Occasional Link Roundup

So I spent this past weekend at CONvergence in Minnesota, getting chased by a lifesize Dalek, going to panels on cool science stuff such as animal penises, consuming geeky drinks, and hanging out with awesome people. I have a few days to recover from that before I go to Columbus this weekend for the SSA annual conference, where I’m giving a talk about the importance of secular sex education in schools. There will be a video up later this summer if you want to see it!

Here’s some stuff to read.

1. Just kidding, not really a thing to read, but. You’ve probably heard of FtBCon already. It’s July 19-21. You should like our page on Facebook and RSVP attending to our event if you’re going! I’m moderating a panel on sex and skepticism, but we’ll be officially announcing all the panels soon.

2. Sister Outsider (@feministgriote on Twitter) explains why and how you should donate your used clothing to domestic violence/homeless shelters, not to places like Goodwill.

3. s.e. smith explains why it’s useful to think of yourself as a person who could potentially rape someone. It may sound unreasonable, but give it a read:

Recognising that each of us has a capacity to push too far, and probing that ability within yourself, is important if you’re going to be sexually active. Because if you truly do want to be respectful of your partners, not raping them is rather key to that, and ‘not raping’ is not always a simple, clear, easy act; you have to start by acknowledging that you have the capacity to override another person’s consent, and that your intentions in the encounter don’t matter when it comes to the outcome. If your desire was to have a mutually enjoyable fun time and your partner did not have fun, perhaps felt pressured or uncomfortable, it may not necessarily have been rape, depending on how your partner felt, but it definitely wasn’t what you set out to accomplish.

4. On people who tell those considering abortion to “just have the baby”:

To say “Just have the baby” is to say “Just risk a prolonged illness, surgery, and the loss of your income when you have a lot of new expenses.” It’s to tell someone casually that they should sign up for the possibility of experiencing more physical pain and agony than they thought a person could live through, and maybe having a great deal of it continue for days, weeks, months, possibly even years.

5. Ed discusses some research that suggests that racial privilege and bias is embedded in our healthcare system (surprise surprise):

To put it another way, these results indicate that there is a medical cost to be placed upon the perception of one’s color. The whiter you appear, the more likely you are to reach out for preventive healthcare and the more comfortable you’ll feel about it when physically inside the doctor’s office.

6. Heina discusses the idea, often espoused by pickup artists, that if someone says “no” to sex, you should respect that but only for a little while and then try again later:

It’s hard to say “yes” to anything at all when you know that a single “yes” you issue can be taken to be a “yes” to anything and everything at all. More frighteningly, it’s hard to say yes when you know that any “no” you issue, even one as dramatic and clear as a “STOP”, “GET AWAY FROM ME,” or a shove, would be taken seriously. That’s the world in which we live and it sucks. It sucks for women and for men. I’d like to imagine we can build a better world than one where straight men and straight women are pitted against each other in some kind of epic battle where one side thinks the other doesn’t want them while the other feels it has to constantly fend off unwanted advances.

7. Ten ways to know that feminism might not be for you. Read all of this; it’s brilliant.

I know that I’ve pointed out a ton of things that people do that are unfeminist, but the flip side of this is that there’s no one way to be a feminist.

You can be a feminist and be married. You can be a feminist and be single. You can be a feminist and have kids. You can be a feminist and be childless. You can be a feminist and take your partner’s last name. You can be a feminist and keep your last name. You can be a feminist and breastfeed. You can be a feminist and formula-feed. You can be a feminist and work outside the home. You can be a feminist and stay home with your kids.

You can be a feminist in a box. You can be a feminist with a fox. You can be a feminist in a house. You can be a feminist with a mouse.

8. This is a few-months-old article by Dr. Nerdlove about getting a “yes” rather than just trying to avoid a “no” when it comes to sex:

The idea of enthusiastic consent is all about making sure that your partner is genuinely into having sex… that you are getting clear and unambiguous signals that he or she wants to fuck. It’s the difference between “Dear God I want to fuck you right now” and “Yeah… I guess, whatever” when they really mean “no”. Similarly, a partner who is simply not resisting but otherwise not saying anything is not giving enthusiastic consent. It’s about more than just needing to get off – because that’s easy enough to do on your own – but having an experience with your partner. It makes sex about the two (or more…) of you rather than one person using the other as a sex toy that can occasionally help move boxes and dust the window sills.

9. When people talk about sexual harassment, they’re often told that perhaps the men who women consider “creepy” are just autistic and it’s ableist to accuse them of being creepy. This post addresses that claim and a few of the problematic aspects of it:

In the context of harassment, though, the possibility of neurodivergence is almost solely deployed in order to protect men and absolve them of responsibility for inappropriate and harmful behavior – based on the intensely ableist, patronizing, and incorrect, but nonetheless potent and common, assumption that an ASD would render the man either incapable of acting appropriately or requiring/deserving of protection from any consequences for invasive or harassing actions. Meanwhile, women are assumed to be not only capable of, but actively responsible for, either giving up their boundaries or enforcing them in a way that protects the feelings and dignity of the person who is violating them. The possible impact of neurology or disability on their own methods of handling the situation is not considered. As a result, “But what if he’s autistic?” leaves the neurodivergent woman doubly burdened, both by a male-privileging culture which excuses misbehavior and protects harassers in any way possible including baseless speculations on neurology, and by the erasure and denial of her own experiences as a disabled woman.

10. Thought Catalog has an excellent piece on how to actually pick up women.

Stop saying the words “friend zone.” Stop believing in the existence of a “friend zone.” Stop acting as though being friends with women is some kind of hellish existence you wouldn’t have to endure if only you had game. That’s insulting as hell, and it sorts women into two categories: friends and people you fuck. You know what a girlfriend is? A really good friend who you also have sex with.

Stop saying the words “alpha male.” Stop believing in the existence of “alpha males.” This is not the Sahara or the tundra. You are not a lion or a stag. You are not competing with other men for the right to have sex with the best women. If you act like you are, neither men nor women are going to want to hang out with you.

11. Ana Mardoll has an amazing, heartbreaking piece about the fight for reproductive rights in Texas.

I don’t use birth control because I would dearly like a baby. But I don’t want one so badly that I want to die. Or to be disabled for life even worse than I already am. Or to bear one that has no chance at life, and is doomed only to a short, painful death. Or to bear a potential rapist’s child just because he didn’t wear a condom and I found out too late that the pregnancy wasn’t a result of my and my husband’s attempts at conception.

Now today, thanks to the Republicans in the Texas legislature and senate, I have to make a decision. I have to decide whether the hope I’ve been clinging to is worth more than the fear they’ve imposed on me. And if I decide that I can’t live with the fear, then I have to figure out how to become sterilized, how to convince doctors to let me do so despite my relatively young age, how to get my insurance to cover the procedure, how to pursue sterilization in ways that don’t conflict with my current disability or my medications.

And I have to give up my hope.

12. Being in the closet (about polyamory, in this case, but also about anything) isn’t just about you; it also affects your partners and relationships.

Unless your closet is strictly about what you choose to say (or not), it probably entails expectations of your partners or metamours. You may be requiring them to conceal or obscure the nature of their relationship with you, or with metamours, in all or some contexts — perhaps regardless of the depth or duration of your connection. You may be requiring them to refrain from making casual statements or forego common acknowledgements that people in escalator-style relationships take for granted. You may even be expecting them to lie, or to avoid going certain places or talking to certain people. You may be asking for a lot.

13. If you think that women being afraid of you on the street is systemic misandry, you’re wrong.

This didn’t happen because we’re keeping men down. It happened because men, more often than not, lead a relatively consequence-free life when it comes to harassing and abusing women, be they mothers, wives, daughters, or strangers on the street. When men hurt women, they tend to get away with it. That’s the overwhelming truth of the matter — our society favors men.

Self-promote or signal-boost in the comments!

Occasional Link Roundup

22 thoughts on “Occasional Link Roundup

  1. 1

    Ana Mardoll is also attempting to transcribe the entire filibuster, as well as the testimony heard in more recent days. I’ve volunteered, and I’m hoping others will too, a little way to help out the brave folks down in Texas standing up to Governor Goodhair.

    She’s breaking the thing into fifteen-minute chunks, so it’ll be easier to crowdsource. If you’re interested, please contact me via Miri, through miri at brutereason decimal net (I asked her beforehand). Thanks.

  2. 2

    Honest question: does this mean Sarah Palin can be a feminist? I’ve never really felt like the femosphere has ever agreed on the issues raised in #7.

    1. 2.1

      Did you read the rest of the article? The reason most feminists say Palin is not a feminist isn’t because she’s conservative and traditional. It’s because she actively seeks to create a world in which all women must follow her example and are not given a choice. From the piece:

      9. You are pro-choice, except in cases where _____.


      Wrong, wrong, wrong.

      If you were on Jeopardy or whatever, the WRONG ANSWER buzzer would be going off right now.

      The first part of this statement should never be followed up with an “except” or a “but.” You are either pro-choice or you are anti-choice. There is no hierarchy of abortions; they should be available to everyone, on demand, and without apology.

      Sure, you are totally free to feel uncomfortable about why someone might choose to terminate their pregnancy, but you know what? You keep those feelings to yourself.

      Say it with me, now, one more time: b-o-d-i-l-y a-u-t-o-n-o-m-y

      Although some people may argue that you can be pro-life and still be a feminist, I and many others would argue that you can’t. Because being pro-life isn’t just about choosing your own path; it’s about restricting the paths of others on the basis of YOUR religious ideology.

      I know plenty of feminists who say that they believe that abortion is just wrong and they would never get one. But they are still firmly pro-choice because they understand that other women may have different values and beliefs.

      1. Exactly. If you think abortions are wrong, you are endlessly free to not have one.

        What you cannot be free to do, if you want to be a feminist, is to say, “Because I wouldn’t have one, nor can anyone else.” That is antithetical to the central premise of feminism, that each woman should be free to choose her own course in life. As soon as you’re making rules for how women can live their lives, you’re not following that central premise, of women’s inherent right to the presumption of humanity.

        This is why i hate people saying, “Well, I know the feminists will hate this, but I’m a stay-at-home mom.”

        Wrong. Feminists don’t hate that. What we hate is when society says we ALL have to be stay-at-home moms. If we don’t all have to, and you want to, any feminist should be saying, “You do what you want, sister, and more power to you.”

        My 1 Simple Way To See If You’d Be Happy As a Feminist?

        “Do you ever start a sentence with, ‘(all or no) women should…’?” If you do, then you will probably not be happy as a feminist.

      2. Fair enough, but I can’t help but think that the kind of “personally pro-life” person you cite (especially if they were one of those evil straight white men) would encounter a lot of hostility in the SJ community.

        1. On what basis? I know a number of women who are quite clear they wouldn’t ever have an abortion themselves outside of saving their literal lives (i.e., ectopic pregnancy, sepsis, et c.). They’re all feminists I’m proud to stand beside. Because they’re not telling anyone else they can’t have them, merely expressing their own choices. Which, again, is the core concept here. Women making their own choices.

          Show me a feminist site that is explicitly feminist and is stating that being unwilling to abort yourself is in any way something they get to have an opinion on. Just because you “can’t help but think it” does not actually assign it any real truth value.

          As always (how many times do we have to say this?), if you want to assert something that is extraordinary (i.e., against the long experience of a lot of feminists, and about something they’d know about, like, say, what feminists might think), you are the one who must prove it. The null hypothesis is that, since feminism is about women having choices, it is likely that feminists will say that women should have choices. You want to assert the alternative hypothesis, that’s fine, but you need to show evidence, or we will just blow it off as the ignorant rectal haberdashery that it is. You want people to believe you’re rational, act like a rational person: show your reasoning, or stop blowing bubbles with your ass and telling us it’s perfume.

        2. What CaitieCat said. But also, I used to be exactly such a feminist! I wrote a post about it on this very blog and got absolutely no pushback, criticism, or hate. Just a few other feminists who felt the same way and a few who didn’t but could understand.

          Seriously, dude, try backing up your claims with evidence once in a while.

        3. Also, if the straight white man is cisgender and cannot get pregnant, he can’t be “personally prolife” anyway because getting pregnant will never be a situation he has to face, so that’s totally irrelevant.

          And stop it with the annoying “evil straight white men” strawman. Nobody here thinks that. Nobody except some tiny fraction of feminists that nobody can ever find except on tumblr thinks that. You are not endearing your arguments to anybody when you endow them with this tired, boring hyperbole.

          1. Ya, that’s why Overrated White Dudes gets regularly pimped by Maximum Leader Marcotte. I know how you all think. I guess if I ever manage to deal with all my fucking shit and obtain some measure of success (and I will, you can count on it), I can look forward to people talking about how I don’t deserve it. Woo.

            Also, I think a man could be “personally pro-life” too, it’s just that it would all be theoretical for him. That doesn’t mean it’s inconsequential, though, because it has implications for the rest of one’s moral compass. David Foster Wallace is one such man… he explains his position in one of his essays, I could find it if you want. Myself, I’m pro-choice basically all the way, but I can see where he’s coming from. And I can see how it’s important for him to specify his personal reservations alongside his political alleigance.

          2. Ya, that’s why Overrated White Dudes gets regularly pimped by Maximum Leader Marcotte.

            I didn’t realize I’ve suddenly become Amanda Marcotte?

            I know how you all think.

            No, you don’t.

            Seriously, though, cut out the bad strawman arguments and hyperbole. You’re not only wrong, you’re also being boringly wrong.

    2. 2.2

      Also, the “femosphere” has never and will never agree on any issue. There are feminists who hate trans* people, there are feminists who think sex workers are immoral and depraved, there are feminists who have no time for issues primarily affecting women of color or queer people, there are feminists who think that some kinds of rape aren’t really rape, there are feminists who think that men can’t be raped, there are feminists who think that just getting more women into politics, business, and STEM is sufficient for gender equality.

      This piece is prescriptive, not descriptive. It’s arguing for what feminism and feminists ought to be. But because feminism is an ideology and a method of reasoning, not a political party or an organization, anyone can “join” and call themselves a feminist if they so choose.

    1. 3.1

      Well, aren’t you precious. Yes he is. Yes he is.

      Awww…they’re so cute when they start trying to use grown-up words, aren’t they? Sort of like baby chimpanzees signing, and also flinging their shit around. Except with less semantic content, and more fecal matter.

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