Saturday 22 November 2014

False allegations are "rare"

Okay, so let's (as Bane666_au says) get stuck into it.

Feminists claim that false allegations in general, and of sexual violence in particular, are rare. Unfortunately, feminists (and other activists) have a long history of falsifying or exaggerating claims to promote an agenda. 

There is the hoax that Superbowl Sunday is the day of the year with the highest rate of domestic violence. 

There is the ongoing hoax that major sports events are hotbeds of sex trafficking (when there is no firm statistical evidence to show that). 

There is the hoax of the "Rule of Thumb", which was a carpenter's colloquialism until some judge over a hundred years ago was reported to have joked that it should apply to a man's right to correct his wife (for which he was lambasted in the press and ridiculed in political cartoons), which then snowballed into a false claim by feminists that it was an actual law in the UK and the rest of Europe.

 There is the "UN statistic" that 70% of the world's impoverished are women--a statistic with no source which appeared in a report in the 1980s, and has been repeated ever since. 

There is the claim that the majority of deformities at birth are caused by men who beat their wives during pregnancy, another statistic with no source, where the attributed source (March of Dimes) denies ever even conducting the research attributed to it, and which is disconfirmed by the CDC and other reputable sources. 

There is Eric Holder's blatantly false claim that domestic violence is the leading cause of death for young black women (even ALL homicides of young black women put together don't add up to the leading cause of their deaths). Incidentally, even though this claim has NEVER been true, after years of being called on it, the US government posted a clarification not that the claim was false, but that it was "outdated". 

There is the false claim that 98% (or whatever giant proportion they feel like using today) of all rapists are men, when more and more evidence is piling up that this is really not the case at all, at least according to the CDC. 

There is the false claim that domestic violence is almost entirely perpetrated by men on women, in the service of dominance and coercive control, when that type of domestic violence is the most rare form of all, half as common as the reverse. 

There is Charlie Rogers, a lesbian activist who carved up her own body and made a false report to police that three white men broke into her house, tortured her, and carved Christian and homophobic symbols in her skin. 

There is Meg Lanker Simons (a feminist activist with a previous history of gun violence) who was found to have sent rape threats to herself, something police discovered only after her university held rallies protesting the threats she received as evidence of a systemic "rape culture". 

Feminism is riddled with false claims. Almost all of them false claims indicting or vilifying men either individually, or as a group. 

Look at Anita Sarkeesian's claims about the game Hitman: Absolution:

The Lie - "the player" (you know, the everyplayer who is almost always male) is "invited" to kill female bystanders and sexualize their dead bodies

The Truth - the player, in the service of realism, CAN kill female bystanders just as they can kill male ones, but is actively discouraged from doing so through point penalties

The Lie - "the player" (again, the everyplayer who is almost always male) "can't help but" accept the invitation to kill female bystanders and sexualize their dead bodies

The Truth - the vast majority of playthroughs posted online show players avoiding all interaction with the female bystanders

The Lie - "the game" (developed and published mostly by men within a male-dominated industry) "carefully concocted" the scenario to compel "the player" (again, virtually always male) to kill the female bystanders and sexualize their dead bodies

The Truth - "the game" does not require the player to even interact with the female bystanders, actively discourages the killing of them, and the decision to do so earns the player nothing but a point penalty and grief

The Lie: "the game" dehumanizes the female characters as sex objects available for exploitation and violation on the part of the "everyplayer"

The Truth: during gameplay, the player hears the female characters discussing their struggles and problems in a way evokes sympathy for their plight. The women talk about their mean boss, their difficult lives, their vulnerabilities, etc, which the player hears whether he interacts with them or not 

In the service of these lies, it's almost certain that Anita actually, for the first time ever, used her own let's play footage in one of her videos, because the vast majority of players simply do not play the game in the way she needs them to to suit her agenda.

She's not only lying, but she lying in such a way as to lead people to believe the average gamer is a violent misogynist prone to necrophiliac fetishization of women's dead bodies, and that the game industry itself reinforces those attitudes about women or, worse, creates them. The parallels between her agenda and that pushed by wartime propagandists to demonize the enemy are astounding. And it's no different from what feminists have been telling us about all men since the Declaration of Sentiments. 

After 4 years of research into not just typical feminist claims and their utter lack of empirical veracity, but human psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, group psychology, mob psychology, etc, I have learned to be skeptical of ANY claim coming from a self-identified feminist. While I will certainly concede that women have problems specific to their gender, any feminist claim of causation will be heavily investigated by me, because so many such claims in the past have proven false.

A self-identified feminist could tell me her morning dump floated in the toilet instead of sinking, and I'd demand time-stamped pictures. That's exactly how trustworthy they are. 

Violence against women in any form has been a HUGE cash cow for feminism. The more they inflate their claims regarding its pervasiveness in society, the more money pours in, and the more power they have to tinker with legislation and policy. Because it is such an emotionally charged subject, any rational skepticism of these claims (as to whether they are true in the first place, or whether feminists are accurate in their estimates of pervasiveness), is easily deflected by attacking the skeptic.

Feminist: "1 in 5 women are raped on college campuses."

Skeptic: "Actually, that number doesn't represent rapes, but all sexual assaults, including forced kissing and attempted forced kissing. And there are reasons to believe that the research methodology is flawed in the direction of skewing the numbers higher than they actually are."

Feminist: "Rape apologist! Don't you CARE about rape victims? Do you hate women or something?" 

Very few people seem to notice that none of those accusations apply to the mere questioning of a claim. 

You can demonstrate until the cows come home just how much certain feminists are profiting from generating an inflated fear of violence against women among the public (the average [almost always feminist] director of a battered women's shelter here in Alberta rakes in over $100k/year, and in the US, that number can be significantly higher), and people won't care, because ending violence against women is THAT important. They won't see the people who claim to be working to end it as the exploitative con-artists or ideologically driven religious inquisitors that they are.

If you point out that a very lucrative industry has formed around these issues, and that like any organic entity, this industry will work to sustain and grow itself rather than the other way around, you get called a conspiracy theorist. Even though none of these claims require a conspiracy to be valid--all they require is human nature. 

The quasi-religious nature of feminism regarding how people psychologically identify with and attach to it, makes it such that those who believe will be VERY reluctant to ever concede that the goals have been achieved. To concede that means letting go of the religion. It is at this point that you see feminists claiming that universities that report many rapes through the Clery Act are hotbeds of rape and misogyny, while universities that report few or no rapes are hotbeds of rape, misogyny and underreporting. Rape is there, and rampant, just like sin--they KNOW it. And when they've all but stamped it out, it's still there and still rampant, because they KNOW it. 

When the inquisition runs out of real witches and sinners and heretics, it will begin to invent them to justify its own zealotry and its continued reason to exist. Just as the world will always be filled with sinners and heretics, it will always be filled with misogynists and rape apologists, even if it isn't. 

This is the one reason I see religion as in some ways less dangerous than secular utopian ideologies like feminism. Religion promises that the utopia will come when you're dead. The utopia is guaranteed to the chosen, no matter how imperfect the corporeal world is. Feminism desires a utopia on earth, where it is utterly unattainable even if it is (heck, even if it already exists!), due to the very nature of religious thinking. They could bring about perfect equality, but to justify their continued ideological zealotry, they will still perceive it as "a hell of inequality on earth". 

"The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism." All this translates to is, "The more people disagree with me, the more righteous I am. The more people claim women are already equal, the more I know they are not."

Feminists, in my opinion, are currently in the process of "doubling down". Their hand's been essentially empty for decades (women have better than equal rights and opportunities at the moment, as well as a massive, government funded advocacy machine in every western country) and people are beginning to call their bluff. Their response seems to be to constantly up the ante, claim feminism is more necessary than ever, and exaggerate every possible difficulty or obstacle in a woman's life, claim it's systemic oppression and screech injustice.

An interesting psychological mechanism is at play, I think.

"When in doubt, shout!: A seminal case study by Festinger found, paradoxically, that evidence that disconfirmed religious beliefs increased individuals’ tendency to proselytize to others."

There are numerous parallels between feminism and theism, not least of which is that its adherents integrate it into their individual personal identities. It possesses an orthodoxy, a set of doctrines, an etherial malicious force (Patriarchy), a way to "salvation" (feminist ideals), a definition of "sin" (sexism), aspects of the confessional ("I'm a straight, white male, and I acknowledge my privilege..."), and a utopian (yet ever-shifting) set of goals.

The more evidence you put in front of them that women are not oppressed, the more they will scream women are as oppressed as ever, maybe even more so. An example:

Only a few years ago, Gloria Steinem gave an interview where she asserted that women today are more oppressed than they were in the 1950s! And the kicker is, the greater oppression of women today, according to her, stems from the very things feminists of the 60s and 70s demanded--access to education, careers, and full opportunity for participation in the workforce! And of course, the proper response to this greater oppression that has resulted from 50+ years of feminism is more feminism, because reasons.

In addition, there's a thing people do when they become heavily emotionally and psychologically invested in a concept, cause, principle, course of action or what have you. They will continue to throw good money after bad.

"More recently the term sunk cost fallacy has been used to describe the phenomenon where people justify increased investment in a decision, based on the cumulative prior investment, despite new evidence suggesting that the cost, starting today, of continuing the decision outweighs the expected benefit."

Many feminists--the most dedicated and passionate in particular--have built academic and political careers on the dubious foundation of the Patriarchy hypothesis. They have built an entire academic (un)discipline out of it, constructed complex, convoluted and amorphous philosophical "tools" and "lenses" such as "problematization" in order to justify ignoring or dismissing evidence that contraindicates their grand unifying theory, and have devoted their entire lives to this belief system.

They're simply not going to declare all that investment worthless, are they? Like the gambler who justifies another gamble because he's already lost so much money, they are addicted to their past investment in what I can only describe as a psychological con on an epic scale.

The OECD's "Better Life Index" clearly indicates that in nearly every country in the west, women live longer, healthier, happier, safer lives than men. They have better access to health services, safety, education, work/life balance and housing, among other things. (click on the "gender differences" button)

Strange, when you think about it. According to feminism, the oppressed live longer, healthier, happier, safer lives than their oppressors.

Yet the feminist machine churns away, heaping guilt and shame on men all while screaming that the most privileged class of people in the history of humanity (western women of nearly any race or socioeconomic class) are systemically oppressed in every facet of their lives. Show them evidence to the contrary, and all they'll do is scream louder, because they've integrated a false belief system into their identities, and because they don't want to admit they've wasted their lives on bullshit.

As Gloria Steinem said in that interview, women in western countries are "more oppressed than ever" (a false accusation if ever there was one). And if you point out that she's objectively wrong in that claim, you're just part of the problem. And a misogynist, to boot.

I find it highly ironic that a group of people who claim that false allegations of violence and sexual violence are "rare" so frequently engage in making such allegations and others--not necessarily against individual men, but against all men, or against a "male-dominated system" that has always viewed male violence against women as socially and morally problematic, but which is constantly (falsely) accused of normalizing and condoning it.

According to Anita Sarkeesian, people should "listen and believe" when women disclose their experiences. Yet I have the feeling that she doesn't want people to "listen and believe" when I disclose my own experiences--that my life is a pain in the ass at times, but not unjust or oppressive, that I don't feel discriminated against or persecuted in every facet of my life (or any of them, really), that I think describing men as poisoned M&Ms is bigotry, that I think forms of entertainment that appeal to straight men are not inherently evil, and that most of her claims about tropes in video games are elaborate and convoluted lies requiring the internalization of anti-male biases and some serious mental gymnastics to validate. 

Which leads me to wonder why on earth do so many people, men and women, take these feminists seriously? When did the statement "never question a claim, no matter what" become a vaunted and desirable secular value, just because the claim is made by a [right-thinking] woman? 

Thursday 20 November 2014

"Ban Feminism"

As it has done annually for the past few years, Time magazine recently ran a poll asking readers what words they'd like to see stricken from the cultural lexicon. In years past, successful contenders were "YOLO", "OMG" and "twerk".

This year's winner by a billion miles, earning 3 times as many votes as its runner-up, was the word "feminist".

In contextualizing the inclusion of this particular word, Time wrote:

“You have nothing against feminism itself, but when did it become a thing that every celebrity had to state their position on whether this word applies to them, like some politician declaring a party? Let’s stick to the issues and quit throwing this label around like ticker tape at a Susan B. Anthony parade.”

Reaction from feminists was swift and predictable. Outrage. Umbrage. Boycotts. Militancy.

Why, it's almost like feminists are unable to read or something, since they seem to have failed to absorb the first sentence of the disclaimer, which flat-out states, "you have nothing against feminism itself, but..."

For myself, I voted to "ban feminist" when I stumbled across the poll, and I too am guilty of disregarding that initial clause in the description. In fact, I was forced to disregard the entirety of it, because I disagree with the entirety of it. I do have something against feminism--many many somethings, in fact, which I will itemize further on. And, as I happen to have something(s) against feminism, I am fully in favor of celebrities openly stating their political position in favor of or against it, the same way I'd prefer to know if that thing slithering amongst the pole beans in my garden is a harmless garter snake or something more sinister.

But the disclaimer itself, clearly stating agreement with feminism's principles (such as they are purported to be) and its goals (however dubious), but rather an objection to its irresponsible use in media, ought to have served to defuse any feminist wrath over the inclusion of the word in the poll. That it did not speaks volumes about feminism and feminists. As did the poll results, and the desperate attempts by feminists to blame the entire debacle on that cesspit of white straight male privilege known as 4chan.

In fact, the feminist response to the poll only serves to reinforce all the reasons I myself voted to "ban" it (as if words can or should actually be banned, and as if I would desire that). To make it clear, given the way the poll was set up to allow multiple votes, and even given my decidedly anti-feminist views, I only cast one vote myself.

So, some of my objections to feminism include:

1) it cannot handle challenge or criticism of itself, or its premises, goals and assumptions.

I think the reaction by many feminists to the poll proves this point better than any anti-feminist ever could. After all, the justification provided by Time explicitly excluded disagreement with feminism, and specifically stipulated disagreement with the irresponsible use of it in a celebrity context.

2) it is populated by bullies who react with coercive tactics to any challenge (or even skepticism) of its precepts, or criticism of its followers' behavior.

Forcing an apology and retraction from Time for daring to include the word "feminist" demonstrates this tendency quite neatly. Step out of line, and you'd better issue a tearful apology or next week you could find yourself at a soup kitchen or applying for jobs at McD's.

3) it is based on emotional reasoning, delusions of persecution and projection of ill intent. Never attribute a charitable or individuated intention to anything a man (or the system) does when a malicious and collective one can be applied.

“...rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.” Susan Brownmiller.

 "...intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men's contempt for women." Andrea Dworkin

Despite the explicitly stated justification of "feminist"'s inclusion in the poll, the reaction was that the intention was profoundly different from what was stated. Just as heterosexual intercourse, the means by which all sexually reproducing species procreate, is not a simple biological reality but a conspiracy to subjugate women, and just as the reprehensible criminal act of a single rapist is not the act of a (typically damaged and dysfunctional) individual but a conscious collective effort on the part of all men to terrorize all women, this poll (and its result) was much more than a mere expression of cultural exhaustion to the constant demands that celebrities "pick a side" or justify their ambivalence or opposition to the feminist position. It is nothing more or less than a conscious effort to undermine feminism and reverse the gains women/feminists have made.

While I would assume that many who voted for "feminist" did so not because of the justification provided, but because they view feminism as an unhealthy, divisive and damaging ideology, none of this points to any popular view that women are or should be considered inferior, or that anyone wants to "turn back the clock".

4) if there's a man around, blame him and his misogyny, or the misogyny of the "male-dominated patriarchy". Whatever you do, don't engage in self-examination.

4chan is, as far as I know, predominantly male. Regardless of the actual demographic breakdown, it is perceived as a male space, and one that is hostile to women.

Despite numerous opportunities over the last few years for feminists to critically examine the behavior of their sisters, to reconsider their claims and their rhetoric, to adjust their beliefs and consider evidence that challenges them, whenever someone (or a bunch of someones) expresses dissatisfaction with or criticism of feminism, the go-to response is to shift the blame onto men and their misogyny.

#notyourshield is allegedly nothing but white, straight men creating sock puppet accounts to spew hatred of women, or marginalized "Uncle Tom's" who've internalized the misogyny and racism of the white, straight male-dominated culture. It couldn't possibly be that many women and minorities are sick to death of feminism's divisive and polarizing rhetoric and tactics.

Paul Elam's article, a clearly stated satirical work written to highlight Jezebel's genuine and febrile celebration of female-on-male intimate partner violence, is proof that he's not only a misogynist, but a misogynist who promotes male violence against women. (There are simply too many feminist references to this particular article, with the intention of vilifying Elam,, and all MRAs, to link to.)

5) authoritarianism.

Need I say more? In the last week, a genius who landed a space probe on a goddamn comet was bullied into a tearful apology over him wearing a shirt that was no more offensive than this one:

A month or so ago, a major news site, Forbes, was bullied into firing William Frezza over an article in which he expressed concern over the liability university men face when drunk women knock on the frat house door. The number of men who've been forced to step down from prominent positions because they offended feminist sensibilities (even, or perhaps especially, when their claims were backed up by evidence) are too copious to mention.

And here we see Time backing down from its moderate stance, due to the authoritarian leanings of feminist activists who will brook no questioning.

Without even going into my objections to the problems inherent to feminist doctrine, which I contend are unfalsifiable, biased, evidence-resistant and wrong-headed, and only concentrating on their tactics, feminists themselves have managed to reinforce every one of my opinions with their response to the Time poll. They have only served to bolster my anti-feminism, and demonstrate the very reasons why so many people voted to ban the word "feminist".

Here's hoping they keep up the good work.

Monday 17 November 2014

A tale of two shirts

In one corner of the internets, we have Matt Taylor, a lead European Space Agency scientist on the Rosetta project, who just the other day successfully landed a space probe on a comet travelling tens of thousands of kph, millions of kilometres from Earth. The engineering and planning required for this achievement has to be at least 100 billion times more complex than using the Canadarm to thread a sewing needle during a meteor storm. I've heard the level of difficulty was akin to that of successfully hitting a moving bullet with a laser beam.

He wore this shirt during his press appearances.

As you can see, it has some sexy ladies on it, sporting... ahhh... hunting gear. Needless to say, the feminist shit hit the fan. 

Confirmed rumor has it that the shirt was hand-made especially for him by a female friend with a career in tattoo art. I suspect he wore the shirt to honor her, and possibly because he considered it lucky (oh the irony). Not really my cup of tea. But then, I still consider this MY lucky shirt:

Meh. No accounting for taste, especially among the nerd class. I'll leave it to you all to decide which is sexier--the rotting zombie head or the hot chicks with AK-47s. Either way, whether a nerd is going to show up for a photo op in a shirt like Dr. Taylor's, or something like this:

... I just can't bring myself to see a problem with it. While I would vehemently disagree with anyone who claims Kirk was the better captain (bastages, one and all), I defend their right to spread their folly and ignorance. 

As far as Dr. Taylor's shirt goes, though its aesthetic isn't really my thing, I will say that sexy does not equal sexist. Yet this was the very claim made by many feminists since Taylor made the news--in fact, the #shirtstorm seems to have overshadowed his incredible, astounding, mind-boggling scientific accomplishment. Led by the usual suspects--the very journalists, pundits, Tumblrites and Twitterites who've been attacking geek culture and nerddom since Eron Gjoni uploaded the Zoe Post and sparked a geek revolt months ago--progressive feminist media pundits and shit-stirrers have deemed The Shirt sexist, sexually objectifying and ostracizing to women. 

Worse than that, even.

Because it's not just a sexist shirt--its very existence is destined to make women feel unwelcome in STEM fields already filled with hostile male sexuality and rapiness (by unattractive geeks who wear glasses because they need them, not just for fashion, no less!). It's not just objectifying sexualized women, it's keeping ALL WOMEN in their place. Just like everything else this terrible Patriarchy creates, like meat and microchips, safety and servos, and space probes capable of landing on fucking comets. 

(In fact, I'm forced to wonder why a MAN was chosen to be media spokesperson for Rosetta. Where are the female role models at the ESA? Fetching coffee for their patriarchal overlords, I would guess, during their breaks from toiling in the Sammich Mines. Why haven't any feminists complained about this? I shall dispatch a pigeon to the NOW forthwith demanding they add this complaint to their charter, just to stay consistent.) 

A mob of Social Justice Warriors hoisted their pitchforks and torches, and Dr. Taylor, Grand Master Shitlord of the Evil Woman-Subjugating Patriarchy, was forced to issue a tearful, on-camera apology for offending the Oppressed Masses of Subjugated Women Who Are Routinely and Constantly Silenced in our Male-Dominated Woman-Subjugating Patriarchal Society.

Okay, are we all following along? 

1) we live in a society where women are oppressed and silenced by male dominance, and where the sexual objectification is pervasive and normalized.

2) brilliant scientist who made history is forced by feminist bullying to tearfully apologize to all the oppressed women of the world for offending them by wearing a shirt with pin-up girls on it.

But remember, kids. MEN are in charge. Male privilege and all that jazz. It's Dr. Taylor's privilege to apologize to all those subjugated females who don't like his choice of clothing, because the sexualization of women is wrong, wrong, WRONG, and never empowering, okay?


The backlash against the backlash against The Shirt has also come from the usual suspects--there was, understandably, a strong overlap with #GamerGate--a geek/nerd culture phenomenon populated by a lot of people who'd be more impressed by someone landing a probe on a comet than even the best feminist analysis of the oppressive implications of the guy's shirt. Some conservative publications, you know, those bastions of anti-sex rhetoric and "save yourself for marriage" sentiment, also came out against this tempest in a t-shirt, criticizing feminists for their hypocrisy and their bullying of someone who can only be called a "great man", and the relative harmlessness of a images of sexy women. 

Imagine that!

But apparently to feminists, sex-positivity is yet another gendered issue--gendered in the sense that it's permissible and empowering when women engage in it, but contemptible and malicious when men do. A woman's sexuality is a beautiful thing, right up until the first nanosecond a straight man gets turned on by it, dontcha know. Then the Sexualizing Male Gaze becomes just another tool of the Patriarchy to keep women Subjugated and all that. 

She has every right to dress as sexy as she likes and it's liberating and empowering, until a straight dude comes along and appreciates it, at which point it becomes oppression and slavery. Add a man to the picture and you can turn anything into the oppression of women. It's the feminist way.

As for the bullying Dr. Taylor endured, well, he totally deserved it. He was practically begging for it! I mean, did you see what he was wearing? *cough* You don't wear something like that out in public and not expect to get negative or unwanted attention and all kinds of people shouting things at you. *coughcoughhackHAAAAHHHACKH!* If he didn't want to get attacked, he shouldn't have dressed like that.


At the same time, even some progressive voices--Ana Kasparian, who became downright feisty, comes to mind--voiced their objections to the feminist furore over The Evil Sexist Objectifying Woman-Subjugating Shirt. 

And of course, there have been objectors to the objectors to the objectors to the objectionable shirt, most notably our old buddy David Futrelle, who seems to think it's somehow notable that many of the same geeks and nerds who care about feminist puritans like Anita Sarkeesian ruining their video games and comic books might actually have an opinion about The Shirt and its screeching feminist detractors. I mean, it's not like geeks and nerds totally geek out with copious nerdgasms over the kind of science Dr. Taylor does or anything. I bet they don't even know what a comet is, have never even heard of Neil Degrasse Tyson, and they probably think science fiction is pulp trash. And it's not like they haven't seen the very same vilification of males and male sexuality promoted by feminists in their own spheres of interest. Because that just doesn't happen. Feminists would NEVER do that, because as we all know, "misandry don't real."

Which brings me to the other shirt in this tale. And I suppose its wearer can be lauded for not engaging in the sexualization of either herself or those her shirt refers to:

No sexualization of anyone going on here (other than perhaps to people from Japan, for whom "male tears" is apparently a euphemism for semen, and who should thus be forgiven for thinking "BUKKAKE PARTY!", upon viewing it, and also forgiven for thinking, "barf, no thanks"). Nothing sexually objectifying about this picture at all. Nothing sexualizing, sexually objectifying, or even remotely sexy, though I suppose it's slightly less unsexy than this:

And, according to feminists, it isn't sexist, either. And here we come to the rub, as it were. Because to feminists, a straight man finding the idealized female form sexy, and expressing that, is sexist. But a woman, one with a weekly column in a major online newspaper, one whose book, Full Frontal Feminism, is considered a pioneering work of third wave feminism, one who has appeared on countless news programs, such a woman celebrating the suffering of an entire gender class is NOT sexist. It's not sexist because we live in an oppressive, male-dominated patriarchy that subjugates women. 

The same oppressive, male-dominated patriarchy that subjugates women that recently browbeat and harangued one of the most important scientists in living memory into tearfully apologizing in front of news cameras because a handful of perpetually offended, professional umbrage-taking feminists found it offensive to women. 

Dr. Taylor? For your next stunning accomplishment, do you think you could stop the world? Because I'd like to get off.

And in case anyone was wondering, an official Matt Taylor #ShirtStorm shirt (or a reasonable facsimile of) can be purchased here:

I won't be buying one, but in honor of the occasion I might just invest in a new SNFU tailored ladies' T to replace my 25 year old beaten up unisex one...

Monday 3 November 2014

Back from Kennesaw

Hey all,

Got back from the Male Students in Peril conference at Kennesaw State University yesterday afternoon, then slept for 12 1/2 hours. The conference was awesome, despite some difficulties.

Both myself and fellow speaker Dr. Janice Fiamengo checked the weather forecast before packing for the trip, and the forecast was apparently written by radical feminists trying to destroy us. The morning I packed, meteorologists were predicting temperatures ranging from 12 (shirtsleeve weather) to 21 (swimming anyone?) degrees celsius, with plenty of sun. What greeted us upon arrival was a damp cold barely above freezing, with winds gusting up to 60 kph if my estimates are at all accurate. Janice had eschewed packing a winter coat in favor of making room for two bathing suits, and I had only two very light jackets with me. Lucky for Janice, she's not a smoker and didn't have to spend much time outside. For me and the other filthy cancer fetishists in attendance, we were stuck shivering completely unprepared as we indulged our vice. Rachel Edwards came to my rescue partway through, with a lovely purple sheep-fleece lined hoodie I put on over my jacket to keep the worst of the wind away. If she hadn't been there, I'd have been hypothermic by the end of the day, I'm sure.

Of course, this morning someone texted my cellphone to tell me that the day I left the temps rose to 21C. I was not amused.

As for the conference itself, it was a blast. I was especially impressed with Jonathan Taylor's (of AVoiceForMaleStudents) presentation on the difficulties and challenges male students at all levels face today, as well as his suggestions on how the situation can be rectified. My own presentation went all right (I hope! I can never tell until I actually see it, but the feedback seemed okay), and Janice was brutal as always in her spot-on criticism of feminist academia. Paul's presentation on rape culture was shorter than I'd have liked, but his Q&A was spectacular--he always seems to do very well off the cuff. Sage kicked ass when his mom stood up after Paul's talk to criticize him, myself and Janice for "bashing" feminism. The video of that bit is already uploaded, and I don't think he (or anyone) could have handled it better.

I'm not going to go to much farther into any of that, since there will be video footage of all of it soon enough.

The people were amazing, including the Uni cop who was posted outside the conference hall, who took me aside to inform me that 1) KSU is a smoke-free campus, and 2) what he didn't actually see wasn't his problem, and that until January no enforcement other than gentle reminders would be enacted by KSU personnel.

I met so many young men and women who told me they were fans, and are becoming passionate about the issues. One young man in particular has become a committed advocate for sexually abused boys, and has come to the realization that he can't address this problem without also being inclusive of the men those boys grow into. Talking to him was wonderful. A young woman who was reluctantly introduced to KSUM by her boyfriend has become interested in advocacy for men's issues, and a veteran towing his service dog-in-training who's been through an unbelievable difficulty in addition to all the terrible things he saw as a soldier gave me the best hug I think I've ever had.

It's always a humbling experience meeting people who know me, who I don't know yet. So many thank you's, so many hugs and handshakes, so many stories of how my videos helped someone through an angry, hurt faze and into a more constructive, comforting one.

Jordan Owen and Davis Aurini were there, too, to interview people for their project, "The Sarkeesian Effect". Hannah, Rachel and I had a nice chat with them late into Saturday night.

And so many people saying, "when are you going to make another video??!!"

Well, that will be soon. It would have been today, except for the lovely fact that when my boyfriend let the water out of the upstairs tub, it backed up the downstairs tub and toilet, flooded the floor, seeped into the carpet in the family room, and indicated to us that the drainage issues that have been plaguing this house for decades have finally come to a head. Not only that, but the downstairs toilet has begun to leak from underneath, indicating we'll have to pull it out and replace the seal and maybe the flange.

I spent the day ripping apart a wall to expose our main sewer stack, only to discover it has no clean-out outlet because the previous owner was an idiot, making frantic phone calls to the city, only to have them tell me they can't help us until we have a plumber install a clean-out branch, and convincing the kids it really isn't that horrible to have to pee in the yard for a day or two. I also finally looked at the floor around the upstairs toilet drain since we'll need one toilet while we're fixing the other, only to discover the subfloor is so rotten I could lift the flange off of it with two fingers. So I've been chipping away at the rotten plywood, so I can put down new and install a new flange.

And since I was gone all weekend, no one has been washing dishes, and I can't wash them when no water is draining from my house, so we're eating off of paper plates. Also, I can't wash my hair. Or much of anything until the guy from Mr. Rooter comes first thing tomorrow morning.

On the bright side, while I was in the smoking lounge at the Atlanta airport yesterday morning, an older lady sat next to me on a barstool and we got to talking. I told her I was in Atlanta because I'd been invited to speak at a conference at KSU by a men's issues awareness group that had recently been founded there. She said, "So someone finally did it. ABOUT TIME. I was a teacher for 30 years, and I could see even from the beginning how poorly boys were treated in school. I tried for years to get something done about it, but it only got worse. They got rid of recess, got rid of scorekeeping during gym, started punishing boys for just being boys. Deprived them of the physical activity they need, and then suspended them when they couldn't sit still. It's like no one wanted to let them just be who they are..."

So there's hope. Like I said in my talk, feminism is a minority position, and people are not so much waking up to the fact that men and boys have issues--they're waking up to the fact that they're not the only ones out there who realize it.

Anyway, here's hoping I'll be able to get a video out in the next few days. Sewers permitting.

Hugs all, and make sure you watch the KSUM conference footage once it's available.