A long while ago, I had an idea for a blog wholly focused on the variety of issues that come up when one is a trans teacher, both from a teacher standpoint as well as the cold reality of the common, unspoken, discrimination from education professions many of us experience. It kinda fell through the cracks when my life upended into itself, but I might bring it back in lesser form somewhere because I keep on running into things I have views on or people blathering on from a standpoint of ignorance about things I experience on the direct lines as an educator. And today is no exception.
Today’s rant/ramble is based on a long tweet thread by author Ana Mardoll, writer of the book Poison Kiss
Xie wrote a long chain about the fear-mongering surrounding accommodations in university courses for students who are triggered by certain aspects of learning material (typically depictions of physical abuse, sexual assault/rape, suicide, etc… in literature classes) and had a lot of very good points mostly surrounding how we already make accommodations for students who have to leave the class during a lesson due to physical ailments such as the flu as well as students with physical disabilities that keep them from engaging fully with lessons owing to missed absences and other needs for accommodations.
Xie also notes that those complaining about Trigger Warnings are also anti-science, ignoring how things like exposure therapy actually work, how PTSD works, what a trigger warning even is, because much like with trans issues or abortion, people really don’t like that the science of it all is more or less settled on the side of the marginalized and does not agree with their conjectures.
And I roll trans issues, specifically things like bathroom access and scary “social transition” stuff such as names and pronouns into this “debate” about trigger warnings, because it all comes from the same place.
Namely that certain marginalized groups are existing in public in a way that is no longer easy for a person to ignore and this infuriates those who refuse to acknowledge said people and want to make even the slightest efforts to grow up sound like a draconian punishment on their moral and legal right to be an asshole to people without consequences.
And it doesn’t mean that these groups didn’t exist before hand. There’s always been trans kids and young adults and kids and young adults who’ve experienced rape or abuse and mentally ill kids and young adults. We’ve always existed in physical form, but for the longest time, a dominant group member could remain justifiably ignorant about our existence because there was strong social barriers and sometimes even legal barriers about talking about our existence or being visibly present.
And it’s really this piece that ends up driving a lot of these social panics, same as it does for folks that get all up in arms about “PC culture run rampant”, white people’s “right” to use the n-word, or “conservative censorship in universities”/”anti-free speech among liberals” in the form of people using their own free speech to criticize and protest speech they see as harmful.
Basically, those raised on an unequal playing field feel it is their “rights” to have inequality extended forever, where the minority groups they abuse aren’t allowed to fight back or even criticize their actions or call them mean names like “bigot” or “harasser”. And a lot of that anger stems from things used to being one way and now they have changed and now that social expectation that used to encourage folks to remain silent now has started to shift in the direction of viewing as assholes people who don’t grow and accept that people outside the normative exist.
And I don’t say this casually.
But rather out of direct observation of the panic and their distortions of the real issues and real requests of the students making them.
Like, let’s take trigger warnings. I’m a big fan of them and don’t just use them in my teaching, but in casual conversation. In fact, I first started adapting to using them in casual conversation before I incorporated it in the classroom, because of two things.
1) I know a lot of people from really fucked up backgrounds who’ve experienced a lot of bad shit. Trans folks who’ve been beaten by their family, women who’ve experienced multiple rapes and abusive partners, people of color who’ve experienced hate crimes and physical assault.
And 2) I am very politically minded and most topics I tend to cover or want to converse about tend to be really big and scary and potentially triggering, such as transphobia, hate crimes, discrimination, rape, abuse, and so on. I’m a feminist and have been for a long time and a lot of my interactions with other people tend to be on these feminist wavelengths where a lot of the topic of discussion is flatout depressing but interesting to me nonetheless.
And the combination of these two made trigger warnings necessary, because they gave my friends a head’s up on whatever dark road of conversation I was going down and allowed them the time to prepare or bail out as necessary. And because lacking those trigger warnings meant I was more worried about covering any topic for fear of hurting a friend unnecessarily during a casual conversation.
Because a trigger isn’t someone going “oh me, oh my, this person conversing is too REALZ for my delicate female affections, I shall cry trigger so as to censor his FREEZE PEACH.”
It’s basically a phenomenon where you really aren’t there anymore because you’re back in a flashback of whatever traumatic thing that happened to you is, experiencing it like it’s happening now. When I’ve been triggered, I shut down hard, just filling with endless chains of self-hatred, with the feel of my rapist against me and the world I was inhabiting a second ago might as well not even existing.
I can’t focus on whatever else is going on around me because I am essentially not there and I can end up losing days to this, as a trigger tends to make it easier and easier to slip into that space and can flood me with all the emotions of fear and pain and self-hatred that filled such events.
It’s not a matter of exiting out of conversations I don’t want to have. It’s that I’m exited out of conversations I do want to have (most of my triggering events tend to occur when I’m with groups of friends, luckily) by my brain essentially shutting down.
And that sucks. But trigger warnings allows me to prepare first or recognize that no, I don’t actually have the spoons for this topic today, but I’d love to discuss it on a day I’m a bit more functional. And that moment of preparation is key as it allows me to shore up my defenses so I’m not blindsided by a topic that’s just gonna put me in a foul mood or an emotional tailspin.
And in practice, the trigger warnings means I get to have more conversations about pretty dark topics because everyone is able to emotionally prepare as needed as part of their general survival in a world where these topics come up.
In the classroom, I follow this practice, giving kids a heads up when topics are veering into the depressing and potentially triggering. It takes 5 seconds. No really, because all it is “And so as we look at, content warning: sexual assault… (pause for beat) sexual assault data”.
And this is useful and necessary, because I work in a private school where many of our students have dealt with heavy traumas where they might be being physically abused at home or be survivors of rape, or have traumatic experiences with accidents or lost family members to gun violence.
And in practice, using trigger warnings means more of my students are engaged during those conversations or topics instead of drifting off and becoming unresponsive for the rest of the class (the frequent result that occurs when teachers don’t use trigger warnings and I know this because I’ve had fellow teachers ask me how to get X student to engage in classes and then I found out they had been triggering the student without warning and hadn’t realized).
The whole thing barely interrupts my flow as a teacher. And is so small on my end that it doesn’t even eat into class time, unlike when dealing with a student in crisis mode who fundamentally can’t learn because they are in a bad triggered state.
And it’s very similar to pronouns for trans kids. Like, most of my trans students have needed or wanted to explore scary “SOCIAL TRANSITION”. By this I mean, they want to try out new names or new pronouns and maybe want to dress a certain way at school.
And it’s extremely easy to accommodate that.
Here’s what I do. I have an email I send out letting the other teachers know three things, what name a student prefers, what pronoun they prefer today, and what pronoun and name should be used in communication home to parents as not all our kids are out to their parents.
And there was a time when I was sending out that email every day, because we had a genderfluid student whose preferred pronoun changed nearly every day between she and they.
And then the earth opened up, swallowing us all into hell… or teachers just adapted. It just became a routine, teachers would check the email, use those pronouns when talking to the student, use different ones in communications home as needed, and we’d keep an eye on campus to make sure no one was bullying the kids in question. With bathroom access, we just swapped out some single-access bathrooms on a floor for two gender neutral toilets so we didn’t even have to deal with any stress on that front and we just trucked on.
And it really wasn’t the end of the world. The students are happy, because unlike most places, their identities are being respected and they feel safe and the overall impact on instruction is near zero. Like, seriously, the biggest impact is that one of our bigender students explored with pronouns for awhile and eventually settled on ce/cir/cirs.
And that’s an uncommon pronoun. So all the teachers spent some time practicing, not much more than half and hour and now everyone pretty much lets it roll of their tongue with ease. And the impact on the student has been immense. This particular student has struggled a lot with suicidal ideation over the years but has openly said that school is the safest place ce knows and ce feel accepted as cirself here. And that’s important to us as educators. It makes us feel good about our job and our work.
And these are both things that are so minor, so unobtrusive as to not really involve more than mere seconds in the classroom, and yet we get endless thinkpieces bemoaning the “scariness” of these changes. And most are based on either ludicrous scenarios that simply don’t happen or on fixating on some corner case and going all slippery slope on it. So let’s tackle the latter one first.
OH ME OH MY THE SLIPPERY SLOPE!
So, detractors of trigger warnings like to fixate on an extreme case that can happen because arguing that they don’t like spending five extra seconds throwing in a head’s up before covering an intense topic makes them seem like assholes.
And that extreme case is: “What if you drop the trigger warning and a student leaves the classroom instead of engaging in the discussion”. Largely because that trigger warning lets them know that no, they don’t have the spoons for this today (maybe things are too raw, maybe it’s a bad mental health day, maybe they recognize that their defense on these things isn’t great or it isn’t a safe space to have a conversation on this*).
*And this last one is key. Because no one with traumatic experiences is going to risk their mental health if they expect that they’ll just get dismissed and that ignorant conjectures repeating toxic myths are going to be privileged over them. And that’s a failure of a teacher or moderator to control and is going to be responsible for more walkouts than anything else. Like, if something is making me angry and I know I’m about to blow up and yell at people and the room does not feel safe for politely correcting the record about someone else’s bullshit, I exit the room, let myself rant outside so I don’t disrupt the conversation and then either come back or move on to a different conversation. And this is not the same as a trigger warning. This is picking your battles and recognizing when you’re about to be a disruption to everyone else and removing yourself before that occurs.
Well, here’s the thing. In that extreme case, you’ve already lost the student. The only question left is to what degree you’ve lost that student. Like, if you didn’t give that trigger warning and instead jumped right into a triggering topic, that kid is going to be mentally gone. Because they didn’t have the spoons for it.
Worst case, they break down in the classroom, disrupting everyone’s lesson and making them less likely to attend future lectures because of the embarrassment of it. Second worst case, they blow up on a student and now you are de-escalating a heated argument instead of continuing in your lesson plan and everyone will be kind of less engaged because they’ll just be fixated on the argument and their personal feels. Third worst case, they shut down completely, go into a panic state, and absorb nothing from the lesson and are stuck in that hell for a period of time.
And fourth worst case and more commonly, they walk out anyways. Like, kids aren’t dumb, they get their mental health, they know what they have spoons for, and they don’t want to break down in front of everyone anymore than anyone else. So they’ll slip off to the bathroom, have a good cry, and maybe come back later, maybe not and now you’re tracking that student down or in college, hoping they come back to the next class.
Like, I’ve been in discussion groups that didn’t have content warnings or good moderation and the room’s felt unsafe for my experiences. And when that happens, I bail. I leave the panel or the discussion, go outside, rant for awhile in anger and frustration and go to a different panel or discussion group or just go home. It happens fairly regularly in ace discussion groups because I do a lot of atypical things for ace people so I tend to get erased in discussion groups a lot in ways that piss me off.
And that’s not even a trigger. That’s just fuck this shit. And I’ve been in lectures where the topic being covered is being covered wrong. It happens a lot in panels on gender or lectures on gender by ignorant cis straight white guys when you’re a trans person. And the panel or lecture ends up being a wash to deal with because all you can end up thinking about is how much you hate the ignorance of the presenter rather than anything else they said.
Point being with all this is a student who’d walk out at the trigger is a student you were going to lose no matter what.
If you do a trigger warning, now that student knows you care about their experiences and so is more likely to come in engaged in the next class. Like, we’ve been there as teachers where a student is being affected by home shit and is only like 20% there even though they are physically in the classroom. They’re too busy thinking about all that stuff instead. You show that kid openness, you give them the impression that you are safe to talk to, maybe they talk about it and that allows them to engage for the rest of the class because they feel they have support.
It’s the same with trigger warnings. If I have a student bail on me because that’s not a topic they can handle on that day, by giving them the trigger warning they are more likely to be willing to return to that topic on a later date rather than just asking to not even deal with the subject. And they are more willing to put in the work necessary to deal with a tough subject because they know I’m not gonna be an asshole to them about it.
Similarly, detractors of SO SCARY “social transition” like to fixate on locker rooms and bathrooms as if there isn’t already discomfort for the trans student in using those and as if that trans student would be safer using a bathroom where they are signaled out as not being approved by the school thus giving a free pass to bullies to target and harm them.
Like, just letting them use it, letting everyone know that yeah, we support accommodating kids, trans kids exist, deal with it, shuts stuff down real quick.
As noted, we went to gender neutral toilets for a floor and we cracked down hard on transphobic bullying. Within several months, everyone adapted and got over it. The students saying the way X student was dressed was weird got over it and eventually helped defend that students pronouns to others who misgendered them. The students complaining about the gender neutral toilets got used to them and just view them as the toilets that they are.
When we remove the official forced gendering and its enforcement, then the complaints about it tend to cease, because that enforcement has always been artificial and weird and it quickly becomes apparent that some kids being trans really isn’t the end of the world that parents assured them it would be.
And they get this, which leads to the slippery slope part.
Oh, what about kids adopting all sorts of outlandish pronouns and switching all the time. Well, we’ve had kids with neopronouns and kids with fast switches owing to gender fluidity. I sent out more regular emails. Done. For identities that were less common, I attach a link to a comic from an artist with that identity explaining what that identity meant for them or an article about the identity. The teachers take 5 minutes to read it and I serve as point person to answer questions as needed from them or the students. It’s all total cost me maybe a total of two hours of prep time over the course of the last year. Not a big deal.
Oh, but what about the slippery slope of trigger warnings. What about people having triggers of spiders or the letter b, how do you adapt to that?
Those triggers are uncommon, but if you recognize that trigger, you throw it in, it takes an additional five seconds and now you’re not losing a student whenever you cover spiders. Again, done, not that big of a deal. Also, this shit is bullshit, because rape triggers and abuse triggers are common because those issues are common. It’s good practice to always have those warnings, because you’re likely in any classroom of over 10 students who have at least one student with those triggers because they’ve had those life experiences.
But yeah, expanding it out for less common triggers won’t eat up your entire lesson. And you’ll earn a student who will be extra engaged because you acknowledged their trigger even if it seemed weird or unusual.
And now the conspiracy theory excuses
So, many detractors of both trigger warnings and “social transition” quickly realize that they have no legs to stand on. So many times, they’ll turn instead into full on conspiracy theories to try and distance themselves from the bigotry actually underlying their objections.
No, they cry, we don’t have a problem with trans kids and their pronouns or using trigger warnings so that kids with traumatic experiences, we have problems with… uh… er… that is to say… think of something… People faking those things to get stuff? YEAH, that’s the stuff.
You’ve probably heard these arguments a lot because sexists and transphobes love throwing them out there to make themselves seem less like cartoon supervillains for decrying things as minor and unobtrusive as trigger warnings or respecting people’s pronouns.
They go, oh, what about a kid posing as trans to slip into the girl’s locker room or bathroom (and it’s almost always “fake” trans women that these people freak out about, showing the backwards chauvinistic world they’re coming from). And what about a kid faking a trigger in order to claim that they can’t read any of the reading material or be assessed on it.
So, let’s go into these two slabs of bullshit shall we.
1) No one is going to go through all that effort just to intrude on a space where they might see the vaguest hint that someone is going to be undressed unless they are doing so specifically as a protest against the existence of trans people.
No, seriously, gender dysphoria is real and no one is going to go through being misgendered and the gauntlet of violent stares you get when you are visibly trans, being singled out as non-normative and a “freak” by the school, and all the anti-trans harassment that comes with all that just to maybe almost see less skin than they would see in most PG-13 movies or any bikini girl photo search on google.
The kids have the internet and they have porn at their fingertips and understand school blocking systems better than the people running them. That’s frankly too much effort for a creeper to bother with when there are much easier ways to see nudity that’s actually nude.
Additionally, creepers who get off on the violation of boundaries tend to also be heavily wrapped up in toxic masculinity and so are very unlikely to go through all the effort of putting on girly clothes to get off on violating spaces when they can do just as much damage and get in less trouble simply walking in through the unlocked front door and doing their creeper thing.
And that’s why the only people we see who are fitting these right-wing stereotypes of what men would do if this “trans madness” gets passed and we respect kids’ pronouns in schools, tend to be right-wing anti-trans activists who are deliberately walking into women’s restrooms to protest the existence of trans people.
In short, when the people raising the conspiracy theory are the only ones fulfilling the conspiracy theory, you can dismiss the genuineness of that concern real fucking fast.
And there’s a similar conspiracy theory for trigger warnings because right-wing ideologues are nothing if not derivative in their tactics insinuating that kids will claim fake trigger warnings to get out of assignments which has two flavors of what the fuck.
2a) This doesn’t happen, because trigger warnings aren’t actually a change in curriculum, it’s a heads up about planned curriculum. So kids aren’t actually going to be using them to get out of assignments, because trigger warnings aren’t actually about editing assignments to be respectful of the triggers of your students. It’s the verbal equivalent of throwing a warning tag on a mattress.
2b) So let’s talk modified curriculum or assessments. Cause as a teacher, I love these. I live for a student who for whatever reason wants to do an alternate assessment or project that ties more directly with their interests instead of a standard written assessment.
And I’ve done a bunch of different topics and especially love to throw these out as finals or midterms because it allows kids to engage deeper with the curriculum.
And I’ll do the extra work to make those a reality and will even do things like oral assessments for students who have severe test anxiety and can’t quite perform at their best in a traditional assessment. And because of this, I’ve been told by bosses that I’m one of the most requested teachers at my school and I tend to cover more material at a higher level than many of my fellow teachers and have actually given seminars to fellow teachers on how to expand curriculum options.
And the end-results are awesome. I had a student who was an artist do anthropomorphizations of each planet in the solar system and they ended up putting so many good touches into the design based on characteristics of the planets that I didn’t even notice them all at first (like Earth actually had accurate percentages of green and blue on her dress based on the percentage of water on the planet and Mercury had an off-the shoulder dress and mismatched pants to show the difference in temperature between the hot and cold side). I had another gut, clean, bleach, and construct a chicken skeleton as a final anatomy project.
Now, there are on occasion students who think this is a free pass to not do any real work on the final or midterm or on a particular assessment. Those students are wrong and I tell each student this. I grade alternative assessments harder than I would traditional assessments, because I’m taking the extra time to design and provide support for these alternate assessments. And the kids get that and only twice have I had to come down hard in the grading of an assignment because a student tried to test the waters of what they could get away with (those same students tried to play the same games with the traditional assessments, giving one word answers to short responses questions and snarky non-answers to long-form questions so it was not exactly an isolated incident).
You can incorporate that for trigger stuff. Providing alternate assessments or books for students that are just moving too slow owing to triggers on a book covering a particular subject. My fellow teachers have had to do it on occasion for English assignments. And well, it doesn’t have to be a big thing and you can grade it harder for the extra work on your part to have to be familiar to both books.
It’s also not something that’d go away if they didn’t do that. Like, you have a kid triggered by a book about a rape survivor and they’re moving slowly through it. They’re going to be disconnected from the discussions and unable to keep up with reading quizzes if you don’t accommodate them, so it ends up, do you lose the student and have them flunk that section or do you offer them a lifeline?
Most kids appreciate the lifeline.
And again, if you have some anti-trigger-warning asshole trying to bullshit their way out of doing work, well, they tend to back off when you show them the actual expectations you have for an alternate assessment and how you plan to grade it.
Said student is also going to try to disrupt the class no matter what.
Like, any women studies professor or gender studies professor can tell you about “that guy”. “That guy” occurs at least once in any class and they only attend because they view the major as bullshit and so have made it their mission to try and disrupt everyone’s learning experience and be as big an asshole to the other students as he can because he doesn’t want to engage with the material or thinking deeply about gender stuff. “That guy” becomes the bane of every other student, making discussion spaces less safe by mocking people with rape traumas or backgrounds with abuse, recycling MRA talking points, and acting like his ignorant conjectures should be seen as equally weight to the actual professors.
And these assholes love to fuck with assessments, writing essays deliberately arguing bass-akwards nonsense or just straight up refusing to complete work such as reading the novels or completing the essays, taking the F as a badge of pride for having “put those uppity feminists in their place”.
And so, yeah, “that guy” might try and latch onto a bullshit “trigger” to try and dodge out of work, but it’s part and parcel of his standard crap and one of the easiest to dodge, because you can give him a custom assessment that actually forces him to examine his behavior in its context or to research the actual science behind triggers and what they are. In short, you can give an alternate assignment that’s actually a learning experience and maybe get something out of “that guy” that you normally wouldn’t. Even if that’s them shutting up about demanding alternate assessments for the rest of the semester.
But again, even this off-the-wall example is easily dealt with by just having good habits with alternate assessments.
And again, most folks aren’t going to go for it unless they are actively protesting “trigger warning” stuff and trying to be an asshole about it.
These accommodations are minor. But the backlash is strong. And the backlash is strong because the accommodations are new. Because it’s taken us a long time to really respect, hey, there might be some kids who’ve actually dealt with shit in life, maybe we shouldn’t be dicks to them or hey, some kids might be trans.
And for a small core, any change from “what they used to do” feels bad. Feels like an imposition. Feels like oppression, because they have no experiences with oppression outside being asked to stop doing things that are oppressed.
And well, sorry, tough titties, but you need to grow up because the shit being asked for are hardly the imposition you make them out to be. No matter how you try and spin it.
It’s five seconds out of your day, adapt, move on, teach.
It’s really not that hard.
Let’s talk about trans kids and the state of academic information on trans folks and the history of medical misconduct that trans people have had to cope with.
But before all that, let us talk about a science writer named Jesse Singal. Jesse Singal is a senior editor and science writer for New York Magazine. He’s especially well known for some particularly well-written deconstructions of that particular hate movement in gaming that will never end.
He, however, is also becoming more and more well-known for his articles on trans kids. Which are… okay, the only charitable way I can put this is that they are awful. Absolute drek.
Defense of Zucker’s Reparative Therapy Clinic
His first infamous article on the subject of trans kids was a defense of Zucker’s infamous Gender Identity Clinic in Toronto.
Now, most cis people have never heard of Zucker or his clinic in Toronto. A few have and assume that since it was a clinic set up to serve “trans and gender non-conforming kids” that it must therefore have been an empathetic and caring institution that tried its best to serve trans youth and young trans adults.
Except it really wasn’t. Zucker’s clinic was essentially one based on the idea of reparative therapy. I.e. the idea that one can “fix” being trans or being “girlier” or “butcher” than is typically expected for your gender.
As such, Zucker’s main treatment methodology surrounded “gender-confirming behavior”. Basically, if you have a boy child that is expressing that she is a girl or that he would like to play with dolls or dress up in high heels, that the best way to care for that is to aggressively counter that by giving them stereotypically masculine clothes and toys and refusing to call the child by the gender or names they ask for. This sort of “tough love” will then set the boy straight and keep them from growing into the sort of “deviant” lifestyle that the sort of permissive parents who would let little boys play with dolls would encourage.
Sure, if a child fought through all of Zucker’s many steps of emotional abuse for years and years and their parents (specifically their mothers, Zucker was a big fan of the “your mother is the source of gender confusion” theories)*, then he might deign to allow them to pursue medical transition options in late childhood, early adulthood and a lot of kids in the Toronto area had no choice but to do that, because for the longest time, he was literally the only game in town for transgender youth. But his main goal was no
*Here’s a heartbreaking account from a mother of a transgender child talking about the lack of research and trying to follow Zucker’s advice and seeing just how much pain and misery that was causing in her daughter.**
**Which of course, it does. Singal tries to turn Zucker into a martyr, speaking obliquely about an untold and hidden number of folks who mourn Zucker’s clinic for it’s “excellent” trans-related care, because it’s telling that there’s not many trans folks who went to his clinic who think fondly of him, or even many folks at all. And that’s unsurprising. Even if his methods work, and even he admits that his methods are fully unsubstantiated, they are still awful abusive things. Like, almost no child who is gender non-conforming as a kid but grows up gay instead of trans or even grows up cis and het looks back and goes, “you know what time in my life was awesome? When I was brutally bullied for liking the color pink.” Hell, a lot of male geeks carry lifelong chips on their shoulders entirely surrounding being bullied for “not being tough” and “being a girly wimp”.
Overall, his method was rather indistinguishable from the status quo treatment of “effeminate” boys (and those read by society as boys) and its treatment of “masculine” girls (and those read by society as girls). Bullying, threats, social condemnation, outright refusal of expression. And for those of us who have been through the gay rights struggle for the last few decades, from the methods of ex-gay camps which also fixate on “gender affirmation”.
Hell, the hilarious and brutal coming-of-age comedy But I’m a Cheerleader is entirely based on the weird gender ideas of sexuality reparative therapy and the overall ex-gay movement. And a central motif was the aggressive attempt to “normalize” “deviant” attraction with stereotypical feminine or masculine activities, completely unaware of how homoerotic many of them are:
And that’s the thing, Zucker’s clinic is no different than any run-of-the-mill ex-gay clinic, hell his protocol is literally what Pre-Snake Person Dispensationalist Christian parents are encouraged to do with their kids if they suspect they may have “deviant” tendencies***.
***The comic below is “Dumbing of Age” by David Willis. In this comic, Joyce is a former homeschooled evangelical kid from the PMD culture and her boyfriend Ethan here is a gay male she is in the process of trying to “fix” (she later realizes how fucked up this is and comes to fully support him). The “Joshua” they are referencing is Joyce’s trans sister Jocelyne, who has yet to come out to the family but has come out to Ethan:
The main idea behind Zucker’s clinic is that the first priority in any form of trans healthcare is to make doubly, triply sure that no single cis person ever be forced through the ignominy of going through what we expect trans people to do.
And the thing about it is that view was not that uncommon very long ago and still holds a lot of sway in the academic literature on trans individuals. In fact, Zucker himself started a vanity press solely devoted to publishing his papers on the awesomeness of his method and other works by former mentees of his. By volume, this makes up a hefty bulk of the available research on trans youth. To the point where a lot of the protocols at the time were heavily sourced from Zucker or his associates.
History of Bad Health Care
For the longest time, trans healthcare and the access to it has been based on convincing cis gatekeepers that you are in fact trans enough to be allowed to seek healthcare relating to the treatment of gender dysphoria or receive legal recognition for your gender identity. And it’s main goal has been to discourage as many seeking care from doing so in the hopes that that will make sure not a single cis person will transition and come to “regret it”****.
**** “Transgender regret” is a major watchword of the TERF movement and among right-wing transphobes including the ADF and is frequently used in papers arguing against the extension of equal rights to transgender individuals. A lot of it surrounds a single man by the name of Walt Heyer who is basically just PFOX Part 2. (No really, here’s Zinnia Jones looking into his claims on the number who regret transition and what she found about his claims and the claims of other “ex-trans” activists).
For the longest time, the Standards of Care for transgender individuals was based on the infamous Harry Benjamin Standards (which are still in effect, unfortunately, in many places, despite the hard work of trans activists). The Harry Benjamin Standards of Care basically demanded from trans folks looking to transition be of specific body types and levels of femininity or masculinity (overweight patients were forced on crash diets and unhealthy eating disorders to approximate the shape allowed to proceed and those whose overall body shapes were not deemed masculine or feminine enough or those who were non-binary were straight up denied care). They then were expected to spend up to 2 years living without hormones as the gender that they were (meaning putting themselves at high risk for street harassment and violence), then allowed hormones and surgery, but and here’s the catch, they were expected at the end of the care to disappear and become stealth, literally starting brand new lives with brand new names, miles away from any friends or family, so as to best blend in as cis and certainly never mention that you were trans or aid younger trans folks trying to get care.
These standards devastated the trans activist community, denying us our activists for decades and convincing many to hide themselves and their lives away lest they be denied medical treatment for their trans identity. And it’s only been in recent years, thanks to the tireless activism of trans folks who refused to disappear and abide that stealth requirement in the 90s and 00s (not to mention the rise of the internet) that has allowed the trans community to rebuild its community strength and actually advocate more effectively for its rights. This was the normal and the academic side of things was no better.
One of Zucker’s other main defenders has been Alice Dreger, who wrote a pop-science book on “activists wars on scientists” that was basically a giant hit list of people she disliked personally. (Zinnia Jones did a big deconstruction of her and her work here). But she was a major source for Jesse Singal’s article. Her main objection surrounded defending a book called “The man who would be queen” by J. Michael Bailey. Which was in and of itself defending an academic concept known as “autogynephilia”. The idea behind it is that there are “true transsexuals”, who are hyper femme and attracted to boys (unurprisingly given social anxiety surrounding masculinity and the idea that boys “can become girls”, most of the research in existence focuses on freaking out about trans women first and often added trans men standards and research as an afterthought and never even broaches topics of non-binary identities) who should be allowed to undergo this whole procedure, because hey, in the mind of the researchers, if they’re hot enough, it’s almost like they’re girls and it’s better than being gay*****. And so everyone else, the trans lesbians, the trans bisexuals, the trans girls who like butching it up with flannel or a pair of jeans and sneaks, were clearly just “fetishistic straight men” who “get off on wearing women’s clothes” and so should be denied any treatment what’s so ever” (again, no really, go back and read Zinnia Jones’s deconstruction, it’s hella damning). This second group was then referred to as “autogynephiles” because they weren’t, in the eyes of the researchers, “trans”, they just were in the love of the idea of themselves having vaginas (hence the term). It’s still a popular term among TERFs and is usually trotted out to justify harassing trans lesbians and argue that they are just “pretending to be women” in order to “get off with sleeping with lesbians”.
***** No really, that was a large part of the theory. And part of the conspiracy theory TERFs break out every so often to argue that trans people in general is all a conspiracy to turn all the gay people straight. Trans lesbians and trans gay men are ignored in this or called the wrong gender in order to justify this feeling of persecution (not to mention straight up ignoring bi or ace trans folks or nb trans folks of all varieties or orientations or how interconnected the trans movement has always been with queer rights in general (Miss Major threw the first brick at Stonewall and trans activists have been at the center of a lot of gay rights struggles including the right to get married)). Ironically enough, they usually cite things like Iran’s support of trans folks only when they would otherwise be gay to “prove” this conspiracy. Despite the fact that the system Iran is using is the same systems they themselves praise as the “good ones” (like the old Harry Benjamin system) before “political correctness” took over. And are otherwise fine with reducing the idea of trans people into “former gender-non-conforming gay person turned trans” when it means rejecting the huge trans spectrum (or wibbly-wobbly ball) that the trans community puts forth.
Her and Bailey are also big fans of Blanchard’s Typology. Which is based on the idea that there is an “objective” survey that separates out the “lying autogynephiles” from the “true transsexuals” and labels said “autogynephilia” as a paraphilia similar in structure to pedophilia or bestiality. Blanchard is also somewhat famous as that guy that trained a bunch of the scientists the right-wing likes to parade around from time to time who rant about how transgender identities are all made up or harming America and for being a massive homophobe who believes that the opposite of being gay is being “normal”. A lot of it is based on questions about feeling attraction to being viewed as a woman (interestingly enough 93% of cis women have “autogynephilia” according to the autogynephilia side of his “test”) as well as questions asking about orientation.
J Michael Bailey in fact simplified the test to look like this:
“Once you have learned about the distinction between autogynephilic
and homosexual transsexuals, and seen several of each, distinguishing
the two is easy. If Blanchard and I saw the same 100 transsexuals, I
would be surprised if we disagreed on more than two. But most readers
will not have met a single transsexual of either type, and even most
clinicians who see gender patients are not used to thinking about them
this way. In any case, you cannot simply ask someone “which type are
you?” I have devised a set of rules that should work even for the
novice (though admittedly, I have not tested them empirically). Start
at zero. Ask each question, and if the answer is “yes,” add the number
next to the question. If the sum gets to +10, stop; the transsexual
you’re talking to is autogynephilic. If the sum gets to -10, she is
[Actually you should take the whole test before making judgment.]
+10 At least three times, have you become sexually aroused enough
when wearing women’s clothing in private that you masturbated?
+10 Have you been married to, and had biological children with, a
+9 Have you been married to a woman, without children?
+10 If I had observed your childhood behavior, would you have
appeared about as masculine as other boys?
+10 Are you nearly as attracted to women as to men? Or more attracted
to women? Or equally uninterested in both? (If “yes” to any of these)
+9 Is your sexual preference (to men, women, both, or neither)
difficult for you to decide?
+9 Were you over the age of 40 when you began to live full time as a
+9 Were you a virgin (no oral, vaginal or anal sex with another
person) until after the age of 20?
+7 Do you refer to yourself as “transgendered?”
+6 Have you often felt envious when looking at sexy women?
+10 Have you ever been in the military or worked as a policeman,
truck driver, or something equally stereotypically masculine? (use
+9 Have you worked at any of the following occupations: computer
programmer, businessman, lawyer, scientist, engineer, or physician?
-8 (If the previous two questions are answered “no”) Have you ever
worked as a hairstylist, beautician, female impersonator, lingerie
model, or prostitute?
-9 Does this describe you? “I find the idea of having sex with men
very sexually exciting, and the idea of having sex with women not at
+9 (If the answer to the previous question is “no”)
-8 Is your ideal sex partner a straight man?
+8 (If the answer to the previous question is “no”)
-9 Have you had sex with many men and no women (or only one woman to
see what it was like)?
-7 Would you like to look at pictures of really muscular men with
their shirts off?
+5 (If the answer to the previous question is “no”)
-8 Were you under the age of 25 when you began living full time as a
-8 If you saw an elegantly dressed and sexy woman on one sidewalk,
and a muscular, naked man on another, which would you look at? (Man)
+8 (If the answer to the previous question was “woman”)
-7 If you could spend only one hour with a very attractive man, which
would you like to do more: dance with him or suck his penis? (Penis)
+5 (If the answer to the previous question is “dance”)
“Interviewer, ask yourself:
-8 If you didn’t already know that the person was transsexual, would
you have never suspected that she was not a natural-born woman?
+9 (If the person has been on hormones for at least 6 months) Do you
find it difficult to imagine that this person could ever pass as a
-6 Would some of your male friends find this person sexy?
-3 (Male Interviewers) Is this person flirting with you?
+8 (Female Interviewers) Is this person flirting with you?
“Finally, this interview could be invalid if you suspect that the
transsexual may be autogynephilic and either (a) worried you will
think badly of her or will deny her a sex change if you know the
truth, or (b) obsessed with being a “real” woman. As far as mistakes,
it is more likely that the interview would identify an autogynephilic
transsexual as homosexual than vice versa.”
Which looking at it, we can see the major problems inherent in it, the way it dismisses queer or closeted trans women as fake, the way it prioritizes the sexual gaze of the observer and whether or not the trans person turns them on or not and puts in rewards for being sexual in the right way (i.e. straight and horny).
Not to mention it is straight up disproved by the fact that gay and ace and bi trans folks are still trans. And the fact that these questions when looked at directly are such absolute garbage, it becomes hard to believe anyone actually gave this shit the time of day, much less felt this was a valuable and accurate piece of science worth pissing away one’s credibility to defend or worth setting up whole systems of care to codify. Like, seriously, we’re supposed to put up with a system that heavily weights the stereotypes and biases of the interviewer and which straight up ignores the majority of trans experiences in order to pitch a discriminatory model? Puh-leeze.
And we also see the garbage that has been sold as science for so long. Nonetheless, Jesse Singal continues to defend Alice Dreger as much as Dreger defends Bailey and Bailey defends Blanchard and the other old transphobes that had a stranglehold on the state of science for so long.
And here’s the thing. That’s been the case for a long long time. Our science has been transparently awful and designed to create a very narrow means of accessing health care and has prioritized restricting and denying care in the name of “protecting” the very idea that a cis person could accidentally transition and have to go through the dysphoria and misery that we expect trans folks to go through.
Hell, trans folks have published zines and guides for decades entirely about how to get around gatekeepers, sometimes to the extent of informing each other on how to illegally acquire things like testosterone, estrogen, and spirinolactone so as to self-medicate.
And nonetheless, these systems have stood for far too long, dominating the literature on trans health care with garbage essay after garbage essay sexualizing and dehumanizing us in the hopes of making our existences more palatable for a cisgender society, putting their comfort ahead of our lives. And it’s only begun to change recently thanks to the tireless work of trans academics like Susan Stryker and Julia Serrano as well as throngs of trans activists risking the staggering murder rate of trans individuals and all manner of social costs to speak about our actual lives rather than the sanitized pap this whole crew had been smearing everywhere.
Bi and ace trans folks speaking out. Non-binary trans folks speaking out. Trans kids speaking for themselves. Building community and proving these theories wrong largely by simply existing. Showing that these attempts to other and disappear them into bizarre categories was entirely a fiction crafted by a cisgender society that is desperate to recast trans folks as “just what happens when someone gays too hard”.
And we’ve seen the results of this system we’ve had in place for so long. The suicide rates among transgender individuals is staggering (According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey 41% of surviving trans individuals have attempted suicide at least once in their life and conservative estimates of those lost to suicide before getting a chance to be surveyed stand at about 31%-50%******) and is even higher among trans kids owing to the pure hell that being forced to go through the wrong puberty is.
****** I’m sorry for the long runup, but I’m trying to stay somewhat dispassionate about this shit, but this shit infuriates me for several reasons. One, I love good science and I hate pseudo-scientific garbage people nonetheless accept because they so desperately want to believe what its peddling. Like, you could have the worst designed study, but if you conclude that black people are dumber than white people, gay people are bad parents, 1950s gender roles are evolutionary, or most trans people are cis, you’ll get no end of assholes lining up to tongue your ass and call you a visionary and overlooking massive design flaws in your tests. Two, I’m a trans woman and I am also a teacher. And so I have trans kids in my classes who are directly at risk from this faffing about surrounding their health care. I have so many friends and students were all my work is just keeping them alive, because the world is so painfully shit to trans people that that is actually a difficult thing to do. And every ounce of garbage that calls itself science and its defenders makes that job harder. And third? My dad wanted to send me to reparative therapy. Because he believed this shit. He disowned me and tried to ruin my life because he believed this toxic awful shit. And I see the same thing happening to my students. Where their parents read this crap and then suddenly backtrack on treating their kids as human beings, because “scientists say you’re just making it up or are diseased” and the best thing for you is to abuse you. And it makes me so mad I can barely see.
Back to desistence
Which brings us at long last to Jesse Singal’s latest abomination, which is about desistence.
Much like “autogynephilia”, desistence is a term much beloved among TERFs and is an old scientific idea that has zombie-like floated around the cesspool of research on trans issues for awhile, contributing to misinformation among parents.
Here is the idea behind desistence. Desistence is the scare term to describe an efect wherein “most” “gender non-conforming” youth do not actually turn out trans and thus “desist” from that (unhealthy) “lifestyle”. Already, it’s got some major problems. First among them that it is called desistence or desisting in the first place. Because desisting is something you do from a crime. You are ordered to cease and desist when you are being given a court-order to stop doing things or when a cop orders you to stop your commission of a crime. The type of people who view being trans as akin to a crime do not in any way have our best interests at heart. Full stop.
And the science its based on is fatally flawed, often lumping together gender-nonconforming kids (i.e. those perceived as boys who like playing with pink or dolls or other objects socially associated with girls or kids who are tomboys (whether they turn out to be girls or boy) with kids who state out loud that they are transgender and who express marked discomfort at being misgendered on a consistent basis.
Which, no shit, sherlock. Most kids who are just being considered by society as “too girly to be a boy” or “too manly to be a girl” will not end up being trans, because they are not trans, because that has nothing to do with being trans. They are kids who have an interest society has decided is too masculine or feminine for their gender.
This is not even in the same ballpark as actual trans kids who have stated repeatedly what their gender is to the point that their parents no longer wrote it off and actually sought out care. And who persist in that year after year. But hey, lump those non-trans kids in with actually trans kids and count all the non-trans kids as having “desisted” from being trans, you can sell the oft-cited narrative that “80% of trans kids desist from being trans”*******
******* This shit actually pisses me off a lot. Because, it’s intellectually dishonest and it is such a transparent repackaging of the “don’t worry parents of gay kids, your kid being gay is just a phase, he’ll shake it off in adulthood, see look at all these other kids labeled gay by their peers, not many of them ended up gay, did they” bullshit during the blatantly anti-gay days that I can’t fathom how so many can willfully blind themselves to the similarities. But also, because this is directly used to deny trans kids even the smallest forms of dignity and support because “why bother going through all that effort and social stigma, if you’re just going to grow out of this anyways”. And that lack of social support from parents and culture directly leads to dead trans kids and is a large part of why our suicide rates are so high.
And those performed at clinics (specifically clinics run by proteges of Kenneth Zucker, the aforementioned reparative therapy guy) counted those who simply did not return to the clinic as having “desisted” under the argument that “well, it’s the only clinic in the country, so if they didn’t go here they clearly didn’t seek out trans-related medical services. Which, given the aforementioned suicide rates of trans kids is gross negligence at the very least and painfully unscientific (like no, from a study design standpoint, no, just no, you never do that shit).
Also, probably doesn’t help that Singal’s essay literally only quote former mentees of Zucker, because that asshole is the cancer on trans academic literature filling it with this unscientific muck.
In fact, this desistence idea is one that Zucker was very fond of and used to justify his many horrible practices (all in the name of making sure those “80% of cis kids” were weeded out as quickly as possible because again, they are seen as worth more than trans kids [not to mention that to TERFs that quote these papers incessantly, trans kids literally do not exist or exist in such microscopic proportions as not to be worth considering. Because they don’t believe trans people really exist, that we are instead all lying for nefarious purpose]).
Which brings us to Singal
I’m gonna try really hard not to shit on Singal here, even though evidence is mounting more and more that his decision to alienate trans voices and curate a readership of self-identified TERFs is deliberate and intentional, but I feel it is important to talk about the what of what Singal is doing as that is monstrous enough whether he’s just got an academic blindspot or is willingly throwing his hat in with the TERFs.
First up, let’s talk about this desistence. The theory is bunk, but even among those who subscribe to that shitty shitty bunk theory, they willingly admit that their “desistence” numbers magically disappear once they start talking adolescent trans kids and those who actually go on blockers.
Jesse Singal is no exception to this:
The article he cites to argue that he’s not transphobic even spells out that close to a 100% of kids who go on blockers remain trans. And we know from other studies that trans kids on blockers report less dysphoria, suicidal ideation, and depression than trans folks who did not receive blockers.
Additionally, he’s aware of the impact having parents support trans kids before blockers identities has on a student’s mental health and ability to survive as well as the importance of letting a child explore their identities:
So, by this side of his position, he is in agreement with most trans activists. Gender expression =/= gender identity. Kids who actually state they are trans and make it to the age of the onset of pubescence are almost certainly trans, but there is no problem in supporting a pre-pubescent child’s gender exploration and in fact it can be critical to their mental health.
He supposedly gets that.
And again, I’m gonna try really hard not to go off on him, but his article and his statements since the article have largely consisted of demonizing blockers and scary “social transition” (i.e. calling your kid by the name and pronouns they prefer and letting them dress how they want and play with the toys they want to play with, ooooooooh so scary) despite even his awful broken evidence and supposed understanding of issues saying this is scientifically the wrong thing to do.
And he largely does so by raising the scary spectre of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) and non-reversible surgeries (which is the thing every transphobe gets hooked on. Honestly, if I had a dollar for every transphobe weeping over the potential future of my penis despite my having no actual interest in seeking Gender-confirming surgery, I’d be a frickin’ millionaire) happening to your kids. And arguing that mean old trans folks are somehow against this idea that not every tomboy turns out to be an actual boy or not every effeminate little girl turns out to be a girl.
Okay, let’s break this down into sections, cause there’s a lot here.
1. Social Transition, scary stuff, right?
So let’s talk social transition, because that’s been the main way that Singal has tried to raise the demonization of trans children. Most of the “research” he cites focuses on pre-pubescent children, that’s where his numbers of “desistence” come from and its majority focus on gender non-conforming kids rather than trans kids. Additionally, it’s where he shows his inability to tell the difference between gender dysphoria (the feeling your body is fundamentally wrong, something that usually doesn’t hit trans people until puberty, because their body is literally becoming wrong during that time********) and gender-non-conformity (displaying social traits more associated with one gender than the other).
******** That being said, trans kids can experience social gender dysphoria from wrong names and gender pronouns being used. This is usually the experience that clues in pre-pubescent trans kids that they are who they are and is behind more trans kids feeling safer to come out and be who they are earlier and the source of Singal et al’s panic about “younger and younger trans kids, ohmahgod”.
In fairness, the studies he cites also have the same problem given they are largely based on the work of a man who genuinely believed you could get a kid to stop claiming they are trans by forcing them to play with toys stereotyped to their gender.
“Social transition” is all that’s available to trans kids under the age of pubescence. And for the scary title they try and add to it and how desperately his defenders try and make that indistinguishable from the ideas of surgeries************* that transphobes like to fixate on, all it really is is when a child says they want to go by a certain name or use certain pronouns or hang out with other kids of that gender, you let them.
************* Read that whole thread cause it really shows that rhetorical trick exploited to its full extent. “He’s talking about pronouns. Pronouns are easy to switch.” “How would you know, here’s some folks who regret ‘transitioning’ who are all people who regret surgeries“. The whole point of calling pronouns and names “social transition is to deliberately conflate it with surgeries*************** so as to make the freak out over kids using different pronouns for awhile or going by a different name or wearing a dress to school some week seem like something other than a transphobic freak out. Also, “how would you know if changing pronouns is hard…” Ugh. I’ve got some examples below of why this is especially galling, so I’ll just say, changing pronouns is only “hard” when transphobes create a culture of transphobia that punishes kids for asking. And that’s not “letting them choose”, that’s bullying the trans kids to remain closeted so you can go back to pretending everyone is cis.
*************** And of course it is. That’s the source of all consternation about trans people is the spectre of genital surgeries. If you’re trans you will hear no end of hand-wringing about your body parts as if they are public consumption and everyone gets a say about what happens to it. And for transphobes, including the pack of TERFs that worship Singal’s articles, everything a trans person does can be looped back to this primal fear in the same way that discussions about gay rights issues used to always loop back to anal sex. In that thread and in many of Singal’s responses to the article itself, you see the article writer talk about pronouns and blockers almost exclusively and the detractors response is to immediately bring up surgeries and those who regret surgeries (we’ll get to that can of words later). Because to them, all trans people are are surgeries and genitals. It’s all they can think about when they think about trans kids is the possibility that that kid may one day have surgeries or that their genitals might not match. And it’s genuinely disturbing. Not just because this dehumanizes trans folks to their genitals, not just because this presumes a lifelong control over a trans person’s body by scared cis people who will deny even social acceptance out of the fear that one day someone might work closely with doctors and therapists and decide a surgery is best for their needs after years of conversations, but also because it creepily sexualizes trans kids and gives adults an excuse to fixate about kid’s junk to an unhealthy degree. And that last one tends to be on full display when bigots start talking about trans kids in a very similar way to how it’s on full display in obsessions about queer kids. And all of this obscures the fact that “social transition”, i.e. using a person’s pronouns and not being an asshole about their identity is not actually all that scary and is only scary in the context of bigots freaking out and obsessing about surgeries and their own baggage about trans people at the expense of actual trans kids just wanting people not to misgender them all the time.
It’s quite literally THE LEAST YOU CAN POSSIBLY DO TO SUPPORT SOMEONE WHO IS TRANS.
And yet, it’s critically important. Trans people of all ages try and “socially transition” and its a literal fight for a lot of them, with schools resisting their rights to use the bathroom in accordance with their gender identity, with workplaces and housing discriminating against those who come out, with the high murder rate of trans folks, and with some places actively misgendering trans kids.
Zucker’s clinic was an active opponent of the idea of social transition, seeing it as a negative imposition on a potentially “normal” child and an unhealthy indulgence by a mother more interested in being liberal than doing what is right for their kid (Zucker was a great guy, salt of the motherfucking Earth).
And Singal echoes those fears by connecting them in the minds of his readers with “scarier” transition stuff:
Much of the controversy stems from questions of age: How young is too young to help a child socially transition — that is, to change their name and pronoun, and possibly the way they present themselves? To prescribe them cross-sex hormones to begin the process of physically transitioning?
In this model, if young children’s claims about their gender identity are “insistent, persistent, and consistent,” these claims are taken as face-value evidence that the child is actually trans, and should be socially transitioned with little delay. Zucker and his colleagues’ view was that since, in their theoretical model at least, gender is partly a matter of behavior and identity being learned and reinforced over time, socially transitioning a young kid is likely to reinforce their dysphoria. “I have predicted that we would see rates of persistence increasing overtime as more children engage in social transitioning in childhood,” Singh told me in an email. In other words, if kids who begin socially transitioning shortly after their first appointment at a gender-affirming clinic are more likely to persist and come to permanently identify as trans, and more and more gender-dysphoric kids find their ways into these clinics, the overall desistance rate may well drop over time.
Note in this last quoted paragraph that he literally argues trans kids remaining trans is a negative outcome. The goal, in Zucker’s mind and in Singal’s focus is to force trans kids through abuse and hell that actively harms them, because this might somehow convince them not to stay trans.
The prevention of trans is valued over the health and well-being of the children affected.
But “social transition”, i.e. not being an asshole about pronouns and identity and letting the kid explore with gender is not exactly all that terrifying except to transphobes who are appalled at the idea of their children somehow ending up trans.
And the best part of social transition is that its literally instantly reversible if that identity or pronouns don’t stick. Come to school saying you are a boy one day, a girl the next, to see which feels right to you, change your mind in a year or two? Yeah, doesn’t hurt anyone, in the same way as kids trying to figure out their sexuality and flitting between self-identifiers to find the best fit doesn’t actually hurt anyone.
And for all the hand-wringing of its “disruption”. It really isn’t.
I’m a trans teacher and I have trans students. And as main LGBT mentor, I am often in charge of best supporting these trans students and keeping them alive and safe. As such I was in charge of supporting these students in their gender explorations and pronouns and creating a safe space on campus for these kids to figure out what they were (even if that meant deciding they were cis all along). Two of my students first identified as genderfluid and had shifting pronouns*********. One of them, shifting pronouns that literally switched around from day to day.
********* Between they and the pronoun relating to their gender assigned at birth. Shockingly, despite being an evil trans activist, I somehow didn’t shame my kid every time they felt more like their assigned at birth gender or treat it any worse or less worthy of respect than when they identified with the they pronoun. Nor did I try and exploit their gender fluidity to push an agenda. Almost like we want trans kids and kids who turn out not to be trans to be comfortable in whatever gender identity best fits them… I know, shocking, right?
So, to ensure our teachers could not misgender them while they figured out what fit for them, I would send out daily emails just with the current pronoun the students preferred to use and which pronouns to use with parents until they were ready to come out. One of my students was genderqueer and wanted to explore using multiple pronouns at the same time, so correspondence with them involved switching between he, she, and they between each usage of a pronoun.
So we did that. We practiced. We got good at it. And it didn’t take all that much from us other than some specific focus to do our students right. Currently, the majority of our students have come out to their parents. And for many of them, having the freedom to explore and experiment with pronouns and identities allowed them the space to figure out what they are and have that remain consistent for months and years and find the ways that best helped them treat their dysphoria.
Those kids are also alive, something I’ve worked very hard to ensure, and many of them have thanked our campus specifically for giving them a single space where their identities don’t get them drowned in transphobia and denial of their identities.
This is not hard to replicate. All it takes is not being an asshole and deciding that you must know their gender identity better than them simply because you don’t value it. And that’s really all “social transition” and its assorted hoopla translates to. Not being a dick to kids over their pronouns, identity, or behavior.
So this panic over “socially transitioning kids without delay” as Singal states, is complete bollocks because why wouldn’t you let a kid “socially transition” without delay. It’s literally the least one can do and requires very little actual effort and is 100% reversible in a second assuming you have a system set up that doesn’t socially punish “freaks” for daring to explore their gender.
And to Zucker and Singh, that is viewed as awful, entirely because the idea of trans kids being happy and ending up trans and their precious 80% number not being accurate is a terrifying idea for them. They genuinely like the idea of trans kids going without care and pretending to be cis because it lets them sell to parents the idea of reparative therapy to get them over this “scary phase” without having to do anything so small as using a new pronoun.
And this gets used to deny actual trans kids respect. So many of my trans kids had to fight their parents for every pronoun. Had to build up courage for months and find what fit best for them before hand because they knew their parents wouldn’t support them exploring. Wouldn’t accept them as trans unless they could state a truth without hesitation. And even then getting them to use pronouns can be fights lasting years.
One of my students is a trans male and has known this for years. He is in his teens and his mom still refuses to call him by his preferred pronouns and we’ve had to use “she” in all correspondence home to her about her kid. And this is because she took him to a psychiatrist of the Zucker school who told her it was a phase and to actively resist the pronouns and identity in order to convince him to drop it, aggressively enforcing the “she” pronouns until he relents and accepts it and retreats back into the closet again. His fight to be seen as who he is continues largely because of articles like Singal’s.
And that’s the damage of denying “social transition” for these bigoted horseshit reasons.
2. Blockers and the golden snitch
First up, let’s be specific. Raising the spectre of “blockers”, “hormones”, and “surgeries” in pre-pubescent trans students is fucking bigoted and transparent. Largely because social transition at that age is literally all you can do. They aren’t in puberty yet, so there’s nothing to block. They aren’t in puberty yet, so giving them hormones would be bizarre. And no one’s going to be performing genital surgeries on them**********, because they are not finished going through puberty and thus not done growing. All fears about pre-pubescent kids facing any of those is thus based on literally nothing.
********** And here’s where I awkwardly cough and reference the genital surgeries performed on children born intersex which is somehow still the common medically recommended procedure and which is literally based on the idea of making the genitals look like one or the other default so that it’s less confusing or alienating for cis folks. Like, literally it’s done because doctors are worried “about the child not fitting in during puberty or when examining their genitals”. So again, we see the hypocrisy where even the spectre of genital surgery is enough to deny trans kids pronouns, but we’ll happily make it required for intersex kids to have their genitals surgically “corrected” in order to preserve our societal delusion that genitals = biological sex and biological sex = binary despite its noted harm to intersex individuals growing up. Yes, I am pissed at that shit and the cavalier hypocrisy this underlines.
So let’s talk blockers. Blockers are what is currently given to pubescent kids and really all that’s given to pubescent kids until the kid is around 16-18. Puberty blockers are frickin’ magical. Because all they do is delay puberty. Basically they are only prescribed when the person is starting puberty and is showing the first signs of going through a puberty that will likely induce dysphoria in them. And what it does is buy time for the person to figure out if they are actually trans***********.
*********** This buying time also conveniently marks the trans kids by their delayed or absent puberties at the same time as their peers, but who are we to suggest that this is working as intended. Especially when lawmakers and school officials are playing around with various ideas to identify and mark their trans kids.
That’s it, a big ol’ delay switch. If at any point the trans kid’s like eh, fuck this trans shit, I’m actually super cis, they can do so as easily as stopping taking their blockers.
The day they stop, their pubescence will pick off where it left off. The worst having happened is being a late-bloomer. And given that this is a medication, it has one of the fewest list of side effects, being safer for kids to take than even over-the-counter medication like Ibuprofen.
Not that this stops Jesse Singal panicking over this like its lead in children’s toys:
And this is where I have to stop myself from just straight up screaming at him, because this is willfully blind.
He straight up admits most kids assigned blockers don’t “desist” and remain trans. He straight up admits that the costs of not going on blockers is horrifying and terrible for trans kids. And he’s too smart an individual to not know that the only existing alternative in existence right now is forcing a kid to go through the wrong puberty and somehow survive that, unnecessarily. He has genuine sympathy for kids like many of my students whose parents struggle on the 1st step of social transition, much less letting them have publicly available medicine that could keep their kids from going through a puberty that is visibly making them more depressed and suicidal************.
************ And I speak from direct observation here. I had a trans male student who went through middle school into high school. As his body developed more and more into that which he didn’t want, he became more visibly uncomfortable, awkward and exhibited more self-harming behavior we had to put him on watch for. His parents were even supportive too. They used his correct pronouns and referred to him as their son. But they read a lot of pop science articles like Jesse Singal’s demonizing blockers and so denied their son them because “it’s probably a phase anyways” and “I’m really scared of the idea of surgeries” and a bunch of other nonsense completely unrelated to what blockers actually do. And I’m tired of seeing kids who didn’t have to go through the hell of the wrong puberty that I did forced to go through it anyways simply because a bunch of transphobic pieces of shit decided to throw whatever bullshit at the wall in the hopes that it would stick, because they want to deny that they are appalled and terrified at the idea that trans kids exist.
And yet, here he is, tsk tsking a critic, because “what, why would we dare medicate a child who might not need it”.
And to that, I say, what the ever loving fuck.
My school is specifically focused to serving an at-risk student body in general. Mental health, LGBT, drug addiction, debilitating injuries or disabilities, that sort of thing. Kids who’ve been through hell and need some support getting through stuff.
As such, a number of my students struggle with various mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and bipolar. And so for these students, every month is sometimes a medical carnival as their psychiatrists try and find the right dosages and drugs to deal with their pubescent body’s reactions to the drugs needed to get their mind to stop trying to kill them. Our bipolar students in particular tend to shift medications very frequently as the hormonal changes mess with what is and isn’t working at any given moment.
As such, this notion of “why bother trying a kid out on a medication if it might not work” is just… literally stunning.
And the answer is somewhat obvious. You medicate a child who might not need it, because that’s how you find out what is working or not and what is helping or not. You try an anti-depressant on a suicidal patient. Maybe that works, maybe that doesn’t. Maybe that’s the wrong drug because the patient doesn’t actually have depression per se, they have bipolar and so a different set of medications is needed to treat it.
You try things out because there’s already a noticeable problem needing adjustment (the patient is dysphoric and is starting to go through the wrong puberty).
To go, “why would we use medicine, maaaaan”, is to deny a kid diagnosed with diabetes their insulin shots because “hey, it might be a gland disorder or diet or something, so why don’t you do without this necessary potentially life-saving medicine for a bit while we make extra double-sure you’re not faking this diabetes thing for attention”.
It’s unnecessarily cruel. More than that. It’s medical malpractice.
We don’t deny people medicine that might help, that is approved as ethically safe by our medical institutions, that’s been heavily tested and vetted by the FDA, and which is therapeutically recommended for patients with that condition out of our personal ideas that we somehow know better than them what they need.
For Jesse Singal to state this is appalling and seems to hint rather strongly that he simply does not value the health and well-being of trans kids and their right to receive medicine that could help them. That can literally be gone off of at any time to resume their original pubescence if they so choose.
Especially when his literal next tweet was:
Which was then followed up with:
And ugh… where to even start.
Detransition and Ex-trans
Okay, so, first up, let’s note that we didn’t even get to hormones and surgeries because those don’t really occur until trans kids are forced to jump through hoop after hoop to prove that no really, despite the 90 billion times to turn back, I can confirm that I am truly genuinely trans. And as such, isn’t even offered as an option until late teenagehood at best and more like young adulthood. Even if the kid has remained consistent for years. Even if Jesse Singal admits that the rate of kids on puberty blockers who “desist” and change their mind is near zero.
Hell, he opens his article with a scare story about a parent who acquired their child hormones somewhat illegally or certainly without official approval:
“He had been on puberty blockers since the age of 9,” Helen Webberly, a general practitioner, told Lyons, discussing a 12-year-old patient to whom she prescribed cross-sex hormones. “He would have to now wait until 16 to get testosterone. This child has always been a boy, never worn a dress, always played with boys. He was so ready, his mates are starting puberty and he’s desperate to start puberty. I felt and the mother felt and the child felt it was the right time, so that child’s now on cross-sex hormones.”
12 years old, you’re supposed to cry! Why, that’s much too young! I must weep and worry about surgeries even though this boy just wanted to go through puberty at the same times as his peers and not be left out.
All to raise the spectre of this happening more frequently. The whole article is designed to raise the idea that this sort of thing is happening younger and younger and being “pushed” on kids even though he again, readily admits that the “desistence” rate of adolescents (i.e. the age of kids who’d be at around this example boys’s age) is near zero. And yet, when called on it, he’ll deny and claim that people readying a scare story about trans health care are “misreading things” and “showing their anti-science bias”. All while citing studies all from one single crew of people, peddling stuff his own statistics disprove, and here, straight up trying to recruit a group of ex-trans fuckers to harass a critic and references “gender detransition” like fucking Focus on the Family does, citing this and recruiting voices as if to pretend this is some grand number of people, when it really isn’t and those that do exist tend to artificially inflate their numbers by citing folks who “detransition” for reasons other than no longer viewing themselves as trans.
And this is the point where I’m just seeing red. Because this ex-trans shit and “you can change” garbage should not be being given a free pass after so much ink has been spilled on the horrible damage the ex-gay movement has done and how thoroughly they’ve fucked up so many kids. When we are now more aware than ever at the sheer awfulness of reparative therapy.
But somehow, it’s trans kids, so who gives a fuck, right?
And I’m even more incensed because he straight up overvalues cis kids and the fear he has of them possibly having regrets about thinking they were trans than trans kids being forced to go through a puberty they don’t want and don’t have to do. He readily admits the number of “detransitioners” is near infintessimal, and yet he amplifies their voices over trans kids (none of whom he actually quoted or interviewed for his articles on trans kids, though he certainly takes his time to reach out and recruit and highlight the stories of “ex-trans” bigots who’ve joined hate movements), even when their stories often have literally nothing to do with puberty blockers or social transition or even hormonal stuff************.
************ He cites one case in specific which is a woman who feels she was “railroaded” into transition, but she describes an endo who literally had no idea what trans people were and literally had to google care guidelines because he had no idea and the thing she says she regrets is a double mastectomy she had in her early adulthood. Oh, and she also deliberately kept quiet about adverse health effects because she really wanted to transition, so I’m not sure what the message is other than, hey, we need to force every kid to go through the wrong hormones and need to have later surgeries in their early adulthood, to prevent the possibility of one single cis kid having to go through with that. Oh and she belongs to a TERF network actively harassing trans folks, but let’s forget about that last part.
And of course, it’s not frequently about hormones, because hormones are pretty easy to get off of as well. You literally stop taking them and then, boom, back to your old hormone patterns for better or worse. And if you stop taking them within the first three months (which is usually far long enough for people to notice if this is suddenly inducing dysphoria in a major way), then it is completely redone and reset by your old hormone patterns within a few months. Again, as medical procedures go, it’s safer than most things, but regulated like liquid gold out of the fear that some cis kid could “irreparably harm their fertility” using them out of the “delusion” that they were trans (again, among TERFs who are Jesse Singal’s biggest fans, all trans people are deluded and secretly cis, so in their minds no one should be allowed hormones or surgeries or even “social” transitions because in their minds, we’re all ex-trans waiting to figure it all out.
And again, I’m speaking from personal experience here. My enbyfriend went on testosterone for a period of time, about a year actually, but had to drop it because the hair growth was making them feel dysphoric. They are not “not trans”, they are just non-binary. Since, they’ve restarted their old hormonal patterns simply by stopping taking testosterone. And that’s meant things reshifting back to how they were, with little overall effect and all the old dysphorias of the old system as they try and figure out their next steps to best address their dysphoria with the options available to them. The lasting effect is “their clitoris is a bit big and can serve as a small dick”, same as a person who did steroids for a period of time in their youth. And that’s with a full year of the stuff. Hell, they are even still fertile as much as they wished they weren’t.
And yet, Jesse Singal is peddling garbage from ex-trans activists and arguing that this undoes the evil trans narrative of “everyone who has dysphoria being trans” and buying their bullshit that gender identity clinics somehow don’t support “detransition”*************:
************* Okay, this pisses me off, because A) trans people get shit for medical care. So, some ex-trans acting like the mean trans people lobby somehow moved to block them from accessing “de-transition services” because all the doctors are focusing just so hard on giving trans people all their time and energy is downright offensive. We have to fight, beg, borrow, and steal every moment of health care, usually against hostile gatekeepers, but somehow we’re in control of a medical institution we can’t even reliably get to see us as human and using it to deny ex-trans folks care. B) It’s a transparent copy-paste from ex-gay narratives that argue that all the gay organizations and services discriminate against ex-gays and don’t affirm their “equal” “lifestyle” in their literature. And C) Most “detransition” care is simply going off of stuff. Want to “socially detransition”? Tell people you’re your Assigned at birth sex. Done. Want to “detransition” from blockers? Stop taking them. Done. Want to “detransition” from hormones? Stop taking them. Done. Want to “detransition” from surgeries? Well, no it’s actually taking effort, but here’s the dirty secret. It’s totally available and open to folks needing to do that, the only catch is that it’s just as difficult to obtain as transition related surgeries and ex-trans folks believe that as cis folks, they shouldn’t have to suffer the ignominy of that to get “restored” and so pitch a fit that they have to jump through the same shitty hoops as trans folks to receive the surgeries they feel will best serve their gender identity. And well, yeah, that’s the bed you created with all your wailing about how our existing system of bullshit isn’t nearly onerous enough for trans folks. You made it, so you get to lie in it, same as us.
And chiding folks for not seeing “both sides” like a fucking creationist or an anti-vaccer. All while accusing trans folks of not being more aware of the folks who gladly joined our oppressors and working against our access to health care and arguing that all of our kids have to go through unnecessary hell all to protect the glimmer of a thought that one cis kid might have to go through a fraction of what we regularly expect trans kids to go through.
And at that point, I find it extremely difficult to not conclude that Jesse Singal knows exactly what he’s doing. And for all he says he empathizes with trans kids, he simply does not value them even a fraction as much as cis kids.
Conclusions and side-note on trans folks being unfair
These mythologies, these scare stories, hurt real kids. And they hurt real kids, serve to deny them care they need, simply because the narratives that folks like Singal accuse trans folks of spreading “against science” just don’t get out there all that much.
Most parents are much happier to believe that 80% number means their child who’s said they are trans for years is one day gonna magically decide it’s all a phase and become cis that they straight up deny their trans kids care until they tragically end their life like Leelah Alcorn did.
I’m on the ground. I get to pick up the pieces of these types of clickbait horror-shows selling “you were right to be concerned about the trans menace coming for your kids” and “science totally backs your misgivings about supporting your kids” narratives. The one trying to keep them alive as their parents deny them care that could end their pain out of a misguided idea that this will somehow be a kindness to the cis kid hiding deep inside of them.
And I get to see how close we are at every minute we are to losing them to the transphobia in our culture and the pain that such untreated dysphoria causes. We want excuses not to deal with the reality of trans individuals and their medical needs. We want to make it seem terrifying for a trans person to use a bathroom, to use a new pronoun to refer to someone, or for a kid to use medicine to see if it helps a condition they have.
Because if we do that, then we don’t have to evolve. We don’t have to accept how this changes things and that the way we did things has changed.
Jesse Singal thinks this acceptance is against science and cites discredited articles from people literally stripped of their roles by scientific bodies who found their work distressing and harmful and folks in active hate campaigns against marginalized individuals as non-biased sources. And even then, he ignores what his biased studies say when they argue in favor of more compassionate and accepting medical care procedures. He thinks this is somehow an act of censorship against science itself, as if science was pure and virginal and never allowed to be wrong.
And well, it’s not. Hell, things exist in scientific parlance today that really shouldn’t.
One of the classes I teach is Forensics Science. And so, every time we get to hair analysis I have to give a talk about how slow science is to adapt to the existence of people who are not cis straight white men and how this can lead to science sometimes feeling painfully behind the times. I have to give this talk not because I’m an evil PC-culture lieberal destroying the ethical foundations of science, but because of how the existing science refers to the racial category of hair fibers.
Basically there are three categories: “Caucasoid”, referring to hair fibers likely orginating with a European origin, and then… CONTENT WARNING: RACISM… “Mongoloid” to refer to hair fibers with a likely east asian origin and “Negroid” to refer to hair fibers with a likely african origin. These terms are genuinely horrifyingly out of date and bring visible cringes to my students. And I feel genuinely uncomfortable teaching this section, because the terms of science were put down by racist white men and the field has not quickly adapted to this and fixed it.
This happens all the time. We’ve had to change how we study things like heart attacks, because we were for a time treating the white male as a default state for all humanity and thus simply overriding actual symptoms of heart attacks in women as “non-indicative” leading to an adverse survival rate.
And a lot of times, it has been the community most affected who has had to gently remind science to actually look at them and recheck the assumptions they have always gone by. Black folks were responsible for breaking through the horrendous scientific racism of the 1800s, women were responsible and are currently responsible for undoing a lot of our sexist myths, gay people had to create their own literature and studies to counter the hate machines of Focus on the Family and the American Family Association. And now, trans people are doing the same with the horrendous state of affairs that has been trans health care and science up to this point. With folks not connected in the Bailey, Blanchard, Zucker triumvirate actually contributing their studies and evidence disproving the horseshit that they peddled for so long. With trans folks putting forth their life experiences to counter universalist statements of who is “allowed” to be trans.
And this leads me at very very long last to my final point.
And that’s Jesse Singal’s very first framing and the central problem with his whole persecution complex surrounding the trans individuals who have critiqued his bad science, the very title of his piece:
What’s Missing From the Conversation About Transgender Kids
The “missing” is implied in the essay and in Jesse Singal’s tweets to be trans folks not wanting to talk about kids who are just gender-non-conforming but not trans. Who don’t want to talk about non-binary spaces or folks who don’t want all the transitions, or even folks that change their mind and don’t identify as what they did anymore. That we are so inflexible we can’t stand any critique of our orthodoxy and that and only that is the reason we are so unwilling to politely tolerate someone shoving harmful discredited “science” in our faces. Because of our inflexibility.
And it’s this essence that reveals that Jesse Singal truly has no clue what he is talking about, that he is bereft of trans people in his life, or if he does, that he lacks empathy and connection to their lives in a meaningful way.
Because trans people as a whole, and especially in the last decade or two have been incredibly accepting to diversity. And this “you’re not thinking about this” smacks of “you feminists aren’t paying attention to muslim women’s issues” arguments. Because yes, feminists were the ones to bring those issues to your attention. Muslim feminists in particular, the first to beat the drum of what had been happening to them. And it’s the same with trans folks.
Trans folks have worked tirelessly to try and reduce the amount of shit a gender non-conforming cis kid gets for their non-conforming behavior, in reducing the weight of gender norms because we remember thinking we were our birth sex and being brutalized for what we were into or how we were. Trans folks have worked tirelessly to try and value the voices of marginalized folks outside the binary and have worked with queer communities to help aid the rights struggle of gay, lesbian, bi, pan, queer, intersex,asexual, and so on communities. They have in many cases been an amplifying voice to intersex people and their fight to be recognized in scientific classes and to stop being mutilated in childhood.
And we might not always get it right, but we work harder than most communities to respect our diversity. We’re one of the few communities that fully supports genderfluid and genderqueer individuals and a lot of us came from gender-non-conforming movements like drag or the stone butch scene. And what we argue for is that every kid has the freedom to explore and figure out who they are and not have to defeat an army of gatekeepers intent on pretending they are all cis. What we argue for is to improve things so our trans kids can SURVIVE.
We’re not talking about “desistence”? True. We don’t often talk about hate terms designed to marginalize us and make us seem like a crime. But we do talk about how not every kid who plays with dolls is going to grow up to be trans or gay. We talk about how gender expression =/= gender identity. We talk about the freedom of letting kids figure themselves out and not abusing them for it. Our webcomics and art are full of this idea (comics below are from Assigned Male by Sophie Labelle):
This rhetorical trick where the marginalized are accused of the bad behaviors of their oppressors because their oppressors don’t want to change and adapt and accept what the existence of the marginalized people means regarding their assumptions needs to stop. And it is disingenuous to pretend that trans people are somehow undermining science by participating in science how it was intended to be participated with, finding their own studies, disproving old bunk theories, making the field of science more accurate.
And to Jesse Singal, I will point out three things to conclude.
1) The medical community agrees with trans people on what best serves them. You are free to disagree. But the onus is no longer on us to disprove the ideas and protocols that were shed. It is on those who want them maintained to defend their merit and prove the new ways are harmful. So, you can do that or you can whine about it, but if you do the latter, we trans people are not being the ones who are anti-science.
2) Your work is harmful to trans kids. When you imply their lives are worth less than the idea that a cis person might have to go through what we expect them to endure. When you sell disproven mythologies to their parents that reinforce their fears, that’s not on them “misreading your work”, that’s on you to check your framing and assumptions and make sure you are not reinforcing bigoted nonsense.
3) Fuck your word games with framing.
No, I’m sorry, but seriously, fuck the bullshit word games. Like, you’re a professional wordsmith. You know what you are doing when you frame a discussion about kids “socially transitioning” and use words and arguments echoed by hate groups to imply fear about surgeries. And fuck your “I’m just defending and talking about science” when right now trans kids are fucking fighting for their right to be seen and survive and when there’s little to no conversation about what they face and the actual safety of what services exist now.
And fuck your “I’m being technically accurate” bullshit, because it’s the same shit we’ve seen a thousand times before. Doing this “ooh, what about desistence, even though it doesn’t apply to the population I’m talking about” and “Oh, what about the poor ex-trans, you trans folks aren’t talking enough about them” dance is the frickin’ equivalent of chanting “all lives matter” to a “black lives matter” protest. Yes, it’s technically true, but it’s still fucked and deliberately trying to erase the fact that the other side does believe all lives matter, but that there own is not being considered part of that all.
And so with trans healthcare, to pretend we have actual power, that it is a heavier question to wonder about the ex-trans already receiving the same care as trans kids over the trans kids just trying to access any health care, you are saying you do not value the suffering and suicides of our children. That we are worth less, because we are not cis.
And for what it’s worth, we take care of the folks who are gender-non-conforming but cis. We ally with them. We’ve marched with them. We’ve let them come into our meetings and figure out if this trans thing fit them. We encourage them to explore who they are. We’ve done all we can. So fuck you if you’re going to pretend we don’t simply because we refuse to sit still and let poisonous garbage be spewed at us without response or let folks condemn our health care because they once thought they were trans, but now have aligned themselves with hate movements against us.
In the same way that gay groups are not wrong for not accepting the casual bullshit of Robert Oscar Lopez and their right to harm our lives and families based on their negative experiences and feelings surrounding their time identifying as gay. And for criticizing every debunked anti-gay factoid he throws up to try and argue legally against our rights and against treating gay kids like human beings.
And I’ll be damned if I watch my kids suffer or worse, kill themselves because some cis prick wants to believe that he’s a brave centrist seeing through the “extremism of both sides”.
Cause I don’t want to spend the next 10 years teaching watching kids who could have the blockers they desperately need or the social acceptance they so desperately need denied to them because of school officials and parents believing that some asshole still mourning the closing of a Reparative Therapy Clinic is telling the truth when he says the consensus of science is that most trans kids are going through a phase.
Especially when he can’t even bother to believe that is true, except when convenient to escape the reality of how his arguments are being used to harm others.
What has TV Science wrought?!?
We tried to warn you.
Way back in the very first Mangotime!, we tried to warn you all about the scourge of the Canadian teen soap opera Degrassi: The Next Generation. How its depiction of a handful of LGBT characters have erased all non-LGBT characters from all other programming.
Well, you didn’t listen!
Now, Degrassi has committed an action so heinous and unconscionable, that a devoted mother was forced, forced I say, to catalogue it for all posterity as a warning to others.
That’s right. It…I can hardly find the courage…
It brought up the acknowledgment of bisexuals to her and her son (despite the fact that Degrassi doesn’t currently have any out-as-such bisexual characters). Thus forcing them to have to discuss the existence of people he will encounter in real life.
If you don’t understand the horror of this, you’ve never been a mother…while certifiably insane.
As such, this week, we must take you deep into this woman’s personal hell caused by the unending rampage of… Degrassi!
Latest Tween Fad… Bisexuality is Hip by the blog Education Knowledge
So Im watching spongebob on Nickelodeon final week with my thirteen yoa son
Your 13 year-old watches Spongebob? I mean, no judgement, people enjoy entertainment meant for a different age group all the time, but seems a bit…
Wait, this is about a 13 year old? I.e. starting high school or a year before starting high school? I.e. you really should have had the fucking birds and the bees conversation by now? I.e. your son probably already personally knows at least one out LGBT person by now?
A point? No, I wasn’t making a point, please go on.
and I see a business promo spot for Degrassi as I see two girls professing their deep need and adore for every single other in breathless, very grown up ways followed by a super slow camera shot of a romantic kiss of sizzling intensity and I must saymagnificient cinematography.
My neck felt hot as I instinctively moved to rub it, my other hand, slipping across my chest as I found my legs suddenly warm and chafing together. I’m not sure what caused this, but I’m guessing Satanism.
And in shock, Im thinking to myself undoubtedly that wasnt what I thought it was ? Not an openly lesbian lead storyline in one of the most significant pre-teen television displays on Tv ?
Queers? On my TV? And they allow this? My pearls have never been clutched as tightly as now. My word, don’t we have people to prevent this sort of thing from happening? Some sort of closet arrangement so we can keep our children in some sort of LGBT-free bubble so that they don’t think our bigoted responses to the concept are “sad” and “archaic”?
I mean, what do good christian women pay their taxes for?!?
10 minutes later on I see it once again and once again the promo runs of a romantic lesbian scene with the newest awesome new music packaged as quite as can be no accident, no mistake now.
Girls kissing other girls chastely on the mouth is only a big deal if you’re so repressed you force your 8th grade child to only watch Nickelodeon cartoons intended for children half his age?
Sorry, forgot my manners there. I meant, “my word no, obviously Nickelodeon is peddling in smut”.
Teen Nick has moved from their role of empty entertainers to sexual education and learning.
Okay, that was sarcasm, but we’re going to need several responses to encapsulate all the wrong packed into this one sentence.
1) Yes, how dare Teen Nick cover issues teenagers might be dealing with. What’s next? Shows with kids in high school?
2) Sex education has a definition and unless Degrassi has moved away from its soap opera style and started doing informational displays on proper condom use, it’s definitely not meeting that definition.
3) Yes, everyone knows that acknowledgement of lesbian romantic connections is the same exact thing as sex, because… well, it’s all she can think of when she thinks of lesbians. Hot sweaty lesbians, pawing at her pants buttons and… clutch the pearls, this too will pass. Pray away the Gay wouldn’t have lied to you (hint: they did).
4) It’s fucking Degrassi! Degrassi has covered abuse, rape, sexual harassment, assault, violent bullying, suicide, cheating, open and frank depictions of sex and sexuality, and so on. And that’s usually in one season. It’s a soap opera for teenagers. Complaining like it showing a girl-girl kiss is “crossing a line” demonstrates that this “watching Nickelodeon with my kid” “ritual” isn’t one that happens very often, because otherwise you should be VERY aware of what Degrassi is.
No longer are they just focused on making shareholders much more cash, or launching the worthwhile careers of its tween and teen heart-throbs.
Um, I think your mixing Nickelodeon with the Disney channel and its unholy factory of pre-packaged pre-teen virginal stars who magically start selling themselves as sluts around legal age.
And Degrassi is part of the “making money” thing. Its relatively popular for a teen show because its relatively good for a teen show. And that’s despite all the various wingnuts who’ve blown a gasket over how it doesn’t hide away the issues teens face for the sensibility of professional “moral guardians” crying to high heaven about “Teh Children”.
Teen Nick has moved well beyond just making mindless candy pop kids shows that outline the well-known and stunning. Their reveals have extended been the rabid fare of pre-teens, desperate to grow up faster and watchful to emulate the ideal hair designs, whitest teeth and latest fad fashions of their stars
Again, Disney. Not saying Teen Nick is free and clear of that trend. Hell, most teen programming probably isn’t free of it, but you are complaining a common argument against the pre-teen-marketed Disney shows.
But, no, continue. I’m sure your arguments will retain gravitas and seem to be coming from a position deeper than “ew gays, make them go away”, despite failing to understand Degrassi’s regular programming or teen programming in general.
Or really much of anything.
Well, that shouldn’t be a problem, it’s not like your blog title consists of two words relating to knowing…
now it seems they are actively advertising bi-sexuality as being a far better way of encountering teen really like and coming of age life lessons for todays kid.
SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY! THIS WEEKEND ONLY, SEE THE AMAZING BISEXUAL JUMP THROUGH THE FLAMING HOOP OF FIRE! RIGHT AFTER TRUCKOSAURUS!
Also did you know that acknowledging that bisexuals (well, actually a single lesbian kiss by a character who’s an out lesbian, so don’t no where all the rants about evil bisexuals are coming from) exist, means forcing their superiority on others?
Those of us who dig through the muck of homophobes are often accused of being overly willing to attribute closeted attractions to such people (making jokes that all homophobes are gay and so on).
Well, it’s because of shit like this. Because we are constantly ripping through a post where a writer is saying the only thing keeping us from a world of endless bisexual orgies is the fact that people are kept ignorant about the existence of bisexuals.
When the leap is “I saw a lesbian kiss” to “Going bi is the superior lifestyle”, it’s hard not to assume that her bookmarks tabs are filled with sites she is “researching” for a “new article on girl-on-girl pornographies effect on declining moral values”.
But I digress!
Fellow parents out there, you need to know the scene I noticed is just a sampling of the adult media that has now moved into the mainstream teen tv planet
And you thought I was kidding when I said Degrassi’s single trans character has erased all cisgendered characters from all entertainment every where. Silly fool, the LGBT takeover is nearly complete. There are token characters on literally dozens of shows and occasionally a long-running series will devote whole ones of episodes to talking about LGBT issues.
If we don’t stop the creeping homofascism, the chance of a wingnut having to acknowledge that LGBT people exist and aren’t actually demonic phantasms that exist only to taunt them with their smoking hot bodies may approach double digits.
And then where will we be?
and they are becoming amazingly good at glamorizing bi-sexuality as the newest wave of pop culture to our most vulnerable age group tweens. (little ones among the age of seven-thirteen)
Evidence of this glamorization?
Hell, evidence of bisexuality (seeing as her one example so far is a lesbian character she just assumed must be attracted to guys as well)?
Fuck, evidence that these shows are being marketed to tweens (shows like Glee and Degrassi are marketed to teenagers with themes chosen to match those realities)?
Why would we need that?
Think of the children, oogedy boogedy. I had to talk to my near-high-school level child about the existence of gay people! Think what could happen to your seven year old? Why looking at two ladies sharing a chaste kiss is far more traumatizing that sending them to a Catholic Church or anything run by Jerry Sandusky.
And no, we’re not even going to get into the massive fail of assuming that one can “catch” bisexuality simply because it is “trendy” or that it’s “trendy” simply because it is occasionally acknowledged in media.
We will briefly get heavy serious for a moment to knock the idea that it is inherently wrong to talk about bisexuality or queerness to high schoolers and middle schoolers. A good number of kids are going to grow up in the hell-hole of hormones that is middle school with attractions that don’t match up with the “normal” of their classmates. Kids who have been violently bullied for those attractions, necessitating projects like It Gets Better to try and address and reduce the number of kids who kill themselves over it.
The precious artifact children of people like this lady do not need to be “protected” from the knowledge that gay kids exist, but those bullied queer youth sure as damn well need a positive role model in their media. A fellow young queer kid on their programs to remind them that they are not alone, that it’s worth holding on through the pressure hell of middle school and high school.
They fucking need that all-too-rare token character on shows like Degrassi because that’s all they fucking have.
No one else wants to acknowledge that people like them exist, because of disingenuous parents like this who hide behind their children to try and legitimize their own desires to erase certain people from being acknowledged in our culture. To keep all of our entertainment white, straight, able-bodied, cisgendered, and centered entirely on frivolous middle class issues, because they don’t want to be exposed to the realities that the rest of us experience. Because they don’t want to be educated and think that they can get the whole world to get behind helping them keep their children as ignorant as them, simply because they raise a ruckus “for the children” at the drop of a hat.
And I’m sorry for the seriousness of that in a post that has already veered serious quite a few times, but it’s something that really needs to be addressed more in our culture.
Now, let’s return to the mangos.
This latest episode of Degrassi should serve as a warning for all of us who are seeking to preserve any semblance of a biblical entire world view for our people of faith.
Damn you real world with your insidious facts and their unbearable liberal biases! Why must you mock the poor people of faith, just trying to retain a biblical world view where the world was 6000 years old and unicorns and dragons totally did exist.
It’s just like those fascist cops who tried to infringe on my “deep personal beliefs” with all their blather about “how I wasn’t allowed to drive my car through crowds of people” just because I wanted a closer spot in the movie theatre. I mean, my 13 year old son needed to see the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. You didn’t expect us to have to walk to our seats where poor people and anti-Christian folk might assault him at any minute, did you?
We can no more time assume the stuff on mainstream Tv is secure.
Me speak english good.
The shows my little ones used to observe on Nick or Teen Nick at least respected the balance of getting a moral neutral value for usage those days are gone.
Little ones? The earliest kid you’ve mentioned was a 13 year old and no offense lady, but you don’t seem the type to show restraint when it comes to hiding your bigotry behind a child.
How old is the other “little one”? 29?
We cannot presume any more time that the stuff on Nick or Teen Nick can be watched un-supervised or at all.
Thats a frightening issue when you quit to feel about how effectively Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon have educated and entertained this very same era for a long time, starting out with the innocence of these reveals as Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants and then as our kids expand older, they begin to insert the tremendous awesome teen show Degrassi with all of its rot.
And comic books. Sure, you get them started on Donald Duck books and then all of a sudden there’s Watchmen and Preacher.
Or movies. You start them on Disney princesses having perfectly innocent adventures giving up their entire identity for a man and squelching any individual ambition and then all of a sudden they face movies with actual plots and maybe even an acknowledgment that people fuck.
Or life. You start them out on the bottle and yelling Bible verses at them about how much God hates their sinful naked body and then they go to school with people who aren’t like them and learn tolerance and respect and don’t view Harold as a sinner just because he’s gay or Ahmed as a terrorist just because he’s a muslim.
And even if you can prevent that, they still grow older and start having nasty mean teenage problems like sex and drugs and dealing with suicide and can’t we just preserve them for all time, unblinking statues of childhood preserved.
Come here children, mommy’s going to fix everything now. The Taxidermy book will make it all better. Now children will be with mommy forever and ever.
Like God intended.
It would seem on newest episode of Degrassi the producers decided the greatest storyline possible for our pre-teens and teens would be to highlight the newest in point for our youngsters, exact same-sex connection for tweens and teenagers.
It’s almost like they were trying to address teens who have same-sex attractions and euphemistic “connections” with them. With one single lesbian character on the main rota amidst a sea of heterosexual characters dealing with their various heterosexual relationships, having or deciding not to have heterosexual sex and that’s on the “daring” show Degrassi that’s got all the wingnuts in a tizzy.
Cause once that’s in, bam, nothing on TV but endless reruns of L Word and Xena Warrior Princess. It’s not so much a slippery slope as a wormhole in space-time.
Soon after observing the episode on the internet I felt the core concept of this show appears to sayfor you to be as great as the youngsters on Degrassi, its time to acknowledge you want to be openly gay with your girl good friend.
It must of said that. It said that to me. I recorded it on the Tivo, pushing away that spoiled brat who complained about things like “I was watching that”, “when are you making dinner” or “Mom, you’ve been watching that same clip for 24 hours straight now”. I could think of nothing but Michelle’s perky breasts poking out of her tank top as she collected her kid from a play date. Our kids actually hate each other, but I don’t care. Her smell intoxicates me, drawing me ever closer into her web.
And that’s why we need to stop Degrassi. It puts these wrong naughty thoughts into the heads of
me our most impressionable young people.
They dont skimp on the guys becoming into men on this show possibly, but for now this is adequate. Ive copied the storyline summary from the episode in question for any parents who treatment to go through it. Its not even delicate its sick.
Just thinking about it has drained what little writing ability she has left. To be fair, it must be hard to write a post semi-intelligibly when one hand is jammed so far down your pants it is legally in another county.
She then quotes the Degrassi episode synopsis in its entirety. Because I apparently hate you all, I’ve reproduced it in its entirety. Please feel free to skip over it.
Degrassi: In As well Deep Recap: Season 10, Episode 42 “Chasing Pavements, Component Two” (04/09/2011)
A lot more Degrassi: Recaps | News and Forged Interviews | All Tv Recaps
Fiona arrives out. Fiona has effectively finished rehab, but up next on her plate is going through the vicious Bobby, her physically abusive ex-boyfriend. But Bobby delivers the family $a hundred,000 to not go to trial. Fiona is completely in opposition to taking the settlement, but her mother is concerned about how the trial may emotionally affect her, and thinks she should consider the cash. But with Holly J’s support, Fiona convinces her mother to allow her push ahead. Fiona surprisingly retains her individual on trial, but can not take again the simple fact that she embellished the bruise in the photo she took of her scar, and after Bobby’s testimony, she commences to doubt her determination, and considers turning to alcohol, until her coping methods arrive in excellent handy. But when an additional girlfriend of Bobby’s arrives ahead and confesses that Bobby has abused her as well, Fiona’s circumstance is manufactured. She wins $250,000! In her happiness, she kisses Holly J on the lips!
Fiona has a romantic dream about Holly J and realizes her emotions for her greatest good friend. Holly J and Fiona strategy a sleepover collectively, although Fiona reconciles with Adam about their previous and sets up a movie date with him. She confesses that he wasn’t a issue in her life, and she nevertheless likes him. But while they are hooking up, Fiona tries to compliment him for becoming “the greatest of the two worlds”, and Adam storms out, telling Fiona that she just wishes a woman. The next day, she confesses to Holly J that she does not like Adam any more. In turn, on their sleepover, Holly J realizes she loves Declan in a way that she does not feel for Sav. When her mother comes property, Fiona confesses to her that she’s gay, and she’s in really like with Holly J. Her mother completely supports her, and tells her that it won’t be straightforward, but she can get through it. She comes clear to Holly J that she’s gay, who also isn’t the least bit bothered by it.
You didn’t need to read it all. But if you did, you probably noticed one big thing. “Gosh, that sounds like a soap opera aimed at teenagers”. And you’d be demonstrating your ability to prevent lesbian kisses from melting your ability to process information.
Thus proving you are part of the Dyke Cylon Force hellbent on enslaving America. We’re on to you vile Robotic Wenches! You will not get our children with your hypno-rays!
Seriously if you have taken the time to study this far you are recognizing what I did, the culture our little ones are residing in and around has been teaching them to abandon the standard views of faith and family and sexuality for some thing a lot cooler bi-sexuality is the way to go if youre as hip as they are.
Again, where is all the “bisexuality is hip” coming from?
Especially seeing as how she messed up the cardinal wingnut rule and actually quoted the original source of the thing she was complaining about, thus demonstrating that she’s freaking out over a lesbian coming out story.
Apparently it goes:
Step One: Tell a story of a fictional lesbian.
Step Two: REDACTED for reasons of sexy
Step Three: Everyone’s a bisexual!
How a lot of thousands and thousands of teen and tweens living in the chaos of their individual confusing and un-glamorous lives are currently being swept into this deception ? I imply this display is openly suggesting that if you care for a good friend, and they are the identical-sex it extremely properly could be that your attracted to them because your gay or bi-sexual. And not only is that o.k, but its really very awesome to do.
And it’s not ok. You should rot forever in the closet, holding that secret shame deep inside as you force yourself to ride the cock of a man you don’t love and stay in a loveless sham marriage always dreaming of that person as you cry into the pillow and violently shrug off your partner’s attempts to hold you.
Because that’s Jesus’s plan for you.
Also, she’s totally not gay, why would you think that. It’s just that bisexuality is so very seductive and trendy and other kids, female kids could get sucked into those obviously fictional media-induced attractions that could never exist in reality.
What are you staring at?
Mothers and fathers, Im begging you WE ALL Want TO WAKE UP!
Our planet is changing the principles and its happening on our watch. Our little ones are getting fed a developing diet regime of sexual storylines, pictures and role modeling that is influencing an entire era of little ones with a various gospel and a various fact than the one they listen to from us.
The world was filled with black people who refused to quietly suffer in the background and insisted on living full real respected lives, so we packed up our things and moved to the suburbs. The world was filled with women refusing to suffer silent as homemakers and spoke up about sexual consent, female sexual desire, desire to work from home and other things so we spent decades trying to dismantle the sex education programs they created and block almost all depictions of real female empowerment from media because it was “a higher rating level”. But now the walls are crumbling. “Those kids” are in the suburbs, going to the schools that were meant to keep them out. Bullying is not keeping the queers and the weirdos quiet, people are having to talk. And the internet, that demon-spawned device connects them to everyone, anyone.
There is no where else to hide. No where else to retreat to to raise them ignorant and contained in insular little communities.
They are looking at us with eyes mixed with hate and pity, wondering why they were denied life because of their parents’ hate.
Liberals will pay for that.
Make sure you take the time to talk with your little ones, block the teen nick channel if you dare on your house cable or satellite tvs and make clear your beliefs and values with your little ones These days. tomorrow may possibly nicely be also late.
Sorry for the lengthy and ominous blog nowadays, but it frightened the crap out of me when I began to study this a bit.
Yes, I totally believe you’ve “studied it”. Your writing demonstrates that thoroughly.
God, help us lead this generation back into the fact and hope of our faith as Christians. Heres to people who are determined to keeping their people on the road and in among the lines of daily life Im encouraging you to discover out far more, evaluation what your little ones are watching from the Pc, to the iPod to the televisions in your property. Consider an Energetic Part and Presume nothing. Its a scary time to be a father or mother, but I feel God has a method and a plan for people of us who take the time and pay attention for it.
Consider the time right now.
Holy Bob, Guardian of Stuff, forgive me for laughing my ass off over pleas like this. It’s just it is so damn funny when someone is literally begging God to try and make history and reality stop so they don’t have to grow and acknowledge reality.
Well that’s some egg on my face. From the entire pearl-clutching freak-out and overproductive nature, I totally assumed a mother and you know what? That’s bad on me.
I fight hard for the right for people to be themselves regardless of gender norms and I cheer this man’s brave stance even as a hyper-repressed Christian to live the gender stereotypes of a hyper-repressed Christian of the opposite sex.
Strike a brave blow, Peace Out brad, for all of us*.
This concludes another Mangotime!
*Which also changes the interpretation immensely. Sure, he’s assuming that a lesbian kiss will make all the girls bi because it’s personally irresistible to him. But that’s because he’s a giant egotist and assumes that just because he finds two young “Hollywood lesbians” locking lips the hottest thing ever, any woman watching will do the same and be unable to resist the brain-washing. I think I preferred the version where he was just a repressed lesbian.
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.
Yeah, so after my last post, I had planned to roll out some big projects. Well, that didn’t quite work out as I then spent over a month having to screw around with iTunes just to get the first thing I had planned semi-functional.
Well, I’m not going to promise revolutionary yet, but I’m going to try and have more content.
I am proud to announce a new podcast created by me featuring all original Lesbian Pulp stories called Lesbian Pulp Theatre Podcast.
The first two episodes are up on iTunes for subscription, or you can be old-fashioned and check out each episode as it’s uploaded to the archives. The first arc will be 4 episodes long and the last two episodes of the arc should be out and uploaded by end of December.
If you’ve got ideas for future arcs, please leave them in the comment thread.
If you know me on Sadly, No!, you’ll know I do this thing in the comments there sometimes where I go in and takedown an article ripping it apart and occasionally even approaching funny.
Well, a random recommendation by Substance McGravitas on the last post made me think, hell, why not do a weekly thing here where I find a piece of wingnut drivel and rip it apart?
So expect to see the first example of that in a couple of hours.
This is still in the future as I want to create a buffer first, but part of this last month has been brushing up my video editing skills for a new project where I will be ripping into bad movies with transgender characters, mocking both the terribleness of the movies as well as the offensive wrongness of the characters.
It will be called Transgender Media Fail and I hope to start releasing it early next year.
There may be more, but hopefully this will give you all something to enjoy in the meantime.
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.