To me, the most troubling thing about Women Against Feminism is that the blog posts all complaints about feminism indiscriminately, from the ones that have some legitimacy like “because I have been shamed by feminists for my choices,” to the ill-informed like “because I don’t hate men,” to the kneejerk conservative bullshit like “because I don’t think women should be sluts.”

It seems clear to me that the blog is not about giving voice to an ignored perspective, but about taking the voice away from one.

The Political Brain

Interesting fMRI study on confirmation bias.


my major problem with Frozen is that it is a perfectly passable and average and safe Disney movie and people keep trying to prove that it is amazing and daring and challenging and in doing so keep churning out bombs of secondhand embarrassment like “look there’s some not-white people in the background, we’ve come so far since the 1950s” and “Anna isn’t your typical perfect Disney beauty, she has freckles and eyebrows that are .5% thicker than Rapunzel’s”

(Source: chronica-lewinsky)




"Right to not be terrified." What? Show me where that is written down.

That would be in the UN’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”  To which the United States are a signatory, btw.

After reading through all of that, I still see nothing that has to do with people wanting the government to cater to their every fear even if it is as ridiculous as someone carrying a gun around them. Could you please point it out to me?

Now you’ve now gone and changed the question.  Which is alright, I can try to answer the new one, but I just want to mention that that’s happened.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes “freedom from fear” within the preamble as the highest aspiration of the common people, and one of the reasons for which we have human rights.  This is, again, a statement to which the United States government has subscribed.  The language is borrowed from Franklin Roosevelt, who stated freedom from fear as one of his famous and much-lauded “Four Freedoms.”

The more specific mention is in Article 3, which identifies as a human right “life, liberty and security of person.”  The word security is important, because it has a different meaning from safety.  Security does not mean actual safety, it means an belief or feeling of safety.  A right to security is synonymous with a right to freedom from reasonable fear.

I suspect you believe that fear of guns is not a reasonable fear.  As another commenter earlier on this post said “Why would you be afraid of an inanimate object?  Are you afraid of a rock?”

Speaking for myself, I’m not afraid of a rock.  But I am afraid of a large rock hurtling toward my head.  I’m not afraid of a tall cliff, but I’m afraid if I’m teetering on the edge of one.  I’m not afraid of a gun, but I’m afraid of a stranger holding an assault weapon in a crowded place, like the comic shows.

Moreover, I put to you that even when guns— handguns and assault weapons; I consider hunting tools a different category— aren’t instruments of pain and death, they are instruments of fear.  And as every gun advocate who claims that gun ownership is a deterrent to crime knows, that’s the point.  Having a gun says “You should be afraid of me.  If you mess with me, I have the power to kill you.”  That message seems to me to be a major purpose— perhaps THE major purpose— of gun ownership.

So, to tie it all together (and to remove a little of the contempt from your language) you ask some people think the US government should act to protect them from their fear of guns.  The answer is twofold:

1. The right to freedom from fear is well understood in American and global politics.  While it may not be codified in American federal law at this time, it is recognized by America as a fundamental human right and a universal shared goal.  I’m not sure, but I bet you could find reference to that right in any number of speeches by American presidents and presidential hopefuls in opposition to the goals of terrorism.

2. Fear of guns is reasonable.  While gun violence only claims about three American lives per hundred thousand per year, it’s hard to argue that guns are designed and purchased primarily for the purpose of causing fear.

Now, this is a complex issue, I’m not denying that.  For one thing, while buying a gun may make other people feel afraid of me, it might help me and my family to not feel afraid.  I don’t think there’s any reliable way of measuring whether the widespread availability of guns and concealed carry licenses causes more fear than it prevents, or the other way around.  I’ve got my own beliefs, but that’s not the same thing as knowing what’s best for the country.

But ultimately, that’s not what this conversation has been about.  You asked where the right to be free from terror was written down, and I answered.  You asked what gives people the sense that they can ask the government to control the thing that frightens them, and now I’ve answered that to the best of my knowledge.  Thanks for your interest in this conversation!

(Source: mikedawwwson)


"Right to not be terrified." What? Show me where that is written down.

That would be in the UN’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”  To which the United States are a signatory, btw.

(Source: mikedawwwson)

pilesofpixels said: Oh! No, i totally get that it's much more pervasive than that. Both concepts have existed for ages and like I said, some get it much worse. But It's still sexist to discriminate against sex isn't it? Or to profile against race. It just strikes me as being so odd that in a modern setting where information on these subjects is literally at our fingertips there's still large portions that don't understand. It's idealistic as hell for me to think that, but it just gets me down to realize it.

Well, that’s just the thing, isn’t it?

There’s a reason that social scientists who have dedicated their lives to the study of prejudice and discrimination say that it should only be called sexism or racism if it’s directed down the ladder of institutional power, and not when it isn’t.  It’s because the real harm of sexism and racism isn’t the individual interactions, it’s the ongoing systemic oppression.

As a White person in North America, I don’t experience ongoing systematic oppression for my race.  None.  If occasionally someone crosses my path who just doesn’t like White people, it’s an unpleasant experience, but it’s an isolated incident and not even close to what a non-White person in America is describing when they say “I have experienced racism.”  That vast, vast gulf of experience is the reason that intelligent, well-informed people have declared that the simple dictionary definition of “racism” that we all have at our fingertips is not adequate to describe the complex issue.

Well, that and because too many White people on the internet use a cover of “you’re being racist!” to avoid discussion of the real harm that White colonialism has caused to People of Color all over the world.  But mostly it’s the first thing.


Sexism exists against a sex. If one hones in on that criteria and then admonishes for it, it’s sexism. If a male admonishes a female and does something against her due to her sex, it’s sexism. If a female admonishes a male and does something against her due to his sex, it’s sexism.

Racism exists…

I can see where you’re coming from here, but your definitions specifically ignore the systemic dimension of discrimination and the impact of existing power structures.

Sexism is not just an individual’s attitude toward another individual.  It is a complex set of interconnected beliefs, assumptions and behaviors at the individual, community, society and cultural levels.  In North America, Europe and most cultures closely connected to them, the overwhelming bias at society and cultural levels is male-postive and female-negative— that is, thick and well-established systems work to rob women of opportunity, voice and other elements of self-determination.  That is the shape and function of sexism in the western world.  That is why we say that if I as a man discriminate against a woman, I am being sexist, but a woman treating me in the same way is not… because my behavior mirrors and supports the cultural sexism, while hers actually fights against it.

That being said, of course I don’t appreciate being discriminated against based on my gender or anatomy.  It feels lousy, and doesn’t make my life any easier.  But as long as my society and culture continue to work to make my life better and women’s lives worse, then discrimination against me for being male is not sexism.

With racism the case is even more strong, because unlike sex (which is to some extent scientifically and cross-culturally supported) the idea of distinct, mutually exclusive races was invented.  By White people (that is, by people who gave themselves the label of White).  And they invented it specifally for the purpose of distinguishing who should be at the top of the social ladder and who should be at the bottom.  So again, pushing one way is racism.  Pushing the other way is not.

It’s not simple at all, and I apologize for introducing complexity to your argument.  No one likes being discriminated against, but there is a reason that activists choose to limit the scope of the words based on systemic issues of power.  If we say that it’s the same thing no matter who is doing it, we ignore the most widespread, insidious and pernicious forms and outcomes of discrimination.

…the richest fifth of families will receive $181 billion in home owning subsidies this year. That is 2.25x more money than food stamp recipients received last year.