Archive for June, 2009

The NYT thinks so.

So a questioning of evolutionary psychology is now common enough to grace the New York Times, which is leaning more towards the large world of social constructionist who question the sort of biological determinism that comes from evolutionary social sciences especially.

However the NYT did not go far enough as to disagree with the idea that sexual attraction and tipping habits (seems extremely odd that paleolithic men were tipping resturaunts, but what evs) are biologically determined.

It did however question individualism and economics. W00t.

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penis graffitiRemember in high school when people were constantly drawing penises everywhere.  I always chalked this up to immaturity/silliness.  But I was talking to orkinson the other day and she thinks that it is a manifestation of patriarchy, and even a form of terrorism, not that different from, say, drawing swastikas everywhere.  Although the people I knew who did this seemed more like goofballs than terrorists, I think it is a serious concern, after all, male dominance and machismo were both prevalent in our high school, especially in my class, which seemed dominated by boys, particularly in the honors classes.  So, basically, I ask you, harmless (though tasteless) prank?  Or act of sexual terrorism?  After all, there are many ways to be immature, but the selected weapon is almost always the penis.  Thoughts?

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gay or straightWe must of course pretend that only four groups of people exist: straight men, straight women, gay men, and assumedly lesbians (because there has to be a foil to “straight women”). Then let us pretend that

a) straight and gay men have trouble being friends because gay men get crushes on straight men

b)this makes it awkward

and c)straight men are better able to overcome this awkwardness because they recognize that gay men can help them look nice and get laid with their connection to feminity.

Also straight men and straight women can’t be friends because there is always sexual tension.

The NYT runs some really shitty pieces.

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jasmineThis shit is nothing new. I’ve seen this all over the place, all the time. But since I learned feminism, I’ve avoided clicking on these ridiculous links. But I wanted to revisit the brainwashing of women, so I took a look at this slideshow. There’s nothing much to be said about this, like I said, it’s pervasive, and critiquing this sort of thing would be a pretty dull project. I was surprised by how angry I felt, so I decided to share. So many women read this crap and act on it. It makes me sick.

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Personal Anecdote

boxingLast night I was at a birthday party that I’m still recovering from. There was a lot of Michael Jackson playing, a lot of rum being drunk, and a lot of sketchy party crashers. The party was in a dorm room for a summer program that a lot of my friends are doing, and the party crashers were students working on campus or the children of professors. These crashers came for one reason, and it was obvious. After being rejected, in subtle and not so subtle ways, one of them, D, made his way for my friend A. I figure this was pretty ballsy as she obviously wasn’t interested. His game was wack anyway. He asked her name, and she lied. Then she asked his, and questioned him about which professors were his parents.

Then he fucked up and let slip that he knew who she was from (seems the creepers have a stalker-information network). She flipped. I became more on guard. He tried to touch her shoulder. She told him not to touch her again, and to not talk to her. Then our friend S intervened and asked D if I made him nervous. He looked at me, but didn’t say anything to me. I decided it would be more intimidating if I said nothing, but glared at him. So I did. S continued to tell him he should be intimidated by me. Dude D eventually walked off, and seemed scared of me for the rest of the party.

Then A told me I should go in the hall to make sure that D, who followed a young woman he had been eyeing out into the hall, didn’t follow her any farther. He freaked out when he saw me, and went back to the party. I explained to the young woman, and she laughed and thanked me.

Later it turned out Dude D and company stole a bottle of gin from the party, and also found A’s room and opened the door, before heading out. So yeah– they were real creepers, but people refuse to believe it.

My reason for this anecdote: when does me watching out for my friends become a paternalistic, masculine endeavor. Last night I decided to watch, and let A fuck with D, but I wanted to end it right away. Because I also saw that he thought she was flirting with him. Also because I was itching to fight someone which seems an excessively masculine thing to want. If I had fought him would he have not gone into A’s room? What if she had been there? How do I make the line between interventionism and a caring friend?

Shit’s tough. I guess I need to remain in dialogue; make sure I don’t overstep folks’ personal autonomy.

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iran electionThis article written by an Iranian woman sheds light into some challenges that feminists face in Iran.  In addition, some of the comments under the post offer some insightful criticism of the article. I don’t mean to downplay the anti-feminism of American society by posting this piece. Feminists face different challenges all over the world, and that is what I wish to illustrate. Also, the piece is particular to current events.

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The more I think about rape, the more I feel that it exists in a wider spectrum than is currently acknowledged.  I recently got the news that a girl I know was raped by the guy she was seeing at the time.  There were drugs involved.  She wasn’t passed out and she didn’t say no, but afterwards she was really upset because she thought she was too intoxicated to consent.  I think if  she feels raped she deserves the support that would be given to any other rape survivor, but is the guy who did this a rapist?  Do you think it’s possible for a man to rape a woman unintentionally?  I know that right now the law says it technically counts as rape if the person you had sex with was intoxicated, but most of the drunken sex I hear about (or participate in) results in no more trauma than the mutual awkwardness that sets in the morning after.  It seems like between sobriety and blacked out, there’s a lot of grey area that isn’t addressed very often.  Maybe there are situations where rape has occurred, but also where a prison sentence for the man wouldn’t be appropriate.

So far I haven’t given the guy in this story much of a face, because for the purposes of this post I’m really using him as a composite to make a point about other men in similar situations.  But I can’t allow myself to end the entry without bringing up one terrible thing that he absolutely DID do.  I don’t know if he did it because he actually DID intend to rape this girl, or if he did it out of fear, or if it was a knee-jerk reaction or whatever, but it’s completely unacceptable.  This girl worked up the courage to confront him about what happened and instead of saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t think you felt raped, is there anything I can do?” he got defensive and basically said “no I didn’t, you’re a liar.  fuck off.”  I’m not just bringing this up because it makes me want to do all kinds of harm to this guy.  I’m bringing it up because I think it points to a possible (maybe only partial) solution in those rape cases where the line between able to contest and unable to consent was blurry.  So the question is this:  if this guy had been more compassionate, do you think it would have helped the girl cope with what happened?  And put more broadly, when it comes to the kind of situation I’ve just talked about (because i think there are some rape scenarios that simply DO NOT offer this possibility), do you think it’s possible for the “rapist” to act as a base of support for the rape survivor?

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rachel welchA woman who wants to shield herself from sin pledges to save her first kiss for after marriage.

click me

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SarahHaskins1I know you’re all watching her anyway but just in case you didn’t catch this one.

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Now, now, don’t go freaking out and calling the police just yet. This isn’t mean to be some sort of inflammatory statement commanding you to go out and kill a hipster–far from it. It is my belief that at this moment in time, the world of gender politics is in serious trouble, and will continue to be in serious trouble until a hipster dies. In this sense, I am not telling you that a specific hipster must die, or that he or she must die at a particular moment, but that a hipster will inevitably die and this will expose several social problems which I believe are patriarchal in origin.

The reason I am singling out a hipster as the one who has to die in this case is the simple fact that no hipsters have died yet. Our generation–“Gen-Y,” if we want to call it that–has not experienced the deaths of any of its contemporary cultural heroes. Look across the panoply of hipster cultural referents and we see nothing but bright, young faces and lithe, ageless bodies. Explaining to a hipster that M.I.A. or Alice Glass of Crystal Castles will some day experience the inevitable physical effects and ailments of mortality would probably be more difficult than explaining the theory of evolution to a 12th century Christian monk, or explaining the identity and cultural significance  of Osama bin Laden to a bagel. The much-publicized pregnancy of M.I.A. provides a small-scale example of what I am trying to say. Simply put, hippies have died, ravers have died, goths have died, punks have died, feminists have died, politicians have died, zoologists have died, but hipsters remain a young and recently-established enough subculture to have escaped the ravages of age as of this writing.

Of course, this has to change at some point–this is why I say, “A Hipster Has to Die.” Eventually, it will happen. One of the members of MSTRKRFT will overdose on a drug, or one of the members of Grizzly Bear will mysteriously vanish. It has to happen eventually. One day, a hipster will die. But what effect will this catastrophic blow to the hipster community have on the world of gender politics and feminism? I would like to quote late feminist theorist Iris Marion Young, who wrote that in patriarchal society,

“Pregnancy does not belong to the woman herself. It either is a state of the developing foetus, for which the woman is a container; or it is an objective, observable process coming under scientific scrutiny; or it becomes objectified by the woman herself, as a ‘condition’…Pregnancy omits subjectivity.”

-“Pregnant Embodiment: Subjectivity and Alienation” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 9 (February 1984): 45.

I would add that death is very much the same. Death is viewed by our society as something that happens to people–you are a container for it, or it contains you. We do not often think that BIRTHING or DYING are experiences which can only be experienced, and never adequately described by a supposedly “objective” (or “scientific”) observer. A hipster’s death would catalyze a process of reconsideration, I believe, of the notion that death simply “happens” to people. The world of hipsters is one of extreme affect, of course, in which the relationship between humans and all of their physical attributes–aging, death, etc.–is obscured and made embarrassing. M83 and The Teenagers will suddenly seem less significant once a hipster dies, and perhaps we will collectively wonder whether anyone will really care about any of this in a decade or so, or whether or not the reason why anyone even showed up to their concerts is because the participants are mostly young, thin, white, in full possession of their physical and mental faculties, and male (or, if not male, at least closely conforming to male ideas of what females should look like). While they are not the direct cause of hipster culture, ableism, ageism, racism, classism and sexism are surely helpful in holding our generation’s attention. As Young writes, a dominant discourse robs the less privileged of subjectivity, and the dominant discourse of hipsters accomplishes this exactly, where the disabled, aged, non-white, non-upper class, and non-heterosexual male are either silenced or fetishized. Don’t get me wrong, the death of a hipster will not solve all these problems. But in some small way, it may enable us as a generation to move a few inches forward, closer, perhaps, to the discovery of our own blindnesses.

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