My comment policy.
Absolutely anyone is welcome to read/subscribe, and noone is under any obligation to give me access.
This is the stuff I assume you know about me.
On political and value neutral Everything with any message at all has a political subtext.
Why I don't like the dragon argument Points out that "if you can have dragons why can't you have POC" has some unfortunate implications that work against it.
words against communication and Also you get things like... The way worrying about appropriation/stepping on disabled people's toes can stop some people from realising they are disabled themselves. (Not that able bodied people shouldn't worry, just that it's complicated!)
Refusing to have the “What You Did” conversation "1 The ‘what you did’ conversation implies the ‘what you are’ conversation. 2 The ’what you are’ conversation is uncivil and silencing. 3 Therefore, it’s uncivil and silencing to discuss ‘what you did.’"
Frustrations of being a black gamer playing BIOSHOCK INFINITE
Sweatshops still make your clothes
Meet the 28-Year-Old Grad Student Who Just Shook the Global Austerity Movement
Vilification and 'just having a laugh' About the racist jokes in my old Uni's satirical newspaper
Righteous Wroth Rarely Is OMG a criticism of excessive social justice where the group making the criticisms (in this case, women) are the victims of the oppression ostensibly being attacked with too much zeal (eg sexism) I have Thoughts about the very complicated way mental illness (which often creates an inability to behave in the way society demands) interacts with the somewhat narrow sets of behaviours expected of a Good Ally/Activist but am not quite up to articulating them.
$300 for Julia Gillard's NDIS scheme? Please, my wheelchair costs $22,000 Apparently some Australians are ok paying taxes and levies for roads and schools but draw the line at helping disabled people.
And from the hahaha what department...
( Worse than global warming??? #followateen )
A lot of this would apply to manual wheelchairs too but I've never used one myself.
- Crush the feet of your enemies. Or don't, and feel magnanimous in your mercy.
- "Run" with the wind in your hair, or for a bus, without breaking a sweat or getting tired.
- Unsettle "more radical than thou" able bodied activists with your very presence.
- Be an unsettling centre of attention in general. Works well with goth/macabre/alternative clothing choices.
- Never bump your head on low ceilings (admittedly this has never been an issue for me)
- Have a comfy chair wherever you go. Fantastic for queues.
- Put heavy loads on the back or next to you and not have to carry the weight yourself.
- Wear gorgeous but impractical shoes you can't walk in.
- Work to fight against stereotypes about disabled people and poor awareness of accessibility simply by going out in public and doing your thing.
Any others, fellow wheelies?
Is shaming ever useful? I think mild shame actually can be useful, especially in a group context: when the action being shamed is something easily preventable (EDIT: that hurts other people!) the person knew they'd get shamed for. Like making a sexist joke, say. But it shouldn't be "YOU ARE A BAD PERSON", just "Seriously, dude? Anyway...". And shaming someone for something they can't change quickly or at all (like being a smoker or even "telling a sexist joke that one time") is cruel and unproductive.
Neal Stephenson's Women Very narrow focus but makes some good points.
A Discussion With Evgeny Morozov, Silicon Valley’s Fiercest Critic Not sure I agree with all of this but it fits in with thoughts I've been having about a general tendency to ignore structural problems in favour of superficial fixes.
Even Kickstarter's Utopian Gift Economy Comes with Cheats and Fools Points out that the people who benefit from Kickstarters tend to be the same sort of privileged people who benefit from more traditional investment models.
getting offended when someone says ‘lol white people’ or ‘lol cis people’ There's been lots of discussion about this on my dash, and it occurred to me: If I was to say for example "I hate men" there's two possible meanings: 1) I genuinely hate all men (2) I have intense frustration with men as a class for reasons directly related to them being men. As a woman, I experience extreme sexism from men, which makes (2) a reasonable statement. Men have no frustration with women equivalent to experiencing sexism.
ANNOYING: In Therapy Forever? Enough Already So I don't actually have a major problem with the basic premise that many people in therapy would do better with a different approach aimed at getting them out of therapy. In fact I've stopped going to therapy much myself now that I've learned some useful techniques for managing my anxiety, all my recent sessions were mainly her going "Well, sounds like you're dealing with things really well!"
But like several psychology articles I've seen it has this tone of "We need to stop treating psychology patients like they have a serious mental problem. They're just sane people having a temporary episode, we should help them through that so they can go back to being normal. Ok, except for the CRAZY people but psychology isn't really about them." This one actually says many therapy patients don’t suffer severe disorders. Anxiety and depression are the top predicaments for which patients seek mental health treatment schizophrenia is at the bottom of the list. Because depression and anxiety can't ever be serious or chronic? I've had anxiety my whole life, I suppose there may have been a triggering incident 30+ years ago but that's not really the issue.
When Depression is Contagious Captain Awkward post about how to draw boundaries and look after your own emotional well being when in a relationship with a depressed person.
Say hello to The Old Republic's gay planet All the same sex content in Bioware's Star Wars: The Old Republic MMMORPG is on one planet. Uh huh.
AMAZINGLY OFFENSIVE: On Stephen Hawking, Vader and Being More Machine Than Human Inspired me to make a More machine than man shirt because screw you, self obsessed technophiles.
Why I play violent video games Not the same reasons as me, but still an interesting read from another woman who likes violent video games (and no, not despite the violence)
The secret life of them: What it takes to shift class in Australia Quite different to my experience as an upwardly mobile child of downwardly mobile ex-middle class white people, but that's what you'd expect.
the positive side of socialism
Health Panics in Historical Perspective
“Oh, You Sexy Geek!”: “Geek Girls” and the Problem of Self-Objectification
I've been reading through Pervocracy, I particularly liked
Using my vagina about the validity of having unsexy sex if that's genuinely what you want.
From a different POV, You Need Help: Let's Talk About (Having More) Sex
Conservatives can be persuaded to care more about the environment, study finds
Multiple Sclerosis, Kepral’s Syndrome, and Why I’m Glad Thane Dies The importance of illness narratives with no magical cure.
I've been dipping in and out for ages so decided to just sit down, put on some music, and finish the damn thing. And then the last quarter turned out to be references and notes so the task wasn't as hard as I thought it would be :D
Some notes on the last third or so:
If there is a physical brain difference, it is that small brains (which tend to be female) are wired differently than large brains (which tend to be male), probably for practical reasons of space. And while DNA determines some things, your brain (and hormones/mental capacity etc) changes dramatically based on the way your life plays out. So even if there was a proven difference between male and female brains, it wouldn't prove nature over nurture.
But as it turns out, such proof does not exist. There are very small studies that show a difference, but what that difference is varies from study to study (though it regardless always "proves" that men are thinkers and women feel-ers) A quote:
"Using standard statistical procedures, they found significant brain activity in one small region of the dead fish's brain while it performed the empathising task, compared with brain activity during "rest"."
Huge difference in behaviour towards children of different genders from parents even ones who think they are showing no difference. Kids will prefer things based on how they are coded not what they actually do eg classifying a spiky tea set as for boys and a ribbon bedecked truck as for girls. Implicit attitudes like body language affect children's learned attitudes much more than adult's stated opinions. If you subconsciously hate black people chances are so will your kids.
And of course even the most "egalitarian" parent may pause at buying their son a barbie.
Children police each other pretty harshly, and are very susceptible to in-group stereotyping and bias eg if you randomly divide them into blue and red then say "good morning blues and reds!" and make them line up by colour etc for a few days they will start to identify as a "red", want to play with other reds etc.
All of this adds up to me pondering sending a complaint to Cottees about their Boys vs Girls campaign.
Basically it's about demolishing gender essentialist pseudoscience.
The first part is a whole bunch of examples of how amazingly easy it is to affect people's decisions and abilities by "priming" them with stereotypes, either by putting stereotypes into their heads or just by reminding them of the stereotypes they've already been exposed to. Just putting a gender tickbox at the start of a maths test lowers women's scores, since they go "That's right, I am a woman. Women are bad at maths." (And thinking "I AM NOT BAD AT MATHS DAMMIT" still takes up valuable mental energy that could be spent calculating) And of course there's all the examples of exactly the same resume being judged differently depending on the gender/race etc associated with the name attached. People THINK they're being objective but really aren't, and will come up with complicated justifications for why their choice is logical, eg if you swap the "male" and "female" names on a pair of different resumes suddenly the traits that were unsuitable for the job when they belonged to a woman make a man the perfect choice.
She also demolishes some of the specific claims of Bad Gender Science, like "girl babies look longer at faces therefore women are naturally more intuitive therefore men are better at hard sciences" and so on (and of course as gender roles change the arguments have to twist themselves into stuff like "Women are attracted to forensic pathology and microbial biology because they...like faces and people")
Overall I'm finding it really informative but I am annoyed by how it assumes the reader is a cis het woman living in Australia/the US etc who is probably going to get married and have babies. She does acknowledge trans people, intersex people, same sex relationships, people from other cultures etc but mainly for what they can teach us about heterosexual cis etc people rather than as examples of everyday people who have to deal with gender stereotypes themselves. And, ok, most of her arguments are statistical and so the "average" woman is what matters, but she could still do better on being inclusive and intersectional. She does mention assumptions about race every now and then, but not in a very meaty way.
I'm onto part two now and she seems to be implying that there is some evidence for men and women (and male and female primates in general) being biologically hardwired differently in one particular way: men care about fitting into the male gender norms of the culture they've been brought up in whatever those norms happen to be and the same goes for women(*). The nice thing about this theory is that it says that specific gender roles are socially defined rather than innate, but that gender identities and divisions themselves are hardwired enough to debunk radfem etc dismissal of the trans experience.
(*)Non binary gendered people seem to be entirely off her radar, though being a small and poorly defined/understood group I guess it would be hard to come to many useful conclusions right now.
How embarrassed would you say you are about the person you were at 14?
not at all
I am 13 or under!
If you are fairly embarrassed, how old are you?
If you are NOT particularly embarassed, how old are you?
Imagine yourself pondering playing a free steampunk vampire f/f dating sim/visual novel. Which title sounds more appealing?
Which title is more alluring?
Other (explain in comments)
In other news my visual novel project is coming along pretty well :) I keep being paranoid that we've wandered into unfortunate implications with various plot points despite all of us trying very hard not to, I will definitely be asking if any of you guys want to be in on the alpha once we get to that stage.
The software engineering community has recently had a bunch of nasty sexism imbroglios with the same old "get harassed/belittled for being a woman, complain about harassment, get harassed/belittled for complaining" cycle seen in the geek community, atheism community etc.
See for example Stupid Question 107: Shhh… Harassment. Not a problem?.
There's currently a bunch of software engineers making noises about working together to fight against the entrenched sexism. Cam is very much on board with this, but thinks they should try and learn from other communities' experiences rather than reinventing the wheel. Also, engineers respond better to new ideas when you have links or other references to point them towards. I poked through my links but they're all focused on stuff like sexual harassment at cons rather than, say, women being ignored in professional settings.
My main advice for him as a male ally (based on my experiences as a white antiracist) is to try REALLY HARD to find female voices on the subject, and then use the microphone of male privilege to encourage all the other men to listen to those women.
So, what we're looking for:
- Female Software engineers, or other women in male dominated professional fields, talking about their experiences and offering advice on fighting sexism
- Explanations of why it's important to be actively inclusive not just "not really sexist"
- Explanations of why it's important to center the discussion around women and women's voices
- Ways for men to help in situations without being "white knights" or otherwise overbearing.
- Anything else relevant and useful
Cam is going to subscribe to the comments, but will probably not reply to many since he is not as chatty as me :)
Objecting to Objectification A post that really annoyed me. It basically says that queer women shouldn't, say, check out another women's breasts without stopping and thinking seriously about her ~thoughts~ and ~feelings~. Personally I am totally fine with random strangers (regardless of gender!) thinking I'm hot without wondering about my inner life, as long as they treat me like a person should we actually interact.
I really dislike the way ALL sexualisation of women is demonised within certain progressive spaces (while other "sex positive" progressive spaces are more likely to celebrate the sexualisation of women by men), meaning that there is pretty much nowhere it is accepted and normalised for women to sexualise other women. I realise that some women want safe spaces where they don't feel sexualised, but there's a difference between "Please don't sexualise women in this space" and "sexualising women is bad".
A criticism of yarn bombing
Identity should always be part of the gameplay N K Jemisin talking about how oppression and privilege are dealt with in the Dragon Age world. I know some people prefer fantasy worlds with no sexism/racism etc, but personally I tend to enjoy ones which DO have some bigotry as long as it's handled well and in a way that allows for happy endings.
The Naked and the TED A criticism of various books to come out of TED and TED in general.
The missing stair, My friend group has a case of the Creepy Dude. How do we clear that up?, “I am the Lorax, and I speak for the creeps!” Posts on dealing with creepiness (and worse) in other people
Fallacy Watch: No True Klansman Redefining terms like "racism" to refer to attitudes so heinous that nobody actually believes them, thus allowing the speaker to avoid being labelled with the term.
self-care: a buncha links, or something Not all self care can be ~enlightened~ acts like doing activism or eating organic free trade vegetables, but it's still necessary.
Lincoln Against the Radicals "Lincoln is not a movie about Reconstruction, of course; it’s a movie about old white men in beards and wigs heroically working together to save grateful black people."
Because while I may not be into m/m much most of the time, and have my own Issues With Slash Fandom, I've seen a few posts pop up on tumblr recently (here's the most recent) which have been taking the very simplistic line that slash's popularity is purely a result of misogyny, and that writing m/m is equivalent to only writing about white people. These posts also act like het is this POOR OPPRESSED MINORITY which, no.
It's nearly 2013, fandom, have we still not moved beyond this? Can't we argue about something else now?
( Cut for those as sick of it as me )
As mentioned in this rather sweet article about design students making wheelchair fashion there's issues with pant length and stuff (mostly less of an issue for me as a short legged woman with an electric chair, though I miss wearing long skirts) but there's also more subtle issues with the meaning of clothes changing when you wear it in a chair.
For example I stopped wearing this threadless shirt saying "This was supposed to be the future. Where is my jetpack...where is my cure for this disease" after someone read it then gave me a look of intense pity and said "I'm so sorry!"
But being in a wheelchair isn't all about limits. I can wear pretty but uncomfortable shoes now since I'm not going to be walking in them. I've also been looking for tshirts with slogans which gain meaning from being in a chair: here's me wearing an "Also I can kill you with my brain" shirt and I also have a we were not meant to be octopus shirt.
This got me thinking about making my own sloganed tshirts. I don't know how many if any of these I would actually wear, but they were fun to come up with. I particularly enjoy subverting people's image of disabled people as cheerful, earnest, and harmless.
- Cyborg in progress
- Future cyborg overlord
- Bad cripple
- good cripple
- more machine than man
- your awkward stares only make me stronger
- Stairs! My archnemesis! We meet again!
- Being an inspiration: $10
Answering invasive questions: $50
Accepting unsolicited medical advice: $100
Crushing the feet of the unworthy: Free
If anyone wants to take/adapt these ideas for themselves feel free.
( Read more... )
This entry was originally posted at http://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/47
Having been reminded about this promise I think I have to give up on the clear summary I was hoping to produce, so instead here are some rambling general thoughts. I'm making this a public post since she said she's after feedback leading up to the next edition and this way other people can have a look and comment.
( Read more... )
On being considered a Fake Geek Girl I like this in particular (as opposed to various other similar essays by geekier women, which make different but equally valid points) because she really ISN'T a "real" geek by some definitions, but that doesn't mean she's fake. She's just who she is, with the interests she has (which are kind of geeky and kind of not), and she can't help it if people insist on a false Geek/Mundane dichotomy and then complain when she doesn't fit.
In general I've been thinking about "real fans". And as much as part of me kicks and screams that they are Not Real Fans and Don't Love Canon Like It Deserves, I think I have to accept that people who are only into (a)Jane Austen through the adaptations or (b)That Popular Thing I Love (Homestuck, for example) for the generic slash are totally justified in their tastes. Especially since there are plenty of books I'm only into from the adaptations, and canons where I vastly prefer the OOC schmoopy fanfic (sometimes even the juggernaut slash pairing! I find fanon John/Rodney way more entertaining than Stargate Atlantis the actual show, for example. YES, I KNOW, I AM PART OF THE PROBLEM) How the different forms of fannishness can coexist without stomping all over each other quite so much I am less sure.
The golden age Interesting take on how to head towards a truly equal society. I think that even if we ignore global warming and other similar practical hurdles, it glosses over how and why public attitudes have changed worldwide, it's not ALL The Capitalist Conspiracy brainwashing us with Fox News etc, and also seems focused on the abstract instead of looking at various approaches to social democracy worldwide (OUTSIDE EUROPE/THE US EVEN OMG). He does update with, for example, an acknowledgement that childcare is work too, but I think a more thorough analysis of disability theory etc would greatly benefit the analysis. One thing I've heard is that a more heterogeneous society erodes public support for egalitarianism, because people think "I'm ok supporting people like me, but not people like them" Not sure how to combat that, beyond trying to fight racism etc (which are obviously good goals regardless :)) Still, becoming disabled has really made me notice and question the emphasis on "being productive".
The creator recently put up a post on his Kickstarter saying that he had been pretending to be depressed this whole time because that's just what artists do. Cue many depressed fans who had really connected with his comics feeling betrayed, and many ableist fans rejoicing at a chance to go on about how depression isn't really a thing.
But it was apparently all a joke, which anyone who was friends with him or familiar with his other work would have recognised, so all that outrage was for nothing HAHA TUMBLR. (The other, much more understandable "ARGH TUMBLR" reaction is to all the people who have been told that it's a joke but are still acting like it was meant literally, and the inevitable death treats etc. ARGH TUMBLR)
This attitude really pisses me off. I'm all in favour of satire and sarcasm (see: the title of this post, the previous paragraph), and not all humour has to be accessible to everyone. But if you tell a joke where it would be really bad if people took you literally, and most people DO take you literally, then you told the joke badly and you are responsible for the consequences.
Sure, there's only so much you can do about overly literal minded people, and it I think it's justifiable to cause SOME pain with art/humour, or we'd never get to use them at all. But having patchy reading comprehension or "not being a true fan" doesn't somehow make a person unworthy of compassion. Afaict most PFSC readers thought this was real, and a great many were deeply hurt. This could have been avoided if he made the satire more obvious, and I can't see any real advantage to being so opaque except...making the joke funnier for the people who get it? Being more effective on the tiny sliver of bigots who got the joke? Woo.
And even if we decide that everyone who doesn't get the joke is a humourless moron unworthy of respect, think of all the bigots who took it as support for hating on depressed people. Not actually being on their side doesn't magically make the pro-bigotry effect go away.
This is not someone's private blog that got taken out of context. It was a public and actively promoted kickstarter aimed at people who read PFSC, and it clearly failed at being clear to it's intended audience.
Since this apparently does need to be said: I'm not saying we should all go chasing after John Campbell with pitchforks, and the people who are harassing him need to step down. I do think he's a bit of a pretentious douche, but to be honest I kind of thought that anyway. Mainly I'm defending the people who are fans of PFSC and felt hurt from having their feelings dismissed.
Blech. I find arrogance and misogyny super unattractive, even in my escapism. Not to mention giant men bulging with muscles.
"Bitten" by Kelley Armstrong came strongly recced, but I had a bad feeling from her being The Only Female Werewolf. Sure enough, they see all other women but her as only useful for meaningless sex and babies (there are no gay or asexual werewolves, natch) Eventually I had to check to see if she gets back together with her smug stalkery ex AND SHE DOES. Of course, he's the most obnoxious and unpleasant man in the story, he must be the romantic lead.
It's pretty well written and I like the main female character (for a start, she doesn't hate other women, woo!), but hits too many bad buttons for me. Maybe I'll skip to the end and see if I like the feel of it.
Then maybe I'll reread my Marjorie Liu. She actually has some VARIETY in her manly supernatural men. And then I will sigh and wish for f/f space opera romance.
I've been reading with interest. Cam was all "pfft, it's just Humanism", the two counterargument I've seen seem to boil down to
(a) Humanism may be pro-equality on paper, but the Humanist community does a pretty bad job in practice.
(b)Not all atheists want to be humanists. For a start, Humanism tends not to be sufficiently anti-religion for anti-religious atheists.
Now (a) is a good argument for me not getting involved in humanism. Alas, (b) is a good argument for me not getting involved in Atheism+, since I am not anti-religion, and find broad strokes anti-religious argument irritating.
In the comments to one of these posts I saw people talking about how alienating they found the post The New Atheism +, the main response to which seemed to be "But if you're against bigotry why do you feel alienated?" And I have to say I found it pretty alienating myself and not because I am pro bigotry.
I really dislike the framing of there being Good People and Irrational Dead Weight. In general I am very uncomfortable with the way Irrational is used as the worst possible insult amongst atheists, even if it is at least being more accurately applied by including sexism etc now.
I mean... Our compassion entails we will and must always be the enemies of the uncompassionate. When for me compassion means trying not to think of people as enemies at all. Sure, some people are so totally opposed to what I stand for that I am unlikely to ever find compromise with them, but they are far outnumbered by the people I currently oppose on on or more issues but would like to think could be my allies one day.
The cynical part of me thinks this kind of rhetoric appeals to male feminists (or white anti racists etc) because then they can draw a bright clear line between themselves and the Bad Guys. And if you disagree then clearly you are PRO SEXISM. Then when they are called out for their own sexism (and they will be eventually) they often get all huffy because zomg they're not one of THEM.
(nb this is me slowly crawling back to sentience after SUCH a stressful few weeks, including a tumnmy bug, cold, and my cat being temporarily BURIED UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS. So this post may not be entirely coherent)
Something I've been trying to get my head around since getting so ill is a broader understanding of what a person's "capabilities" really are. I am in many ways exactly as "clever" as I was when I was at uni, but I struggle to follow one or two lectures a week on Coursera because of my cfs related difficulty concentrating, and had to quit my really-not-that-challenging job because my brain just couldn't handle the work (neither could my body, but that's a different issue and in some ways was easier to accept)
( some personal context )
It's silly to blame myself for my limitations now, so did it make sense to blame myself for them then? Should I feel "proud of myself" for being less overwhelmed than I was two years ago now that I am on anti anxiety meds? In some ways it's depressing to admit your limitations, and obviously you shouldn't give up on your dreams out of misplaced "realism", but it also makes no sense to despise yourself for being "inherently mediocre" AND feel guilty for having failed to live up to your "brilliant potential". Everyone has a mixture of gifts and weak points, and we shouldn't feel guilty for not maximising the former without feeling proud for not being totally overwhelmed by the latter.
And why do we have to "live up to our potential" anyway? Life isn't a competition, not with each other and not with our "potential". Personally, the things I aim for are to maximise (a)My happiness (b)Everyone else's happiness (both by being polite etc and working on social justice) (c) Seeking truth and expressing things noone else is expressing (though maybe that's a subset of (a)? These goals are always open to change, anyway :)). I used to think (c) meant I had to pursue Science but for now it means making art. Is it great, popular art? No. Am I really all that inherently "gifted" at art? No(*). But it gets the ideas out of my head. Of course finding a balance between maximising the things I value and not beating myself up about missed opportunities is still difficult, but at least I'm worrying about things that matter and not holding myself to impossible standards (except when I am. This post is aimed at myself as much as everyone else!)
endless_murmur made a good post about the danger of telling people to be extraordinary which in turn inspired this post. As I said in my comment: we are told to be "extraordinary", but also told not to be weird, and the difference between the two is incredibly subjective. And not everyone is drawn to be either, and that's fine. Pluralism=good, elitism=bad.
I would have a final conclusion but like I said, I'm not good at formal essay structures any more :)
(*)Seriously, I was middling ability as a kid. I just kept at it because my parents are artists, and even then didn't really get any good until my late 20s when I had literally nothing else to do.