“Barbie crotch”?

Uh-oh. I’m contributing to the Barbie mania a little more. Sorry.

But this was interesting, and I hadn’t thought about it before! The Vagina Museum posted a thread about the long history of portrayals of the female genitalia, and I was surprised to realize that Greek sculpture did the same thing — Praxiteles was sculpting Aphrodite with a Barbie crotch in the 4th century BCE. It was a whole trend for centuries: male nudes get the anatomically correct treatment, while female nudes get a smooth featureless curve.

This says something about Western cultures different attitudes towards men and women. I wonder what effect this has had on women’s ideas about their bodies.

At least we took a step towards gender equality in 1961 when Mattel castrated Ken and made his crotch identical to that of Barbie.

Dawkins embarrasses himself again

Oh no, Richard Dawkins, stop. He’s asked in an interview what he thinks of doctors being arrested for gender affirming care, and his old eloquence is completely gone. He stutters, he stammers, he struggles to get an answer out, and he looks for an excuse to evade the question — for adults, he asks, or children. Like it makes a difference, like there’s an age that justifies suffering. He finally gets out…

I would have strong objections to doctors injecting minors, children, or performing surgery on them to change their sex

Note that this does not answer the question. Should doctors be jailed for providing gender-affirming care? I don’t care if someone has opinions and objects, the question is whether it is right for the state to arrest care-givers for giving care?

OK, so he doesn’t think children should be treated for this issue — not that they’re getting sex change operations anyway, they might at best be given therapy and reversible puberty blockers. What about adults?

If they’ve thought about it properly

As if trans people don’t even think long and hard about it, and as if he’s the right person to judge if they’ve properly thought about it. He goes on to say that it might be OK if if they struggle and suffer over it. You can be trans, according to Dawkins, if you’ve been made sufficiently miserable.

What we’re seeing now is a fashion, a craze, mimetic epidemic which is spreading like an epidemic of measles or something like that

Oh, just go ahead and spit out the words woke mind virus, it’s what you really want to say, boomer.

That doesn’t even make sense. Is measles a meme now? Is it really a good idea to compare a fashion to a serious, life threatening disease? Is the state of being trans a biological disease at all?

Dawkins really needs to learn that if he doesn’t have an informed opinion on a topic, he should refrain from answering…especially if he’s just going to regurgitate that anti-trans crap that is so popular over there on the other side of the Atlantic.

Two hours of Shaun?

Oh god, two hours of anything on YouTube is absolutely deadly, but in this one, he absolutely shreds Kellie-Jay Keen AKA Posey Parker. You can’t listen to this without realizing that yes, she is a horrible anti-feminist Nazi sympathizer, and you can’t possibly argue against it.

Also, if anyone asks you to name one thing that makes JK Rowling a raging fascist TERF, thanks to this video, you can just point to her promise to use her wealth to shield Kellie-Jay Keen.

Fortunately, it’s mainly just the guy talking, so play it on your headphones like it’s a podcast while you get other stuff done.

I hope William Deresiewicz never tries to defend me

He starts his little essay with an observation he claims is true.

“The army of unfuckable hate nerds”—Marc Maron’s term for the mass of young men who pollute the internet with their misogyny. “They play video games all day,” the comedian said on his podcast, “then they watch MMA, then they spend the evening jerking off to … porn, then they put a few hours” into attacking women online.

He’s right, of course. There are hordes of these young men (and, no doubt, of not-so-young ones). They congregate on Twitter, in comment threads, on forums and platforms like Reddit, Discord, Kiwi Farms, and 8kun, the successor to 8chan. They trade in misogyny, racism, antisemitism, and assorted other hatreds. Their words are violent and vile.

OK, but I would have gone on to qualify that with a “not all men,” because I do think he’s talking about a small vocal minority of horrible young men. That’s not Deresiewicz’s tack, though. Instead, he’s going to ask his readers to sympathize with them, because — brace yourself, he’s going to merge with the mob of misogynists — women are bad and have it so easy.

Any young woman who is even moderately attractive will be courted, complimented, paid attention to, by women as well as men. Older men will buy them things. People will hang on their words even when they aren’t interesting and laugh at their jokes even when they aren’t funny. They will have entry into places—private clubs, backstage after a show—young men can only press their noses against. They will be able to advance professionally by batting their eyelashes at powerful men. Young men, meanwhile—those losers, those loners, those apes—are left to pick their psychic zits on the periphery.

There’s more. Young women can have sex whenever they want. For most young men, persuading a woman to sleep with them is like trying to crack a safe. You understand that it’s theoretically possible, but you have no idea how to do it. Which means that you’re stuck with your hard-on. Unfuckable? No one needs to tell you that. You are unfucked: unwanted, unattractive; in the most literal sense, unloved.

Wow. No wonder he saw truth in Maron’s description. It’s because he was one of those awful women-hating young men, and he never outgrew it! He’s unable to see the world through the eyes of the women he describes, a world where they are rewarded for being subservient and dependent on older men, where they can advance by clinging to the coattails of men, where they are expected to submit to sex at will with men who might kill them.

I was a young loser once, too, but I managed to get over it by not thinking of women as bodies to be exploited, but as my peers who were trying as best as they could to make it through life. There are no excuses for “misogyny, racism, antisemitism, and assorted other hatreds.” But for Deresiewicz, the problem now is misandry. After stereotyping young women as having it easy, he thinks the solution is that we have to stop stereotyping young men and treat them with love and respect. Sure. Too bad he has no respect to offer women.

Man, Deresiewicz just let his ugly self hang out exposed, thinking that more misogyny would justify young men’s misogyny. It just doesn’t work that way.

Another stereotype squashed by the evidence

An Awá woman holds hunting bows and arrows in Brazil’s Caru Indigenous Territory in 2017

A thousand just-so stories have suddenly cried out in shock and died a miserable death. Hunter-gatherer societies don’t think that hyphen separates men from women? This is what you learn when you don’t do your anthropological research by surveying Psych 101 classrooms in Western colleges. These researchers actually did a world-wide survey of foraging cultures!

For decades anthropologists have witnessed forager women—those who live in societies that both hunt and gather—around the world skillfully slay prey: In the 1980s, Agta women of the Philippines drew bows and arrows as tall as themselves and aimed at wild pigs and deer, and Matses Amazonians struck paca rodents with machetes. Observations from the 1990s described Aka great-grandmothers and girls as young as age 5 trapping duiker and porcupine in central Africa.

A study published today in PLOS ONE has united these reports for a first-of-its-kind global view of women hunters. Reviewing accounts penned by scholars who study culture, known as ethnographers, as well as those by observers between the late 1800s and today, the researchers found that women hunted in nearly 80% of surveyed forager societies.

These data flatly reject a long-standing myth that men hunt, women gather, and that this division runs deep in human history.

It makes sense. You’re not going to tell half your community that they can’t exploit a rich and highly-valued food source, so of course women would poke tasty animals with sticks when they could. Restricting women’s choices is a pathological condition that could only be tolerated in a wealthy society with a wasteful surplus already. There were some gender differences, and hunting was a wholesome activity that could be enjoyed by the whole family!

The reports also revealed considerable flexibility and personal preferences, both within and across cultures. Individuals wielded various weapons including spears, machetes, knives, and crossbows. Some relied on hunting dogs, nets, or traps. Women followed tracks to big game and beat the ground with sticks to flush out critters. Child care posed little problem: Mothers carried infants or left them at camp with other community members; older children often tagged along, hunting as well.

The team did discover differences between male and female strategies. For example, among the Agta, men almost always wielded bows and arrows, whereas some women preferred knives. Men were more likely to head out solo or in pairs, whereas women generally hunted in groups and with dogs.

Despite gender differences, the team found little evidence for rigid rules. “If somebody liked to hunt, they could just hunt,” Wall-Scheffler says.

That’s just what people do. But what about the CHILDREN?

Suggestions that children are put in danger by accompanying hunts can be mediated with current literature on the numerous ways in which infants and children are carried during expeditions by parents and alloparents. The importance of infants remaining with adults (versus being parked) is an important part of our lineage, with children accompanying the wide range of expeditions consistently evidenced in the archaeological, as well as the ethnographic record. Data explicitly mentioning that infants are carried while hunting exist for the Aka and the Awa, as well as for foraging bouts that might result in opportunistic hunting (e.g., among the Batek and Nukak). Among both the Hadza and the Aka, children (potentially as young as age three) accompany adults on over 15% of hunting trips. The idea that women are hindered by childcare and thus cannot hunt is an area where increasing data collection and thoughtful interpretation is lending a much richer lens to our understanding of human mobility strategies.

But what about vegetarians?

Is everything a binary?

I don’t think so, but if it were, then Jordan Peterson has just announced that he is trans.

Either that, or he is a liar.

It is most weird how some people get worked up over a simple, non-judgmental descriptor. There is no opprobrium attached to being cis — in fact, it’s a social advantage. So what has got these people irate?

Maybe it’s the implicit acknowledgment that if cis people exist, then trans people do, too.

Binary troll alert!

You can entertain yourself by reading the responses to a transphobic troll on the Coyne & Maroja thread. I won’t bother with most of it — the commenters have been doing a fine cleanup job — but their first objection is a major peeve.

Biological sex is a binary defining reproductive roles/potential. It doesn’t govern behaviour, it doesn’t tell you who you can sleep with, it doesn’t deny the existence of trans people. The day a testicle produces ova or an ovary produces sperm there may be an argument for rethinking it, but dishonestly claiming that it has any more relevance than that does not alter reality.

The first words annoy me. Biological sex…what other kind is there? They then go on to claim that sex is only about reproduction, a surprise to me. I guess they only have procreative sex then, and are unaware of all the other ways humans use sex. It’s just eggs and sperm, nothing else, and reducing it to single cells interacting with each other is the extreme they have to go to if they’re going to fit it all into a small, simple, binary box.

I also have to wonder who the hell is arguing about testicles producing ova? This is so typical, the ‘phobes inventing claims nobody is making so they can “win” ridiculous debates.

Fear of the Cat People

Years of ignoring Jerry Coyne, a record ruined by the fact that I felt obligated to find out what he’s complaining about in order to address that recent bad article…and what do I find? His usual half-assed whining about people different from him.

When I gave a lecture in the Deep South some years ago, I went to dinner with several of the biology faculty, who told me of the occurrence of “furries” (actually, better known as “otherkins”) among the students. “Otherkins” are students who dress up and act like nonhuman animals in their day-to-day life. But the group the profs were really concerned with were students who identified as animals, claiming that they had the spirit of animals, insisting on being addressed as the animal they identified with, and wore animal costumes like ears or tails. These are the true “otherkins”. I saw several of these, including one girl who had a horse tail stuck in the back of her pants. The professors told me that they had been given special instruction by the university on how to treat and deal with the otherkins.

I haven’t seen any otherkins at my University, but this Torygraph article (click on the screenshot to go to the archived piece) notes that it is an issue in Britain, and schools don’t know how to deal with it. I was sent this article by a Brit who couldn’t believe that the phenomenon was real. I assured my correspondent that yes, this is a reality.

Oh god. No, it’s not real. Furries/otherkin do exist, but they are fully aware of their identities — they just enjoy role-playing. Seeing a girl with a horsetail stuck in her pants does not mean they’re running around, thinking they are a horse, and that the university needs to provide special instructions for how to deal with them. Just talk to them. You know, like they’re human beings. That works. I’ve even attended a furry convention, and honestly, it’s no more weird than attending a D&D con…or an atheist convention.

What next? Is he going to declare that American schools are putting out kitty litter for the kids who identify as cats?

Anyway, in this case he credulously goes on to tell the story of kids in England thinking they are cats and other animals.

Perhaps tellingly, the incident at Rye College – a Church of England school – happened at the end of a class on “life education” in which children were told by their teacher that there were lots of genders, including “agender – people who don’t believe that they have a gender at all”.

An argument ensued in which two pupils disagreed with the teacher, saying there was no such thing as agender, because “if you have a vagina, you’re a girl and if you have a penis, you’re a boy – that’s it”.

When the pupils told their classmate: “How can you identify as a cat when you’re a girl?” the teacher reprimanded them for “questioning [the child’s] identity”.

In this instance, the teacher in charge of the class appears to have bracketed a child’s desire to be treated as a cat with other children’s desire to be treated as another gender, or genderless.

To Coyne, this is evidence of his bigoted presumption that this is a case of social contagion promulgated by both peers and also by teachers who have been indoctrinated by gender activism to accept any child’s assumed identity. Indoctrination! Gender activism! Social contagion!

Except…that’s not what happened at all. It’s all hyper-inflated hyperbole from the UK news media. The school has said it didn’t happen.

In a statement to Schools Week, the trust said it wanted to “clarify that no children at Rye College identifies as a cat or any other animal”.

Doesn’t matter. By then, GB News, the Daily Mail, and Tucker Carlson were promoting the kind of nonsense that finds favor with Coyne, all based on a brief Tik Tok excerpt of a longer discussion held in the classroom. One reporter, Otto English, dug deeper and interviewed one of the people involved.

We have taken the time both to establish this individual’s credibility and to safeguard their identity and as such the individual is anonymous and some critical details given to us have been deliberately omitted. I am very aware that the two children who made the recording are also just that – children – and so have taken care to omit details about them and some of the things they are alleged to have said on the day.

I shall refer to the ‘cat’ pupil as ‘Student A’ and the two individuals who made the tape as “B” and “C”.

Our correspondent – present in the room – tells us: I want to make (it) clear that ‘A’ does not identify as a cat.

What, by our source’s account, happened is that there was an ongoing conversation happening between several pupils about identity before B and C engaged with them and – according to our source – as the discussion became increasingly personal and ill-tempered, either B or C then said, apropos of gender: ‘if you identify as a cat or a carrot you are insane’.

In other words, nobody was talking about ‘cats’ until the subject of them was introduced into the conversation by one of the two pupils who later made the recording. This was a broad-ranging conversation about gender and identity between a group of kids in Year 8 which seems to have turned nasty before the teacher intervened.

Our source defends the teacher and says that having started out ‘extremely calm’ she only became ‘irritable’ when the two students became increasingly ‘disrespectful’.

That’s it. People can be grumpy when arguing about sex and gender — Coyne should know, he’s a good example. That’s all this was, young people expressing their opinions, and there were no cat-people involved.

It’s simply a British example of the litter boxes in the classroom lie that was spread over here on this side of the Atlantic, and anyone who falls for it should not be taken seriously.

Elon Musk thinks my identity is a slur! EMOTIONAL DAMAGE

I’m afraid that I must confess that I am cis — I have the sexual identity I was assigned at birth — and I’m also heterosexual. I’ve always taken it for granted, I’ve never been tempted to taste of “forbidden fruit,” and I wouldn’t even consider the expense and struggle of hormone treatments or reassignment surgery. I’ve been fortunate to have been born in easy mode, where everything lines up conveniently in the socially conventional way, and I have no desire to be otherwise.

But now, to my immense surprise, I discover that my identity is anathema on certain social media platforms. I have become…a slur.

The words “cis” or “cisgender” are considered slurs on this platform.

Ironically, this dictate has been delivered by a cis man. He must be a self-loathing cis heterosexual man.

Honestly, cis is simply an objective, non-judgmental descriptive term. It is not and never has been an insult. What’s next? Will Elon Musk ban people who use terms like “man” or “woman,” too?