And I’m stuck in rural Minnesota. You can at least follow the conversation on #WiS4 on Twitter, or read the summaries going up on centerforinquiry.live of the Women in Secularism conference.
I wish I could be there.
It’s not as if Yiannopoulis is contributing anything interesting. But, as Shiv mentions, he’s got a new profile published which throws him softballs. It’s the equivalent of Jimmy Fallon’s Trump interview — it presents a dangerous crackpot as just another goofball, rather than as an inflammatory bomb-thrower.
The Out profile of Yiannopoulos represents the peak of this harm. Here is a white supremacist whose entire career has been built on the attention he can get for himself through provocation. His attacks against women, people of color, Muslims, transgender people, and basically anybody who doesn’t like him are as malicious as they come, and he catalyzes his many “alt-right” followers to turn on any target he deems worthy of abuse. This puff piece — complete with a cutesy clown photoshoot — makes light of Yiannopoulos’s trolling while simultaneously providing him a pedestal to further extend his brand of hatred. Indeed, he does so in the profile itself, openly slurring the transgender community, which Out published without any apparent concern.
Amanda Marcotte was at the photo shoot and took the opportunity to grill him on his views. He likes to claim that he’s just a troll who is trying to get a response, but Amanda found him to be completely serious about being an anti-feminist, anti-immigrant, far right wing bigot.
Milo Yiannopolous is not playing around. He is utterly sincere about his far-right views.
He is sincere enough that he lectured me for about 15 minutes and was so caught up in the moment that he seemingly forgot that he was half naked while wearing a wig and makeup. He was sincere enough to get genuinely wound up during this time.
Yiannopolous was so sincere that when the Salon team shut off the cameras so as to move to another vantage point, he demanded that I leave the room, refused to answer any more questions and called me a “bitch.”
Well, now we know how to get under his skin: actually talk about what he really believes.
It’s a brutal question. Suddenly, my whole life has become a lie because Terry Gross asked a penetrating question of a gay soccer player, Abby Wambach.
So I want to ask you more about like comprehending your sexuality, your sexual orientation. You’d had a boyfriend in high school. You went to the prom together. You were considered, like, the jock couple of Rochester, New York. Was it helpful on Long Island to have had a boyfriend, to have had sex with a boy, so that you could know with more certainty, “no, I love women?”
Dang, Ms Gross, you made me realize…I went through all of high school (and my life since high school) not even dating any boys, let alone having sex with them. With that huge lack of experience, how can I possibly know whether I’m sexually attracted to women, especially my wife? I’m supposed to be all about prioritizing empirical research, and apparently desire has to be evaluated like a taste test, and I have to sample all the varieties before I can truly love someone.
We’ve got know-nothings railing about trigger warnings, which they don’t understand, and safe spaces, which they also get wrong, but what about no-platforming, in which an institution bows to pressure and denies a speaker a place to say their piece? I’m generally sympathetic to their concerns — we should be encouraging diverse views — but let’s think it through. Sometimes, maybe, there is no virtue in asking someone to present their ideas.
Having unusual (or frighteningly mainstream) ideas does not justify getting paid. You might not warrant censorship, but you are also not entitled to a $100,000 speaking fee. That one is easy.
But what about this? Brock Turner, the guy who raped an unconscious woman and got off with a 3 month jail sentence because he was a Stanford athlete, wants to do a speaking tour of college campuses, warning them of the dangers of alcohol. I am just fine with a university telling a convicted sex offender “Hell, no, we’re not going to bring you here to blame your crimes on alcohol”. He might even get invitations to speak, but it won’t because he’s presenting a valuable lesson — he’ll only be invited by assholes who want to troll feminists on campus, all under the guise of the absolute purity of untrammeled free speech.
So where do you draw the line between free speech and abuse of free speech?
This is Jana Shortal. She’s a Minnesota TV news reporter.
She recently reported on a news story that’s really shaking up the state. Decades ago, before my time, Jacob Wetterling, a young boy, was abducted at gun point, and ever since, his family has been searching for him. This was huge news locally; long-time residents are surprisingly familiar with the case, which caused emotional ripples all across the region when it happened. And then, just recently, the kidnapper confessed, and in wrenching detail, described how he molested and murdered a crying little boy. It has brought up a lot of horrified responses, which are entirely understandable.
Shortal reported on the story.
Then a gossip columnist for the Star Tribune, CJ, reported on the reporting, and complained about Shortal’s clothes. Her jeans were
Shortal has responded very effectively — you can tell who is the better writer — but still…you’ve got a murdered child, and CJ made it into a fashion statement, as a story that was all about the pants? Remember, it isn’t about how you feel or what you say, what matters is whether the clothing you wear is sufficiently conservative when you say it.
And the thing is, there was absolutely nothing offensive or disrespectful about how Shortal was dressed. That’s what she wears to work. It’s not radical, it’s not trying to shock viewers, it was a pair of jeans.
I get asked that question all the time, since I’m at a liberal arts college, and face it, the women are taking over. So here’s an article wondering about those poor suffering men.
“I actually feel like women are taking over the world,” says Ishwar Chhikara, a 36-year-old investment officer at an international development bank, citing statistics showing more women now have college degrees in the US than men. He says this laughing, but with no audible irony.
“I feel bad for men, especially those who don’t go to school, or study. The whole system is changing drastically with the coming of the information age. It’s not about strength anymore, it’s about the brains.”
While muscles at the center of an economy made the physically stronger sex have more power, Chhikara isn’t so convinced with the switch-up.
“It is a positive thing from a woman’s perspective, from a man’s perspective I don’t know.”
The statistics are true, and I consider them kind of inevitable. Here’s my explanation: as we generally improve opportunities, the people who have historically had less than satisfactory outcomes are more eager to improve their situation, and are more likely to take advantage of those opportunities. The groups that have historically had an advantage are slower to recognize that they need to work to keep up, and in fact may resent that they have to jump through a hoop to earn what they used to be simply given. So the current situation is actually a consequence of past inequities and men’s sense of entitlement.
There’s another factor, too: the social stigma of feminization. Look at what happens to occupations associated with “women’s work”, like nursing and teaching. They get paid less, and men actively avoid taking up the occupation. I worry that some of that is happening to universities, as well — we see, for instance, that liberal arts colleges are particularly attractive to women, so why would a man go there? Too many of them are looking at the performance of those manly athletic teams in order to determine where to go.
You find it hard to believe that a winning football season could influence people’s decisions to make an academic commitment? Look up the Flutie Effect, and be horrified.
Now the alt-right/MRAs/neo-Nazis are appropriating…beards.
The subject of masculinity comes up and the White man’s ability to grow a luxurious beard. According to early racial science the original Negro and Chinaman were unable to grow beards and the fact that the White man could, showed that our race was more mature and fully grown than the others. The fact that some Negroes now have beards shows that they are mulattoes. Matt encourages men to grow well-kept beards as a sign of being anti-feminist, as feminists hate them.
I am so confused. Being excessively hairy is now a sign of the white man’s more evolved status? And it’s a measure of greater masculinity, but women hate them? So Nazis are going to grow this symbol of manliness to repel women?
Oh, no. I’m not confused. They are, because none of that makes any sense at all.
Nothing ever changes. The NorthStar, the stupidly conservative campus newspaper, is back. Well, one thing changed: now the editor comes to my office and personally hands me a copy. Yay. I am so special.
So I could at least take a look at it. I opened it to the first article,
Why I Love Feminism, and skimmed the first page.
On one hand, I held the firm belief that feminism, hoorah, is about as important as condoms are for Donald Trump. But on the other, this girl is feeling my vibe and I don’t want to mess that up. As a young, overly-serious freshman, I unfortunately would tell the truth, albeit in a gentle way (the worst way if you are trying to score). “Well, I think women should be treated equally, not necessarily granted equal results,” [which is, actually, what feminism is all about, so I don’t know why he would think this uncontroversial statement is a moodkiller] I would say, as my chances of parking the beef bus in tuna town went to donut.[Charming.]
Fellas, you need to learn now from the mistakes I made as a freshman. Remember that feminism, hoorah, is a tool; it can be used for good, not just bad. While often times feminism, hoorah, is used to perpetuate negative gender stereotypes of men as pigs and sex-hungry animals [wait for it…] (one of many examples), you need to realize that it can also be used to your advantage to hook up with the (few attractive) feminists for the purpose of getting your banana peeled. [I think it’s obvious that the negative stereotype isn’t coming from feminists, but is being continually reaffirmed by anti-feminst men themselves]
Glancing ahead, I saw that the primary purpose of the article was to squeeze yet another tacky euphemism for sex in every paragraph, so I did another thing that never changes: I crumpled it up and threw it in the recycling, where it belongs.
Finally, someone cuts through all the neurological differences between men and women and summarizes all the differences between male and female brains. Dean Burnett gets one thing wrong, though: sometimes, “male” brains are not connected to a penis, and “female” brains are not attached to a vagina. It’s almost as if the dominant consideration ought to be the nature of the human brain, rather than contriving distinctions without evidence!
He is right on one thing, though.
… it could be that the human brain develops in accordance to what it experiences, and things it experiences and is made to do more often are reflected in the sorts of connections that develop. This would suggest that there aren’t actually any marked differences between male and female brains. However, this would mean that there is no scientific basis for all of our stereotypes and prejudices about what certain sexes should/shouldn’t do and they all stem from irrational or unpleasant cultural influences that haven’t gone away yet, forcing us to admit to ourselves that our preconceived notions about certain sexes or genders are just self-fulfilling clichés with no logical basis, potentially threatening our beliefs, our positions and even our identity.
And we can’t have that, can we.