Category: Gender


So here is The Arts!, let’s get right to it.

Find an Event (Pagan Pride Project)
Want to find a Pagan event in your area? Discovered via the African American Wiccan Society group on Facebook, this site, the Pagan Pride Project, can help you. These seemed to be primarily focused on Pagan Pride events but it is just as useful to know about those events as well.

The site works easily, you just put in your zipcode and there you have it. Look at what is in my area when I put in my info.

Pagan Pride Project

What convenience!

Tropes vs. Women
This is one of my favorite online series. Anita Sarkeesian, who is the creator of Feminist Frequency, created this series which deconstructs video games through the lens of feminist theory. From this deconstruction comes the identification of tropes that are so strongly prevalent in so many games, especially popular titles such as Mario, God of War, Pac-Man/Ms.PacMan, Hitman and Grand Theft Auto.

Here is the first episode, which breaks down the concept of a trope and starts with deconstructing the idea of the Damsel in Distress.

The latest episode, which I will admit, gets a bit grisly so if you can’t bear seeing images of violence and brutality, skip to 23:30. This episode is Part 2 of using women as background decoration (Part 1). Remember, if you can’t stand bloody brutality, skip ahead to 23:30, where Sarkeesian sums it all up.

And, yes, the series does get a lot of hate and crap flung at it by wildly misogynist and anti-feminist gamers. Here is a write up on Dr. Nerdlove about the whole debacle here annnnnnd here.

Actually, she talks about it here at TEDxWomen about cyber harassment and online mobs, which she has to routinely – even to today – put up with. Since I’ve told guys I’ve worked with at the Library of Congress how bad gender harassment can get online – as well as how it can eventually trickle offline – just to write a well-formed opinion about games and they were completely floored in disbelief, lemme slap this video up here.

And of telling dudes at the LoC about gender and gaming, I really remember the one dude who was from the Performing Arts Division collecting Prima guides in my area and I saw he picked up one for Remember Me. I recommended it strongly since I’ve played it and it had a Black girl as the lead. That started a conversation of gender and video games and he mentioned he had a 9 year old son and wanted me to recommend women-starring games (that were age appropriate) because he literally said “I don’t want my son to grow up and he’s hitting women on an elevator”.* This dude actually cared that his son wouldn’t become some future harasser/rapist-in-training/douchebag and knew part of how was by playing games that would let the kiddo see that women are people, not simply things to be acted upon and in brutish fashion at that. So I recommended a series of games that were appropriate for his kid to play now at 9 and when he gets older as well as what to look for in games that star women so his kid can have tons of fun (because games should be fun) and continue to develop healthy ideas about women.

And remember, next week is Ask Black Witch. Send in your questions! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!

*This is in reference to what Ray Rice did. It was awful.

Not Always Right

First and foremost, check out this podcast from Pagan Musings! I was apparently snark-tastic! And then get the book Shades of Ritual, I’m in it.

So there was a post on the Root a about three weeks ago titled “Street Harassment; What Men Can Learn”  and it was a doozer. At first, I automatically though a girl had penned the piece but as I read on, it was clearly a dude and one that didn’t really have a full grasp on this subject.

I responded to the piece via twitter to the writer, Jozen Cummings, who pens the Until I Get Married blog. This was my critique (compiled from various tweets):

“The piece started out okay with the listing (Tho #2 confused me b/c I thought that was said after sneezes). When you mentioned “considers himself a gentleman”, I thought the piece would go the Fedora route. It sorta didn’t so yay to that. However, women more focused on the fact we’re being bothered like our time and space is not ours, not whether or not a dude has game. In ref. to dudes going “But Idris Elba!”/”It’s not creepy when he’s handsome”, lemme link to Dr. Nerdlove before con’t on. Here it is: “Creepy Behavior and the Difference Between ‘Attractive’ and ‘Attracted'” Highly recommended read doctornerdlove.com/2012/09/creepy…. Meaning if Elba started acting like Robin Thicke with a side of Too Short, his beauty won’t save him from the “creeper” label. Moving on, if women have told you that your approach puts them off, it means you’ve wound up in the muddy area of street harassment. Granted, you kinda acknowledge this later on in the piece so huzzah for some self awareness but still, can’t say “Nev’ happen to me”. You put down some good examples of street harassment responses but you had an opportunity to discuss enforced notions of masculinity. That would have been nifty because, no, guys don’t have to be the aggressor, it’s taught. Women do it less because societal blowback. You mention “I also know what it means to be a misogynist or a male chauvinist” but it might be in a detached sense. Kinda like how folks called out on their racism goes “I’m not racist! I love [group they just insulted]” b/c they only know the idea. It can take forms in subvert and overt ways. So you can still say “I’m not a misogynist” & then do something misogynist. There’s various forms of street harassment but no hard or soft version. A little/a lot, yea but not exactly soft/hard. I agree men should be part of the convo because it’s their problem but you gotta remind guys to not take the convo *over*. Because we already have guys like that, they’re called MRA’s. It has to be stressed that convo needs dudes to *listen* more than say[…] Pickin up where I left off, it’s great you mentioned men should be in convo, just stress that they gotta listen too. It’s a big issue and that means dismantling ideas about masculinity (and esp. hypermasculinity) so there’s a lot for dudes to learn. Thompkins is right in that just like a White person can’t tell us what is racist, a guy can’t tell a woman what should be offensive. Using “stop & frisk” as comparison is actually really good, I often employ the idea myself in teaching why harassing others is wrong. For “I laugh at the mens attempts….” Brah, that’s a super WTF right there because as a woman, it lightens the problem. By laughing, it makes the woman feel helpless because instead of anyone stepping in, it’s like they’re watching a joke unfold. To be brief, it’s humiliating for the woman and the harasser learns nothing, he’s gonna do it again. It would be smarter to just go, “Hey, man, leave her alone. She ain’t trying to talk to you.” So, to the woman, you don’t look like you side with the harasser. It’s a bit of a cultural enabling of “It’s alright. It’s bad but hey, her woe is my comedy!” It’s also good to tell guys to get into the habit of telling harassing dudes off because it’s creates a safer environment [b]ut also remind dudes they don’t deserve special cookies for just being a decent human being. Nice Guy syndrome is just as bad. For “Is it offensive for women to label as street harassment every unwelcome but respectful attempt at engagement?” Nope b/c there is a difference between “actually respectful” & “unwelcome but respectful”. The latter ain’t respectful at all b/c what is respected? Not the time for the woman or her right to privacy in public spaces. (If it is unwelcomed, it’s unwelcomed. Like telemarketers). Also, what is/isn’t offensive to women isn’t that much of a mystery. Listening can clue one in on “what to say, what not to say”. And for the NPR bit, I think it is a bit mangled up she is trying to end cat-calling because it is bad. Talking to random ppl is ok [b]ut harassing, making sexist comments, gestures and physically attacking folks (mostly women) is not. Basically, there is a way to talk to women & it’s fine as long as the woman is still spoken to like she’s human and not an object. to be acted upon. Which is the point of street harassment. Treating women like objects to be acted upon, that’s bad. Talking to women like they’re regular people, that’s perfectly fine and dandy. Preferable, even. The ending was derpy. There is *already* a solid consensus of what street harassment is. There’s no mystery, trust me. At all. And that’s my feedback. It was a billion and three tweets, yeah, but I tried to keep it as brief as possible.”

Yeah, I probably should have sent an email. Billion and three tweets indeed and I truly was trying to be brief.

It probably was the sheer the amount of tweets (hey, he said it was cool to give feedback) but yeah, dude never responded. I’m not gonna say I didn’t expect that because I kinda did. I have spent years discussing and dissecting gender issues and one thing I know about dude participation, unless it’s a pat on the back, they’re not keen on being bothered with it. At least he didn’t pull a Talib Kweli and say some misogynist stuff but when called out on it, start declaring himself an ally of women and thus should be excused from all gender-interaction criticism because he’s on the side of women… despite saying stuff which robs them of agency.  At least the dude didn’t quote Too $hort, who gave out a rape manual passed off as “How to express to a girl you like her” (Guys, it’s should be renamed “How to get arrested and labeled a “sex offender” for the rest of your life”). At least he didn’t say Robin Thicke was just expressing love to women (despite getting divorced by one because of those expressions and how he’s acted on those expressions). So yeah, this piece could have been worse. But the piece still wasn’t good, it just could have been worse but still doesn’t excuse how crappy it actually was.

Thing is, when it comes to guys talking about gender issues – especially when it is something like Street Harassment where they think it is perfectly fine and everyone else is being sour grapes – they tend to be more miss than hit. Apparently the idea of women’s agency to wear what they want and that it doesn’t imply consent to bother them in any way, shape or form is lost on them buuuuuut the second someone mention hoodies as police-magnets, here comes an uproar of “We’re not thugs because of our clothes! Don’t tread on us!” even though the ideas are pretty much borne from the same concept (clothes does not equate consent to be controlled/harmed by others, particularly privileged groups). I agree guys need to talk to each other to keep Street Harassment from breeding by basically snuffing it at the source but Cummings seems to either not know or conveniently forgot that when privileged folks (male privilege, here) get together to talk about their issue with the problem, it turns from a potentially useful forum to an echo chamber of “why are we the bad guys?” Which is pretty much how MRA’s got started.

I understand The Root was trying to bring in a guy’s voice on the matter but dude, this guy was an awful choice. Was Deep Cotton busy?* The guy needs to be more informed about Street Harassment, why it is a problem, what actually constitutes it, the culture behind it and why. There is so much out there about the subject. Dude, if he wanted a dude’s perspective because he clearly had selective hearing with women anytime he says “What women consider street harassment is a mystery”, that exists too. Hence why I linked Dr. Nerdlove’s piece “Creepy Behavior and the Difference Between ‘Attractive’ and ‘Attracted” because he nails it in text form. If he wants to hear it from someone else who is also Black and still a guy. There’s The 1Janitor’s vid that breaks it down as well:

One on “Nice Guys”

And one on Street Harassment called “Dudes, Stop Being Creeps. Seriously.”

And another called “Sexualization vs. Objectification”

Brah, there’s a well-made, completely intricate and informative comic from Robot Hugs in case holmes needs a cartoon strip to further explain to him how this stuff works and why it is toxic.

What else is needed? Sock puppets and animation?

Thankfully, The Root seemed to go, “Yooooooooooo, this was not at all what we expected” and found some dude who had some sense. Aaron Randle penned a piece titled “Dear Men: It’s Not Hip Hop’s Body, It’s Nicki Minaj’s Body”. He understood slut-shaming perfectly and right to personal agency perfectly. It wasn’t a “I’m a guy therefore I will treat Minaj’s body like I own it but guys shouldn’t do that [tho we will, because we’re guys and wanna uphold the ‘men are animals’ stereotype… until it gets us murdered by neighborhood watchmen and cops, then we don’t like it]” piece. The dude actually understood his subject matter and exactly why it was problematic. If Cummings wrote like that, I wouldn’t have given my whole diatribe. It does take guys help to dismantle sexism but they gotta know what they’re doing first. Randle clearly shows he knows his kit, there need to be more dude-penned pieces like his.

*Inb4 fandroid whinging: While Deep Cotton are fantastic musicians who’s music I highly and strongly recommend, they showed with their initial music video and the sock puppet characters, the Scum Warriors, that they are waaaaaaaaaay out their league when it comes to talking about gender issues. They’re musicians, not activists. That was excruciatingly crystal clear when they butchered a Radical Feminist manifesto and morphed it into a male power fantasy. I still recommend their music immensely because it is great but that video should have never happened. Evar. I still think they should have just lengthened out what they did in the Sonos commercial (everyone at Wondaland Arts Society was just jamming and having fun to the song) and all would have been good in the world.

Before we start, remember that on June 9th, there is going to be a Black Witch livestream on Ustream for the 4th anniversary of this site at NEW TIME: 10:00 PM EST

Moving on!

Neko no Shuukai
This short film is so cute! It’s called “Neko no Shuukai”, which means “A Gathering of Cats”. It’s about a kitty named Chobi that’s tired of being stepped on day in and day out and he’s not the only one. Time for a kitty revolution! Maybe.

Dr. Nerdlove
I have been referred to very few relationship blogs and dating columns. To be honest, I usually read Dan Savage and listen to Loveline but it seems Dr. Nerdlove is very good at creating materials specifically for nerds, geeks and everyone in between because if anyone needs to know how to be social and interact with others, especially in dating, it’s them.

Granted the website is fairly directed at the usual White, straight nerd guy, I have found that the pieces are fairly well written. I like his writings on Creep Week, how to interact with women and even goes as far as deconstructing misogynist ideas most commonly held in nerd circles so nerd dudes can go from fedora-wearing douchebag neckbeards to decent guys.

I really liked these posts most:

Socially Awkward isn’t an Excuse
On Labeling Men ‘Creepy’”/”On Labeling Women ‘Crazy’
How Not to be Creepy
Coerced Consent: When ‘Yes’ Really Means ‘No’

I know so many guys who could benefit from this site a lot more than whatever they’re currently reading. Dr. Nerdlove breaks down gender issues in a way that’s actually understandable for guys so they can develop the empathy necessary to develop relationships with. That and they can do away with the “Women are evil/mean/skanks/such catty b*tches/crazy” thinking since Dr. Nerdlove successfully deconstructs such problematic (and sexist) thinking. I really like it and thus, highly recommend it.

The advice is fairly sound when it comes to picking up folks. Dr. Nerdlove breaks it down bit by bit so everyone can easily follow along and apply it to their lives. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaad eeeeeeeeett.

Learn more about Dr. Nerdlove:
Dr. Nerdlove Twitter (@DrNerdLove)
Dr. Nerdlove Facebook
Dr. Nerdlove Tumblr

Musicogyny
It’s no surprise that the music industry is rife with misogyny. It has 3% women in the industry, which most certainly is not because of lack of talent from women in both the music side and the business side of the music business but of the douchiness of the guys in the music industry creating hostile environments that unnecessarily oust women, creating a near sausage-fest.

Of course, you will still have some random dude saying that he doesn’t see any misogyny in the music industry – in fact, it’s somehow easier to be a girl in the industry because there’s so little competition and they can use their womanly wiles to get what they want…even if they didn’t ask for it. (Read Dr. Nerdlove for an explanation of why this is such a dumb and myopic perspective). This blog is to document all the times women have encountered sexism in their respective fields in the music industry. I highly recommending giving this site a look because it is indeed ridiculous how difficult it is for women to make it in the music industry because they’re framed in the lens of “Is she hot or not?” lens which is mostly placed and enforced by guys.

Here’s a few stories collected from Musicogyny:

Musicogyny example post 1

Musicogyny example post 2

Musicogyny example post 3

The one thing I constantly think about is when a friend of mine told me she once went to a band’s hotel room because she and a friend really wanted an autograph and managed to find the manager, who led her to the hotel room and how she was nearly sexually assaulted by the six guys because they apparently were planning to do something to her in one language and talking plainly to her in English and thankfully she knew the other language. It wasn’t easy to leave because the manager was standing in the way of the hotel door and she was on the other side of the room so it wouldn’t be easy to get out. She tried to pin the blame on herself but I spent around 10 or so years dealing with fans, it wasn’t her fault at all. All she wanted was an autograph, something that is in and out. That’s what she and her friend wanted, that’s what she explicitly said, that’s exactly what she expected. Not having a band she likes get the really wrong idea and even attempt to use an assumed language barrier to premeditate how they’re going to act on their really wrong idea.

Then, I think about how my other friend, Lupe Fiasco, got his career started. It also started in a hotel room. When he was 19 or so, he wanted to meet Jay-Z bad. Got a chance to go to Jay-Z’s hotel room, spit a few lines and, boom, a fruitful career is born. Never once did Lu have to worry about rape, one of the acts trying to take his clothes off. If anything, sexual assault would have been the furthest from his mind. He’s more worried about the fact he’s about to meet a favorite rapper, hope he doesn’t say or do anything stupid, forget his lines, that this was his chance. He was a fan getting an ultimate opportunity to meet his favorites well past meet & greet time.

This is very much biased. One got to be treated with respect to himself as a person, the other was treated like a call girl and they both wanted the same thing: to meet and interact with their favorites. Hell, asking for an autograph is much easier than asking for a minute of their time to spit some random lyrics but the fact that Lu got that time without so much as a hyper creepy and rapey comment about his body, his stance, the fact he came alone (Oh man, if Lu was a girl, he’d have a much different story on that premise alone) or anything that my other friend encountered.

Misogyny sucks, especially when paired with music. Or comics. Or society.

 

Alright, that’s all for The Arts!, next week is Ask Black Witch. Get your questions in. Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!

Running Black Witch, I’m certain that I would get odd questions now and again. However, as of recent I’ve gotten a rash of “tell me if this girl like me” questions. This has been coming from nothing but guys, only guys have been sending me questions – or demands because manners are lost on them – to do divination or whatever voodoo that I do to figure out something that should not need divine questioning for. I always give my copy and paste answer of “Have you tried asking her?”

I find these questions annoying for two reasons:

1) If they did a little more than the most basic skimming of my site’s name, they would know that I don’t do divination readings on here until Samhain Pickers close to Halloween and even with that, you have to win the reading via random drawing

2) Why ask a random stranger on the internet if someone you actually knows likes you? Just ask!

The reason why I always respond “Have you tried asking her?” to their “Does she like me?” question is because that’s really just it. The best way to find out if someone likes you is if you actually suck it up and ask “Do you like me? Y’know, more than a friend?” I’m not saying it’s not nerve wracking to ask someone you have a crush on if they feel the same way you do about them but it is a better step than simply bothering me. Even my personal friends don’t come to me asking this question.

I do find it interesting that I’ve gotten absolutely nothing but guys asking me this. And they don’t go into detail, just basically go, “There’s this girl. Does she like me?” Dude, just ask her. I don’t think I can say that enough. One even decided to play stupid and thought that because I wasn’t psychically confirming whether or not the girl he was too scared to approach in honesty liked him, that it would be best to basically call me a fraud. Not smart. No need to get moody at me for not having the courage to ask for yourself.

These questions are so unnecessary and annoying because, to be frank, if the guy is too scared to make the first step on their own (or if anyone is afraid to make the first step on their own, regardless of gender) then what will they do when things get harder? The sucky part about love is that there’s not really any arbitrary checking scale. Not to mention, if I did do a reading for these guys (who bothered to ask with absolutely zero manners), that means they most likely would bother me every time they had an issue with girls in opposed to actually using logic and social skills to work it out for themselves. Yeah, no.

I really don’t like questions like these because they’re not questions you should be asking me, a random person on the internet. This is beyond dancing around the mulberry bush, this is avoiding the whole block that one bush sits on. It’s one thing if it were someone I knew asking and even then I wouldn’t pull out the cards initially but just ask the basic questions of “How do you know?” and “So, when are you going to talk to them about it?” Being direct, even when it is scary, is the best way to go about it all. You get your answer, everyone is on the same page, it’s a lot better than simply asking me. As long as the guys don’t take on creepy ways to confess to the girls or to ask them simply, they should be fine. Just be sincere and direct.

Of course, there a good reason the guys are asking me instead of the girls first: fear of rejection.

Getting rejected sucks but it happens. These guys gotta understand that. They also have to understand that talking (rudely and abruptly) to a diviner is not going to save them from rejection either. I’ve been rejected, my friends have been rejected, everyone’s been rejected before. It’s not fun but it’s part of life. It could go along well with the girl, it might not. It all depends on a) if the girl actually does like the guy back, b) the guy does not approach the girl in a creepy/domineering manner and c) the guy doesn’t respond to the potential rejection in a scary way. I hope the guys understand that no one owes them a date or a relationship and that if the person doesn’t reciprocate, they don’t reciprocate.

You know what else I’m thinking? It’s possible the guy doesn’t really like the girl in question but wants to know if she still likes him in a romantic fashion. If that be the case, how derpy, ha! Given my interaction with guys, it could be a case of the girl is genuinely nice and the dude misread that as romantic interest just because she acknowledged his existence in a positive or neutral way. If it is that, let it be known that just because a girl is nice to you or is comfortable around you, it doesn’t mean she sees you as a potential boyfriend. Girls create friendships because they’re people and people in general like making friends with those they find amiable. Either way, just ask. And get better understanding of social cues, not everyone who treats you nice wants to date you.

Basically:

  • Don’t ask me if someone likes you, ask that person instead. You’ll get the answer a whole lot faster
  •  Worried of rejection? It’s part of life. Not fun but it happens. As long as you don’t approach like a douche and the girl is not a jerk, you’ll get let down easy
  • Don’t like the girl but think the girl like you? Hopefully it isn’t because she’s nice to you because that doesn’t mean she sees you in a romantic light but possibly just as a friend. And if you do find out she likes you only as a friend, don’t complain you’re being “friend-zoned” because you grossly misread her interactions

Just talk to the girl, already. Skip talking to me – especially if you’re going to be so rude and abrupt – and just talk to her.

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