Link Roundup: September 2019

Announcement: I’m taking a blogging break.  I’m doing a thing for the next two months, and I’ll be around but I don’t know how busy I’ll be.  When I return depends on how busy I am.

Plug: The weird world of asexuality Google Alerts.  It’s just an entertaining list of the weirdest articles I’ve found mentioning asexuality.

Men | ContraPoints (video) – Natalie talks about the need for a men’s movement that is actually good.  TBH I’m not keen on the specific content of the video, but it’s at least a decent conversation starter, and the inspiration for a few recent blog posts.  I also created a “male feminism” category to collect my writings on the subject.

The part I’m not keen on is the large emphasis placed on Natalie’s personal experiences.  Yes it’s good to recognize the special insight that trans people have into comparisons between gendered experiences, but I’ve definitely heard trans experiences which were diametrically opposite to hers.  I also have to say that I have never felt that people were scared of me, and I would absolutely hate it if anyone complimented my appearance on the street.  She’s clearly just sharing her personal experiences, but I feel the narrowness detracts from the video.

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Towards a harmless masculinity

“Toxic masculinity” refers to harmful forms of masculine expression, such as violence, aggression, aloofness, and the policing of other men’s masculinity.

Here, “toxic” is a restrictive adjective, which is to say that “toxic masculinity” refers to the subset of masculinity that is toxic; it does not mean that all masculinity is toxic.  Nonetheless, this is a common point of confusion, perhaps because there’s little visible discussion of what might constitute non-toxic masculinity.

So I’d like to explain my ideas about what non-toxic masculinity should look like, on an abstract level.  An outline:

  1. Toxic masculinity should be contrasted with “harmless masculinity”, not “virtuous masculinity”.
  2. Harmless masculinity is mostly a matter of aesthetics.
  3. Masculine aesthetics can also be toxic, but I argue that they are not necessarily so.

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Origami: Orthogonal maze

it's not really a maze, since there's no clear entrance or exit

Orthogonal Maze, designed by Erik Demaine, Martin Demaine, and Jason Ku

Okay, so it’s not much of a maze, but you know, it could be.  There are detailed instructions on how to fold any orthogonal maze, and even a web-app that will generate crease patterns for you.  I gave it a go, with a small (15cm) square of paper.  I wasn’t going to manage much of a maze with this size, so I just made something symmetric instead.

My impression is: it’s hard!  I’m not confident I would be able to fold a larger maze by this method.  The issue is that some of the maze components are really difficult to fold, and some of the others pull apart too easily.  I think if I wanted to fold something larger, I’d try to workshop the design a little more, or find a different method.  But I also made this years ago, so maybe if I tried again I would be better at it.