Sexism and Gum In Your Hair

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I had a very strange conversation tonight, that was hilariously nonsensical given the topic and the fervor of the argument. Thinking about it, and chatting with the OP who was sitting back and watching with amusement, I’m looking at it a bit differently now. This is a fantastic illustration of the subconscious, more subtle sexism that permeates our culture due to societal gender norms. Here’s the conversation….

OP: If you get gum stuck in your hair, melt some chocolate and rub it on the gum – it will come right out. Mayonnaise also works.

Interlocutor: If you get Gum stuck in your hair, you have to be a little girl.

OP: O.M.doG. (tilting head to the side and smacking it)… did I just read right? <Interlocutor> made a SEXIST remark?????

Interlocutor:  Only a girl could get gum stuck in their hair. It is not sexist.

This is where I enter, because….who could resist?

Me: It kinda is….

Interlocutor: I have NEVER seen a guy getting gum stuck in his hair.

Me: That must represent everyone, then….

Interlocutor: Lol, you could use the exact same thing to say the opposite. Just because you have seen many men with gum in their hair it must represent everyone then….

Me: And the logical conclusion from that is….it could be males or females. It IS usually children, however, of both sexes, due to less developed dexterity.

Interlocutor: Who has longer hair? it is generally girls. Thus who is more likely to get gum stuck in their hair…

Me: You’ve stated that it must be a little girl. Even one boy getting gum stuck in their hair disproves that, making it a silly statement in and of itself. Also it’s common enough for a guy to get it stuck in their beard or mustache…..

Interlocutor: Have you seen a boy get gum stuck in their hair and i mean themselves not someone else putting it in…

Me: Yep.

Interlocutor: Well when you say hair, unless you specifically state beard or mustache it is generally considered the hair on your head….

Me: Hair is hair, isn’t it? Really, your initial statement made a lot of assumptions, and stuck a gender on it.

Interlocutor: Hair on your head isn’t the same as a beard though is it, 2 different locations for a start…

MeIt’s still hair. The OP didn’t specify. It didn’t specify what hair, or even how it got stuck there. Someone else may put it in. You assumed it was long hair, done by the person with the hair, and that it was on their head. That’s 3 assumptions not specified in the OP to get to your conclusion that it must be a little girl.

Interlocutor: and arent you making assumptions that it isn’t. Have you considered that maybe just maybe it has the part about it being head hair left out…You would be just as bad if as a man you cant keep food in your mouth…

Me: Nope, I didn’t make assumptions. I just denied your assumptions and said it could apply pretty equally depending on the circumstance.

Interlocutor: The biggest circumstance being how long the hair is….

Me: Nope, that’s assuming it’s referring to hair on the top of the head and not on the face. The solution to getting it out of hair works for either.

Interlocutor: If it was hair on face, wouldn’t it just mention men, seeing as how woman (well most) dont have facial hair…

Me: It just mentions hair, meaning it can apply to all types.

Interlocutor: Then it would still mean it was a guy, what girl has more hair (other than on head) than a guy….

Me: The point is that it could be hair on the face OR on the head, making the probability pretty gender neutral.

Interlocutor: But still, a girl will have MORE hair on head (including facial hair) than a guy. So who is more likely to get gum stuck in hair?

Me: Considering facial hair is closer to the mouth, even if less have it, it’d still be a draw.

Interlocutor: Well, we will have to wait for the official study to see who is right.

Me: Right. Either way, it doesn’t HAVE to be a little girl is the point of this whole, strange exercise.

The conversation went on some tangents from here, with my interlocutor gnashing teeth and digging in heels a bit more, but I think this is a great representation of the problem. Our society puts genders in specific roles. Many people fall into that trap, tossing aside logic and making assumptive leaps in order to keep hold of those norms, even to the point of arguing hard for an illogical stance in order to maintain them.

This is really where our battleground is. This is the pervasive problem underlying so many of the problems with misogyny in our society today.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

 

 

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Deconstructing Men’s Rights Activism

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I think that Cracked said it best, on their report on Men’s Rights Activism, when they said “Men’s Rights Activism began as the natural response of American males to the growing threat of feminism, in much the same way that burning your house down is the natural response to the threat of ghosts. In both cases, a better solution would be to walk away and let a less emotionally fragile man deal with the situation.”

The Men’s Rights Movements is actually quite a few fractured groups of men fighting against that horrible act of women asking to be treated as equals, or as MRAs actually put it “Those uppity bitches wanting to take what’s mine!” Yes, I’ve actually had someone use that line, sad though it may be.

On their face, they appear to be addressing real world problems such as….wait…hold one….nevermind. None of their issues are issues, and many are just horrible soapboxes to be on. Let’s take a look.

Child Custody

They are often on about how custody battles are always in the favor of the mother, and men never get the chance. They even use lack of custody to justify not paying child support.

In reality, men far less often even ask for custody. When they do, and push for it, they very often get it.

Divorce

They claim that men are discriminated against in divorce hearings, for being male. Given the realities of custody, that men far less often ask for it, and our societal standards of women as caregivers for children, when you figure in time and expense of caring for children, women tend to end up far worse off, financially, in divorce results.

Education

They actually believe that men are oppressed in education, thanks to feminism. I’m not even sure what to say about this. It’s so not based in reality that it’s not even wrong. It’s just bizarre. How often do we hear that males are far better for STEM fields than females? How many athletic scholarships are there for males as opposed to females? Such a silly assertion.

The Criminalization of Marital Rape

This one’s great. They’re angry because feminists want to make marital rape illegal. Rape has to do with consent. If there is no consent, then it is rape. It doesn’t matter if the person is your spouse. Marriage does not give you universal rights over someone’s body. Even the thought of that blows my mind. If this is really a sticking point for you, if you are angry because you should have the right to do what you want to your wife at any time, you need to check yourself in for a mental health evaluation. You aren’t well.

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There’s a pretty large list of other topics, but they are so silly they aren’t even worth mentioning. Let’s look, now, at the leaders of the movement. It seems that, at least according to Wikipedia, a whole lot of their “causes” come from Warren Farrell. He’s a big name in the movement, and a very loud anti-feminism voice. So, we’ll start with him.

Warren Farrell

Wikipedia says that “He is now recognized as one of the most important figures in the modern men’s movement.” In fact, he used to be a feminist, and on the board of NoW.

According to Farrell, “Everything went well until the mid-seventies when NOW came out against the presumption of joint custody [of children following divorces]. I couldn’t believe the people I thought were pioneers in equality were saying that women should have the first option to have children or not to have children—that children should not have equal rights to their dad.”

So wait…his problem, his big overriding issue, that drove him from feminist to rampant misogynist, and building a movement against feminism, was…..joint custody.

Wow.

Since then, he’s written books and campaigned against feminism, and build the men’s rights movement quite a bit.

Oh, but he gets better.

In 1977, he was interviewed in Penthouse Magazine about…incest. It seems he fully supports the idea. Here’s what he had to say.

“When I get my most glowing positive cases, 6 out of 200, the incest is part of the family’s open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection. It is more likely that the father has good sex with his wife, and his wife is likely to know and approve — and in one or two cases to join in.”

And…

“First, because millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children, when that is really a part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves. Maybe this needs repressing, and maybe it doesn’t. My book should at least begin the exploration.”

Oh, and also…

“Second, I’m finding that thousands of people in therapy for incest are being told, in essence , that their lives have been ruined by incest. In fact, their lives have not generally been affected as much by the incest as by the overall atmosphere. My book should help therapists put incest in perspective.”

And even…

“Incest is like a magnifying glass, in some circumstances it magnifies the beauty of the relationship…”

And finally…

“Since the father otherwise extends very little attention to his daughter, his sexual advances may be one of the few pleasant experiences she has with him.”

Let’s not forget, this man is one of the founders and a well regarded icon of the Men’s Rights Movement. This is the foundation of the movement itself. That speaks volumes.

Paul Elam

This is the current big name in Men’s Rights Activism, and runs A Voice for Men. He can be quoted saying “they are stupid (and often arrogant) enough to walk though [sic] life with the equivalent of a [sic] I’M A STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH – PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads.”

More recently, he attempted to hold a conference in Detroit, but after lying about death threats to the hotel they were being hosted at, it appears the hotel dropped them and they had to find another venue…which they also lied about.

He’s also quoted here, “feminism, consumer products, psychology, media, advertising, politics and social custom [have] all merged into one Great Big Bitch Machine; [and] the modern female psyche is nothing more than a product of that machine.”

W.F. Price

W.F. Price runs The Good Men Project. The project itself is nowhere near as horrible as the rest, but he can be quote here, commented on the death of a 22 year old.

“Four years of college buys women precious little time in the mating market. … I’d guess … about exactly as much time as it takes for them to complete it, because their pool of future mates tends to go through the same process … That’s to say that she has her best shot to land a good match up to perhaps 25.”

And here…

The problem with young women today is that they internalize this “anything is possible” attitude and don’t lose it until it really is too late for many of them. They think they can do better at 30 than at 22, which, in most cases, is simply wrong. Some might say that family and men are not a priority for these girls, but women for whom this is really true throughout life are an insignificant minority. In fact, most women are holding out precisely because they think they can get a better man later, perhaps when they have a better job and work with more powerful men.

But these girls are not going to change fundamentally, and in their early 20s are at the peak of their beauty while still retaining an innocent charm. Nothing about their looks or personality is going to make them more appealing at 30 than at 22, and the men available to them are not going to get any better, either….

The point is that neither men nor women change fundamentally past a certain point, and the same guys young women have available in their early 20s are generally the same guys that will be available at 30, only they will be older and, due to marriage, there will be far fewer of them.”

And then…

“Time tends to accelerate past a certain age, and the 25-year old woman soon finds herself 30, and then 35, and at that point she’s got precious little of it left. Perhaps at 22 she was laughing about the “comical” notion that it could ever be too late, but after a certain point it is no longer comedy, but tragedy, and her laughter turns to tears.”

And finally…

“[M]en do age better than women. I looked around at the women and they all just looked old to me. I could not imagine myself with any of them. They had lost whatever charm they had and I found attractive the last time I had seen them. Almost all of the men that were there with their spouses were with younger women. …

As for the women specifically, while they all seemed old, I noted that the happiest of the lot talked about their family. Some of them were married, some of them divorced, but in both cases they talked about their kids. They were clearly the most fulfilled. Many of the other women than I knew had pursued consuming careers were not at the reunion. Those that were, and who did not have children, had a whiff of pain on their faces. They seemed to be looking around and suddenly forced to face the consequences of their choices.”

Sadly, these aren’t his only horrible comments. There are so many more.

mensrights

 

Now, let’s look at the actions of the Men’s Rights Activists recently, to see what their intentions look like.

False Rape Reporting

In December of last year, Men’s Rights Activists on Reddit found out that Occidental College has an online form for rape reporting. Making the assumption that this was used to falsely report rape, regardless of actual reality, they started spamming it with false rape reports, in an effort to discredit women who are actually…reporting…rape….

Canada MRA Lectures

The MRA has, a couple of times, held lectures at the University of Toronto, that speak vehemently against Feminism. They spouted righteous indignance against the Feminist protests of these lectures, calling out the militancy of protesting them.

Praise of Marc Lepine

A couple years ago, an MRA blogger came out (with a lot of support) praising Marc Lepine. In 1989, Marc Lepine, at  École Polytechnique in Montreal, killed 28 people in the name of fighting Feminism.

Fake Death Threats

The MRA group planning the Detroit rally lied about death threats to raise an extra $25k for their rally. They claimed to need it for security. They have yet to prove those threats.

 mens-rights-activists-thats-the-joke

Now, I’d say that everything above speaks volumes about the movement. I assure you, however, that the members are worse. Here are some examples, taken from MRA sites, pages, and groups:

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Many more can be found here, at The Real Face of Men’s Rights Activism

Now, given all of this, it should be pretty clear that the Men’s Rights Movement isn’t designed or run with any noble or moral cause. It’s there to attack women and attack feminists, while glorifying its leaders.

And THAT is worth fighting against.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

More Sexism and Anti-Feminism in the Atheist Community

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I was on JT Eberhard‘s page today. He posted a nice shout out to Seth Andrews and Matt Dillahunty, and got a few pleasant and fun responses from there. Then entered Drakulian Rathburn, who has a lot of mutual friends as myself in the atheist community, with a strangely combative comment for the thread.

1

So, I asked the obvious question. How, exactly, was A+ designed to cause division? That led to quote a bit foot stomping and refusing to support his claims, while of course making more and more claims without basis.

It didn’t take long, however, for him to bring feminism into the mix.

2

He bounced away from the topic for a minute, but after being pushed further for evidence, he went straight into feminism with a fury. The level of ignorance was amazing to watch.

4

5

Then he must have finally gotten really upset with being asked to actually prove his assertions, so he just went for it, damn the consequences.

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It was at this point that he blocked me. But it didn’t end there! He has a friend!

8

So, where should I start? The problems here are too many to count.

First, if you claim to be a rational, thinking person, and you refuse to uphold the burden of proof, and make more claims instead of providing evidence for claims you’ve made, then you’re lying; you are NOT a rational, thinking person. You’re an ideologue.

Second, Feminism does not promote the superiority of anyone. It promotes equality. If you don’t know at least that about Feminism, then you haven’t studied enough to even talk about the subject.

Third, something like a “safe space” created for women to not feel subjugated or harassed isn’t created for the benefit of men. It shouldn’t be created for the benefit of men. If you’re biggest argument against a safe space for women is that it doesn’t benefit men…you are the problem.

Fourth, if you’re arguing about Feminism and you start calling women “twats” or other derogatory terms, you lose any credibility in the discussion. You’re a misogynist who has nothing to add to any meaningful discourse.

Finally, if you want to debate someone, and you open the conversation by insulting them, you’re a spiteful toddler who shouldn’t be allowed in public unsupervised.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Mohammad Gad and Sexual Harassment in the Secular Community

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Mohammad Gad is someone who is active across the secular and skeptic online forums. He counts among his friends many in those communities. His Facebook friends list even includes those such as Richard Carrier and Susan Gerbic, as well as many, many others who would never abide by his behavior.

Today, he made a comment on the picture of a friend of mine’s 2 year old daughter that he would like to “eat her out.” This comes in the wake of a long history of overtly sexual and harassing remarks towards women on the various forums. This behavior should NOT be tolerated. I urge you to report his profile for harassment.

This was a horrible remark, and something we honestly rarely see. Few people tend to take things to that level. The systemic problem, however, is that we rarely speak out until it reaches that level. The level of overt harassment and sexism within the atheist and skeptic communities is overwhelming at times. NEVER should it take a comment that obscene for people to speak out. Given Mohammad’s history, he should have been called on the carpet and ousted long ago.

Why aren’t more working to solve the problem before it goes this far?

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Social Justice and the Problem With Humans

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I was listening to Citizen Radio this morning and their discussion got me thinking. They were discussing the LGBTQ people who, in states that now have legal marriage, don’t want to be married. They also discussed that there are people even within that community who are not good people, just like there are in every other community. Let me explain why I bring this up.

I once attended a Take Back The Night rally, which focuses on violence against women. Myself, and others, were informed by some volunteers that they don’t need or want men around at all. We’re no use to them, and they don’t want us volunteering.

I once listened to a member of the LGBTQ community very vehemently shame another because they publicized their coming out. When I expressed that shaming anyone is inherently wrong, I was chastised because “how dare you, a straight person, say anything to me? All you fuckin straight people just think it’s cute that we want rights too, but you don’t actually care.” Others agreed with him wholeheartedly.

The thing is, many of us who are very active allies to various causes often make a caricature of a people as a cause, instead of as people. Then, when we encounter people being…well…people, we’re shocked at how they act. Every movement, for every cause, is made up of people. People should be the reason we join these causes. People can also be good or bad. That’s how people work.

At Take Back The Night, we ended up being welcomed with open arms by others in the group, and enjoyed marching and volunteering for the cause. I’ve been very active in the LGBTQ community, as an ally. Even, as in the example from Citizen Radio above, those who don’t choose to exercise the rights they’re fighting for, understand why they’re fighting. Others may not choose to fight at all.

I have an old friend who is a middle aged gay Catholic. We were good friends for years. He believes that if he doesn’t choose to utilize rights for himself, he doesn’t care if anyone else has them. He’s chosen not to remain a part of my life because I speak out against the abhorrent actions of the Catholic Church.

The thing is, even as much as he is against social movements in general, everyone who fights, fights for him too. Rights are universal, whether you choose to use them or not.

In the same way, people are universal, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. People are people, good and bad, mean or nice.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

Generalizations and the Honest Conversation

generalizing-web

The other day, something came across my newsfeed. This something came from someone who was a pretty known atheist, skeptic, and feminist. I won’t spotlight the person, but the conversation was disturbing. It really illustrates so many problems in the rational community and the long road we have to walk before an honest conversation can be had.

I feel like I spend half my entire existence yelling “GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH WHY ARE ATHEISTS SUUUUUUUUUUCH ASSHOLES?”

This, in and of itself, is not terrible. It’s a rant. My reply was as follows.

Atheists, like any group of people, run the spectrum of good and bad. I think the larger concern is why so many people in general are such assholes.

This is when it happened. Rational discourse was made impossible.

And the atheist community is a community full of shitlords. That’s just the way it is.

When I can’t even remember which of our leaders are actual rapists and which are just harassers and the community celebrates that a con with a harassment policy had a dude whip out a loaded weapon on someone and websites dedicated to hating other activists within the community, yeah, I want to hear about how THE REST OF THE WORLD IS JUST AS BAD!

It’s a shit movement. And I expect better from people who base their behaviors on what’s rational.

It’s not really settling to hear “You’d get rape threats from ANY group of people. Lay off the atheists. Stop being IRRATIONAL, LADY!”

Now….what?

The problem is that in any community, you have a lot of people who agree about only one or a handful of things. People are people otherwise. If you spend a lot of time in one community, you may experience more people in that community that are unpleasant. That doesn’t mean that specific community is any better or worse than any other.

When you make gross generalizations about any group, you not only insult the majority who aren’t remotely the caricature you just made of their community, but you alienate potential allies to your cause of addressing the problems and people that exist in that community.

The other problem is that people often characterize the internet troll portion of a community as being representative of that community. It simply isn’t true. Someone on the thread suggested just not frequenting the groups that consist of those types of trollish people. The response was another horrible strawman of what was said.

Oh, you mean OFF OF THE INTERNET? Where I am voiceless completely? Good plan.

Again….what?

Now, while this may seem like an absurdly overblown example of the problems with generalization and discarding rational discourse, it’s a conversation that actually happened with someone who otherwise is well respect for rational thought. This type of generalization and sensationalism does nothing but hinder any progress in addressing the real problems in the community.

Consider this parallel.

Years ago, when I first became active in the Feminist community, I went to a Women Take Back the Night rally. I had brought a group of friends to help out, and we all volunteered. Two of us in the group were male. We had a fantastic time working with everyone, and doing what we could to help out. One person, however, who was working the event, informed us that men are the enemy and we weren’t needed or wanted there.

Would it have been fair of me to say that all Feminists are assholes, and begin demonizing the community? Of course not. That’s the ignorant type of irrational thinking that permeates groups like the Men’s Rights Activists. It’s not productive and not accurate or fair.

So, if you want to have a larger, honest conversation about problems within ANY community, then have that conversation. Don’t discard the entire community, and absolutely don’t attack those who may be on your side, but refuse to generalize as you are. It’ll do nothing but hurt your cause and hinder any progress towards fixing the problems.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.

On Rationality and Losing Friends

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Today has been an interesting day. I’ve had friends pointing out the loss of friends for various reasons. They became vocal about their atheism. They spoke out against pseudoscience. It’s sad whenever I hear about this. Unfortunately, that’s how things end up.

You see, people get very defensive when their closely held beliefs are questioned. This is natural.

When I started speaking publicly about my atheism, I lost a lot of friends. Many of them left my life in spectacularly vile ways, too. It was definitely something to see.

At first it hurt.

Then, when I started speaking publicly against pseudoscience, I lost more friends. Many of them left in even more vile and hurtful ways.

I was a bit numbed to it by then.

When I began speaking publicly about the problems in politics, I lost far more friends. They left in the worst possible ways.

Then, I realized….they aren’t hurting me. They’re hurting themselves. Not only are they losing a friend, they’re refusing to hear any ideas that differ from their own. They can never grow.

Today, I look at my friends…and I realize that I have far more, and far better friends than I had before I decided to speak out.

That’s the best feeling possible. Keep doing what you do. Keep speaking out. Keep being a good person. Those who walk away added nothing to your life to begin with.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

Thank you for reading Rationality Unleashed! You can “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @rationalityunle. For any questions, concerns, or comments beyond what can be placed in the comments section of the blog, email us at admin@rationalityunleashed.net.