Incremental progress

Minnesota has a “defense of marriage” act on the books, which prohibits gay marriage. Several gay families have challenged the law; their case was dismissed last year. However, it went before the Minnesota Court of Appeals today, and they have ruled favorably: the case was unfairly dismissed, and has now been tossed back to the lower courts.

Minnesota has not overturned the ban on gay marriage yet, but has won the right to challenge the law in court. It’s a step forward, at least. If you want to help out, Marry Me Minnesota is looking for donations.

Creepy as hell

I think it will give me nightmares: it’s a video put out by the Patriarchy Counsel to promote abstinence with Purity Bear. It stars a vaguely insipid looking teenager who’s invited into the house after a date by an attractive young woman, and then…a teddy bear rises over his shoulder to warn him in a flat, affectless voice to go home. And then it cuts to some time later, the girl is in a bridal dress, and the same dopey guy is talking about how he’s glad to have waited.

I saw the bear and heard the voice and thought immediately of Frank, the demon bunny in Donnie Darko. This is not a creature to take sex advice from, was my thought. A jet engine should have fallen out of the sky in the first part to crush geeky guy, and save the poor girl from an awful fate.

Schroedinger’s Black Man

You know that the must-read post for this week (and it’s only Tuesday!) is Crommunist’s Shuffling feet: a black man’s view on Schroedinger’s Rapist. Who would have thought a black person might resent getting used to excuse sexism?

(By the way, I heard a rumor that Ian will be at the Imagine No Religion conference in May — another reason for you to attend. There will be sensible Canadians there!)

A fabulous strategy for annoying fundagelicals and conservatives

I remember discovering Laci Green on YouTube several years ago — she was a great advocate for unabashed atheism. She still is, but she’s discovered a very effective way to piss off the Christians: by speaking frankly and truthfully about sex. Here’s her latest example, which just cheerfully explains the clitoris…and managed to throw a few prudes into censorious hysterics.

(via Camels With Hammers.)

Her prospects for a future in art journalism may have just dimmed

Here is an exercise in pain: read this review of a concert performance:

As the concert progressed, I began to realize a certain "prettiness" in the performance, a lack of force, drive and even drama. I don’t think this is simply a cultural phenomenon (as in misunderstanding the Messiah’s content, message, meaning, etc…). I think it is a physio/cerebral problem. I’ve seen it happen in art and design, and even in science – a friend of mine was a Korean PhD student. At some level, I think Asians demonstrate some ability (i.e. memorization, or fast, scale-like exercises). But there seems to be an inability to create a synthesized beauty, which is what much of art (and order in Science) is about.

She didn’t care for the performance, so she leapt to the assumption that it was a “physio/cerebral problem” in all those Asians.

And she’s not done! She tallies up the precise numbers of Asians in various orchestra positions, and notes that there sure are a lot of them. It couldn’t be that they earned those positions by hard work, could it?

Not only are Asians dispersed around the orchestra, they are also given lead positions in certain sections. But they are notably absent in the brass and percussion sections. Although that could just be a matter of time, these instruments (brass and percussion) might actually be too physically demanding for them.

Because Asians are all little tiny people, I guess.

The author got a lot of pushback on her post, and wrote a response. Here, cringe some more.

Putting a majority (or a large number) of Asians in a western orchestra will invariably make it more Asian. Musicians like Mary Lee, who allow this to happen, have at some point to concede the inferiority of this type orchestra compared to that with a majority of whites, and either close off their eyes to this reality (as does Mary Lee), or perform grudgingly until better situations hopefully present themselves.

They keep taking the excuses away!

This pattern of research undermining stereotypes is getting to be a nuisance. Once upon a time, it was much easier to batten the blame for the glass ceiling on the victims, and now they keep telling us it’s our fault!

The research focused on career paths of high-potential men and women, drawing on thousands of MBA graduates from top schools around the world. Catalyst found that, among those who had moved on from their first post-MBA job, there was no significant difference in the proportion of women and men who asked for increased compensation or a higher position.

Yet the rewards were different.

Women who initiated such conversations and changed jobs post MBA experienced slower compensation growth than the women who stayed put. For men, on the other hand, it paid off to change jobs and negotiate for higher salaries—they earned more than men who stayed did. And we saw that as both men’s and women’s careers progress, the gender gap in level and pay gets even wider.

Our findings run counter to media coverage of the so-called phenomenon that “women don’t ask.” Instead the problem may be, as some other research has shown, that people routinely take a tougher stance against women in negotiations than they take against men—for example quoting higher starting prices when trying to sell women cars or making less generous offers when dividing a sum of money. Catalyst research has shown a number of ways that talent-management systems can also be vulnerable to unintentional gender biases and stereotypes.

Given past experience, though, I’m sure someone will come along in the comments and helpfully give us a new excuse that pins the blame squarely where it belongs, on women themselves.

Jerks love being reassured that being a jerk is OK

Real men listen to criticism and try to better themselves. A woman wrote a blog post saying that she loves “dick/fart/vagina jokes” and she wants everyone to “keep trying to fuck me” and doesn’t want any guy to ever change, and of course this will be extraordinarily popular with the crudest kind of PUA. To which I can only say that she and they are welcome to each other, and I hope they all find happiness together.

But some of us, like Jen and Megan, have somewhat higher expectations.