Various people online, especially atheist blogger Topher Hallquist but also some people on Tumblr, are trying to take statements of mine out of context to paint this blog as violently anti-feminist. In order to avoid having to spend a bunch of time defending myself against each specific accusation, here is a general statement of my beliefs to clear the record.
I do not identify either as feminist nor as anti-feminist. The feminist movement contains far too many viewpoints for me to be able to attach a simple “I’m for all of these!” or “I’m against all of these!” to the category as a whole. My specific opinions are that I am:
5. Pro-trans rights
7. Neutral on affirmative action (I’d prefer it be done based on poverty directly rather than on characteristics that correlate with poverty like race and gender, but I recognize that’s not likely to happen any time soon)
8. Neutral on, leaning toward anti-, affirmative consent laws
That I believe things like “women are people” and “women should have the rights to control their own lives just like men” should be so obvious I am vaguely offended that I am being forced to spell them out.
One of this blog’s recurring themes is highlighting bad statistics and poorly done studies. Many of these tend to come from feminists trying to build support for feminist ideas, and I admit I have been vocal in calling them out on this. Some posts I’m particularly proud of:
1. A widely-shared re-analysis of a study showing that women were unfairly excluded from fields with high perceived required ability, demonstrating that when you adjusted for obvious confounders it showed nothing of the sort.
2. A re-analysis of the efficacy of anti-rape public awareness campaigns showing that despite some poorly researched articles to the contrary there’s no evidence that they work.
3. Being the first to mention that a popular article on rape statistics got its numbers wrong by a factor of 22,700x.
4. Social Psychology Is A Flamethrower, a more general description of the failure modes with some of these kinds of studies.
While I could have just pointed out the flaws in each individual study without mentioning the pattern surrounding feminist studies in particular, I felt it was important to note that “feminists trying to prove feminism true with studies” is an unusual danger zone the same way that “religious people trying to prove their religion true with studies” is an unusual danger zone.
I’ve written several posts supporting feminism and ideas in the same general territory, of which I am particularly proud of:
1. This post highlighting the most robust statistics proving the existence of race and gender-based discrimination in various fields.
2. This post in support of trigger warnings, which to my surprise and delight actually convinced a good number of anti-trigger-warning people to change their opinions.
3. This post on transgender issues, which Zinnia Jones described as “a cis person [making] a philosophical argument about trans stuff that’s probably better than anything I’ve ever written”
4. The Anti-Reactionary FAQ, of which Part V tries to debunk some PUA stuff and crunch the numbers on why women having careers is not going to produce a dysgenic spiral.
5. Literally Inconceivable, in which I argue (against a Patheos Catholic blogger) that contraception does not increase abortion rates and that we need better access to effective contraception.
This blog also continues to host the Anti-Heartiste FAQ by my ex-girlfriend Ozy (but I take credit for encouraging them to write it!) one of the longest and most complete refutations of the red-pill/PUA worldview on the Internet.
On the other hand, I think there’s a whole corner of Internet feminism – the Jezebel, Gawker, and Modal Tumblr User faction – which is really scary. It’s the kind of feminism that sends death and rape threats to the administration of universities they don’t think are feminist enough, calls in bomb threats to disrupt anti-feminist meetings, lobbies governments to prevent justice for male victims of rape, or just comes up with increasingly tenuous philosophical justifications for why the rest of us are not allowed to notice or condemn these things. The kind that calls anyone who disagrees with them “shitlords” and “human garbage”, loves “male tears”, and tries to portray any argument they don’t like as “women-hating” or “rape apologism”. The kind that takes delight in bullying the weak, usually in fatphobic and ableist ways, and uses feminism as a fig leaf to cover up their behavior.
This strain is absolutely not the entirety of the movement – but it has become a big enough piece of the movement, and sufficiently dangerous to anybody who doesn’t share their views, that I think it really needs talking about and can’t be dismissed as “a few bad apples”. So just as gay people sometimes complain about “Christians” in a way that doesn’t necessarily mean the millions of Christians who are totally okay with gay people and fight very hard for gay representation in their churches and the wider society, so I will sometimes complain about “feminists” in a way that doesn’t necessarily mean the millions of feminists who follow good discussion norms and treat other people with respect. I’m trying to generalize less now and be much more precise about how I mean only a certain strain, but I have left the older posts untouched. If you think that’s unfair, I hope you are equally concerned every other time someone uses a group synechodically to refer to a common and worrying strain within that group (eg “The problem with Wall Street bankers is that they…”). I think feminists themselves invented/perfected this sort of synecdoche under the hashtag #NotAllMen.
Posts where I discuss my problems with feminism:
1. A Response To Apophemi On Triggers, where I argue that although there should be safe spaces for feminists which don’t tolerate anti-feminist views, there should also be communities that aren’t like that and tolerate all views.
2. Radicalizing The Romanceless, where I argue that the feminist idea of “Nice Guys” has gone way beyond its supposed meaning of people feeling entitled to relationships and turned into a way of mocking unattractive or poor-social-skills people for not being able to get dates, a sort of 21st century “Ha ha, you’re still a virgin, you loser” with a halo and impeccable feminist credentials. Then I say it is no coincidence that these people end up hating feminism and turning to movements like PUA and Red Pill, so maybe feminists should stop doing this.
3. Untitled, in which I continue on that theme and say that feminists are particularly cruel to male nerds for much the same reason jocks are particularly cruel to male nerds – because they’re weak and bad at defending themselves – and that complaints about “nerd entitlement” are more based on finding an ideological justification for this behavior than on any facet of the real world.
The quote Hallquist is taking out of context comes from the second of those articles, where I describe some essays as “blurring the already thin line between feminism and literally Voldemort”. In my defense, that was in the context of someone else starting a very extended metaphor between different aspects of social justice and various fantasy characters, which I just continued. I also think you will be a little more sympathetic to me when you look at the essays involved.
I ask only that you take all of this work as a gestalt before deciding to form an opinion of me based on any one part of it.