philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)


*Mild/Moderate Trigger Warning* This discussion of misogyny and the damsel in distress trope may inevitably be triggering for some readers as it discusses power-imbalances and some violent or abusive scenarios. That said, there is no use of graphic descriptions nor any reference to sexual violence.

The post below is going to analyse some bigotry against Anita from Feminist Frequency. She has released the first of her "Tropes Vs Women" series about videogames now. Personally, I was unsure about some of the stuff about Starfox Adventures (since I cannot help but imagine that the character change in that game must be somewhat related to Microsoft buying Rare - since it would be harder for Nintendo to keep hold of a game not starring one of their copyrighted group of characters), but asides from that I was mainly reacting with "ah, I guess that's right".

Inevitably there's been some backlash. One of the videos criticising Anita (and undoubtedly NOT one of the best critiques she'll receive) comes from a Youtube user called Thunderf00t....



Now it's been a while since I've been made really angry by some bigoted ranting. I've reacted to some news articles, sure, but I've generally not been chasing down internet idiots. I've been a lot better off for it though.

The last idiot I really thought I needed to alert people to was Pat Condell. Condell was seemingly only known on the internet, but he seemed to have a wide following. So when his videos went from annoying and crass to all-out hate-mongering, I felt the need to expose precisely why people shouldn't support him. (He's still up to the same old tricks it seems. One of his latest videos claims that it's racist not to consider all Palestinians, every man, woman and child of them, to be evil terrorists. That's pretty typical rhetoric from him sadly.)



But the recent dodgy internet hatred doesn't seem to come from a single person. Instead it seems to be embodied by a large gang of mostly libertarian internet users who are strangely opposed to feminism and demand protection from criticism if they post offensive comments (on the grounds of 'free speech' apparently).

"Thunderf00t" seems to be a pretty big ringleader of this group. By this point Thunderf00t is pretty well known to be someone your average decent supporter of feminism will be upset by, but he attracts a lot of attention so I feel like he's probably as good a representative as any for this disgusting internet misogyny recently.

First of all some background...

Thunderf00t and Freethoughtblogs

Thunderf00t had a run-in with well known pro-feminism atheist blogger P.Z. Myers (who runs the blog Pharyngula) who is disinclined to accept misogyny, racism, homophobia, etc. on his comments threads. When Thunderf00t was offered space in Freethoughtblogs and decided to use it almost entirely to dismiss women's rights the other bloggers on Freethoughtblogs decided that he wasn't fitting in. He was alienating their female audience and conveying bigoted views with which Freethoughtblogs bloggers did not want to be connected.



Anita's "Tropes Vs Women" series

Anita used Kickstarter to get funding for her project to analyse the history of gaming and the portrayal of women within videogames. The comments at Kickstarter began to fill up with misogynistic comments from utter scumbags and the response by decent human beings across the internet was to donate huge amounts of money to her project. The misogynist comments had made it very clear to everyone just how much of an idol videogames were to these horrible individuals and just how sorely the world of videogames needed to be analysed from a feminist perspective.



Thunderf00t's video "Feminism Vs FACTS (RE Damsel in distress)" and how it completely misses the point of Anita's original video at Feminist Frequency, feminism as a whole, and plain old common sense.



I only came to watch Thunderf00t's poor attempt at a critique because I stumbled on someone showing one of his old videos "The Internet: Where Religions Come To Die". Not knowing it was from Thunderf00t I approached it with a pretty open mind. There were parts that were well-argued and other parts where it was more obviously labouring the point. I noticed that the video seemed to have a very "us and them" stance which appeared to represent the vlogger's genuine stance rather than being a rhetorical tool.

1- Double Dragon Neon

Thunderf00t's latest video begins by questioning Anita's research for her videogame critique. He argues that she is wrong to claim the damsel in distress of the game "Double Dragon Neon" is portrayed as weak, ineffective or ultimately incapable because the game finishes with her punching the villain in the crotch.



While this might seem like a reasonable argument to someone who had never watched the original video, already Thunderf00t is showing a clear failure to understand Anita's argument. Anita's concern with "Double Dragon Neon" mainly focusses on the opening which, as an update of an older game, rejigs the 8-bit classic by showing the damsel in distress character being punched in the gut and carried away in deeper colours, pristine 2D graphics with her cleavage clearly visable as she is punched and her knickers clearly visible as she is carried away. This update of the older classic begins straight away with an utterly demeaning image for women, right before introducing the two MALE playable characters.

The ending where she gets to help beat up the villain in the end is earned after the two male characters have spent the entire game trying to save her, while she sits and waits for them. There's even a part of the game where the two playable MALE characters (since Marian herself is NOT a playable character) can fight for her affection, while she cheers them on in the background. This all serves to back up the idea of women as objects the male characters compete for. Yes, even if the unplayable female character gets to help deliver the finishing blow at the last minute, she's still been completely helpless for the whole game and used as a woman-shaped trophy by the game designers.

Read more... )


Thunderf00t simply doesn't understand the topic he is trying to discuss and yet there are internet misogynists rallying around his video which now has over 10,000 likes. Meanwhile Anita has had no choice but to disable ratings and comments because of an over-abundance of misogynistic trolls. Check out her excellent analysis of the Damsel In Distress trope in videogames below:



(video link)
philosoraptor42: (Default)

(Via Heavenly Nostrils @ GoComics)

Just discovered that the comic artist who did the excellent "I Drew This" comic has a new strip called 'Heavenly Nostrils' about a girl and her unicorn. It's BRILLIANT (though you probably ought to read it from the beginning).

Dana Simpson (previously known as David Simpson) made the "I Drew This" strips during the Bush era. Here are a few links to some of my favourites:
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4

The "I Drew This" Archives are here

Another comic I've discovered that's really good (though it's more plot-related than comedy) is "Strong Female Protagonist". It takes superhero themes in a new direction by starring a female superhero who has decided to give up crime-fighting upon discovering, from her arch-nemesis no less, that they are both being played for fools. One of the early parts of the story involves this former heroine marching at an Occupy Wall Street protest demonstrating very clearly how superpowers can sometimes be more harm than good, particularly when things get political.


(Via Strong Female Protagonist)

There's a rather neat article on the "Strong Female Protagonist" strip here.
philosoraptor42: (Default)


Haywire (2011)

I'd heard some pretty mixed reviews on this one, but a lot of the negatives seemed to focus on Gina Carano's abilities as an actress. The solution? Don't think of her as an actress. Think of her of what she is: a martial arts star. That means that you don't compare her acting work with Angelina Jolie, Andrew Garfield, Bruce Willis , or even Jason Statham. Those are actors who've had to do special training (or use stunt doubles) for specific action scenes. They aren't martial artists. You need to compare her with action stars like Dolph Lundgren, Steven Seagal, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme who are actually martial artists. With that in mind, Haywire is a pretty awesome mainstream martial arts flick and Gina Carano's acting ability is more than a match for her peers in that genre.


Read more... )

So this new female-led martial arts movie got me to thinking.... If they were to do a female version of The Expendables (which apparently will have just one female member in the upcoming sequel), what might it look like? This is what I came up with:

An All-Female "Expendables" Team:
I would SO watch a movie with this cast....




Full list of names under the cut... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)

(Via Bors Blog)

More details on the news story in this article here. That article also includes a poll where nearly 10% of votes currently say that it was okay to censor a woman for using the word "vagina" in a debate about abortion. Please do your part to lower that figure. :)
philosoraptor42: (Default)
I recently came across the hilarious Lindy West when she spoke on the Filmdrunk Frostcast. (She's actually been a relatively regular feature, appearing on and off for a while now.) At the time she'd been called a c*** by Penn Jillette (her big crime apparently being making fun of adverts. Penn's libertarianism couldn't bear the thought of costly advertising being mocked so he proudly did his part to fend off communism by calling her names. According to Penn's fans it's unfair to criticise him for this... because 'free speech'. *scratches head*)


Left: Lindy West (Awesome!) Right: In case you didn't already know, Penn Jillette is a big arsehole.

Lindy West has sadly stopped writing movie reviews for The Stranger, but she has articles all over the place and is regularly writing for Jezebel where she recently published this little gem...



....An old lady recognizes her boob-doodle on the news and goes to visit Bill Paxton on his rock and roll treasure boat, where they make her watch a graphic CGI reenactment of the Titanic sinking (I believe the working title is Hey Granny, Fuck Your PTSD)....

Lindy West re-watches Titanic so you don't have to. Click here or on the image above for the article.
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Earlier there was a post on the wtf sexism community criticising the odd choice of pose for male characters and female character (just the one, hmmph!) in early Avengers posters. The issue can be seen clearly in the following image (click on it to see it full size):


As you can see, the female character is the only one showing off her bottom while all the other characters are facing straight forwards.

Someone has decided to reverse the gender poses, as follows (once again, click to enlarge):


The same artist has also done some work with Master Chief.
(Master Chief gender swap piece here.)

(Gender swap Avengers piece can be found on Deviant Art here.)
(Story originally found on the intentionally immature movie news website, Filmdrunk.)

x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] wtf_sexism
philosoraptor42: (Default)

Pope Benedict says that condoms can be used to stop the spread of HIV

In a break with his traditional teaching, Pope Benedict XVI has said the use of condoms is acceptable "in certain cases", in an extended interview to be published this week.

After holding firm during his papacy to the Vatican's blanket ban on the use of contraceptives, Benedict's surprise comments will shock conservatives in the Catholic church while finding favour with senior Vatican figures who are pushing for a new line on the issue as HIV ravages Africa.

Read more... )

x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] atheism 
philosoraptor42: (Default)
John Milbank was a theology lecturer I came into contact during my degree. His Radical Orthodoxy movement apparently had a major following in academic circles, though there appeared to be very little mainstream knowledge of it. More recently he's been putting forward a number of articles into major news sources. He released a couple of articles in The Guardian's "Comment Is Free" section including one advocating "Red Toryism" (i.e. I want to vote Conservative yet still call myself a lefty) and another (which really infuriated me) advocating a new feminism biased in favour of men *facepalm*

So what's he done now? Well it turns out he's really pleased about certain recent comments by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but he doesn't think she quite kisses Christianity's arse enough. So he's published a new public article. this time on abc.net.

I don't know if John Milbank mistook extracts from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Nomad" for an individual article or whether he is simply treating them that way. In any case the extracts on that website are no longer available, but I was able to find a cached copy of them which you can find in my un-edited post about this along with a copy of John Milbank's reply. Click here for my original un-edited article.

So how does John Milbank's article frustrate me? Let me count the ways....




1. The Enlightenment was Christian...
Read more... )

2. Christianity is the source of feminism...
Read more... )

3. TRADITIONAL Christians are NEVER biblical literalists...
Read more... )

4. Science was nurtured by Christianity and is the direct result of monotheism.

Read more... )


5. Christians have historically been against forced conversions...
Read more... )

6. In various theocracies and dictatorships around the world Islam has an unfair privilege. Why don't we give the same unfair privilege to Christianity in the west? (Also, Christians don't get enough opportunities to proselytise. Blah Blah Fatwa Envy Blah Blah...)
Read more... )

7. Muslims will prefer Christianity if they are properly informed, whereas they tend to choose Islam because they are coerced.
Read more... )

8. Muslims ought to be apolitical mystics. Christians on the other hand...

Read more... )

9. Rowan Williams advocated "parallel legal jurisdictions"...
Read more... )

10. Rowan Williams and Tariq Ramadan are idiots - therefore that whole Christian proselytising scheme...Read more... )

11. "The lamentably premature collapse of the Western colonial empires."

Read more... )

Bits I actually agreed with

Read more... )

Some silly links


Read more... ) (Cross-posted to atheism)
philosoraptor42: (Default)
John Milbank of the Radical Orthodoxy movement has written a new public article. After publishing an anti-feminist tirade (requesting that we set up a new feminism biased in favour of men) on The Guardian's "comment is free", John now writes in response to an extract from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book on ABC.net.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's extract on that website is no longer available, but I was able to find a cached copy of it, which is copied under the cut. John Milbank quotes a chunk of it, so instead of posting that same chunk twice you will find it bolded in my copy of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book extract below.Read more... )

So, I was surprised to find that, after an introduction which I found deeply dodgy, there are some parts where John Milbank talks a bit of sense. I guess he's less likely to have an article brim-full of fail when he's discussing religion rather than feminism. Below I have bolded parts which I find particularly dodgy and, in places, I have included links which I believe aid refutation of those statements (and I shall explain those links below). Those parts I find myself agreeing with or approving of are underlined as well as bolded, because I don't feel it is fair to only point out the bad points while ignoring the better parts.


Christianity, the Enlightenment and Islam
By John Milbank
ABC Religion and Ethics | 24 Aug 2010



Ayaan Hirsi Ali doubtless shocked many of her admirers and detractors alike when she concluded her recent article on the ABC's Religion and Ethics website, "Seeking God, but finding Allah," by praising Pope Benedict XVI's stance on Islam and calling for an alliance between atheists and what she calls "enlightened Christians" in their struggle against a common foe.
Read more... )

My Response

Read more... )
Another writer has also noticed the issues with John's article, decrying his article as "a throwback towards the more obscene forms of Orientalism and colonial arrogance".

Also there's another criticism of John Milbank here (on a different issue).

And he's found on a list of University Professors who have supported 9/11 conspiracy theories.

And if this didn't amuse you enough, here's a link to an old post of mine where I typed out a definition given by one of his Radical Orthdoxy contemporaries, Catherine Pickstock, of the concept of "transcendence".

philosoraptor42: (Default)
Maryam Namazie has recently spent quite a bit of time campaigning against the proposed stoning of Mrs. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani for the "crime" of adultery. Namazie is spokesperson for Iran Solidarity, Equal Rights Now, the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, amongst many other things. When she was recently invited to take part in a debate about the proposed stoning on a BBC Sunday Live debate, it wasn't for her good looks. So imagine her surprise when, in the actual show, they failed to find the time to include her as well as making some quite major errors about the case. (It seems pretty certain that Namazie would have been more informed on this case than any of the people interviewed on the show.)

Here's the actual debate itself:


Maryam's own reaction was as follows:
I was meant to speak on BBC Sunday Live's debate today on whether it was right to condemn the regime for Sakineh's stoning.

In the live debate, they managed to interview Suhaib Hassan from the Islamic Sharia Council defending stoning and someone from Tehran saying she faces execution for murdering her husband but somehow there was no time in the debate for me.

Even the presenter, Susanna Reid, said stonings were rare and that none had taken place since the 2002 moratorium! In fact 17 people have been stoned since the moratorium; also there are court documents provided by her lawyer specifying her stoning sentence for adultery. BBC had all this information. Without providing evidence to the contrary, BBC Sunday Live took as fact the regime's pronouncements on her case. They failed to mention that the man charged with her husband's murder is not being executed and that the trumped up murder charges are an attempt by the regime to silence the public outcry and kill Sakineh. As Sakineh herself has said: "they think they can do anything to women."

Read more... )

I wrote my own email as follows. (If you are writing your own email of complaint please start yours from scratch rather than editing mine as they are less likely to take notice of a group of similarly phrased emails.)

Dear [whichever person I was writing to],

I am writing to complain about the decision to leave Maryam Namazie out of a recent broadcast on Sakineh's stoning sentence in Iran. (BBC Sunday Live) Maryam Namazie is spokesperson for Iran Solidarity, Equal Rights Now, the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. As such, she had a very important position to add to the debate being both from a Muslim background herself and being very familiar with the issues in Iran.

In fact as someone actively campaigning for Sakineh's human rights, Namazie would appear to be much more familiar with the details of this case than any of the guests in the debate. There were a number of points she would have been able to clear up, such as the number of stonings since the moratorium in 2002 (which is 17 not zero) and what crime Sakineh's stoning is intended to punish (adultery, not murder). Not only that but she would have also noted that the man actually charged with her husband's murder is not under any threat of execution, never mind execution through a slow and painful stoning.

It strikes me as quite bizarre that a channel who would normally (quite rightly) consider it their duty to analyse and make criticisms of various governments across the globe, should suddenly find themselves uncertain about whether to criticise the cruel and gruesome stoning of a woman for the "criminal act" of adultery. However, I recognise that this question was raised for the purpose of debate. Nevertheless, in that case there was all the more reason not to exclude Maryam Namazie from the discussion.

I hope you recognise the seriousness of deliberately excluding Maryam Namazie, a keen campaigner for Sakineh's human rights, from a discussion about Sakineh's imminent death sentence. For Sakineh and her supporters this is more than just filler for a BBC slot on a Sunday and recognition of her plight of absolute importance which could mean the difference between life and death. I trust you will do the right thing and ensure Namazie receives the airtime to voice her concerns on this topic in the near future, before Sakineh runs out of time.

Thanking You In Anticipation,
---------------------------



Isn't it kind of ironic that in a debate about whether they can judge other cultures, they were actively silencing someone in contact with the relatives of the victim within that culture who is speaking in her defence? Strangely Iran's sharia ruling on stoning gets provided more of a defence than Sakineh....
philosoraptor42: (Default)

Picture on left chosen because it is somewhat emo. Picture on right chosen because it looks cool.

Oh dear, and I'd been really looking forward to this one. I've been alerted to a rather big issue with the new Metroid game ("Metroid: Other M"). Now it has to be said that I'd been warned to expect a certain amount of objectification because of the group working on it (Team Ninja), but this I wasn't prepared for.

The real cause for concern is this cut-scene (pointed out on [livejournal.com profile] the_gel  's blog) where Samus not only turns to jelly at the thought of facing a foe, Ridley, whom she has dealt with twice already (and another three times if you count the Metroid Prime games, which it seems that they probably aren't). She gets an attack of nerves so bad that she has to be saved, by a man. And not only that, but the man who saves her is black and expendable! *facepalm*:




To quickly explain the title of this post, it's one of the cons in the review I found. At the beginning of each Metroid game Samus normally loses a few abilities at the beginning of the game, often due to a malfunction. She then progresses through the game by gradually earning those abilities back (along with some extra ones). In this new game, she has a professional relationship with an older man called Adam who used to be her boss. Now that he's running the team she randomly chooses not to use her abilities until Adam gives her the order to do so. The suggestion here is that this is somewhat BDSM-like. If you don't know who Montana Fishburne is, she's Lawrence Fishburne's daughter and she's been having arguments with her daddy recently over her decision to go into porn (allowing Filmdrunk to get more than a few cheap laughs).

So here's the review from G4TV which caught my eye:
Metroid: Other M Review
By Abbie Heppe - Posted Aug 27, 2010

The Pros

* Secondary plotline is interesting, engaging
* Graphics are very pretty

The Cons

* Samus has more daddy issues than Montana Fishburne
* Control layout is awkward and interrupts combat
* All the game elements feel disjointed and not fully developed


As the 11th game in the series, Other M is a bizarre collaboration between the Metroid series co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto and Team Ninja of Ninja Gaiden fame. Indeed, “odd pairings” becomes the common thread throughout the game and its clashing dualities extend to the storyline, control scheme and onscreen action.

Time-wise, Other M is tucked in between fan-favorite Super Metroid and the critically beloved Metroid Fusion -- the first game that showed a hint of Samus's personal history and the introduction of Adam Malkovich, a core character in its newest iteration.

This makes Other M the second-to-last game sequentially, as the bulk of Metroid games have wedged themselves further and further into the early years of Samus Aran’s story. Ironically, Other M feels like a prequel to the franchise while attempting to be the culmination of everything Metroid has been and become.


But I’m a Bounty Hunter

In the world of Other M, Samus stumbles upon her old Galactic Federation squad mates while answering a distress call on a seemingly abandoned vessel. Among the people she encounters is her former captain, Adam Malkovich. In the most contrived manner possible, Samus loses her special abilities. How? She opts not to use them. Why? She wants to show Adam she can follow orders.

Yes, that’s right. The woman who in the first five minutes of the game gives the squad access to the ship by using her missiles is restricted from using her abilities -- some which could open a path or save her life in the future -- until a bland male character dictates it to her. She does this because she likes him, but only as a friend.

No matter what way you rationalize this mechanic, when you're 10 minutes into the lava sector and you can't use your Varia Suit yet, you will understand how painfully stupid this plot device is.
Read more... )

I had previously considered that making Samus more "feminine" might cause problems (and the whole zero-suit thing was already causing issues tbh), but it sounds like they could have done a lot better than this.

The video review here:



Discussion about the issues here:


philosoraptor42: (Default)

Image of Hello Kitty shoulder vibrator to give a completely
misleading impression about the content of this post.

My new piece of news is best summed up by the article on Chattahbox:
The Christian right, including clownish Catholic League President Bill Donahue, is incensed over Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen’s admission that she masturbates with the aid of a trusty vibrator, she calls her “best friend.” Donahue condemned the use of a “dildo” as evidence of “insanity.” And the leader of a biblical parenting group declared that Momsen’s solo performances would doom her to a life of failure. And Foxnews.com wonders if Momsen’s “newfound notoriety” will destroy her career. Hmm–by this reasoning, does that mean only non-masturbating Christians are successful and sane? The mind reels.
Ok so yeah, I know it's Bill Donohue, so I really shouldn't be surprised. And I'm not.

However, Bill Donohue here represents the extreme of a more common issue amongst Roman Catholics and other religious traditions too. The idea that children in their late teens shouldn't masterbate. (People who've seen Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" will actually have seen a far more extreme example of this opinion.)

Bill Donohue's comments were made on a discussion on Fox News. Another guest was Shirlee Smith from "Talk About Parenting":
“In my way of raising daughters, she shouldn’t be involved with ‘men’ and any of these men who have driven her to sexual boredom belong locked up because our society says men having sexual encounters with those under the age of consent are criminals.”
Just in case anyone is worried about the choice of the word "men", you'll be glad to hear that in the original conversation she said she was "tired of d**k", so someone on Fox News presumably thought replacing the word "dick" with the word "men" would be less offensive to their audience. *rolls eyes* With that in mind, she's only one year below the age of consent in the US and, within my own country, she's one year above it. The fact that she is no longer a virgin is not the most surprising thing in the world (nor is the fact that she has found early sexual experiences to be less than impressive).

The rather bigger issue I have here is with Donohue's claim that masturbation is somehow indicative of insanity in a 17 year old:
...and now we have Taylor Momsen prancing around with a dildo in hand. Looks like this gal’s got lots of issues. No wonder she voiced her insanity in a magazine called Disorder.”

At that age masturbation is the most natural thing in the world. In the movie I referred to above a child is informed that it can lead to physical illness and I'm not sure that the claim that it indicates mental illness is any more pleasant.

The way they insist on making children ashamed of their bodies is just horrible. However, I happen to have saved the perfect response to this kind of thinking from a certain Jennifer Howze quite early in my blog:
So why do some groups keep condemning efforts to improve and normalise sex education? Why don't they applaud the move to bring education into a safe classroom environment conveyed by teachers or parents rather than leaving it to nuggets whispered by the know-it-all kid in the playground?

It seems obvious to me. What so-called family campaigners' want to teach children about their bodies and sex is shame. Shame explains the thinking that there's something inappropriate and "wrong" for a child to know the correct word to describe a part of their body. That knowing the correct words indoctrinates an attitude of free and easy sexuality. That it sullies their pure souls to know how babies are made and to explain what they can see the cow and the bull doing in the field.

A few years ago I wrote a piece for Seventeen magazine called Vagina 101 that answered the real questions young girls had about their bodies: what should I look like? Should I shave my hair? What's a clitoris and where is it?

It was refreshing to interview highly respected doctors who robustly argued that girls and parents should get over their phobias. "The vagina is no different from an ear or a nostril. It's just a place that's part of us," one said.

The piece won an award, but one chain of grocery stores pulled it from the shelves. Some parents had complained about the "graphic" nature of the medical illustrations and descriptions. They likened it to pornography. One mother of a 17-year-old told a local reporter, "It's dirty. It's dirty."


(Via Right Wing Watch)
(Jennifer Howze Article)

(Cross posted to Atheism)
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Suppose that you own a small business. You have a small store located in one of the millions of strip malls that have become the American landscape. One day, a couple of representatives from a local Catholic church come into your store and request a few minutes of your time. They show you a picture of large sign they want you to place in your store window so it will be visible from the street. The sign displays an image of Mother Teresa and is intended to honor her 100th birthday.

You politely decline the request, keeping your annoyance to yourself because upsetting potential customers is never wise. The Catholics thank you for your time and leave. You consider the matter closed and move on with your life.

The next week, your are visited by a small delegation representing all the Catholic churches in your community. They make the same request, but this time, they have something else to show you. It seems that they have collected several thousand signatures in the form of a petition asking you to display their sign. They suggest, ever so subtly, that you stand to lose some customers by not honoring their request.

Although you manage to refrain from yelling at them, you make it clear that you are not at all happy with their approach. You compare their tactics with the mafia and explain in no uncertain terms that you will not hang their religious propaganda in your store window. Again, they tell you that they appreciate your time and leave.

The protests start a few days later. Some people stop by to tell you that they will not do business with you until you agree to hang the sign. Others assemble to picket in front of your store. Your calls to local law enforcement do not go anywhere. They have the right to assemble as long as they are not physically blocking your entrance. Your business begins to suffer.

In case you missed it, this story is based on something happening right now in New York City on a much larger scale. Believe it or not, the Catholic church is demanding that the owner of the Empire State building, a privately owned building, light it to honor Mother Teresa. They do not care that the owner has a policy about not lighting the building for religious figures. They have collected over 40,000 signatures and taken out ads in the local papers. They intend to bully him into submission and are pulling out all the stops to do just that.
(Source)

Read more... )
(Cross-posted to atheism)
philosoraptor42: (Default)


Click on the image for the awesome, yet tragic, story of life as a male angler fish...

(Via Blag Hag)

Meanwhile Sinfest has some rather less empowering humour related to female human beings.

philosoraptor42: (Default)
I couldn't resist showing this to you guys. You are going to LOVE this....

Feminist Hulk!

It's a twitter feed based on the Marvel character Hulk, except Hulk says various feminist type phrases:

HULK IS SEX-POSITIVE FEMINIST. EVEN THOUGH HULK IDENTIFY AS LARGELY ASEXUAL, HULK SUPPORT RIGHT TO OWN ONE’S BODY AND DESIRE.

HULK COMPELLED BY GUARDIAN ARTICLE ON TRANSPHOBIA WITHIN INTERNATIONAL GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT. TIME FOR DAILY BIOLOGICAL DETERMINISM SMASH!

SMASHING PATRIARCHAL BUILDINGS = ULTIMATE MULTI-TASKING (ESP IF HULK SMASH WITH COPY OF _BODIES THAT MATTER_ IN FREE HAND) <3

DON'T MAKE ME CRITIQUE YOUR COMPLICITY IN MALE PRIVILEGE. YOU WOULDN'T LIKE ME WHEN I'M CRITIQUING YOUR COMPLICITY IN MALE PRIVILEGE.



Edit: Ooooh a sweet little article about this reveals some rather neat earlier entries:

"FEMINISM IS THE RADICAL NOTION THAT WOMEN ARE PEOPLE, PEOPLE WHO SMASH PHALLOGOCENTRISM WITH (BIG GREEN) FISTS!"
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Okay, so this is in response to the recent Guardian article which has received so much attention: "Why Men Use Prostitutes". In particular the following comment really bugged me:

"I concluded from this that it's not feminists such as Andrea Dworkin and myself who are responsible for the idea that all men are potential rapists - it's sometimes men themselves."

[livejournal.com profile] sabrina_il noted that it was actually quite a prevalent misogynistic perspective in the ninteenth century to say that men "cannot help themselves" (that post continues from a previous one about TAs btw).

So yeah, I guess all men are potential rapists in the same sense that all men are potential burglars. However, the idea that rape is something we ought to expect from men seems like it's actually tied up with quite a misogynistic perspective. We shouldn't expect men to be rapists any more than we should expect women to be chaste and saintly. It's a stupid expectation which we should do everything in our power to challenge.

As an analogy, what kind of idiot involved in black rights would want to encourage everyone to expect white people to regularly use racist slurs? "They need to say n***er. They just can't help themselves!" *facepalm*


And finally here's an interview with Jack The Ripper:
"I really need to get off my chest why I kill prostitutes."

Ah really? Go ahead.

"Well y'see. I have this urge to kill, so I feel it's better that I express that urge on prostitutes, else I might start killing 'real' people."

Oooh that is interesting. I guess this backs up that old idea that all men are potential murderers.

Did I miss anything? If you interview people who regularly go to prostitutes, it's hardly going to be representative of all men, is it? The main thing the interviews revealed to me was that men who regularly go to prostitutes know that prostitutes aren't enjoying it. The moment someone has recognised this, that ought to be enough to put most men off of prostitutes for life. That men continue to use prostitutes in spite of this suggests some worrying issues in the background.


Yes, you should double-facepalm mr prostitute-user. BTW if you want to keep your anonymity, I suggest you buy a new watch.
(In case anyone is confused, the photo on the right comes from the Guardian article which my Jack the Ripper interview is intended to parody.)
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Okay, so a recent interview with Sigourney Weaver has her saying that writers should just imagine that they are writing a man if they want realistic female characters. She appears to be one a series of actresses asked about "women in film". On the one hand it must be irritating for actresses like Sigourney to be asked this sort of question over and over again. (Mark Kermode mocks himself in his recent podcast for being "the umpteen shlub who's come in and said: 'So Sigourney, please tell me about the feminist undercurrent of the alien movies and the entire cycle as a metaphor for birth'" *with interview quote in squeaky voice*.) On the other hand, I guess it means she's had plenty of time to consider her answer. (Perhaps unlike Eliza Dushku who says that exploiting sexuality is beautiful and Joss agrees on this. Somehow I found that a little creepy.) So here's Sigourney's own words on the subject:


A few pointers before I give my view on Sigourney's comments:

Read more... )

Back To Sigourney
I've long viewed that there's no real difference between men and women in the same way that there's no difference between people who like or dislike bananas. Sure social pressures mean there are differences (and I similarly don't think that class distinctions are set in stone) and, as with any group, physical differences will make a difference to you (though amongst men and women this is still the case, so the fact that women are often weaker than men seems pretty unimportant). However, it doesn't seem to me that gender makes people essentially different.

As such, I think I rather agree with Sigourney on this. Writing a man and then putting a woman in the role doesn't sound like an awful idea at all. In the end the important thing is that they are a convincing person. That doesn't mean that female experience as understood from female writers isn't important. After all, to produce convincing characters, you can't just ignore social pressures any more than you can ignore class distinctions or racial prejudices. These things are part of life and good writing will encompass the various aspects of life in all their grittiness. Still, I think the idea that male and female characters are inter-changeable is a lot more healthy than insisting on characters who are hold to some ideal of essential femaleness. There isn't an essential man or an essential woman. There are people and there are cliches, so let's try to aim for the former and avoid the latter, ok?
philosoraptor42: (Default)
I've been keeping up with what happens at the theology department at my old university and today John Milbank the creator of Radical Orthodoxy (a form of post-modernism that says that modern life is nihilistic and the solution is to start thinking like St. Augustine) decided to contribute to the Guardian. The little subtitle for his article is: "We need a radical feminism that ends women's enslavement and allows them to be neither subordinate nor men writ large". While sometimes these subtitles can be misleading, in this particular case it is quoted word for word from the penultimate paragraph. Yes, the article is as awful as that suggests...

Today, the defence of the family is seen as a rightwing cause. Conversely, liberal feminism is seen as a leftwing cause. But these associations are questionable.
I wonder whether he intends to explain this? Probably not.
Deborah Orr cites the fact that women, like men, were once made wage-slaves as if this were a good thing.
Oh really?
So, when Fay Weldon ruffles feathers, as she did at a literary festival this week, by declaring that one of the down-sides of feminism is that it has "made wage-slaves" out of mothers, I can only shake my head. Mothers always had access to wage-slavery, and those mothers who had husbands who drank the pay-packet, or handed over risible "housekeeping", were particularly glad of their "pin money". Feminism gave women much greater access to, or at least hope of, "careers". Its rejection of marriage was bound up with the fact that a married woman was a woman who could forget about professional progress.
Only by being deliberately obtuse could John possibly have interpreted this as meaning that being wage-slaves is a good thing. The point is that women used to be wage-slaves and that feminism has enabled (and is still enabling) them the opportunity to have careers instead.
She also cites the fact that today middle class women tend to have babies late as if this were a sign of the rise of freedom.
I've noticed in a number of Christian marriage ceremonies that, as well as emphasising that "this ritual right here is for one man and one woman - see what I mean?" there is also often a strong suggestion that the newly-wedded wife is going to be having a baby quite soon after the wedding. This isn't necessarily what the bride has in mind though. The reason tends to be that they want to get settled into a career before they have children. If John Milbank doesn't think that women having careers and independence represents freedom he's got some very odd priorities.
Meanwhile she contends against David Cameron that "the days of the typical family are numbered".
Actually no. No she doesn't.
[Katherine] Rake upset the socially conservative by declaring in her first speech as head of the Family and Parenting Institute (a government-funded organisation that we don't need anyway) that "the days of the typical family are numbered".
See that John? Katherine Rake said it, not Deborah Orr.
If today the middle class have babies late, then that is more the result of competitive market pressures and the market promotion of youth culture than of any supposed liberation of "free choice".
I'll accept market pressures since getting a career tends to be better served by not starting out with a baby in tow. On the other hand, feminists also push for businesses to include creches and to give better deals to those working part-time. Nevertheless, what the "promotion of youth culture" has to do with having babies later, I have not the foggiest. Milbank doesn't bother to explain, so I guess I wil remain in the dark.
As to family decline, this occurs because an overbearing market and state deal directly with the individual, beginning at the youngest age possible. The family is being undermined for the same reason that unions, mutuals and churches have been undermined: because these are voluntary associations that combine self-help and education with a democratic sharing of resources.
Er, what? Where's the reason why it's been undermined? This basically seems to suggest that the only reason the family is "being undermined" (in ways unspecified) is because it's a Good Thing (TM). As far as I'm aware, the only way that Churches are undermined is by their lack of occupants.
Authority within the family is not necessarily patriarchal and aims self-denyingly at reciprocity. In these ways the family offers uniquely a training in mutual nurture. Of course it is the worst source of pathologies, but only because it is the strongest source of psychic health.
Sorry, let's just analyse that last sentence. (One comment on the webpage regarding this sentence says: "I'll wait for the english translation...") The family is a departure from the norm because it's the strongest source of mental health. John seems to be stating that we are all suffering from poor mental health due to lack of emphasis on family. Shouldn't this article be in the Daily Mail?

As for the idea that authority within the family is not necessarily patriarchal, well yeah not anymore. For much of history the marriage contract has been a contract of ownership whereby a father gives away their daughter to her new husband. We know this is no longer the case (thank goodness), but so what? Does this mean that we should be forcing unwed mothers into marriages post-haste? Surely once we have accepted that marriage is not a contract of ownership but rather a mutual bond of love and respect, we must also accept that women have to find a suitable partner before they enter into it?
Of course also, there can be "unconventional" families which should not be penalised. But all families aim for fidelity and stability, and this very aim favours a social and political bias towards marriage rather than cohabitation.
Translation: "By the way, I'm actually quite liberal donchaknow!"
Marriage suspends sexual competition and distributes sexual partners equally. It still today usually protects women physically and compensates for their lesser muscular strength.
Somehow I cannot image John Milbank defending his wife physically. (I've met her since she's also lectures in the same university department.) The best way I can imagine marriage compensating for lesser muscular strength is that men might need to open a jam jar every now and then. (Doesn't work for me. My gf is better at getting jam jars open than I am!) In short: What the hell?
In the case of liberal feminism, the left has shied away from the fact that its success has coincided with a regressive era that has involved an increase in economic inequality and a decline of civil liberties while covertly compensating sexual liberties. The archetypal female subject today is in one way a male capitalist subject writ large, as it is seen as autonomous in relation to biological reproduction as well as economic production. At the same time it remains a traditional "female" subject defined by private concerns now become consumeristic.
This is a mixture of the bleeding obvious and complete nonsense. Whatever may or may not have happened politically, you cannot blame feminism for a decline in civil liberties. If compensating sexual liberties has needed to be 'covert' in order to pass, I hardly see how that is feminism's fault either. Feminists have not been terribly covert about their aims, not least since they intend to change the cultural trends, not simply to pass new laws.

The idea that feminism makes women into "men writ large" is justified by telling us that women are seen as autonomous in relation to biological reproduction and economic production as if this was a bad thing. It appears that John thinks independence, career-mindedness and control over one's own body are 'male' qualities. Who knew?
The downside of this hybrid female subjectivity is the continued enslavement of women in both workplace and home and the loss of a male code of honour as to the assistance of women and children, which has had devastating consequences for the working class. All this combines with an increased state and market control of reproduction which amounts to a new general rule of men over women.
What? Ok, let's break this down:

(a) "...continued enslavement of women in both workplace and home..."

Feminism still has work to do. We know.

(b) "...the loss of a male code of honour as to the assistance of women and children..."

What code of honour? Men feel just as responsible in this regard as they ever have, but there's never been a code of honour involved.

(c) ...which has had devastating consequences for the working class."

Such as?

(d) All this combines with an increased state and market control of reproduction...

State and market control. Oh, you mean sex education and sexual health information, do you? Ah, John Milbank's sympathies for Roman Catholicism are revealed: "How dare the state push contraceptives on us? It's "controlling" I tell you!"

(e) "...which amounts to a new general rule of men over women."

Eh? It does? Would you mind explaining how?
Instead of this we need a true radical feminism more focused on the question of what constitutes good relations between women and men. This needs to include mutual equity concerning procreation and above all equal rights to the combining of work and child nurture without economic loss.
In regards to mutual equity, one comment asks: "And how exactly would one go about growing a womb as a man?" As for combining work and child nurture without economic loss, that's what couples do anyway. This sounds like it is more like the natural result of "competitive market pressures" than a new "true radical feminism". As John D. Caputo said of Radical Orthodoxy, it is very orthodox and not terribly radical.
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Here's a typical report from "The Onion":



This doesn't even come close to the insanity of a recent report from The Daily Mail which feels more like satire of sexism rather than a real life example of it. (BTW you can click here for the original article, but I'd rather you didn't since I've provided the contents below and it'd be best if you didn't increase the number of hits to the page.)

Daily dose of housework could cut risk of breast cancer!

A daily dose of housework could cut the risk of breast cancer, research has shown.

Women who stay fit and physically active after the menopause are 17 per cent less likely to develop the disease than those who rarely leave the sofa.

But not any sort of exercise will do. Scientists prescribe 'moderate-to-vigorous' activities such as heavy housework, gardening and hiking.

Tennis, cycling, swimming, brisk walking and fast dancing, aerobics, and jogging also cut the mustard.

But 'light intensity' pursuits such as bowling, table tennis, fishing, slow walking and light gardening do not make the grade.
Previous studies have found physical activity to be a protection against breast cancer, but this was one of the first to look at different kinds of exercise at various stages of life.

Read more... )
I love how the article focusses on women and gives a whole list of activities they think women might be involved in, but never once does the article imagine that, (like many people who spend all day in an office, for example) women might decide to get fit and healthy by going to the gym. Sure it includes cycling and jogging (presumably including cycling and running machines) as activities which 'cut the mustard', but why bother with those when just doing your 'duty to your husband' by giving him a nice tidy house to come home to does the trick? Ugh!

I especially like the image that goes with the article:

Don't you wish you were a housewife like her? No? Why not? Surely you don't want to get CANCER?!!

(Via Bad Science)

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