101/FAQs

I’m not allowed to say “retarded” now? What the fuck does “cis” mean? Don’t feminists think men are evil? I’m so confused!

Then you’ve come to the right place. This is where the contributors of No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? collect their favorite links, both to our posts and outside posts, and answers to common questions of people who didn’t double-major in Women’s and Ethnic Studies and aren’t currently working on their PhD in Queer Theory.

The quick and dirty index:

What’s up with the name, guys?

“What About Teh Menz?” is a term often used in feminist circles, generally to refer to the sort of people who derail conversations about, say, rape culture to instead be about how women are not sleeping with nice guys and prefer bad boys. That is kind of shitty behavior!

Unfortunately, possibly because all of us who care about The Dudez have been tarred with the brush of those guys, a lot of feminist spaces take a dismissive attitude towards the idea of men being disadvantaged by sexism too. So we created this space to seriously ask “what about teh menz?”

For a 10 second minute introduction to what inspired this blog’s creation, read our seminal piece, Who Cares About Men’s Rights?.

I heard a feminist say x/y/z fucked up thing! What gives?

Being a “feminist” basically means that the person believes that women should be equal to men. But the broad agreement basically stops there: Ideas of why men and women are unequal, what form this inequality takes, what equality would look like and how to achieve it vary from feminist to feminist, sometimes radically.

Catherine MacKinnon and Twisty Faster are feminists; Cliff Pervocracy and Heather Corinna are feminists; Eleanor Smeal and Maureen Dowd are feminists; Ann Althouse and Donna M. Hughes are feminists; most of our contributors are feminists. However, if you locked all of these people in a room together, the resulting argument would probably be so bloody it could be sold on Pay-Per-View.

Even Sarah Palin identifies as a feminist, despite her disagreement with reproductive rights and belief that rape survivors should pay for their own rape kits; it would be silly to believe that the contributors to this blog agree with her just because we share a label.

Feminism is kind of like a tree, with common roots that you can trace back through Virginia Woolf and Emmeline Pankhurst, but it has many branches, and those branches have branches, and so on. Not only do these branches fight between each other, they even fight on what the branches are and what they should be called. None of them can justify calling themselves True Feminism (even the ones we wholly agree with) any more than any other branch.

So basically: don’t assume that what one feminist says is necessarily something the contributors of No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? believe. Actually, don’t assume that something one contributor to No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? is something another contributor believes. We’re a fucking herd of cats here: all you can manage is to get us going in vaguely the same direction.

What’s this “masculist” thing some of you guys keep talking about? Doesn’t feminism already cover gender equality?

Being a masculist is in a lot of ways just like being a feminist: it means that you think men should be equal to women. Just as some if not all of our contributors identify as “feminist,” so, too, do some or all of them identify as “masculist.” Where feminism seeks to improve gender equality with a focus on issues affecting women, masculism seeks to improve gender equality with a focus on issues affecting men. Taken together, these two (complementary!) movements form “gender egalitarianism.”

It’s safe to say that all egalitarian people who are masculists are also feminists, and all egalitarian feminists are also masculists — they just might not know the word. The two movements of feminism and masculism are complementary, not opposed. They fight the same issues, just with different focuses. Sexual equality is not a zero-sum game (i.e., you don’t have to decrease one group’s rights in order to increase another’s), so if you think you’re a feminist, you should think about being a masculist too.

Some people argue that feminism has historically meant “the fight for gender equality,” and it is silly to go about changing the meaning of the word this late in the game to include masculism. Others believe, though, that because feminism is such a diverse tree, it doesn’t make sense to say that it’s all about gender equality all the time. Still others make the point that since “feminism” is (in name and practice) focused on women, it can’t alone lay claim to the title of “the movement for gender egalitarianism,” so we need masculism there as a balancing force. See what I mean about the herd of cats? But the takeaway point is this: If you’re down with equality, and you’re down with feminism, you should get down with masculism, too.

But men are already equal to women, aren’t they?

Not exactly (just as women aren’t exactly equal to men). Greta Christina has a series of four posts about sexism against men.  Clarisse Thorn writes about the word “creep” and has an enormous thread series (at one point, she calculates that it’s as long as the Bible) on masculinity and feminism. And, of course, the post that started this blog off: Ozymandias’s Who Cares About Men’s Rights?

The point is, men experience sexism, mistreatment, and discrimination in many places in society (to name just a few examples, the draft, female genital mutilation versus circumcision, divorce proceedings, false rape allegations, dangerous working environments, depression and suicide, falling education rates, under-reported rape and domestic violence, etc.). Just as men have an advantage (or privilege) over women in society in many respects, the reverse is also true. That’s the point of this blog: We need to start better addressing the ways in which men get the short end of the stick.

Aren’t you guys just trying to make a kinder, gentler feminism, more welcoming to men, without all the stuff about patriarchy and male privilege?

No. It’s not about a kinder and gentler feminism, it’s about a bigger and more powerful feminism. In fact, we figure that feminism has done such a good job with the female half of the gender problem, it ought to go on ahead and do the male half too.

While we tend not to use the term “patriarchy” (we’ve found that a lot of people don’t understand what it means), the primary authors of NSWATM definitely do agree with the concept of patriarchy. Our society is organized for the benefit of certain, hegemonically masculine men at the top, and subordinates other men and women; it requires men to have power and punishes those who don’t, and requires women to not have power and punishes those who do.

And if you think we’re a kinder and gentler gender movement you should see how snarky Noah gets when he’s pissed off.

What’s wrong with saying “men are X?” I know tons of men who are X!

Because, as Danny points out here, being a man (or woman!) is about individuality. Being a person is about individuality! No one besides the individual man or woman can define what being a man or woman means to him or her, and furthermore, not all men and women are the same. Even something that’s true for most everyone in a group is still almost never going to be true of literally everyone. After all, there are lots of men who don’t have penises. If you can’t assume that’s constant, what can you assume is?

Saying “men are X” or “women are Y” is at best insensitive and more often than not, sexist. Please don’t.

Person X on your blogroll said something fucked up! Why don’t you take him or her off?

Being on the blogroll does not mean that No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? endorses everything you say. That would be stupid, given that both Shakesville and Feminist Critics are on our blogroll, and they don’t agree on much of anything besides women being allowed to have the vote and the sun rising tomorrow morning. We don’t contradict ourselves that badly.

Being on the blogroll means only that the majority of us thought that the blog offered an interesting insight into sexism against men and gender relations, and that, despite our potential disagreements with some of the content, we found the majority of it unobjectionable enough. We apply the 80/20 rule: if we can agree with closer to 80% of it than 20% of it, we’ll include it.

That said, if you believe we’ve overlooked something and are including a link with heinously objectionable content, please let us know so that we can address it.

What the actual fuck is a kyriarchy or the Oppression Olympics?

A kyriarchy is basically the term for everyone oppressing everyone else. For instance, a rich black person may be privileged on the axis of class, but unprivileged on the axis of race; a poor white person is the converse. The privilege and lack of privilege both show up in different circumstances: a black person is more likely to be pulled over and searched for drugs by police; the poor person may be unable to get health insurance.  There are many ways in which a person can be privileged or unprivileged– everything from religion to weight.

The way multiple oppressions interact is called intersectionality. For instance, a poor black person is likely to have a different experience than a rich black person or a poor white person, simply because he is both poor and black. Saying that one oppression is worse than another (“yeah, sure, you’re black, but I’m poor! That’s way worse!”) is called the Oppression Olympics, and it is not productive. The point is not to tote up ways in which each oppression sucks and then give a medal to the poor black mentally ill physically disabled lesbian undocumented immigrant Muslim with a weight problem and autism. The point is to get people to stop oppressing other people.

For more about the kyriarchy, read this post.

Sex-positive? What’s sex-positive? Doesn’t everyone like sex?

Sex-positivity is not about liking sex. In fact, many asexuals (people who do not experience sexual attraction) identify as sex-positive. Essentially, sex-positivity is the belief that, in sexuality, there is no should: as long as everyone involved is safe and consenting, it doesn’t matter who you want to have sex with, what sex acts you want to perform, how much sex you want to have or even if you want to have sex at all. Sex-positivity also emphasizes the importance of enthusiastic consent– the saying goes that “consent is not the absence of no but the presence of yes.” If you’re interested in learning more about sex-positivity, Clarisse Thorn has an excellent post about what sex-positive feminism entails.

My post just got edited for using an ableist slur, but I was just saying homophobia is retarded. What’s ableism, and why is it wrong to call something lame?

Our apologies to all the Redditors out there, but “retarded”–along with other ableist words and phrases such as “spaz,” “invalid,” and “you’re so OCD, you line up your Skittles in color order before you eat them!”– is not allowed on No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?

Ableism is prejudice, bias and discrimination against those who are disabled, including physically disabled, developmentally disabled and mentally ill people; it includes not only refusing to make reasonable allowances and accomodations for a disability but thinking people are lesser or mocking them because of their disability (or, worse, condescending to them by saying how Strong they are to have Overcome Their Obstacles and how many Life Lessons they must have teach abled people. Bleurgh. Do not do this).

In particular, ableist language like “lame” can encourage the notion that being disabled is the single worst fate that can happen to anyone ever, and that disabled people are worth less than other people. After all, there are lots of perfectly nice people who would never dream of being homophobic who happen to not be able to use their legs, and comparing them to homophobes is very insulting. For more about words that can be considered ableist, check out the Ableist Word Profiles.

Why do you care about trans activism?

Trans activism is a natural part of gender egalitarianism: after all, equality for all genders includes trans men, trans women and genderqueer people. It is extremely rude to doubt someone’s stated gender identity. After all, transition is serious business– it can involve counseling, regular hormone injections and major surgery, and greatly increases the trans person’s risk of being fired, beaten up or even murdered. No one would go through that if it wasn’t important to them. Don’t be that asshole.

Nevertheless, trans activism can be very confusing, especially for new people. (That would be anyone who read the first sentence and thought “what the hell is a genderqueer?”) Therefore, I’m turning over this FAQ to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s Trans 101.

Someone just started talking about racism, but I thought racism was over.

Not exactly. It’s true that black people aren’t slaves anymore, and it’s true that Jim Crow is long over. However, white people still, in general, have privileges over black people. Peggy McIntosh’s classic White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, the first of the privilege lists, lists 26 ways, big and small, in which white people tend to be privileged over non-white people. It can be difficult for white people to recognize our privilege and engage in anti-racist discussion. Here is a guide that, although occasionally problematic, goes through most of the problems white people may have with anti-racism.

What’s this “privilege” shit? I’m not privileged!

Having privilege or being told you have privilege does NOT mean you’re being called a bad person. We know how it can feel at first: Like you’re being insulted or dismissed. And some folks do use it as a weapon, unfortunately. But 99% of the time, that’s not what’s intended.

Recognizing that you have “privilege” in some areas just means recognizing that not everything is equally easy for everyone in a given situation. You’ve heard the phrase “driving while black?” (It means that police question or harass African Americans who drive more than Caucasians.) If you’re not black, then you have some “privilege” there. According to some studies, men are more likely to be hired for high-paying jobs, which is a “privilege” that men have.

Privilege isn’t anything you’ve tried to get or even asked for, or sometimes even known was there. It might not even be something you want! But for one reason or another, you have it.

Having privilege makes you luckier than other people who don’t have it. It also doesn’t mean that you’ve had an easy time in life or that you haven’t had to work for what you’ve gotten. And sometimes, a group can have privilege even while certain members within it don’t experience the privilege. Having privilege just means that there are some things you’re probably able to take for granted that other people can’t, and that you should be aware of it.

53 Responses to 101/FAQs

  1. tu quoque says:

    Okay, so you make sure that people don’t use ableist language, even though the type of person who’d actually use the term “lame” is probably in their teens and doesn’t even know that it used to mean disabled. Then, in the next paragraph, you use the phrase “Don’t be a dick,” even though everyone is aware that of the connection between dick, penis, and “maleness”.

    Not a good sign.

  2. doctormindbeam says:

    You raise a valid point. I was not the one who wrote that portion, but I have edited it to read more positively.

    Please don’t assume ill intent. If you have a concern, please feel free to write and ask if we noticed the error first to give us a chance to correct it. I’m sure that phrasing wasn’t intended to be a slight on men, but was just written carelessly.

    None of us are perfect, nor will we ever be. The point is that we try to better ourselves. I think I speak for everyone when I say that all of us are open to constructive criticism made by people in good faith.

  3. tu quoque says:

    That’s reasonable. Thanks.

  4. ozymandias42 says:

    Ooops, sorry. Boy is my face red…

  5. Kaija24 says:

    Personally, I have replaced any gendered or derogatory slang (like “dick”, “cocksucker”, “bitch”, etc.) with “asshat”…because everyone has an ass and it makes me laugh a little to myself and picture a butt with a cowboy hat on it. Much better for my karma and my sense of humor 🙂

  6. Windwaker says:

    Hey, I’ve got another question about ableist language.

    You say “Ableism is prejudice, bias and discrimination against those who are disabled, including physically disabled, developmentally disabled and mentally ill people.”

    Hence, using words like “lame” in a pejorative or negative context that refer to one of those subsets by denotation is inappropriate or offensive and encourages said prejudice/bias/discrimination.

    However, all that assumes that when the word is said, it’s contextual niche–connotation, I guess–is intended to be what it was when the word was originally coined to refer to some subset of disabled people.

    I feel like that’s incorrect. When I say “that’s lame”, I am not saying “that contains levels of fail equal to that of a person missing several limbs” but rather “that is uncool/unacceptable/insufficient/etc”.

    And, I mean, that first connotation is far sillier and harder to conceive of, to my mind, than the second.

    In same way, I don not object to the use of the word “gay” in a pejorative context as much as I used to, despite being openly bi. This is because I have heard growing usage of the word–at least in my area–as coming to connote “stupid/dumb/unpleasant” rather than “inferior because it is effeminate or otherwise possessing of qualities stereotypically associated with homosexual males.”

    Sure, it’s still an insult/all-purpose putdown, but it doesn’t really connote back on me. It’s growing a third connotation, beyond “happy” or “homosexual”. At least the way I’ve heard it used. I know “gay” is far more location-sensitive than “lame”.

    (Note: one of my assumptions here is that all connotation begins as denotation and then modifies, so it is possible to have identical denotations and connotations.)

    On the other hand, I still find the use of “fag” and “faggot” offensive because it really does refer to the second, and only the second, above definition.

    I guess, in sum, I’m acknowledging that ableist language does exist, but perhaps the movement could use a cold glass of perspective?

    Thoughts?

  7. aliarasthedaydreamer says:

    The issue with both words — “gay”, “lame” — is that you link things which are negative with a neutral, uncontrollable identifier for real people. Sure, you’re not thinking about those real people when you say it, but…why those syllables? Why not other, non-overloaded words for bad? (“Unfortunate” is my usual replacement for “lame”, because I like understatement, unless “really fucking annoying” is more appropriate).

    Basically, it’s an etymology problem — something was “gay” or “lame” because it was associated with individuals who are gay or lame and those individuals were viewed negatively, and then it branched out beyond that application to a more all-purpose negative.

  8. namae nanka says:

    “cowboy hat”

    keep working on it.

  9. Windwaker says:

    Mmmmm.

    That kinda assumes that people care about etymologies–assuming they’re aware of them at all–doesn’t it?

    What about the word “nigger”? I mean, most everyone knows the etymology of *that* word, but a certain subset of the USA’s population, i.e. a large number of african-americans, clearly don’t give a damn about the etymology when the use the word repeatedly in conversation.

    So would you tell them that the word is ableist and that they shouldn’t say it? ‘Cuz, I mean, if you *wouldn’t*, isn’t that an admission that context can indeed affect whether a word is ableist?

    In french, the literal translation of “nigger” is often used to refer to black people with no sort of ill will or stigma. ‘s just the word they have.

    Doesn’t ableism generalize about people’s assumed reaction to these words?

  10. ozymandias42 says:

    The black people’s use of “nigger” is a reclamatory use, which is when a member of a marginalized group fights against a slur’s power to hurt by using it themselves and making it a source of pride. “Slut” is a similar example, which is sexist when used to shame women, but not sexist in the case of Slutwalks. Reclamatory uses are allowed, by the comment policy, because then it’s not a slur. 🙂

    Listen, we’re not saying ANYTHING about how you choose to talk in your own life. (Hell, on my own blog and in my own life, I use, e.g., “bitch” and “crazy” all the time.) However, in this space, we’re trying to avoid these words, so that more people will feel comfortable in the discussion and sharing their feelings, and we’re also trying to explain the thought process which makes people feel uncomfortable using them.

  11. doctormindbeam says:

    What it comes down to for me is this: We have a wide choice of words to use to express ourselves. It’s possible to use a word like “lame” or “gay” in a way that doesn’t offend people, but we always run the risk. When we have alternate versions that we know are less likely to make people feel uncomfortable, it behooves us to use them. We’re not losing out on anything by not using slurs and epithets. We’re just being sensitive.

  12. Kaija says:

    My own opinion (and I speak only for myself) is that your example falls under the “you can pick on your own” clause 🙂 I can tell ethnic jokes about my own ethnic group, mostly to other people from that group because they are the only ones who get the obscure references, but I don’t tell Polish jokes because I’m not Polish. My friend who is in a wheelchair tells a ton of gimp jokes, but I know they would be insulting coming from me. I also make a lot of snarky remarks about nerds because I *am* a nerd and I tend towards self-deprecating humor (I’ll make a joke at my own expense before I’ll make one at the expense of others). But in mixed company, where you can’t tell or can’t assume who is a member of what group, it’s more polite to err on the side of caution.

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  14. Windwaker says:

    “However, in this space, we’re trying to avoid these words, so that more people will feel comfortable in the discussion and sharing their feelings, and we’re also trying to explain the thought process which makes people feel uncomfortable using them.”

    Hmmm. ‘kay then.

    Thanks for indulging my text walls. 😛

  15. Matt says:

    I guess we are banning the word dumb too? It’s fine with mean really, but just so you are aware, lame and dumb are of the same level. As for reclamatory use, are we allowed to laugh at the joke, if a person it applies to says it? That seems somewhat contradictory. Reclamation seems incredibly problematic to me in the context of having logical consistency across anti-privilege/discrimination ideology. The joke strikes the same humor nerves in everyone as it does in the person reclaiming it. I remember reading a post about a rape victim who made a non-serious letter to her doctor, which she didn’t send, about his insensitivity relating to her fear of a colonoscopy. She posted this letter to a board looking for support/validation from those people and they got upset with her and she didn’t understand. She was reclaiming, so why was it offensive? I posited that those people had been trained that making jokes about it was wrong and damaging to those who they referred to. But because humor is a function of conceptual association, this is why machines suck at it, these people could not control their inner reaction of laughing, they didn’t have to laugh out loud, but they knew they thought her letter was funny. Then they felt bad that they thought it was funny, because they were taught its oppressive to make those jokes. Further, different people and groups among the group oppressed by a reference or a joke have wildly different opinions. Some of them get upset about reclamation. Women can oppress women, so can a person of any minority making a joke about themselves be considered to be oppressing others of their particular group? I have to consider the rights of a minority I make a joke about, but a minority person making a joke about themselves can just as easily offend and upset people with that same status.

    When I am in the Loop with my black friend, sometimes we meet white people he knows from church. We have a tradition of me referring to him as nigger when addressing him because it amuses us that it scares the shit out of his church friends. They get scared that they will get beat up or verbally assaulted by black people, ironically they don’t realize how racist it is to assume that any given black person would assault them because they were talking to a white person who uses the word nigger. My friend initiated the idea, so we can be sure that he isn’t afraid to tell me to stop cause of white oppression. Some black people don’t want anyone using the word, some only allow it from black people, some say it to or about their white friends and let us use it in regards to them, some don’t give a shit. Also apparently there are also issues about whether any person of color can say it, my friend lives in a majority hispanic/black minority white part of new york and a lot of hispanics refer to themselves as niggers. Some black people get pissed at white people who don’t like them or other white people saying the word, as they have been taught its bad.

    Given the massive and extremely complex and often contradictory web of opinions on the word, how are white, asian, and in some cases hispanic people supposed to know what’s allowed? Clearly its best not to say it to someone you don’t know well, and some people get offended if I use it with my friends, even though my friend’ tells them to chill and/or its my friends’ idea.

    This applies to pretty much any word with negative connotations for a given group. Reclamation is harmful both to ending a given stereotype and it oppresses people in the group who don’t agree with the idea of reclamation. How is reclaiming any different than when a girl calls another girl a slut?

  16. Zuka says:

    Oh ffs.

  17. Danny says:

    Thanks for the shoutout.

    You folks set up shot while I was out of town all last week and you seem to have hit the ground running. I’m working on the first entry to my Being A Man 101 and I’ll be taking the time to get the lay of the land here.

  18. doctormindbeam says:

    Thanks for the support! Please let us know what you think and if there’s anything you would do differently.

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  20. Danny says:

    So far I’m digging it.

  21. JM says:

    Not sure where to put this, but I plan to be lurking this site. To this end: any chance you could get one of those “Recent Comments” widgets in the sidebar?

  22. doctormindbeam says:

    Sure, we’ll try that out.

  23. Kaonashi says:

    Where’s the RSS feed for the blog? It’s not linked on the first page.

  24. Cheradenine says:

    These days, your browser will probably locate them for you — Safari and Firefox both do this, for example — but if not, they are:

    You can also subscribe to the comments for a particular post, but of course the feed will be different for each one. If you visit a post in Safari there is either an RSS or Reader button in the address bar (either will work), and in Firefox there is a “Subscribe to This Page” option in the bookmarks menu.

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  27. LectorEl says:

    female feminist here. Just a quick note: In general, “genital mutilation versus circumcision” and “false rape accusations” in the context of ‘areas where men get screwed over’ is a big, huge, hackle-raising red flag for myself, and most of the feminists I know. You might want to clarify your position somewhere that isn’t the 101 section. I read that, and my first thought was “oh, god-fucking-dammit, another fucking bunch of asshat MRAs.” I’m sure you guys have seen the usual feminist deconstructions of those, so I won’t lecture, but I figured you should know.

  28. Feckless says:

    It would be nice if you could clarify your position or explain the usual feminist deconstruction?

    For instance if I say it is unfair that genital integrity in the Us only applies to female infants (as many male infants get circumcised for no medical reason) or that men get screwed by false rape allegation….am I an asshat MRA?

  29. Danny says:

    I’d like to hear about these “usual feminist deconstructions” as well. From my experience they usually include unfairly genderalizing MRAs (such as writing them off as a bunch of asshats) and something to the effect of “its bad but compared to what women go through its not really that bad (and its a disservice to women to even waste time on such things)”.

  30. AB says:

    I haven’t seen feminists directly defend circumcision, merely state that it is generally not as serious as female genital cutting, which I think is a no-brainer. On the flip side, I’d say castration is more serious than even the most severe cases of female genital cutting, if only for the side-effects (though it depends on the area and financial means of the victim). I’d be curious to know how they’d react if circumcision was brought up more neutrally.

  31. doctormindbeam says:

    Let me interject here and ask that this discussion please not continue here. @LectorEl, the appropriate venue for this question is via the contact us page; please send it again there. Everyone else, this is not the place to get into a discussion of circumcision or “asshat MRAs” or “feminist deconstructions” or anything else, please. Additionally, all of these topics will likely be at least one if not several future blog posts, and so discussion on the topics on those posts would be the appropriate place.

    Thanks!

  32. JM says:

    This is great. Thanks!

  33. Ava Trimble says:

    “stetson.” 😉

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  35. Kaonashi says:

    Thank you for the RSS information. The reason I missed it was that there’s no RSS icon in my Firefox address bar. There is an easy way to add one, which could be helpful for other visitors.
    http://johnbokma.com/firefox/rss-and-live-bookmarks.html (bottom of article)

  36. So, don’t suppose you’re taking any additional contributors?

  37. 777MassAve says:

    “Having privilege just means that there are some things you’re probably able to take for granted that other people can’t, and that you should be aware of it.”

    If I use the term “privilege”, I would probably be considered a competitor in the “oppression olympics.” Is this true for others who use the term, or are some competitors more equal than others.

    At the risk of being awarded a gold medal and sent to the sidelines, I will suggest that some “privileges” or the lack thereof apply to more people as a group than others.

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  40. Meerschaum (Keith) says:

    The following link on the 101/FAQ page is dead (White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack). That’s all.

    I found this when I searched for the essay. http://nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf

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  42. Luis :) says:

    Hello, I just want to say that I had to look up what an “MRA” was. Shouldn’t what they are, and what is wrong with the “asshat” MRA be explained in this text itself, this being a F.A.Q and all?

    Nice article, I found it very informative for beginers. This is coming from someone that knows nothing about gender issues :).

  43. Dollywitch says:

    As a disabled person(though not physically) I don’t feel comfortable to the degree which some people flag “ableist” language. I can understand “gay” being abused to an extent(if it’s used obviously ironically though, by adults, I don’t see the issue) but I think the issue is that “lame” simply isn’t used much to described disabled people anymore. I think if anything drawing too much attention to this fact will cause people to draw the connection where they hadn’t before and get too used to “seeing” disabled people referred to in such a negative light.

  44. Fibonacci says:

    Well, isn’t considering (e.g.) people with OCD “mentally ill” a little ableist, too?
    I’ve got an OCD friend who would ACTUALLY line up his Skittles by colour order before eating them, and yet I don’t consider him ill, just eccentric – or diverse, if you will.

  45. John1923 says:

    This link is broken

    White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,

  46. donsie says:

    Hi, wanted to point out that I think restricting the use of “invalid” is problematic (aside from the inherent issues with policing language in the first place, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish). It’s not only a noun referring to patients/sick people (primarily) or disabled people (secondarily) but also an adjective meaning “not valid”. I think that’s a useful word to use on a blog whose comments must surely involve opining on the validity of commenters’ premises.

  47. Kaza says:

    I’m sort of confused. Are you guys for or against patriarchy? I know it seems like a small point to raise, but you only mention it once and in somewhat confusing language.


    the primary authors of NSWATM definitely do agree with the concept of patriarchy. Our society is organized for the benefit of certain, hegemonically masculine men at the top, and subordinates other men and women; it requires men to have power and punishes those who don’t, and requires women to not have power and punishes those who do. ”

    Doesn’t this defeat the point of egalitarianism? I’m sorry if it seems like I’m nitpicking or attacking you, but I would really like to know. Personally, I don’t agree with either patriarchy or matriarchy, because both promote one sex over the other.

  48. kaza, i think the authors are saying that they agree the patriarchy EXISTS.

  49. Kaza says:

    Okay. Thank you, Kevin. 🙂

  50. Teegan Lee says:

    Kaija24 says:
    “Personally, I have replaced any gendered or derogatory slang (like “dick”, “cocksucker”, “bitch”, etc.) with “asshat”…because everyone has an ass and it makes me laugh a little to myself and picture a butt with a cowboy hat on it. Much better for my karma and my sense of humor :)”

    Hmm interesting. I’ve always envisioned asshat to involve wearing an ass as a hat… Different strokes for different folks I guess. 😛

    donsie says:
    “Hi, wanted to point out that I think restricting the use of “invalid” is problematic (aside from the inherent issues with policing language in the first place, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish). It’s not only a noun referring to patients/sick people (primarily) or disabled people (secondarily) but also an adjective meaning “not valid”. I think that’s a useful word to use on a blog whose comments must surely involve opining on the validity of commenters’ premises.”

    I’d never even realised that invalid (sick or disabled person) and invalid (not valid) were the same word because (here in Australia at least) they are pronounced differently with differing amounts of stress on the “a” sound. Is that the case elsewhere as well?Of course this observation is completely useless here where we are communicating in writing but I was just interested…

  51. kasermoose says:

    Just thought it was worth noting that while the header says “What the fuck does ‘cis’ mean?”, I didn’t actually see it addressed. Maybe it’s mentioned when you follow one of the many links from the questions that are answered or maybe I just missed it. But, if it is missing I feel that it should maybe be added, even if just as a small amendment to an existing explanation.

  52. Ilya says:

    Good post. But there’s one thing I take issue with.

    Really, really disagree with the censoring of ableist language. When someone says “That’s lame, or “don’t be lame” in reference to being disagreeable, are they saying “don’t be someone who can’t walk”? Of course not. Throughout history, there have been words that have taken on new meanings, derived meanings, and so forth. For instance, Google is the name of a company (derp). But now, the lower case word, google, has become a verb with not one, but *two* definitions (go to Dictionary.com and check meanings 2 and 3).

    In fact, for words to have multiple meanings depending on the connotation is what makes the English language so rich. For instance, what do you make of the phrase “Local high school dropouts cut in half”? Or “Suspension bridge held up by red tape”? Or “Juvenile court to try shooting defendant”? All three of those can be misinterpreted to hilarious results. But see, I emigrated from a totalitarian nation (the former Soviet Union), so if someone says “dude, you just got raped” after a lopsided video game match, I don’t think that they’d see the actual case of rape as anything less horrific. Or if someone were to say “don’t be gay”, they’re not saying “don’t be a homosexual”.

    I feel that trying to censor language is a bit 1984ish, and that I think that many people who say “don’t be gay” are conscious of the fact that there are good gay people in this world, for example. We live in a country of free speech, and I think that one of the greatest aspects of that is that our words can evolve to have additional meanings, or that we can even have new words, such as words that were originally misspellings of numbers so absurd that a word derived from them just sounded funny to 99% of people (Google originally derived from googol, which is 1 followed by a hundred zeroes (or 10^100), and Google’s headquarters, the Googleplex, derived from the number googolplex, which is ten raised to the googol, which is an absurd number).

    So please don’t censor language.

  53. Pingback: Is feminism good or bad?

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