Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday Links

Some links for a slow Saturday:
  • First, an amazing long rant about the Amanda Marcotte/Laurie Penny pile-on to MIT professor Scott Aaronson because he had the temerity to reject feminism (and its perpetual abhorrence of male sexual frustration). It's a super-long rant, and I confess I skipped a bunch of it, but there's some gems scattered among the failure to edit:
    When Penny bares her suffering to the world for all to hear about, she gets sympathy, she gets praised as compassionate, she gets published in important magazines whose readers feel sorry for her and acknowledge that her experience sucks.

    When Aaronson talks about his suffering on his own blog, he gets Amanda Marcotte. He gets half the internet telling him he is now the worst person in the world.
    And then, this:
    Patriarchy is yet another motte and bailey trick.

    The motte is that patriarchy is the existence of different gender roles in our society and the ways in which they are treated differently.

    The bailey is that patriarchy is men having power over women.
    The post from a lesbian friend of Aaronson's and author of Unit of Caring is worth reading, too, making the point that even female desire for other women is the sort of thing that anti-sex feminism is all too eager to police, even to the point of suppressing lesbians. The whole post is a goulash of interesting insights and somewhat tedious at the end (rants get that way), but worth picking up.
  • One of the things I find objectionable about much modern feminism is how it claims to favor grrl-power, up until women have to be protected like little girls. A good example of this is how sexual assault figures get calculated, mainly by stripping the purported victims of agency and volition, i.e. determining for them whether they've been raped. Tough women who have actually had to make their own lives and get out from real oppression, both legal and social, are harder to come by when many of those battles have been won, which is why I was tickled to learn of Hortense Mancini, Dutchess Mazarin from the wonderfully talented artist Jason Porath, who runs the delightfully offbeat Rejected Princesses blog. Atypically for a portrait designed to appear as a setting for the goddess Diana, “she is surrounded not by nymphs, but hunting dogs and four dark-skinned boys dressed as pages.” Married to an insane, controlling man who sent her to a convent, she conspired to race greyhounds after dark, and terrorized the sisters in other ways before escaping. What a character!
  • (Mostly) how not to shut down Internet arguments, from io9, whose stuff I mostly like. Of the list, only #1, #3, and #10 are really unobjectionable.
    • #2 is a repurposing of the tired and false arguments used by Anita Sarkeesian, and actively implies that if you're not with the objector, you must be with the oppressors. Yes, it's a cartoon, but it's also a dishonest cartoon that steps just this side of endorsing collective guilt.
    • #4 confuses chat rooms, online comment sections, etc. in which people belonging to different groups — say, ones that contain both men and women — with closed spaces containing only people belonging to those groups. The "sealioning" trope this apparently has started in some areas is completely disingenuous in that regard. This particularly awful Robot Hugs cartoon is a fine example of the delusion involved in this trope, and seems to precede "sealioning" by quite a bit. As well, it illustrates how a large segment of modern feminists just wish men would either go away or shut up altogether.
    • #7: Why am I not surprised to see another Robot Hugs cartoon in this list? The way to determine whether some kind of abuse is widespread is to ask a lot of people at random, i.e. polling. As usual, the (apparently lesbian separatist?) author of Robot Hugs would rather get into pissing contests about the value of one party's experiences vs. another's (typically male). The point, of course, is principally about justifying slander ("Street harassment is part of a larger system in which men feel entitled to comment upon women's bodies") rather than making any empirical observations. Also, Robot Hugs is never funny. Ever.
    • #8: the victimhood pissing contest. See also, Scott Aaronson.
    • #9: male sexuality is more visually oriented than female, film at eleven. Men are a market, women are a market.
    There's only three — #1, #3, and #10 — of any real value, with the rest serving principally to shut down heterodox political opinion.


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