Quick Post

August 3, 2012

So, a few things.

First, Street Fighter is 25. What the hell. Thanks, Wil Wheaton.

I’m out of rant for today about big things and important things other than asking what you, my readers, are doing to make your world a better place. A shout out to Nerdfighteria, who are working diligently to lower world suck every day. Unfortunately I cannot fully call myself a nerdfighter as I hold myself to some pretty ridiculous philosophical and ethical positions and many of those in the Nerdfighter ranks would find me disturbed for it. But that should be obvious as it would be really difficult for me to find anything redeeming about someone who claims to be anti-feminist and I know there’s a couple  nerdfighters out there that to. Mostly thanks to the Men’s Rights Movement.

Speaking of the Men’s Rights Movement, fuck you. I’m personally sick and tired of the bullshit on Reddit, I’m sick and tired of the bullshit around FreeThought Blogs and Skepchick, I’m tired of the bullshit of these people trying to speak for me.

I am a man. I’m a cisman. I’m a cisgendered white man. I am a pansexual, omnisexual, bisexual cisgendered white man. Everyone from DJ Groethe to the director of CFI Canada to A Voice For Men are full of shit and using authority borrowed from their professional station (or from whimsy and fantasy, AVFM) to speak about things they both have no education in and no authority in. They do not represent me. They do not speak for me. They do not even speak rationally. All of the things in this discussion that we’re fighting over, from harassment policies to rape culture to women? A lot of these cultural elements have been proven in sociological studies. If they’d bother to check.

So yeah, Men’s Rights Movement? Fuck your face with a hedge-trimmer.

An update on those things that are important to me, as a philosophical stance. I am an atheist, I am an antitheist, I am a feminist, I am a liberal. All of these stances come from observation, data, and science. I’m willing to discuss any of these positions with anyone so long as you are not a bad actor. So far I haven’t had to even think of a comment policy yet (cue cut to comment section with two comments and a tumbleweed) but you can rest assured that if you come in and start arguing in bad faith, you start trolling, or you start using this as a platform for something then I’m going to delete your comments. I’m unemployed and disabled. I have the time to do this.

Speaking of being unemployed and disabled, I’m also homeless! However, the place I was living in was sapping me of everything involved in the will to live, so I’m happier right now. However, if anyone in Southern California knows of a furnished room on the cheap I can rent for a few months, I’d love to know. I’m trying to get my family to help me with a motel room until I can find a permanent place to live but they’re being…unreliable. I’ve got a friend who might have a place for me in a few months but until then I’m sleeping on a couch and it’s hell on my back. And all my other joints. Plus, privacy? What’s that? So yeah, my crowd of two, please help me find a place to crash for a bit.

Uh, what else. Working on two new short stories right now but it’s hard coming from the place I was in. Currently theorizing a story about a Steampunk China if the Opium Wars had never ended. Enjoy history? China? The Victorian period? Imperialism? Anything related to this? Send me snippets of information, data, what have you and I’ll boil them down into a few story ideas. I’m thinking of watching Ip Man and Ip Man 2 again for some inspiration. And because they’re fantastic martial arts movies.

Now I’m going to go back to missing my partner like a love struck fool, relaxing my back, and trying to come up with ideas.

Happy Esther day.

Stay classy.

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This is a rather personal problem for me, and one that I’m interested in being an activist about (along with my feminism activism, since they’re intrinsically tied to each other). I’m willing to discuss the issue with anyone that’s interested but I won’t have either propoganda or baiting in the comments, so be forwarned. This is my space, not yours, and you don’t have the freedom to say anything you want. That being said, there’s a lot of discussion that does need to happen still, especially when it comes to answers. All we know for sure right now is that inequality is bad for everyone.

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Who Do You Think I Am?

January 19, 2012

I’d like to get a few things out of the way right off the bat here. I’m white, I’m a guy, I’m young, and I’ve got a thing for women (and men) of a certain skeptical kind of mindset. When I see women I find attractive at atheist events and meetings, I get all kinds of ideas in my head about how I’d like to talk to them and see if there’s anything there worth pursuing. Yeah, it’s a little trite but it’s true – I am, on some level, always looking for someone who I’d like to date and take home afterward.

However, I never go up to these women, I never talk to them, I never even ask their names. It’s partially because I’ve got some wicked social anxiety (the reason du jour, I know) and it’s also because I don’t know who they think I am. I don’t know what they think of me, I don’t know if they trust me or not, or if they’ll even talk to me. There is one thing I do know that they know about me, though. They know that I’m a slightly overweight white guy at an atheist or skeptical meeting, convention, or get together. They know that I’m part of a group of people that has harassed them, that has insulted them, that has excluded them, and that has refused to acknowledge how that’s made them feel. That’s the point (and it happens every time I even think about talking to a woman), that realization, is what keeps me from striking up a conversation with a woman. I avoid them so I can help make their evenings a little less uncomfortable.

This isn’t because I think women don’t trust men. I’m not assuming anything about those women other than that they know what kinds of men run in the circle we both find ourselves in. This isn’t because I know they’re “probably” not available or that they’ve got a distaste for dating guys from atheist groups. I’ve met plenty of women who, after I get to know them, are interested in atheist guys and actually ridicule me for worrying so much. I do this because I refuse to be included in the group that harasses women, refuse to be included in the group that sexualizes women at all times, and I refuse to be part of the group that has raped women. My absolute refusal to be included in these groups means I avoid repeating their behaviors, and one of those behaviors is propositioning women everywhere they go.

I didn’t write this article to talk about them, though. Or to talk about me necessarily. I’m just outlaying a thought process I go through several times at every atheist convention or group I’ve attended. I don’t like to do this and I wish I could be less anxious about approaching women, that there was enough trust fostered there that I didn’t feel like I was possibly putting them in danger or on edge just by expressing interest. It’s not their fault they feel that way, and it’s not mine.

Somewhere out there, though, there’s someone reading this that treats women as objects, who stalks women at conventions, who propositions women at the wrong time, who only describes women by how sexy he thinks they are. It’s his fault. Him and all of the men who think and act like him. The creepy, leering, sex-focused guy who finds some way to flirt with all of the women in any given group and disregards them as intellectuals whenever given the chance. His existence means that whenever I say hello to a woman she’s going to evaluate if I’m one of His men or if I’m something different. His existence means that whenever I flirt with a woman, she’s going to ponder if it’s something He would say. His existence means that if I want to get to know a woman outside of a skeptics meeting I need to find some way to ensure she doesn’t think I’m Him before I even get the chance to get comfortable talking to her. That means I’ve got two gauntlets of social anxiety to run and I can only talk myself through one of them. The other one is totally out of my control, totally out of her control, and is purely the domain of Him.

When I talk to my peers about these kinds of problems, especially those who are part of ‘alternative’ lifestyles or sexual persuasions, they all agree on the problem of His existence. He makes it difficult to impossible to be both respectful and sexual, to be both engaging and flirtatious. There’s never any innocent flirting because of Him, there’s never any dipping one’s toes in water when He’s around in a scene, and there’s never any relaxed but sexually charged atmospheres when He’s part of a group. In short, it’s almost impossible to be a good natured person who is looking for women to sleep with so long as women have met Him.

This is part of what drives me as a Feminist – finding Him and asking Him to leave. Not just so women don’t have to put up with Him, not just so I don’t have to put up with Him, but so I can get comfortable talking to the people I find attractive in the group. These reasons, I think, are good reasons and I use them to fuel my discussions with people in the atheist and skeptical communities, within the gaming and roleplaying communities, and I ask guys to not be Him. Sometimes I even ask a woman not to be Him ’cause they can do it too. Then the worst part about Him comes to surface in the community – He gets defended as just being one of the guys.

There’s two distinct problems here. For those of us who’d like to date the beautiful, intelligent women who steal our hearts and parts of our emotion-driven minds who we met at our local atheist meeting we need to both overcome the imposition that we might be Him and we need to not be confused as supporting Him. And yet when I hear people expressing interest in the former, I still hear them becoming and defending the latter. We can’t have women be comfortable around us, especially if we’re expressing sexual interest in them, as long as He is around. If we want to be able to come onto women we don’t just need to be mindful of respecting them, acknowledging proper place and time for such things, and being devilishly handsome and comely – we also need to stand up for all women and ask Him to leave.

‘Cause when you get down to it, if we have any ‘game’ the only thing ruining it is either not being mindful or the fact that He exists. And if you’re not being mindful? You’re not reading the posts online from men and women about proper place, time, behavior and all that? You’re still thinking that they’re uptight prudes and you’re somehow evolutionarily predestined to put your penis in everything that moves?

Well, you’re Him.

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