Morning Ed: Gender {2017.08.24.Th}

[Ge1] Siri as a feminist icon.

[Ge2] At its current trajectory, I have a hard time seeing how this all ends without the demolition of gender categories in the organization of our society. I’m not freaking out about it or anything, in part because I don’t know how it will go, but it could be quite an adjustment.

[Ge3] Megan Garber complains about the “Slogan Feminism” of late Game of Thrones.

[Ge4] Early in her career, my wife has some conflicts with male colleagues and superiors and huge conflicts with female ones.

[Ge5] Predating the Google Memo flap by a couple days, Anne-Marie Tomchak explains how science done women wrong.

[Ge6] Alamo Drafthouse admits it goofed up with its “Women’s Only” screening of Wonder Woman. Their real crime was probably aligning themselves with the Koch Brothers.

[Ge7] Why do the conversations about city design revolve around men?

[Ge8] The New York Times reports that women had better sex under socialism.

[Ge9] Private spaces should be equitable, but aside from that back off. We’ve had one at two of the last three places. It helps that I dislike daylight, and places come with basements.

[Ge0]


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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117 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Gender {2017.08.24.Th}

  1. Ge2: Doesn’t work. My guess like many radical social experiments, the forces of tradition can come roaring back at any time though.

    Ge3: Well, I imagine having a bunch of people chant slogans in a medieval selling is fairy boring.

    Ge8: Its not so much that women had better sex but that it seemed better after they waited in line for a few hours because of the sex shortage caused by trying to centrally plan people’s love lives. The Communists should have realized that a free enterprise system of romantic and sexual competition leads to demand meeting supply in the mating department.

    Ge9: Man caves don’t seem to be really that obscure.

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    • Ge2 doesn’t work for me either, but in a different way:

      Sorry…
      The article you were trying to read was free only for a limited time

      I mean, unless success in the project of utterly dismantling gender roles would also mean the article would become free again. (Was it a gendered article?)

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      • Perhaps Will can summarize what the article said. It’s obviously a topic about which I have an opinion.

        Actually, I could probably summarize the article without even having read it, but whatevs.

        So gender, yeah things are changing. Certainly “gender queer” and “non-binary” genders are very real, even if they seem cryptic to people.

        My summary: we’re probably all non-binary to a degree. The question is, are you basically happy fitting into your socially assigned gender role. Note I said basically happy, not “totally and completely happy in every possible way.” Furthermore, if you are not happy, what solutions can you see. For some people, simple gender non-conformity might be enough. For others, they really need to break hard from gendered constraints, down to the level of the physical sex characteristics.

        Hormones work. Surgery works.

        For me, I consider myself “genderqueer,” although I am legally female and insist on she/her pronouns. Likewise, I use women’s locker facilities and otherwise operate in the world as a woman. That said, my gender is tricky. Romantically/sexually, I take a “top” or “domme” role. These days I am usually the sexual and romantic initiator. Also I don’t really relate to many traditional female concerns. I’ll never have babies, and this doesn’t bother me. I don’t want to hang out with moms talking about their kids, or go to baby showers, etc.

        In a mixed company setting, of cisgendered people, I am quite likely to gravitate to the men rather than to the women. They are more likely to be discussing things that interest me in a manner that I enjoy.

        My best friend is a trans woman who would do the opposite. She is very much a “normative” woman. Likewise I have cisgendered female friends who, like me, are more “dude like” in their social identity.

        It’s almost as if gender is complicated.

        I have a friend, assigned male at birth, transgender, post-surgical (zie has a neo-vagina), but who is very uncomfortable with she/her pronouns. Instead, zie found that zie prefers the zie/zir set (but will accept they/them).

        Zie is neither delusional nor dishonest. This is a very real expression of how zir gender works.

        (And yes, I find the whole zie/zir thing as annoying as you do. But still, it is what zie prefers, so I do my best. You should do your best as well.)

        All this said, people like me and my friends are fairly uncommon. We’ll never be more than a couple of percent of the population, far fewer than the number of gays/lesbians/bi-folks. Likewise, while any loosening of gendered constraints is likely to be welcome — since even cis people are often gender non-conforming in some way — the fact is, people very often enjoy their genders and don’t want them taken away.

        I enjoy my gender. At least, I do now.

        #####

        The tricky questions: to what degree are power dynamics baked into gender? Can this be mitigated? Is it always unjust? Can we separate out the power dynamics inherent in our sexualities from the gendered power dynamics that permeate professional spaces?

        These are big questions. The answers are likely to be messy.

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        • I just want to endorse this.

          I’ve mentioned before my daughter is trans. Also, one of my best friends from online is a trans woman living in Philly. I have no acquaintances who use zie/zer, but I think I can get used to they/them pretty easily.

          This is work, but it’s worth it to know these people.

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  2. [Ge1] Yawn. If I ever wanted or wanted to use such a feature, I’d probably want a voice like Austin Powers or some robotized male voice.

    [Ge4] Right, it’s guy’s fault in the workplace, or just the workplace? Ever seen cliques of women/girls tear each other down? Methinks it’s more innate than created.

    [Ge6] Yawn.

    [Ge9] Back when I was married, we had a 4 bedroom house-we didn’t need it, we got it only for the resale ease-and we each had an office. One could be “alone” and yet together at the same time. I suppose you could call my current “office” a man cave, although it has no displays of my hobbies really and it’s set up as a WFH situation with dual stations for my home pc and work laptop.

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    • Damon,
      Ge4: of course it’s fucking created. Fucking bred into women, being competitive for their kids. Putting women in high stress jobs means the knives come out. But, of course, it’s always been that way. There’s a reason why the Amazon tribe had to go — they couldn’t compromise.

      And, we ought to note, lady isn’t doing a good job of interviewing the non-girly girls (which is a fancy way of talking about the 10-20% of the population who don’t fit neatly into categories). I’d be willing to wager that you find better behavior among them.

      Interestingly enough, Western Men have been bred to be MORE cooperative than they used to be (ha, The Powers That Be found it convenient to have civilized, get along boys rather than Real Men Who Fight Over Nothing At All. Go figure).

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    • [Ge4] is easy to understand if you accept that office politics is fundamentally misogynistic, just as the broader society is. In that case, women who want to get ahead must do so with the approval of their male bosses. Thus in turn they must be seen as “playing the game right,” which means stepping on the heads of the women below them. They must enforce the system. In fact, they must do so relentlessly and visibly, more than men need to.

      Women vary. If you see a certain type of woman climbing in power, it is because the system is selecting for that type of woman, just as it selects for a certain type of man.

      One of the explicit goals of contemporary “workplace feminism” is to break this cycle through education and mentoring.

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      • When reading veronica d’s post here, it’s important to remember that she works at Google.

        I haven’t seen this where I work. And sure, Maybe That’s Just Me, Sample Size Of One, but, y’know, when you’re presented with a generality you only need a single counterexample to disprove the argument.

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          • Well, I could ask my boss, or her boss, or the other three or four women I know who are either managing large subsystems or running a whole program. Or I could continue up the chain to the person in charge of the whole works.

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            • DD,
              I’d be curious to know what they’d say, if you showed them the article we’re responding to. Do they think that this is just some “toxic work environments”? Have they made particular effort to make their work “good for women”?

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      • v,
        “If you see a certain type of woman climbing in power, it is because the system is selecting for that type of woman, just as it selects for a certain type of man”

        Truth.

        Of course, this was the argument for why we shouldn’t elect Hillary Clinton.

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      • To test this, ideally, we’d look at work places where women are in charge, and see if the behavior continues (and is not actively discouraged).

        If it does, then the argument is that it continues because that is how society has conditioned women to behave in corporate environments. If this is the case, then A) how do you change this, and B) what is your victory condition?

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        • Oscar,
          OOOH! I can do you One Better!
          How about an entire office made up completely of girls who went to Private Women’s Only Colleges?
          Oh, yeah, that one was completely unproductive! Completely! Women crying in the bathroom about being fat-shamed — about one a day (security cameras).
          Endless Drama!
          At the end of the limited funding, they hadn’t gotten a single thing accomplished (who puts their backups in the same building as they are? They lost everything, not a bit of workproduct left).

          —I don’t say that all women offices are always like this, truly I don’t. Butyou wanted an example, and I had one handy.

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      • I don’t disagree with anything you say here. Leadership is such a vague and difficult skill to pin down, that so often our yardstick is “how similar are you to the people who already hold power?”

        Which is what you’re describing.

        I think that the subject is probably even more complicated than that, though.

        And, having been through it, I have come to learn that being a leader, being a manager, means giving a bit more rein to human aggression. We teach people at our dojo (where the most senior sensei is a woman) to lead and teach class. I’ve been through it. I’ve had to let go of certain attitudes. It doesn’t come down to “more aggression” versus “less aggression”, it’s much more complicated than that. More like “what aggression to use in which circumstance and expressed in what way, and to whom?”

        But traveling this path does require that you lessen your ingrained restraints about aggression. My long-time workout partner, a woman, struggled with this, and would tell us about how these tendencies she had as a girl were punished severely by her mother.

        I’m in a strange spot. I think humans all come with some aggressive tendencies, and women get highly trained away from them. We all get trained away from them to some extent, and that’s probably for the good, really. The raw aggression you see in a 3 year old would not work in adult society. So is that me supporting the “created” camp, or the “innate” camp?

        Really, I’m kind of in the “all of those” camp.

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        • — That all makes sense. I would say, however, that it is important not to generalize from what works in a healthy, validating environment to what happens in a dysfunctional, misogynistic environment.

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      • I think there are probably a couple of factors at play here in addition to, conjunction with, Veronica’s points (totally agree with her, these are just additional).

        1: when women are aggressive, they are perceived more negatively than when men are aggressive. Like you aren’t surprised when a male boss is an asshole. It’s more shocking, more noticeable when a female boss is an asshole. Especially when, as a woman, you might expect another woman to be more supportive. But some women are just assholes. But it’s “uncharacteristic” and thus more noticeable. And, since most management training is learning from the people who’ve managed you, to Veronica’s point, if you’re working for a male asshole, you have to out-asshole him.

        2: Hazing – the “well, I had it really hard, so you need to earn it, too”

        3: My personal research project right now — the “oppressed” turn their aggression against each other because they can’t (for whatever reason) point it upwards. (I know “oppressed” is sort of a trigger word for some of you, so replace it with “not in positions of power”) We know that there’s more self-policing against each other, when a group of people feel unempowered, that there will be more rules about how to behave, dress. I’m wondering if this is also a factor that lingers even if a woman finally gets power.

        I will say that anecdotally, having been supervised directly for 6 men and 9 women in my career, that I haven’t really seen any clear gender difference. Sociopathy was well represented in both genders!

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        • By extension: I have argued that “typical” girl-bullying (like what I experienced) is different from, and perhaps psychologically worse than, “boy bullying”

          It includes:
          – excluding the disfavored party from things, and making it CLEAR to them they are being excluded
          – setting up arcane social rules that change capriciously, so the less-mature/less-neurotupical/whatever girls can’t win, because they will never understand the rules
          – spreading rumors about disfavored parties
          – backhanded compliments, things that you don’t realize were said to be hurtful until the person who said them has had a chance to sail off with her friends
          – looking completely innocent to anyone in power you might complain to (“She didn’t mean anything by saying that” when OF COURSE SHE DID)

          I dunno. As an adult, I’m lucky to have found a few women who are as weird as I am to be my friends, and among my co-workers there aren’t any “Queen B’s” to do the stupid insidious stuff that some people still do into adulthood.

          (I often played with the boys in school because they treated me better than the girls did. I wasn’t a “prissy” girl – I didn’t mind getting muddy and bugs didn’t bother me – and I think some of the boys actually secretly liked/respected me, so I didn’t get trouble from them)

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          • Based on what I read on the Internet, many non-neurotypical men seem to experience the same when it comes to interacting with mix gendered groups of people or at least a variety of it. Your generally right though, boy bullying is simpler and more direct. They will let you know why they hate you and that will be all. The down side of boy bullying is that it involves more physical violence.

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          • FWIW I experienced “typical girl-bullying” from both girls and boys as an 8-15 year old. In equal amounts. Including an absolutely appalling situation where two boys I’d remained sort-of-friends-with after becoming a bully target decided to spend an entire group project work time tearing down both myself and the other girl (who was even more of a pariah than I was) in the most typical “queen bee” fashion you can think of.

            I also experienced some “typical boy-bullying”, ie direct physical aggression, from both boys and girls.

            So I am hesitant to agree in general with the widely held theory that boys bully one way and girls another. I do think teen boys are more likely to be bullied physically by other teen boys… but then girls are more likely to be bullied physically by their so-called romantic partners, so that may be a wash.

            I dunno. It’s very complicated and very personal.

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        • Asshole is also a very gendered insult and usually one directed at men. Women who are assholes usually get called other things. You can say Fuck You to anyone but “What an asshole” usually only applies to guys.

          I would say it also depends on firm culture. One issue I have with all these articles is that they usually take place among the elite of the elite. The author did not mention names but that kind of Big Law job only goes to the top students at the top schools most of the time. It is a fully competitive place. Depending on the firm, the culture might be Kill Kill Kill to opposing counsel and inside. This was litigation and in the United States, litigation is very nasty.

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          • True enough, Saul. Most of my experience has been in industries where there’s relatively little competition for jobs/placements. More egalitarian and if you’re an asshole, it’s likely your personality – or you thinking that’s how you manage people, rather than a possible side effect of competing with others.

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  3. Ge6: There are probably lots of things that are illegal as discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws that only survive because nobody sues over them because doing so seems like a douche move. Lucille Roberts, a chain of women only gyms, are also violating the law. Ladies Nights might also be illegal because its discrimination against men to make them pay more. It doesn’t even only relate to gender. Asian restaurants in NYC periodically get into trouble for favoring Asians in their hiring. When they do hire non-Asians, they tend to be Hispanics that get limited to the job of bus boy.

    Single sex institutions are in a weird place. They seem both un-modern but necessary for both genders to one degree or another. Female only places protect women from a lot of unwanted sexual harassment from men. Male bonding and close friendship really seems to have decreased by the disappearance of male only places or events like the steak dinners men had during the early 20th century, these were men getting together to eat a lot of steak and drink a lot of beer, or the male only saloon.

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    • There are probably lots of things that are illegal as discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws that only survive because nobody sues over them because doing so seems like a douche move. Lucille Roberts, a chain of women only gyms, are also violating the law. Ladies Nights might also be illegal because its discrimination against men to make them pay more.

      I have a question, though. Isn’t gender/sex a question of “intermediate scrutiny”? I realize the statutes say what the statutes say, but at least when it comes to gyms, I can see a reason for women’s only gyms that’s comparable to having women’s only bathrooms. I’m not saying I agree with the reason–and maybe the law obviates any reason I can think of–but I see a distinction. For Ladies Nights, I think it’s harder to justify, but it’s probably also hard to find someone with standing to make the case. The guys most disadvantaged by Ladies Nights are (if they’re straight) in some ways the intended beneficiaries (they get to go to a bar with more women).

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    • Male bonding and close friendship really seems to have decreased by the disappearance of male only places or events like the steak dinners men had during the early 20th century, these were men getting together to eat a lot of steak and drink a lot of beer, or the male only saloon.

      Given how much I have seen lately regarding how men are practically dying of loneliness because of a lack of male friends, this seems relevant.

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      • Indeed.

        The classic problem with the X-only social space is the degree that professional relationships can be built there. If you tend to promote and hire colleagues based on their membership in {club}, and if women (or minorities) are excluded from {club}, then this will adversely affect the careers of those women (or minorities).

        That said, there is a place in the world for women’s-only X’s and men’s-only Y’s. It’s tricky tho. Certainly an occasional movie screening seems fine to me, particularly given the stark levels of gender imbalance in film — likewise things such as women’s-only rideshare services, or even the women’s-only subway cars in Japan (cuz honestly, getting groped gets tiresome fast).

        (I got groped on the subway yesterday. Minor thing. It was just crowded enough to form plausible deniability. But still, I think it was deliberate. Fucking creep.)

        (I wonder if I’d be allowed on the women’s-only subway cars in Japan? I’m visibly trans, but I’m legally a woman, with a lovely ‘F’ on my passport.)

        Anyway yeah. Can we have “men’s clubs” without their becoming professional networking societies? I’m not sure. A “men’s movie night” seems safe enough, I guess.

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        • Men’s only one night social events came under fire decades before men’s clubs disappeared. The lower end of men’s only social institutions, the saloon, was gone decades before the higher end ones vanished but that’s par for the course.

          One big reason why saloons were seen as dangerous in the run up to Prohibition was that there were all male preserves and threateningly un-domestic. Once Prohibition was repealed, the saloon disappeared and never came back. Another popular all male pastime, the steak dinner, was not as hated as the saloon but was gone by the 1930s. The book Appetite History has a great quote about the latter. I’ll post it when I get home. The men’s only social clubs were high end networking took place managed to survive up until the late 1960s or early 1970s.

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          • From Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York by William Grimes, pg. 152:

            “Joseph Mitchell, anatomizing the beef-steak in the New Yorker in 1939, argued that the dinners lost their essential character when they ceased to be all-male celebrations. Women began attending and that spelled the end of the meat-feast. ‘They forced the addition of such things as Manhattan cocktails, fruit cups, and fancy salads to the traditional menu of slices of ripened steaks, double lamb-chops, kidneys, and beer by the pitcher,’ Mitchell wrote. ‘They insisted on dance orchestras instead of brassy German bands. The life of the party at a beefsteak used to be the man who let out the most ecstatic grunts, drank the most beer, ate the most steak, and got the most grease on his ears, but women do not esteem a glutton, and at a contemporary beefsteak it is unusual for a man to do away with more than six pounds of meat and thirty glasses of beer.”

            I really hope the last part is an exaggeration. I love beef but can’t eat more than three-fourths of a pound in one sitting at most. Usually only half a pound or less.

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        • The high networking didn’t die with the exclusive gentlemen’s clubs, it just moved to the golf course and became even more exclusive.

          I had a friend visit Japan and accidentally get on a female only train car. Once he realized his mistake (through the death stares of dozens of women), he turned around and stood facing a corner until he reached his stop. He was also extremely embarrassed by the faux pas.

          My friends and I try to get in a few ‘Dad Days’ every year. We all enjoy hiking and many of us enjoy photography, so we make it a hike and photo outing. Or we’ll do a Dad’s Day at the movies and then drinks before or after. But we are all busy, and it can be hard to schedule the time. This is where I think clubs are handy, because if you have time, you can go to the club/bar/whatever, and maybe see some friends, or just have quiet time, but either way you aren’t trying to schedule time together.

          I wouldn’t be surprised to see urban Maker Spaces becoming the new “Men’s Club”, even if they aren’t exclusive to men, much in the way Rod & Gun Clubs are out in rural areas.

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          • “I wouldn’t be surprised to see urban Maker Spaces becoming the new “Men’s Club””

            haha, you actually think that’s going to be allowed?

            “I look at your Maker Space and I see all men. Clearly you’ve created a misogynist environment that erases the female gender. We’ll have to shut this down, I’m afraid, in the name of equality.”

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          • The bike workshop I volunteer at tries very hard not to be a de facto “men’s club”.

            It’s hard. Getting greasy and turning wrenches have such strong gender associations – it’s somewhere between 75% and 100% dudes most days at the shop.

            Which would itself probably be fine, if at least the male patrons could be counted on to respect the knowledge and experience of the female volunteers, not to assume that they’re the “counter clerks” and the male volunteers are the “mechanics”, and the male volunteers could be counted on to respect the female patrons’ abilities and help them do the work the same way they do with men, rather than just doing the work for them.

            There are a couple of no-cis-men days a month at one of the two shops, which occasionally give rise to great outrages on the part of MRAs, and frequently to minor huffiness on the part of guys who just want to replace their chainring and didn’t check the schedule before showing up.

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        • The thing I wonder about is how important the gender segregation is to the cultivation of friendships. Is this something we can overcome, or is that too much to ask?

          I have a couple of female friends. I also have a number of activities that I do with male groups, but there’s nobody there that wouldn’t welcome a woman at the table, provided she was interested in playing whatever board game it was we were playing at the time.

          That doesn’t happen much, though. I don’t really know why. I have some speculations, but that’s too much for this post.

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          • — I form a lot of very close relationships with girls-like-me, and far fewer with people not like me. Of course, I’m queer-as-fuck, so I don’t know if it generalizes.

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      • I’m not completely sure I agree here. There seems to be a lot of times when male bonding happens at the exclusion of women. In Ellen Pao’s new book one of many incidents involved a senior partner at her VC firm asking everyone “what kind of sex worker do you prefer?” Ellen Pao was the only woman on the trip and she quickly left.

        I find it kind of interesting that this senior partner assumed that all of the men on the trip were likely to frequent sex workers enough to have distinct preferences.* I also find it interesting that he thought that the guys would want to talk about it openly. What if you were a guy who did not go to sex workers? Or did not want to talk about it? Would he also be mocked and shunned?

        There seems to be a lot of this in the higher ends of capital or even the lower ends. Goldman Sachs doing off-sites at strip clubs. Or even the craft brewers organization doing the same.

        It might not be purposeful that this alienates women (interestingly I am willing to cut more slack to the craft brewers here) but it does.

        Anyway even though I am a guy and identify as such, I usually prefer the company of women to men. Or the guys I tend to like tend not to be super-broish. There is a lot of bro stuff that I just find boring or I don’t want to participate. I’m not that interested in sports and wouldn’t want to have a “what kind of sex worker do you prefer” conversation or much sexual boasting talk anyway.

        *It is probably true that more people have gone or go to sex workers than we know and it might be pretty common in work hard/party hard industries like finance. There was a documentary on the Wall Street crash and it had lots of young banking dudes talk about long days/weeks at the office and unwinding seemed to be hookers and blow more or less.

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        • In Ellen Pao’s new book one of many incidents involved a senior partner at her VC firm asking everyone “what kind of sex worker do you prefer?”

          Heh. No one ever asks me this at my job. Which, it would be pretty funny, cuz can you imagine! I’d have an answer.

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        • You assume way too much here. The most egregious examples are egregious because they are outliers, not the norm. I have never been asked about my sex worker preferences, even when I was in the Navy (which is the one time I would fully expect that conversation to happen).

          Male bonding does not require the active* alienation of women in order to happen. When it does, that says more about the men that it does about male bonding.

          *Talking about sex worker preferences is pretty clearly done to see if the lone woman would stick around or leave.

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          • — This was the crux of debate about Trump’s “grab them by the…” comments. Some said, “It’s just locker room talk,” which implies that men really are as bad as (some) feminists say. The flipside is the notion that what Trump said was unusually terrible.

            I think the latter is more correct. Of course, one chooses their friends.

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            • I’m in my 40’s, as are all my friends. None of us thought of that as locker room talk and weren’t amused by defenses that it was.

              As you say, you choose your friends… That kind of locker room talk is how you get a small Texas town dealing with a HS Football team that hazes newbies with sodomy.

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    • Lee,
      You telling me that if you showed up to knitting night, you’d actually feel comfortable ogling the women there?

      There’s enough places in this world that are “mostly” a particular gender, that we don’t need to make “exclusively” gendered places.

      Hunting, fishing, guns are all far more masculine pursuits, often done with friends.

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      • It isn’t knitting night, but I once, at the invitation of a (female) friend, attended a dance aerobics class. I was the only man.

        I did all the moves to the best of my ability at all times. I paid attention to the instructor when that was appropriate. I kept my tongue in my mouth.

        And, I noticed that there were a lot of sweaty, active women in the room with me. Is this “ogling”. They didn’t seem to mind that I was there. Some thought it was kind of cool, since “men” don’t like to dance.

        I was a little uncomfortable at first, but that faded quickly. There are other times I’ve been the only man in the room, or one of two.

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  4. Speaking of gender, I’ve noticed different people both liberal and conservative on my Facebook feed post a “comedic” sign that states “If a man is alone in a forest and no women is around to hear him speak, is he still wrong?” or something like that. I don’t find these types of battle of the sexes humor funny. If the genders are equal than men and women should be able to freely argue and debate each other without using tricks to score points or win.

    It reminds of the time when my friends tried to introduce me to a woman, which didn’t work because it turned out she had a boyfriend. The woman in question was a professor. One of the pieces of advice I was given is that I probably know more about her topic than she does but if she says something that i know is wrong or just really dumb sounding, don’t argue with her and just agree how right she is. That just seems infantilizing and anti-gender equality.

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    • One of the pieces of advice I was given is that I probably know more about her topic than she does but if she says something that i know is wrong or just really dumb sounding, don’t argue with her and just agree how right she is.

      Whoever gave you this advice — ignore them in the future.

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      • My brain is in no way wired to follow that advice. Although it does seem popular among a certain sort of man or even women. I’ve heard that advice from too many people. I’m too mentally combative and proud of my own education to do this though.

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        • — It’s not “-splaining” when you actually know what you’re talking about and you’re not trying to play the role of “super smart man-dude watch me overwhelm your ladybrain.”

          Sometimes men know things I do not. How the hell do I learn if they can’t share?

          That said, -splaining exists. It’s tedious af.

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    • I am super careful in challenging anyone these days. They have to give a sign that they want to be challenged. Also, if someone is a professor, I’m willing to start by giving them the benefit of the doubt. They might well know more about a topic than I do, so I ask about it – You know, a “tell me more” kind of inquiry. Exercise curiosity, not dominance. Often their response will show whether a further exploration, and perhaps some sparring, is welcome or not.

      This works for all genders, by the way. Don’t spar without first getting consent to spar. In this space, consent is presumed to be given by posting. But on someone’s own social media stream, there is no presumption.

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          • I have had a lot of dealings with people who are spectrum. The “don’t be an asshole” formula doesn’t work for them – they don’t understand what makes someone an asshole or not. They don’t have the equipment. So some very generous and kind people end up looking (on social media in particular) like they are raging assholes.

            Which is why I work at formulations that are more specific.

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          • Or, in the more-polite phrasing I was taught: “What is abhorrent to you, do not do to your neighbor” or “do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

            Really, the Golden Rule (which many if not all faiths/philosophical systems agree with) pretty much boils down to “don’t be an asshole.”

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  5. Ge9 [man caves]: Not sure what I think of that article. Living in an apartment, I don’t really have a “cave” or even a special room. We do have a big living room, and my wife and I can hang out together there and yet be in our own space. She’ll be on the couch with her laptop or i-phone, and I’ll be in the other part of the living room on my desktop computer. My desk is probably only 6 feet away from the couch, but it feels like its own space.

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  6. On Man Caves: I think having “private” spaces where your spouse/partner/whatever you call them doesn’t regularly spend time is a good thing. (If I were married, and if there were ANY way we could swing it, I’d want to have a sewing room. He’d be welcome in there, as long as he didn’t take my good dressmaker shears to cut stuff out of magazines with…but I’d expect the room would almost entirely be mine).

    I think too much togetherness is not good for any relationship, and sometimes I wonder if the “joined at the hip” model we seem to see in some media is why things like outside-the-nuclear-family activities have declined and why it seems harder to keep up friendships with married people when you aren’t.

    I will say, the names given them – “Man Cave” is marginally okay but the distaff version I’ve seen – “She Shed” – ewwww. Why not just call them a Game Room or a Media Room or a Den or a Sewing Room or something similar?

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    • There seems to be a weird expectation in society that says something to the effect of “if you’re in love, you’re going to want to spend at least X% of your free time with the other person” (where X is less than “100”, but still pretty high).

      When I point out that Maribou and I have dates where we go to different movies and then go out to eat afterwards, there is always a number of people who are aghast. “You go on dates but not together?”

      It makes sense to me. I want to see one of the Mission Impossibles, she wants to see Trainwreck. She wants to see Rogue One, I want to see John Wick 2.

      We find movies that let out more or less within 10 minutes of each other, then go out to eat and discuss the movies we saw and whether the other person would have liked them.

      It *TOTALLY* makes sense to us to do things this way. But you say that this is how you do movies to co-workers? It’s like you announced that you’ve got an open marriage or something.

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      • at this point, if I were to get married, I would secretly think separate bedrooms would be a FANTASTIC idea. We can visit each other’s, but we wouldn’t have to stay together 100% of the time. Great if someone snores, or thrashes around a lot, or gets a lot of colds/little stomach bugs they don’t want to transmit. Or great if you have vastly different ideas about what the room should contain.

        I also have friends who joke about having separate houses. TBH, I think two houses, next door to each other and maybe connected by a hallway, would be a FANTASTIC solution for low-touch, introverted people in a marriage.

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        • Two single bedroom apartments in the same building could achieve that, but it seems a bit much.

          My parents have had separate bedrooms for as long as I can remember though. When I was little my dad’s room was referred to as his “study” in which was also his bed, and my mom’s as “the bedroom” in which was also her sewing machine. At some point his room became his “bedroom” in which was also a desk and bookshelves, and my mom’s went from “the” to “her” bedroom. I think the only thing that materially changed with the wording was that his socks-and-underwear drawer switched rooms.

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    • There have been a lot of good feminist critiques of Whedon floating around the past few years. That said, this doesn’t seem like a specifically feminist issue to me, although people are making it one.

      After all, being a lying, cheating scumbag isn’t gendered. Women can and do cheat on men. In the relationship game, either party can prove to be a duplicitous jerk.

      Blah. Anyway, Whedon was a terrible husband and a womanizing jerk. I guess I’m a little bit surprised, but not totally surprise. In any case, I’m not sure how this should affect how we respond to his art. Certainly it makes a some difference.

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      • People have tended to turn certain artists into icons for their political tribe or beliefs. I think this is especially true in our partisan age where every piece of entertainment becomes a political marker. Whedon was seen as the liberal feminist man who was creating actual female heroes and protagonists rather than glorified sex objects. People invested in him emotionally and did so in a way that isn’t very healthy. This comes out as a big betrayal for that reason.

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    • I’m not sure that you have the right link. The Whedon affair is perplexing. Its obvious that what Whedon did was really immoral. He was in a marriage with the assumption of monogamy and he slept around and lied about it a lot. That’s really crummy behavior. Yet, I can’t see why that makes his feminism something that never really existed. People fail to live up to sincerely held beliefs all the time. Whedon isn’t the first person to not be able to put his theories into practice and he is far from the worse example.

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      • — Agreed. In fact, it is easy to imagine some feminist woman cheating on her partners. Is she then no longer a feminist?

        It’s silly to equate “feminist” with “good person.” It doesn’t work that way.

        All the same, he is a lying sack of shit and a terrible spouse. He earned whatever grief he’s getting now.

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        • If feminism or gender equality is too mean anything, it must mean that women have the right to be average or even failures in addition to be able to succeed if they have the talent to.

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      • I’m not sure why this has anything to do with feminism. If my wife cheats on me, I wouldn’t think of it as sexist.

        I assume Saul linked to the piece because of the issue of lack of solidarity among women.

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      • Lee,
        When men sleep around, it is often a “personal affirmation” that they “still got it” (aka are appealing to the other sex still).

        A good friend of mine, who considers Joss a friend, doesn’t think Whedon was completely serious about the feminism.

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    • Saul,
      A friend of mine considers Joss a friend.
      His comment on the situation:
      “I wouldn’t go out of my way to pretend to be a flag-waving feminist just to get pussy, but I can see why he would.”

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    • And to many, Buffy was an oasis in the desert of 90’s television. It still reads pretty well.

      Things are different now. Tropes don’t need to be given lip service and subverted in order for a series to be made. We can just make Supergirl and be done with it.

      Like others have said, I don’t consider sleeping around to be either feminist or anti-feminist, just a generally shitty thing to do.

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      • I think the anti-feminist angle is that his wife claims he talked about how he was in this amazing position of power over all these pretty young actresses he “couldn’t touch” – and then did touch them.

        The “casting couch” angle, and the guy-in-a-position-of-power-over-significantly-younger-women angle – esp as it plays into Hollywood’s continuing differences in treatment of women and men – is the creepy / anti-feminist part. Also the part that resonates with the still-very-gendered experience many women have of sexual pressure / sexual favoritism / just weird sex dynamics in general in the work place. It’s not *directly* connected with having to grin and bear rape jokes or get chased out of your career, but I think for a lot of women these kinds of stories live in the same space as those ones.

        Note that I have no particular desire to defend people for freaking out about Joss Whedon one way or the other, just that there is a logical hypocrisy argument to be made. Agreed in general with the commenter above who id’d this as the millennials’ homophobic politician sleeping with men moment.

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        • Maribou,
          I’m sorry, haven’t you see any hollywood movies?
          Meatballs
          HeavyWeights
          Batman and Robin
          … these are all deliberately focused on the gay pedophile gaze.

          And in hollywood, well, the boys get fucked in sex rings too.

          (Don’t randomly call groups of people whores, Kimmi, even if you think it’s relevant. – Maribou)

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          • The far more appalling existence of people who use their Hollywood clout to be pedophiles (to the best of my fairly extensive knowledge most though not all of them are equal opportunity) does not mean that people can’t be offended or upset about lesser abuses of power.

            As a former victim of pedophilia myself,
            a) I also wish people spent more outrage on these bigger problems and less on the less big problems
            b) I still wish you wouldn’t assert “I’m sorry but”s calling pedophilia to my attention like I’m oblivious to it as a problem. I can have opinions about other things without that meaning I’m ignoring it. I’m seriously not ignoring it. And it’s personally very uncomfortable for me every time you bring it up, especially in only marginally relevant contexts.

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            • Maribou,
              I’m sorry, but it was really what sprang to mind.
              I suppose I could have just said “It’s hardly feminist when everyone will screw a duck to get ahead.” And there’s always a duck for everyone.

              I mean when something isn’t gendered at all, then I’m gonna object to people calling it gendered. (I do this about rape sometimes, when I bother to point out that more rapes are committed against men than women in America).

              And… how are you not ignoring it, when it comes to Hollywood? I know a guy who collected the evidence to drop on these creeps, and I’m sure that’s doing something positive (though I’m sure he’d say “Improving Movie Quality” rather than anything more heroic). There’s a difference between being “aware” of something, and doing something about it, after all.

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              • It’s inappropriate when someone tells you to back off and stop pressing them on pedophilia, because they’ve been a victim of it, to keep asking them questions about it. I’m not going to answer your questions. I’m not accountable to you (or anybody) for my efforts.

                As far as your reading of what I originally said, I’ll just say that I think you’re missing my point and I am not in the frame of mind to discuss this productively with you.

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        • Casting Couch:

          I was on vacation with “theater chick” a few years ago in Manhattan. We saw some play who’s cast included two pretty bad you male actors (18-25). My friend said, snarkly, “the casting couch was in full swing with those guys”.

          Frankly, I was surprised, but was informed that “yeah, it still goes on”. So, there’s people willing to do “whatever” to get a part, and there’s people willing to give those parts out by having “whatever” done to them. I’m not sure that’ll ever change.

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    • It made my skin crawl and I’m a man. Why shouldn’t it have made Hillary’s skin crawl, and why shouldn’t she say so? I would have turned around, told the sonofabitch to back off, and shoved him (even though he is several inches taller and considerably heavier), but then I’m never going to be President. Neither, as it turns out, was Hillary. Maybe she should have done it

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      • Exactly.

        Honestly it’s funny to witness how poorly (some) men understand women.

        So, being weird-brained, hyper-analysis girl, I can explain this. It works like this: sex/gender is complex. It cannot be summarized. That said, the masc/fem dynamic includes patterns of dominance and submission. Again, let me stress, these are not simple, one-dimensional patterns. Dominant women exist (for example, me!). But the pattern is clear.

        Flirting is sex.

        Flirting is not coitus. I know the difference. The point is, it is a sexualized activity. This is why (some) women get very uncomfortable from cheap come-ons from unattractive men, and worse from “can’t take a hint” guy. They are forcing the woman into a sexual frame, when she does not want to share a sexual frame with him.

        This is also why gender politics in the office is so difficult. In a professional setting, we’d like to operate free of gendered power dynamics. However, these things are deep psychology. They don’t just go away. Most people continue to feel the psychological force, even if professionalism asks us to do otherwise.

        It takes a certain degree of self-examination, good faith, and sensitivity to overcome these issues. Trump lacks all of those characteristics. Clinton, on the other hand, seems to have them to a reasonable degree, certainly far more than Trump.

        Each women gets to have her own opinion of Trump. That said, I think I speak for a lot of women when I say, the man is literally repulsive. He is a freakish, repulsive goon. He is the sexual equivalent of licking an unwashed urinal.

        In an ideal world, two politicians could have a debate without any sexualized dynamics. We do not live in a perfect world. Trump in particular is very bad about this. In fact, he is an admitted sexual predator. He knows exactly what he is doing.

        Donald Trump is creepy as fuck. Seriously, ewwwwww.

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    • The Clintons were good friends with Trump before the election (less so now I’d imagine). They went to his most recent wedding. Their kids are good friends.

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        • Trump let his wife know he was divorcing her by leaking it to the Press. “Creep” would be a vast improvement.

          But none of this was new information to HRC. Their kids are BFF and have been for years, HRC has known Trump for years, HRC didn’t (or at least shouldn’t have) learned anything new about Trump during the campaign.

          And HRC was hardly the typical woman either. Her day job used to be Secretary of State, where she got to deal with some of the nastiest pieces of work on the planet. Trump is small beans by those standards.

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          • Dark,
            Really? Saying that Hillary Clinton had to deal with Comic Book villains, and that that was worse than dealing with Trump?

            at least the comic book villain has a damn good excuse.

            Clinton was also very good friends with the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy, by the end.

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  7. [Ge4] Reading the article, I wonder if we should study when this “queen bee” effect does NOT occur.

    Half the article goes over how it’s an issue that pops up when a tiny minority of women work in a heavy male dominated industry. That’s fine, but then it mentions how the nursing profession is “rife with female bullying”. Wait, what?

    And… other Primates do it? So is it Universal?

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