They’re like the Musketeers if instead of famous swordsmen they were guys with douchebeards who thought Austin Powers was a How-to guide on how to pick up women.
*In the Sadly, No! commentariat, there is a long standing meme that when dealing with wingnut articles, it is always best to stay on the boat of the site instead of venturing out for the rotten mangos of the original posts of the nutjobs and psychotics. We here go into that depth of that insanity and bring it all back. Welcome to Mangotime!
Today’s example is shameless nutpicking and so should be read as such. It is an old post by a person on a Pick-up Artist Forum and it received absolutely no attention from the other bottom feeders and that’s since it was originally posted in March of this year.
So why pick it for a complete ripping apart? Because Pick-up Artistry is a really sad and abusive system. Not so much for the women. I mean, it sucks dealing with douchebags who are intentionally douchebags playing off social niceties in order to trap you like a rapist, but it’s more a crime against the men who get sucked up into the world.
Pick-up Artistry is all about selling men a “manly” means of getting “pussy” that sells to lonely or insecure men the fantasy of a suave “player” persona that once they master the art of making themselves a worse person, that they will be getting laid every which way.
When it doesn’t work (because the techniques make you the type of douchebag that many women have learned to stay far away from), you double down on more techniques, being trained to blame it on “cockblockers” (i.e. non-targets who tell you you’re being a douchebag and need to lay off) or “stuck-up bitches” (i.e. targets who refuse to be wowed by the “guaranteed tactics” of being a giant douchebag to her face), because you’re lonely and you are even in more need of a “technique” to have faith in to end the loneliness. When it does work (i.e. when a woman would have slept with the person based on mutual chemistry or appearance), it’s used to justify the “Game” and the techniques and erase all the times it failed, even though the assholic and inherently disingenuous methods make impossible any transition from “prey” to long-term sex or relationship partner and limit what could have been the start of something before you revealed yourself to be an asshole. Not to mention that sex with a partner you’ve inherently trained yourself to view as lesser than you will always feel worse than with someone you view as a mutual partner you are exploring with together.
And since what attracted them to the program is often harder loneliness than “I want to get laid”, they end up getting more and more committed to being worse and worse people because they’re always still lonely even if the techniques occassionally don’t fuck up a hook-up that was already going to happen.
What the programs do offer is homosocial support, and that’s the carrot of the situation. That you will have “bros” who will support you when you make yourself emotionally vulnerable, by demanding you give up any emotional vulnerability thus making relationships and most good sex impossible but getting in return assurances from other men that you are “manlier” than “beta males” as long as you keep fronting your successes as if they were real.
In short, it’s entirely a high school comedy made real where a circle of virgins brag about the earliest and most porntastic way they lost their virginity in order to score points with the other virgins in the circle, each feeling shamed for not being as “successful” and thus more desperate for a “guaranteed technique” to get laid.
But I’ve given enough intro. Let’s jump into our mango:
“How would you game an Asexual?”
Is that like one of those zen riddles? What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is the sound of a handless man fapping?
This thought was born after a friend of mine told me her best friend was asexual and I shouldn’t even try anything.
Respecting orientations is for fags. If he was manly enough then lesbians and asexuals would just be all up on his cock.
Haha fuck that! I’m doing this in the name of Gaming Research! xD
How would the game work on a HB with a low sexual drive?
That’s what I wanna find out.
He has this annoying habit of making every
I’m quoting it here to demonstrate it and will condense them back down in future paragraphs. Also, I’d like to see the Experiment Notes.
Day 25, Balls still blue. Apparently sexual orientations don’t mean should be ignored suggestions.
Though I personally don’t believe I’m experienced enough yet to make this 100 % fair to the Game.
Ah see here the way that the suckers who get sucked into the PUA world learn to self-justify the failures. It’s okay if they didn’t work, it’s not the programs fault, I’m just not good enough yet. After all, Douchey McNeckBeard says it’s guaranteed and if I can’t trust random douchebags who can I trust?
Don’t make me laugh.
But you guys will help me with that So a lil back story: It all really started last year. I had a gig with my band. And when we were backstage I loudly talked about The Game as I had recently discovered it.
Some circles of male friends are douchey enough to be impressed by it. Others smirk at you and laugh at how many more women the bassist is dating by being a strong feminist and being active in the kink scene. Sadly without self-awareness on the part of this man, we’ll never know what this Schroedinger’s Band contains.
I said a pretty stupid thing on my way out to soundcheck, and she heard it. I said “It’s basicly how you fuck a chick in 7 hours” That’s not at all what the game is, I know. But my slow friends didn’t get it so I dumbed it down a lot.
Ah, so it’s the latter. Yes, “not get it”, openly disagree, note the inherent flaws of, notice that this is the person who already isn’t getting laid, such similar concepts. And yeah, I have a lesbian friend who somehow fell into this pit of vipers and she also complains about how we “don’t get it” when we note what a giant bag of fail PUA is and has been for her.
But HB9 was sitting outside when I walked out of the door and said it pretty load and I think she heard. And I thought to myself: “haha fuck, I guess I wont be gaming her anytime soon”
HB9 stands for Hot Blonde 9. See, in the PUA world, the way to get women to like you is to reduce them to numbers and objects. As such, women are ranked from 1-10 in terms of attractiveness (would the man rank himself honestly or be okay with a woman creating a similar ranking system and seeing himself fall crater like to the bottom? Oh hell no, but that’s patriarchy for you) and also reduced to things like hair color. Because if you want to get together with someone, all that really matters is the color of the hair you plan on pulling and how hot the tits you plan on slapping are. And since you apparently get all of your sex advice from pornography and douchebags who think women are numbers and have been trained never to listen to what a woman says she actually wants, I imagine that even if you got a woman into bed, you’d find out damn quick how quickly that was cancelled.
Didn’t really talk to her. But I did find out that she was friends with the person who got us the gig. This person is now a friend of mine and the manager of my band. So through her lately I’ve been spending more time with HB9.
Pissing off the manager of your band and the only person to have pity on your talentless cover band to try to prove that the game can overcome sexuality in pursuing her best friend?
Brilliant business decision.
But no seriously, Pick-up Artistry fucks up people’s lives like this.
We met 2 times after that first gig, where I barely spoke to her at all. But now these 2 last times I started talking to her more. First one was before/after another gig I had. But it was on our way home where I tried to make her open up. Was quite hard actually. I went home with 2 other friends from my class who came to see the gig so I talked with them also. I tried to get her to comment on stuff, and I asked her a few things and I said that she would do something random when she got home
She seems completely not interested in my presence and only tolerating my douche ass because her best friend is directly connected to your less douchey band and this is a way to see her and support her.
Of course, she hasn’t learned to hate all men yet, so can we fix that?
And she said “no i wont do that” and it made her laugh. During the way home I noticed her laugh at what I said and my friends but she was very reserved.
Nervous laughter, feeling less safe, hoping that the man will get the hint?
Bah, why would he notice any of that, he got a laugh reaction, now it was time to bring the hammer down.
She didn’t know us so well so I can understand that. But I wanted to chagne that so I talked to her more and got her to talk and eventually she was talking as much as we were.
Woman not into you? Stalking solves everything. They will truly now what you are about if you keep trying to dominate her space and reveal every nasty mole of your character until she starts researching how restraining orders work. It’s a PUA guaranteed technique.
Seriously though, this is one of the biggies on how PUA techniques make you a worse person. A lot of it is about exploiting social niceties (i.e. when you are talking to someone or they are talking to you it is rude to simply tell them off or call them a dickbag, especially if you are a woman). So when someone tries not to be rude to you and gives you a pity laugh and starts looking for their friends or tries to move away from the person or show disinterest in the conversation, the PUA is urged to dominate the conversation or the space or try and loudly make themselves a constant presence around the woman so that they do not feel they have an escape route. So the woman either is forced to be rude (and thus be a bitch proving the inferiority of the female sex) or politely tolerate the douchebag until she can be rescued by friends that pick up on the subconscious distress (and thus prove that she was totally in his power and that PUA techniques work).
Worst of all, the techniques often stress pressing hard on consent until it becomes non-consent, asking men to ignore deliberate statements and look for “subconscious signs she wants you” that are more based in social niceties and to otherwise try and isolate a woman where she feels less safe to say no and more pressured to just go along with things to make the person go away. This naturally leads to both rape by manipulation and rape by opportunity when things like “she didn’t say no” or “she implied consent when she got drunk at the party after flirting with me” come into play.
And any system that makes anybody less respectful of consent and more exploitative of other people’s good natures is a system designed to make one a particularly vile type of sociopath. And that’s the big problem. How it takes people who are simply privileged and turns them into sociopathic dangers women actually have to develop a self-defense system to and that’s no fun for anyone trying to have a dating scene/hook-up scene that’s actually worth a damn (and why bars with a PUA infestation tend to become guy bars pretty damn fast).
And I hugged her goodbye when her train came and went home with ma buddy. The first thing he said to me when she got on the train was “Man she was hot! I had difficulties not staring!” and we laughed.
This is who PUA is for. Not for the ladies, not even for the man who is lonely. It’s so the PUA can bond with that one douchey friend and be raised in their esteem. And we all know who that one douchey friend is. They’re the ones who every time someone in the friend circle gets into a long-term relationship makes constant jokes about the person being “whipped” and “was being made her bitch”. The ones who constantly ask creepy questions about what it is like to be fucking their girlfriends. The ones who call anyone who is in a relationship a fag pansy who’s lost their balls and constantly berate their fellow members for not being enough of a man.
You know, the eternal virgin who is going to come out as gay in 10 years? Yeah, well, thanks to male social conditioning, that one guy has a lot of power in any friend circle and can be a strong incentive for a man to start really upping the douchery around their main partner so that they won’t lose the respect of a douchebag.
Ah well, at least they’ll have each other to cuddle next to and yell “no homo” at.
The second time was yesterday at this other gig I had. I noticed her in the crowd when I was getting ready on stage and I made a little nod with my head to say hello and continued with what I was doing. It was a fun gig and I think being on stage with my band served as a DHV and that I help with the screams this time might have added some DHV as well.
DHV is a PUA term meaning “Demonstration of Higher Value”. You may know it better as “that thing a douchebag shows off to demonstrate they have a small penis and are over-compensating. Such as an SUV, fast sports car, or in this case a band who is actively planning to replace a certain member as soon as they find a replacement.
Remember, PUA is an equal-opportunity program. It dehumanizes men and women alike.
After the gig she walked past me to go up to the second floor and gave me thumbs up. I went up later and spent some time with the band and our friends She was sitting at this table with our manager and drinking some beer and
She showed basic courtesy and hung out with her best friend who is probably the only person she really knows at the bar? Why doesn’t she just drop her panties like the slut she is?
I stood there a little behind her.
Not at all creepy.
Hello, little girl, your hair smells nice.
Not creepy at all.
I was just relaxing and not really talking to anyone when she opened me with “You look happy and lively”
Polite small talk? My words, if there wasn’t a stronger sign that she wanted to suck your cock, I have never heard of it. Go man! Fly like a proud eagle cock first down her throat!
I take that as an IOI. I answered. Don’t remember what I said though. But not much time after that I decided to start Gaming.
Oh my fucking Bob in Himmel, I was joking!
And for those of you not fluent in douchebag, IOI means indicator of interest. If you turn everything into a TLA then everything is 5 by 5 and official sounding as if there was some actual science and gravitas to the proceeding rather than a bunch of douchebags trying to make stalker/rapist tactics seem legitimate.
There was a girl standing next to me aswell. So I started talking to her and slightly turning my back on HB9. I made her laugh and I DHV’D quite well. I noticed HB9 laughing also, I was talking pretty loud. It was my intent for her to hear what I said. I then suddenly remembered a trick with a pen I had learned from something the other girl said, so I asked if she had a pen. She did, I then showed her the trick and asked if she could do it from only seeing me do it. It looks easy when you observe, but when you try it yourself it’s really hard!
She was laughing in my presence, possibly at my obvious lameness and the fact that I was talking to a chick really loudly while occassionally pointedly looking back at her like some 9 year old throwing a passive-aggressive tantrum.
And yes, why would you throw this douche away, he’s part of a band and he knows a single magic trick. Why he’s shown absolutely no negatives other than being a massive tool who thinks he’s god’s gift to women now that he’s mastered the art of being a dick (with acronyms!).
I decided to turn around and make HB9 try I aswell.
Do it! Or else you get the hose again!
Oh, PUAs, how you wonder why “uppity women” look on you with the same fondness they would have for serial killers.
After that I ran the ESP gambit(other girl), 5 Lies game (HB9), “How many 9’s between 1-100” (both) Kino Gambit (both)
This is just sad. This is how deep in the hole he is. He’s not getting laid, but he’s learned so much of the Douche Lingo, that he’s rattling it off like a pro. This is a man slipping down in the spiral and unaware of what’s going on. By the reactions of those around him, his band, his manager friend, the asexual woman, and a number of others around him are aware of the self-destructive system but haven’t felt like wrestling with the beast to really try and get him to wake up.
This is a man who is being trained to be bitter as his “cool factor” fades and the women become less and less willing to give him social niceties because of the few non-douchey connections he hasn’t scared away yet. And I doubt any of his friends could save him out of it, because only PUA techniques will give him what he needs, at least that’s what he’s convinced himself.
But this is a humor deconstruction, so let’s consult the douche to human dictionary to see what he said.
ESP Gambit- A party trick where you “guess a number” in someone’s head between 1-10 and it being either 3 or 7. This will usually give you polite laughter especially if the person has been drinking and to the PUA, laughter might as well be a request for the PUA to rape you the next time you need to go pee.
5 lies game- Oh boy, how to explain the dumbassery in this one. You bet a girl a drink to play a “5 lies game” where everything they respond needs to be a lie. So you ask some questions and then ask “how many questions did I ask” or “have you played this before”. Basically, the less interested the person is, the less likely to put up with it and thus the more likely you can claim you “won the bet” asking them to buy you a drink and thus demand more of their time as they wait for the bartender to give them their drink or as they argue with the douchebag that they never agreed to the bet. So it sets up a debate in the woman over if it’s worth it to try and argue with a dangerous idiot and risk them turning violent, obsessive, or just dominating your time arguing about a stupid thing and thus blocking your ability to enjoy your night out or to just give in, give him the drink and hope he’ll go away but thus giving him an “in” to monopolize more of your time, because “you showed interest”.
If you think these “techniques” seem to be arguing that a woman should never speak to a man at a bar they don’t want to talk to just in case they decide they want to monopolize and ruin their entire evening. Well, then ding ding ding, you’ve won our grand prize.
This naturally sets up rants about the “stuck-up bitches at the clubs” “who think they’re better than men” and “need to be taught a lesson”.
This is how PUAs simultaneously make nights-out less fun for everyone while also turning the PUA into a worse person who blames women for all their problems.
But we’re not done with the dictionary.
How many 9’s between 1-100- I bet you never knew that puzzle book trick-questions could be weaponized did you? Yeah, same deal as before. Make a stupid bet, make them decide if it’s worth debating with a moron instead of getting back to their evening. Ask a question designed to lead to a 10 answer rather than a 20 answer especially if it’s loud and you’ve been drinking. Pout if they get it right, but turn that into a sign of interest because they cared enough to pay attention to you. If you think these are the tactics of a 5 year old demanding the family pay attention to them more and threatening to cry if the answer is “mommy’s busy trying to keep your daddy from bleeding out”, then congratulations, you’re smarter than any of the people who got sucked into this system. And yeah, all of them are designed as “win-wins” if the “win-win” is they are forced to spend more time in your presence absorbing just how much of a collosal tool you are.
Kino Gambit- And here’s where we move from dumb party tricks to the actual rape level stuff. Basically, kino gambit and kino in general means unwanted touching. It’s where you touch a woman without them giving consent and if they don’t fight back, you escalate until you are pawing their breasts in public. If they do react and fight back, then publicly chide them for being a crazy bitch and go back to publicly molesting them at a later time. There’s no getting around this one. It’s a fucking rape technique at best, and public molestation at worst. I’m sure the person who publicly molested me (I froze at the time) was just Kino gambiting to the point where he was rubbing himself against my leg (I had no idea what was going on at the time, but my friends seemed to think it was okay, so…yeah, I was an idiot, but I didn’t receive the same training most women go through at adolescence to passively escape and signal escape and so was mostly left confused).
And no, it’s not designed to do jack shit other than freeze a woman who isn’t used to being publicly molested in front of her friends. Like think about the logic of this man here. How was touching her, hell, touching this random woman he wasn’t even interested in, going to make this asexual want him. Ooh, the way you put your hand on her thigh even though she’s trying to slide away and she never gave you consent is making me panties melt with the sheer power of how wet I am?
Fuck no, it’s about establishing dominance and the unstated threat that shit can escalate in a nasty direction if she puts up a fight.
And sadly, there’s nothing funny about that.
But since he luckily struck out as most PUAs do, let us laugh at the blue-balled wanna-be-rapist.
They laughed so much and it all went really smoothly. I felt good and the vibe was nice.
Yes, their nervous laughter and on guard body language told me I was in like flint.
Note to douchebags, this:
is not interest. Nor a “good vibe”. And that warm feeling in your gut is just booze, not top secret “she wants me” rays.
I continued talking to both but giving HB9 a little more attention now. I had kino’d her from the start, but escalated further. I remember when I first started kino was when I reached my hand over to take something. My hand brushed over her and she quickly withdrew her hand. But later on when I had continued with the kino touching her hand wasn’t a problem. She had something written on her wrist, so I took her wrist and asked her what it was. I noticed she wasn’t “giving” her wrist away 100 % but enough atleast. I negged her a few times. Had her friend sit in my lap while talking to her and making her laugh and being playful with small negs.
I’m trying to imagine this scenario and having it look anything like a combination of a molestation and the worst date of most people’s lives (this one’s still worse though).
So he starts molesting her from behind, touching and leaning all over her. Bitching at her constantly about not letting him paw all over her like a drunken buffoon and demanding to see the notes written on her wrist. Forcing his manager to sit on his lap and negging her (real world definition insulting, specifically in calculated ways to undermine self-esteem often with deniability of “I was only kidding” so that she’s the “bitch” if she raises a fuss).
I really don’t see how this wouldn’t end in her practically draping her panties over his head. Why for it not to work, women would have to be actual people rather than malfunctioning sexbots who feed on douchebaggery and the Neckbeard Quartet assured me that could never be the case.
That is… (duh duh DUH!!!) Unless we let the feminazis win!
After a few hours we were getting hungry so we left to find some food (not only HB9 and me, but about 5 others). On the way I was walking a bit from the group with her by my side. And we talked and the conversation was quite smooth. I noticed she was quite the talker after all. I was thinking about if I had recieved anymore IOI’s because I caught myself not even being aware if I got any.
Yes, the terrified woman planning to never again see her friend anywhere near the band she’s promoting did indeed “talk”, well around him, with the 5 others and while he’s been looking for any sign of laughter or anything he can interpret as an excuse to molest her further he can’t “remember any”. It’s almost like he’s terrified the soul right out of her and she’s quickly forgetting what joy even felt like.
I remembered that her pupils were dilated when she spoke to me. But that could easily be because of the dim light. I felt stupid for not watching out for IOI’s, I easily forget to do that. But I remembered her holding eye contact with me for long times. Even if we weren’t talking.
Oh my god, this is so horrible and I am so horrible for laughing at it.
I mean, it’s godawful. This is the most obvious visual sign for straight up, balls to the wall terror and he’s reporting it verbatim like “hey, maybe this was a sign she was interested in me, she was looking at me with wide fright-filled eyes to make sure I wasn’t going to try and sneak up behind her and molest her again, maybe that means she’ll fuck me.”
But I can’t stop laughing. He’s been so trained in this world of complete douchery that he can’t even recognize the most obvious of body language anymore. Even human concepts like fear pass him by, but no he’s going to prove that the Game can breach the sexuality barrier. Puh-leez.
I decided to stop talking to see if she would start the conversation again. She didn’t. But it felt more like she had already said everything on her mind and were struggling to come up with something to say.
She felt “please God let me go” would be too rude and she had long since learned that any small talk would just make the creepy guy more interested in her. So she’s been trained to respond to nothing. To sit there in utter fear, not responding to anything and giving as little possible human interaction as possible in the hopes that that would stop the asshole.
Geez, why must these bitches be all frigid and coy with their feelings, amirite douchebros? Hi-oh!
I asked a friend infront of us where we were heading. He answered and then looked back and said “Haha look at those two. They look so great together. You’d think they were a couple!” And the others agreed.
And then we all high-fived and they said I had a giant penis and get laid like 50 million times every night and then I rode off on a rocket ship to Mars, but it wasn’t a rocket ship it was Optimus Prime and he was giving me a blowjob, but not in a gay way and it was awesome! And totally happened.
I said “I doubt that” (was this the right response? Maybe I should’ve laughed while I said it.)
Is this a human moment?
Some last vestige of humanity struggling against the PUA brainwashing?
But then I grabbed her and pulled her towards me and held her a bit while we were walking like we were couple and made some silly sounds that made her laugh. Then I released.
And no points for guessing that both her hands were pushing hard against him as he was doing this.
Almost everything was closed. But we found one place, but only 2 in the group bought anything. So while we waited for their food I chatted with her and the others. And man, did I make them laugh. Watching a beautiful woman laugh so hard and you know it’s thanks to you sure does feel nice.
Then you’ve learned to take pleasure in the only pleasure you’ll ever bring women.
The joy of laughing at your immense and unsubtle douchebaggery.
Also, has any PUA anywhere acknowledged that getting drunk people to laugh has to be one of the 3 easiest things in the world to do. I’ve made a drunk person laugh simply by looking at them with a blank face. Ain’t fucking difficult.
After a while all of us went home, she and I took the same train, but only one station. And this time I said something like
She actually lived 10 stations away, but that one station was the longest station of her life and didn’t want to risk re-enacting a Japanese hentai.
Wait, he said something, didn’t he. Well, how bad could it b-
“I know what you’re going to when you get home! You’re going straight for your computer, then 4chan, then you’re going to search for nasty shit all night”
Also remember this is an asexual woman.
Words cannot even begin to sum up the douchery inherent in this sentence. So I’ll leave it up to the commenters. I’m counting on you people!
She laughed and said she would go straight for bed. Then I said something and hugged her goodbye. I barely had the time to finish my sentence before the train had arrived at the station.
Her night of horror thus complete, she retired to her bed, thankful to have escaped intact.
Immediately after I thought “Ah man! I should have given her a kiss on the cheek”
Keep it classy, douchebro.
Which I earlier that night had touched gently with the back of my hand, It was when we were “fightning”. It was very playful. I also flicked her off at some point. Flicking chicks off never fail to give me the reaction I want. It opens up for kino a lot!
Flicking off chicks is an opening for publicly groping them and otherwise unwantedly touching them?
What is the atmosphere like on your planet? Is it green? I’ve always wondered what a green sky would be like.
Also, I said keep it classy.
I’ve never tried flicking off someone i’ve never spoken to though. But I just flick them off with this kinda “Oh! did i just flick you off? I think i just did” expression on my face.
Well, that sold me. I’d fuck him. Flick me off my Romeo! Flick me off so well!
They usually respond like “You messing? Huh? come on I can take you” And then we “fight” and I can kino a lot.
And then she begged me to let her suck my cock, but I was “bitch, please, you’re only an 8” and then she said, “well what if I got my hot friend and we double teamed you” and I swear it was a true story Penthouse!
But about that kiss on her cheek. Should I give her one the next time we meet? Or will it maybe show to much interest of be bad in some way? I’ll continue with how it goes with HB9 in this thread in the future! Cya later!
Why wait, let’s look now!
Okay update time! I talked with my friend yesterday about HB9 and got to know some interesting things. One thing was that he thought that if i’d kiss her on the cheek she would never talk to me again and cut off all connections with the band.
Well, seeing as she was being razzed the entire evening to treat her light molestation as joshing between drunk acquaintances, yeah, I can see that. What with that continued escalation into “no shit he was trying to rape you” that being the only way she’d be able to call the dick off. Fuck, she’s being pretty well natured not doing that already after that metric fuckton of douchery.
I felt like that was to drastic. Even though I also learned that she has never been in a relationship or even kissed someone it would still be to drastic.
Shyeah! Drastic buzzkill dude! I mean just because I knew she was an asexual, monopolized her time with her best friend like a creepy stalker and have shown a strong willingness to escalate is no reason to try and escape my presence, brah! I bet she’s like a dyke or something!
He said we looked great together in the name of game btw. He didn’t really think so, but he’s natural gamer so I guess he knew that would be a good thing to say. He also told me that the best friend of HB9 was really surprised over the fact that HB9 was walking alone with me a few meters away from the group and that she took the subway alone with me. Apparently she has never done something like that except for one time with the friend I just spoke of (the guy not the best friend) and he told me that he heard that HB9 did find it extremely awkward.
And like he slapped me on the back and called me a real man for believing in the Game and becoming a douchebag…even though everything he said was about how his creepy douchery had made the woman in question whether or not she still wanted to hang out with her busy friend and a band presumably made of people who didn’t suck.
Self-awareness. Do you has it?
He told me that she trys to avoid being alone with guys she doesn’t know, but she didn’t avoid me. Wich suprised her best friend alot. I take these things as great IOI’s!
Of course you did.
She took out a restraining order. This means I’m even closer to getting her panties!
Also, why do women treat guys who approach all creepy like like potentially dangerous stalkers/rapists. That’s really unfair. Women should be more trusting of guys good intentions and treat them kindly and with good cheer! (/elevatorgate)
But that she would cut me off if I had given her the kiss of the cheek worries me. Seems to drastic, but he made it sound like he was so sure that was how she was going to react. But I will not think about that. I’ll label that under cockblock.
If others warn you you are a creepy douchebag who’s scaring the ladies and risking your non-romantic connections, label it under cockblock and devote yourself more fully to the PUA. People trying to save you from the spiral are just trying to push you out of the Game, brah! Don’t let them, only by becoming Master Sociopath will you finally reach the pinnacle of the man-heap and thus be allowed to touch the breasts of the hottest women which will totally make worth it all the blue-balled nights alone and becoming the type of person that women have to warn their friends about.
But now that I know that she never even have kissed a guy I will try to build up alot, I mean alot of comfort before I do anything. If I even do anything. I know that building to much comfort and then not escalating might put me in the friends zone, but with this girl I don’t care. Apparently she’s going to start working for the band so if her relationship with me is weird the whole band suffers.
Oh I don’t think you have to worry about being put in the “Friends Zone”. I’m pretty sure, you’re never going to be in the “Friends Zone” with that woman ever in your life. But if you’re lucky, your lame cover band won’t lose it’s manager and maybe if you can keep from perving over the ASEXUAL then they might not throw you out of the band immediately rather than right after they find anyone else to replace you.
And yeah, given this guy’s (and all PUA’s) ideas of subtle, I’m looking at a train collision in the near future of that post between what he had important in his life and his douchery.
So i’ll be careful. What do you guys think?
I don’t know. He didn’t post much on the forums and he had no more “updates” on his plan to change a person’s sexual orientation through molestation/stalking, so maybe we can dream of a better world.
A world where his non-douchey friends staged an intervention, where they really hit him hard with how much his douchery nearly ruined it for everyone and cost him good friends. Or maybe he lost that band position and everything with it and it humbled him into questioning the Game and actually being a decent person instead.
I like to imagine that maybe he escaped the self-destructive spiral and began rebuilding his potentially Asperger’s level of empathy into something resembling a human. That maybe absent the reinforcing habits of other PUA true-believers, he learned how to see women as people and respect their orientations and bodies as something other than a possession to perv over.
I like to imagine this more than the more likely contrary. That he simply sunk deeper into his behavior and blaming his alienation or likely rejection from his band on “vindictive women” and has merely graduated to more bitter PUA or MRA threads to vent himself on. Or that he has sadly been kept on and the band, the asexual woman, and the manager simply are having less enjoyable and more guarded lives for having to deal with the douchebag. Or Bob forbid, some poor woman decided to take pity on him and tried to “fix him”, thus being dragged down and emotionally abused and drained for being in a relationship with them (my partner learned that lesson the hard way).
Let us instead imagine that he escaped. Is less douchey now, is no longer being encouraged to become an even worse person, to let women be themselves rather than trying to find a way to take shocked silence and small talk as an invitation to molest.
Perhaps it’s even true.
See, not every Mangotime! has a sad ending*.
*There’s a cute kitten somewhere in the world who has cancer. Damn it! I was so close!
If you can’t trust a supposedly straight man with a gay porn stache, who can you trust?
*In the Sadly, No! commentariat, there is a long standing meme that when dealing with wingnut articles, it is always best to stay on the boat of the site instead of venturing out for the rotten mangos of the original posts of the nutjobs and psychotics. We here go into that depth of that insanity and bring it all back. Welcome to Mangotime!
Today’s example is h/t Substance McGravitas and is perfectly tailored for me.
Let’s dive in shall we?
I have the utmost sympathy for men and women who feel they are trapped in the wrong body.
Nuh uh, I’m not a bigot.
At the same time, Western society is heading in the direction of what can only be called transgender insanity, or transanity for short.
I just play one on TV.
Consider these recent examples.
Oh goodie, an idiot who doesn’t fully want to seem like a bigot grossed out by the very notion of transgender people is going to show us what he considers to be “bridges too far” and examples of transgendered insanity. Be afraid, people, be very afraid.
1) In England, two married men (and fathers) divorced their wives and began living together as a gay couple, after which they decided to identify as a transsexual “lesbian” couple (yes, male “lesbians”), after which one of the men had sex-change surgery, which makes them eligible to be married as husband and wife, even though the husband still identifies as a woman
You’ll notice first off that wingnuts hate citing the things they reference or if they must, they’ll cite other wingnuts’ reactions. Likely because they fear that exposing their readers might accidentally make their arguments look like the complete idiocy that they are.
Luckily for us, he is a talented enough moron to do the job for us. Yeah, two people divorce the partners they weren’t actually sexually or romantically attracted to and went with themselves, escaping the bigotry keeping them from acknowledging themselves until kids had already gotten into the equation. Most people would see this as a strong reason for greater acceptance so people could acknowledge who they are earlier and start living that sooner instead of dragging people into a lie of a life.
But not Brown, he’s down with Medieval-era Catholic Church. Once you marry, you’re married for life, and he doesn’t care if it isn’t what you really want, that’s what stableboys are for!
Also, Michael, Michael, Michael, talk about screwing up your initial front of “understanding the transsexual” and not being a bigot, when in the first example, you show yourself completely unable to understand transsexuality 101 (hint: they aren’t male lesbians, they are lesbians and transwomen).
And yeah, trans people end up exploiting all sorts of loopholes in the desperate attempt to keep the queers from marrying, loopholes that make a mockery of your “no queers” allowed stances on gay marriage.
No sense getting mad at the queers for that. Don’t want to be made to look like an idiot supporting stupid laws? Don’t support stupid laws.
2) Chaz Bono recently received criticism from the transgender daughter/son of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, born Kaitlyn but now, at age 19, known as Stephen.
Your second example is something a 19 year old said?
Also, why is this so shocking it needs to be the lead? My word, did you know that the transgender community is not monolithic like the bigoted community?!? And that liberals have internal debates and criticize each other?!? Have you heard of anything so unseemly?
(Remember that Chaz, who remains female from the waist down, danced as a male on Dancing with the Stars, raising the legitimate question: What constitutes male or female?)
It’s almost like the state of your genitals has nothing to do with what sex you are inside or what your mental sex says you are. Hey, if you didn’t want to be mocked for not understanding Trans 101, you shouldn’t have opened like you were some friendly old pal to the trans community just shocked into gobsmackitude by these kids today, donchaknow.
After Chaz had explained that being transgender could be likened to having a “mismatched” brain and body, similar to a “birth defect like a cleft palate,” Stephen wrote on his blog that, “Chaz is a misogynist. He is a trans man who seems to believe that his female-assignedness and his female socialisation makes him immune from being a misogynist, and he is manifestly wrong.”
Yeah, that’s the amazing thing about quoting two disparate statements with no links, you can make it seem like someone is just leaping down someone else’s throat with no reason.
So what went down?
Okay, not going into it fully, here’s the link to Steven’s actual long post explaining his views on Chaz Bono.
Overall, despite it’s inflammatory title, it’s basically about the nature of conflict about having imperfect “spokespeople” be the “public face” of a little known group. A) That it’s good that they’re out there and how we want to defend them against the bigotry that gets hurled at them for being who they are and support what they get right, but B)that they can be imperfect and unfortunately reinforce other horseshit.
Steven’s main trigger is that Chaz called being trans a birth defect to explain it which maybe wasn’t the best word, but hey, different people take it differently and unlike the right, when you say something potentially offensive, people will comment on it. But the reason he calls Chaz a misogynist is related to other comments of Chaz’s where he basically argues that all men are hornier than all women, and that women are talkative gossipy stereotypes that the T! (duh duhduh!) has made him unable to deal with now that he’s all manified.
Basically, I’m losing the comedy flow here, because it’s all about holding our spokespeople to a higher standard on the left and trying to improve them out of wallowing in whatever privileges they do have and supporting the full community. Each person has their own tolerance for that in what they forgive or focus on. I won’t say that Steven is wrong, he’s actually correct, though I would argue that it’s more an issue of privilege fail (i.e. unconscious absorption of cultural narratives).
Anyways, so one transman criticized another transman for some unconscious misogyny and this is insane because…?
And how does Stephen describe “himself”? He is “a gay trans man for whom both identities are equally important, a white anti-racist, a feminist, and a poet.”
That’s not really saying anything-Oh, right, wingnut land, sorry. I’m sure, he just saw the words gay, anti-racist, and feminist and his mind clouded pink with random rage. Grr, my readers have been trained to hate these things and forget they have actual meanings, this will make a great example.
So, rather than remain Kaitlyn and be a young woman attracted to men, Stephen (who is still female) identifies as a gay man
Yeah, that’s how it works, trans 101. It’s almost like it’s about what people are internally and being true to that, rather than what would make your life experientially easier. A man with a brain might suspect that this might argue in favor of transsexuality being a real thing rather than something trans people invented to piss of wingnuts, but Michael Brain is not that man.
as well as a feminist.
I love this little end to the line. “As well as a feminist”. He identifies as a gay man AND a feminist, but how can this be? You can see his mind reeling in horror as he has to confront that the real world has nothing to do with the straw-man of feminists as man-hating women just trying to be bitches and that feminism might actually really be about the treatment of women as full human beings. No! That can’t be! His identification must be a contradiction for not following our straw-men! Also, he’s a girl, he’s got girl parts!
Keep it classy, Browny!
3) Dan Savage is a gay sex columnist and a vocal critic of traditional Judeo-Christian morals, best known today for spearheading the “It Gets Better” campaign.
Oh, oh, no, you really didn’t want to combine your slam against Dan Savage with acknowledging his role in one of the most inoffensive anti-bullying campaigns out there right now. Yeah, he’s against judeo-christian values like telling gay kids to kill themselves now, because it’ll never get better!
Juxtaposition, how does it work?
Recently, he became the target of trans activists who glitter bombed him twice in November. He was branded a “transphobe” for using terms like “shemale” and referring to “freak tranny porn” (although Savage, on his part, claims that he was simply repeating words used by a questioner in his audience).
So, two of his examples are basically his shock that liberals don’t march in lockstep with each other like conservatives? Really doing your case proud there Browny when you show yourself more out of touch with reality than Marie Antoinette. Yes, liberals argue with each other and strive to improve their heroes rather than fetishizing them and hailing their fuckups as the standard we all must aspire to. It’s almost like we aren’t authoritarian tools just looking for a Leader.
Oh, right, the Dan Savage thing. Dan Savage is a great activist for a number of issues, his “It Gets Better” Project is fantastic. He also frequently fails on issues of sexism, asexuality, transsexuality, transgender issues, ableism, and so on. He’s imperfect and he fucks up, people call him on that, some people have written him off entirely because of that and have demonstrated directly.
One of his critics, writing on the Bilerico Project, is Tobi Hill-Meyer, whose bio states, “Tobi Hill-Meyer is just about your average multiracial, pansexual, transracially inseminated queerspawn, genderqueer, transdyke, colonized mestiza, pornographer, activist, writer.”
(Whistling softly while I look at my own header).
Also love the wingnut consistent shock at people having long descriptions. Yeah, that’s part of explaining where you come from. If we didn’t assume that everyone was a white straight man from default, Browny would have to regularly identify himself as a “caucasian, monoamorous (with regular non-negotiated trips to the truck stop), transracially inseminated (and how), but with hardworking repressed parents, cissexual, cisgendered, transvestite (only at parties), publicly heterosexual, American supporter of colonialism, pornography customer, “activist” for cash, and proud recipient of wingnut welfare for “writing” often with a big black dildo up his butt”.
But he doesn’t, because unless you say otherwise, you are assumed, straight white male family man, no matter how many bathroom dicks you suck.
And yeah, all those words mean something, you could look them up and learn, or you can pretend long descriptions make someone an unperson.
Ah, I see you’ve chosen the latter.
Does this qualify as transanity?
Two internal community critiques and a transsexual lesbian community who had to stagger their sex changes so they could marry by British law, yes, truly the height of the horrors that could happen with transsexuality.
All that rampant child molestation, regular molestation, murder, and insanity we regularly argue would happen if we gave trans people any rights? Um, well, look at that long list of self-descriptors in that one girl’s blog! Isn’t that silly?
(And yeah, I swear half of the reason for conservative resistance to minority rights is based around having to learn and respect that everyone isn’t just a white male default. How dare other people than me exist, this must not stand!)
Before you dismiss all this as totally fringe, remember that Chastity/Chaz Bono is a very public figure
Yeah, but Chaz Bono was the subject of that one article, or are you arguing that one person noting that he wasn’t a perfect spokesman somehow just cancel him because we are apparently working by Calvinball logic.
that in 2006, New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority ruled that men who identified as women could use the ladies bathrooms at all subway stations
Women can use women’s bathrooms? In certain limited areas, depending on state or specific institution law and how willing they are to risk potential harassment from bigots?
Will this violence against straight, white, cisgendered people, never end?!?
Also, yeah, the argument against is always that said women are somehow a threat to the “regular” women, yet it turns out that transpeople just want to shit and the signs on the doors don’t really keep out people who plan on raping or assaulting someone in a bathroom and so most bathroom pervs tend to just dress normally rather than risking being beat up as a tranny. But hey, why let reality ruin a great scare tactic?
that more and more TV shows are normalizing (and even celebrating) transgenderism
DEGRASSI! Where will fans of cisgender characters go now that this show and the handful of others with trans characters have apparently eliminated all non-trasn characters from all television and movies? Where?!? Tell me!
and that, in one high school, a male teen was voted class queen while in another school, a female teen was voted class king.
MASS HYSTERIA! Why it’s almost like people are starting to notice that some of the strict enforced gender horseshit is kinda stupid and it’s almost like your real issue with transgender people is how they make a mockery of your view of gender essentialism. Where women are women BY NATURE and men are men BY NATURE and both follow 1950s gender stereotypes BY NATURE and only are attracted to each other BY NATURE.
Also, seriously, why do you care about what one high school does and… fuck you’re probably talking about two transpeople being elected queen and king and are doing that annoying little “if I refuse to believe they are their correct gender, then they aren’t and thus are silly for thinking they aren’t what I think they are and acting the way I think they should act” thing again, aren’t you?
Keep it classy, Browny. Keep it classy.
And let’s not forget that Massachusetts just passed a radical transgender bill
DING DING DING.
We have the source of butthurt, people. This here is the reason for the entire article.
So what’s this “radical” bill that is so nefarious he can only really talk about how radical and wrong it is?
It’s a Non-Discrimination Bill. Pretty standard too. Can’t fire a trans person for being trans, can’t throw them out of their lodging for being trans, can’t deny them public education they would have otherwise qualified for for being trans, etc…And yeah, it’s all about public spaces and public law.
So yeah, the evil insanity of transpeople thinking they can be out as transpeople without being fired and discriminated against.
according to which, “’Gender identity’ shall mean a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.” (Yes, this is now the legal definition in Massachusetts.)
And you know, the accepted legal definition of a transgender person. You know, how to legally define an umbrella term for all those who fall outside the gender binary or present themselves as a sex other than their birth whether or not they identify as such or not.
It’s also about gender identity in general so it protects cisgendered people from being harassed for being cisgendered by roving bands of genderqueer thugs or fired from their jobs for their filthy cisgendered habits by their bigoted transgendered bosses.
Huh, why don’t these staunch defenders against “minority overreach” never cheer those much needed protections from the “attacks” against them.
Is it all just bullshit to try and make their desire to see “weird” people punished for not being “standard” sound like a principled self-defense rather than naked bigotry?
That’d be unpossible! No conservative would ever stoop that low!
The MassResistance website
SPLC recognized hate group says what?
explains that that the bill, “Forces charter schools to allow cross-dressing and other transgender behavior by students, and to include that in their published non-discrimination statement.”
And you sent them to charter school to be away from filthy poor, non-white, non-straight, or non-cisgendered people!
And yeah, shock of shocks, the recognized hate group with the long history of lies is lying (I know!). Like with every non-discrimination bill known to man, “charter schools” are “forced” to comply if they accept government money. The deal is simply, want to be a bigoted private institution? Then don’t demand government money or government preferential treatment for it! But of course, they are protesting for their god-given right to take government money while giving a hearty fuck you to state and federal law.
Fly proud brave segregation supporters! Fly proud!
MassResistance also warns, “You could soon see your day-care provider, second-grade teacher, waiter, school bus driver, store clerk, etc. be a man wearing a skirt and lipstick, possibly with hormone-enhanced breasts” (their emphasis).
Be scared. Be scared. Be scared.
Yes, if we don’t bury all transpeople far out of sight and prevent them from getting any jobs and surviving in the world, ideally until they die of suicide, hate crime, or starvation, then we might not have to acknowledge that they are normal people, capable of doing the same jobs as anyone else and may even be people you end up knowing and respect.
Also, love how the hate group lead off with “we are so dogwhistling ‘transpeople are child molestors’ and then backed off into looking like an idiot”.
My word, they could be a store clerk or a waiter? Why those could be occupations I have momentary interactions with and should have no damn concern if they are employed there other than a desire to have knowledge of real people hidden from me at all times!
I especially like the “waiter” one. Yes, they could infect YOUR FOOD with their transgendered waves, causing you to become inherently queerer by the second. Why you might even start wondering if your ultra-macho front isn’t just a sad attempt to hide your flaming homosexuality or the fact that you don’t think feminine pursuits makes your balls fall off.
And then where will we be, people?
WHERE WILL WE BE?
But why this should surprise us? After all, the mayor of Silverton, Oregon, Stu Rasmussen, was first elected as a fairly typical, heterosexual male, but then, after “acquiring cleavage,” he was reelected as a heterosexual, cross-dressing, cleavage-flaunting man (who has a girlfriend too).
My word, it’s like people don’t inherently fit in the neat little boxes we proscribe for them and such people refuse to hide themselves away from polite society.
And there’s not enough bigots around to keep them hidden and denied! They’re even getting political offices, what’s next? Forced sex changes for conservative pundits? It would be irresponsible not to wildly conjecture like a paranoid crazy person!
No seriously, it’s not his argument, but a lot of wingnuts seem to be unable to grasp that something not being “banned and unacknowledged” doesn’t make it “mandatory for everyone”.
He did come under criticism for one specific incident, though, and in August 3, 2009, he was censured by the city council after making an appearance at a children’s meeting in an inappropriate outfit, specifically, an open-backed bathing suit, a mini-skirt, and high-heels. Yet those criticizing Mayor Stu were careful to point out that they had no problem with him dressing as a woman at this children’s meeting. They only had a problem with him dressing immodestly as a woman.
Yeah! They should have censured him for being a freak! In front of children no less! Won’t someone think of the children!
What you say? Spending over 30 years using children as a thinly veiled tool to argue that most of human experience be hidden from the entire public because “children might find out” but really because you want certain people and things hidden has made people less sympathetic to that argument?
Well fuck, conservatives sure are fucked now. That’s pretty much all they’ve got.
Oh and Stu’s “scandalous miniskirt”?
Tame. As. Fuck.
And not actually complained about by the children, but rather a single parent who probably was already freaking out that her child was learning that transpeople don’t have horns and the smell of sulfur like her mommy told her.
This is nothing less than transanity.
Okay, so now we have more definitions of this word. It now refers to two accounts of internal liberal arguments trying to improve our spokesmen, a couple working through the stupid ban on gay marriage so they can get married and thus reveal the attempts to block it as the dumb bigoted nonsense they are, a transgendered mayor getting hassled by a skirt that wouldn’t be looked twice at if he was a cisgendered female teacher (my eighth grade teacher wore shorter miniskirts), and of course, trans people thinking they are allowed to exist in public without being denied jobs and housing and otherwise being discriminated to death.
I do not think this word means what you think it does.
In fact, it seems to be suggesting a definition of:
“The act of reducing a wingnut to babbled half-thought out objections to the very notion of transpeople living lives without official state-level rebuke for daring to exist and thus demonstrate the fiction of their views of gender essentialism”.
Okay, Mikey McBrownington, you’ve aligned yourself with one of the top anti-gay hate groups in America, one which has been listed as an official hate group and you’ve basically bitched about trans people not acting like authoritarians and daring to exist.
Let’s have a huge finale. Drum roll.
When the MTA made its 2006 transgender bathroom ruling, Gloria David, a retiree from Connecticut, remarked, “I would not like that. I have nothing against gay men or drag queens, but they can use the men’s room. I just don’t want to go to the bathroom next to a man.”
Nice. Good strong start. We’ve got a random quote likely fisked from a newspaper article from the time you’ve got stored on your desktop to remind you of when the anti-gay racket was booming strong and bringing in the sweet sweet lucre and using it like the random nutjob they brought in to “show both sides of the debate” was an actual authoritative voice. This is the pure wingnut insanity we crave.
Today, Ms. David’s perfectly understandable comments would be labeled transphobic.
Yes, keep it up! Beautiful demonstration of complete lack of self-awareness. Why yes, the bigoted ramblings of an old woman from another state whose confused and scared reactions to things she’s been trained by people like you to fear would be labeled transphobic. In fact, that’s kind of why she was quoted, because newspapers aren’t allowed to say, “trans people want the right to pee, but some random assholes are preventing it because they want to dick with them and make money promoting fear of The Other”. Instead, every article nowadays must be “X says X, but Y says Y, this issue is hotly debated, who is right? Who knows? We’re not here to step on toes by figuring out the answer”. If the modern press tried to tackle lynching it would be:
“Mother of the victim said it was a travesty of a crime and the perpetrators brought to justice, but a local spokesman for the KKK said that uppity negro boys need to know their place, surely this is a hot issue that will not be resolved any time soon”.
Should we have compassion on those who feel there is a “mismatch” between their body and their brain? Absolutely.
But should that extend to letting them have jobs, places to stay, basic tools so they can survive, or really be allowed to exist anywhere where others may become aware of their existence?
God no, that’d be crazy talk.
Also, love the attempt to try and play “friend of the transsexual” again. I know I just spent an entire post failing Trans 101, deliberately getting the genders of everyone mentioned wrong, mocking the very notion of people not identifying as white, straight, and cisgendered, and arguing that a standard non-discrimination bill was an affront to good decent people, and the only citation on my page is a link to an official hate group committed to eliminating all rights for transgender and otherwise queer individuals, but I’m not a bigot, I swear.
I have compassion for you.
Hell, I may even step over you as you’re freezing to death outside after you’ve been kicked out of your housing and denied employment rather than kicking you in the chest.
Because I care.
But we should devote our energies to understanding the causes of their mental and emotional conflict with the goal of helping them from the inside out.
A divergence between their mental sex and their biological sex and/or inherently not fitting within cultural models of masculinity or femininity or cultural or sexual designations of man or woman, because like much of biology, things exist on a spectrum rather than a clear cut binary.
Oh. You were dogwhistling “send them to an ex-gay facility to scare them back into the closet ideally with the threat of open discrimination and public bigotry”. Sorry, didn’t mean to step on your toes there with my mean old reality and its vile liberal bias.
Otherwise, if we craft laws and embrace social categories based on how people identify themselves, we had better get ready for more and more “feminist gay trans men” along with “pansexual genderqueer transdykes” – and that’s just the beginning.
Yeah, if we acknowledge that not everyone is a straight white male, why that will totally “create” these demonic beings out of the Aether to suck upon our life essences and force us to acknowledge the existence of people who are not us… and that is scary…somehow…and somehow a threat to people.
Listen, the reason is long descriptions are scary, because you have to do reading to understand what they mean and some of the words don’t even have scare tactics in place to tell you the strawman reason you should hate them beyond “it ain’t nat’ral”. So just shut up and hate on queue and send me some money to hate on the trans people because the gay hating racket is looking dry as bone these days.
And yeah, love that “feminist gay transman” made a comeback. I know you want to believe in the strawman of the man-hating lesbian, but men can be feminists too, even the men not trying to sleep with women. Because it actually has a definition and isn’t just a scare tactic for the right to trick conservative women into thinking basic dignity is synonymous with Satan.
Also “pansexual genderqueer transdyke” means a transsexual woman who is part of the lesbian and queer communities, but identifies personally as bisexual. If you spent time learning who the people you hate were rather than just trying to self-justify why it’s okay to hate them, you might not look like a complete tool.
In a word, get ready for transanity.
I heard repetition is good for creating a new meme. So I repeat the repetition of the term that is repeated so you know its repeated over and over so that you go out there and don’t even have to think when some trans person is like “blah, blah, blah, you’re a goddamn idiot”, you just go “well, that sounds like transanity to me” and laugh to yourself and don’t listen to the trans person going “um, do you realize that you just sounded like you were calling my arguments sane and reasonable and thus your own the unprocessed horse feces that they are” and you don’t even have to process that because your brain is safely on vacation.
Take that, transfolk! Conservatives win again!
Oh, Michael Brown, your insipid failure has given us much to work with, but it is time to say goodbye.
If you have at all paid attention to the Right during this economic downturn, you have noticed their firm disbelief in the idea of a social safety net.
“Entitlement programs”, “wasted money”, and so on. In their eyes, welfare and other safety net programs in place to take care of the unemployed, the unable to work, and those who are down and out merely breeds laziness in those who partake in it and actually does harm to the employment rate.
In their eyes, the unemployment rate is the way it is because of the laziness of “moochers” stealing the hard-earned money of the “productive class”.
Now, all of this is patent bullshit. Hell, at this point of political debate, the fact that it comes from a right-winger at all is already a giant clue that the argument has no connection with reality or sound policy.
We could talk about how UI and other aid to the poor have some of the highest impacts per dollar spent of any stimulative expenditure. UI has a $1.64 economic impact for each dollar spent, meaning the government is actually gaining money in expanded economic activity and thus taxes paid back when they “waste money” on the poor.
We could point out that countries with a strong social safety net have some of the more robust economies. Countries like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway were able to much easily ride out the global economic collapse than countries with less robust safety nets. Scandanavia in general has one of the highest rates of entrepeneurship and has actual class mobility, where the ability to form a start-up and succeed is much easier than in the states. This fantastic article from Inc Magazine points out that the presence of a robust safety net allows those with ideas for businesses to take a risk and start a business for they know that if they fail, they won’t be ruined. Shockingly, seeing as how most new business ventures do fail, having that not mean potential death encourages people to take a risk and be innovative. Robust welfare systems instead of breeding cultures of waste and laziness show the highest rates of innovation and some of the robuster economies in the world.
We could even point out that in the type of capitalist system we have that there is a minimum unemployment rate that the economy is not allowed to dip below. Thus, there must always be at minimum at least 5% of the working population out of work at any time and that’s not counting those who are unable to work or those who have taken themselves out of the workforce entirely (retirees, full-time homemakers, people unable to work for physical or mental reasons). This is necessary for the economy that there always be people out of work, looking for work that isn’t yet there. Raw empathy alone would argue that if we are always going to have less work than people looking for work that two things would be true.
1) That such people should be given a basic ability to pay rent, food, and other necessities.
2) That the image of the jobless as lazy and unwilling to grab the plentiful jobs that must exist is fundamentally untrue.
Furthermore, we could point out that our current economy does not have a problem of companies seeking to hire and being unable to find takers, but rather companies refusing to hire and using the downturn as a reason to become even more selective in hiring, looking to hire the recently laid off of rival companies and seeking those with 20 years experience for entry-level jobs, thus making it nearly impossible for even the hard-working to break into even basic level employment.
And indeed, I have pointed all this out, but it’s not what I want to focus on in this post.
Sure, they are wrong at nearly every level, but let us look just at the most basic assumption.
That fear, fear of unemployment, is the greatest motivator for looking for work. And furthermore, that motivation of lacking a safety net is the only thing preventing complete surrender and slacking off
Let us address the second of those points first.
The thing is, people want to work. They want to feel useful and like they are contributing rather than feeling devalued, a drain on society, or worthless. People want to work to feel external validation for their worthiness and will seek it out even when the pay isn’t dramatically different. Those who don’t do so tend to find their validation in the self and for the most part they will try and find worth in activities they choose themselves such as personal projects.
In many ways, the fact that the “poor people are lazy and won’t get work unless forced” meme is so seductive to so many is proof that a critical American text has gone unread by too large a section of the population. That text is The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan.
The titular “Feminine Mystique” is the longing of the housewife to engage in activities that are valued. Since housework and childcare were devalued both by men and society, a stay-at-home homemaker felt infantilized, devalued, massively depressed, and almost manic at the repetitive chores and lack of purpose. Even today, someone stuck at home often has a mental weight on them and is in need of clear delineators of when their “work day” begins and ends, frequent release to the outside world, and important hobbies to retain sanity.
There may be a few who take advantage of a generous system, but for the most part, people who are able to work in any system will do so, because the mental weight of being an unemployed layabout is often emotionally crippling as the Feminine Mystique painfully points out in harrowing story after harrowing story. Such experiences are not gendered.
And now let’s address that first part. Are people more motivated by fear than other methods to search for work?
Well, no, not really. We can look to countless psychological reports that fear actually shuts down the ability of the brain to think at its peak ability. Furthermore, fear and dire potential consequences often induce strong boats of depression and despair and as anyone who has suffered depression can tell you, depression means immensely lowered energy reserves, longer sleep schedules, and so on. This means less time available and less energy available to send out applications and continue job searches. Add this with businesses’ desire to hire happy workers and the fact that job searching is an emotionally tumultuous and unpleasant activity and one can see that making it even more harrowing and difficult is about the same level of good idea as beating an abuse victim to try and stop them from flashing back.
I can definitely attest to this personally. I have kept putting out applications and chasing leads, because I genuinely wish to work, but such work has been immensely difficult emotionally because the complete lack of available of safety net that means a damn makes search incredibly difficult.
For the last year, I have been gripped by the fear, dread, and panic that conservatives argue make one a better job searcher. As such, I have drifted into deep depressions. Each job search and each failure feels more like a personal evaluation on my worthiness of life (a deliberate desire of the conservative model, the unemployed’s ability to survive is directly related to their ability to get someone to hire them and hire them for living wage). So after the thousands upon thousands of applications I have turned in in the last year and two months, the evaluation has become one of absolute meaningless. My mind has often betrayed me. I have become unable to do anything but search for jobs and weep for months at a time, feeling guilty even for simple self-care procedures or taking any time in the pursuit of projects that could even make me some small income if I were to finish them. I have repeatedly over the course of this campaign been reduced to complete breakdown, unable to do anything but cry and hold myself tight. And I am ashamed to admit that thoughts of suicide have certainly been making their attacks on my psyche.
Cause the thing about high consequences is that it doesn’t motivate one to grab hard on the tightrope and battle the angry horde back onto some semblance of balance. It motivates one to surrender, to give up to the hopelessness of a cause and accept the seemingly inescapable fate.
I don’t say these things out of desire for pity, but to point out that it has only been through my will, my desire to do this for myself that I have been able to send out any applications, despite all the rejections, because the mental torture of having no safety net makes each action so much harder than it needs to be.
Indeed, very recently, I have been at my most productive in the long year I have been unemployed. I had been receiving aid from a relative and I had just begun to believe in it as a makeshift safety net. The pressure finally lessened and I was able to put forth applications and simultaneously work on two side projects that I have been very excited about pursuing and which could make me some small bit of money if I am able to complete them to my standards.
For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like a zombie, barely shambling forward on nothing but momentum, but someone genuinely excited and full of spirit. The mental energy wasted on raw fear of the future had been alleviated and allowed to actually work on productive acts for my improvement.
With a safety net, I was able to truly be motivated.
Not just doing it because I had to, fighting every mental scar, and relying on my personal will, but with full emotional and mental batteries actually working on real and important problems rather than simply focusing on base survival.
Things were easier and I had an easier time doing the activities for my future good when I didn’t have to worry where next month’s groceries or rent was going to come from.
This is a lesson that Scandanavia and most first-world nations have already realized. That a safety net doesn’t make tightrope walkers jump and instead makes it easier for the walkers to perform their maneuvers instead of being unbalanced by the fear of death if they should fall.
Fear doesn’t motivate, it only cripples.
And I feel that again.
My relative will be unable to continue helping me in future months. Don’t worry about me, I think we should be able to survive fine and I’ve got a few more months of aid to turn into desperate minimal savings.
I’m not saying this to request aid or pity, but rather to note that with that news, all the comfortable motivation I felt has fled and I’m back to the same scrap and scrape feeling I had been for a year, relying on will to continue forward and fighting mental and emotional betrayal by my mind to cloud my ability to work on both applications and my own projects.
Having the feeling however illusionary of a reliable safety net and now having the feeling of a complete lack of safety net again, I can understand viscerally how such “motivation” doesn’t motivate. How it demotivates, breaks, and destroys.
The right, as they always are in their arguments about society and human motivation, are full of shit.
You didn’t need me to say this, but I hope this further illustrates how every petty, mean assumption they bring to bullshit like the Debt Crisis and the so-called “Spending Crisis” are woefully lacking in veracity.
These are people’s lives, who are being asked to die, who are suffering until eventual bankruptcy and death, because a bunch of sociopaths think that a lack of a safety net will make people search harder for non-existant jobs.
This. Should. Not. Be.
I don’t care what else should be true, but that at least, is the minimum our empathy should expect. That such a system should not exist and no one should have to go without food or shelter because someone thinks they’ll be “more motivated” without them.
I just recently finished writing a long post on the recent atheist community’s privilege fail with regards to Rebecca Watson doing that most vile of female actions, talking about a problem related to the treatment of women.
I’d recommend reading that first, because what I’m going to talk about is a lot of the double-talk that got invoked in that whole rigmarole.
Specifically a lot of dudes were very upset with Rebecca Watson that she or any other woman would ever feel threatened by being cornered in an elevator in the middle of the night, having consent ignored, and being asked for sex at 4 am from someone you’ve never met.
Yet at the same time, whenever a woman is assaulted, the refrain from many men, including many of the same men is that the woman should have done more to prevent that occurrence. The woman brought it on herself. She should have been more forceful with her refusal, never have gone to that location, been in an isolated location with them, should have resisted, carried mace or a taser, and so on.
That would be the first double-bind.
Women are asked to be on guard against rape, to expect it at every action, and engage in refusals far and above the normal standards for refusal. And yet even minor actions like being skeeved out and feeling disrespected by skeevy and disrespectful behavior is treated like a Grand Crime against all men.
Men want women to be perfectly on guard against rapists, but perfectly trusting with them or anyone else they may remotely identify with including in some respects actual rapists. Perhaps in a world where rapists are kind enough to wear identification tags and introduce themselves as such, that could be close to a sane and non-contradictory state of “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”, but in this world?
I’ll also note that some of the people terribly upset at the gall and rudeness and disrespect (to the man of course) of Rebecca Watson to be talking about this and refusing because she was tired, uninterested, disrespected to, and he was skeevy and didn’t seem to pay attention to consent or context also recommended that she and other women should “carry tasers or mace if they were so worried”.
This double bind is not worth counting, but worth noting for the sheer chutzpah in arguing that they would totally have a woman’s back if she tazed a guy for being skeevy and creepy while exonerating her for being polite to the person and merely reporting the behavior as unfortunate. Yeah, we believe you, because there is no evidence that that wouldn’t be seen as equivalent to a woman chopping off every penis in the Greater Chicago Area.
Another double-bind, labeled number two, is one brought to light by the issue. Related to the previous one about trust, many minority groups are asked to trust dominant group allies and are often raked over the coals when they dare be suspicious of the support, suspect it to be fair-weather or read into actions patterns used in the dismissal of said minority group or other groups in the past.
And yet, incidents like this reveal the fragility of that support when it brings up issues outside of the duh level. Sure, there was support when it was foreign cultures doing FGM, sexism in religious societies, and even ideas like rape and abuse in general are bad things, but then an incident like this rolls around and suddenly leaders in the community can’t wait to tell the uppity women to shut up.
This was sadly demonstrated in posts by Dawkins and Mehmet I quoted in my last post where after they tell Rebecca to shut up about this basic feminism issue (by claiming it’s minor and not important as other issues and yes the irony of atheist leaders who are unlikely to win the “Oppression Olympics” any time soon claiming the “All issues must wait until more important issues are solved” is not lost on me) about objectification, they both try to shame her about another feminist issue as if they had any right to. I mean, when one has pretty staunchly refused to engage on a basic feminist argument and has stated its worthless and the dropping of their support, it’s hard to immediately believe they are the diviner of everything feminist and they get to determine what the “real” feminist issue is like they were still proven allies.
But still women run into this a lot, often with men who are very much fair-weathered allies, but grow incredibly incensed if you react as if that was the case or even acknowledge the existence of privilege and toxic cultural baggage. A double-bind for those who don’t just accept that they’re “bitches” for “not trusting” “obvious allies”.
And the last double-bind is this.
The article I noted earlier this blog talks about a study that did conversational analysis to determine how people refuse things including sex.
And what they found was that people don’t tend to do a direct no, but rely on softening the statement, because a direct statement is considered rude. They found that people understand the refusal fine and this is true for pretty much everyone tested, demonstrating that it is the cultural norm and that the “just say no forcefully” advice regarding sexual assault places an additional burden and ignores the fact that men don’t really need that to know when someone has said no.
In fact, direct “no”s tend to make subjects angry and make them feel justified in escalating to violence and assault.
Now, that’s not the third double-bind, but it’s certainly a doozy of a double-bind in and of itself.
No, the third double-bind is that the reason for this perception of a direct refusal as rude is simply cultural inertia and social convention.
It has always been, and thus violating that is a violation of social norms and thus inherently off-putting and thus “rude”.
Which brings us up to the real doozy and the reason why this entire backlash existed in the first place.
People are also culturally trained not to talk about the behaviors we’ve learned with regards to minorities. Specifically with regards to feminism, essentially, we don’t talk about feminism. Women being silenced, being disrespected, being treated like sex objects, or being threatened or skeeved out. These are not discussed and certainly not in a way that places male behavior under scrutiny.
Women are judged for their behavior. Men get to do what they want. That is the social norm. That is the way it has always been done.
As such, someone pointing this out and asking to talk about it will be seen as rude.
That’s the double-bind.
Any speech, no matter how nice, how softly, how qualified, or how brief will be seen as a violation of norms and will cause the dominant group to freak out, to trip over the privilege, to find themselves angry and not knowing why, and feeling justified asking for silencing or viewing the person who dared bring things up as the real person who did wrong.
And that’s really what is the story of this incident. Rebecca Watson brought up things that have always gone unexamined and asked to examine them. This was inherently a violation of social norms of silence around those issues and a lot of men responded with the cultural training to view that as the real problem (after all, the behavior wasn’t really violating any cultural norms in the sense that they are sadly too common in our societies).
But the double-bind continues in that any attempt to fix this will necessarily be seen as rude, be derided and be met with anger and a sense of “division for the sake of division”.
Mere acknowledgment is seen as the real problem and people speaking on behalf of themselves are seen as the rude thing that’s going to scare everyone off with their rudeness.
And yet it’s necessary. To fight, to struggle, to be rude and crude, and resisted with much frantic flailing. All of this must occur because otherwise, all we get is the same status quo affairs and the horrible prison that is for everyone for whom that doesn’t benefit.
And so, the struggle is inherently rude in the eyes of those who are struggled against or in the eyes of fair-weathered allies. Off-putting, not helping, distracting, and rude.
But in that final double-bind comes freedom.
If anything is rude. If what is requested is naught but no-win situations and impossible requests, then there is simply no reason to care.
When anything is rude, there is no need to carefully tailor one’s arguments or even act like these predictable patterns of whiny flailing are at all good faith or must be heeded.
Why not speak loud and clear? Why not call a bigot a bigot or call out a self-claimed ally on their blind-spots? Why not ignore the tone trolls and those who yell “distraction”?
In creating no ability to win, there are many sad injustices, but there is also complete freedom.
We don’t need to answer to anyone, least of all those more privileged than us with regards to tactics or life experiences or speaking out.
All we need to do is to keeping doing it, in all the myriad of tactics and styles we can until it is the bigoted positions, the old “social norms” that become the things seen as rude.
It’s what’s worked for every other rights struggle in at least the last 100 years.
So thank you atheist community backlash for perfectly illustrating how the supposed double-bind is simply a bundle of untied rope.
For the atheist community at the moment, the biggest news is the story of Rebecca Watson.
Not to mention the long running and terribly terribly sad saga of posts on Pharyngula where the more…shall we say…douchey members of the atheist community made a relatively small problem into a major unsettling demonstration of how far things need to go.
Okay, before I get to deep into all that, let’s give the quick breakdown for those really confused right now.
Rebecca Watson was at an atheist conference, speaking on, among other issues, sexualization of women in the atheist community. Later that night at 4 am an attendee of the convention approached her while in the elevator, ignored her claims that she was tired and just wanted to go to bed and skeevily asked for sex.
Now, this happening in an enclosed space with absolutely no attempt to get to know her as a person and with an added creepy bonus of deliberately ignoring the refusal of consent in her being tired and uninterested in pursuing things, Rebbeca Watson was understandably skeeved and said on her vlog, hey guys, don’t do that.
Apparently by doing this, she personally ordered Hitler to invade Poland.
Who could have known?
There was a backlash and when she pointed out this backlash as an illustration of a point that the atheist movement has to grow with regards to women’s inclusion in the whole conventions, speaking tours, etc… side of atheist activism, well, there was an even bigger backlash.
And when PZ Myers decided to prove that his feminism wasn’t for sure and decided to throw into the ring his first tepid support for the rather non-controversial idea that maybe just maybe we could respect women as full people rather than the sex class and not be douchey when hitting on them, or at least failing that, at least not provide a stark reminder to even the few female leaders and speakers in the movement that any man will feel comfortable pulling social privilege and make you feel disrespected and an object, well…
The lunatics were let out of the asylum on that one and if you follow my links to the PZ posts you will see an epic swarm of marauding men trying to beat the others off to show off their best attempt at the Privilege Fail.
And when that’s going on, what soon followed was the usual silencing tactics, minimizing of women’s issues, blatant anti-feminism, full out misogyny, and so on.
Basically, the misogynist community let their freak flag fly on this one.
And that’s bad. But it’s worse because the last big discussion of women regarding the atheist community was THIS ONE.
Basically, the last big fight was on how we can get better inclusion of women in the atheist movement and basically fix the “middle class white men” problem it has.
That fight had led to some good developments, more atheism and feminism discussions, better inclusion of the marriage of feminism and skepticism, and even some airing of concerns about the con problem where women who attended were made to feel unsafe, out-numbered, disrespected, and of course treated like a sex object open to sex offers anywhere, anywhen.
Oh, irony. Well, not irony, more like unfortunately illustrative example.
What makes this worse is that luminaries like Richard Dawkins and Hemant Mehta came down on (if you’ll pardon the euphemism) the side of the devils on this one.
So, yeah, that’s the situation and the context.
And now, 500+ words into my post, let’s get into the real meat of what this fail illustrates.
And to begin, let us just note the sad obvious. Rationalist men are no less devoid of their cultural training in an unfortunately misogynistic culture with regards to women.
Being a free-thinker doesn’t save you being raised in a world where a woman is thought of as the sex class, some sexual object there to provide sexual relief and little else and not fully deserving the full respect one would give a man.
Being a free-thinker doesn’t make one fully cognizant of the rape culture, including the culture wherein if Rebecca Watson had been raped in that enclosed space where her consent was already being treated as optional, many of these same men would be following cultural traditions in saying she should have been more forceful in defending herself.
And if I may tangent here, many of the comments claim simultaneously that Rebecca Watson was making a mountain of a mole-hill and shouldn’t have committed the high-crime of talking about it in the nicest least-threatening or angry way possible while simultaneously giving advice like “she should have carried a taser if she was so worried.” Yes, the same people who thought mild rejection followed by “hey guys, don’t do this” were somehow going to have her back if she tazed this guy in the nuts. That doesn’t even begin to make since.
Back on the roll, being a free-thinker doesn’t protect one from privilege fails. I mean, that’s what it’s about. Being a free-thinker cis-gendered male means that you were raised male, raised in the toxic soup of culture and will have to heavily examine those learned behaviors if one wants to improve.
And unfortunately like what we’ve seen from a large section of men and other dominant groups, it can be easier to trip over your privilege and make yourself look like an asshole than to just listen to minorities and acknowledge basic level stuff.
And here, we need to discuss directly two quotes from major giants in the atheist community. Men whose work I respect, especially the latter.
First, Hemant Mehta:
This was bad form for two reasons. One, it was a distraction from an otherwise important talk. Instead of us discussing the incredibly important issue of how the Religious Right harms women (the subject of the talk), we’re all discussing whether it’s right for someone with a big megaphone to pick on someone with a smaller one, whether someone was being a “bad feminist,” and all sorts of shit that doesn’t need to be aired in public.
Two, whether it was the intention or not, you’ve convinced a young female in our movement that if she says something you don’t like, she better be ready for an all-out barrage of criticism from every “big name” in the atheist blogosphere.
Second, Richard Dawkins:
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.
Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .
And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.
And yes, the second one is directed towards a fictional invented strawman for the purpose of “mocking” Rebecca Watson’s arguments. And that sound you’re hearing is my heart breaking because I fucking love Richard Dawkins. Like, The Selfish Gene was the first non-fiction book I ever bought for myself love.
Now, these posts contain a lot of arguments, so let’s just quickly translate what they are saying:
Shut up. Shut up.
Shut up. ShutupShutupSHUTUP!
And if you read the comments in PZ Myers’ posts, you’ll find that that was a common thread when people could bother to respond to Rebecca Watson’s arguments instead of bitching at all women or feminists.
Now, you may think this unfair, but let’s treat these arguments as if they were good faith and look at exactly what they are arguing at their most basic level.
Both directly call for the cessation of Rebecca Watson making her argument, seeing it as a distraction from bigger issues, those being a) the radical sexism of the Religious Right and b) the horrific treatment of women in third-world Middle Eastern and African countries.
Now, people who know anything about most minority rights movements can recognize that this argument is already made of fail. The idea that Issue X must wait until “much bigger” Issue Y has been resolved has always been a silencing campaign to try and shame a cultural movement from discussing issues the speaker personally finds threatening to their privilege or self-regard and those following that advice have often found themselves inevitably having to return to those issues later from a more disadvantageous position because of the loss of forward momentum on the issue.
But let’s really look at the arguments. They are arguing that Rebecca Watson is basically making too much of a small problem and “wasting our time”. But that doesn’t follow.
A small problem doesn’t waste time, especially not a small problem that Rebecca Watson didn’t seek to make a big thing of.
I mean, let’s think of it like an actual small problem.
I was recently in the San Francisco Pride Marches (Trans, Dyke, and Pride and yes, pictures will be coming, I promise). Now, feet get tired in those, so let’s say I step on someone’s foot accidentally.
This is a small problem. To solve it I would say sorry and seek not to do it again. If the person turned to me and said Ow, I would say the same thing.
And if someone said on a blog that people should strive not to step on people’s feet in marches, the general consensus would be “yeah, of course, no problem”.
It’s not a hard problem to solve. So instead, the community ripped open its head and let loose a thousand angry chipmunks to demand that Rebecca Watson be silenced. That’d be like if the entire crowd attacked the person whose foot I stepped on because them saying Ow was distracting from the Parade.
Possibly shaky analogy aside, I hope the point stands. Small issues don’t get massive blowback. Small issues aren’t asked to shut up. Small issues aren’t treated as grave distractions from important work (also extra fail points go to both gentlemen for choosing subjects that “Rebecca Watson should be focusing on instead” that Rebecca Watson has often devoted a lot of focus to and which feminists in general have been more outspoken about than male atheists…yeah, whoops).
Because that’s the thing, small issues are small. Minor problems are minor and they don’t get entire communities backlashing against them, massive pushback by leaders, and arguments that they need to stop carrying on about them while “real work” needs to happen. Minor issues get resolved quickly without fuss. That’s how you know they are minor. When they are met with a collective yawn.
Once you argue they are “distracting” from real fights, you are acknowledging that this problem is real and discussion needs to occur.
Now already these arguments taken in good faith reveal the dichotomy, but let’s also go one step deeper.
Notice anything about the “more important” issues?
Yeah, they’re both about cultures that the speakers in question don’t belong to. Yeah, it’s real easy to condemn and see as evil acts done that have no connection to oneself whatsoever. Hemant Mehta doesn’t really have any connection to the Religious Right and Dawkins doesn’t to the Middle East or Islam. They are easy targets.
They are also targets that have limited ability to fix from the outside.
Yes, atheists can, do, and should point out issues in the Religious Right all around the world, both Christian and Muslim, pointing out egregious behavior and making it impossible to hide them from the public eye and public condemnation. To make it easier for people to leave those communities and try to reach those who can break from the oppressive conditions they find themselves in.
But the thing about that is that comes with a lot of downtime.
Trying to leave stuff to reach the curious in those communities to leave or grow or even seek to reform from within is great work, but at the end of the day, the best work is going to be done by other individuals learning and growing and becoming better.
And that’s really the best activism when we get right down to it, trying to improve oneself, trying to improve one’s community, and trying to reach others in other communities to improve themselves as well.
And that’s the part being directly rejected in those posts by these important leaders in the atheist community.
While we can do little but speak out and hope on getting people out of the Religious Right or the end of oppressive operations on women in the third-world, we can do a lot in our own communities. Improving them to be better versions of itself and thus providing even stronger incentive for others to join the rest of the world.
In short, the atheist community is not going to be able to quickly fix FGM, but damnitt, it can, if it put it’s mind to it fix the Atheist Community’s problems with women and sexism. It can address how women are made to feel sexualized and dismissed at conventions, can address the easy privilege fails that many male atheists fall into when speaking to or about women, can try and discourage the douchebags in its community rather than seek to silence the feminists who dare speak about that which we do not speak about.
There’s a lot and what can be done will produce much more dramatic change than we can affect in other cultures, who will always see its most dramatic changes from within. From those who lived the experiences, from those in the cultures, from those who escaped to those still in it.
But that would be hard. That would involve personal growth and hard looks at the community and a genuine demand to improve the hard interconnected issues that lead to problems like wide-scale sexism in the first place rather than giving oneself a blank check to feel smugly superior to a backwards uncivilized lesser culture.
And that could be an excuse if we were 5 year olds and we weren’t talking about a movement based in critical analysis of sacred cows and unexamined claims. A movement based on looking at the momentum of social inertia and goes, hey, wait, is there any support for any of this or are we just doing what we’re doing because we’ve always done it.
And that’s what makes these privilege fails so sad to witness. Because the community has the tools to examine these automatic resistances to discussion and growth, that has them calling for silence and demonization at the mildest of topic introduction, these cultural learned behaviors that serve no one’s interest, not men’s, not women’s.
And they are being actively deliberately ignored in favor of rolling into a ball and trying to wish it all away.
And that would be the biggest privilege fail of all and until that issue is addressed, atheism will always find its calls for minority identities to join in the struggle ringing a little hollow and its numbers continuously white, male, middle class, cisgendered, and heterosexual. Because a skeptics movement based in observing reality as is that refuses to seriously address the racial, sexual, sexuality, gender, class realities that are simply isn’t one yet.
The atheist community has a lot of growing, but like I’ve said in previous posts, I believe it will do so, shakily and possibly with a few fallen heroes of old having painful flameouts, but nonetheless growing into a movement able to address its problems and become a better movement for it, a more inclusive movement with a stronger respect for intellectual honesty and consistency.
But I won’t lie in agreeing with Rebecca Watson and others that the display seen here in the backlash to her is an overdue reminder on just how far the movement has to come, especially in its conventions.
But hey, it’s work we can do the most easily. Because it’s our own damn community.
So I’ve decided from time to time I will dredge out some ancient long-simmering rant about some movie or videogame that everyone has already discussed to death and try and hopefully present something new to at least some people.
Today’s edition is about a videogame released last year called Metroid: Other M. For those of my readers who are not gamers, Metroid is a series of games about a female bounty hunter named Samus Aran who is called in to various solo missions where she unravels the plots of a group of Space Pirates and often saves the universe from huge epic threats.
The games began as basically a form of side-scrolling platformer and were later turned into a first-person shooter. The character can often turn into a ball to jump higher or navigate tight spaces thanks to futuristic space armor with a host of weapons that are often acquired through the game for often arbitrary reasons. For more reading, here’s the wikipedia page.
Now, that’s the basics of it and I’ll be getting into the rest later.
Now, the reason I’m doing this rant (and specifically now) is because of a series of factors.
First, the release of this latest game in the series, Metroid: Other M. The game has been routinely criticized for creating a hideous mess of a game with an unbelievably offensive grasp of women.
Basically, the short of it was the game was handed to a company called Team Ninja who are famous for a game called Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball which was game based around watching women in skimpy outfits bounce up and down, so basically an even more objectified version of The Man Show.
Said company made a number of questionable decisions regarding the titular character, deciding to give her an “epic backstory” which basically presented her as a PTSD mess unable to accomplish anything akin to the tasks she had in other games without the assistance of men.
Worst of all, they included a game mechanic wherein Samus had massive daddy issues and an Elektra complex that caused her to doff any sense of competence and actually take ongoing damage from environments until the object of her affection told her she could protect herself. In the game this would consist of walking into flames and getting burnt until the male authority figure known as Adam told her she could protect herself.
As an exploration of abusive relationships or possibly BDSM, this mechanic could have been interesting, but instead, it was presented as straight. Samus was unable to think for herself because this was the developer’s idea of a reasonable depiction of how a woman would act.
But I’ll get into further rants on that after I point out the other “recent” events that have excavated this rant.
Second, has been a video response to the controversy by MovieBob who is a movie and games critic who also has a show called The Game Overthinker. During this show, he had a video up defending the game, which I have link below:
The episode gave me quite a bit of an urge to rant. But that gets us to the final prompt.
Another gaming critique show called Extra Credits, which may be one of my favorite shows on the site for its frequent deconstructions of the medium of video games and various cultural issues, recently had a video about Other M embedded below. This followed an excellent video on Female characters in video games, which is a must see:
This video was posted today and takes care of a lot of the issues of Other M, pointing out the broken mechanics and a number of other creative missteps that created the game.
There even was some brief addressing of Other M’s most egregious faults (the sexist protrayal of its central female protagonist), but both it and MovieBob’s review ended up glossing over it to a large extent.
And the sexism shouldn’t be glossed over, because it is a large part of the backlash.
No, not because the sexism is just a way to attack Japan for having a different culture as MovieBob tried to deflect to, but because how women are presented in video games is a real subject with some real problems.
Video games doesn’t have a wealth of good female characters. Worse yet, it has an even smaller pool of female main protagonists and an even smaller pool of good ones.
I own many of the games that do and love many of them. Silent Hill 3, Portal, Beyond Good and Evil, Parasite Eve, Mirror’s Edge.
Sadly, many of these games are cult favorites, not so much remembered (Portal being a recent exception) and few being as fully recognized as the Mario or Sonic games in gaming’s lexicon.
As such female protagonists are few and far between and rarely are such characters non-sexualized as objectified pieces of ass for presumed male players.
Worse yet, such characters are rarely allowed to be competent badasses on the scale of male heroes, many female characters in gaming playing support roles, being the reward object (such as Princess Peach in the Mario games) or otherwise on the periphery.
This is especially true when you focus on the icons of gaming history. There are a number of male heroes that are considered gaming icons. Mario and Sonic, Simon Belmont of Castlevania, Pacman, Megaman, Bomberman, Link from Zelda, and so on.
Nintendo has a game series called Super Smash Bros which collects those gaming icons it has created as a longtime gaming company and in it there is a number of beloved characters.
And most of them have presumed penises. In the last Smash Bros game, of the 35 characters included in the game as characters, only 3 were women.
Two of those women were support characters. One the aforementioned kidnap victim Princess Peach, the other a homebase support character from the Zelda games (Princess Zelda) who basically kickstarted most missions by sending Link off to save the world.
And then there is Samus Aran.
Samus Aran is the first female main protagonist in gaming history. The revelation in Metroid where she takes off her suit to reveal herself as a woman to the player remains one of gaming’s most important historical moments. Furthermore, she is one of the few female characters in gaming who wasn’t sexualized to titilate male gamers.
Here she was, the games argued, a tough bounty hunter who will break into the Pirate spaceship and blow shit up, just like her male contemporary heroes.
So she was important, but it is even bigger than that. Samus is the only positive female icon in gaming.
Let me repeat that:
Samus is the only positive female icon in gaming.
She is the only figure of gaming’s history that is regularly considered one of history’s true defining characters, one of those figures from the early days of gaming that nongamers have heard of and that can be synonymous with gaming.
One of the figures who belongs in the medium. Not as an accident, not as a fad, not as a cult favorite, but because she has been beloved for decades and is a welcome part of gaming’s history.
This is important because this has been a rocky shoal that female gamers have clung to.
Female gamers have constantly been considered secondary in gaming. They are not the target audience of new games. Little attention is put into catering to a female audience and when it is, the attention betrays a complete lack of understanding of what women want.
Worse yet, female gamers have found themselves the trigger for a lot of hardcore vs casual debates. Every genre that finally posts equal numbers of fans of male and female varieties seems to end up being deemed casual and not real gaming shortly thereafter.
This happened to puzzle games (yes, Tetris used to be considered hardcore), adventure games (again, Myst was hardcore), simulation games (SimEarth and SimCity used to be considered for supernerds), and now recently with Japanese RPGs.
If women like it, it must not be real gaming. I can’t wait for shooting games to eventually have a 50% female audience to see how that became “pussified” and “casual” in the minds of the gamer community.
But that’s beside the point. What is the point of this is that women tend to be tolerated at best, and often just ignored or written out entirely in the gaming industry. We rarely get characters we can wholly identify with. We rarely get explorations of themes that are important to our day to day lives and we often have to slog through a bunch of “jiggle physics”, string bikinis, and ultramacho dialogue just to enjoy our leisure time.
But no matter how unwanted female gamers have felt in the general gaming community and in the eyes of developers, they have always known that they belonged in said communities.
Because of Samus Aran. As long as Samus Aran was an icon of gaming, as long as she was someone female gamers could drift into enjoying all the empowerment fantasies that their male counterparts took for granted. As long as that was true, then women belonged in gaming. There was proof we had been there in the beginning, that we’ve been along for the ride and that strong female protagonists and games that didn’t insult female gamers were worth exploring.
And that really illustrates why Other M is such a travesty and why responses like MovieBob’s fail to grasp why the backlash over the game is so intense.
If they merely screwed up on a character, one in a dozen, there is backlash from fans of that character, feelings of betrayal from those who loved that series. It’s bad, but it’s contained. People can go enjoy another character they love and can identify with.
Similarly if a game includes a sexist storyline, depiction or character. It’s bad. It can easily ruin the ability of a woman to enjoy the game and it will prevent a lot of men who can’t ignore those issues from enjoying the game as well. It’s bad, but meh, there’s a lot of garbage so what can you do.
But this was something even worse. They took gaming’s sole female icon. The one thing that women have consistently had to look up to and know they belong in the fan community. They took that and made it a sexist mess.
They made a badass competent professional into a mewling child unable to complete missions without men completing the important tasks. Unable to even protect herself unless the man she imprints daddy issues onto tells her she’s allowed. Every nasty stereotype of women seems packed into this game.
Women are emotional, check. Women are incompetent, check. Women can’t think for themselves, check. Women can’t do anything without a man, check. Women are willing to sacrifice and be puppets for men, because that’s natural. Dear fucking Bob in Himmel, why is there a checkbox for that!
There is no real way to explain the betrayal, the sheer punch in the soul that that kind of betrayal of character represents (and regardless of what MovieBob argues, it is clear she at least had enough humanity in early presentations to not be a walking “women are shit” bag of sexist stereotypes).
This is reducing gaming’s one female icon into a sick joke, a sexist nightmare.
It is nothing less than the developers of Other M telling female gamers that they simply do not belong in gaming. That they are unwanted and that there is no female character so beloved, so well crafted that it can’t be reduced into a steaming mess of sexist assumptions in order to appeal to the default male gamer.
And there is no real alternatives. Women do not have another icon to turn to and say oh well. The scarcity that made Samus so critical also made her fragile and hideously damaging. As such, we will have to wait for her character to be passed to a better studio and to get the apology game and retcon assuming such a game even surfaces.
Its also why the backlash is so intense. Not only was this a horribly offensive idea of a female main protagonist, but it was done to a beloved icon. And not only a beloved icon, but the female icon.
If there is one positive its that meek off-topic defenses like Movie Bob’s (where he argues with a straw man over arguments where he holds some small level of accuracy) are the minority.
For the most part, the mostly male gaming community has reacted with rage at Other M and better yet, the focus of that rage has been the sexist characterization and betrayal of the icon and what she represents.
People have repeatedly pointed out the most egregious sexist moments and called out the developers for it.
And I think this is proof of what Samus represented and represents to this day. That her presence as a good female character with a rich long history is important to gaming as a whole in its slim connection to a female audience and to the viability of female protagonists in games today.
Even men who would gladly ignore the objectified women or sexist typecasting in other games, realize that this was a step too far and a travesty to the character.
For the first time, the feminist argument is one heard by the majority of gamers, not a small targeted minority.
And that is good and to be cherished, but it also highlights the damage.
Which is why close to a year later, female gamers and those who wish to see more of us are still ranting about this game.