Learning from 2015

Ok, this is going to be a long one. In this post I’m going to go over a LOT of the different topics and ideas I had thought about over the course of 2015 and wanted to post about but could never find the time or motivation. A lot of them I feel very strongly about but the thought of having to reiterate arguments many other people are making (and have made and will continue to make) left me exasperated. This may be my only post this year, it may not, but I wanted to at last commit these ideas to digital paper, as it were, and ensure that they were put out there. I spend a lot of time on Twitter these days and the character limit there makes it very hard to sufficiently expand upon any one point during a given discussion. The platform seems to engender, in others, at least, the desire to fire out as many discrete points as possible as opposed to making one solid and defensible claim and arguing that point back and forth. Anyway.

  • Stop misgendering people. Just stop it. Don’t make excuses, don’t say anything else, just stop it.
  • Respect people’s preferred pronouns. If you are unsure what they are: ASK the person.
  • Nonbinary people are valid. They exist, they are real and their gender and identity is valid.
  • Bisexual people are bisexual. They’re not sometimes straight, sometimes gay, they are bisexual. Understand this. Accept this.
    • Sexual orientation is a spectrum and can be fluid but a bisexual person is bisexual even if they have only had relationships/relations with one gender.
  • Feminism is not about men’s rights. Feminism is about striving for women to be equal to men in all appropriate regards. Men’s issues or inequalities do not invalidate feminism.
  • Feminism will, however, positively affect men’s rights. In an ideal world, at least. When people can remove a person’s gender from an issue those inequalities should become less prevalent.
  • Genital mutilation of anyone of any gender who cannot consent where not medically necessary is a horrific abuse of bodily integrity. To be clear, this includes male circumcision of infants.
  • Male circumcision is proven to reduce HIV/AIDS transmission rates [Ref] but its use as a strategy to fight HIV/AIDS in epidemic regions doesn’t undo the abuse of bodily integrity.
  • If you want to fight for men’s rights and highlight inequalities faced by men, attacking people, slandering them, throwing slurs and doxxing is NOT an effective strategy.
  • If you are Pro-Life the most effective thing you can do to reduce the numbers of abortions being pursued by Irish women is to promote #BetterSexEd
    • In statistics from 1996, Netherlands and Belgium had the lowest abortion rates internationally [Ref pg.27] and this is in large part due to their comprehensive Sex Education ethos [Ref]
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child does NOT give an unborn child/fetus/embryo a right to life because it does not define at what point an embryo/fetus becomes a “child”
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child does NOT give an unborn child/fetus/embryo a right to life because it only states “the child…needs…appropriate legal protection before…birth
  • Fighting human trafficking and sex trafficking by criminalising Sex Workers and/or their customers and the rights of everyone involved is NOT a proven effective strategy.
    • Men who buy sex and thereby create the demand that fuels trafficking have stated that greater criminal penalties, having their name publicized and having a letter sent home stating that they were arrested for buying sex would deter them from buying sex.[Ref]
    • The argument here is that men create the demand for sex work which fuels trafficking. So, instead of tackling the trafficking, we are instead making something more illegal than it otherwise would be, in order to attack a different crime. I can see how anything that reduces trafficking levels could be seen as a good policy but the reality of the situation is no matter how harsh the criminal penalties are, the demand will be reduced yes, but not eliminated. The groups and individuals who make money from human trafficking and sex trafficking may make less money, but so long as there is profit to be made from whatever demand is available this human rights abuse will continue largely unabated. Without any statistics or models to show how much demand can and will be reduced by, determining how much profit is made by these groups, factoring in the costs to these people of trafficking people it is largely impossible, I believe, to determine whether this policy will actually result in reduced trafficking of people for sex or other purposes.
    • Furthermore, Sex Workers come in many different forms and not all of them are trafficked individuals. While it’s unclear what actual effects this kind of policy will have on trafficking, it is very clear just how detrimental an effect it will have on people who are Sex Workers either by choice, by economic circumstance or other reason. It will rob them of access to proper resources for health, safety, finances, shelter and, ultimately, their life and livelihood. Because the demand will not completely disappear and because these people will still need to pay their bills, feed themselves and any dependants they may have they will be forced to operate in extremely unsafe conditions where they are in fact putting themselves at risk of being trafficked for sex.
    • Please also bear in mind that the Nordic Model uses Sweden as a litmus test for the effects on trafficking however the Swedish Ministry of Justice itself, in reviewing what effect their policies had, if any, “[acknowledged] the limitations in determining the prevalence of illegal activities[Ref]. They still said they were confident that their policies made a difference but were limited in actually determining what levels of these activities were going on. That is hugely problematic and should not be ignored.
  • Toxic masculinity genuinely affects men in an adverse manner and contributes to the abuses and inequalities they suffer.
  • Rape culture exists in a society where a claim of rape or sexual assault is met with comments of “he/she deserved it”, “just trying to ruin his/her life”, “that wasn’t rape”…
  • Rape culture affects both men and women. Your denial of rape culture hurts both men and women.
  • One feminist saying horrible, indefensible shit does not make all of feminism complicit and culpable in that persons abuses. Likewise one MRA saying horrible, indefensible shit does not make all of Men’s Rights complicit and culpable in that persons abuses.
  • No matter who or what you disagree with, no matter how fiercely you hold your position, your strongest, most effective weapons are 1) Rational Discourse 2) Evidence 3) Arguing the point, not the person and resisting any and all urges to Argumentum Ad Hominem.
  • If someone is slinging shit at you in a discussion you do not win by slinging shit back. You win by successfully articulating and defending your position. Anything else is probably a waste of your time.
    • Some people with a probable MRA connection have told me that they throw shit at feminists online because some people with a probable feminism connection threw shit at them. What, are you 4 years old? If you want to further your cause in an effective manner, wasting your time trading Ad Hominems back and forth is a waste of everyone’s time and it only serves to fuel any potential backlash from others who are more than happy to waste their time throwing shit instead of furthering their own cause. It doesn’t matter who started it, be mature enough to cut it out anyway.
  • No matter what anyone else writes or says or does, make up your own mind. Articulate and defend your position. Question and reinforce your position.
  • DO NOT provide sources/data in support of a particular claim/position you are making if the sources/data do not conclusively support your claim/position.
    • For example, if you provide a graph that shows that the number of male suicides in a given date range increases while government spending in prostate cancer research goes down over the same date range while government spending on breast cancer research goes up over the same date range you CANNOT use this to prove a claim like “feminism is killing men”. The reason for this is because you are not actually doing proper science or statistical analysis. Your data could be used to support ANY number of claims because there are too many other factors involved. “Feminism” is far too vague as a factor. The graph does not provide statistics on government spending on mental health, which could be a far greater factor than “feminism”, it does not include statistics on private funding for the different research areas, it does not show statistics on female suicide rates which could show instead “feminism” is killing both men and women however this still too vague as a factor. I could go on but I won’t. This is bad science, bad statistical analysis and bad logic. Don’t do it. Correlation does not equal causation.
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The Trouble With Porn…

…is that even smart people like to misrepresent and attack it. Taslima Nasreen says “Pornography is exclusively for men’s pleasure” and that she is against pornography in that she is against abuse and degradation. She is, however, for erotica and provides the contrasting definitions of pornography and erotica, attributed to Diana Russell.

Pornography: Material that combines sex and/or the exposure of genitals with abuse or degradation in a manner that appears to endorse, condone, or encourage such behavior.

Erotica: Sexually suggestive or arousing material that is free of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and respectful of all human beings and animals portrayed.

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Imagine…

…if we treated sports like we do sex. Only HBO would regularly show scenes of people playing sport in their shows, ESPN subscriptions would be listed anonymously on credit card transactions, late night tv would have adverts for sports chat lines where women naughtily talked of goals and tackles, men would frequent footie bars where fully dressed women kick balls around, it would be illegal in some countries for a fan of one sport to play with a fan of another sport, and in most countries they definitely couldn’t get married. It would even be illegal to wear a team jersey in public in most civilised countries. Not that hard to imagine though is it?

C.O.D. Modern Warfare 3 Review

Having read reviews of MW3 and finding a few of them (and a lot of internet people) saying that it was shit because it’s no different than the others I decided I would check it out for myself and try to be objective about it (in so far as that’s possible for an opinionated gamer such as myself).

The first thing I have to say is, yes, it is no different from MW and MW2 and in a lot of ways no different from any other “AAA” FPS in the last 5 years. The story isn’t terribly immersive and the characters, while pithy, tend to spew over-used cliches. It works for the whole ‘action movie’ aspect of the Call of Duty series but it can be a bit grating at times. The other major thing I have to say is shame on Activision and Infinity Ward. The Gaming Liberty‘s review of MW3 says:

“The story is hardly inspiring, the characters are as transparent as ever and it’s just as throwaway as you think it is, but who cares?”

They then go on to give the game a score of 9/10. I’m sorry but the story and characters in a game are worth FAR more than a measly 10%. If the story and characters of a Legend of Zelda game or an Uncharted game or any other game worth spending hours and money on were worth that much then they would not be the great games they are. Story and characters are there to immerse you in the world, without that you are simply working some buttons and levers to achieve some random objective which may or may not be fun. Even cutesy, small-scale games like Patapon and Mad Blocker Alpha have the story and characters being far more than a measly 10% of the entire game as that pretty much IS the game.
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Communication in the 21st Century

This is yet another post that his been lingering in my drafts during my absence from the blogosphere but still quite relevant, just not recent as mentioned in the post

[15/05/2011]
Having recently read an article in Red magazine about the sea change of modes of communication over the last 20 years since the advent of email, SMS and tweets i feel the need to make my voice heard.

The article, written by Liz Fraser in Red magazine May 2011 edition, tells us:

Of course, ‘Yours sincerely’ would sound far too stuffy and heavy-handed these days, but ‘xxx ;-)’? When did that become okay when asking your boss to approve budgets?

Well, first of all, unless you work in a very informal setting with few total employees, it still isn’t okay. Her initial premise is flawed, however, as ‘Yours sincerely’ or my preferred ‘Kind regards’ is far from “too stuffy” in a business setting. Even if you are bosom buddies with your boss, you really should be keeping informal speech to informal settings.

Worse than this, which it could be argued is a minor point and highly subject to context and interpretation, she then goes on to point out that communication is 20% the words you say and 80% how you say them, making face to face communication the most effective method of communication. This important 80% is missing from most electronic interactions, she rightly points out, however she claims that to make up for this it is totally acceptable and reasonable that we use emoticons or smileys to add the tone and emotion that is missing from these interactions.

While this may be correct in the informal world where text messages become minefields of potential misunderstandings without smileys to help differentiate between serious and sarcastic, playful and pissed off, this is most certainly not the case in business. If hundreds of years of multilingual literature can evoke crystal clear imagery and unambiguous descriptions and definitions solely through the use of well constructed syntax why then should we say that we have magically come to a point now, in the 21st century, where words are not powerful enough to be unequivocal in their meaning?

Peace,
dj357

A male perspective on women, clothing and feminism

(a little disclaimer: apologies to transgender and intersex folk, I am not ignoring you, this article is just aimed directly at the social conventions around the prototypical gender roles. It’s regressive and it sucks but that’s life it would seem.)

Spurred on by an internal discussion with myself on the topic of the French ban on burkas etc… I’d like to offer my own perspective on how women, and their clothes, are perceived in society. It’s admittedly a male opinion, but a largely unusual one given the standard of stereotypical male thinking.

On the subject of burkas first of all I must admit I’m a little torn. I rail against the idea of enforced dress codes and uniforms etc… and I’m of the opinion that people should be allowed wear what they want when they want. At the same time, however, I’m vehemently opposed to the further oppression of women at the hands of vicious patriarchies in the form of forcing them to hide their bodies in cloth sacks in order not to inflame the lust of men (alongside clearly hypocritical claims that men are perfect and women are the weak gender).

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The End of Desktop Computing…?

This article from Gizmodo (yes you may be noticing my trend of liking gawker sites) discusses the rise of Touch Computing, in the dominant form of the iPad, and it’s effects upon the heretofore dominance of Desktop Computing from the point of view of heavy content creation.

Lots of lucky people around the world understand the joy and the freedom afforded by tablets like the iPad when surfing the web, watching movies and flicking through photo albums but, equally, a large number of people are bridging the gap between Content Creation on a Desktop to doing the same on a touch-screen tablet. So, is the iPad the beginning of the end of Desktop Computing?

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