Out, Damned Sperm! Why Everyone Is Freaked Out About Fruit Flies.

Posted in Editorials on October 10th, 2014
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This week the internet was aflame with the sheer idiocy that happens when you combine an ignorant misunderstanding of science with our culture of vicious misogyny.

Generally respectable websites like Alternet and The Telegraph were off and running with a study that claimed previous mates sperm could influence the future offspring of fruit flies. People got paid real money to write about this study as if it applied to human beings.

Caroline Weinberg at Jezebel did a good job of debunking this nonsense:

The immature eggs of newly hatched fruit flies ultimately develop a hard shell. The thought is that the development of the immature eggs can be influenced by non-genetic factors in semen but, once they have matured, the eggs are no longer susceptible to these changes.

Interesting indeed. But what I’m more interested in is why this study took off the way it did and why so many news outlets jumped to cover it as if it means something for people. Yes, it’s clickbait. But why is it clickbait? Why was this story so sensational?

Weinberg speculates:

Start with a scientific study that can be generalized to something people identify with or fear. Then lead with an eminently clickable headline about motherhood and promiscuity, striking fear in the hearts of the sexually active, raising concerns that the skeevy dude they picked up in a bar last year is actually going to haunt them forever through the face of their future offspring.

But I think it’s more than just fear that our exes can follow us, or somehow influence our future. The media found a way to push people’s buttons with the way they twisted this story, yes they pushed the “disgust” button, and the “eww my ex is gross” button, and even the “fear of cuckolding” button. But part of the reason these buttons exist in the first place is a deeper cultural stigma. There is a deep taboo about the way sex tarnishes women or makes them dirty. It’s tangled up with fear and denial of women’s sexual desires but its a slightly separate idea.

I’ve written before about how the disgust mechanism is a very old instinct. But this is is more than a general aversion to the “ickiness” of sex. The idea that the media was tapping into here was that sex in general and semen in particular makes women dirty in a way it does not make men dirty. In a way that a woman’s natural wetness doesn’t make women or men dirty. It’s odd to think of a substance produced by pleasure that creates human life as a contaminant (STIs aside). But we do.

We use the idea of semen in slurs like “cum dumpster.”

Abstinence only sex education is notorious for invoking the idea of semen defiled women in their rhetoric. A sucked on lollipop, chewed gum, or a cup everyone has spit into have all be used to represent a woman who has had sex. The students actual saliva makes an approximate substitute – but the message is clear, a woman is defiled by semen.

And so it should come as no surprise that at the mere hint that semen has more than a symbolically tarnishing effect on a woman’s body people will spiral into an absolute panic.

Weinberg wrote:

I even received an email from a pregnant friend that read, “Shit. Does this mean my kid is going to look like my ex?”

I wrote back to her, “Not unless you’re a fruit fly.”

We aren’t fruit flies. We’re people living in a culture that has a lot of fear about sex. Try not to let it ruin your day.

For Further Reading: The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability by Laura Kipnis

Affirmative Consent Comes to New York

Posted in Editorials on October 9th, 2014
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I’ve got to give credit where credit is due, and therefore I am very happy and proud to learn that New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has instructed the State University of New York (SUNY) to make affirmative consent the standard on all 63 of its campuses.

“Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary,” the SUNY rules will say. “Consent is active, not passive.

“Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent.”

Consent need not be verbal, but it must be unambiguous and mutual. “Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity,” the rules will say.

An alumna of a SUNY school, I’ve written before about my perceptions of sexual assault on campus and how among my group of friends it was considered something to be expected that was our responsibility to avoid. When I was seventeen years old, I had no concept that rape culture was something that could be changed or fought against. But with time I realized that point of view was flawed – individuals have a choice to commit sexual violence or not and there’s nothing inevitable about it at all. So I’m very glad to see this change being made.

Not everyone is happy about the new rules, however. Cathy Young at Newsday writes:

No court would treat incapacitation, or submission to an explicit or implied threat, as consent.

She couldn’t be more wrong. In the most high profile example of this in recent memory, a woman who was both incapacitated by alcohol and under the implied threat of force from two armed police officers was raped in her own apartment and the men who raped her were acquitted.

Affirmative consent standards target far more ambiguous incidents in which one person initiates or escalates sexual activity in a consensual situation and the other person goes along — possibly because she or he feels pressured and doesn’t have the nerve to say no. But surely equating such experiences with rape is insulting to victims who are actually forced to have sex against their will — and generally to women, who are presumed under the new standard of being incapable of saying no to unwanted sex.

Young contradicts herself here. A person who feels pressured and cannot say no is being coerced, is being threatened implicitly.

And she falls into the trap that so many do. It’s not that people who support affirmative consent standards don’t think women are incapable of saying no. It’s that we don’t think they should have to. Here’s Twisty Faster who explained it all brilliantly:

Although this condition does not obtain with regard to any other crime you can think of, when it comes to rape, women are currently considered to exist in a state of perpetual “yes!”. This is because “yes!” is consistent with global accords governing fair use of women. Victims of robbery or attempted murder don’t have to prove that they said no to being robbed or murdered; the presumption is that not even women would consent to being killed. But because penetration by males is what women are for, if we are raped we have to prove not just that we didn’t say yes, which is impossible to prove, but that we specifically and emphatically said no, which is also impossible to prove.

Thus the need for an affirmative consent standard:

My wacky consent scheme flips it around. According to my scheme, women would abide in a persistent legal condition of not having given consent to sex.

Women can still have all the hetero-sex they want; if they adjudge that their dude hasn’t raped them, all they have to do is not call the cops.

It’s not that I don’t think women can say no. It’s that our partners should want us to say yes.

For further reading: Affirmative Consent As A Legal Standard,
On Deciding What Counts: Elizabeth Ellen and What Makes A Victim
, Our horrible consent culture is a tax on women

Komen isn’t the only hypocrite about breast cancer.

Posted in Editorials on October 8th, 2014
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So right now the internet is awash with the irony that is the pink drill bit that the Susan G Komen foundation is hyping to promote breast cancer awareness. They painted a fracking tool pink to raise awareness about a disease that is caused by fracking. Because this is the world that we live in today.

Just as the pro life movement doesn’t seem to care about the impact of pollution on fetuses, it seems like many aspects of the Breast Cancer Awareness movement make hypocritical mistakes. Until this year, Avon, which sponsors a walk for breast cancer, also sold cosmetics laden with carcinogens. They agreed to make their products safer in April 2014. Right now, the campaign for safe cosmetics is pressuring Procter & Gamble, the parent company of Cover Girl, Max Factor, Olay, and Pantene to do the same for their products.

I’m glad that corporations want to give to charitable causes. But it’s hard to take them seriously when they are claiming to try and solve a problem they had a direct impact in creating without first doing as much as they can to stop filling our bodies and our environment with carcinogens.

Related Post: I Speak For The Lorax

Stop Talking About #GamerGate Like It’s Real.

Posted in Editorials on October 8th, 2014
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Background reading in case you haven’t been paying attention:

Attacks on women in gaming are so obviously not about ethics, but about misogyny
by Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon

We must dissent: Intel bows to GamerGate campaign to silence feminist video game critics
by Katherine Cross at Feministing

All caught up? Good.

I’ve been thinking about Intel’s decision to pull ads from gaming site Gamasutra. Intel is not a cable news anchor who thinks 4chan is a person. According to Wikipedia, Intel is one of the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip makers, based on revenue. People who work there understand what’s happening here. They can see the AstroTurf and false flags.

So that leaves us with a few options:

1. Intel didn’t know that it was a manufactured controversy or didn’t care and was swayed by the arguments.

2. Intel didn’t care about the arguments and was worried about bad publicity. In other words, they’re afraid of 4chan.

3. Intel knows that it’s not a real grassroots campaign, but agrees with the arguments anyway.

From the apology they issued soon after pulling their ads, all signs point to #2.

“We recognize that our action inadvertently created a perception that we are somehow taking sides in an increasingly bitter debate in the gaming community,” Intel wrote. “That was not our intent, and that is not the case. When it comes to our support of equality and women, we want to be very clear: Intel believes men and women should be treated the same.

“And, diversity is an integral part of our corporate strategy and vision with commitments to improve the diversity of our workforce,” Intel continued. “And while we respect the right of individuals to have their personal beliefs and values, Intel does not support any organization or movement that discriminates against women. We apologize and we are deeply sorry if we offended anyone.”

Oh ok, so a bunch of bullies convinced a giant corporation to drop some ads. I suppose that’s newsworthy.

But that’s not how the narrative is being told. Gaming journalists are still talking about #GamerGate like it’s a real thing and not a bullying campaign from the bowels of the internet. This is disingenuous at best, and misogynistic bullshit at worst.

The idea that corporations or journalists should need to expend any special effort to avoid “taking sides in an increasingly bitter debate” is ludicrous when you realize that there aren’t two sides here. There’s a bunch of trolls who are mad at a woman they don’t know for things that allegedly happened her private sex life as told by a vindictive ex-boyfriend so they’re throwing a temper tantrum on the internet. And there’s women who work in gaming and play video games who don’t want to be harassed. If you see these sides as at all equal, you are deficient in your logic or your morals. Or you’re just lying.

Red Pillers – Very Concerned about Ladies’ Fashion

Posted in Editorials on August 14th, 2014
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Political Flavors co-blogger Femataur and I were talking about a recent dust-up on Reddit that occurred after a woman posted about being asked to pay a cover charge at a New York City nightclub where her friends got in for free. The Red Pill subreddit was up in arms about the fact that this woman didn’t take the insult on the chin, because they never heard of men being comped cover charges so this is about equality! (As if they believe in gender equality.)

Here’s the text of our chat:

MissCherryPi: I am amazed by how much attention red pillers pay to women’s fashion. They really really care about it.

Basically a little bit of effort in hair and nothing else. No makeup, no heals, ugliest outfit possible, shitty nails, no jewelry, and very very very plain. She just looks boring

I mean what the fuck is all of your raggedy hair doing on one side of your head? Take the time to straighten that shit and put it in a messy updo. Then throw that greasy looking top in the dumpster and grab some lowcut white blouse with strings and shit. And for the love of god why do these bitches insist on wearing those skirts that aren’t form fitting. Do you think you’re fooling us all into thinking that you’re fit but you just forgot to wear flattering clothing? Throw on a miniskirt and slut it up or don’t ever expect to be let in the goddamn club for free. And lose those fucking shades while you’re at it. You’re not a celebrity. You look stupid.”

What are they, Joan Rivers?

Femataur: Lol. God, they really really hate women. It reads like male-written erotica. Also a white blouse with strings and shit? Wat? I have no idea what they’re describing, but it doesn’t sound hot.

They just love policing everything they can about women.

I thought they didn’t like hypergamous women? Why are they advising women to artificially increase their value?

MissCherryPi: Maybe they mean a shirt like this:

white shirt

or like this: white strappy back shirt

But if so, why does it have to be white?

And those ladies look like they are going for brunch or something. Not to a club.

Femataur: They are just really bad at describing what they want…Shocker!
Dudes don’t know what they want, start imagining porn scenarios.

MissCherryPi: I can understand if the guy is super into fashion and wants someone that also has that interest/taste, but I doubt these guys read GQ and Details.

Femataur: You give them too much credit

MissCherryPi: Well this is what I don’t get- I highly doubt these men are into male fashion, but they have all these demands of women.

Femataur: I also highly doubt they are into female fashion. They are into control. They think that ladies night is a gift. And all gifts come with a quid pro quo. They think that women who go to clubs are some weird pornified idea of women, like in music videos.

These dudes: women who aren’t paying their way need to dress like porn and earn their free drinks. Women who dress like sluts are basically asking to be assaulted. Aka: if you can’t pay for something you should be assaulted. Also financial empowerment for women is unacceptable?

It’s classic sex class shit.

This Primary Day, Democrats Can Control Who Runs the New York State Senate. The Future of Progressive Social Causes is at Stake

Posted in Editorials on August 13th, 2014
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September 9th is Primary Day in New York State. While primaries have lower turnouts and generally receive less media scrutiny, they are often very significant races that determine the policy direction a party takes. In some cases, as in the June Congressional primary between Rep. Charles Rangel and State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, it determined the person who will ultimately serve in the next Congress.

Next month’s primary is an important one for Democrats. Conventional wisdom holds Andrew Cuomo, Kathy Hochul, Eric Schneiderman and Tom DiNapoli will all be serving in Albany next year. What’s less certain is who will control the State Senate.

Some are surprised to learn that the Senate is currently in Republican hands when one considers the lopsided advantage that Democrats hold in party registration in our state. As of this past April, there were 5,873,844 Democrats and 2,785,773 Republicans. Yet Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, controls the Senate, in part due to a power-sharing agreement made with Jeff Klein, a senator from the Bronx who defected from the Democratic caucus to form the “Independent Democratic Conference” (IDC). Joining Klein to form the IDC were Malcolm Smith of Queens, Diane Savino of Staten Island, David Valesky of Oneida, and David Carlucci of Rockland. Sen. Smith was forced to leave the IDC after he tried to bribe his way into the New York City Mayor’s office.

Smith was soon replaced by Sen. Tony Avella, who joined the IDC earlier this year. While Avella acted like he was joining the IDC for benevolent reasons alone, his staff got raises as a result, Avella himself became Chair of the Social Services Committee, and his campaign was given $50,000 by other senators for his good will.

Albany works different than real life, it seems.

On February 26th, Avella told the New York Daily News:

“Under Sen. Klein’s leadership, the [Independent Democratic Conference] has developed a clear, progressive agenda for New York’s working families.”

Odd that he didn’t feel that way before the raises, chairmanship, and 50 grand. Details…details.

This statement, though, makes September 9th so important for Democrats in New York.

Leaving the Democratic Caucus, led effectively by Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Westchester, in order to best promote a “clear, progressive agenda” is like Michael Bloomberg saying he could most effectively support gun control legislation by writing a check to the NRA. It just doesn’t make sense.

Maybe if the NRA offered Bloomberg’s staff raises and made him chair of a policy committee he’d reconsider. That would be benevolent, right?

No greater proof is needed to rebut the claim that the IDC and its alliance with the Republicans is promoting a “clear, progressive agenda” than three bills which never saw the light of day thanks to the “power-sharing agreement”: the entire Women’s Equality Act, GENDA and a ban on conversion therapy.

The Women’s Equality Act, all-encompassing legislation that would have ensured equal pay, cracked down on human trafficking, and safeguarded reproductive health was apparently deemed “extreme.” As was the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which would have banned discrimination based on gender identity or expression. The third bill, to ban conversation therapy, would have made it illegal to try to “cure” children of homosexuality, a “treatment” that has increased depression and suicide rates. In fact, Gov. Chris Christie helped ban it in New Jersey and is quoted saying he

believe[s] that on the issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards…I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.

All of these bills should have passed, reflecting the substantial registration advantage that Democrats have over Republicans in New York. But they weren’t even given a vote on the floor. The reason they were not given a vote is clear: because Dean Skelos and the Senate Republicans would not allow a vote.

Why do Dean Skelos and the Senate Republicans have this say? Because they were given it by members of the IDC who were given plum committee posts and financial benefits in exchange for their allegiance.

As a result, any chance of progressive social policies passing in New York came to a halt.

You see, according to the “power-sharing” agreement, both “co-leaders” Skelos and Klein need to approve bills that go to the floor.

Democracy has a different definition in Albany.

What many people don’t realize is that the Senate Republicans have a second master: the New York State Conservative Party. Many of their members could not win without the backing of the Conservative Party, and rely on it for votes, GOTV and fundraising. The Conservative Party has been openly hostile to women, to minorities and to the LGBT community, and doesn’t hesitate to punish those who run opposed to its dogma. The party is closely aligned with the Catholic Church, including its belief on the role of women in society, the rights of said women, and its narrow interpretation of the Bible to meet its own agenda – regardless of who is harmed.

This can be remedied on September 9th, though. Many members of the IDC face primaries. Two races in particular can have a significant impact on the future of the IDC and the State Senate. In Queens, Tony Avella is being challenged by John Liu. In the Bronx, Jeff Klein is facing Oliver Koppell.

If the Democrats can regain control of even one of these seats, it will send a clear message that Democratic voters didn’t go out and vote on Election Day 2012 so that Dean Skelos could be left in power.

If you want the chance for a true progressive agenda on social issues, you need to express yourself on Primary Day.

The alternative is a State Senate that is to the right of Chris Christie.

On My Honor, I Will Try…

Posted in Editorials on August 6th, 2014
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This post is adapted from a service I led at my Unitarian Universalist congregation.

Readings
The Girl Scout Promise
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Romans 12:9-13
Let love be genuine;
hate what is evil,
hold fast to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
outdo one another in showing honor.
Do not lag in zeal,
be ardent in spirit,
serve the Lord
Rejoice in hope,
be patient in suffering,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints;
extend hospitality to strangers.

***

When I was a child I remember hearing about certain things being “on the honors system,” a contest or an exam given to older kids “on their honor.” I asked questions about what this meant, and I developed my own definition of honor. It means to do the right thing, even when no one else was looking. This seemed like a big responsibility. I hoped I would be up to the challenge when my turn came.

In my own life I don’t often hear of honor spoken of much in the way I have defined it – doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, being true to your word and keeping your promises. A quick search of my own Twitter stream and of google news and I see the word being used in two ways – to describe an achievement, “It’s an honor to win this award.” And to talk about something that is almost the anthesis of my meaning – honor killings.

From the website of the NGO – “The Advocates for Human Rights:”

Human Rights Watch defines “honor” crimes as “acts of violence, usually murder, committed by male family members against female family members who are perceived to have brought dishonor upon the family.” According to a report by Dr. Sherifa Zuhar of Women for Women’s Human Rights, killings committed in the name of “honor” may be motivated by “a perceived violation of the social norms of sexuality,” or they may be “crimes of passion, wherein a husband kills his wife whom he or other family members suspect of adultery.” U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Radhika Coomaraswamy has described “honor” killings as one of many practices that “constitute a form of domestic violence but have avoided national and international scrutiny because they are seen as cultural practices that deserve tolerance and respect.

“Motives for crimes committed in the name of “honor” have included: suspicion of adultery, premarital sex, or some other relationship between a woman and a man; being a victim of rape or sexual assault; refusing to enter an arranged marriage; seeking divorce or trying to escape marital violence; and falling in love with someone who is unacceptable to the victim’s family according to The Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! Even seemingly minor transgressions have been identified as the reasons for carrying out “honor” killings. In one case, a teenager in Turkey had her throat slit in a town square because someone had dedicated a love ballad to her on the radio. Although the victims are most often women, men and boys may also be targeted for crimes committed in the name of “honor,” usually when they are relatives, alleged partners, or “accomplices” of a female victim according to the Special Rapporteur Asma Jaha, Commission on Human Rights. Similarly, while men and boys are usually the perpetrators, women may be involved in, or supportive of, the commission of these crimes.

According to Wikipedia, honor killings are also sometimes committed against LGBTQ people.

And so I must make a clarification as to what honor is not. Honor is not patriarchal violence. Honor is not chauvinism. Honor is not even chastity. Violence against women and other people who do not meet ancient codes of sexual purity is in no way honorable.

Honor cannot be bestowed upon a person or taken away by other people. It is a quality describing how a person lives.

There is no group of people who hold a monopoly on honor. In some misogynist corners of the internet, Men’s Rights Advocates are fond of saying that “Honor is a male abstraction. Don’t expect women to understand.” I reject this definition and its limited worldview.

Honor is not pride. When someone cuts me off in traffic and I slam on my horn and yell something not very polite, because of my own bruised ego, I’m not defending my own honor. I’m embarrassing myself in a potentially dangerous way.

The reason I wanted to talk about honor here today began when I was thinking about the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism. I was trying to decipher what meaning they had for me as a whole, and not just as individual precepts. And what I started to conclude was that they are about doing good for the sake of what is good. This fits so neatly with my girlhood definition of honor – doing the right thing when no one is looking. And it reminded me of that promise I made “On my honor, I will try…” I went back and looked up the Girl Scout Law and I was surprised at how it echoes our principles:

to be honest and fair,
to respect myself and others,

    Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

to be friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,

    Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

to use resources wisely,
to make the world a better place

    Respect for the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

I also looked to see what the Bible has to say about honor. There were many passages, but the one I read today echoes the message I’m trying to impart:

[H]old fast to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
outdo one another in showing honor.
….
Contribute to the needs of the saints;
extend hospitality to strangers.

So what does this have to do with how we live our lives day today? How is this concept relevant if it’s not spoken of in this context much anymore? And how does this specifically relate to Unitarian Universalism?
This past May I attended the UU Metro NY district conference, and I went to a workshop called “Getting to the Roots: Our UU Theology of Collaboration” It was led by Rev. Joan Van Becelaere a UU Minister in Ohio, that was described this way:

The Puritan ancestors of the Unitarian side of the UUA were much bolder than we commonly think. They envisioned an association of individual congregations far more collaborative and connected than commonly thought. The vision was actually quite radical. In these times of change in society and the world as well as in our districts and regions, can this collaborative theology at the roots of our organizational DNA help us meet our current challenges and give us a new perspective on what it means to work for the creation of the Beloved Community?

At this workshop, I learned about how many early American congregations were based on covenant. Covenant was and is “the matter and form of the church.” People who were living together in community also vowed to worship together in covenant. And the value of the covenant is the honor of it’s participants. It was their honor to keep their word and do what’s right for the community.

Today we are in covenant with each other in our congregation, and as a congregation with other UU Congregations throughout the country and the world. The value of our covenants is the strength of our honor.

We also see this at the end of our Declaration of Independence. The signers pledged, “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

Honor is the glue that holds us together.

Contradictions made by people insulting my husband (AKA, Misogynist Troll Insult Fails Part 2)

Posted in Editorials on July 17th, 2014
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Christian Red Pill blogger Dalrock published a hit piece on a woman journalist, and decided that instead of relying only on his incisive wit and literary talent, he’d also link to her personal photos and Flickr account. Because he wanted to ruin more than just a mediocre DS9 episode.

Ms Brink took to twitter asking people for help in reporting this post as abusive, and Adam sent out a tweet encouraging people to do so. And in case it’s not clear, I support anyone’s right to write or say whatever they want about whoever they want without fear of the government. But saying “Hey it’s not cool to link to naked pictures of a woman your are slut shaming” is not censorship. It’s exercising those same free speech rights to tell you that you are an asshole. Which you have every right to be.

But a simple, “This is not cool and it might violate Word Press Terms of Service” tweet has invoked the rage of the manosphere. And Oracle of Delphi, is it hilarious! They know they hate women, and they hate men who don’t hate women, but they can’t figure out why. And their reasons are delightfully contradictory.

Adam is:

“White Knight and all-purpose Mangina”
a “cowardly white knight” “spreading lies”
one of the “rabbit people”
“mangina Adam Lee (again, the only person who even has given Mizz Brink the time of day) thinks he can authorize ‘social sanctions’, even though it is safe to say that just about all the men here have had far more lifetime success with women than Adam Lee has.”

But also:

A ‘male feminist’ is almost always a sleazy predator in disguise. Hugo Schwyzer proved this. Being a ‘male feminist’ really is the perfect cover for such a predator.

So he’s a cowardly sexless mangina but also a sleazy sexual predator? Got it.

And:

Adam Lee is just another sub-human degenerate Social Justice Warrior who thinks that anyone who disagrees with him need to be shut down. These sons of bitches are just like Hitler’s Brownshirts with less testicular fortitude to face you in person.

But:

I could not help noticing from Adam Lee’s Twitter that…he appears to be a Jew

A JEWISH NAZI! OMG.

They’re also really obsessed with Adam having sex with and/or being sexually rejected by Brink:

If Adam Lee does his job right, he might just get lucky tonight!

I should also point out that Adamangina Lee is thinking to himself :

“This superslut had sex with 8 men while still legally married……I am the only one who rushed to her aid……….Yet she is STILL turning me down?? Whyyyyyyyyyy????”

Ms Brink,

Adam is only doing this because he hopes that maybe you will have sex with him.

Adam,

She is NOT going to have sex with you. Ever. You are quiche eating beta male. She is using you to try and tear down people who make her feel bad because she is a terrible person speading terrible advice. Stop what you are doing. You’re never going to get laid.

As creepy as these comments are, I don’t think “quiche eating beta male” will leave my vocabulary any time soon. It’s perfect for ironic joke insults. Thanks dudes.

I spent my morning train ride laughing my head off at these comments, and trying to pick my favorite insult. I actually made my own from this word salad – “Hitler rabbit.” As in “Adam thinks men shouldn’t call women bitches. What a Hitler rabbit!”

Misogynist Troll Insult Fails

Posted in Editorials on June 3rd, 2014
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Previously, I have written about an incident that occurred when I was a teenager and a boy in my class tried to insult me, but it fell flat. This happens often when interacting with people who have very different values. What one person sees as an insult, another may find innocuous or even take as a point of pride.

Cracked has published a post “5 Uncomfortable Truths Behind the Men’s Rights Movement” and the dudes at /r/TheRedPill are really mad.

I’d wager this guy is a skinny little girly man just desperate for some cash. Probably gets pegged by his angry period-raging feminist girlfriend.

And when we take out the modifiers and the name calling, and we look at what /u/bleekdawn is trying to say…there’s not much of an insult now is there? Like I said on /r/TheBluePill, he is now a little richer from the publication of this article and he will be getting laid tonight? Sounds like a win on both counts. What am I missing?

I know that /u/bleekdawn meant his words to sting with body shaming, classism, homophobia and misogyny – because of course skinny or short men aren’t men, and of course it’s shameful to work for a paycheck, and of course straight men don’t like to be pegged, and of course menstruation turns women into demonic hellspawn, and of course no one would ever date or have sex with a feminist. I don’t actually know what J. F. Sargent’s appearance, finances or sex life are like. But on it’s face, there’s nothing wrong with having a small build, getting paid to write articles on the internet or with being a straight man who likes anal sex from a woman partner.

I suppose this is why people occasionally tell their detractors to troll harder.

Freedom of Speech Means Freedom to Be an Asshole

Posted in Editorials on May 18th, 2014
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From the text of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech

I am a firm supporter of the right to free speech and free expression. These rights are essential to other rights – political advocacy, religious freedom, artistic expression, academic freedom and the right to advocate for social change. I am so thankful to live in the United States where I have this right, and I hold it dear.

Not everyone who has these rights uses them for a good or useful purpose. The costs of free speech are high. When I was a clinic escort, I witnessed protesters who would harass patients and doctors. I find this morally abhorrent, and while I do support the FACE Act and other measures to prevent people from forming human chains around clinics, I also recognize that much of what these protesters do is and should be protected speech.

This weekend I attended the Women in Secularism conference sponsored by the Center for Inquiry. One of the speakers, Taslima Nasrin spoke about the harms of religion to women. Nasrin was exiled from her home country of Bangladesh for criticizing Islam. Others have been jailed or murdered by vigilantes for doing the same.

In her speech, Nasrin said,

“Without the right to offend, freedom of expression cannot exist.”

Mary Johnson tweeted this quote, and I retweeted it. Then this happened (conversation edited for clarity, see my twitter stream for unabridged conversation):

So, to sum up, according to Carl Nyberg, we can’t criticize Islam because of American imperialism, and we can’t be supporters of free speech unless we spend every waking moment trying to get Chelsea Manning out of prison.

I agree that there is racist and xenophobic sentiment underlying some critiques of Islam. But that doesn’t mean that it’s above question. Taken to its logical conclusion, Nyberg’s argument means that until we eliminate antisemitism in the United States, no one can speak up about the sexual abuse of children in Hasidic communities. I reject this entirely.

I don’t think that people should be bigoted or even unnecessarily mean to each other. I’m a huge supporter of social justice, civility, Wheaton’s Law, and plain old cheerfulness. But I believe these things must come from within and not be imposed by a government. The right to free speech includes the right to be an nasty and cruel abortion clinic protester, to voice islamaphobic opinions, and to tell me that I want to “shit on other religions without being criticized.” As Taslima Nasrin said,

“Without the right to offend, freedom of expression cannot exist.”