Comments for Metaphorical Penis Thu, 08 Jun 2017 19:13:58 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes by Luxander Pond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 19:13:58 +0000 In reply to fiocco di neve.

That’s an interesting take on what’s going on. I mean, I just haven’t heard it described as a cult before. Having very little personal experience on the subject myself (and knowing people who were in actual cults) I can’t really speak to the comparison. But I do make an effort to think for myself, since skepticism is what brought me to feminism in the first place. It’s possible to agree with the principles of a group (and in this case, a sociological theory) without accepting dogma, which is kind of what I’m trying to do by saying something about it publicly.

Comment on Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes by fiocco di neve Thu, 08 Jun 2017 10:30:52 +0000 It sounds like you are in a cult. I know what they are like – I grew up in one. Constantly watching your back and your words in case you were going to be the next one ostracised. And there was always ostracisms: regular rituals to ensure everyone else stayed on their toes and felt extra godly. I recommend you learn to think for yourself and say what you think. Question dogma. Be prepared to revise your most cherished beliefs. Groups of people who ostracise others for their thoughts aren’t worth investing. Find friends who enjoy honest discussion aimed at discovering the truth. You won’t look back.

Comment on Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes by OaringAbout Tue, 16 May 2017 03:01:43 +0000 In reply to Damion Reinhardt.

Interesting analogy and observations there [1], a salient element or two:

… when a group ejects all its voices of moderation, then all the people encouraging each other, and suppressing dissents, may internally increase in average fanaticism. ….

My own theory of Internet moderation is that you have to be willing to exclude trolls and spam to get a conversation going. …. A genuinely open conversation on the Internet degenerates fast. It’s the articulate trolls that you should be wary of ejecting, on this theory – they serve the hidden function of legitimizing less extreme disagreements.

If one kicks out the more rational elements of a group under the mistaken assumption that they’re merely trolls then it shouldn’t be surprising that the average level of fanaticism must perforce increase, even if that looks like gospel truth. Nor should it be surprising that the end result of that process is that the groups wind up getting smaller and smaller until they disappear entirely – disappearing up its own fundament(alism), as they say, or could say.

But a somewhat more general or maybe more relevant paper on pretty much the same phenomenon: Must Identity Movements Self-Destruct? A Queer Dilemma [2], a salient quote or two therefrom:

This paper, using internal debates from lesbian and gay politics as illustration, brings to the fore a key dilemma in contemporary identity politics and traces out its implications for social movement theory and research. As I will show in greater detail, in these sorts of debates – which crop up in other communities as well – two different political impulses, and two different forms of organizing, can be seen facing off. The logic and political utility of deconstructing collective categories vie with that of shoring them up; each logic is true, and neither is fully tenable.

On the one hand, lesbians and gay men have made themselves an effective force in this
country over the past several decades largely by giving themselves what civil rights movements had: a public collective identity. ….

Yet this impulse to build a collective identity with distinct group boundaries has been
met by a directly opposing logic, often contained in queer activism (and in the newly
anointed “queer theory”): to take apart the identity categories and blur group boundaries.
This alternative angle, influenced by academic “constructionist” thinking, holds that sexual
identities are historical and social products, not natural or intrapsychic ones. It is socially produced binaries (gay/straight, man/woman) that are the basis of oppression ….

Buried in the letters column controversies over a queer parade theme, and over bisexual
and transsexual involvement in lesbian organizations, are fights not only over who belongs,
but over the possibility and desirability of clear criteria of belonging. Sexuality-based politics
thus contains a more general predicament of identity politics, whose workings and implications are not well understood: it is as liberating and sensible to demolish a collective identity as it is to establish one. ….

Seems to me that while, as the paper suggests, there are substantial benefits in group solidarity (E pluribus unum and all that), creating a group identity, on which to found collective action, that is based on ephemeral or subjective or untenable criteria is rather akin to trying to build a skyscraper in a bog of quicksand. And while there are no doubt “socially produced binaries”, it should be rather clear that not all binaries (or other multiplicities) qualify as such – for examples, matter and energy from physics, odd and even numbers from mathematics, and ova and sperm from human biology.

1) “_”;
2) “_”;

Comment on Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes by Damion Reinhardt Mon, 15 May 2017 20:03:23 +0000 “Ultimately, my point is that we’ve defaulted to a culture of zero-tolerance of dissent, which is counterintuitive for a group of people that purports to be doing activism to change the world we live in.”

This problem isn’t unique to atheism or social justice, either. Most any group of like-minded activists have to resist succumbing to purity tests which become harder and harder to pass over time, as the less hardcore members become marginalized. I read a decent essay about this process in a totally different social context several years ago:

Comment on Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes by Luxander Pond Sat, 13 May 2017 19:25:28 +0000 In reply to OaringAbout.

I’m getting the feeling like we might have had this conversation before. Or you’re just regurgitating the same stuff I’ve heard time and time again. No one owns womanhood and it doesn’t have a specific definition aside from one’s own personal experience in the world. And operating on the definition of female to inform one’s definition of woman is just senseless and is actually where the problem occurs. For example, I have (as far as I know) ovaries, which could theoretically produce eggs (they do not produce eggs because of the testosterone in my body). But I’m not a woman just because I have those organs (as far as I know).

The dictionary definitions of words change as their usage changes, and it takes a while for the dictionary to catch up in some cases, as with the “official” definition of Marriage a la Merriam-Webster. Sex is predicated on a number of factors, and considering that my ovaries are not producing ova and may very well atrophy and cease to function entirely, along with all of the irreversible changes I’ve had on testosterone, I don’t feel as though any definition of female is applicable to me.

I have no comment on the “trans women are female” thing because, while I wouldn’t describe my own experience that way if I identified as a man, it’s not my place to tell people what they do or don’t identify with.

And yeah, I watched Laci’s video a couple hours after it was uploaded. She seems to have been struggling with the same issues I brought up here and I’m fascinated to see if she has an influence on her audience or if it’ll just cause people to show their colors by doubling-down.

Comment on Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes by OaringAbout Sat, 13 May 2017 10:11:42 +0000 In reply to Luxander Pond.

I’m actually willing to concede that, as you say, “gender and sex are distinct concepts”, and that the former might reasonably be construed to exist on a more or less continuous spectrum even if the latter is essentially binary. Although I’m still not sure how much utility the former has, apart from causing unnecessary animosity.

But as I’ve argued elsewhere, it seems that sex is only one factor among a very large group of other factors that comprise the somewhat intractable complex known as “gender”. And as in the somewhat analogous case of gunpowder (composed as it is of the “factors” of carbon, sulphur, and potassium nitrate), a factor in gender can be binary without that necessitating that the composition itself with many other factors is also binary; entirely possible – quite likely, even – that the composition itself can manifest a range of characteristics that might reasonably be described as a spectrum. But it doesn’t help matters in the slightest – kind of anti-scientific, as a matter of fact – that so many people insist on conflating the factors composing a “compound” (gender) with any particular one (sex) that is part of it, that they insist that transwomen are female.

And while you might think that “it’s pretty straightforward”, I kind of get the impression that your position is predicated on a studious, if not dogmatic, avoidance of actually defining the term “woman”. Seems the only reasonable starting point is the dictionary definition, i.e., “human female (produces ova)”; you really think that Jenner is capable of that?

In any case, you might well be right about Ophelia as she does seem to have a tendency to be somewhat careless, at best, about passing on information that could possibly be used to dox someone.

And, finally, somewhat relative to your later “fears their peers”, while you might now know that Laci Green – SJWist/feminist extraordinaire – is having similar doubts about feminism & gender; quite a good post over at Quillette – Laci Green, The Matrix, and the Future of Free Speech – summarizing the issues, and that you might be interested in.

Comment on Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes by Luxander Pond Sat, 13 May 2017 08:37:12 +0000 In reply to Jundurg.

I don’t have anything insightful or particularly supportive to respond with, but I see you and validate your struggle. There are more people than you think who are freaked out about this exact thing.

Comment on Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes by Luxander Pond Sat, 13 May 2017 08:34:02 +0000 In reply to Great American Satan.

I felt like I made a fair attempt to respond to comments relatively often while I was at FTB, but I didn’t blog frequently and have only in the last two years been easing into a place where I respond to comments rather than lurking most of the time. It’s a tough habit to break as an introvert with a history of CPTSD, particularly since I only blog when I have something big to say, things that tend to be fairly divisive.

Interestingly enough, I’ve had more people come to me (both here in the comments and privately elsewhere) and thank me for pointing out something they’ve been struggling with for a while. I’m not the only self-identified SJW intersectional feminist who is entrenched in the community and yet fears their peers.

Comment on Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes by Luxander Pond Sat, 13 May 2017 08:24:28 +0000 In reply to OaringAbout.

I’m actually quite comfortable standing by that “purity test” as you call it. As an honest skeptic, I have to accept the currently available scientific information, and that pool of information includes the fields of psychology and sociology. Those fields, along with anthropology and biology, support the view that gender and sex are distinct concepts and have unique expressions and intersections in various cultures throughout time and space. The only reasonable response to the existence of trans women is to acknowledge their existence as trans women. It’s pretty straightforward. Moreover, Ophelia wasn’t just asking the question of whether trans women were women, she shared private information of a very close friend of mine who was and is particularly vulnerable to the threat of doxxing. She put people directly at risk, whether you agree with the premise or not.

Comment on Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes by Gerard O Fri, 12 May 2017 08:33:52 +0000

I just personally wouldn’t advocate making the communities I move in more tolerant.

I think you’ve made that abundantly clear over the years, GAS.
Ophelia Benson always seemed slightly out of place at FtB, even apart from her TERF/SWERF sympathies. Being late to the internet atheist community, I had assumed that her friendship with PZ (and her hostility to Dawkins, Shermer et al.) was the reason she blogged there.