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Sorry, Men’s Rights Activists, Feminists Actually Do Care About Girls in Africa

Yegna, the girl group sponsored by Girl Effect Ethiopia
Yegna, a girl group sponsored by Girl Effect Ethiopia. Click on picture for more info.

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One of the favorite talking points — trolling points? — of Men’s Rights Activists and other antifeminists is that feminism is little more than a frivolous hobby for wealthy Western white women obsessed with their own trivial problems and caring not a whit for the truly oppressed women of the world.

Or at least that’s a favorite talking point amongst MRAs who are willing to admit that women are actually oppressed anywhere in the world.

I found the “meme” below on the Facebook page of something called Anti-Feminism Australia, one of the few “serious” memes there, buried in a jumble of rape jokes and fat jokes and digs at Anita Sarkeesian.

WARNING: Not actually true
WARNING: Not actually true

Just how wrong is this little meme? Let me count the ways.

First, and perhaps most basic, the graphic seems to imply that feminism is entirely a phenomenon of Western (and presumably white) women, thus erasing the very girls it pretends to champion.

I hate to have to tell you this, MRAs, but there are feminists in Ethiopia. Really. And not just visiting white ladies either.

These actual real existing feminists blog. They write, speak, research the lives of rural Ethiopian schoolgirls and work for NGOs. They make music and appear in radio dramas. They hold conferences and forums to discuss and coordinate their activism on issues ranging from family planning to international development.

Actual women at actual international development conference in Addis Ababa
Actual women at actual international development conference in Addis Ababa

In fact, MRAs, there are feminists all over Africa. There are feminists all over the world. And when we eventually get around to colonizing Mars, there will no doubt be feminists there too.

But let’s just set aside the actual real existing feminists who actually really live in Ethiopia for a moment. Because the antifeminist meme I posted above is clearly directed at Western (and presumably white) feminists , in an attempt to shame them for not fixing the educational system in Ethiopia with the magic elixir of money.

This too is wrong, wrong, wrong.

First, let’s just note that complex problems in developing countries halfway across the world can’t actually be solved by white-skinned angels flying in from abroad on giant clouds of money.

The issue here isn’t just the patronizing colonialism inherent in this idea; it’s that you can’t solve any intractable problem anywhere just by throwing money at it.

Men’s Rights Activists, allergic to anything that smacks of real world activism, seem to think that they can fix anything (and win some Good Guy points to boot) by donating a few bucks to this or that Men’s Rights cause.

But in order for the money to help, whether here or abroad, you have to have organizations in place that will be able to do something useful with this money.

MRAs and other antifeminists don’t, and so they have wasted literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on causes and projects and people that have pissed away their money without accomplishing anything of value, from A Voice for Men to The Sarkeesian Effect.

Feminists, by contrast, have set up a wide assortment of organizations in the west designed to help women, from national foundations to local shelters.

And, yes, they have built or helped to build organizations to help women and girls in the developing world as well — including some in Ethiopia.

While no Western interventions in the developing world, even charitable ones, can be entirely free of the taint of colonialism and colonialist assumptions, Western feminists today try to challenge their own assumptions and to treat the girls and women they try to help as the authors of their own stories and the heroes of their own lives.

In the process, western feminists have learned that the problems faced by girls trying to get educations in Ethiopia — and elsewhere in the developing world — can’t be solved merely by buying school supplies or providing cheap computers. It also involves fighting against sexual violence and child marriage.

And, as odd as this may sound to most well-off Westerners, for sanitary products. One UK feminist who recently spent several months volunteering first in Ethiopia and then Kenya, wrote later about the surprise she felt when she discovered that one big reason that Ethiopian girls miss much more school than boys is that they cannot afford the sanitary pads that would enable them to attend school during their periods.

That’s why a group called Femme International, working in East Africa, devotes itself not just to educating girls about hygiene but also providing them with menstrual cups so that they will be able to attend schools are regularly as their brothers. (And in case any MRAs are wondering “what about the boyz,” the group also runs a Boys Health Management Program.)

Tellingly, when western feminists have tried to raise awareness in the west about this issue, they’ve found themselves ridiculed, and even harassed, by uncomprehending MRAs and other antifeminists who apparently think that any talk about women’s periods is inherently risible.

When feminist writer and Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti wrote a column pointing out that “sanitary products are vital for the health, well-being and full participation of women and girls across the globe,” she faced a torrent of abuse on Twitter, of which the following Tweet was sadly typical:

jvv

 

Ironically, one of the nastiest Tweets — suggesting that Valenti needed “oversized” tampons “for her giant gaping vagina” —  came from a fellow named Adam McPhee, who (as I pointed out at the time) just happened to be the official spokesperson for the Men’s Rights group called Canadian Association For Equality (CAFE).

Or maybe this wasn’t so ironic, as it’s fairly typical of the MRA reaction whenever they encounter evidence of Western feminists trying to reach out to girls and women in the developing world. Or, for that matter, trying to reach out to men.

You may recall the gigantic wave of hostility, largely from MRAs and other antifeminists, that greeted actress and activist Emma Watson after she spoke at the United Nations on behalf of HeForShe, an international initiative to encourage men to help fight for gender equality.

The attacks on Watson have died down, but the HeForShe initiative continues on around the world. Indeed, at an event earlier this year in Nairobi, Kenya, a number of influential African cultural leaders signed on as supporters of the initiative.

The hostility faced by Watson, Valenti and other western feminists whenever they stand up for poor and disenfranchised women around the world makes pretty clear that when MRAs and other antifeminists criticize western feminists for allegedly “not giving a shit” about anyone but their First World selves, they are doing so in bad faith.

Indeed, MRAs and other antifeminists would prefer it if women around the world were never touched by feminism at all.

Pickup artists fetishise women in parts of the world that have been less influenced by feminism than the West, and complain bitterly whenever they discover that some of these women have more feminism in them than they did even a few years ago. Indeed, repugnant pickup guru and rape legalization proponent Roosh Valizadeh has chronicled his sad and hopeless quest for the unfeminist Eastern European “Poosy Paradise” of his dreams on his blog and in an ebook.

Meanwhile, MRAs and GamerGaters and other antifeminists have reacted with outrage to the news that the Swedish government will be providing every 16-year-old in the country with a copy of Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED-talk-turned-booklet We Should All Be Feminists. (Note: If you buy her book through that link I get a teensy cut.)

The antifeminists don’t just hate Western women speaking up for their non-Western sisters; they also hate non-Western women who speak up for themselves.

This is sadly even the case when it comes to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who famously survived being shot in the face by a would-be assassin unhappy about her advocacy of education for girls.

After Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her bravery in continuing on with her campaign, a writer for A Voice for Men patronizingly declared her a “dupe of [a] deeply bigoted and socially dangerous ideology” — yes, they mean feminism — who may end up becoming “even more dangerous to world peace than Osama Bin Laden ever was … .”

Meanwhile, fantasy author, Manosphere agitator and all around nasty piece of work Vox Day has gone further, offering what can only be seen as a qualified endorsement of the Taliban’s attempt on Malala’s life. As he put it in one recent blog post (discussed here):

[I]n light of the strong correlation between female education and demographic decline, a purely empirical perspective on Malala Yousafzai, the poster girl for global female education, may indicate that the Taliban’s attempt to silence her was perfectly rational and scientifically justifiable.

This is, sadly, not the first time Vox has suggested that violence may be the most “rational” response to women and girls demanding the same educational opportunities as boys and men. In an earlier post (discussed here), Vox asserted that

[F]emale independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability.

When antifeminists attack Western feminists for allegedly ignoring the injustices faced by women and girls in the developing world, it’s worth remembering that more than a few in the antifeminist army would prefer that these injustices remain unchallenged, whether by Western feminists, by Malala Yousafzai, or by the girls in Ethiopia’s Yegna.

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Owen McLovely
Owen McLovely
4 years ago

lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime

That’s it I’m off to Afghanistan. Sounds like (Libertarian) paradise. Thanks GWB.

I hear Somalia’s great too.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
4 years ago

Seeing Day’s comment about

Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay […]

I wonder if he’s getting in two digs for the price of one, here. Day/Beale is the person who wrote The Irrational Atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, after all, and he describes himself as a Christian Libertarian.

As in, if pressed, he would say that of course he doesn’t support that sort of thing; but those horrible atheists with no proper moral center obviously would. While, in the meantime, getting the idea out there himself.

If there is one thing that Day has demonstrated true skill at, it is in figuring out exactly how reprehensible he can make his comments while still maintaining a veneer of deniability.

nparker
nparker
4 years ago

@ Jenora Feuer

What a disgusting man. At least Dawkins, under all the many problematic views and traits, ultimately is probably a decent man. Day, on the other hand, has literally zero redeeming qualities.

A smaller problem, but none the less annoying- ‘favoured by most atheists’- why do people like this think they speak for all the people in the groups they belong to?

Dalillama
Dalillama
4 years ago

sunnysombrera:

while whining about the “forced labour” of dating (waaah we have to act like decent people just to get laid!) and “slavery” of marriage/having to pay child support. It boggles the mind how solipsist they are.

Much like the Conservatives who whine that paying their taxes is ‘slavery’. No surprise there’s so much overlap between the two groups.

nparker:

A smaller problem, but none the less annoying- ‘favoured by most atheists’- why do people like this think they speak for all the people in the groups they belong to?

He isn’t; Vox is some flavor of Christian.

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
4 years ago

Strangely enough, there are some pretty good things you can do if all you have to offer is money. I’ve got this lot on my list, but I’m fully committed to my direct debit to UNHCR for the time being. (Perhaps I’ll win some lottery or other — when I get around to buying a ticket — and I can splash money around to all these admirable organisations.)

I love these people. http://www.thingreenline.org.au/

Support and train the workers. Help their widows and orphans if they are killed _ because some of them will certainly be killed. Conservation is either in a war zone or is a war zone all of its own.

nparker
nparker
4 years ago

@ Dalillama

He isn’t; Vox is some flavor of Christian.

Ah sorry, my mistake. Hang on- in a way, that makes what he’s said even worse!

ColeYote
ColeYote
4 years ago

This should probably be the least offensive thing about that meme, but that isn’t how satire works!

nparker
nparker
4 years ago

@ David Futrelle

Yeah, that typo was rather- odd.
The piece was really good. Not just for the takedown of MRAs, but for being really informative too- there were a few things I actually didn’t know.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
4 years ago

@nparker, Dalillama:
That’s pretty much what I was saying. Vox is part of the rather large reactionary/evangelical movement in the U.S. He’s a creationist. His father is a tax protester and one of the directors of World Net Daily (which Vox used to write for). As I mentioned, he wrote a book called The Irrational Atheist, though I get the impression that he considers all Atheists irrational by definition.

The ONLY reason I can see for him to note the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists in his rant is so he can try to dogwhistle his way out of saying that he supports them himself.

WeirwoodTreeHugger
WeirwoodTreeHugger
4 years ago

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. It’s never social justice activists from developing countries who tell first world feminists to stop speaking against the injustices that still exist in our countries.

It’s always a fellow first worlder who just wants us to shut up. What right does white middle class guy have to try and speak for the African and/or Middle Eastern women they’re using to score points when said women aren’t the ones even upset by us?

kale
kale
4 years ago

“It reminds me of racists who think you can’t or shouldn’t care about refugees “if you don’t care about homeless ex-military” – a big ignorant assumption that we don’t care about homeless ex-military, and when they themselves have never shown the tiniest weeniest sign of giving any sort of shit about homeless people of any sort, except as a stick to beat a cause they dislike.”

^ I love when they say this to me tho bc I am active with a homeless charity and worked with two veteran programs along w other family/friends. Plus Im very poor but I donate to charities anyway. Just tell them about your real charity work and ask what they do. Wait for the deafening silence. These people care as much about helping the homeless as they care about “victims of black on black crime”

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

Thanks for this article on international feminism, David.

Women’s magazines used to publish original short stories regularly. And Ms. magazine used to publish international fiction frequently. Those stories really opened my eyes to how women make feminist choices in many different, highly patriarchal cultures.

Also, Gloria Steinem, who used to work at Ms., nurtured Alice Walker’s career. (She’s the woman who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Color Purple, a deeply feminist novel.) Alice Walker also writes short stories, some of which were published in Ms. Those feminist stories about US black women and men were also eye-opening. I Googled this book to get my facts straight and found out that The Color Purple has just hit Broadway! From the headline, it seems that at least one reviewer loves it.

Here’s what I found on the Ms. website: “Ms. welcomes the highest-quality original fiction and poetry, but is publishing these infrequently as of late.” Too bad that it’s infrequent.

Paradoxical Intention
4 years ago

Once again, MRAs think feminists aren’t people with complex human brains who are capable of caring about more than one thing at a time.

We’re not babies, bros. If you jingle your keys in front of our faces, and put them behind your back, we don’t think your keys magically stop existing.

And if feminists are talking about one thing at the moment, it doesn’t mean we don’t care about other topics as well. If I’m talking about how Roman Reigns (*obligatory dreamy sigh*) won back his WWE World Heavyweight Championship last night (On his daughter’s birthday, against all odds, with everyone against him, with his opponent cheating his fucking pants off and the boss helping, HE STILL WON! *ahem*), it doesn’t mean that I suddenly don’t care about women’s education, child marriages, or even catcalling and rape in the United States. I’m just talking about this right now.

Just like when you talk about sexbots, it doesn’t mean you suddenly don’t care about other “issues” like women having the ability to tell your gross ass to fuck off when you try to run “game” on them.

Fruitloopsie | December 15, 2015 at 9:23 am
2) I’m tired of seeing these videos, etc of people saying “what if she was your mother or sister, etc?” When referring to women and girls who have been attacked, etc. If I saw someone hurt I would help them that’s because I have a heart that’s what people are supposed to do. Why do people have sympathy for an animal when they get hurt? We are not related to them so why? Because again we have hearts that’s what you are supposed to do. Have sympathy for us because we are people. Use your heart.

If I may quote John Oliver on this:

“Or, or, here’s a crazy idea, you could put away your magic face-switching machine, and just be upset about the incident as it actually happened. Because you should not need to insert a relative into a horrifying situation to make it horrific! For instance: I hate SeaWorld’s treatment of whales on principle alone, not just because my father is an orca!”

I can agree with Freemage that this kind of talk does have a place, but I’m getting pretty sick and tired of it having to be a thing, mostly because it seems to imply that women have to be related to a man for them to even register on a man’s radar as people worthy of not being beaten senseless, raped, or murdered.

WeirwoodTreeHugger | December 15, 2015 at 4:23 pm
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. It’s never social justice activists from developing countries who tell first world feminists to stop speaking against the injustices that still exist in our countries.

It’s always a fellow first worlder who just wants us to shut up. What right does white middle class guy have to try and speak for the African and/or Middle Eastern women they’re using to score points when said women aren’t the ones even upset by us?

Yup. It’s never the women who these MRAs claim to care about who are telling feminists to stop caring about “first world problems”. It’s always just the MRAs using the women as a cheap shield. Just like they use LGBTQA+ men, homeless men, male rape victims/survivors, male victims/survivors of domestic violence…

Pretty much anyone who isn’t part of their clique is a disposable shield to them when they want to deflect criticism.

LindsayIrene
4 years ago

Or is it all Caitlin Jenner and Lavern Cox for them?

Running a fan blog devoted to Andreja Pejic, I’ve seen her get noticed by the manosphere, and it’s not good. Usually makes me want to thoroughly loofah myself.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his pronouns)
4 years ago

@LindsayIrene

What the hell would they say about Andreja Pejic? Rhetorical. I don’t even want to know what they say about her. She’s a model, possibly a supermodel (IDK, you probably do). They probably don’t say half the shit non-passing women do, but, like

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/2864904/thumbs/o-ANDREJA-PEJIC-570.jpg

why.

Look at her.

http://www.reactiongifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/why.gif

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
4 years ago

We are ninjas. We are the night. We fly under their radar per the usual.

And then we attack.

<3

As for bathroom panic… do they really think that not letting trans women use the women's bathroom somehow keeps sexual predators out? They cannot possibly think that, say, 20 years ago, before this was ever a legal question, no cis men preyed on cis women in women's bathrooms because it wasn't legal for them to be in there, even if they wore a skirt. No one can be that fucking dumb. Their options for responses to their "arguments" really are 1) you're a bigot and/or 2) you're a complete and total fucking moron.

Like, I know it's #1, they're bigoted asswipes, but I just can't wrap my head around how they begin to justify their "logic". It makes my head hurt, and me just want to scream "look, I just need to fucking pee, why do you care which bathroom I use?"

…and maybe then pee on them since fuck, I've got to pee somewhere!

Edit: this is all in reply to the last page, I need to learn to hit refresh!

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
4 years ago

For instance: I hate SeaWorld’s treatment of whales on principle alone, not just because my father is an orca!”

Pedantry: they’re not whales. They’re related to dolphins and porpoises. I think killer whale was a mistranslation of whale killer, but I could be mistaken on that.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
4 years ago

@Argenti

Further pedantry: Technically, all dolphins are whales, so both are correct.

weirwoodtreehugger
weirwoodtreehugger
4 years ago

Although it’s every bit as bigoted when women like Michelle Duggar engage in the “predatory man in a dress” scare mongering to deprive trans people of their equal rights, I have to admit I roll my eyes extra hard when men do it. I don’t need to be protected from peeing in a stall next to a trans woman. I don’t care if a woman in the bathroom with me is cis or trans. Don’t say bigoted shit in my name please. I didn’t ask your dumbass to do that!

I also wonder how this is supposed to be enforced. Are we going to post bathroom guards to check what’s in everyone’s pants? Or are they just going to check the genitals of women they think are masculine looking? Or do women who look masculine to the guard just get kicked out of the bathroom and forced to use the men’s? What if it’s a cis woman who gets ejected from the bathroom for being too masculine looking? Or, due to the impracticality of posting bathroom guards is it going to be self policing? Are people just going to be able to gang up on trans women and pull down her pants to confirm she has the wrong bits? Because that sounds an awful lot like sexual assault to me.

I guess my point is, you can’t automatically tell whether or not someone is trans just by looking at them. It’s also my understanding – and please someone correct me if I’m wrong because as a cis person, I’m hardly an expert here – that if one takes hormone treatments to transition before adulthood, they’re less likely to develop physical traits associated with the sex they were assigned at birth and will more easily present as their gender. As people are starting to transition earlier in life, as kids if they have parents who both supportive and have insurance that will foot the bill, wouldn’t that make it even harder to police who uses what bathroom? Again, if that sentence was comprised of assfax in any way, I apologize.

This whole bathroom panic thing is to me, reminiscent of the anti-choice position that abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape and incest. There’s just no practical or in most democracies, legal means to enforce the policy. It’s not a serious position. It’s merely a way to make life difficult for the targeted population.

LindsayIrene
4 years ago

@ Pandapool

What the hell would they say about Andreja Pejic?

You’re right, you don’t really want to know. It’s mainly vile stupidity.Though I did see something on an incel forum that made me giggle, back about three years ago when a lot of people believed that Andreja was just a really pretty cis boy. Someone posted a very detailed theory about how they were 100% sure sure that Andreja was an incel, because women only want men with facial features that reflect a high level of testosterone. Yup. Which is why so many women and girls mourned the death of their “Bishounen Andrej*” dreams when she transitioned…

*I mean, there was even a manga character based on her.

LindsayIrene
4 years ago

@ weirwoodtreehugger

Although it’s every bit as bigoted when women like Michelle Duggar engage in the “predatory man in a dress” scare mongering to deprive trans people of their equal rights, I have to admit I roll my eyes extra hard when men do it.

I’ve heard the “men will pretend to be women to get into locker rooms and bathrooms for perverted reasons” thing waaaaay more from men than from women, myself. They say it with an air of ‘you silly women just don’t understand how men are’. It makes me wonder what they think goes on in womens’ bathrooms. Unless a guy specifically has a fetish for hearing women pee, it’s just not going to be that interesting. And if a bathroom is isolated enough to make it a good spot for an assault, there’s no need for the creep to pretend to be a woman to do it.

Frank Torpedo
4 years ago

Are people just going to be able to gang up on trans women and pull down her pants to confirm she has the wrong bits?

And what are they going to do when the transwoman in question hasn’t elected to be operated upon, I wonder?

Because it’s my understanding some opt out. I have also heard that there are other transpeople who frown on this behavior, which strikes me as unnecessary, to say the least, since there are already enough small-minded cispeople who can’t wrap their tiny little brains around such a concept.

In my opinion, it makes perfect sense and is in no way a ‘bad’ thing, despite the opinions of the gatekeepers, and the disapproving cispeople who believe people should alter their bodies to suit their own selfish wants and needs.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
4 years ago

SFHC — fair enough!

WWTH — you’re close enough to correct 🙂

It’s Really Rare for the under 13 crowd to be given hormones, it’s usually puberty blockers so they don’t go through whatever puberty biology has in store for them, with hormones offered when they’re teens — at which point their puberty phase is more in line with the hormones their given than the ones they’d produce. So, say, a trans man wouldn’t have grown breasts to need to bind them, and a trans woman’s voice won’t drop.

For the bullshit scenario in question, if a wee little trans girl is given puberty blockers and then estrogen, the only way to have any damned clue she’s not cis is an underwear check. Which every damned person here just squirmed at cuz nobody fucking claiming to protect women is gonna do that by making kids expose themselves.

And you’re right, it’s usually cis men making this BS argument, with cis women tending to go all “*shrug* if she needs to pee, she needs to pee” — honestly, I think part of it is that women spend fucking years being taught how to avoid the predators lurking EVERYWHERE!!!11!!!11… and thus don’t see “people who might have a penis would be legally allowed to use the women’s room” as removing some magical anti-perv safeguard, y’all know it didn’t exist in the first place.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
4 years ago

Because it’s my understanding some opt out. I have also heard that there are other transpeople who frown on this behavior, which strikes me as unnecessary, to say the least

Now now, we can’t have just anyone claiming to be trans, don’t you know that people like to pretend they know what it’s like when they don’t even want surgery! How could anyone who doesn’t suffer dysphoria claim to be trans? And don’t get me started on this “non-binary” fad!

Ok, I just died of sarcasm overdose. But those are nearly quotes, just with extra patronizing.

But yeah, whether to have surgery at all, what surgeries, when, etc are all very personal choices. For some it’s a matter of cost (I’d go for top surgery in a heartbeat), for some the risks aren’t worth it, or the recovery time isn’t, or they just plain aren’t dysphoric about the body part in question.

Two things, neither meant as “shame on you Frank Torpedo!!” but as a general note: there’s no one surgery, top and bottom surgery generally refer to the two main areas of sex characteristics (breasts/chest and genitals respectively), but that’s more shorthand than “this always means this one surgery”. And it’s “trans people” and “cis people” — since I’m apparently picking on you Frank Torpedo, it’s like why you’re a black man, not a Blackman (that’s so silly even my autocorrect rejects it!)

——

I’m not actually picking on you 😛

Frank Torpedo
4 years ago

To be honest, I felt silly talking about it in the first place, being as I am a cisgendered person. MOSTLY.

My mother says I do really good impressions of women! 😛

Most black men do really good impressions of white women. It’s very odd. I’ve considered this from time to time. My black male friends are amazing at imitating the white women who live around here. It’s uncanny.

I have also watched enough anime to be fascinated with the idea of being a girl.

But ANYWAY, what I’m trying to say is that I am not a transperson and shouldn’t really be taken as an authority on the subject. I haven’t really taken any college classes on the subject, nor have I written a thesis about it, so I accept your guidance on the matter entirely. Thanks for clearing that up!

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
4 years ago

Hey, you gave me a crash course in interracial dating and LGBT issues in the black community, I figure I can flesh out the T of that some 🙂

Also, I’m just generally cranky today, so that was a nice little rant to get that out of my system.

Kootiepatra
4 years ago

Honestly, I could totally see Sage Gerard going into the women’s room and ranting about how he feels genderfluid today and so it would be bigotry to kick him out, so ha, checkmate, feminists.

Of course, it’s absolutely not worth making/blocking bathroom laws based on him and the handful of poopwaffles like him. But with all the hand-wringing about cis-men sneaking into women’s rooms and pretending to be women, the only scenario I can really imagine where that happens are a few shouty MRA protesters (and it will only be a few, because most of them are too afraid of catching girl cooties).

And seeing as Sage has been sneaking into the women’s room already, it doesn’t actually change much.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

Re: killer whales

He, when I’m chatting with my Sea Shepherd accomplices about what they’re actually saying my thesis is “Stop calling us Orcas; we have the coolest name in the ocean!”

It does seem likely that originally it was whale killer though as they were reputed to do that.

Ktoryx
Ktoryx
4 years ago

What the actual fuck is he talking about? Globally, the liberation of women has been STRONGLY corellated to the economic growth, health, and happiness of citizens.

Broken Butterfly
Broken Butterfly
4 years ago

@Argenti Aertheri
I feel nervous asking this (mostly because I’m used to being screamed at for asking questions elsewhere), but what’s the difference between “transpeople” and “trans people”? Is it just proper English? (like how “blackman” seems the same as “black man” to me, but I was taught to spell it the latter way)

And is “trans*” actual shorthand? Because I’ve been griped at for using that before.

Sorry if I’m being stupid; I don’t really get to hear much about any of this because of the aforementioned “being yelled at”.

guy
guy
4 years ago

Trans is used as a prefix (e.g. “transgender”) and black is not, so the space seems an odd thing to insist on. I guess it follows if it’s a shorthand for “transgender man”.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

Re: trans

It was explained to me that by saying trans woman you’re acknowledging the person is a woman who just happens to be trans whereas transwoman implies that the person is in a separate category that’s a different thing from being a ‘regular’ woman.

I do have form for getting this sort of thing wrong though, so apply salt as appropriate.

LindsayIrene
4 years ago

Speaking of US feminists doing things for women in Africa, Mara Wilson just helped a Gofundme raise $4000 for underpants and reuseable pads for Kenyan girls, to help ensure that they’re able to attend school when they have their periods.

Entropy Jukebox
Entropy Jukebox
4 years ago

Thank you for this piece, David. I keep coming back here every day, even though doing so leaves me feeling a little sad and more disgusted, but I love your posts and your ability to inject humor into what would otherwise be a grim task.

I’m assuming you (and probably most of the commenters here) have already heard about the BBC Extreme UK show on the manosphere; I watched it last night with my husband and, while it was only an hour and couldn’t delve very deeply into specific issues, did provide a decent overview and, we though, some very good reactions on the part of the interviewer, Reggie Yates. For anyone here who has not seen it, it is now up on Youtube:

Entropy Jukebox
Entropy Jukebox
4 years ago
Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

Speaking of women* helping women overseas I hope it’s ok to post this here. This is the project set up by some friends of mine. They’ve done the first trip but have been asked back so I’m sure they’d welcome any support peeps here can give.

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/storm-a-fighting-chance-1

[*There are some guys involved too but the women set it up and are definitely the ones who make it work]

guy
guy
4 years ago

@Alan

That makes sense. Not how I’d interpret it in a vacuum, but I don’t have control over the English language.

Probably shouldn’t use trans* in that case; it’s using * as a wildcard and would imply the lack of a space if it’s going to be specific.

Freemage
Freemage
4 years ago

guy: Instead of trans*, for the reason you mention, it’s preferred to use “trans people”, or “trans folk” if you’re feeling more casual.

And apparently I need to re-do my registration, too.

Broken Butterfly
Broken Butterfly
4 years ago

@Alan
Oh that actually makes a whole lot of sense! I’ll definitely remember that, thank you!

@Freemage
Not at me, but also good to know. Thank you, too! I’ll definitely remember both of these.

DepressedCNS
DepressedCNS
4 years ago

Sorry for the late post but this made me so incensed that I had to delurk. First of all, as others have said, female education is probably linked to country prosperity (This can be easily tested; go to the WHO data repository, download some data and test it yourself. It’s very easy, and I might add, fun). From a “purely empirical” “rational” and “scientifically justifiable” that statement is obviously still utter bullshit; just because something correlates doesn’t mean it’s causally related (Stats 101 stuff here), thus saying a “few acid burned faces is a small price to pay for less debt” is not only callous and terrible, it (like most callous and terrible things) is also idiotic. It’s like saying it’s perfectly rational from a purely empirical perspective to try and limit ice cream sales because they correlate with property crime (which they do, because both increase during summer months, but limiting ice cream sales would obviously do nothing to lower property crime).

I’m so utterly sick of people being all “let’s be rational about this” to justify their shitty beliefs and then just sucking at logic, and thinking they are all renegade or something for being willing to confront the unpopular Truth. It’s science abuse, and it’s why certain groups are distrustful of actual real science.

Slightly off topic but to the fellow stats nerds out there (I know you’re there because I’ve read your comments), have you read Stephen Jay Gould’s the Mismeasure of Man? He chronicles historical racist and sexist attitudes in science (from IQ testing, neoteny, to skull size) and then critiques the conclusions from a statistical perspective; there’s even a chapter on factor analysis! It’s lovely and I would highly recommend it.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ DepressedCNS

fellow stats nerds

Ah, as someone who knows about standard deviations etc. you’d be the perfect person to analyse the data from my survey about broccoli/tongue rolling correlation! 🙂

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

Slightly off topic but to the fellow stats nerds out there (I know you’re there because I’ve read your comments), have you read Stephen Jay Gould’s the Mismeasure of Man? He chronicles historical racist and sexist attitudes in science (from IQ testing, neoteny, to skull size) and then critiques the conclusions from a statistical perspective; there’s even a chapter on factor analysis! It’s lovely and I would highly recommend it.

Oh, that sounds fascinating. My reading list can currently be measured in parsecs but I may have to add that one.

DepressedCNS
DepressedCNS
4 years ago

@ Alan

Before we worry about variability first we’ll have to brainstorm the proper covariates; I recommend age, gender and floret size.

@ EJ

I really think it would be right up your alley (I may or may not have wasted several hours messing around with that reddit comment word frequency tool you posted a bit ago). The book is basically a synopsis of every MRA pseudo-scientific argument you’ve ever read, only from old academic geezers from the 1800’s instead of internet commenters. It was really eye-opening for me to read about the rampant racism and sexism from very prominent scientists (Paul Broca, WHY?). Even the attitude behind eugenics and IQ testing mirror current immigration debates in the US, despite being hundreds of years old. Stephen Jay Gould is most well known for coining the “Spandrel” effect term, a.k.a “why every evolutionary argument applied to social stratification is probably wrong”. He’s a great socially conscious scientist.