Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A woman scorned

I rarely read YouTube comments, because, you know, YouTube comments. But I watched Rebecca Watson's video about "The Hidden Cost of Leaking Celebrity Nudes" and then had a quick squiz at the comments.

There was this one:
"Nice assumption that the hackers were men. A bit sexist if you ask me. Are you saying women can't be hackers? Have you not seen Angelina Jolie from the film Hackers?" (Bolding mine)

The derp is strong with this one. Do I need to explain why this gave me a great guffaw?


Now, more seriously, I'm not comfortable with Watson's argument here, although I know she's tongue in cheek, but the hatred of Kim Kardassian - well, it's disturbing to me.

It's the US version of the absolute venom directed at Katie Price, although Katie Price did not acquire her notoriety in the same way. They are caricatures in public life and while they may use this as their vehicle for fame and money, men who equally have worked up fame from nothing don't get the same level of spite, in my opinion. I mean, that bloke from TOWIE and Peter Andre - they have their detractors, but the staggering bile? No, they're more often portrayed sympathetically and as nice but dim chaps. Maybe they are more likeable and the women really are the ebil and manipulative, or maybe that's the sexist script we're buying.

I don't know. I am just really not comfortable with (in particular a feminist) holding someone (a woman) out to scorn, whatever the motivation. Unless it's for their views or opinions. But for who she is, eh, don't we have enough of that?

I daresay Kim and Katie sleep soundly in an insulating cocoon of cash, and I hope they do.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I learnt a thing!

In more cheerful internet wandering through comments, I learned a new thing. I got to read about Emily Rosa, who as a 9 year old conducted an experiment that debunked Reiki.

Cool as. :)

'Though the reason she was mentioned was because apparently Michael Shermer did a talk in which she featured, and chose to illustrate that part of it with a picture of her as an adult in a bikini. Because her in a bikini is relevant to her childhood scientific endeavours. #head-desk# Sexism, what sexism, I see no sexism... I wonder if he illustrated any men in his talk with pictures of them in their swimmers.

Watching the furore

I have been watching the furore of the "atheist movement" cannibalising itself in the wake of various famous atheist authors revealing sexist attitudes and worse. Looking at them, as they spectacularly failed to stop for five minutes for introspection on whether they might just be getting it wrong sometimes and maybe a bit of listening to others might be in order, I read this comment at Butterflies & Wheels and it really struck home with me.

It makes me sick that the knee jerk reaction to a woman saying, “This happens. It isn’t OK. It needs to change” about rapists and harassers is too call her a liar and claim she’s just “doing it for the attention”. But when men in the movement say “This happens. It isn’t OK. It needs to change” of charlatans and religious leaders is seen as heroic.

It’s actually become an ongoing joke at my house for my husband and I to accuse each other of doing things “just for the attention”. It’s funny because I see it said of women complaining about misogyny so often it is absurd. The survivors of abuse and sexual violence are especially victim blamed and told they are “doing it for the attention”. It’s as if the people making this claim are saying that giving a woman attention and trust is a bad thing or that if she wasn’t milking this whole “victim” thing, nobody would pay her attention because she’s clearly too inconsequential to notice otherwise.

Women in this movement speaking up for themselves at all, from “Guys don’t do that” to “Micheal Shermer raped me” are reacted to as if they are launching vicious attacks as well as making excuses to draw attention away from men where it rightfully belongs.

After all, according to highly regarded, not at all sexist famous skeptics, women don’t like to speak up. That’s more of a guy thing. (If she does speak up, scream and stomp your feet until she shuts up.) Women, always using rape to get attention amirite? It probably wasn’t even legit rape. I mean, if a feeemale passes out too close to a Steubenville football player or Michael Shermer, what does she expect? She’s like a drunk driver, right? That’s just what men do when they drink, right? She shouldn’t have left her wallet in the unlocked car or something. She’s like a drunk driver. Conviction or it didn’t happen! She shouldn’t talk about harassment if she doesn’t want more harassment. What’s not civil about that?

According to several men in positions of considerable influence in this community we are not having a problem with sexism in this movement. We are having a problem with panicked, fuzzy ladybrained, radical, witch hunting viragos lying and making up offences to ruin men’s lives and steal their attention with victimhood powers, because logic.

Women should respond to that civilly?

Nugent can stick his civility where the sun don’t shine. This is not a civil conversation.


Friday, September 19, 2014


I had to go to a live-ish performance of this for the video, 'though. There was something about Katy Perry painting an elephant's toenails and general cheesecake cheesiness of the official video that totally undercut the lyrics of the song, for me. :/

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Oink oink

I felt today like having a good old rant about this, so here are my responses to the Sam-Harris-yet-another-prominent-atheist-man-of-privilege putting his foot in it. Isn't it enough we have Dawkins continually making a twat of himself on Twatter?

 1. I started by claiming that my readership seems more male than female. And when I shifted to speaking about atheists as a group, I was referring to active atheists—that is, the sort of people who go to atheist conferences, read atheist books, watch atheists debate pastors on YouTube, or otherwise rally around atheism as a political identity. I was not talking about everyone on Earth who doesn’t believe in God. 

 2. Although I share the common perception that there is a gender imbalance among active atheists, I don’t actually know whether this is the case. I used to joke that my average “groupie” was a 75-year-old man. Happily, my audiences are now filled with young people, but I still encounter many more men than women. I wouldn’t be surprised if the split were 70/30. I would be very surprised if it were 50/50. Again, I am talking about active atheists. I have no idea whether there are more male unbelievers than female.

I don't go to atheist conferences, no, they tend to be in 'Merica and I am not rich in money or time. But I do buy and read atheist books. I used to be more active in online atheist communities and consider atheist a strong part of my identity, but y'know what, those online communities were hostile to me, full of dudebros who would throw me under the bus for a thought experiment, invalidate my experience and patronise or come on to me. Because I'm a woman.

I'd always identified as a feminist, but it was the atheist communities that drove me to identify more strongly with that and more or less lose interest in the "atheist movement". So you, Sam Harris, looking around seeing a predominance of men - it's not because women aren't interested, it's because the environment you've helped create is antagonistic to women (and minorities).

3. My work is often perceived (I believe unfairly) as unpleasantly critical, angry, divisive, etc. The work of other vocal atheists (male and female) has a similar reputation. I believe that  men are more attracted to this style of communication than women are. Which is not to say there aren’t millions of acerbic women out there, and many for whom Hitchens at his most cutting was a favorite source of entertainment. But just as we can say that men are taller than women, without denying that > women are taller than most men, there are psychological differences between men and women which, considered in the aggregate might explain why “angry atheism” attracts more of the former. Some of these differences are innate; some are surely the product of culture. Nothing in my remarks was meant to suggest that women can’t think as critically as men or that they are more likely to be taken in by bad ideas. Again, I was talking about a fondness for a perceived style of religion bashing with which I and other vocal atheists are often associated.

Ok, have you ever even read any female atheist bloggers? They're not angry? Why oh why, then, do perceived angry feminist atheists get pulled on their tone by tone-trolls all the fucking time? Why oh why, then, do feminists get called on their tone by tone-trolls all the fucking time?

It's good that you acknowledge there's a cultural aspect to women being expected to be 'lady-like', less abrasive and less confrontational, but y'know, the innate and psychological differences parts make me wonder which you're putting most weight on. I have a feeling you like the innate, but y'know, we never have a chance to see that. Let's do some cultural shifting, and see what happens.

4. I believe that a less “angry,” more “nurturing” style of discourse might attract more women to the cause of atheism.

And that's not sexist at all? Fuck you.

5. However, I haven’t spent even five minutes thinking about how or whether to modify my writing or speaking style so as to accomplish this.

You haven't spent 5 minutes actually thinking about sexism or this response either, have you?

I am well aware that sexism and misogyny are problems in our society. However, they are not the only factors that explain differences in social status between men and women. For instance, only 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. How much of this is the result of sexism? How much is due to the disproportionate (and heroic) sacrifices women make in their 20’s or 30’s to have families? How much is explained by normally distributed psychological differences between the sexes? I have no idea, but I am confident that each of these factors plays a role. Anyone who thinks disparities of this kind must be entirely a product of sexism hasn’t thought about these issues very deeply.

 #head-desk# So women making disproportionate sacrifices for their families has absolutely nothing to do with sexism? Nothing at all to do with social pressure to be the 'good mother', nothing to do with sexist stereotyping and traditional gender roles? Nothing to do with the woman being the one expected to be at all the school meetings, to find childcare, the fact dads are often referred to as 'babysitting' when they're looking after their own kids, that women are considered to be trying to "have it all" if they want a career & kids when men's decisions in the same respects are never even scrutinised, that a man who works long hours is just trying to be a good provider, but a woman is neglecting her home and family? Again, fuck you.

Violence is different for women than it is for men. Unlike men, they don’t tend to get into fistfights with strangers after an escalating series of insults. It is far more common for a woman to be attacked, physically controlled, and sexually assaulted by a man. Outside the walls of a prison, adult males almost never have to think about getting raped. For most women, rape is a very real, lifelong concern. Women also suffer from domestic violence in ways that men rarely do. Most of these differences can be explained by general disparities in size, strength, and aggressiveness between the sexes.

And not at all by men being socialised to be aggressive, to feel entitled to sex, to be the head of household and considered to be less of a man if he's 'pussy-whipped'. Nothing to do with domestic violence being viewed as a source of amusement "why I oughta!", the norm (that it's just a domestic), or that in our 'civilised' society  Ray Rice can knock his partner cold and only when a video is released of the actual act does he face any sanctions, otherwise it's just brush it under the carpet because sport, that Mike Tyson can be convicted of rape yet be an acceptable choice for a cameo in film comedy, fucking Polanski, etc etc. Clue-by-four, those things are products of a sexist culture that doesn't take violence against women seriously.

Any time a woman comes away from an encounter with a man saying that he gave her the creeps, I trust her. This is not mere chivalry on my part: It is a judgment based on an understanding of human nature. One of the things we are naturally good at is detecting threatening people—indeed, millions of years of evolution have more or less guaranteed this. The silly word “vibe” enjoys its most felicitous application here—when a person must make a split-second judgment about the man at the door. I suspect (but do not know) that women are slightly better at this than men. I’m not denying that honest misunderstandings occasionally arise, or that some men have been falsely accused of sexual harassment and even of rape. But having been raised by a single mother since the age of two, I have always had a very visceral sense that men have a responsibility not to be evil jerks. And when they are, they should be sorted out—physically, if need be—by good men. Call me old-fashioned.

You were doing ok-ish,.. but chivalry? Chivalry to trust a woman when she says she feels creeped out by a man. Shit, it's chivalrous to trust a woman to identify her own feelings? ... We haven't even got to whether it's chivalrous to think a woman might be able to be trusted to judge whether a man's demeanour or behaviour was actually inappropriate or suspect towards her. And you know, you have to cover the bases by noting that there are misunderstandings & false accusations and you're not forgetting that, so are we really trusting women here? Really really? It's important you slip that bit in, isn't it? Really important.

... but women are more instinctive? Yuh-huh. And that's not a sexist stereotype at all either. Maybe it's thought of as a positive thing, therefore it's OK? No. Still sexist. Women can multitask, women are just better at childcare, at seeing dirt. Hurrah. So this is another Upside of being a woman, we get to be all instinctual and woo, while men are rational. Women don't come to conclusions by, I don't know, thinking about things, no no no, we respond to vibes. Creepy vibes. Nothing to do with picking up on voice & tone, actual content of comments, body language, actual infractions on our personal space etc, you know, like actual verifiable reasons for thinking someone is behaving creepily. Nope, VIBES! Creepy creepy vibes.

... and then there's the sorting out by good men. Really? I don't even.

And I'm not touching the part of your post about gun control and so forth. Just no. I'm stopping here.

I'm not saying you're the worst ever sexist pig, Harris, but you are a product of the sexist society you live in. If you're being called-out all over the interwebz, perhaps a bit more reflection and less reaction might be in order.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Spinning my wheels
I am a child's toy on my side
Spinning spinning

What now, what next

Things in my head
Won't come out
I am stuck
But spinning spinning.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Some days I wonder what the hell I'm doing and why am I doing it?

Inertia carries me through most of the time.

I entered into an arrangement with someone, and it continues, and I'm not sure why. On some levels, I'm getting something from it, and on another, it's a distraction.