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Friday, November 06, 2015

YAPFC (Yet Another Pointless Feminist Conversation)


This is sexist and exploits women: *Matt Taylor of Rosetta Comet Shirtstorm fame*
This does not: *Kim Kardashian's "Break the Internet" picture*

A: What the hell are you talking about? When the kim kardashian photographs came out there were hefty discussions about how it was a) sexist b) exploitative c) employed a racist trope. Using basic and ignorant memes to try to suggest there is some hypocrisy going on here only reinforces your utter ignorance. If you want to discuss these issues, have a conversation. Like a woman.

Also, B, when you reduce the struggles of women to a childish skirmish in which you assume all we do is bicker about sexism - as opposed to experience it in many violent, degrading, and often life threatening ways, you flatten and deny women their experiences of misogyny.

Me: Some research confirms that there was only the mildest of titterings about Kk. Whereas Taylor got a huge shit storm after being bullied by feminists.

Jezebel on kk:

Update: ​Kim Kardashian's Glistening Ass Did Not Break the Internet

Spoiler: it didn't criticise her at all

A: Ah, yes, research. Where you post a single anecdotal article to back up your already predetermined point. Good job.

The Big Problem With Kim Kardashian's Butt Photos Nobody Is Talking About

Kim Kardashian doesn’t realize she’s the butt of an old racial joke | theGrio

Kardashian photo plays off controversial black imagery

Of course, the fact that you pose the two episodes as a parallel comparison in the first place is laughable.

Me: It is indeed laughable because they are totally different and it expose feminist hypocrisy and sexism

One person wears a funky t-shirt which just happens to have women in bikinis on it, and the other contributes to the objectification of women with her naked image

As previously mentioned, "Some research confirms that there was only the mildest of titterings about Kk. Whereas Taylor got a huge shit storm after being bullied by feminists."

As observers noted at the time:

#Shirtstorm | EOInternational

"take Kim Kardashian’s picture featuring a photoshopped version of her gluttius maximus titled “Break the Internet.” None of these blatant onslaughts on people’s image of women attracted significant retaliation from feminists, nor did they lead to an apology from the oppressors"

From a feminist:

Matt Taylor and Kim Kardashian: The two sides of the sexist coinBy Archish Mazumdar

"on the day of possibly his greatest professional triumph this genius of a man was left weeping on national television. No, not for the overwhelming sense of achievement but for the fact that he was made to feel, he had sinned. He was overcome with guilt and shame for wearing what some people decided was an “inappropriate” shirt on television... Is it not us “feminists” that protest for women to be able to wear anything that they might choose? Why is it then that there is such a blatant case of double standards? On the other hand there is Kim Kardashian- a heroine and even an idol to some- deciding to bare all in her effort to garner publicity, to break the internet as some claim. No one seeks to engulf her in a tweetstorm of rage"

# Les limites du sexisme et du féminisme | okcowboy

"Donc au moment où Matt Taylor était accusé de sexisme et de vulgarité, Kim Kardashian, au sommet de sa gloire elle aussi, offrait une vision pure, artistique et probablement raffinée de la femme."

Dr Matt Taylor’s shirt made me cry, too – with rage at his abusers

"It’s the hypocrisy of it all that irritates me. Here is Kim Kardashian – a heroine and idol to some members of my family – deciding to bust out all over the place, and good for her. No one seeks to engulf her in a tweetstorm of rage. But why is she held to be noble and pure, while Dr Taylor is attacked for being vulgar and tasteless?"

In defence of Rosetta mission scientist Dr Matt Taylor and his controversial shirt

"in week where the biggest story on the planet was a picture of Kim Kardashian’s glistening naked arse with a f*cking champagne coupe balanced on it, I’d suggest that if we want to talk about harmful depictions of women, that should be our jumping off point."

All the sources are in agreement: the reaction to Matt Taylor dwarfed that to Kim K (inasmuch as there was any reaction at all).

Plus, I didn't see Kim K breaking down in tears after confessing on TV to having harmed women.

A: Right. I'm not disagreeing that Internet bullying over something like Matt Taylor's shirt is ridiculous. Neither am I disagreeing that the response to kim kardashian could have provoked a more robust debate. But you could draw multiple conclusions from this: 1) internet shaming goes overboard and doesn't produce productive discussions with people who might do troubling things; Matt Taylor may not have been right, but he did not deserve the lashing out he received. 2) there are inconsistencies with the way we apply feminist critique. kk's pictures deserve more attention because they represent the self exploitation of a woman who agrees to participate in a racist portrayal of her body. This is a problem. We should talk about it. And then there is the conclusion I can only assume you are drawing, which is 3) women should shame women for their self-exploitation as much as they shame men. If they don't, then not only are they hypocrites as individuals, but ALL OF FEMINISM is hypocritical and bullshit

Look dude, the fact that you use this comparison as the primary example of the problems of feminism, as opposed to trying to understand the long history of women's struggles and women's critique, shows that you know very little about what feminism is - the way it has, as a school of thought, as a site for political struggles, spanned from thinking about the exploitation of women's work to exposing femicides and sexual violence.. I could go on but you do not seem like the sort of person who wants to actually do your homework and read some feminist theory.

So if you're actually interested in a discussion that doesn't already confirm your ideological position, let me know and I can suggest a few books. I'm also tagging in C here (if he can see this) because he's an ally, and it gets really tiring for women to have to call men out every time they say something problematic on Facebook. I doubt this is the place for an engaged conversation on this stuff, and minds rarely ever change over fb threads. So I'm out.

Me: The problem with 1: why was Matt Taylor shamed but not KK?

2 isn't that different from 3

For 3, the Jedi Mind Trick is that feminism is "monolithic enough to praise but not monolithic enough to criticize."

And I don't know why feminists always assume that I don't know enough about feminism. There're so many problems with feminism that I can (and have) written long essays about them. I just don't launch into a critique of theory all the time, because it is not appropriate. Besides which most self-identified feminists do not invoke theory when they do their feminising

I also don't see what "the long history of women's struggles and women's critique" has to do with problematising modern day feminism. If 99% of black people are convicted by a court but 1% of white people are, you don't need to know Foucault to suspect that there is something going wrong here

You certainly are right that people don't change their minds. Feminists always assume that people who disagree with them don't know enough.

A: ^what you are problematizing is a tiny portion of internet age cyber feminism, which I often find superficial, thin, and not sufficiently rooted in ongoing women's struggles around the world. My problem is that you, by taking the Taylor/kk comparison to be exemplary of feminism, woefully ignore and miss out on what feminists movements are and have been doing around the world. We don't disagree that the Taylor response was ridiculous, nor that kk's photos required more calling out. What we do disagree on is the extent to which that allows us to draw conclusions about whether feminism is worth taking Seriously. You generalize from a small portion of the way -some- forms of feminist media is problematic to suggest -all- feminism is hypocritical. I am making a plea that you do some work to understand how multiple other forms of modern day, ongoing feminist movements may actually provide the same critique that you might, but then use it to ask how we can do this better. Or ask how this might take attention away from more serious struggles.

Indigenous women are going missing in Canada, rates of domestic violence and still shockingly high in the global north, and instead of asking why and how these are serious problems that threaten women's lives, You're interested in tearing feminism down as a whole. This throws the baby out with the bath water. I'm interested in building women up. Making the world a possible place for women to live without fear or subjugation. Doing so requires a more careful understanding of what feminism entails in its varied forms.

Me: Given that this is a mass movement, I don't think it makes sense to dismiss it as "a tiny portion of internet age cyber feminism". In fact it might have more claim to authenticity than feminist activists who work in other areas.

And oh, non "internet age cyber feminism" is problematic too

For example, feminist NGOs are trying to lobby for the rape of men to be ignored - since it will divert attention from the women

The rape of men: the darkest secret of war | Society | The Guardian

Also related to war, the deaths of male civilians in war is ignored, because everyone is focusing on women and children Innocent Women And Children: Gender, Norms And the Protection of Civilians (Gender in a Global/Local World) (Gender in a Global/Local World) (9780754647454): R. Charli Carpenter: Books

Feminists claim that only 2% of rape reports are false, but this figure is fabricated

"The Truth behind Legal Dominance Feminism's Two Percent False Rape Cla" by Edward Greer

At the same time they are using voodoo statistics to make it seem like the conviction rate for rape is low

Rape conviction rate figures 'misleading' - Telegraph

Meanwhile in Israel feminist groups lobbied for the law not to be changed so men could be raped

Women’s groups: Cancel law charging women with rape! - Israel - Jerusalem Post

And discourses on genital cutting of both genders is extremely problematic

Genital Cutting and Western Discourses on Sexuality

NOW claims that the gender wage gap is huge, though many researchers have shown that once you correct for various variables it's tiny
Gender Wage Gap May Be Much Smaller Than Most Think

We also have the White Ribbon Campaign which urges men to end violence against women - ignoring the fact that almost half of domestic violence victims are men

More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male, report reveals | Society | The Guardian

Closer to home AWARE (the official feminist group) wastes its time complaining about vodka promotions and army marching songs

As Hanna Rosin puts it, "The closer women get to real power, the more they cling to the idea that they are powerless"

The end of men: Why feminists won’t accept that things are looking up for women.

A: Omg you know what Gabriel you are like totally right, MEN ARE UNDER ATTACK! I am also sorry for my idiocy, after all I am a woman. Giggles and flips my hair.

I could give you counter arguments for every single one of your slanted, misguided, mis characterizations of women's movements. Many feminists talk about men's rape and see it as a real problem. But since it has Become clearer to me now more than ever that your project is not justice nor subtlety, my last response is going to be a very polite fuck you.

Me: So much for changing minds with evidence.

B: A that wasnt very polite either. I think we can have a discussion without all that vitriol. Yes, by all means present your counter arguments then - be you female or male, or whatever you consider yourself. Remember that you did engage first by posting on my post. besides, i dont think (i cant speak for gabe) that you are an idiot (i would have ignored you if you were) - you are opinionated for sure - remember how you told me to shove it and fuck you scientists when i said homosexual was the most neutral term (you insisted on lesbians and gays), you didnt seem very much interested in debating it. dare i even say that it borders on militancy? oh and when i tried to ask you our for dinner to further discuss this you replied along the lines of 'dont get me wrong i have a man i love very much ' (what was that about).

and where did all that 'giggles and flips my hair' even come from!?

C: With all due respect to all the strangers I don't know, I think A started out very patient and in good faith. Having been in her position before, I'm fairly sure I'd just have given up much earlier.

As one of those "self-identified feminists who do not invoke theory", I think whatever can be said artificial gender constructs and the impact they have on the lives of individuals has been said by/to most of the participants in the conversation. (In some cases, I'm factoring in prior conversations.) No one's going to change their mind here because people are standing on two sides of the privilege line, and that line makes the other side very hazy indeed. So I'm not even going to bother checking this after I make this "dump, wipe and leave post".

As for where did 'giggles and flips hair' come from? It came from the insistence that feminists either are fabricating a problem that doesn't really exist, just to have a cause, or simply don't know what they're talking about and have got things all wrong. Both dismiss the realities that women are living with and basically say "it's okay honey, you don't know any better".

Me: So basically feminists are infallible when talking to non feminists

And the "reality of lived experience" is more important than objective data

Now I have a dilemma

Do I consider A and countless other feminists who have reacted similarly members of the "tiny portion of internet age cyber feminism" (and thus insult them) or do I consider them part of feminism as a whole (and thus condemn feminism)?

Sadly A doesn't have the opportunity to reply since she has blocked me.


One defence response when the facts accumulate and cause cognitive dissonance is to curse "fuck you" and block the source.

As a good Bayesian I'm always open to new data to revise my priors.

But at some point you don't need new data.

If virtually all those who openly identify with feminism are irrational, intolerant and rude, should one really expect the next one to come along to suddenly be rational, tolerant and polite?
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