Category Archives: Politics


[Crossposted to my Vox blog.] Amy Gahran has a good post up about apologies and why they’re necessary. The post was sparked by Amy Alkon‘s advice column about cheating, entitled “Along Came Polyamory.” Understandably, many polyamorous folk were miffed at … Continue reading

Posted in Eradicating Divisive Discourse | 11 Comments

To all feminists: Stop using the word "choice feminism"!

It has come to my attention recently that the term “choice feminism” is gaining popularity in the feminist blogsphere, used by feminists on feminists. This has got to stop. Why? Simply put, there are some words that should not be … Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, USA | 8 Comments

Short post on disability and my school

As some of you may know, I’m currently attending language school in Japan. There is a student dorm, but most of the housing is apartments rented out to students. When I first got here, I was a bit surprised to … Continue reading

Posted in Companies Behaving Badly, Japan, Personal, The Evil -ism's | 5 Comments

In which I am (yet again) shamed by the behaviour of liberal bloggers

I’ve been busy lately, so I haven’t posted on this. Mostly because I didn’t have the time to do it justice. Not that I’m going to do it justice here, ’cause I’m just so pissed off about the whole thing. … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Privilege, Racism, The Internet is Serious Business | 9 Comments

What To Do When You Screw Up

(…and we all screw up at some point.) [Crossposted to my Vox blog.] From Hugo Schwyzer‘s post on the Valenti/Althouse incident, after he himself got called on an offensive comment he made: For the record, I will happily pose for … Continue reading

Posted in Eradicating Divisive Discourse | Comments Off

Yet Another Take on the Althouse Incident

[I’ve got a new blog on Vox, with these posts and a few others. Commenting, unfortunately, requires registration to the service, but I’ve got a few invite codes for it. Come visit.]

There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle this weekend over Ann Althouse‘s treatment of Feministing‘s Jessica Valenti.

(I’m not going to call it “Boobiegate.” It’s been over thirty years since Watergate; can we stop framing everything in terms of the Baby Boomers and let that go the way of Teapot Dome?)

What It Was About

The short version: Ann Althouse responded to this photo of Bill Clinton with several bloggers by making an vague allusion to the Lewinsky scandal.

Let’s just array these bloggers… randomly.

(As other folks have pointed out, the bloggers were arrayed not “randomly” but in terms of height.)

The first commenter, Goesh, picked up on it:

Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?

The woman in question, Jessica Valenti of Feministing, takes offense at being reduced to an element of a joke:

The, um, “intern” is me. It’s so nice to see women being judged by more than their looks. Oh, wait…

And it all snowballs from there as Ms. Althouse gets defensive:

Well, Jessica, you do appear to be “posing.” Maybe it’s just an accident.

Jessica: I’m not judging you by your looks. (Don’t flatter yourself.) I’m judging you by your apparent behavior. It’s not about the smiling, but the three-quarter pose and related posturing, the sort of thing people razz Katherine Harris about. I really don’t know why people who care about feminism don’t have any edge against Clinton for the harm he did to the cause of taking sexual harrassment seriously, and posing in front of him like that irks me, as a feminist. So don’t assume you’re the one representing feminist values here. Whatever you call your blog….

She goes on to create a whole new post, entitled “Let’s take a closer look at those breasts“, in which she writes:

Sooooo… apparently, Jessica writes one of those blogs that are all about using breasts for extra attention. Then, when she goes to meet Clinton, she wears a tight knit top that draws attention to her breasts and stands right in front of him and positions herself to make her breasts as obvious as possible?

Maybe it’s just overexposure to comics, but I don’t really see that as anything more than standing up straight, turning to make sure she’s not blocking out Mr. Clinton, and smiling. Other people, especially those commenters who identify themselves as Ms. Valenti’s age or younger, seem to see it the same way.

After that post draws 500 comments’ worth of ire, defensiveness and trolling, she washes her hands of the whole deal with one more post:

I’m surpassingly sick of this comments thread from yesterday, and I’m not even going to read all the commentary on other blogs. The immense tiresomeness is actually undermining my will to blog this morning.

I don’t mind an intense, verbal fight about ideas, but this wasn’t that. This was, every time you expressed a substantive idea, the answer was, essentially, “Stop looking at my breasts.” (I’m picturing an SNL sketch based on that concept, and like the usual SNL sketch, it goes on way too long.)

Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Gender issues, Politics | 6 Comments

Anger and Educating the Privileged

I realize that, lately, I am an angry person.

I read the news, I get angry. I read my blogs – most of which are political in nature – and get angry. I see things in my daily life that make me angry – hateful misogyny, self-serving racism, ruthless economic exploitation, and on and on and on.

On the one hand, I think that’s a good thing – “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention” is a truth I live by. While I’m not glad that I’m angry, I’m glad that I have some sort of response to the oppression and mistreatment that goes on every single day in this world. I’m glad I notice at least some of all this, and that I have a visceral response that this world isn’t right. If I can still feel outrage – and thus, a desire to change things – then I know I’m still human, and not totally numb or complacent. Continue reading

Posted in Eradicating Divisive Discourse, Privilege, The Evil -ism's | 10 Comments

In Which I Call A Truce on the "Sex Wars" Thing

Dear Feminists: I’d like to propose a truce on this whole “sex wars” thing. It’s a battle that’s been raging since before my time, but that doesn’t mean it has to go on forever. No matter how we define ourselves, … Continue reading

Posted in Eradicating Divisive Discourse, Feminism, Sex, sexuality, and sexual politics | 11 Comments

Excuse Me, But Your Pants Appear To Be On Fire

What do you do when someone makes a claim of personal experience that just isn’t believable? Specifically, do you accuse them of fabricating the claim?

I’m sure many of you have heard by now about the anti-choice blogger who mistook an Onion article for a serious editorial. In a response to that article, he made the claim that the reason he thought the article was genuine was because he would “meet people like her in the field all the time.” Most readers of feminist discussion forums have encountered other experiences of dubious veracity, such as the tale of the poor man harangued for opening a door, or the malicious women’s studies professor who lowers the grades of her male students. Continue reading

Posted in Eradicating Divisive Discourse, The Internet is Serious Business | 6 Comments

Strangers in Paradise and "Man-Hating"

So my latest infatuation is Terry Moore’s comic Strangers In Paradise, which I discovered through the immensely fun Scans Daily Livejournal community. It’s well-drawn and well-characterized, and is erasing that reluctance to check out indie comics that viewing the hipper-than-thou movie adaptation of Ghost World instilled.

What struck me, though, was a letter to Mr. Moore printed in the second issue of the first run, which asked:

I do have some criticism about the writing… is it me or do you hold a dim view of males?

[Spoilers for the first issue of Strangers in Paradise follow.] Continue reading

Posted in Comics, cartoons, manga, and anime, Eradicating Divisive Discourse | 2 Comments