cooties from dancing is a common prejudice in manly man world USA.

  62. says

    Chas @70

    Um, my point was that he was citing fucking Pinker (evopsych deity and overall douchebag) on the subject of falling incidences of rape and assault rather than the legion of feminists who have been shouting this stuff from the rooftops. All so he could set up a false duality between his guy crush and this deceptive women who are hiding this kind of truth-telling (he was using this section to argue that feminists were somehow not saying this stuff, but rather were implying rape was increasing because Radford is personally hearing about it more and is an idiot).

    And overall, if I was being uncharitable, I would note that the particular reference to Pinker (who has never had the greatest record on statistical analysis and pattern recognition of social phenomena) in the context of a post purporting to be about chiding feminists about their supposed loose attitude towards rigorous statistics about gender issues is a direct attempt to reinforce a narrative about Brave Sir Pinker and other evopsych pseudo-scientists standing up and telling the truth against feminist overreach and getting smacked down over it.

    Which would be reinforced by the fact that Radford tries to pull this trick using himself in his comment thread trying to argue that his superficial motions in the direction of being against like really bad violence against women… done by people who are in no way relatable by community to him meant that he produced a feminist piece that was being hated on by feminists because they don’t have respect for trufax and reasonable critique.

    That was my attempted point at least. Sorry if that didn’t quite come across and instead sounded like I was calling the quote itself an evopsych pile of garbage.

  63. says

    Tethys @71

    Isn’t that always the case. Minority members are always protesting wrong, failing to get their message across, bringing harm to their movement, or appearing like silly frivolous people no matter what they do (and if they aren’t, well, then they are a bunch of bomb-throwing anarchists we really should be locking up or at least so goes the narrative).

    It’s almost like a good portion of those critiques are disingenuous attempts by those invested in the status quo to discourage the minority populations from having any means of standing up for their rights and what they believe.

  64. Gregory Greenwood says

    The correct statistic is not that one billion women will be raped in her lifetime (as Ensler said in an interview on Democracy Now!), nor that one in three women “will be raped or beaten” in her lifetime (as Ensler states on the One Billion Rising web site), but instead that one-third of women “has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused” in her lifetime (as referenced in the study linked to on the web site). “Otherwise abused” includes “homicide, intimate partner abuse, psychological abuse, dating violence, same-sex violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape and economic abuse.” All these are serious, legitimate problems, but not all of them are physical beatings or rape (nor even involve men).

    It takes a particularly repugnant sort of empathy-free, ragingly misogynistic arsehole to mansplain to women that their experience of rape, sexual abuse, gendered violence or other suffering because of their gender brought about by toxic patriarchy just isn’t serious enough to qualify as ‘legitimate rape’ according to the arbitrary metric of an oblivious, sexist hyperskeptic.

    Radford and his ilk are a poison within atheo-skepticism. Not only are they driving people away from the movement in droves and making it ridiculously easy for our opponents to demonise us by tarring us all with the same brush, but far more seriously they are directly contributing to the maintenance of rape culture by their incessent attempts to minimise the severity and wisepread character of the scourge of rape and gendered violence across the globe.

    That Radford wears his privilege on his sleeve to such an extent that he can smugly declare himself ‘over’ dealing with the toxic social mores and tropes that function to legitimise rape in society and shield rapists from facing justice for their crimes speaks volumes about how narrow his capacity for rational thought – and his preparedness to apply skepticism to his own comfortable assumptions and entrenched opinions – really is.

    Like most hyperskeptics, he struggles to apply more than the empty forms, rather than the intellectual substance, of skepticism to any issue outside his small coterie of pet topics dealing with the obvious non-existence of folkloric creatures.

  65. says

    My irritation really runs deep on this one. It bothers me on an artistic level too. Why not One Billion [Men] Rising? Why not men rising up to say something like “Ethics, Integrity and Compassion are what makes you a man”? Given the opportunity to say something loudly, it bothers me the message isn’t going to do what it should do. And yes, I know it’s important to provide victims with a sense of support and solidarity, but women aren’t the only victims, even if they are the majority.

  66. says

    Until fairly recently I don’t think these statistics were really reaching me. I would hear “one in three” and picture only specifically what I heard paired with it and then just tuck it away in some mental nook as inaccurate but information with good intentions behind it. I can’t put my finger on why I was so dismissive in my own head instead of investigating the claims like is more the norm for me, but I’m glad I never actively spread that attitude to anyone else.

  67. says

    Gregory @74

    I think it’s because they pride themselves as skeptics on things they don’t believe, have never believed, and don’t belong to a culture that regularly privileges believing them. It’s remarkably easy to be skeptical about something where you are a rank outsider looking in on the bizarre justifications people use to justify believing things that are categorically untrue.

    Much harder to detangle the web of untruth from one’s own mind. Even if you are really solid on a topic, your mind is going to slide over to “how it makes sense” and how true it feels, especially when you’re in a compromised emotional state or you’ve wrapped that belief into your self-esteem or your self-perception.

    If you’re a mild intellectual talent and your self-esteem is wrapped up in being “The Bigfoot Expert”, then it’s going to be harder for you to admit that Bigfoot doesn’t exist. And the same is true of these “skeptics”. Their self-esteem is wrapped up in being the wise men who are super smart and sees through the lies people tell themselves and so when they have to admit that they are just as prone as anybody to those false beliefs and resistance to reality, they turn as intractable as said Bigfoot Expert.

    And it’s why it’s important to not fall into the trap of just working against the easy targets that we are external to, but the swamp inside that we’re all often perpetuating against each other every day.

  68. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’ve said this before, but what the hell, right? Radford is part of a cohort that usually skews a bit older than him: white guy experts who are still living pre-1995. They are used to declaiming and talking at people, imparting wisdom to grateful reader-consumers. They also think this kind of communication is inherently the best kind, very much to be preserved, and whose loss to Internet pushback cannot be lamented enough. I know it sounds glib, but seriously—A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper strikes me as a real tell considering Radford’s history of throwing his dummy out of the pram over how awful blogging is.

    Expert White Guys are usually older than Radford (who seems to be about 40) and they write—both in form and content—-as if they were composing an editorial for an actual ink-and-pulp newspaper. EWGs are used to not having to answer to any criticism from readers aside from the carefully selected letters to the editor (hopefully with a proper salutation!) published in very small number. They act continually astonished at the impudence of mere bloggers and commenters as if they can’t quite believe the chutzpah it takes to believe one is allowed to talk back. They’re even more frustrated that backtalk is now the norm given there are no more structural barriers to directly talking back in real time.

    Edwin Kagin is a prototypical example. Michael Shermer is another. I’m sure you can think of many other examples. EWGs, remind me in some ways of an (thankfully) almost obsolete cohort I call Menz With Secretaries. These are superannuated gentlemen of business, academia and politics who’ve spent their careers never having to learn how to type on a Qwerty keyboard and who feel entitled to have their appointments and duties looked after by secretaries so they’re free to Important Themselves Around. One runs across them still. They say things like, “Great. . . ask my secretary to mail that (yes, mail) that to you,” or “I’ll have Kathy check my email and get back to you.” It’s like watching a newly released spy movie with the hero creeping around heating ducts so that he can physically splice into the copper phone wire to eavesdrop at Villain Headquarters. Because all evil plans are discussed on wired phones with multiple-line handsets.

  69. Bernard Bumner says

    And another thing I’ve been thinking about.

    One billion, one hundred, or just one. If the cost to people is just to keep their opinions to themselves, to allow other people space to express their grief, their pain, their anger, their loss, what is it to them? Such a simple thing to tolerate with grace if you cannot bring yourself to enthusiastically back it.

    I don’t understand. Who feels the need to lecture victims or survivors on how best to play that role, who actively works to damage whatever sources of (at worst) benign support those people seek?

    Ben Radford’s only argument is that Eve Ensler’s approach is impotent, not that it is harmful, so why does he feel the need to degrade it and those who choose to align behind it?

    Is he another one of those people who have decided that there is only one solution to any problem, and that it is his, and that any energy spent elsewhere must be derided and dismissed, lest…? What exactly?

    What is at stake for him?

  70. The Mellow Monkey says

    Caine:

    Why not One Billion [Men] Rising? Why not men rising up to say something like “Ethics, Integrity and Compassion are what makes you a man”? Given the opportunity to say something loudly, it bothers me the message isn’t going to do what it should do.

    Rape and abuse are always treated as “women’s issues”, but it goes far beyond that. Children and people of any gender can be victims. Based on the descriptions of hazing in Guyland, I suspect that rape is far more common against boys and young men than normally realized, but it gets viewed differently and goes unreported.

    No, at its heart, rape and abuse are men’s issues. The vast majority of perpetrators are men and all the men who would never commit such crimes should be pissed off beyond measure that their gender and their sexuality is used as an excuse for these acts. Just imagine if the 94% of men who aren’t rapists refused to let masculinity be turned into a cloak for the minority who are predators. Loud social disapproval from other men would do more than any victim empowerment, IMO.

  71. says

    MM:

    Based on the descriptions of hazing in Guyland, I suspect that rape is far more common against boys and young men than normally realized, but it gets viewed differently and goes unreported.

    Yes, that was my conclusion too.

    No, at its heart, rape and abuse are men’s issues. The vast majority of perpetrators are men and all the men who would never commit such crimes should be pissed off beyond measure that their gender and their sexuality is used as an excuse for these acts. Just imagine if the 94% of men who aren’t rapists refused to let masculinity be turned into a cloak for the minority who are predators. Loud social disapproval from other men would do more than any victim empowerment, IMO.

    Absolutely. It’s changing the construct of masculinity which will work, breaking the culture of silence and breaking the culture of protection. Guyland illustrates how effective that can be, at the end of the book. When two guys got together and spoke up about the traditional shaming and harassment of women pledges were expected to do, other guys spoke up and the “tradition” immediately ceased. It really is all about the men.

  72. Bernard Bumner says

    It’s just bizarre to see people arguing AGAINST the suggestion that dancing is not an effective anti-rape measure.

    Not as fucking bizarre as seeing someone trying to argue that anyone thinks it is.

    Presumably this guy is scared that everyone will be too pooped from angry dancing to properly enact the Ben Radford Plan for Saving a Non-zero Number of Women Certainly Less Than One Billion And Also Some Men from Criminal Rapists.

    Ben Radford – Just So Clearly Feminist.

  73. says

    Loud social disapproval from other men would do more than any victim empowerment

    Adding to mine @83, can you imagine the power in something like One Billion Men Rising, saying “We will not be silent! We will not protect you!”? That would go such a long way in not only putting the focus where it belongs, it would finally empower men (and more importantly, guys) to go against the tide of guy culture.

  74. screechymonkey says

    I look forward to Radford criticizing Skeptics in the Pub, and conferences like TAM — I mean, really, why are these people sitting around drinking or watching magic shows when they could be lobbying state legislators for tougher laws against alt-med fraud, or… I don’t know, whatever a True Skeptic does with his or her (but, c’mon, really, we know it’s “his”) time.

  75. says

    Other than agreeing with what Caine and MM have been saying starting @ Caine’s 75, all I have to add is that I would love to be ‘over’ rape. It would be fucking wonderful if we didn’t have to keep having these conversations (and visibility events, etc) anymore. However, the only way we’re ever going to get to a place like that is if men approach these conversations in good faith, and fucking pay attention and learn (I’ve done it, guys. It’s not that hard, really).
    p.s. :Men, stop taking discussions of rape so fucking personally. The way to stop being Schroedinger’s Rapist is to stop tolerating rape culture bullshit from your bros. Put differently, the only way that potential victims are going to stop worrying about you potentially being a rapist is to ensure that there are a lot fewer rapists out there to worry about.

  76. says

    Goddammit screechymonkey, you stole my entire comment from me, including the “watching magic shows” line I was going to use!

    Caine I like your idea about “One Billion Men Rising”… if it can avoid the sort of “our wives, mothers, and daughters” language and attitude, and really turn men against toxic masculine culture and towards self-reflection and policing one another.

  77. says

    Yeah, there’s how weird the separations are if it’s not feeding into a “legitimate vs illegitimate” bullshit sandwich. So many of them are perfectly covered under an umbrella term and most of the abuses actually combine together in actual lived experiences.

    They don’t care about women’s lived experiences. At all. Just like the “She’s in labor and gets out the sharp stick” people.

    ***

    I’ve been torn about this for a while. On the one hand, I worry about bothering with them at all. On the other, I see the benefits, and besides, they’re of sociological interest, so it’s worthwhile in some sense to give them an airing. They repeat the same tropes of reactionaries over the past decades and centuries. The same minimization of oppressions. The same attempts to justify them as natural (from God-given to Nature-given). The same surrogacy, in which the language and ideas of sexism can be exchanged with those of racial and ethnic oppression, homophobia and transphobia, and (fundamentally) speciesism. The same smug recourse to absurd “research.” The same claims of scientific certitude. The same dismissal of rebels as emotional and antirational. The same fear of losing a sense of identity and worth if the hierarchies fall. The same caricatures of activists. The same cynical manipulation of some oppressions to promote others and to silence activists. The same championing of oppressed people who claim they don’t want freedom. The same attempts to pit “good” against “bad” activists. The same arguments that activists’ incivil methods are hurting the cause and alienating allies. The same silence about acts of intimidation….

    All movements for freedom are essentially the same. But, possibly more interesting in practical terms, so are all reactionary movements. They’re all variations on a theme.

  78. Larry Poppins says

    I have been watching this thread with a great deal of anxiety for fear that another rape apologist will roll in and I’ll have to spend another weekend trying to figure out how to not talk about what I never talk about. But then I think about what Caine said in Thunderdome a few days ago, about how men need to be in these discussions because men listen to other men. I think about why I avoid threads like these and how cowardly I feel for not having spoken up in the past (not a new feeling). So I’m here ready to add my voice to the chorus saying that yes, rape is a men’s issue. I AM pissed beyond measure that atheism/skepticism is so rife with anti-feminists. I am pissed beyond measure that I can’t stop feeling responsible for something that I know I didn’t bring on myself. I’m pissed that pushing that “submit comment” button is so fucking terrifying.

  79. says

    Larry Poppins:

    I have been watching this thread with a great deal of anxiety for fear that another rape apologist will roll in and I’ll have to spend another weekend trying to figure out how to not talk about what I never talk about. But then I think about what Caine said in Thunderdome a few days ago, about how men need to be in these discussions because men listen to other men. I think about why I avoid threads like these and how cowardly I feel for not having spoken up in the past (not a new feeling). So I’m here ready to add my voice to the chorus saying that yes, rape is a men’s issue. I AM pissed beyond measure that atheism/skepticism is so rife with anti-feminists. I am pissed beyond measure that I can’t stop feeling responsible for something that I know I didn’t bring on myself. I’m pissed that pushing that “submit comment” button is so fucking terrifying.

    I recently finished reading Guyland by Michael Kimmel. While the beginning and the middle are depressing as hell, it does end on an optimistic note. It really helped me to clarify my thinking and I understand the underlying issues of addressing guy culture better. One thing that shines through in the book is that a whole lot of guys are *aching* for an alternative to guy culture. They don’t like the culture of protection and silence they find themselves in, but no one is out there providing an alternative. Men aren’t speaking up about what they think masculinity is and how you achieve it. Guys (young men) desperately need a different construct of masculinity and they are also in desperate need of a support network and to be empowered themselves – when it’s just one guy, he’s not going to speak up because he’ll become a victim. That one guy usually doesn’t talk about things to the other guys, either, so they never find out there are guys who feel the same way. The Culture of Silence surrounding guy culture and masculinity in general has to stop.

  80. Larry Poppins says

    Thanks Caine. Your posts are very important to me. They help a lot.
    About wanting an alternative to guy culture, not talking for fear of ostracism or worse, yeah, that’s me. That’s how I grew up. Hell “straight faggot” might as well have been my name from ’81-’93 as often as it was used to refer to me. I’ll think about reading that book, and the other one you’ve been recommending about Misogyny. I’ll try to comment more too when you put out the call.

  81. DLC says

    Radford’s comments are poorly thought out and poorly written. How did he manage to become a writer for CFI ? or anyplace for that matter.

  82. says

    Larry Poppins:

    About wanting an alternative to guy culture, not talking for fear of ostracism or worse, yeah, that’s me. That’s how I grew up. Hell “straight faggot” might as well have been my name from ’81-’93 as often as it was used to refer to me.

    You aren’t alone, either, not by a long shot. Not in being targeted and not in feeling trapped by guy culture. I understand just how frightening and isolating that can be.

    I’ll think about reading that book

    I hope you do. It’s not a long or particularly dense book, but it covers the ground well. I wish more men would read it, because then, perhaps we could all start making a lot of noise about empowering guys. There’s a need. And thank you for your posts – your voice is important.

  83. melody says

    Ben Radford is contracted by CFI part-time to write about skepticism. Personally, I wish he would stick to bigfoot and other shit I don’t care about about. I am a full-time employee working my ass off often seven days a week running my local community and planning a national conference of all non-thiest women speakers about women in secularism by myself (which is unheard of) on top of that. How do you think this blog makes me feel? Please don’t fuck CFI. I’ve given my life to CFI. Speak out against Radford if you wish, but dammit he’s small potatoes. I’m working too damn hard to change the culture of this movement to have some dude write a sloppy anti-feminist blog and ruin it all.

  84. vaiyt says

    Radford has announced that he is “over” rape

    “Pshaw, the suffering of one billion women is just something I can’t be bothered to care about. It’s all just so small and petty, this rape thing.”

    I have always had little patience for slacktivist petitions, feel-good, do-nothing social stunts and movements, and their ilk. I have criticized many such “efforts” publicly over the years, including anti-bullying campaigns, anti-child abuse campaigns, and even pro-democracy fighters in Iran.

    “From my cushy position of privilege, I reserve the right to decry the efforts of victimized people to make their plight more visible. Also, fuck pro-democracy protesters. Sooo lazy. If only they did this and that, they would be sooo more effective. What, me? Do things? I am Important, my job is to tell other people how they’re Doing it Wrong.”

    Skeptic movement. What a fucking joke. Nothing more than a playground of smarter-than-thou white men pretending they’re enlightened for not believing in frivolous things. It seems that, whenever they start to talk about things that matter, they show how uneducated, stupid and condescending they really are. To think I once thought I had common cause with these vile pieces of shit.

  85. unclefrogy says

    It may be a quibble on my part and maybe I just do not understand how the rights of women can be described or refereed to as minority rights last time I looked the ratio seems to hover around 50%. ?

    uncle frogy

  86. Gregory Greenwood says

    Cerberus from Time Forgot @ 77;

    I think you are on to something here; Radford and those like him practice the skepticism of easy targets. So long as all that is under discussion are the safe topics of the clearly ridiculous stuff that they have never believed in (and that most skeptics and rationalists would agree is laughable), then they are quite happy, but anything that forces them to accept that maybe they need to put their own, long held beliefs under the microscope – beliefs that are so intrinsic to their unearned social privilege that they have never even thought to examine them – then they start to get very uncomfortable indeed, not only because their privilege is being challenged, but because the application of skeptical thought to these areas takes them outside their coomfort zone and confronts them with the fact that their skepticism is narrow and sorely lacking in introspection and self awarenes of any kind.

    As you say, they see themselves as the smart, wise men (they are almost always men) at the top of the skeptical heap, and since they lack the fortitude and integrity for unflinching self criticism, they find anything that fractures their smug, self-congratulatory bubble of mutual backslapping about how very clever they were to see that Bigfoot/alien abductions/Nessie/god don’t exist to be extremely unsettling.

  87. The Mellow Monkey says

    unclefrogy:

    It may be a quibble on my part and maybe I just do not understand how the rights of women can be described or refereed to as minority rights last time I looked the ratio seems to hover around 50%. ?

    While it seems obvious to assume “minority group” literally means that a group is small in comparison to the rest of the population, as a sociological category it actually refers to a group that has a minority in positions of power. During the slave trade, it wasn’t uncommon for slaves to outnumber the free in certain regions, but they couldn’t be a social majority because of their lack of power. Because of the way power falls along gender lines, women are considered a social minority even if they aren’t a numerical minority.

  88. Gregory Greenwood says

    unclefrogy @ 98;

    It may be a quibble on my part and maybe I just do not understand how the rights of women can be described or refereed to as minority rights last time I looked the ratio seems to hover around 50%. ?

    I think that ‘minority rights’ in this context is being used as a type of shorthand – rather than referring to a strict numerical minority in society it instead is used to describe a group that is under represented within the corridors of power and is generally disenfranchised and disempowered by patriarchal society in a fashion similar to that endured by other oppressed groups that usually did/do represent a literal numerical minority in addition to a socio-political ‘minority group’.

    Women make up slightly more than 50% of the number of people on the planet, but they certainly do not possess half of the wealth, political and economic power, cultural influence or social privilege.

  89. says

    Skeptic movement. What a fucking joke. Nothing more than a playground of smarter-than-thou white men pretending they’re enlightened for not believing in frivolous things.

    Well, there was coin collecting, but that doesn’t interest me. And stamps, same deal.
    Some guys join model railroad clubs or RC car and boat clubs, but that’s expensive.
    Fossil hunting is cool but its hard work and requires a lot of travel.
    Metal detecting is interesting, but a good detector is expensive, and everyone knows that no matter how cool the stuff you’re investigating is, the fact is that metal detectorists are dorky and just don’t get laid.
    Then there are lodges – Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes, etc. But I don’t like the fakey-fake mystical pledges and shit.
    So I had to narrow down the choices of hobby. Need something I’m both good at end enjoy.
    Then it became obvious – I’m better at thinking sensibly than anyone I know, and I *enjoy* that I’m more sensible at thinking than everyone I know. Both needs satisfied!
    So I joined a skeptics club.

  90. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    How do you think this blog makes me feel? Please don’t fuck CFI. I’ve given my life to CFI. Speak out against Radford if you wish, but dammit he’s small potatoes. I’m working too damn hard to change the culture of this movement to have some dude write a sloppy anti-feminist blog and ruin it all.

    Then place your anger where it belongs–with CFI for hiring this asshole, not at PZ for criticizing him, nor at the commenters who are justifiably pissed off.

  91. says

    unclefrogy @98

    Minority just means they have a minority of power, system support, rights, and automatic social regard, not that they necessarily are a minority of the population. I mean, it’s usually the case that it’s also the latter because that just makes it easier to enforce oppressive systems (otherwise you often need to either disenfranchise the affected population or get part of the affected population to help enforce the oppressive system).

    But yeah, I can see how it can get confusing on a literal level.

  92. says

    Larry Poppins @90 and Caine @92

    Definitely.

    Back when I assumed I was a boy, this bothered me intensely. I didn’t really have the vocabulary to fully deconstruct it at the time, but I knew that there was this really toxic masculinity and intense cult like culture that was unpleasant, brutal, and unfriendly to both the men trapped inside it and the women targeted by it for use and abuse.

    And one of the worst parts of it for the men trapped inside it was how it was enforced, using the fear of the men of losing their “man card” and being designated honorary women (and treated accordingly) to encourage men to treat women improperly and value a specific unsatisfying form of homosocial hierarchical bonding in order to not fall off a very slippery and poorly defined ledge.

    Since then, I’ve seen how the messages of this toxic masculinity is designed to make good men feel like shit while providing cover and a stated social support for those types of men who would happily rape and abuse.

    I’ve seen polyamorous men who are constantly having very fulfilling sex still worry that the way they treat women with respect and kindness means they are somehow at risk of losing all sexual interactions because that’s the cultural message men receive (the “alpha” men who “score with chicks” are the ones who treat women the worst, despite the fact that in boring old reality the opposite is usually true, largely because said people are less likely to see sex as a game and a conquest of a foe, but rather a collaborative dance without judgment or pressure).

    And even men who are invested in the status quo and terrified of breaking out and receiving homosocial punishment for being a “sissy” or a “faggot” or “whipped” still hate that men are just sort of assumed to be naturally rapists (by their own culture, not the straw feminists they try and blame), that social support for wanting an emotionally fulfilling relationship with an equal instead of viewing relationships as a trap, and that stifling gender presentation and gendered actions are seen as requirements. So many want to be able to be a stay-at-home dad or enjoy gardening or wearing something bright and colorful without it being viewed as “a bit gay” and the social condemnation that comes with that.

    Feminists have done a lot of leg work on that issue by noting how the culture operates and reinforces itself and also by relaxing the strictness on assigned gender roles (certainly it’s where I learned the vocabulary to describe the phenomenon), but it would be nice if men could actually internally build a culture of resistance from the inside as well without it devolving into blaming women for somehow inventing a system clearly patriarchal in nature.

  93. says

    Cerberus:

    but it would be nice if men could actually internally build a culture of resistance from the inside as well without it devolving into blaming women for somehow inventing a system clearly patriarchal in nature.

    And there is the rub. Some guys do go against the tide of guyland and do it successfully. However, they are most definitely the exception and far and few in between. It’s just not possible for an internal culture of resistance to take place unless people start talking. Men and guys talking in particular. The homosocial net is crucial, but unless guys start figuring out that yes, there are other guys who aren’t happy with the guy culture and decides to talk with them, so they have the comfort and support of numbers when defying guy culture, things will stay the same.

  94. says

    Addendum to self:

    Which makes me think that the next time some troll comes up with “what about teh menz” on a post on some horrifying issue affecting women, we should respond with:

    “Yes, what about teh menz? Why aren’t they pushing back more against a system they claim to hate? Against those amongst their communities who make them look like the most inhuman scum? Why are they content to punch downwards in fear than risk standing up for what’s right on these issues and thus free themselves as well? What can men do to fix that so it’s not just women cleaning up the messes like we’ve been for all these years? When will men live up to their self-selected claims to bravery, honor, and integrity? When will men save themselves from these self-enforced chains that imprison them in something that makes them miserable and constrains their ability to even be comfortable noting that something this terrible is terrible and worth focusing on less they be deemed less manly? What can you do to help this?”

    It won’t lead to any better places than those derails usually go, but at least it will be a change from the usual.

    P.S. For men who feel trapped and put-upon, I’m not trying to dismiss how terrifying it is. As a transwoman I know very well the weight of the decision one makes in deciding to deliberately sacrifice social privileges to do what is brave and must be done. But every minority group is already having to do it while also suffering the disadvantages of being the oppressed class. It’s not so impossible that men with all their advantages couldn’t make amazing progress if they were only willing to devote half as much energy and passion as those other communities do. Masculinity does not have to mean Toxic Masculinity and Male Culture does not need to mean a toxic mix of Nice Guy TMs, MRAs, rape culture, and casual sexism and homophobia. Men can be better than that. Should be better than that and while it’s hard to go first, well, that’s the way it crumbles for everyone. It’s hard to be the first woman speaking out against the rape culture. It’s hard being the first black person speaking out against lynching. It’s hard being the first queer person coming out visibly in society. It’ll be hard being the first men to start dismantling this fucked up system, but the rewards for doing so are so very worth it.

  95. says

    Caine @108

    I would agree. Realizing that there are others is an important first step.

    And to get there, men are first going to have to get used to working like a minority group. Actually finding community and building it with their hard work and resisting all the cultural forces that are going to go into turning it into yet another “bitches be cray cray” shit fest. There are communities of people who are 1% or less of the population who manage to find each other and support each other, who have built communities from nothing when no one even had the words to explain what was going on inside.

    It’s not too hard for men to do this. It just takes commitment and bravery.

  96. says

    Hmm, now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder what are the social barriers to discouraged members of dominant groups resisting the way the oppressive systems fuck them over too.

    Is it the desire to lose only the parts that inconvenience them while still retaining the social regard that comes with the system of oppression? Is it the fear of losing privilege or being treated in the same regard as the oppressed class (as has often happened to those who historically side with the marginalized, see the way gendered insults are directed at male feminists or the way white allies of black civil rights workers were sometimes lynched or murdered as well)? Is it the lack of a natural alternative perspective (marginalized groups have no choice but to see how the system doesn’t fit their lives, whereas dominant groups are only socially aware of the status quo without deliberate effort)?

    Or is it something else entirely?

  97. John Morales says

    Cerberus,

    I wonder what are the social barriers to discouraged members of dominant groups resisting the way the oppressive systems fuck them over too.
    [...]
    Or is it something else entirely?

    Well, I’m hardly discouraged nor am I proactively resistant to the system, but in my case it’s that I hardly engage outside the workplace and my (very, very small) circle of friends.

  98. says

    John @112

    Ah.

    Yeah, thinking about my own areas where I’m in the dominant group, there is that hesitation in engaging actively rather than being reactive outside known quantities.

    Thinking about it I think it might be similar hesitation that marginalized group members feel in fully trusting dominant group members who want to help because the possibility of backsliding, bad faith, or unchecked baggage can be intense and quickly draining before the other social factors.

  99. mildlymagnificent says

    Mellow Monkey

    I suspect that rape is far more common against boys and young men than normally realized, but it gets viewed differently and goes unreported.

    But when the research is done you can get some interesting results. I remember 20+ years ago when the school was running a fairly standard-for-the-time program for the kids along the lines of “I decide who will and won’t touch my body” – not those words but definitely that sentiment. The information pack that came to us as parents – or to me as a committee member maybe? – pointed out that research showed that men under 30 at that time, say early to mid 80s, reported about half the number of assaults on them as children as did men over 60.

    Though we haven’t heard the last of this. I’m pretty sure that the Australian Royal Commission into institutions neglecting and abusing children will tell us far more than we ever wanted to know. Personally, I’m expecting a big spillover into other countries when it becomes clear how many priests and rabbis and others were transferred and otherwise permitted to go elsewhere and do much as they pleased. (Until they overstepped the very generous mark there and came back and reoffended here. Rinse and repeat.)

  100. mildlymagnificent says

    Oh. and One Billion Rising?

    When I saw the promotional videos something came back to me quite vividly. I remember the near-distraught face of a quite nice man watching a group of women singing and dancing. They were singing something that amounted to “No more rape” and celebrating because the group he was with had managed to get the women repairs, or a whole new machine, can’t remember, so that they’d be able to earn their money in their little workshop. Otherwise they’d have to go and collect firewood to have something to sell for money and all of them had been raped or attacked at least once when they were doing this.

    His problem was that they couldn’t guarantee ‘no more rape’ and he didn’t know how to be glad for them and also face the fact that their escape from assault was probably only temporary. One of the many hard to face moments in the second series of “Go Back To Where You Came From”.

  101. says

    Cerberus:

    Ok, I think I might be entering privileged wankery territory on this tangent so I’m going to take a step back and come back when I’m a little less addle-brained.

    I highly recommend Guyland by Michael Kimmel. While it addresses guy culture, it also addresses individuals within it, and how each guy cuts his own deal with the culture and tries to muddle through it all. Kimmel also breaks it down into three parts: a culture of entitlement, a culture of silence and a culture of protection.

    That book seriously clarified many issues for me and has helped me to understand the dynamics involved.

  102. says

    I thought the discussion about alternatives to guy culture was interesting but I have been having a hard time writing a post about it. It keeps sounding like self-important drivel.

    Anyway, I will have to pick up this Guyland book sometime soon. It sounds interesting and might address some of my frustrations with guys. I live with two engineers that are steeped in stereotypical Canadian hockey loving, engineering, bro-ish way of being. It is difficult for me to confront them on their bullshit because I have to live with them for the time being. I do feel lucky to have found alternative lifestyle groups that have men that are different than the average guy. Most of the guys I do know are liberal, feminists, and would make my roommates intensely uncomfortable because of their views about masculinity. But at the same time it does feel like I am not doing that much to change the culture other than trying to not to be associated with the typical guys very often.

  103. Rey Fox says

    Skeptic movement. What a fucking joke. Nothing more than a playground of smarter-than-thou white men pretending they’re enlightened for not believing in frivolous things. It seems that, whenever they start to talk about things that matter, they show how uneducated, stupid and condescending they really are. To think I once thought I had common cause with these vile pieces of shit.

    No fucking kidding. I was devastated when it began to dawn on me that skeptics weren’t going to take on gender roles and anti-women bullshit. I thought that’s half the reason we signed up, to liberate half of humanity from the shackles of religious thought. I thought, this is what the hip youngsters are doing, the political cage-rattlers. Who wants it to be the old white guy club? Fuck old white guys.

    (And yeah, aggrieved old white guys, quote mine this all you want. It’s Saturday night, I’m drunk, and I really don’t feel like coddling your pasty asses right now.)

  104. spyro says

    /delurk

    So tonight, I ended up drunk and debating a friend about the difference between biological sex and gender roles – mostly trying to make the point that one had no necessary influence on the other. I’m pretty sure I failed miserably (I’m crap at orating…plus, y’know…drunk). I felt like a complete div for having bothered, and numbingly tired for having put a great deal of effort into an endeavour that I should have realised from the first few sentences would bear zero success of contemplation from the other party.

    I suspect this is how many of the horde sometimes feel.

    I want you all to know a wonderful thing though.

    Very shortly after this frustrating and fruitless conversation, 2 other people approached me to tell me that they agreed with what I’d said, and thanked me for not only saying it out loud, but for the backing I was able to provide for my argument. Many of my examples and citations came from links and further reading the people on this blog have offered.

    Greetings and salutations from a drunk Brit; your efforts are not in vain, and are, in fact, greatly appreciated by myself and the numerous other lurkers who’d rather not engage directly.

    /relurk

  105. vaiyt says

    @Jafafa Hots:
    Your mistake, as was mine, is believing that Skepticism has anything to do with thinking clearly. Evidence says otherwise.

  106. says

    melody

    Ben Radford is contracted by CFI part-time to write about skepticism. Personally, I wish he would stick to bigfoot and other shit I don’t care about about.

    I know, this is personally frustrating for you. You really DO work your ass off, you get CFI to do wonderful things, you organize WiS and then there’s a guy like Radford who destroys with his ass what you build up with your hands.
    Seriously, CFI should get Radford to write about stuff he knows. He’s paid to write skeptical articles, not Bullshit out of his Privileged Ass™
    Take it up with CFI.

  107. says

    I understand that it’s frustrating for you, Melody, but CFI really need to get their house in order. Would this sort of uninformed nonsense be tolerated if the subject were astronomy or global warming? Of course not. So why do they tolerate someone axe-grinding and spreading misinformation, but only when the topic is feminism? It looks really, really bad for them.

  108. says

    Your mistake, as was mine, is believing that Skepticism has anything to do with thinking clearly.

    Your mistake is in underestimating my compulsion to overuse sarcasm. :)

  109. says

    @melody,

    I know I’ve dumped on you in the past for CFI and other “skeptical community” garbage, and I’m sorry I did it, because I don’t think you really deserve it. You’re caught between a rock & a hard place, trying to do good with the resources of a big organization, and not being able to control or even really influence a lot of what goes on in such a large group. But CFI has been a “too big to fail” disaster for a bunch of years now, and I’m not sure anyone can fix it.

  110. melody says

    The problem is that they have this blog that they decided from the beginning would have no oversight because FREEZE PEACH and it’s been more trouble than it’s been worth in my opinion. This piece of writing would never make it into Skeptical Inquirer magazine, which Ben is paid to write for.

  111. melody says

    And I don’t blame anyone for criticizing Ben. I criticize Ben. Ophelia and I were criticizing Ben before she wrote her blog. I fully expect that. I’m just asking that you don’t say fuck CFI, because a contractor goes on a blog where he knows he can say anything and write a crappy blog. There is real work being done and this is a distraction.

  112. ChasCPeterson says

    I’m better at thinking sensibly than anyone I know, and I *enjoy* that I’m more sensible at thinking than everyone I know.

    You need to get a blog to go with that url.

    Fuck old white guys.

    Splash damage much, Sonny?
    If you’re talking about adherents of ‘organized skepticism’ then you would do better, drunk or not, to talk about what you’re actually talking about. Teh ECO has been explicit on this in the Rulez, you know: “There are classes of insults that rely on broad spectrum stereotypes to be insulting: racist, sexist, ableist, ageist slurs don’t just hit your target, they hit everyone in that group. So when you slam Joe Schmoe for being “old”, you’re also slamming me, and we old people get tetchy and cranky about that sort of thing.”

    I really don’t feel like coddling your pasty asses right now.

    a) simply refraining from an inappropriate “fuck you” would not be considered ‘coddling’, so you probably would have been safe there. Just for next time.
    b) Hey, you think I signed up for this ass or something? I’d love to have an Ass Of Colour, but it turns out that it’s that pesky inheritance thing. What’s yours, baboon-purple? (I will say that my ass has not always been quite this pasty. Once, after that first visit to the nude beach, it was a really quite vivid scarlet, for example.)

  113. carlie says

    I’m just asking that you don’t say fuck CFI, because a contractor goes on a blog where he knows he can say anything and write a crappy blog. There is real work being done and this is a distraction.

    Ok, but can we say fuck CFI if it continues to let Ben have a place writing about topics like this, and if they do not disclaim the incorrect statements he has made?

  114. atheist says

    My reaction is less: “you don’t get to be over rape”, and more: “Bullshit. You’re not over rape.” Radford may actually believe that he’s “over rape”, but the fact is that if he or someone he cares about gets raped, his attitude of being “over rape” is gonna go right out the window.

  115. says

    What continues to burn my ass is that Radford, while making an ill-informed attempt to accuse others of statistics-goosing, lied openly. Now, I think his critiques about statistics-goosing are wrong and transparently bad faith arguments, but they don’t drift into outright lies. But the claim that feminists say all men are rapists?

    I mean, without even asking us what % of men are rapists, he knows that it falls below 100%, since, uh, we hang out with, befriend, date, marry, and work with men all the time without being afraid of them.

    The reality is that feminists know that only focusing on victims is not a solution (but unfortunately, it’s what the media prefers, such successfully sticky campaigns like Billion Rising tend to be victim-focused, since perp-focused stuff makes everyone uncomfortable and really sends the misogynists into a froth), so there has actually been a lot of work on trying to figure out who rapes and why. If you actually bother to understand this issue instead of whine about how you’re “over” it, it becomes quickly apparent that it’s likely most rapists are serial rapists, because rape doesn’t stem from having “one bad night” so much as it does from having a specific view of women, sex, and power that makes rape exciting for the rapist.

    Indeed, if you actually bother to look at feminist research (ask a skeptic to look at research! perish the thought), the estimates are more like 5-6% of men are rapists.

    http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

    The reason that somewhere around 20% of women are victims of attempted or completed rapes is simple: Most rapists rape multiple women. Indeed, 4% of men are serial rapists, and they average 5.8 victims a piece. Four time 5.8=23. Asking skeptics to understand math is usually fairly normal, but I guess that expectation is suspended for sexist choads.

    http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/good-men-projects-rape-faceplant-predators-and-the-social-license-to-operate/

  116. says

    Addendum: Those are U.S.-based numbers. In some countries, the rape rate is higher because of things like wars, a culture that condones child marriage and other things like that.

  117. atheist says

    @spyro – 17 February 2013 at 2:17 am (UTC -6)

    Thanks spyro, it’s good to know folks are listening, both to you and to us.

  118. says

    melody

    I’m just asking that you don’t say fuck CFI, because a contractor goes on a blog where he knows he can say anything and write a crappy blog. There is real work being done and this is a distraction.

    I think we can perfectly well say “fuck CFI for making that crappy decision and letting it go on”.
    That doesn’t mean “fuck CFI for everything and ever and always and let’s never ever talk to them again”.
    It means “you made a crappy decision, but it’s not written in stone and you need to revise it, but if you don’t this shit keeps happening and it hurts your organisation”.

  119. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    And yeah, aggrieved old white guys, quote mine this all you want. It’s Saturday night, I’m drunk, and I really don’t feel like coddling your pasty asses right now. – Rey Fox

    Right: so if you’re drunk, saying stupid, offensive shit is totally excusable, according to you and StevoR.

  120. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    that’s the cultural message men receive (the “alpha” men who “score with chicks” are the ones who treat women the worst, despite the fact that in boring old reality the opposite is usually true, largely because said people are less likely to see sex as a game and a conquest of a foe, but rather a collaborative dance without judgment or pressure). – Cerberus

    I’m well aware that message is and long has been around in books and movies, but it’s not one I ever believed, or came across in any overt form among peers very often – in contrast to other equally sexist tropes, such as treating sex as a competitive sport played between men as to who can “score” most, or obsessively “rating” women (or rather, “chicks”) for attractiveness.

  121. Rey Fox says

    You know, that was a rather pointlessly aggressive and unfair thing I said last night. I’m sorry.

  122. says

    Nick:

    I’m well aware that message is and long has been around in books and movies, but it’s not one I ever believed, or came across in any overt form among peers very often – in contrast to other equally sexist tropes, such as treating sex as a competitive sport played between men as to who can “score” most, or obsessively “rating” women (or rather, “chicks”) for attractiveness.

    These days, it’s a bit more about group dynamics and hook ups, but there’s still intense pressure to be “cool” so you can hook up. It’s like drinking – in universities all over the U.S., students are convinced that other people are drinking a *lot*, so they drink much more than they normally would – but the other people aren’t drinking as much as they think. A lot of it is perception among peers. A person thinks others are drinking a fucktonne, so they actually drink a fucktonne to be cool, to keep up. They think the others are hooking up at a high rate, so they try to hook up at a high rate.

    This has changed a lot since the ’60s. University culture and guy culture has gotten much more toxic. Some of that has to do with feminism, which has left a lot of young men feeling aggrieved (loss of entitlement and privilege) and left others more lost than ever when trying to figure out what the fuck masculinity is, and they end up taking their cues from peers who are only a year or two older.

  123. says

    Travis:

    Anyway, I will have to pick up this Guyland book sometime soon. It sounds interesting and might address some of my frustrations with guys. I live with two engineers that are steeped in stereotypical Canadian hockey loving, engineering, bro-ish way of being. It is difficult for me to confront them on their bullshit because I have to live with them for the time being. I do feel lucky to have found alternative lifestyle groups that have men that are different than the average guy. Most of the guys I do know are liberal, feminists, and would make my roommates intensely uncomfortable because of their views about masculinity. But at the same time it does feel like I am not doing that much to change the culture other than trying to not to be associated with the typical guys very often.

    I’m very glad you’ve found support outside your roommates. Your specific situation is addressed in Guyland too, because most guys end up rooming with other guys for a while after school. It’s really difficult to break guy culture, it’s not going to be easy for anyone, especially those stuck in the middle of it. By the way, talking about this isn’t self-important drivel, even if it seems that way to you – we can’t understand unless people talk to us about it.

  124. Anri says

    It may be a quibble on my part and maybe I just do not understand how the rights of women can be described or refereed to as minority rights last time I looked the ratio seems to hover around 50%. ?

    In exactly the same way the “freedom of religion” is, when properly and intelligently constructed, extended to the non-religious. Women may not in fact be a minority, but they are treated as such, and face many of the same obstacles and issues. They have minority status.

    It may be a quibble on my part, but did you know that already, or were you honestly confused?

  125. Caveat Imperator says

    Come to think of it, the “why aren’t you out in the streets making the problem go away?” can be looped right back on the people who make the argument. Either that person has to admit that he or she is a hypocrite by not doing the same thing, or he or she has to conclude that the problem is fictitious or exaggerated (which in this case, it clearly is not.) Either way, it is the last refuge of people with nothing to say.

  126. doubtthat says

    @140

    I’ve only ever heard the phrase thusly, “women and minorities.”

    Women are additionally minorities in certain contexts: CEOs, medical and law schools in the past, members of Congress…etc. But as you point out, the important dynamic isn’t the number, it’s the share of societal power.

  127. doubtthat says

    @131 amandamarcotte

    I think you may be slightly over-estimating Radford’s reasoning ability. Certainly you (and literally every other feminist on planet Earth in a statistical sense: 99.99%=100%) don’t think “all” men are rapists for the reasons you say, but the “feminist” of Radford’s imagination doesn’t actually interact with men. They are all lesbian members of PETA that meet in secret locations to practice witchcraft and bitch about the patriarchy. Their sole goal in life is to flirt with men, trick them into sex, then falsely accuse them of rape.

    As is usually the case, the actual feminist position is significantly more positive towards men than the MRA-style bullshit that Radford has gobbled up.

    Then, of course, you have the trap these assholes place for women: 5-6% men are rapists, but there’s no way to recognize who those folks are. 1/20 is a pretty big number, meaning that every bar, every party, every get-together yields a significant possibility of a rapist being present. The catch-22: if women argue they need to be vigilant in this world, they’re man-haters, if they behave in a way implying trust in men – going to a party and getting drunk – then they’re stupid whores who brought the assault on themselves.

    It’s a no-win situation from a rhetorical perspective (well, more like an all-win position, but in their twisted minds…).

  128. shawn says

    Shit I’ve just about lost all faith in the skeptic community. Rational my ass. It’s gotten to the point with so many of these problems that I barely feel the desire to argue directly with the community any more.

    You know how it is with racists? You don’t argue their points when it’s at a certain level. The decent response is just “fuck you’. Now I’m not saying that the skeptic community is the KKK or anything. Well, there are a few scum that seem to veer a little too close to that kind of shit but mostly many involved are more like CNN to me. I understand what CNN thinks they are trying to do with their “fair and balanced” kind of rhetoric but in practice its just a shit-show of status quo protecting bullshit. I let go of CNN a long time ago and I think I’m pretty much there with the skeptic community at large as well.

  129. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Rey Fox @ 137

    You know, that was a rather pointlessly aggressive and unfair thing I said last night. I’m sorry.

    Noted, and thanks for the apology.

    Melody–I thought when you said “this blog” @ 96 you meant Pharyngula, not the CFI blog. Sorry about my aggressive tone. I thought you were asking *us* to stop criticizing *Ben.* Now I can see that you were expressing frustration at Ben’s post.

  130. thumper1990 says

    @hyperdeath #12

    I dislike the phrase “hyperskepticism”, as it implies strict adherence to a good thing. Why not “pseudoskepticism”, or just “denialism”?

    You’re acting as if the scale of skepticism is a straight line, with “Gullible” on the left and “Skeptic” on the right, and the further right you are the better your thinking is. That’s not the case. It’s more like a circle where the ends don’t quite meet, with “Gullible” at the top. Follow it round clockwise till you get “Solipsist” at the other end, also at the top next to “Gullible”. Imagine a further scale where 12 o’clock is labelled “Useless/dangerous” and 6 o’clock as “Average”. A useful amount of skepticism would be from 6 o’clock to c. 10 o’clock. 3 to 6 and you’re overly credulous. 12 to 3 and you’re a gullible fool. 10 to 12 and you’re a hyperskeptic douche who can’t be convinced of anything. There is such a thing as “Too much skepticism”; there comes a point when you’re just being silly. Solipsism, for example.

    A flawed model, possibly, but I think more accurate than a straight line.

  131. John Morales says

    [OT]

    thumper1990, I disagree with your analogical characterisation.

    Skepticism (in this context) refers to an attitude towards belief acquisition or modification; there is no degree — one either is skeptical or one is not.

    The type and degree of justification (or warrant) one requires for such is to what I think you refer.

  132. thumper1990 says

    @John Morales

    I think it’s true to say that one is either “skeptical” or “not skeptical” of a specific subject but when talking about a general attitude towards life I think it is fair to say that there are degrees of skepticism. You’re right, I am talking about the stringency of thought applied to available evidence before adopting a belief as your own, but is it not fair to say that those requiring more stringent checks are “more skeptical” than those who do not? If that is not the case, then the very phrase “Hyperskeptic” (Hyper- meaning “excessive”, “over”, “above”) makes no sense. Since it clearly indicates a higher than average level of skepticism, in common parlance a level that requires such stringent checks on evidence that adoption of new beliefs becomes practically impossible, there must actually be levels of skepticism in order for the word to be useful. If there are no levels of skepticism, then hyperdeath is right and the word is meaningless.

  133. strange gods before me ॐ says

    more lost than ever when trying to figure out what the fuck masculinity is

    Naturally, because masculinity is to be not like the subordinate gender.

    The dream of a “nontoxic masculinity” is a macguffin which turns out to be a red herring.

    Whenever someone starts describing what it would mean to be masculine in a socially nondestructive, healthy way, it turns out they’re not describing anything about how to be a man qua man, but rather how to be a responsible and empowered adult.

    And the latter is a fine goal, but there’s nothing masculine about it.

  134. anteprepro says

    Whenever someone starts describing what it would mean to be masculine in a socially nondestructive, healthy way, it turns out they’re not describing anything about how to be a man qua man, but rather how to be a responsible and empowered adult.

    I find that far more often, when they try describing what it would mean to be masculine in a socially nondestructive, healthy way, they fail, and just don’t notice how destructive and unhealthy it is.

  135. ChasCPeterson says

    Good man adult, Rey Fox.

    I just do not understand how the rights of women can be described or refereed to as minority rights

    oo! oo! where’s that damn hobbyhorse?…wait…ah…

    aha! You see? You see the problems caused by redefining vernacular English words as technical terminology with crucially different meanings, and then using them that way in ordinary conversation? See?