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Monday, December 21, 2015

Links - 21st December 2015

Saudi millionaire cleared of rape after claiming he fell and accidentally penetrated teenager
What we learn from this story: most people don't read/understand articles, especially those with provocative headlines. The contention is that she says he raped her with his penis, and he says he fell and his hand penetrated her vagina. He's cleared of rape - presumably because they didn't have sex. But the trial is still ongoing. Also for all the people alleging that money buys justice or that the judge has a Swiss bank account - this was a jury trial zzz

Star Wars porn sees 500% sales growth in two weeks

Who Has Abortions? - "Who has abortions? For most of human history, the answer was obvious: women have abortions. Girls have abortions. Not any more. People have abortions. Patients have abortions. Men have abortions. “We must acknowledge and come to terms with the implicit cissexism in assuming that only women have abortions,” wrote feminist activist Lauren Rankin in July 2013 in She went on to criticize as exclusionary slogans like “the War on Women” and “Stand with Texas Women”...  removing “women” from the language of abortion is a mistake. We can, and should, support trans men and other gender-non-conforming people. But we can do that without rendering invisible half of humanity and 99.999 percent of those who get pregnant...  “Most of the pressure [to shift language] comes from young people,” said one abortion-fund head I interviewed, whose fund, like many, has “Women” in its name. “The role of people in our generation is to give money and get out of the way.” (Like many of the people I interviewed for this column, she asked to remain anonymous)...  it feels as if abortion language is becoming a bit like French, where one man in a group of no matter how many women means “elles” becomes “ils”...  every year over 2,000 men get breast cancer and over 400 die, and no one is calling for “women” to be cut out of breast-cancer language so that men will feel more comfortable seeking treatment...  The real damage of abolishing “women” in abortion contexts, though, is to our political analysis. What happens to Dr. Tiller’s motto, “Trust Women”? There was a whole feminist philosophy expressed in those two words...  When the actress and feminist advocate Martha Plimpton organized an abortion-fund benefit lightheartedly named “Night of a Thousand Vaginas,” some activists were outraged, because some trans men don’t like that word (“birth canal” or “front hole” are favored alternatives to the V-word). Trans men should refer to their genitalia however they like, but it’s hard not to feel that there’s something seriously awry when women, who only got to call their genitals by the proper term in public a decade or so ago, are supposed to stop naming them in order to avoid offense.  Most people who support dropping “women”-specific language are feminists (although maybe they won’t call themselves that for long, given that “feminism” itself comes from the Latin for “woman”). They point to their use of words like “misogyny” and “patriarchy” as evidence that they understand female oppression by men is central to their analysis. But a feminism that can’t say “women”—or “vagina” or “sisterhood” or even the cutesy “ladyparts”— is cutting the ground from under itself...  In an era where politics is all about identity, as a tool for organizing and claiming public space, are women about to lose theirs? Because after all we’re all just people now"
How long does it take for a movement to implode?

Does Talking About ‘Women’ Exclude Transgender People From the Fight for Abortion Rights? - "women know that “women’s clinic,” “women’s health,” and so on are code for “abortion.” That’s how they find services. That’s why many abortion funds have “women” not just in their messaging but in their name...  “women” reminds us that the denial of reproductive rights to women is political: It’s about the control of women’s sexuality by church, state, and (yes) men, individually and collectively, in order to confine them to lesser, subordinate roles. The use of the word “women” is a call for solidarity and mutual compassion among women—something we could use a lot more of. It also humanizes the abortion patient to the public. A recent Vox survey found that 28 percent of respondents agreed that “abortion should be legal in almost all cases.” But 37 percent agreed that “women should have a legal right to safe and accessible abortion in almost all cases.” That’s a 9 percent jump gained simply by including the word “women.” Most people understand that “Black Lives Matter” does not exclude Latinos or other victims of police brutality who are targeted because of race. Why is “Trust Women” or “Stand With Texas Women” or “women’s rights” exclusionary?"

The Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism - "radical feminists now find themselves in a position that few would have imagined when the conflict began: shunned as reactionaries on the wrong side of a sexual-rights issue. It is, to them, a baffling political inversion... Abusive posts proliferated on Twitter and, especially, Tumblr. One read, “/kill/terfs 2K14.” Another suggested, “how about ‘slowly and horrendously murder terfs in saw-like torture machines and contraptions’ 2K14.” A young blogger holding a knife posted a selfie with the caption “Fetch me a terf.” Such threats have become so common that radical-feminist Web sites have taken to cataloguing them. “It’s aggrieved entitlement,” Lierre Keith told me. “They are so angry that we will not see them as women”... a person born with male privilege can no more shed it through surgery than a white person can claim an African-American identity simply by darkening his or her skin... Heath Atom Russell gave the closing talk. A stocky woman, with curly turquoise hair and a bluish stubble shadow on her cheeks, she wore a T-shirt that read “I Survived Testosterone Poisoning.” At twenty-five, she is a “detransitioner,” a person who once identified as transgender but no longer does. (Expert estimates of the number of transitioners who abandon their new gender range from fewer than one per cent to as many as five per cent.) Russell, a lesbian who grew up in a conservative Baptist family in Southern California, began transitioning to male as a student at Humboldt State University, and was embraced by gender-rights groups on campus. She started taking hormones and changed her name. Then, in her senior year, she discovered “Unpacking Queer Politics” (2003), by Sheila Jeffreys, which critiques female-to-male transsexualism as capitulation to misogyny... Jeffreys calls detransitioners like Russell “survivors,” and cites them as evidence that transgenderism isn’t immutable and thus doesn’t warrant radical medical intervention. (She considers gender-reassignment surgery a form of mutilation.) “The phenomenon of regret undermines the idea that there exists a particular kind of person who is genuinely and essentially transgender and can be identified accurately by psychiatrists,” she writes. “It is radically destabilising to the transgender project.” She cites as further evidence the case of Bradley Cooper, who, in 2011, at the age of seventeen, became Britain’s youngest gender-reassignment patient, then publicly regretted his transition the next year and returned to living as a boy"

Jon Ronson: When online shaming spirals out of control | TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript | - "this was a unique moment when the beautiful naivety of Twitter was hitting the increasingly horrific reality... "Jonah Lehrer has not proven that he is capable of feeling shame." That one must have been written by the best psychiatrist ever, to know that about such a tiny figure behind a lectern. And, "Jonah Lehrer is just a frigging sociopath." That last word is a very human thing to do, to dehumanize the people we hurt. It's because we want to destroy people but not feel bad about it. Imagine if this was an actual court, and the accused was in the dark, begging for another chance, and the jury was yelling out, "Bored! Sociopath!"... Power shifts fast. We were getting Jonah because he was perceived to have misused his privilege, but Jonah was on the floor then, and we were still kicking, and congratulating ourselves for punching up. And it began to feel weird and empty when there wasn't a powerful person who had misused their privilege that we could get. A day without a shaming began to feel like a day picking fingernails and treading water... another woman on Twitter that night, a New Statesman writer Helen Lewis, she reviewed my book on public shaming and wrote that she Tweeted that night, "I'm not sure that her joke was intended to be racist," and she said straightaway she got a fury of Tweets saying, "Well, you're just a privileged bitch, too." And so to her shame, she wrote, she shut up and watched as Justine's life got torn apart... Google made somewhere between 120,000 dollars and 468,000 dollars from Justine's annihilation, whereas those of us doing the actual shaming -- we got nothing. We were like unpaid shaming interns for Google... We were all so excited about destroying Justine, and our shaming brains are so simple-minded, that we couldn't also handle destroying somebody who was inappropriately destroying Justine... Twitter is basically a mutual approval machine. We surround ourselves with people who feel the same way we do, and we approve each other, and that's a really good feeling. And if somebody gets in the way, we screen them out. And do you know what that's the opposite of? It's the opposite of democracy. We wanted to show that we cared about people dying of AIDS in Africa. Our desire to be seen to be compassionate is what led us to commit this profoundly un-compassionate act... the phrase "misuse of privilege" is becoming a free pass to tear apart pretty much anybody we choose to. It's becoming a devalued term, and it's making us lose our capacity for empathy and for distinguishing between serious and unserious transgressions... back on the early days of Twitter, when people would admit shameful secrets about themselves, and other people would say, "Oh my God, I'm exactly the same." These days, the hunt is on for people's shameful secrets. You can lead a good, ethical life, but some bad phraseology in a Tweet can overwhelm it all, become a clue to your secret inner evil. Maybe there's two types of people in the world: those people who favor humans over ideology, and those people who favor ideology over humans. I favor humans over ideology, but right now, the ideologues are winning, and they're creating a stage for constant artificial high dramas where everybody's either a magnificent hero or a sickening villain, even though we know that's not true about our fellow humans. What's true is that we are clever and stupid; what's true is that we're grey areas. The great thing about social media was how it gave a voice to voiceless people, but we're now creating a surveillance society, where the smartest way to survive is to go back to being voiceless... for 30 years I've been writing stories about abuses of power, and when I say the powerful people over there in the military, or in the pharmaceutical industry, everybody applauds me. As soon as I say, "We are the powerful people abusing our power now," I get people saying, "Well you must be a racist too.
BG: So the other night -- yesterday -- we were at dinner, and there were two discussions going on. On one side you were talking with people around the table -- and that was a nice, constructive discussion. On the other, every time you turned to your phone, there is this deluge of insults."

I Once Had A Feminist Tell Me - ""I once had a feminist tell me that it was rude to disagree/rebuke a "bathing in male tears" post."
"I had another feminist tell me I was stupid and rude for implying that not all white people are bad and telling them I have black friends."
"Using feminism’s past achievements to imply that the movement’s above reproach is like if I were to use the Roman alphabet, bound books, the modern Gregorian calendar (which is based on the Julian calendar) and the concept of government welfare programs to excuse the tyranny and wartime atrocities of the Roman Empire."
"I once had a feminist tell me that feminism doesn't hurt men, but then the same feminist went on to make fun of men in very demeaning ways."
"I once had a feminist tell me that not enough stories (books, movies, etc.) had female protagonists. I told her about the books I was writing, starring female cops and graffiti artists and the like. Her reply was that since I'm not female, I'm not allowed to write female characters."
"I once had a feminist tell me that the reason why men don’t have more birth control options is because the pharmaceutical industry was controlled by men."
"I once had a feminist tell me that I was a "naive idiot" because I told her that calling people names, silencing, and cussing didn't strengthen her argument."
"I’ve more than once had a feminist belittle me in class for not being on board with feminism, and constantly says things like “What about the sisterhood?” and “I’ll make you a feminist one day.” This feminist is my sociology lecturer at college."
"I once had a feminist tell me that I was a pathetic whiny man because I said we needed more abuse recovery centers for men. (I am a cisgender female)"
Naturally, this is (supposedly) "not representative"
If the Everyday Sexism project shows that women face sexism every day does this show that feminists are crazy?

The 5 Most Depraved Sex Scenes Implied by 'Harry Potter'
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