Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What do American women want for an "ideal" working arrangement?

What 'Lean In' Misunderstands About Gender Differences - Christina Hoff Sommers - The Atlantic: "In a 2013 national poll on modern parenthood, the Pew Research Center asked mothers and fathers to identify their "ideal" working arrangement. Fifty percent of mothers said they would prefer to work part-time and 11 percent said they would prefer not to work at all. Fathers answered differently: 75 percent preferred full-time work. And the higher the socio-economic status of women, the more likely they were to reject full-time employment. Among women with annual family incomes of $50,000 or higher, only 25 percent identified full-time work as their ideal. Sandberg regards such attitudes as evidence of women's fear of success, double standards, gender bias, sexual harassment, and glass ceilings. But what if they are the triumph of prosperity and opportunity?"

Monday, March 18, 2013

rhetoric and social justice warriors #1: "rape culture"

Just as I've met wonderful people who are Mormons and Scientologists, I've met wonderful people who believe in identitarian politics. So when I use examples, I'm not mocking individuals. I'm studying a phenomenon. I won't cite the source for this because, I'll repeat, the writer seems like a mighty nice person.

From a discussion about "rape culture":
As for rape culture in America – it’s not really a question of whether it exists, but how it functions. One could descend into a conversation of whether ‘rape culture’ is the optimal term for the broad base of activities, attitudes, representations, and so forth that the term encompasses, but I choose not to do so at this time, as it doesn’t seem especially fruitful. I’d rather just stick to rhetorical analysis.
That willingness to accept a core tenet—"it’s not really a question of whether it exists, but how it functions"—is not significantly different than what I found with a quick google for the devil working in the world: "Now that we have seen that Satan is a real being with real powers, we need to understand how he uses his powers."

The question of whether your model for understanding the world is valid is always relevant. A phrase like "it's not really a question" should be a siren's wail with flashing red lights to anyone who believes in science.

As for "I’d rather just stick to rhetorical analysis", perhaps the greatest weakness of identitarianism is its infinite parsing of meaning in order to find the appropriate evil "ism". It's an easy game to play—if I wanted to get into the Racistfinder General racket, at the risk of sounding vain, I suspect I would be pretty damn good. Nothing's easier for a decent writer than twisting the words of less sophisticated speakers.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

three quick thoughts about intersectionality, the personal is political, and power + prejudice

1. intersectionality or disconnectionality?

The identitarian fondness for the invented "intersectionality" instead of words like "interconnectedness" and "interrelatedness" comes from their belief that identity issues are inherently disconnected and only occasionally intersect. If I believed in conspiracies, I would think "intersectionality" was promoted as part of the attempt by the world's rulers to further divide us. But I believe people are shaped by the systems they inhabit, so I think it's only an example of a human tendency to accept superficial explanations.

2. is the personal political?

"The personal is political" is a fine philosophy for opportunists who don't know that "politics" means "of, for, or relating to citizens". If the personal was political, we would all be at odds with our neighbors.

The personal is only personal. The political calls for setting aside personal issues to work on greater ones. The first feminist, the person who coined the word, was a man, Charles Fourier. The driving force behind the 19th century abolition movement in the U.S. was white, William Lloyd Garrison. Fourier and Garrison knew the universal is political.

3. what's so convincing about "power + prejudice"?

The first people to write about "white trash" noted they were poorer than slaves and slaves mocked them, yet Critical Race Theorists believe anyone who is white benefits from "power + prejudice", even if they have no capital in a capitalist nation.

So why does the formula seem so convincing?

• Plosives and consonance: The devices of poetry have power, even where there's no meaning.

• Iconography: That definition is usually written with the plus sign, making it both a definition and a symbol.

• Mystery: The meaning is not immediately understandable, so its advocates enjoy the cultist's satisfaction of being able to enlighten those who accept their teaching and mock those who reject the one true knowledge.

Racist antiracists or neosegregationists? Lavie Tidhar objects to black dancers at Eastercon

Spool Pidgin: A Common Or Garden SF Twitter Conversation...

My comment at that link:
Clearly, Tidhar would've been happier if they'd hired white dancers.

The racist logic of ideological antiracism is so fucking insane it's impossible to parody. Interracial romance in books is racist. Hiring black dancers is racist. I do not dare venture to speculate what they may deem racist next, but I am beginning to wonder if a better name for them would be neosegregationists.

Monday, March 11, 2013

about that "racist" Businessweek cover

Racefail: Hugely Racist Businessweek Cover Comes From Minority Illustrator: "Andres Guzman, the illustrator, wrote, “I simply drew the family like that because those are the kind of families I know. I am Latino and grew up around plenty of mixed families.” "

I wish I'd said something about this earlier, 'cause I suspected it at the time. Racist-finders have a great deal of trouble accurately reading racism in cartooning because the art in cartooning is simplified exaggeration, so the reader can quickly know a human character's age, gender, race, and as many other things as can be suggested in a few quick strokes of the pen.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Liberals Against Affirmative Action

The Liberals Against Affirmative Action - NYTimes.com: "The liberal critics of affirmative action believe that many of these approaches would be better than the current one. Racial discrimination obviously continues to exist. But the disadvantages of class, by most measures, are larger today. A class-based system would be more expensive, forcing colleges to devote some money now spent on buildings and other items to financial aid instead, but it would also arguably be more meritocratic."

Saturday, March 2, 2013

bell hooks nails one

I've criticized bell hooks before, but I completely agree with this observation about feminism:

"If improving conditions in the workplace for women had been a central agenda for feminist movement in conjunction with efforts to obtain better-paying jobs for women and finding jobs for unemployed women of all classes, feminism would have been seen as a movement addressing the concerns of all women. Feminist focus on careerism, getting women employed in high-paying professions, not only alienated masses of women from feminist movement; it also allowed feminist activists to ignore the fact that increased entry of bourgeois women into the work force was not a sign that women as a group were gaining economic power." —bell hooks, "Rethinking the Nature of Work"

via A Different Class