Tag Archives: sexism

Men have got to be better

I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time and incidents keep happening that show beyond any doubt that a significant number of males need to wake up to themselves. I can’t think of a better way to put it: men have got to be better.

It isn’t as if men don’t have problems. Society forces a lot of messed up ideas on males from a young age in the name of masculinity and many women simply don’t understand the difficulties men face. But that’s a different conversation. And if you think the problems and injustices faced by men are worse than those suffered by women (or even equivalent) then simply put, you ARE the problem.

Women are murdered every week in Australia by their partners or ex-partners. That’s reality. One in three women you know has been sexually assaulted. One in six has been raped. And more often than not, when these cases are reported there’s a focus on what the woman should have done.

Why didn’t she leave him? Why was she walking there? Why was she alone? Why was she drinking? Why didn’t she know better?

A simple look at the reality faced by women shows that in practical terms there’s very little a woman can do to stop violence happening because it can happen at any time in any circumstance. Their own home is the most dangerous environment. They are in the most danger from men they know. There is only one person who can stop it from happening and that’s the attacker. Telling women how to avoid being attacked can’t possibly work as a primary message – it (at best) implicitly tells the attacker that it’s the woman’s fault. Until the primary message it to men, saying don’t attack women, nothing will change.

If you even started to equivocate then, YOU are the problem. “But she could have…” Yes, maybe she could have. But she shouldn’t have to. And glib statements made after the fact can’t possibly take into account what it was like when the attack happened. And make no mistake, every single time you comment on what a woman should or should not have done, you embolden attackers.

And now we come to the most sensitive part of the conversation. The derailing of discussions about violence against women by saying “not all men” do it. That approach is at best meaningless and self-serving. At worst, it’s pure evil. Deliberately designed to sabotage the conversation and shut down women who dare to speak out. The concept that as a man your feelings are hurt at the suggestion you might bear some responsibility for the plague of violence against women is utterly pathetic.

If you feel compelled to shut down women talking about the everyday reality they deal with because “not all men” do it, you are actively supporting the rapists. If you need to negate someone’s actual experiences because of your feelings you are utterly reprehensible and need to shut the fuck up.

And for those worthless losers who can’t stop with their obsession of saying not all men do it and think that is in any way a meaningful contribution, here are some home truths:

  • Statistically, it is almost certain that you work with, associate with or are related to a rapist
  • There’s no doubt at all that you or someone you hang out with is responsible for abusive or threatening behavior towards a woman that made her legitimately fear for her safety

And quite honestly, the more you protest, the more I suspect that you are the sort of scumbag that does these things on a regular basis.

If you can’t let women talk about what their lives are like without trying to shout them down and tell them why they’re wrong then I really don’t trust you when you protest you’re not guilty of treating women badly. On top of everything else, I can’t understand why so many men are threatened by the idea of women feeling safer. How could you possibly lose out if women feel safe? Imagine a world where a woman doesn’t fear that when you try to open a conversation with her, that means she’s in danger from you. Because it’s a world where women aren’t constantly threatened and assaulted by men.

I’ve seen some guys take exception to the term “Schrodinger’s Rapist”. This surprises me because I think it’s an excellent definition of why women have to be cautious of men who are NOT rapists. Like Schrodinger’s Cat who is both alive and dead until the box is open, women are confronted with so many situations where she should be safe but can be attacked without warning. She only knows for sure if a man is a rapist when she makes herself vulnerable and so up until that point, the man both is and is not a rapist. The worst thing is, in far too many cases, “vulnerable” means nothing more than existing as a woman.

If you say this reflects badly on women and not men, that it’s women and not men who have to change, then I think you’ve answered the Schrodinger’s Rapist question. You’re just waiting for the right opportunity to show who you really are.

And even at the (arguably) more innocuous end of the spectrum, being jerks to women – I don’t get this. To take an example that really bugs me – geek/nerd culture. Whether it happens online or at conventions/meetups there are always self-proclaimed “real” nerds who go out of their way to make women feel unwelcome and/or threatened. They call them fake geeks, they say they’re too fat to cosplay, they say they’re too hot to be a real nerd and they’re exploiting this for attention. In fact there’s no end of flaws these types can find with women when ultimately their only transgression is being female.

I don’t get it. Do you want sausage fests? Because this is how you get sausage fests!

I’m making a blatant appeal to self interest here. So long as women feel threatened and unsafe men are also going to lose (although in a far less awful way). Some purists don’t like the idea of using self-interest as a motivator, the simple fact women should deserve to go through life without living in fear of assault should be enough. Yes, it should be. But it isn’t. I’m a pragmatist. I’m looking for anything that works. And I truly believe men are hurting themselves with this “not all men” MRA bullshit.

Try listening. Try being supportive. Don’t make it about you. Because it isn’t about you. And if you can’t see why all men accepting responsibility for reducing violence against women is something that will benefit men, I think we’ve learned all we need to know about you.

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Filed under General Angriness

TitStare app is everything that’s wrong with Tech Industry

Over the weekend a couple of Australian developers presented their tastefully named “TitStare” app at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. In case you’re having trouble imagining what the app is for, there is no hidden subtlety. The developers said the app would let you “take photos of yourself, looking at tits” and allow men to look at women’s breasts whenever they wanted. 

Because if there’s one thing women are always telling me it’s that men never stare directly at their breasts. And men are really deprived if they want to stare at some tits. The certainly aren’t displayed larger the life on every second billboard. And they’re almost impossible to find on the internet.

This is of course all just a joke and everyone should laugh it off. That’s right, at an extremely high profile conference for an industry that is plagued with negativity and outright hostility towards women, when someone presents an app called “TitStare” and provokes chuckles from the overwhelmingly male audience there’s no problem. It’s “a bit of a laugh”. Tongue in cheek. Not at all an indictment of the rampant sexism in the technology industry.

I call bullshit.

I particularly call bullshit on the pathetic “apologies” given by the developers. Saying “If we offended anybody it was unintentionally done” does not absolve you – it defines the fucking problem! I’d actually have more time for the developers if they aggressively defended the app and told people to get over themselves. At least they’d have some integrity then. They’d still be tools. But they’d be tools who stood behind their actions. Presenting something like “TitStare” and saying you didn’t know it was offensively sexist makes you a self absorbed moron, so secure in your privilege that you’re unaware of the level of privilege you enjoy.

To their credit, TechCrunch offered a direct and unequivocal apology, owning their failure in letting the presentation happen. But I call bullshit on them saying they would screen all ideas before they are presented from now on (which gives them the excuse that this app was only presented because there was no screening process in place). Are you telling me that if someone developed an app called “Lynch the Nigger” they wouldn’t be stopped from presenting? Or even if there truly was NO screening are you telling me nobody would have crash tackled them from the stage before they got halfway through presenting an app with a name like that?

But TitStare wasn’t that offensive. It was simply a bit of tongue in cheek fun. And totally demeaning to women. But that’s business as usual. And it’s everything that’s everything that’s wrong with the tech industry.

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Filed under General Angriness

Dealing with online bigotry

Here’s the final part of my little series on online bigotry.  In this video I talk about ways to deal with it when you’re on the receiving end of bigotry.

To me, the single most important thing to remember when you’re faced with these morons is that it’s all about you.  Don’t waste time worrying about changing the hateful attitude of bigots – you can’t change them and it isn’t worth the time and effort you’d waste trying.  Decide what works for you and go with that.

If you want to launch into them (like, ummmm… me) then go for it.  If you want to ignore them, then do that.  If you want to delete their comments and block them from making further comments that’s your right.  Don’t listen to any bullshit about “free speech” or how you have to “debate” with them if you disagree with them.

If you take the trouble to create a blog, a website, a forum, a YouTube channel, you have the right to define how that works.  If these worthless, hopeless, gutless losers don’t like what you do, they can fuck off and do something of their own.

I’m not in favour of developing “codes of conduct” or anything similar. I think they’re impossible to enforce in practice and more than a little lame conceptually.  If people don’t understand how to act like a decent human being then don’t waste your time on them.

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Bigotry online (part three)

I rambled so much when I was making my video about online bigotry that I filled up my memory card before I’d said everything I wanted to say.  So I shot some more on another day.  I even found another nice seaside location to shoot at.

In this part I talk about (among other things) my own first-hand experiences with racism when some stupid people seemed to think I was an Asian female.

There is one more part to this series of videos where I talk about strategies on how to deal with online bigotry.  Stay tuned.

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Bigotry online (part two)

Wherein my rambling continues.  And is unexpectedly cut short when the memory card in my video camera gets filled up.  That’s what I get for not stopping the camera between takes.  There’s at least one more part of this video series to come.

And I promised I will reply to all the comments the first in this series generated.

Tomorrow.  I’ll do that tomorrow.

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Filed under Video Blogging

Bigotry online

Let me tell you what the problem with niggers is…

Better still, let me tell you how I’d solve the the Jew problem in this town…

Or maybe I’d be better off explaining how the Muslims are invading our country…

Actually, speaking as someone who’s been called gay, black, Asian, Lebanese, Jewish, Muslim and several other weirdly inaccurate things by people who thought they were insulting me, allow me to have a little ramble on the topic of bigotry. I’ve even chosen a pleasant setting in which to discuss this unpleasant topic.

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Filed under Internet, Video Blogging