COVID-19: Watch my Sanity Unravel as I Try to Understand WTF Richard Epstein is Saying


Guess who’s back, with more quarentine-enabled time to rant on the internet? Me. Let’s do this.

Today (March 30, 2020), the New York Times released an interview titled “The Contrarian Coronavirus Theory That Informed the Trump Administration,” an interview with NYU law professor, Hoover Institution contributor, and right-wing “”””intellectual”””” Richard Epstein. After this interview, I could not put more sarcastic stress on “intellectual” if I tried. I highly suggest you read through the entire interview for yourself, as there is too much word salad for me to get into in one post. For some background:

“According to the Washington Post, “Conservatives close to Trump and numerous administration officials have been circulating an article by Richard A. Epstein of the Hoover Institution, titled ‘Coronavirus Perspective,’ which plays down the extent of the spread and the threat. . . .  In it, he questioned the World Health Organization’s decision to declare the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, said that “public officials have gone overboard,” and suggested that about five hundred people would die from covid-19 in the U.S. . . . In a follow-up article titled “Coronavirus Overreaction,” Epstein wrote, “Progressives think they can run everyone’s lives through central planning, but the state of the economy suggests otherwise. Looking at the costs, the public commands have led to a crash in the stock market, and may only save a small fraction of the lives that are at risk.”

So. Let’s see what he has to say about his above statements on the day of our Lord, March 30. Get your hammers, sickles, and guillotines ready, folks.

What did you want to achieve with your pieces?

First of all, I am not a politician. What I did is that I looked at the standard model that was put out in the New York Times, which was backed up by other models in other places, and it occurred to me that I just did not think that the underlying assumptions there were sound. The single most important thing to me was not to get my own estimate of what the number is. The most important thing was to look at that curve, which seemed to suggest that there would be ten million cases a day during a ten-day or so band in the middle of July, and to explain why, in relationship to all other things I know about evolutionary theory, that this just has to be wrong. The better way to have phrased the paper would have been to say that the traditional models, which were used for the last flu season, for the 2009 H1N1 situation, are much better approximations of what is likely to happen than these rather scary kinds of projections.

First question, and he immediately makes no sense to anyone with even a cursory idea of what is going on. I’m going to be very clear about this: I am not an epidemiologist or virologist either. I do not claim to be an authority on the ideas. But I’m more of a scientists than Epstein, and, more importantly, I have the ability to actually research my shit. Below, you will find a brief snippet taken from the scientific journal Clinical Microbiology Review, published in 2007, regarding the SARS outbreak of 2001. It essentially predicts that this pandemic would happen, which is actually very impressive. I linked image because it’s projections are similar to the ones we see for Covid-19. They’re similar because SARS and coronavirus are the same thing! SARS is a coronavirus. You know what aren’t in any way the same things? Covid-19 and the flu. Or Covid-19 and H1N1, for that matter. They have entirely different makeups. Epstein has just admitted in his first answer that he doesn’t like the projections based off of the virus we’re dealing with and instead prefers to use projections for two totally different viruses with different means of transmission, severity, and rate of mutation because those charts are less “scary.” Way to go, guy.


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You wrote last week, “In the United States, if the total death toll increases at about the same rate, the current 67 deaths should translate into about 500 deaths at the end.” We are currently at eight hundred deaths—over eight hundred deaths. [This was true when we spoke; the number is now over two thousand.]

First of all, let me just say I wrote an amendment to that, the thing I regret most in that whole paper. But I was not so much interested in explaining why my number was right. I was interested in explaining why the other projections were wrong.

Translation: “I didn’t have any actual alternative theories, I just wanted to disagree with ‘liberal academia’s” numbers without any well-defined reason.”

Secondly, suppose I should have been wiser in this and said, as I referred to the flu vaccine and later on to the H1N1 situation, if those are your benchmarks, then the number goes up to, say, between fifteen thousand and forty thousand deaths, as opposed to the one million-plus that are projected.

You can’t do that, Richard. They’re not the same thing! This is the virus equivalent of saying, “Yeah, the projected rate of car accident deaths is high when you look at cars, but if you just change it to plane crash deaths, that projected number goes way down!”

Something else you wrote, in an earlier piece, was, “Why has there been such a dramatic mismatch in the responses to ordinary flu and the coronavirus?” Is that a question you’re still unsure about?

Look, the basic problem is, I think, in effect, that the tendency on the part of many people to treat this particular thing as unique is a mistake. There’s an underlying, standard model that you want to use, and the question is how you stuff it full of parameters. That is, numbers you add into it to make what’s going on. And, so, the situation that you get is you cannot use any exponential system because essentially then everybody is going to be dead, because things just keep doubling, doubling, and doubling.

I know that’s a huge chunk, but hear me out: I included that entire answer to make a point about good ole’ Richard’s infuriating tendency to not answer any of the questions he’s actually asked and instead go on vaguely related tangents about “developing models” that are borderline word salad. That above bit of word vomit in know way addressed the question of “Do you still think we should treat this the way we treat the flu.” He does this for a good 80% of the questions, and I won’t torture you with any more examples. Just know he does.

To address his point: He complains endlessly throughout this interview about how the model  we use to map Covid-19’s progression is exponential. He conveniently neglects to mention that these are short-term models. We’re not projecting the number of Covid-19 cases from now into infinity and saying that they’ll keep going up forever. The majority of projections I’ve seen only go up to 18 months. Once again, he’s being extremely pedantic and disingenuous and continues to just look like a guy who decided to be contrarian first and then did his “research.”

You wrote, “The adaptive responses should reduce the exposures in the high-risk groups, given the tendency for the coronavirus to weaken over time.” What tendency are you talking about, and how do we know it will weaken over time?

Well, what happens is it’s an evolutionary tendency. [“There is absolutely no evidence for that,” Ko told me. According to Kuritzkes, “There is no proof that this is the case. To the extent we see that evolution taking place it is usually over a much vaster timescale.”] So the mechanism is you start with people, some of whom have a very strong version of the virus, and some of whom have a very weak version of the virus. If the strong-version-of-the-virus people are in contact with other people before they die, it will pass on. But, if it turns out that you slow the time of interaction down, either in an individual case or in the aggregate, these people are more likely to die before they could transfer the virus off to everybody else.

On the other hand, those people have the more benign version of the virus that will allow them to live longer, which means that they have the chance to make a connection with somebody else. And so what happens is, if it turns out you think something like the coronavirus is ten times as strong as another virus, what that means is that the distancing is going to be more violent, which means that the evolutionary process should be more rapid than that for the ordinary flu.

This is just the first of a metric fuck-ton of examples of Epstein just . . . saying things about how viruses and evolution work that are objectively wrong and using that to justify his beliefs. There is no “strong” and “weak” version of Covid-19. There are symptoms of Covid-19 that range in severity, and some people can catch it an be asymptomatic. That doesn’t mean they have a “weaker” version of the virus. Someone who is asymptomatic can pass on the virus to someone else, and that person can have severe symptoms. Epstein’s assertion that the distancing is “violent” because we’re accounting for mild/asymptomatic cases and that we should already be fine because we’ve weakened the fictional “flu-like” projection pattern for the virus already just makes no goddamn sense. We haven’t even “weakened” the normal flu, Richard. That’s why flu shots are a yearly endeavor, because it doesn’t “weaken” over time, it just evolves into different strains that we haven’t built up an immune-response to yet. So even if Covid-19 was like the flu, what you’re saying still doesn’t make sense.

This particular version of Covid-19 has already mutated multiple times over the course of just a few months (starting in marine life, mutating to jump to bats, mutating again to jump to humans, and mutating again to have stronger effects on younger hosts). The idea that it’s going to suddenly stop adapting and get better is absolutely not backed by the evidence of how it behaves whatsoever. I also want to point out that his statement about viruses weakening over time is also objectively false. As the NYTimes fact checker points out, the only reason SARS didn’t explode was because they took public-health measures to address it, not because SARS just stopped being so bad after a while.

O.K., so your expertise in the subject I guess comes in part from your work with aids, which you just referenced, is that right?

aids, and I’ve worked on evolutionary theory for forty years in its relationship to law.

Once again: Covid-19=/= every other virus. Knowing a lot about AIDS does not mean you know a lot about this. At least the flu was somewhat comparable. AIDS is nothing like any kind of coronavirus. Also, he acts like he has “expertise” about how to deal with this because he “worked with” the HIV pandemic, but, if you actually look at what he did, he spent the entire time backing a historically and socially discredited policy of letting companies discriminate against “AIDS carriers” and having HIV not covered by private/employer-given health insurance. He also later backed the idea of price-gouging for HIV medication (i.e., that whole controversy where companies were charging tens of thousands of dollars for HIV medication that people would die without). So, I’m sorry, Richard, but I don’t think you count as an “expert” on a topic that you’ve only ever had universally discredited opinions on.

I’ll spare you the part where Epstein brags about how Bill Gates totally agrees with him before the interviewer reads a directly contradictory Bill Gates quote from, like, two days ago.

In short, Richard Epstein is a man who does not know how viruses work, apparently never did, and who has a recorded history of caring fuck all about community, social, and humanitarian efforts related to health in favor of corporate project margins. He is not qualified to be “making a new model” for how a virus he doesn’t even seem to understand the basics of will spread. And this is the guy whose paper was circulating around the White House, informing our pandemic responsiveness, because Trump fired almost everyone at the CDC.

I’m so hungry, man. I could eat the rich. Eat, eat, eat the rich. Eat, eat, eat the rich.  

An Honest Review of Dave Chapelle’s Sticks and Stones

“Comedian Dave Chapelle’s newest comedy routine Sticks and Stones is a mixed bag of some underwhelming/underdeveloped concepts and some genuinely hilarious jokes and social commentary. He depends a bit too much on the meta-commentary of the state of ‘offensive comedy’ in 2019, but–given the internet outrage machine’s reaction to it–I guess he’s not wrong. It starts off slow but eventually ramps up into something consistently insightful and entertaining, and it’s worth a watch.”

That’s my elevator pitch review. If you don’t want to read any further, that above is all you need to know. For more details, though, read on!

So, I don’t really like Dave Chapelle. If I were to make a list of my favorite comedians, his name would be no where near it. That’s not to say I dislike him. He’s just up there with Lenny Bruce and Seinfeld and Richard Pryor as people who I understand the immense importance of but who I personally don’t find all that funny. That’s just not what my sense of humor is. His early stand-up and The Chapelle Show are pretty okay, as far as I’m concerned. I feel the need to bring that up because I was totally ready and willing to jump aboard the “This stand-up sucks,” train if it was warranted. But I really, genuinely do not understand all the hate Sticks and Stones as been getting. I’m not invested in Dave’s career. I didn’t know he was doing a new show. I wasn’t looking forward to it. When I saw it was getting bad ratings, I didn’t feel any kind of way about it. So I say this as someone who very firmly cannot be considered a “fangirl” of Dave Chapelle: I don’t get why people are so mad at this.

I watched this stand-up specifically because of the negative press it’s been getting. Like I said, I didn’t like Dave enough to seek out his stand-up on my own without reason. When I clicked on it, I still didn’t expect it to be good. I’m still subscribed to a few YouTubers in the “red pill” community, and they seemed to like Sticks and Stones, and that was not something I saw as a sign of quality. The last time I tried watching an hour-long comedy special that they liked for “sticking it to the SJWs,” I got about half-way through before turning it off. It was nothing but:

1.) Mention a left-leaning talking point

2.) Say it’s stupid and that people who believe it are pussies

3.) Call them snowflakes for getting mad at you

4.) Repeat until the end of time

Supposedly, something about that above set-up was supposed to contain jokes and be funny. I didn’t catch any. And before I’m accused on just not finding it funny because the comedian was a conservative making fun of liberals, I don’t like Trevor Noah or Samantha Bee’s left-wing “comedy” for literally the exact same reason. Call me crazy, but I like my comedy to contain jokes, not just smarmy condescension and the weird idea that mentioning the existence of dissenting opinions is funny. So, I was expecting Sticks and Stones to just be another under-inspired and unfunny whine-fest about how SJWs suck performed by a comedian who I didn’t find funny even back when he was in his prime, just based off of the attention it was getting. But it’s not. It’s actually really funny. And what’s more, I don’t even understand why the left-o-sphere is offended.

The “journalists” who’ve been reviewing this will insist they’re not offended, but it’s all said with the embarrassing, obvious air of something who just face-planted into the mud and who gets up and says, “I meant to do that, so by laughing at my embarrassment, you’re actually making me feel good! So there!” They’re offended. That much is obvious. As far as I can see, it’s yet another example of liberal gatekeeping and their slowly atrophying sense of humor. Because this is a very liberal stand-up special.

The fact that so many red-pillers like it confuses me, because the overwhelming majority of its jokes are about topics a lesser comedian would be called a snowflake for even bringing up. And the “offensive” jokes in question are just making fun of things that the left-o-sphere itself has brought up and critiqued before. One of the main things they’re totally not offended by, guys, are the jokes about the LGBTQ+ community. To be fun and ironic, I’m going to make a list of the things he joked about in that bit, and provide a link to a liberal media publication talking about the exact same thing:

But, for some reason, Dave Chapelle is being homophobic/transphobic for joking about those very real dynamics that they themselves want to discuss. I even saw one “review” that said he was making fun of bisexual and trans people even though bisexual and trans people were the ones he was defending in the joke. It very much just comes across as the “only we’re allowed to mention our problems with in-fighting” kind of outrage. I agree the following joke about transgender people where he joked about being a Chinese man trapped in a black man’s body wasn’t that funny, but that’s only because it was underdeveloped/underwritten. I think that people also missed that that particular joke wasn’t at the expense of transgender people, it was at the expense of his wife. He flat out says, “I wrote this joke because my wife is Asian and it annoys her, and I like annoying her.” So even though I didn’t think it was funny, even I can acknowledge that it was tongue-and-cheek and not meant to talk down to anyone.

There are a few jokes like that in the special that I just don’t think were written as well as they could have been because Chapelle was overtly relying on the meta-commentary about “people taking offense to what I just said” to be the punchline of the joke. One of the reviews said that it was “unnecessarily offensive,” and I don’t agree with that. I don’t think anything in this was overly offensive. I think Chapelle did unnecessarily bring up how supposedly offensive he was being too much, though. Especially in the first 20 or so minutes of the special, he relied a lot on the Big Joke(TM) being him pointing out that he just said something that would make someone mad. He wasn’t even wrong, given the totally-not-offended-but-I-still-hate-it response he’s been getting; I just think he wasted valuable minutes on meta-commentary that could have gone to fleshing the actual jokes out more.

He gets over that pretty quickly, however, and the special really hits the ground running. Once he says the line “I’m not a nigger either” (which is a fucking great punchline to the joke in context, in addition to being a very poignant commentary on “the n-word” debate) every joke becomes incredibly well-written and well-thought out. The majority of the special’s back half was him discussing the opioid epidemic in Middle America and how he alternatively sympathizes with poor white people, gives no fucks about them, and is afraid of them because he’s a black man living in poor, white Ohio and he’s prepping for him or his kids getting shot by some discontented white kid. That’s why the left-o-sphere hating this confuses me a lot, because I don’t think you’ll find better commentary on a black man living in White America(TM) than the last 30 minutes of Sticks and Stones by Dave Chapelle.

The bit about him going to K-Mart to buy a gun to defend his house from white heroin junkies is 5 minutes of hilarity. He managed to be very funny while simultaneously having reflective observations about what is happening to other people and his own emotional reactions to it. He points out it’s a lot like the crack epidemic, and is very honest about how his knee-jerk reaction is to give no fucks about their community being ravaged by opioids the same way white communities gave no fucks about black communities being ravaged by crack. He then flips things around by talking about his own background growing up poor and how it helps him empathize with the situation more. The final line/joke is a perfect ending that wraps up the entire show in a bit of reincorporation that was very well done.

All in all, the longer Sticks and Stones went on, the more I enjoyed it. It takes some time for Dave to get over the hump of tiring meta-commentary, but once he does, he’s pretty damn great. It’s a very back-loaded special, to be sure, but I can’t hold that against him too much. As I’ve already pointed out, Chapelle was apparently right to have so many asides about the state of “offensive comedy” seeing as how people responded to his relatively inoffensive jokes the exact way he said they would. I guess I’m happy the “red pillers” got tricked into watching a stand-up that makes fun of gun nuts and talks about race issues from the POV of a black person, and I’m sad that “progressives” couldn’t get over one underwritten gay joke and 1 minute of him making fun of internet feminists enough to appreciate the rest of the very well-done social commentary. I was very pleasantly surprised by this and am definitely going to go back to it again, although I’m probably going to click around to the best parts instead of watching it front-to-back.

Abortion (or How Alabama is Determined to Remain in Top 10 US States with Worst Health Care)

For all you “citation needed” folks: here you go.

I could talk about something funny. Ben Shapiro threw a bitch fit and made a fool of himself on international television because another conservative pundit . . . asked him basic questions during a Q&A. That’s fucking hilarious. But I guess I should probably comment on something that’s actually important.

Note: I do not use pro-choice/pro-life terminology because I think both of them fundamentally ignore what is actually being argued about–abortion–in order to make themselves look better and their opponent look worse. So, with that out of the way, here is this gargantuan, citation-heavy list.

1.) It’s very difficult to find an anti-abortion argument that doesn’t seem religiously rooted.

I’m getting this out of the way first because it is a.) the most obvious and b.) the least substantive. Even so, it is very relevant to bring up, so I’m doing it. Opposition to abortion seems almost entirely rooted in explicitly religious values and religious philosophies of life. I’m not saying secular anti-abortion talking points don’t exist, but they seem to be put on the back burner in favor of whatever arbitrary distinction God has supposedly made about when “a life” starts and stops mattering. For example, here’s a quote from one of the Republican state senators, Clyde Chambliss, who helped approve a bill that doesn’t even let rape victims have abortions:

“Human life has rights, and when someone takes those rights, that’s when we as government have to step in. When God creates that life, that miracle of life inside the woman’s womb, it’s not our place as humans to extinguish that life. That’s what I believe.”

The United States is not theocratic. We have the separation of church and state. Religious values and sensibilities can freely dictate how individual people choose to deal with unplanned pregnancies. If a woman doesn’t want an abortion because she thinks God has blessed her with the gift of life even if she wasn’t planning on it, good on her. I’m an atheist, though. I don’t care that God blessed my uterus with the miracle of life. I don’t think God exists, and I certainly don’t think “God created that life” is something that should impact legal and health policies.

2.) It’s a baby./Life begins at conception./Once it has a heartbeat, it’s a person./etc.

Here’s a website detailing the steps of pregnancy. Here’s another one. Read them. For a quick rundown: It goes from a zygote (a fertilized egg), to an embryo (around 4-11 weeks old), to a fetus (12 weeks and onward, when organs continue to develop and its nervous system is developed enough to allow movement and sensation). The 13th week marks the second trimester. The 27th week marks the third trimester, which is what most people think of when they think of “a baby.” Fetal viability–the point where the fetus could conceivably survive outside the womb–tentatively starts at 24 weeks, though only around 30% survive being born that early.

I’m just going to flat out say that the majority of anti-abortion talking points I’ve heard about when a life “begins” make no sense. From a strictly biological sense, “life” doesn’t stop or begin anywhere in this process. The sperm and the egg are just as much “alive” separate as they are together, so the proclamation that life doesn’t start until conception is odd. The heartbeat bill that has become so popular nowadays just comes across as a totally arbitrary defining point. I know we place symbolic significance on the heart, but the heart developing isn’t some flagship moment in development. The heart is formed enough for a heartbeat to begin when the embryo is less than an inch long and is also in the process of developing all of its other vital organs. The heart is no more or less vital than the liver in terms of survival, yet we for some reason decided that the heart’s chambers developing enough to start pumping blood kinda is when a fetus starts to super-extra be alive, like it wasn’t equally “alive” before that point. Here is what a fetus looks like at the time when the heartbeat bill would disallow an abortion, by the way:


According the CDC’s website, with data collected in 2015, the majority of of abortions-(91.1% of them) were performed during early gestation, by the 13-week mark at the latest. Almost 25% of those were performed before the 8-week mark and were non-surgical/non-invasive, i.e., the woman is given a stronger version of the Plan B pill which induces a very heavy period . . . and that’s the end of that. So, in short, the idea that full grown babies are being gorily scraped out of callous women’s wombs is inaccurate. The overwhelming majority of abortions happen within the first trimester, where the fetus doesn’t have a developed enough nervous system to be a conscious/sentient being, and when it isn’t even physically developed enough to warrant the horrible, bloody surgical removal that anti-abortion activists love to fear monger about. For the minority of late term abortions that do happen, I’ll get to those later.

A fetus is a baby the same way an egg is a chick and the same way an acorn is an oak tree. They can be those things, if the variables of the world line up in such a way to allow that potential development to happen. X having the potential to become Y does not mean that X=Y, and stopping X from becoming Y does not mean you killed Y.

3.) Children are not a “consequence” or a “punishment” or something to “teach people a lesson.”

This is my personal least favorite anti-abortion argument: “You got yourself pregnant, now it’s up to you to take responsibility for your actions. If you didn’t want a baby, you should have kept your legs closed. You shouldn’t be allowed to run away from the consequences of your actions by getting an abortion. You have to do the right, mature thing.”

Okay. Let’s just ignore that rape is a thing. Let’s just ignore that coerced sex is a thing. Let’s just ignore that abusive relationships are a thing. Let’s ignore all of that and the incredibly unfortunate implications that arise from painting pregnancy as something that is necessarily a consequence of a woman’s choices. Let’s also ignore the fact that a very large percentage of unplanned pregnancies happen within monogamous relationships where the birth control measures they take unexpectedly fail, so the implication that unplanned pregnancies are necessarily a result of irresponsible behavior is also not accurate.

Let’s ignore all of that. Let’s assume that every single abortion that has ever happened or will ever happen is undergone by a young, freewheeling, independent woman who just sluts around all the time, having constant unsafe sex and behaving in an incredibly irresponsible and immature manner. Okay. Why do you want those above women to be forced to have a child to take care of? You wouldn’t trust someone like that to dogsit for you. Rover not getting fresh water one afternoon is awful, but a human infant being raised for 18+ years in a household that didn’t want it, wasn’t emotionally or financially prepared for it, and has no idea how to go about it is fine. Who cares if they’re raised in a safe, healthy, supportive environment, as long as their slut mom can see them as a punishment for her own life mistakes and learns a valuable lesson about adulthood. It’s not like the cycle of poverty and just the general lasting effects of a poor childhood exist.

In summary: If you think someone is immature and irresponsible, forcibly entrusting that person with the well-being, safety, mental health, education, and life prospects of another human being who relies wholly upon them for support is not a fair and reasonable way to get them to “grow up.” I’m also having a difficult time understanding why going through the financial, emotional, and social hardship of abortion and then living with the stigma of being a woman who got an abortion doesn’t count as “accepting personal responsibility.” Also, for an anecdote to help back this claim up–I was born as an unplanned child to a young, emotionally unstable single mother in an economically destitute area. My mother did not suddenly become an adult who made better life choices just because I existed. I just became an adult with a crippling fear of poverty and lots of mental health problems! Fun times.

4.) Abortion is not birth control. It’s what you get when birth control fails.

I think there’s an odd misconception going around that women are using abortion as their go-to birth control option, like they’re sluttin’ around having mountains of unsafe sex, and abortion is how they contend with that problem. That’s just not how the world works. I’m sorry. I don’t know what universe you live in where women are totally down to drop at least $800 on an abortion as their chosen contraception method when condoms, birth control, and the Plan B pill exist. I don’t think abortions are some great, wonderful thing that everybody should be getting all the time. I’d rather as few abortions happen as possible. In my opinion, it should be the last resort of women who were unable, for whatever reason, to successfully use contraceptives. I’d much rather have a public that was informed and safe, in a society where contraceptive options are readily available and accessible, than a public that was poppin’ on over to Planned Parenthood for a quick aborsh.

If anything, abortion seems to be used as the go-to contraception method for teenage girls who overtly do not use any of the above mentioned contraception because a.) safe contraception materials are not accessible to them and/or b.) they have no concept of what safe sexual practices are because it was never something they were taught and they were highly discouraged to do any research on their own, and they wind up engaging in unprotected sex. The majority of abortions are performed in hyper-religious areas with limited to no legitimate sexual education, shock of all shocks. Also, for extra shock-points, the same people who don’t like abortion are the ones who don’t want Sex Ed taught, even though sufficient Sex Ed instruction and available contraception in high schools is highly correlated with a decrease in teen pregnancy and teen abortion.

5.) Why don’t you put it up for adoption instead?

American Child Protective Services is overburdened and rampant with internal and external abuse. There are already more kids than adults willing to foster/adopt them in the system right now. That won’t be helped by every unplanned pregnancy adding to the pile of unwanted kids with nowhere to go. To be fair, a newborn is far more likely to be adopted than a grown child because “people don’t want a kid with baggage,” but this is not a guarantee, especially if the newborn in question has developmental issues, which is common in unplanned teen pregnancies in particular. Many girls who get pregnant at 16 aren’t particularly opposed to drinking and smoking while they’re with child, as it turns out. Who’d a thunk it? Plus, adoptions in all demographics regardless of the child’s health are going down.

This is also ignoring the larger issue of a woman’s bodily autonomy. What happens to the child once it is out of her body is a separate issue entirely from the question of whether or not a woman should be required to carry a child to term.

Pregnancy isn’t some walk in the park where you get wacky cravings sometimes and pop a kid out, and whoop it’s over. Prepartum and postpartum depression are very real things that affect women with unplanned pregnancies at higher rates, with that risk rising even more if the woman has negative feelings about the unplanned pregnancy. And that study I linked is for married women with support systems in place to deal with the unplanned pregnancy, so you can imagine what women in less ideal circumstances go through. Ignoring the risk of depression, a normal, healthy pregnancy takes a huge toll on your body and hormones, oftentimes permanently. I’ve known multiple women who’ve had to have various knee and back surgeries that cost them thousands of dollars for problems associated with pregnancy. And you go through the rapidly changing body and hormone cycle of pregnancy for 9 months, before going into terrible pain, and then giving birth in a country (or in the cases of Alabama and Georgia–a state) with ridiculously high mortality rates for mothers in the cases of both natural births and c-sections. Doesn’t that sound fun!?

The United States medical sphere has a habit of disregarding women who want to exercise their own bodily autonomy whenever their reproductive organs are involved, and the “just carry the baby to term even though you in no way want to” argument is just the tip of that iceberg. For instance, many doctors refuse to perform tubal ligation surgery for women who request it–even if they’re already mothers, and even after they reach middle age–all under the presumption that the woman in question doesn’t really not want kids. I’ve had to deal with this personally. I can’t get my tubes tied even though my fiance and I know we aren’t having children, because I clearly don’t understand just how much I’m definitely going to have a baby later. I just can’t be trusted to make that decision about my body because a potential baby is involved, and whenever a potential baby is involved, I apparently don’t get to decide shit.

6.) But aren’t late term abortions bad?

Back to the CDC’s website! 7.6% of the abortions were performed at 14-20 weeks (the second trimester) and 1.3% were performed after 21 weeks. That’s roughly 9% of all reported abortions that count as “late term” in nature. So the most highly contested aspect of the morality of abortion is incredibly rare and in no way indicative of a typical abortion procedure. Ignoring how unrepresentative late-term abortions are, however, let’s actually examine why they happen.

There’s the issue that many people have already brought up–medical necessity. That’s a very legitimate reason and the one even the most hard-core anti-abortionists can usually agree with. From the very limited research that exists on the topic of abortion, however, medical necessity seems to be one of the less common reasons for late term abortions. According to this Washington Post article that has complied and linked to multiple outside data sources and studies, most late term abortions are essentially the direct result of a lack of access to health care.

One study loosely described late term abortions as being split 50/50: 50% women who would have aborted sooner had they been informed of a fetal abnormality within the early developmental stages but who weren’t, either because they couldn’t afford frequent medical checkups or because the medical checkups they did receive weren’t good enough; and the other 50% were women who wanted and tried to get an early term abortion but who couldn’t find a provider and/or obtain funding until after they were past the first trimester. The 50/50 number is obviously just a framework to talk about two of the most common reasons and not a real stat, but those general ideas are reflected elsewhere. Multiple other studies cited “inability to find abortion providers, difficulty funding the procedure, and difficulty traveling out-of-state to a provider” as major causes for delayed abortions. So, in short, if you think late term abortions are evil, making it so difficult to receive an abortion during the first trimester is not helping. It’s actually just making things worse.

Two of the studies mentioned also created a list of the kinds of women who they saw getting late term abortions. Most were unmarried, and very many of them were single mothers with one or more children already. Many of them had mental health or substance abuse issues, and many were from domestically abusive households. Domestic abuse and fear of violent retaliation from a domestic abuser were also commonly cited as a major reason for a delayed abortion.

The profile of a woman who gets a late term abortion for non-medical reasons, then, seems a lot less “evil and irresponsible” and a lot more “marginalized and systemically/individually abused to the point of having even more limited options.” I’m having a really difficult time villainizing the women in these situations even though I also have a knee-jerk negative response to the idea of a non-medically necessary late term abortion. It really just seems like another element of systematically enforced classism where women who have been socially and/or economically disenfranchised are given nothing but shitty options and then further stigmatized for choosing one of those shitty options. You want to be a welfare queen who just popped out a baby so you could get more food stamps, or do you want to be one of those evil women who got an abortion in the second trimester because you couldn’t afford to travel out of state?

8.) What if the father wants to keep the child?

I’m not a fan of some of the more antagonistic commentators who’s response to this question amounts to “FUCK U KILL URSELF!1!! NO VAGINA, NO SAY”. I think we, as a society, ignore and downplay and outright stigmatize the emotional needs of men far too frequently. I don’t think making sarcastic comments about “Male Tears” is all that helpful. That being said: The abortion debate is not the arena in which to talk about men’s emotional needs, even if I think doing so is important.

You have the right to your feelings. They are legitimate. They should be acknowledged. They also do not give you the right to dictate what other people do with their own body. Those feelings are an issue that will certainly have to be addressed before and after the fact between you and the woman if you wish to maintain any kind of relationship. But feeling some kinda way about it does not give you the right to usurp a woman’s body and use it for your purposes against her will. You do not have the right to force a woman to incubate and give birth to your child. Conversely, the woman is not obligated to give you a kid because you want one. If you want kids, if you “would never abort your baby,” good for you. Find a woman who also wants those things, because forcing that belief onto a woman who doesn’t is a bad thing.

9.) Is this all old, white men’s fault?

For reference, here is a very up-to-date Pew Poll that I’ll be taking data from.

That’s certainly the way the American Republican party makes it look. They’re really prone to having “discussions” about abortion between five Boomer-aged white dudes who consult literally nobody else in the decision making process and then decide that the thing they already agree about should be made law. And, in an American context, White Evangelical Christians and Conservative Republicans are really blazing the path when it comes to being vocally anti-abortion, both statistically and visibly.

That being said, the genders seem fairly well-balanced: around 60% of women think abortion “should be legal in most cases,” and around 60% of men agree. That means that there’s an equal proportion of anti-abortion women out there to anti-abortion men; there might actually be more anti-abortion women once you factor in the stat that there are more women in this country than men, though Pew polls typically have equal gender representation, so it’s difficult to say that definitively. The same goes for age: Proportionally speaking, “being old” doesn’t seem to make someone more likely to be anti-abortion. All four age brackets polled are essentially hovering at 60% approval for abortion. Being white also doesn’t seem like much of a determining factor: Both black and white demographics are hovering around that magic number 60% approval, with Hispanics actually being the most anti-abortion racial demographic polled. So saying “old, white men are the problem” doesn’t seem to be overly reflected in the actual stats.

I get why people are saying it–old, white men tend to be really over represented whenever a “discussion” takes place in a political or media sphere, especially when that “discussion” is held in a conservative-leaning forum. That being said, like “Male Tears” and other stereotypical third/fourth-wave feminist buzz phrases, “old, white men” may be the face of the problem, but they certainly aren’t the only ones involved. So talking about abortion in terms of old, white dudes trying to take away women’s rights just isn’t helpful. There are too many people who consider themselves anti-abortion who don’t fit into that easy-to-point-at-and-hate box, and you’re really not addressing them or their talking points when your go-to argument is that “an old, white man shouldn’t get to have an opinion on this.”

For things that actually do have a significant correlation with one’s stance on abortion, we have to look at education (the more education you have on the high school/college/grad school scale, the more likely you are to be pro-abortion) and religious affiliation. Those seem to be the two actual determining factors at play–not race, gender, or age. Another related Pew poll about religion specifically shows that increase in traditional religiosity is correlated with anti-abortion sentiments on almost every scale. Here’s this rundown that further breaks down abortion stances by religion to further back that up. I feel inclined to mention that many of the “oppose abortion with no exception” groups are not white/majority white (Southern Baptist, African Methodist, Hindus), so that’s yet another reason why we shouldn’t be equating “old, white men” with the face of religiously-informed patriarchal tendencies.

Aaaaaaaand, that brings me back around to point number one about this whole thing just being way to rooted in religion for me, as an atheist, to take it seriously. So that’s a wrap, folks.

Another Look at Toxic Masculinity

Hey, guys! I haven’t posted in a while because a.) grad school is hard and b.) I haven’t been overly inspired to comment on any recent events. I can only be sarcastically unsurprised about the wacky antics of my fellow man for so long. I need to start talking about stuff I like. . . . So Record Store Day was a thing that happened recently. It’s the first time I’ve participated in that event and it was a fun time. I got a Freddie Gibbs limited color pressing vinyl that’s pretty sweet. I live in Indiana, so I didn’t even have to try that hard. No one in Indiana was gonna stand in line for three hours and then fight me over a hip-hop album. Yay, capitalism! Oh, and I recently discovered Souls of Mischief, which is a hip-hop group from the early 90s that definitely deserves more credit for being a precursor to jazz rap, and I know I’m a good 30 years late on that hype train, but I’m on it now.

Alright, enough of that. I’m well aware of the internet’s low tolerance for hipster shit.

Let’s talk about toxic masculinity . . . again.

A while ago, I wrote an article called Let’s Talk About Toxic Masculinity. I actually don’t agree with everything I said there anymore. My overall thesis statement –“If prototypically gendered traits can be toxic, it stands to reason that toxic femininity exists in addition to toxic masculinity.”– is one I still agree with. I also haven’t changed on my stance that third/fourth-wave feminists oftentimes pathologize “maleness” as inherently domineering and oppressive, therefore making “toxic masculinity” an inescapable state of existence that doesn’t seem to have much to do with a man’s actual behavior but his mere presence.

That said, I’ve been trying to separate the worst actors of feminism from its base ideas, and while there are many notions about how the world works from feminist theory that I still fundamentally disagree with, “toxic masculinity” isn’t one of them. In my previous post on the topic, I called toxic masculinity “fictional” and said that “explicitly gendering negative behaviors and traits is useless.” Let it be known here that I don’t agree with those assertions anymore. After discussing the topic more with my fiance (who is not a feminist) and many male friends (some of whom consider themselves feminists, but who are all very reasonable humans irregardless of labels), I’ve come to believe that there is a very real case to be made for why addressing toxic gendered behavior is a thing that should happen.

I think attributing certain negative behaviors/traits to a particular gender is useful when we’re speaking of them in the context of social upbringing. The fact of the matter is that boys and girls are, more often than not, raised differently and disciplined differently, and that difference in treatment does lay the foundation for “gendered” traits that can potentially be more negative than positive. This isn’t me saying that girls can’t be stoic because that’s not a “girl” trait. It’s me saying that stoicism is regarded differently in women than it is in men, and men are more often than not raised to value it as an admirable trait whereas women aren’t. So when we’re talking about boys growing into men who aren’t comfortable expressing their emotions even when doing so would be helpful, you have to address that the reticence to express emotion stems partially from gender norms dictating how they, as a male, were raised. A woman being shitty at expressing her emotions is likely coming at that problem from a very different direction. Gendering stoicism as a trait, then, is actually somewhat necessary. Addressing the notion that they may have been brought up to think that talking about feelings “isn’t what men do” is a crucial motivation to go over if/when refusing to talk about their feelings is causing problems.

This is not something that “red pilled” people like to hear because they have, at least understandably, conflated any mention of “toxic masculinity” as an attack on men as a gender. I agree that feminists have largely dropped the ball on constructively addressing this *coughmaletearscough*

But it’s resulted in the red pill crowd essentially doubling down on defending gender norms, particularly in regards to men, in a way that I view as being actively detrimental. Take this article, for example. It’s from the Philly Inquirer, titled “Men’s cuddling group aims to redefine masculinity and heal trauma.” That is a clickbait title, by the way. The group, from what I can glean, is mostly about creating a space where men who are starved for human affection can be physically/emotionally affectionate without anyone calling them faggots for daring to be a guy who wants a hug. I’m okay with this. Babies from social species wither away from not being touched enough, and the negative impact of “touch deprivation” can continue into adulthood and have series psychological and even physical consequences. So if a bunch of guys want to get together to combat the very real stigma of it being “gay in a bad way” to want physical affection, I think that’s a good thing. What were some red-pilled reactions to this, though?


“We already have a men’s cuddle therapy; it’s called rugby, or for that more intimate experience, wrestling.”

I like how wrestling, aka the most homoerotic thing this side of Fast and Furious, is considered “manly” by the same people who scoff at the notion of men physically touching each other outside of a competitive context. Sitting close together and touching shoulders is too femmey, but groping each other’s ass and crotch-area is manly as fuck as long as you’re doing it in the context of fighting, I guess.

“Congratulations I guess? Doesn’t change the fact that this is not the way men typically connect with one another . . . and that’s coming from a gay guy. Point being, we don’t want your modes of engaging with one another.”

I love how men are treated here as a monolithic “we” that doesn’t want “your” gross, girly way of interacting with each other. Also, clearly some men do wish that they weren’t constrained by the gender norms of what constitutes an acceptable range of male affection. I agree with feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers, who point out that we shouldn’t be pathologizing many men’s preferred ways of interacting with each other. A man not being openly affectionate or not wanting to overtly talk about his feelings is not inherently negative; and a man not being as comfortable verbally/emotionally expressing himself as a woman is not automatically a sign of him being emotionally stunted. Having other, preferred means of working through emotional issues is fine.

That being said, there are certain situations where the typical man’s preferred way of dealing with emotions is not helpful (just like there are situations where the typical woman’s preferred way of dealing with emotions isn’t helpful). If this group of guys has decided that going outside to pass the football around isn’t sufficient for contending with their emotional/psychological needs, that is also fine. You are the same people who bite feminists’ heads off for not caring about male depression rates and male suicide rates. Clearly, the royal We of men isn’t doing that great when it comes to dealing with psychological distress, which logically should lead to the conclusion that, just maybe, the royal We should do some self reflection to see if his long-standing, preferred method of dealing with emotional issues could use some revamping.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” as people egregiously misquote Einstein as saying. If you care about the demonstrable problem men sinking into suicidal depression, maybe you should sit down and naval gaze for a few minutes to see if your “typical way of interacting with each other” is contributing to that problem even a little bit instead of looking at people who are at least trying to address the problem by trying something new and declaring it “too weird and not what ‘we’ do” by default.

I am grateful I am old enough to remember male bonding as getting drunk, and getting into trouble with my friends :)”

It’s still that. It’s not like being more openly affectionate sometimes precludes you from having drunken shenanigans. What world do you live in where feelings and booze are two circles that never intersect?

“Can we sing some gay songs too?😂😂”

“That’s another expression of their homosexuality”

Those are just two good ‘ole fashioned examples of 90s-style homophobia where we didn’t hate the gays anymore, but we did see the concept of gayness as a joke in of itself.

Knock, knock.

Who is there?

A gay guy.

Whaaaaaaat. That’s not what most people are! Fucking hilarious! 😂😂

“Why does masculinity need redefining? Do you hate men?”

See my above statement about how what your lot considers to be “traditionally masculine ways of interacting” don’t seem to be helping you all that much in the long run. I’m not saying you need to deal with your feelings “like women,” but clearly dealing with them “like men” could use a little redefining. Gender roles can and do change all the time, and not because evil feminists force them to. Masculinity is defined differently by different cultures at different times, and we seem to be in a transitory period in “the West” where people are coming to the realization that maybe “masculinity” can include more openly sympathetic behavior. Shifting cultural standards aren’t an attack of masculinity as a concept, even though loud internet armchair activists are obnoxious about it. You sound like the narrator from Money for Nothing who hates how “effeminate” glam rock singers are more successful than him, and the narrator of Money for Nothing is supposed to be a bitter asshole.

See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot, he’s a millionaire

Drag Queen Story Hour Exists: Pearl Clutching Commenced

I think we can all agree that the golden age of anti-SJW content is good and over with. That’s not to say that toxically shallow “progressive” outrage and talking points aren’t still a thing. They very much are. But, a lot like the atheism boom in the early days of YouTube, what can be said about the topic has been said 20 times over, and the prominent voices in the anti-SJW sphere have largely moved on and started producing a larger variety of content. More relevant to this post, though: the anti-SJW sphere, like all the other niche internet spaces before it, became over-saturated. What was once 10 people with quality content eventually turned into 1000 people with middling content. For the anti-SJW crowd, in particular, this over-saturation largely seemed to be caused by an influx of people–both internally and externally–who equated “the intellectual dark web” with conservatism.

Remember when Paul Joseph Watson said that conservatism was the new punk rock? We’re cool! We’re the new party of freedom and self-expression! Yeah . . . As it turns out, a large portion of the anti-SJW crowd disintegrated because it became reactionary and opposed to anything deemed to be “progressive” on principle. That is not counter culture.

According the the website:

Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.

Now, this is very cringely phrased and laden with buzzwords, as can be expected at this point. But once you peel back the veneer of Buzzfeed pandering, this is just a bunch of drag queens reading books to help expose kids to a diverse range of people before they age into being assholes to anyone who’s different. If you look more into the typical DQSH, the institution they’re visiting picks the books they read. They also train the reader beforehand. As someone who’s helped with these kind of guest programs before, I imagine the rules boil down to: no topics or language above PG rating, no politics, no religion, keep physical contact to a minimum, here’s how to handle a fire drill. From what I’ve seen, some story hours use “progressive” books where a prince is saving another prince from the dragon’s keep or some shit, but most of them seem to go for the classics. Dr. Seuss. The Hungry Caterpillar. That kind of thing.

This is apparently the worst thing ever, and horrible indoctrination, and propaganda. Here’s some quotes I pulled from people who got offended. You know, like you do:

  • What is happening to a child s ,childhood,days of innocence,fun ,role playing,politics should be left out until more mature
  • Those kids are too young. You can just teach them not to hate people who are different than them ffs.
  • Disgusting. Can we just start bring gimps into schools now as well then?
  • Normalizing deviancy into our kids’ brains instead of bringing on actual role models that contribute to society and the advancement of the human race
  • Why are they trying to expose children to drag? Adults, fine, let them do as they wish within reason but come on, there’s no way this is going to end well for children.

No, those are not from an angry Christian parenting Facebook page. Those are pulled from various “anti-SJW” sources. Oh joy. I guess I did miss the olden days of taking the piss out of social traditionalists who always wanted you to “think of the children.” I just wish it wasn’t people who I am implicitly associated with, but the world’s not perfect, and I take what I can get. We’re the new counter culture, guys! That’s why we’re pearl clutchin’ harder than Phil Donahue “interviewing” Marylin Manson about how he is toxic and destroying the poor, impressionable minds of the youth, and how he’s an affront to American values.

Marylin Manson is “counter cultural,” by the way. When your behavior is more reminiscent of the old man bitching about “our values,” you do not get to say you’re counter-anything. For the record, I don’t think Drag Queen Story Hour is counter culture either. This is literally two groups who both think they’re “underground” fighting over who is the most nonconformist when, in reality, they’re both fairly mainstream. Being accepting of LGBT people is not rare (at least in the countries where DQSHs take place). Being squicked out by the concept of gender non-conformity is not rare. Neither of you are representing an underdog in this situation.

All of those above quotes pull the classic move of associating anything that isn’t the norm with deviancy. More specifically, they see anything having to do with gender non-conformity or LGBT representation as something inherently sexual and therefore “inappropriate” to expose children to. These are the same people who hear the word “gay” and can only think of butt stuff, or who hear that someone is trans and become fixated on genitals and how having sex with them would work. The idea that there are other things involved besides sex is apparently a difficult one to wrap the mind around. The idea that gender expression is a social act having to do with far more than who you’re fucking at any given moment just boggles the mind!

Using this logic, we should get rid of “[Insert Guest Here] Story Hours” in general, because all of them are, to some extent, based around exposing young kids to people they wouldn’t otherwise see or hear from. Which is propaganda, I guess. My elementary school had soldier story hours where current or former US military members read books. And this was the fucking early 2000s, right after 9/11, when military fervor and rhetoric about how “you need to support our troops, and if you don’t, you hate America!” were at an all time high. Now, if people were consistent, they would have nearly identical complaints about how you need to keep politics away from our kids and stop conditioning them to be accepting of X. Something tells me they’d be alright with that, though. Just call it a hunch. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

As for the DQSH’s goal of having kids see people who “defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish,” that is perfectly fine by me. Child development psychologists refer to pre-school/kindergarten age children as “gender investigators.” This is because children at that age are actively observing the men and women around them to figure out “what boys do” or “what girls do,” so that they can incorporate those “right” behaviors into their own behavior. They do this because children at that age are oftentimes very insecure in their gender identity: They literally think they will stop being a boy if they do something “that girls do” or vice versa.

Their “gender investigations” typically lead to really arbitrary conclusions like, “I saw my mom drink orange juice and my dad drink milk, so orange juice is for just for girls and milk is just for boys.” When I worked with kids that age, I saw it a lot. One kid was flabbergasted by seeing one of the female teachers use a hammer to fix a clock and asked if she was a man “because only boys like my dad fix things.” This arbitrary gendering of literally everything is something most people grow out of by elementary school age, but it is what forms the basis of our understanding of our own gender.

So, with all of that background given as to what we know about developmental psychology and gender roles, I am personally of the opinion that seeing a drag queen would be helpful to a kid that age. These are kids who are in the process of creating a gender role schema in their own minds, a schema regarding how not only they are “supposed to act,” but how everyone else is. Being exposed to someone with very atypical gender presentation who preaches self-expression even if it goes against the norm, seems like it would be genuinely helpful. It’d be helpful for kids who will grow up to not be stereotypically masculine or stereotypically feminine. And it’d be helpful for the kids around them who, fingers crossed, would find a better, more solid reason to mercilessly bully one of their classmates instead of the half-assed, “Sally wears baggy clothes, let’s bully her for being a dyke, haha!”

Do better.

Gillette’s Marketing Team is Drinking Golden Champagne Out of Diamond Flutes Right Now

This is going to be a very brief commentary on the “controversial” Gillette ad campaign called “We Believe: The Best a Man Can Be.”

It calls itself a “short film,” which is insulting. Paying Idris Elba 500k to show up in 30 frames of your razor commercial does not make it a film. That’s not to say commercials can’t be incredibly well done art pieces. They can. But The Best a Man Can Be is art the same way YouTube Rewind is art. Read: It’s not. It is very well-produced, shallow, pandery bullshit though! So it has that going for it.

A while ago, I wrote a post called Rebel Culture Prostitution and Pro-Capitalism Anti-Capitalists, and this new razor commercial is essentially part of that very same trend. I honestly do not understand why anyone is reacting to this, positively or negatively. Can people honestly not tell when something exists for shallow pandering and that the giant faceless company doesn’t actually care about social politics one way or the other as long as they continue selling their totally unrelated product? The Gillette marketing team deserves a collective raise and a golden plaque, because they managed to wring months of free, mainstream advertising out of media and the public when, one month ago, you probably couldn’t name a single razor company off the top of your head. By virtue of writing this post, I am giving them free marketing.

To progressives: One year ago, you fucking hated companies like Gillette because of them charging more for products marketed to women. Their razor prices have not changed since then, by the way. Also, Gillette is a company that works exclusively within the realm of profiting off of strictly gendered insecurities. Hey, women, buy our pink razors to shave your legs and this extra attachment for the armpits and bikini line–you don’t want to be a hairy beast, do you? Hey, men, buy our specialty grooming razors that constantly need to be refilled because women love a man who looks sharp! And I’m supposed to buy that anyone at Gillette gives two fucks about subverting gender norms?

To everyone being butthurt over the video: Gillette cares about toxic masculinity and #MeToo about as much as 1970’s Coco-Cola cared about racial harmony or 1980’s Apple cared about not being an evil technocracy (that’s hilarious in retrospect). Read: It doesn’t, and they didn’t. This is a calculated marketing move designed to associate the Gillette brand with certain ideas and feelings. They had a guy who’s sole purpose in the board meeting was to crunch the numbers and make sure that you being butthurt wasn’t going to effect their bottom line. You throwing away razors that you already bought does nothing. You refusing to buy Gillette razors ever again was leveled out by stupid liberals who now buy Gillette on principle. You making videos about how butthurt you are is giving them more money and more attention and more name recognition, which is what they wanted. Congrats.

As for the contents of the actual video–I actually don’t see anything as all that offensive. Yeah, its self-aggrandizing, overly serious tone is really cringey, but so is every car commercial that uses the exact same formula of “insert: imagery and voice over about something ‘important’ totally unrelated to what we’re peddling.” The thing it reminds me of the most is that one awful Justin Timberlake music video from his horrible last album. Humorless, superficially “woke,” and totally un-self aware.

Some of the stuff just doesn’t make much sense. The bullying segment, for instance, puts a huge spotlight on youth social media bullying, which we now know is something perpetrated by and victimizing mainly tween/teen girls, not boys. I’m fine with pointing out that bullying is wrong, but acting like that specific kind of bullying is a sign of toxic masculinity is kinda losing the plot. It also features “sexist” sit-com antics that haven’t been common tropes in mainstream media since the 1980s, so I’m not sure why that was focused on so much like it’s in any way relevant or up-to-date social commentary.

There’s a quick shot of general spring break-style debauchery, which I would actually agree perpetuates “toxically masculine” behavior. Lonely Island made this social commentary far more effectively and far more entertainingly six years ago, though. A bit late to the party on that one, Gillette. There’s a pretty hilarious shot of a woman thousand-yard staring at the camera like she’s seen war because some guy in a business meeting interrupted her. That is a dick move, and people who monopolize meetings need to learn basic teamwork skills; but that was such a ridiculously overacted and on-the-nose depiction of that issue. Also, the narration itself is very car-commercial-intense in a cringey way, and I actually think the commercial would be much better served if it didn’t have the voice over explaining how we should feel.

Those are really my only issues with it. I actually like the Terry Crews speech they referenced since it’s one of the few instances of anyone acknowledging that men can be sexually harrassed and/or victimized. The context of that speech is him talking about how fathers have a special responsibility to teach their sons not to be creeps since boys model their behavior after the men in their lives in particular. That’s a fine statement to make, and scientifically backed at that.

By the end of the commercial, the “lesson” boils down to” “Don’t approach random women and tell them to do things in a skeevy tone, and if one of your friends does that, tell him he’s being a dick. Teach boys that they shouldn’t automatically resort to violence to get their way. Don’t treat your kids like shit.”

I don’t see much wrong with any of that. My main issue with this commercial is the pretense of Gillette shamelessly marketing itself towards a counterculture it clearly doesn’t have any actual stake in, and people inexplicably falling for it hook-line-and-sinker. The content itself isn’t overly objectionable, though. It’s not like that one horrendous Super Bowl ad whose “moral” was “physically assaulting men and destroying their property is cool because feminism! Now buy our $2000 high heels.” This one is at least more even-keeled.

I’m forced to assume that the people getting up-in-arms about it are reacting to literally the first five seconds where the term “toxic masculinity” is mentioned. I understand that–I too have very, very many problems with how fourth-wave feminists use the term to pathologize maleness as a concept. That being said, though, the majority of specific cases this commercial shows actually would qualify under the genuine definition of “toxic masculinity:” not helping young boys effectively deal with their temper/conflicts because being unnecessarily violent is “just what boys do,” aggressively approaching women who obviously do not want to be approached because brashness is equated with confidence.

I understand the contention caused by mentioning #MeToo. Like I have said multiple times, referencing it is shallow, unanalytical pandering at best. But you can tell that it’s shallow and unanalytical pandering because literally nothing else in the video has anything to do with #MeToo besides some random clip of The Young Turks stating that #MeToo exists and the Terry Crews clip, which is him talking about how he was sexually assaulted. In short: Calm the fuck down. As far as shitty commercials trying to cash in on the hashtag activist crowd goes, this is probably the lease objectionable one. It’s also not some progressive Godsend that shows a company being “woke” either. Pull your heads out of your asses for two seconds, people.




51 Ways to Make the World Less Hostile to Fat People: Another Response

Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh. This exists. Let’s do this.
It is an article written by Dani Beckett, a name that gives me PTSD flashbacks to her first listicle about [Insert Ridiculously Large Number Here] Things X Group Needs to do for Y Group to Make Y Group Feel Better. As you may recall, I didn’t make it through Dani’s last list on account of it being intolerably, mind-numbingly obnoxious and repetitive. This is a request. The things I do for you.

Hey, feeling like you want to be a decent person? Awesome! Let’s talk about fatphobia.

*Weeps uncontrollably*
This list is going to break me a second time, isn’t it?

Yes, I’m talking to you, my non-fat friends. I’m inviting you to educate yourself about the experiences of fat people as we move through the world, and to challenge you to be our ally in creating a utopia of fat acceptance.

I’m not usually a fan of identitarians. But I would be more than welcoming to any gay, black woman in a wheelchair who wants to roll on up and tell Dani Beckett off for co-opting and appropriating the rhetoric used by actual marginalized groups to talk about how hard it is to be fat. Can somebody do this, please?

Sure, maybe you don’t directly ridicule fat people and you really like Melissa McCarthy. That must be enough, right? Wrong. Fatphobia is fundamentally built into our societal structures and sits on a foundation of racism and colonization that’s the perfect base for privileging thinness.


Fatphobia is racist, guys. FATPHOBIA IS RACIST.

Fatphobia is built into our day-to-day lives—the clothes we wear; the healthcare we receive; the TV shows we watch—and it’s going to take all of us unlearning our preconceptions, behaviors, and language to make space for all bodies in our world. Here’s 51 easy ways to start.

Don’t unlearn your preconceptions and find fat women attractive, though. That’s a fetish. And that’s racist. Or fatphobic. Whatever.

1. Learn to cope with the word “fat.” We fatties refer to ourselves in lots of different ways. Some people prefer “plus-size,” “bigger,” “curvy,” or “person of size,” but plenty of us describe ourselves as “fat”—and it’s not self-deprecating.

So . . . someone else describing you as “fat” is a-okay, then? I could have sworn the last list you made had a point about it being unacceptable for people to comment on women’s bodies at all, but I guess commenting on bodies is fine as long as it’s your own?

2. If someone refers to themselves as “fat,” don’t fall over yourself trying to correct them. Instead, ask yourself why you’ve attached a negative value to the word.

There Dani goes again, ignoring social context entirely in order to make grand, sweeping claims about how people should behave. I’m pretty sure most people can read social cues well enough to know if someone is fishing for praise/condolence or if they don’t require the fanfare. I know plenty of people who refer to themselves as “fat” because they want someone to say, “Oh, no you’re not honey.” You can pretend they don’t exist all you want, but they do, and it’s generally easy to tell who they are.

3. Consider that we might actually like our bodies. Yes, really. Imagine that.

Sure. Though I have a hard time believing that anyone who writes a 50+ point list about how the world needs to change to make their life better and give them higher self-esteem is also someone brimming with self-confidence. It kind of gives me the opposite impression, to be honest.

4. Understand that diets don’t work and are the evil child of capitalism and body-shaming culture. Over 95 percent of people who lose weight through dieting put the weight back on within five years. If diets worked, the diet industry would be financially unsustainable.

They do, though? Yeah, the diet plans you see advertised on late-night television don’t tend to work because, as Dani points out, a successful TV-diet is a quickly failing business. It’s an exploitative racket that relies on the failure of its consumer base. But the general concept of regulating the amount of food you eat and the kinds of food you eat to avoid any excess sugar usually works unless you have a metabolism or glandular issue. If you stop drinking soda and only eat desert once a week, you’ll probably lose a few pounds. That’s not a named diet, but it’s technically diet. Are you seriously saying that keeping track of the food you eat has nothing to do with weight loss/gain?

5. Learn about the damage that yo-yo dieting does to the body. Here’s the CliffsNotes version: It does much more damage than happily staying the size you are.

I agree. That’s not an argument against dieting. That’s an argument against shitty dieting, just like the last point was an argument against shitty dieting.

6. STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR DIET. If you want to lose weight, fine, you do you. But understand how damaging it is for us to constantly hear how unwanted and unacceptable fat bodies are.

Low self-esteem? What?! I don’t have low self-esteem! I love myself how I am right now! That’s why I don’t even want to listen to other people trying to get their body into a size they’re happy with, because the size they would be happy with is smaller than me!

Seriously though, for a “movement” all about self-love, the fat acceptance crowd sure does fucking hate it whenever someone feels they would personally be more comfortable if they lost some weight.

7. More specifically, stop talking about your diet at meal times. It can take years to detach the feeling of shame from food, and hearing people talk about “syns,” “cheating,” and “naughty” food while we’re literally trying to eat can be massively triggering.

Once again. Not a fan of identitarians. But if a feminist rape survivor wants to stroll on in and tell Dani off for co-opting language used to talk about traumatic experiences to refer to how hard it is to be fat, I’d welcome that right about now. Also–no self-esteem issues here, folks! That’s why I can’t even listen to someone talk about dieting during a meal without feeling bad!

Note: I recognize the possibility that someone might actually have abuse-related trauma attached to their weight. People with eating disorders, or people who were horribly bullied or abused for their appearance, etc. But Dani Beckett isn’t talking about those cases, she’s just superimposing trauma onto fat people as a whole, as though fat people as a whole can be universally “triggered,” which is not the case.

8. Refrain from giving a fat person unsolicited advice about weight loss. Even if it totally worked for you, even if you think you’re being helpful, even if that person is related to you. STOP THIS.

Sure. Unsolicited advice is generally annoying, no matter what it is about. Though there is a ceiling. Like, if someone is obviously being self-destructive, unsolicited advice is going to be the only advice they get, and that advice is necessary. If Bob is 400 pounds because he eats nothing but McDonald’s fries and Coke floats, give all the unsolicited advice about weight loss you want.

9. Don’t call yourself fat if you’re widely considered to be slim or ‘average’-sized by most people. “I feel so fat today” is not equal to living in a fat body every day.

Once again, again–I’m not an identitarian, but if someone struggling with bi-polar personality disorder wants to show up and tell Dani off for co-opting language used by mental health advocates to talk about how hard it is to be fat, go right on ahead!

I though we were supposed to be comfortable with the word “fat,” Dani?

10. If you want to compliment a fat person on what they’re wearing, avoid saying it’s “flattering.” “Flattering” means, “Your clothes are hiding the bit of your body that society doesn’t like.” Just tell them they look great!

You realize “flattering” can also mean, “Your clothes are showing off the bits of your body that look good,” right? Someone could actually just be complimenting you. Fat people can have attractive features just like anyone else, and those features can be emphasized in a manner that could be described as “flattering.” What’s with this weird glass-half-empty view of compliments? [Insert the 100th joke about how Dani Beckett has poorly concealed low self-esteem here.]

11. Watch out for pity in your response to fat people. We don’t need your pity. We need your acceptance and your action to help other thin people get there, too.

We don’t need pity. That’s why I wrote a 51 point long list about all the things that make our lives hard, in a way that invokes . . . pity. Yeah, this was a poorly thought out argument.

12. Stop fetishizing fat bodies. Don’t expect fat folk to be grateful because you deem them fuckable. We’re people.

If you find [insert demographic feature] unattractive, you are _____phobic/___ist, and brainwashed by the discriminatory standards of beauty beat into you by society. If you find [insert same demographic feature here] attractive, that is a fetish and a sign of you contributing to a ______phobic/_____ist society.

Repeat this point on every SJW list about literally any topic until you perish. It is the one constant of the universe.

13. Don’t desexualize us, either. Fat people are plenty hot and are having great sex, thank you very much. All shapes and sizes of people have sex—there’s nothing you can do about that, and it’s weird and telling if you’re put out by it.

You know what’s also weird and telling, Dani? You being really defensive about the fact that you have sex. That above statement sounded like a closeted gay guy unconvincingly bragging about all the girls he’s totally banged.

Other people’s thought crimes about whether or not you have a sex life shouldn’t bother you. Their opinion about your sex life should be just as irrelevant as your opinion of theirs. This is not Dani Beckett asking for acceptance and for people to stop judging her. She just wants them to stop judging her negatively. Positive judgement about how she must be totally having great sex all the time is perfectly fine, apparently.

14. Understand that fat women get harassed and assaulted, too. Even if fat bodies don’t do it for you, remember that sexual assault is about power, not attraction. The fear of being ridiculed or disbelieved for speaking out about assault is often heightened for fat women.

Yeah, I’m gonna need a better citation than an unreferenced article from a failing Jezebel-style feminist rag if you’re going to make sweeping factual claims about rape statistics. I’m not saying this isn’t true. But you’re not doing a great job at getting that truth across, if that’s the case.

15. Remember that eating disorders affect fat people, too.

Isn’t that the stereotype? Whatever.

I highly doubt Dani Beckett’s screed against the concept of dieting and aversion towards the very notion of someone wanting to lose weight for any reason makes her the best person to go to if you have an eating disorder. See a therapist, kids, don’t go to Vice.

16. Understand that “fat” and “unhealthy” are not the same thing.

Sure. “Skinny” and “healthy” aren’t the same thing either. Can you stop condescendingly talking down to me like I’m a bad person who needs to be taught about the Good Book now?

17. Stop commenting on others’ weight under the guise of “concern” about their medical health. Are you my doctor? No? Your opinion isn’t necessary here.

Why does Dani Beckett hate context? Seriously. If someone is having health problems that have been very clearly linked to being overweight, commenting on that isn’t operating under the guise of concern. It’s actual concern, Dani. People can actually be nice and well-intentioned some of the time, you know? If you’re having knee problems and you’re 300 pounds, your friend being concerned that your weight is adversely affecting your knees isn’t trolling you to make you feel bad.

Remember one point ago when you said that “unhealthy” isn’t the same thing as “fat”? Well, they’re also capable of overlapping. Shock of all shocks. Totally excluding the influence of weight as it intersects with overall physical health is goddamn stupid. And these “Fat Acceptance” people know it.

18. Never ever, ever, ever pressure your partner to lose weight. Believing in bodily autonomy for your partner extends to supporting them in the choices they make about their body, shape, and size.

Since when did “bodily autonomy” mean never commenting on someone’s physical appearance ever? Telling your boyfriend that he might want to hit the gym isn’t the same thing as spiking his morning coffee with laxatives. This is, once again, contextual, and Dani Beckett is totally discounting the idea that a couple can sit down and have a genuine, welcomed conversation about whether one or both of them should lose weight. That doesn’t happen, I guess. It’s just all abusive patriarchal husbands telling their wives and gay partners to lose weight because they look like a fat cow.

19. If you care that much about what other people eat, donate your time and money to organizations that campaign for affordable, nutritional food in poor communities.

I thought eating nutritional food had nothing to do with weight and didn’t work?

This point is fine. One of the cyclical issues of poverty is lack of access to healthy food stuffs and then over reliance on expensive, debt-inducing reactive medical intervention for health problems that a shitty diet contributed greatly to. We’re one for nineteen, folks!

20. Critically examine the information you’re given about fatness. Investigate who is sharing the material and question what they might have to gain from it.

Can I critically examine the information I’m given about “body acceptance” too?

21. Erase the words “obesity epidemic” from your vocabulary. Demonization of fat bodies is a classic scapegoating tool employed by governments. When they talk about the “obesity epidemic,” they’re using coded language to get you to blame systematic societal problems (poverty, crime, climate change) on poor communities and communities of color. You’re smarter than that.

Well, that sentence made me barf in my mouth a little bit. It’s referred to as an obesity epidemic because we’re seeing a huge influx in obesity-related health issues and early, preventable deaths, Dani. Referring to it that way is how we’re trying to fix that whole “systemic poverty and lack of healthy resources” thing you brought up two fucking points ago. This is like saying the “AIDS epidemic” was called that because we hated the gays and not because people were dying disproportionately.

22. Learn about how the medical community treats fat bodies. As one example of very many, fat people are routinely denied kidney transplants unless they lose weight, even though they experience the same level of success with a donor kidneys as thin people do. We are consistently disbelieved and misdiagnosed because doctors cannot see past our fatness. We are often denied health insurance.

Well, I think universal health care should be a thing, so the general idea of someone being denied insurance is one I disagree with fundamentally. That being said, in our current system, people are denied insurance if they are a liability. People who smoke are denied insurance too, based on the assumption that they’re ultimately going to cost more to cover than they put in–you don’t see smokers making a group comparing their trials and tribulations to the fucking Civil Rights movement, though. If you want to talk about how fucked up the medical system is and how often it denies people care for bottom-line profits, go right on ahead. But this continued insistence that doctors have no reason to attach any poor health assumptions onto any fat person ever is getting you NOWHERE.

Worse, this continued insistence that eating healthy and exercising are exploitative myths created by racist, sexists colonialists is one of the things making universal health care in the United States an impossible fucking dream. Universal health care only works if you have a citizenry that does what it can to be proactive and negate the need for medical intervention. A country full of people with high blood pressure, poor circulation, and cholesterol-coated hearts going around insisting that “losing weight  is a scam and anyone telling them to go jogging occasionally and eat healthier is discriminating against them” is not a country where universal health care works. Fuck you, Dani Beckett, for being a part of the problem is the point I’m making here.

23. While you’re at it, read up on how BMI has been widely debunked as an inaccurate and misleading measure for health.

God, I hate this argument. Because it’s technically right, and nothing stokes the unnecessary victim complex of an SJW more than technically being right. The Body Mass Index is a very flawed measurement of health because it attempts to apply a hyper-generalized universality to something that’s affected by multiple factors. All the BMI takes into account is height and weight, and it doesn’t distinguish between different kinds of weight or different body types.

If you’re someone who has packed on a lot of muscle, the BMI would list you as “overweight.” If you’re someone with an ectomorph body type (ie, naturally very tall and thin), the BMI would list you as being “underweight” even if you have a healthy weight distribution for your body type. The BMI is also pretty bad at letting anyone know what health problems a person who is “overweight” actually has because that depends, once again, on how body fat is actually distributed. A woman with a pear-shaped frame and wide hips isn’t going to have very many health problems if her extra fat is mainly in the thigh-area because her body type can handle that. Someone with an A-frame body type carrying a lot of extra weight in the stomach, though, is going to have issues. This may be giving Dani a little too much credit, though, seeing as how most people, regardless of base body type, carry excess fat in their lower abdomen, i.e., the worst place for it in terms of health risks.

So, sure, the BMI isn’t that great of a measurement. The moral of that story isn’t, “See, being fat is totally okay and anyone who says it causes health problems is a liar!” The moral of the story is that “too much body fat” and what the averse affects of that will be varies due to a myriad of factors that the BMI doesn’t address.

24. If you are a doctor, stop prescribing weight loss as a remedy. Got depression? Try losing some weight. Heartburn? Go on a diet. Broken toe? Maybe cut down on the takeout. Come on—this is ridiculous. Do your job better.

It’s not the doctor’s job to prevent you from being unhealthy, Dani.

A.) Exercise actually does help depression for many people. Physical activity leads to a release of neurochemicals that would otherwise be blocked off. Exercising releases dopamine, for instance. And if you’re a depressed person not getting enough dopamine from your normal interactions, using that alternate channel of physical activity can be a way of “tricking” your brain into releasing dopamine by using a different stimuli/trigger that isn’t affected by depression. Fuck you for utterly dismissing an actually helpful technique for contended with depression because it makes you insecure.

B.) Heartburn is literally caused by eating certain foods/having a low tolerance for certain foods. A doctor telling you to not eat those certain foods if you don’t want heartburn isn’t “fat shaming” you.
C.) Bones break when too much pressure is put on them. Bones become brittle and break more easily if pressure is put on them consistently. Having excess body fat puts consistent pressure on the bones. This may not apply to your toe breaking example specifically, but dismissing this outright is fucking idiotic. Again.

25. Learn to criticize people without referencing their weight. There are enough things to criticize Trump for without bringing his body into it. Making jokes about his weight doesn’t hurt him—it hurts the nice, everyday fat person just trying to get on with their life.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT. A stereotypical internet liberal just said we shouldn’t criticize Donald Trump about something.

What a racist. I bet she hates immigrants.

26. Make sure your allyship extends to all fat people, not just small fat folks, not just white fat folks, and not just able-bodied fat folks.

I’m really done with this list. Why do fat people need an Oppression Olympics too?


27. Know that skinny-shaming is not a thing. Ridiculing someone for being “too” slim is unacceptable, but it comes from a very different place than fatphobia. Thinness is seen as desirable by society and people, particularly women, are attacked only when their size begins to shine a light on the toxic fetishization of thinness. Fat people, however, are shamed for any deviation from the “acceptable” size and, more often than not, held in contempt for being that size. Concern trolling exists in the lives of thin people too, but discrimination against fat people is systematic and pervasive and damaging to entire communities.

Good to know that fat people have their own version of “black people can’t be racist.” Go tell the plus-size model that dropped a few sizes and who was subsequently attacked for it by “fat acceptance” activists that skinny shaming doesn’t exists. Is “Real Women Have Curves” not skinny shaming? Double standards get you nowhere. Either bodyshaming is universally wrong, or it’s not. You can’t talk about it like it’s a systematic issue then deny the impact is has on everyone who isn’t you.

28. Understand the link between capitalism and fatphobia. For instance, the companies that profit from the hard marketing of indulgent food at Christmas are often the same ones selling diet products in the New Year.

Companies exist to make money?! WHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAA. Hey, Dani, Dove markets itself as being all about body positivity even though the same company that owns Dove sells makeup. I hope you weren’t one of the people fawning all over that Body Acceptance campaign.

29. Sometimes, you’re going to sit next to a fat person on a plane. You’ll cope. I can guarantee that person is far more physically uncomfortable than you are.

I thought people above a certain weight had to buy two seats to avoid the whole “suffocating the person sitting next to you” problem. Also, way to be a total asshole about someone being uncomfortable. It’s not my fault that having some stranger’s love handles roll onto my lap is unappealing. I have social anxiety. I don’t like being touched by skinny people. Way to be ableist in your assumptions that everyone can cope with that, Dani.

30. Find out about the physical pain endured by not only fat people on planes, but on rollercoasters, in theater seats, on massage tables, and other size-specific areas. Then, contact your airline to ask them why they scrimp on their seat sizes. Leave positive TripAdvisor reviews for restaurants with sturdy chairs. Encourage your office manager to purchase accessible seats for your workplace (no arm rests, please). We need you to be doing this labor, too.

HOLD UP. Rollercoasters?! You realize those seats are the size they are because people would fall out of them and die if they weren’t, right? That is literally the least logical thing to insist should be made for fat people. Also, all of those trials and tribulations are also faced by unusually tall people, and unusually short people. Guys also would like a little more seating space to make room for their physical attributes, but you called that man-spreading, by the way. So clearly you don’t care about providing people with the space they need for all parties. There’s a reason the ADA laughed “fat acceptance” people out of the fucking building. “Fat” is not a disability. It is not something that people should be legally required to accommodate for.

31. Also, make sure your guest towels are the biggest size they have in the shop. Don’t make me scoot around your house in a towel that leaves me half naked.

It is not my fucking job to cater to you. It is my house. You are providing an example where you go to someone else’s house and tell them what to do, and you’re painting yourself as the non-annoying person in that situation. How demanding are you? I don’t go to your house and judge your linens.

33. Learn about the pay gap and employment bias faced by fat people. Yes, this is a very real thing.

If this lady proposes affirmative action for fat people, I am going to quit. There’s not even going to be an outro. I’ll just be done.

34. Stop assuming that fat people are lazy. Catch yourself when that bias creeps into your mind.

People can assume whatever they want. This list is nothing but Dani Beckett making assumptions about other people and what they think and do. It’s only fair that you allow them that same capacity.

35. Put your money into art that showcases fat people as romantic leads. Hamilton in London, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and the upcoming remake of Little Shop of Horrors have managed it, and many more should take their lead—and be supported by audiences when they do.

Are we getting into yet another round of “Dani Beckett looks down her nose at me and tells me what art I am and am not allowed to like”?


Kill me.

36. Call out your favorite authors when they only write about fat characters as a shortcut to make you dislike them. (I’m looking at you, J.K. Rowling.)

But . . . there are fat characters in Harry Potter who you’re supposed to like as well. What, Dudley and all the fat jokes surrounding him exist, so I’m just supposed to forget that characters like Neville, Slughorn, Professor Sprout, and Hagrid are described as overweight and are likable? What about the fact that J. K. Rowling also uses thinness as an indication that you’re not supposed to like someone (Aunt Petunia, Snape, Malfoy, fucking Voldemort)? I’ve focused on this point way too long.

37. Call out your favorite comedian when they resort to fatphobic jokes.


38. And actors wearing fat suits for comedy effect? Absolutely nope.

Well, I guess I agree that this is shitty comedy. Way to go.

39. Read critical thinking about fatness by fat writers: Cat PauséKivan BayRoxane GaySofie Hagen. These people, and loads more, do great work pulling apart the common misconceptions about fatness. They’re not just doing that work for fat folks. Thin people need to read it, too.

There is nothing I would want to do less than sit down and take time out of my life to read a pop sociology book about fatness. I would rather do math homework.

Note: You are not a welcoming and accepting movement when you require your members and allies to have done high-brow, esoteric academic readings before associating with you. This point is the epitome of the snooty, college-educated liberal elitist stereotype.

40. Fund critical analysis through Patreon, crowdfunding sites, and direct donations to research institutes. There’s hardly any cash in fat research…I wonder why.

They’re asking for money. What a surprise.

41. Never forget that fatphobia has its roots in racism and white supremacy. In the early 1800s, colonialist “scientists” used fatness as one of the markers for social hierarchies, with fatness as one of the “uncivilized” characteristics attributed to the Black and indigenous people placed at the bottom of this scale.

Well, Dani Beckett is at least proudly continuing the grand tradition of privileged, white armchair anthropologists being problematic as fuck.

42. If you have children, be cognizant of how you talk about food around them. Many women, in particular, cite comments from their mothers as instigating factors in their shame around food. Teach your kids that their, and others’, bodies aren’t something to apologize for.

Don’t be an insecure housewife who’s constant onslaught of passive aggression turns my daughter into an anorexic. Got it. “Stop projecting your own ideas and insecurities onto your children” is good advice, but I highly doubt that an ideologue like Dani consistently applies this rule. Her daughter’s gonna be a feminist, doncha know?

43. Understand that there are different kinds of fat bodies. Not all fat people have hourglass figures or carry their weight in societally acceptable places.

And those different kinds of fat bodies are prime pickin’ for the Fat Oppression Olympics. Don’t be skinny-fat, ladies! The importance of your opinion in this movement is directly related to the size of your waistline! Size larges get to the back of the fucking line. XXX-large is where it’s at!

44. Listen to the stories of fat people. We will experience problems in our daily lives that you won’t know anything about. Some of this may sound alien or unlikely to you, but believe these stories and let them inform how you treat people.

Nothing says “take me seriously” like co-opting language used when we talk about rape.

45. And telling us, “Well you could just lose weight” is not ok. Heard of victim blaming? Yeah, this is it.

Nothing says “take me seriously” like co-opting language used when we talk about rape: Part II, Electric Bugaloo.

46. Call out your friends, family members, and co-workers when they fat-shame people in front of you. Remember that your silence gives them permission to keep doing this.

Fat-shaming isn’t okay for the same reason that bullying and generally being an asshole are not okay. I’d be inclined to agree with this point if it weren’t for the fact that it has been made very clear that any mention of weight or weight loss whatsoever, regardless of context, is considered “fat shaming,” apparently.

47. Don’t expect every fat person to respond the same way to harassment. Fat positivity is complex. It involves years of undoing internalized shame and, often, the misogyny, racism, classism, and ableism that’s linked to that, too. Some days, your fat friend will be angry and ready to take on the world, other days, she’ll feel shit and sad about it.

I like how it’s “fat positivity” now. “Body positivity” included those skinny bitches, and we can’t have that. Dani Beckett is the last person you want to go to for how not to be classist or ableist, by the way. This list, combined with her previous entry in the Vice listicle genre, are more than enough proof to me that she is incredibly socioeconomically elitist and incredibly insensitive towards disabilities, particularly of the mental/emotional health variety. Also the fact that she’s so ready–right out of the gate–to co-opt language used by rape victims and people struggling with systemic racism gives me the impression that she’s not much of a source of wisdom when it comes to misogyny or racism either.

48. Don’t leave it to fat folk to call out fat-shaming—the emotional labor of defending yourself is exhausting. We need you to also send the message that it’s unacceptable.

It is not other people’s job to make you feel good. If you expect the world to shoulder the burden of your insecurities for you, you are going to be sorely disappointed.

49. Report fatphobia on online platforms. More of us need to do this if we want Facebook and Twitter to take it seriously.

Yes. Do encourage more incompetent community policing from the already stunningly incompetent social media platforms. There’s no way that can go wrong!

50. Okay, sometimes you’re going to accidentally assume that someone is pregnant. You probably shouldn’t go around pointing out (or, fucking hell, touching) every pregnant belly you see, but, once in a while, you might mistakenly offer your seat to someone who isn’t pregnant, and is just carrying weight on their stomach. There’s no perfect way to respond to this, but please remember that, in this situation, your feelings do not matter. Take your lead from the person you’ve affected, and don’t make it their job to make you feel better on top of their having to process it to begin with.

This happened to one of my friends once. She thought it was funny. Are we allowed to think these kinds of situations are funny, Dani, or must we all have the same cynical, the-world-is-out-to-get-me, perpetually indignant reaction that you seem to have?

51. And lastly, never forget that if you’re not advocating for fat women and non-binary people, then your feminism isn’t intersectional. Because—and say it with me now: Fat-shaming and diet culture are tools of the patriarchy!


Jordan Peterson and the Lollipop Guild

If that is not already the name for some random French-Canadian indie rock band, then that is a shame. Anyway, onto the actual content.

Note: I’ve been trying to suss out what I would say in this piece for quite a while. Though it may look like I’m jumping on the bandwagon of anti-Jordan Peterson content–and, in a way, I am–just know that this post has been sitting in my archives, revised and edited and added to for nearly four months at this point. I simply required a few other hot takes to help me organize my own thoughts, and it just so happens that those hot takes are comin’ at ya now.

You have TJ Kirk who was prompted into writing a book on the subject of disagreeing with Peterson. Hugo and Jake from the Bible Reloaded have discussed Peterson’s questionable track record with transgender pronouns and Bill C16. Matt Dillahunty had a debate with Peterson about religion. And, most interestingly, one of Peterson’s colleagues recently wrote a lengthy article detailing why he thinks Peterson is falling into a dangerous position with his popularity.

Now, I don’t agree with every point made in every one of these examples. Do you trust that I can generally agree with something without finding it 100% perfect? Good.

Those above examples tackle the Jordan Peterson issue from multiple viewpoints. I highly recommend all of them. As you may remember, I do have some fondness for Peterson. I think he was the public figure who best elucidated why the commentary surrounding the American presidential election was such an ethically reprehensible shit show. I still think that. I think his academic work on the rise of authortarianism is very interesting. I don’t absolutely hate the guy. Part of the issue is that his rabid fanboys think I do because I don’t see every single word that falls out of the man’s face as a gospel Truth of the highest order. Had he remained a fringe figure well-like by certain circles on YouTube, I doubt I’d have much of a problem with him. But his shining star has burned bright enough to wear holes through the facade of intellectual excellence he’s been selling.

I am an atheist who did not take very kindly to Peterson pulling the 2004 Christian apologist move of saying, “Atheists who don’t run around acting like psychopaths are actually just Christians, they’re just stupid and confused so they won’t admit it.” I’m also technically a nihilist, so I don’t think his fears of nihilism are founded on much besides cherry-picked philosophical navel gazing. And though the “We already use ‘they’ as a singular pronoun in this one linguistic context totally unrelated to the context you are asking us to use it in now, so checkmate!” argument is stupid as fuck, there is something to be said for flexible language use and the practical purpose of pronouns that Jordan Peterson seems not to want to address.

That’s been talked about, though. For my part, I’m going to point out something that I haven’t seen many people touch on: Peterson’s intellectual influences that he quotes all the time and pulls examples from all the time and espouses the validity of all the time . . . are kind of stupid. And by that, I mean Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud are hacks.

Jordan Peterson confuses me very, very much in this regard. He’s a clinical psychologist who, from what I can see, does generally good work and conducts acceptable and scientifically valid research. His seeming obsession with Freud and Carl Jung as two of the frequently-referenced pillars for his sociopolitical beliefs, then, is the most paradoxical thing I’ve come across in quite some time. I’m not going to pretend to be some expert on the subject, but I do know quite a lot about both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Hopefully, after going into their work more, you can see why it baffles me so much to see a modern-day clinical psychologist quoting Freud and Jung like they’re authorities on anything, let alone men whose advice is warranting of building an entirely new conception of Truth around.

Being important and interesting historical figures in the field is not the same thing as being legitimate sources to choose from in regards to psychological or philosophical argumentation. Peterson is an intelligent man, and he’s very good at making what he says sound intelligent even when it’s really not; and his constant invoking of Freudian and Jungian theories just comes across to me as a smart person taking advantage of the fact that most people don’t know enough about the topics he’s discussing to realize he’s making no sense and quoting people who no one takes seriously outside of philosophical circles.

I want to make that very, very fucking clear, because Peterson never has: Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are not guys you go to for psychology. Their ideas are seen as very interesting philosophical frameworks. As an anecdote: I’ve done most of my readings from Carl Jung under the context of studying classical mythology. I studied Freud in psychology courses as a Significant Figure (TM), not as someone who was right about things. Peterson using his authority to lift his pet-thinkers up as psychological figures to people who don’t know any better annoys me to no end.

Let’s start with Sigmund Freud. He’s a very important guy. He is the founder of psychoanalysis, ie, trying to address mental and behavioral problems through dialogue between therapist and patient that uncovers the psychological underpinnings of one’s actions. For some context, before Freud came along with his (genuinely revolutionary for the time) idea that maybe having conversations about mental states would help mental health, people were still doing things like determining someone’s psychological traits by looking at skull shape.

Freud is one of those founding figures of psychology who–like many founding figures in many fields–was in the right ballpark . . . but not much else. The very generalized, very basic ideas that he pioneered are correct, but acting like he was in any way accurate beyond that point is getting into “Intentionally Misleading” territory. The main issue with most of Freud’s more detailed theories is that they are conveniently unfalisfiable.

“You do X now because Y happened when you were a kid, and you just don’t remember,” or “You do X because you subconsciously want to do Y, and it’s so subconsious that not even you know it.” There’s not much you can do with either of those statements, and that’s what Freud-style psychoanlaysis is. If that seems familiar, it’s because Jordan Peterson uses the same method of unfalsifiable psychoanalysis in his own speeches and claims constantly.

Look no further than his “Feminists who defend Islam are secretly yearning to be brutally dominated by a man.” comment. That’s a very nice example because it also ties perfectly into Freud’s insistence that most anxieties, neuroses, and eccentricities can be tracked back to sexual repression or being stunted during a (totally not accurate to actual human development) stage of psycho-sexual development as a child.

Peterson also takes very generously from Freud’s penis envy idea — that “young girls experience anxiety upon realization that they do not have a penis . . . that is a defining moment in the development of their female sexuality and gender identity.” While that may have been an accurate depiction of the 19th century aristocratic woman’s plight of living in a genuinely patriarchal society that meant her lack of a dick limited her social mobility, it’s been rightfully criticized as a not-at-all-accurate depiction of generalized female psychological development. Peterson’s own views on the importance of well-defined gender roles/societal responsibilities and the ultimate societal harms of androgyny/less defined gendered behavior (up to and including trans people and their pronouns) fits well within the boundaries set up by Freud; Children learn to not only notice the differences between the sexes but see similarity to the other sex as something anxiety inducing. A boy’s realization that girl’s genitals are different is referred to as “castration anxiety” for crying out loud.

If you want more examples of Peterson ripping off Freud’s technique of ascribing motivations where he logically cannot know them, I will gladly send them to you.

Then there’s Carl Jung and his most frequently referenced theory about collective unconscious. AKA the reason Jordan Peterson thinks that everyone with morals is religious and that art cannot exist without religion. To put it very simply: the collective unconscious refers to psychological structures or ideas that are shared among all people (with the more wishy washy point that they have a collective meaning and understanding cross-culturally and between individuals, not just a collective undefined presence in our psyche. Not all Jungian subscribers believe this.). More contentious still is the idea that those structures are ones we as humanity find extremely significant in informing our moral frameworks. That, I believe, is what Peterson is arguing for. This is one of the topics that he’s notoriously vague and word salad-y about.

The key word here is Archetype. A universal symbol that we all have some inherent understanding and connection to the symbolism of. People have used to to explain why most known religions oftentimes have the same character archetypes and stories (the Savior, the Wise Man, the Great Mother, the Great Flood, etc.).

I don’t think I have to go into why this isn’t scientific. This is philosophy if we’ve ever seen it. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that Peterson uses it as fuel for his social commentary on psychological issues. I don’t even get how. He models a huge chunk of his rhetoric after Freud, who was a proponent of the idea that everyone’s unconscious mind and anxiety had some very individualized work put into it; but in the same breath he’ll mention Jung, whose entire shtick was that everyone’s unconscious mind is tapped into this collective where we all get our understanding of human morals and where deviation from those collective archetypal ideas is what causes anxiety. I’m not saying you can’t like both, Jordan, but you have to be better at explaining it, because right now I’m at an utter loss for how you can hold these two theories of where anxiety comes from at once.


That discrepancy doesn’t even touch upon his tendency to use the collective conscious to uplift socially traditionalist Christianity as the inexplicable go-to for social order and moral rightness. This confuses me because Jung makes it clear that religions are not the source of these moral archetypes, just a very salient expression of them that happen to hold the social zeitgeist. Peterson himself shows this very clearly with the high regard in which he holds the Pinocchio story and the archetypes found within it. Apparently, Jordan Peterson can find Pinocchio to be morally informative and beautiful, but if an atheist says they get their morals from somewhere other than a religion, they’re just lying or misinformed. Now, if he explained that as “Oh, the moral lessons you like come from the same collective unconscious as religious parables that teach similar moral lessons,” he’d at least be consistent. But he has yet to explicate it that way.

He also seems to have missed Jung’s point about religions not being the only expression of the collective unconscious and that religious stories having those archetypes does not therefore mean that those archetypes are owned by religion or are religious in nature, inherently. This is where I assume his comments about us not having any art without religion come from. I assume. The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio being like an angel does not mean Pinocchio was really a Christian story this whole time. It just means that angels and the Blue Fairy are separate expressions of the same archetype, one in  a religion and one in a fairy tale. That’s the entire point of the collective unconscious as an idea, to show that these values exist within humanity universally.

And Jordan Peterson has somehow managed to obsess over that and yet turn it into the utter antithesis of what it  initially was at the same time. He’s somehow managed to take an already questionable philosophical idea that tried to level the playing field for all stories, religious or otherwise, and turn it into a pitch about how the religion he likes the most should be the one we all look to for moral guidance. What?!

I’m getting worked up. I’m done. Read the article I linked to. It’s really interesting. Good night.

100 Easy Ways to Make Women’s Lives More Bearable: Another Response

Oh, God. This article exists. Why? I don’t understand who this is for. The 100 Things White People Can Do To Kiss POCs’ Collective Ass (But Not Too Much, Because Then It’s Weird) list has a companion piece, guys! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that fun? Now there’s a list for self-hating men to jerk off to, not just self-hating white people. It’s written by Dani Beckett, whose ideal man is one who walks around shirtless and attractive, bringing her tea in bed, according to the image accompanying this list. Because when you have the title 100 Easy Ways to Make Women’s Lives More Bearable, double standards about sexual objectification are bound to happen, apparently.

A few years ago I started compiling a list of easy actions that men can take to meaningfully support gender equality. Every year, I would post it on social media. Slowly, other women started contributing suggestions. So the list grew. And grew. It will likely never stop growing.

Keep the “meaningfully support gender equality” point in mind, guys. Make sure to keep a tally of things that do that as opposed to having minor, hyper-specific complaints about first-world problems. I’m also forced to question the validity of your victimization when a 100-point list of what men need to do for you to make you happy and fulfilled is apparently not even scratching the surface of Good Enough. The problem might be with you, honey. Just saying.

To the men reading: You may already do some of these things, and others you may not be in the position to do. But a good place to start is by, at the very least, reading the list through—in its entirety. And remember: These apply all year, not just during the annual 24 hours dedicated to half of the planet’s population.

How much you want to bet Ms. Dani Beckett gives no shits about International Men’s Day?

Edit: I tried treating this with the same point-by-point response to all 100 as I did the companion piece, but this one just broke me, guys. She apparently boiled this list down from multiple hundreds of suggestions, and it still manages to be repetitive, rambling drivel that couldn’t make a clear point to save its life. I couldn’t do it. It’s been days since I’ve started trying to write this and I’m still not done. Screw it. I’m picking the ones I had the patience and will power to answer and leaving the other ones on the cutting room floor here. I’m a failure, I know.

1. Before explaining something to a woman, ask yourself if she might already understand. She may know more about it than you do.

So . . . we’re starting off with man-splaining, huh? This is point numero uno. Okay.

I was going to bet money that at least 80% of the list is going to be the exact kind of patronizing condescension that Beckett accuses the entirety of men-kind of being so guilty for, but that’s just a rigged game. I wouldn’t do that to you.

2. Related: Never, ever try to explain feminism to a woman.

What if it’s a male feminist trying to explain feminism to a woman who is a part of the 70+% of women in Western countries who don’t consider themselves feminists? I suppose it’s only fitting that we get the woman=feminist point out of the way early. While we’re on the topic of feminism, I like how your movement that’s all about equality and eliminating gendered double standards apparently forbids men from being able to explain it to the uninitiated.

3. Trans women are women. Repeat that until you perish.

That was worded in a really needlessly aggressive way. Being a dick is not how you encourage people to to not be dicks.

And, yes, if someone decides to take on the social identity and appearance of a woman because it’s conducive toward their mental health to do so, fine. There are still plenty of people in the world–men and women–who think that’s it’s some sign of moral and intellectual fortitude to tell other people how to present themselves to the world. But engaging in unprovoked aggression towards someone who may already fucking agree with you is not helpful, and it certainly doesn’t make those aforementioned “red pilled” people want to listen to you and honestly consider your points. If you don’t treat them with basic levels of courtesy, there’s no reason for them to extend that to you.


It is pretty hard when you’ve got people making up pronouns they want to be called. There are parts of human language that are fixed grammatical features (like pronouns) and parts that are flexible (vocabulary). Asking people to change the way they use fixed grammatical words actually is difficult, especially when you have people wanting to be called “they,” a fixed grammatical form that is typically only used to refer to a single person when it’s an unidentified single party, not a specific and named one.

I don’t want to make it seem like we’ve got a shit ton of people running around wanting to be called “xir”; The pronoun debate is mainly about using the preferred he/she pronoun of a trans person. And, sure, if someone wants to be called “Tom,” I’m not going to insist on calling them “Thomas” just to lord my own superior understanding of properness over them. The same goes for pronouns. Once again, though, you beating people over the head with this REPEK ME hammer and implying that they’re coming from a place of hate for not immediately toeing the line is not helping your fucking cause.

5. Remember that fat women exist and aren’t all trying to get thin. Treat them with respect.

I’m sure we all known fat women exist. It’s kinda hard to miss them. Ba dum CHING. I can make that joke because I’m a size 12.

6. In fact, just never comment on a woman’s body.

I’ll make sure to tell my loving, long-term monogamous boyfriend that he can stop telling me he thinks I’m hot. It’s not like I appreciated that or anything.

7. Be kind to women in customer service positions. Tip them extra. (But not in a creepy way.)

Okay, this is gonna seem like a tangent, but it needs to be addressed at this point. Can we please talk about how classist these people are? The companion piece to this article had a very consistent overtone of economic elitism wherein it treated “white people” as interchangeable with “upper middle class to wealthy members of of urbanite intelligentsia that donate money and go to culture clubs and sit in on panels,” with the one time it even acknowledged poor white people as a thing being to overtly and unashamedly say it didn’t care about them or their issues.

Then you have this article, telling people to give preferential treatment to the help if they happen to be women. Because being the help is apparently a peachy keen, high-paying gig where people treat you with respect and dignity as long as you’re a man working that job. It’s not like working in customer service sucks for everyone, but I’m sure that guy making $8.50 an hour to wait on you and your entitled friends really appreciates you lording your moral do-goodingness over him by paying him less to compensate for the privileges he has over you.

8. Trust women. When they teach you something, don’t feel the need to go and check for yourself. And especially do not Google it in front of them.

Are women just incapable of being incorrect now? If someone tells me something that I think is questionable, I’m going to Google it in front of them. It’s the 21st fucking century. I’ll do what I want. My group of friends is me and four guys; we fact check each other all the time. In our conversation about early 2000s anime, they can apparently question each other’s knowledge all day, but everything I say just has to be taken wholesale. If I say the Death Note anime came out in 2003, my friend isn’t allowed to say, “I don’t think it came out that early. You might be thinking of the manga. I’ll check,” because he has a dick. You’re essentially applying a double standard to any co-ed conversations. Way to go.

9. Don’t maintain a double standard for… anything, ever.



Men have external genitalia. That’s certainly a better excuse to take up slightly more room on the subway than the perpetual old-lady-taking-up-three-seats-with-her-inexplicable-number-of-purses, or teenager-who-stretches-out-across-entire-benches-because-fuck-you.

11. Trying to describe a woman positively? Say she’s “talented,” “clever,” or “funny.” Not “gorgeous,” “sweet,” or “cute.”

What if she isn’t talented, clever, or funny? What then? What if she’s Caroline from Roses, who is mighty fine but not much else? Are you under the impression that some random man off the street is going to be complimented for personality traits he doesn’t have?

The thing is, I would actually agree with you if you didn’t constantly engage in this ridiculous implication that women should be complimented for positive traits that they don’t even have just because it’s not politically correct to acknowledge their appearance or femininity in any way. The “women are, men do” social standard wherein men are complimented on accomplishments (like being funny or clever) and women are complimented on internal characteristics (like being pretty or sweet), actually is a thing that actually does contribute to some arbitrary gender norms. This is my issue with internet feminists: Every time you have something resembling a point, you ruin it.

12. Examine your language when talking about women. Get rid of “irrational,” “dramatic,” “bossy,” and “badgering” immediately.

What if they are irrational, dramatic, bossy, or badgering? You are certainly all of these things, Dani Beckett. At least according to this list. Alex Jones is irrational. Kanye West is dramatic. Stanley Kubrik is bossy. Donald Trump is badgering. These are words that describe behaviors. You are telling people to not use words to describe things that those words describe.

13. Don’t think to yourself, I describe men like that too. A) You probably don’t. B) If you do, it’s to criticize them for acting like a woman.

Wow, I didn’t know Danni Beckett was a fucking mindreader. That’s impressive! I like how you have a built-in response to the inevitable criticism of that last point. And even in your forward-thinkingness, the best you could come up with is “you only use those words to deride people for being too womanly.” That’s sad.

14. Do you love “fiery” Latina women? “Strong” Black women? “Mysterious” Asian women? Stop. Pick up a book on decolonial feminism. Read.

I’m not sure about the third one, but the first two are stereotypes actively perpetuated by left wing people. Why don’t you stop it?

15. Stop calling women “feisty.” We don’t need a special lady word for “has an opinion.”

That’s not what “feisty” means. Even in it’s colloquial usage, it’s not a “womanly” thing, it’s a word used to describe someone/something that is unexpectedly intense or energetic. A cute dog that that barks and snaps at people is called “feisty.” An adorable little kid who mouths off to authority figures is called “feisty.” If you’re a 5’2″ blonde girl with resting nice face, you might be described as “feisty” if it turns out you’re really sarcastic and caustic in conversation. No one’s looking at Sheryl Sandberg or Ronda Rousey or Michelle Obama and calling them “feisty,” because they all have an overtly intense look and demeanor about them already. You are once again telling people to just stop using words that mean what they mean.


18. Examine the way you talk about women you’re attracted to. Fat women, old women, queer, trans, and powerful women are not your “guilty crush.”

It’s not enough to find atypical women attractive, guys. You have to own that shit. But not too much, because then you’re fetishizing us, and that’s sexist and wrong. This is the “find POC people attractive, but don’t think our race is an attractive feature” talking point all over again.

19. Learn to praise a woman without demonizing other women. “You’re not like other girls” is not a compliment. I want to be like other girls. Other girls are awesome.

Wow, I’ve never seen an SJW straight-up admit that they don’t want to be an individual person. I mean, it was implied, but . . .

This point is ridiculous. The guy is telling you that you are special, Dani. He’s calling you one-of-a-kind. He’s saying there’s no one else out there quite like you. If your response to that compliment is, “Nuh uh, I’m entirely mediocre, just like every other girl you’ve ever met! And that’s fine!” that guy should run away from you, full speed, never looking back.

I guess if your version of doing you is is being like everybody else, go ahead, but don’t get your panties in a knot when someone assumes that you value uniqueness as a trait.

20. Share writing by women. Don’t paraphrase their work in your own Facebook post to show us all how smart or woke you are. I guarantee the woman said it better in the first place.

This seems like a problem faced solely by the woke liberal crowds that seem overpopulated with enlightened ally men who talk the talk on social forums and rape the rape in private.  

Also, casual misandry is always fun. “I guarantee the woman said it better.” Try swapping that noun out with literally any other demographic and see how well that works out.

21. Buy sanitary pads and tampons and donate them to a homeless shelter. Just do it.

This is fine. Homeless shelters could always use more supplies of various kinds.

22. How much of what you are watching/reading/listening to was made by women? Gender balance your bookcase.

I don’t know. Let’s see.

According to Netflix, my most recent watches are John Mulaney’s new stand-up special, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Bojack Horseman. I don’t think any of those are made by women. Reading-wise, I just finished The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman and am currently reading a memoir called My Own Country by Abraham Verghese.  And as far as music goes, I’ve been obsessively listening to The Voidz, then there’s Jack White’s new album, ZelooperZ, and Death Grips.

My media is pretty male-dominated at the moment. You know why? Because all of those things are awesome and worth my time. I care about quality, and when women make things that I like–as they frequently do–I’ll give them my time as well. It’s almost like that’s how taste and interest work.

23. Feeling proud of your balanced bookcase? Are there women of color there? Trans, queer, and disabled women? Poor women? Always make sure you’re being intersectional.

This is why young people are turning to conservatism in droves. It’s not your policies turning them off. It’s not even that the conservatives are inherently more appealing. It’s this. You are not cool anymore, Dani Beckett. You are not the voice of a generation. You are not the counterculture.

You are the dowdy 40-something housewife with nothing better to do than observe from a safe, untainted distance the art other people like and turn your nose up at it for being uncouth. You are the geriatric whiner huffing and puffing about how the hip-hop and the rap music are destroying good morals and family values. You are the evangelical Christian forbidding your kid from reading Harry Potter because it promotes witchcraft. You are the concerned parents coalition that bans Marilyn Manson’s music from your households because he promotes degeneracy. You are the cringey youth pastor who passive aggressively tut-tut-tuts at the kids in his youth group not supporting enough good Christian artists. You are the AM radio conservative talk show host who wants to boycott Disney because Elsa from Frozen is a lesbian and those are bad morals to promote to children. You are the parents from Footloose, the elders from Happy Feet, the dad from The Lego Movie.

You are a moralizing pearl-clutcher who wants to control the kind of art and creativity other people are allowed to enjoy and take part in.

You are LAME, Dani Beckett. And that is why people are tripping over their own feet running away from you.

24. Don’t buy media that demeans women’s experiences, valorizes violence against women, or excludes them entirely from a cast. It’s not enough to oppose those things. You have to actively make them unmarketable.

You know, I don’t tell you that you’re not allowed to have shitty feminist media. I think you can like and buy and make and support on Patreon whatever the fuck you want. I think you can dislike and refuse to buy whatever the fuck you want.

I hate Tyler Perry movies. I think they perpetuate awful stereotypes and talk down to their black audience by assuming they are idiots amused by idiocy. But I’m not gonna go on the internet and say that we should start making Tyler Perry movies unmarketable just because I personally don’t like them. Because I acknolwedge that not everyone on the planet has to like exactly what I like, and want exactly what I want, and make exactly what I want them to make, and connect to the things I connect with. Why can’t you give other people the same courtesy? Why do you feel the need to police what other people are allowed to do, down to something as benign as what music they like or what movie they buy on Blu-Ray?

29. Stop raving about Woody Allen. I don’t care if he shits gold. Find a non-accused-abuser to fanboy over.

Midnight in Paris is a good movie that is worth watching. Woody Allen could have actually been a proven abuser–which he isn’t–and that would not detract from the fact that Midnight in Paris is a good movie that is worth watching. Fuck off. I’m done tackling these “people are only allowed to like art that I, Dani Beckett, personally approve of and curate first,” bullshit.

34. Share political hot takes from women as well as men. They might not be as widely accessible, so look for them.

Can I share political hot takes from Tomi Lahren, Candace Owens, Diamond and Silk, and Lauren Southern? Or are they not the “right kind” of women to be supporting and uplifting?

35. Understand that it was never “about ethics in journalism.”

It was though? Gamergate was started when the boyfriend of Zoe Quinn, a female game developer, had a very public emotional breakdown over her cheating on him repeatedly with some guys who, lucky her, happened to be media journalists who helped further her publicity and game-making career. That is as far as her involvement in Gamergate went. It quickly became not at all about her as the topic of discussion extended to the multiple kinds of corruption, nepotism, and brown-nosing found in that industry, of which she was only a single example. All of the people insisting that it was about Zoe Quinn and gamers “not wanting women in video games” have no fucking idea what they’re talking about.

36. Speak less in meetings today to make space for your women colleagues to share their thoughts. If you’re leading the meeting, make sure women are being heard as much as men.

Women are strong, guys! We swear. That’s why we’re in constant need of your help and support. If you are not working to uplift us and make space for us and encourage us 24/7, than we’re just not going to be successful.

38. Promote women. Their leadership styles may be different than yours. That’s probably a good thing.

More casual misandry again. Women are just better than men at most things and superior in most ways, guys. No big deal.

39. Recruit women on the same salary as men. Even if they don’t ask for it.

Once again–women are strong! That’s why you should entirely get rid of salary bartering as a possibility because women don’t take advantage of it as much as men, and that’s not fair. So now men can’t do it either. Gotta even that playing field somehow, and asking women to do something about it is just too much work, you know?

40. Open doors for women with caring responsibilities by offering flexible employment contracts.

I think the United State’s lack of sufficient maternal and paternal leave is stupid, so sure.

45. If you find you’re only interviewing men for a role, rewrite the job listing so that it’s more welcoming to women.

Women are strong! That’s why we have to be specifically catered to and ensured that we will continue to be specifically catered to in the future if you want us to send you an application.

47. Tell female colleagues what your salary is.

I make more than every single one of my male colleagues. It’s called bonuses and asking for a raise when you think you deserve it. But wait a minute, that required me showing something resembling initiative, and expecting women to have initiative to receive higher pay is stupid when you could just get rid of the concept of asking for a raise instead. Silly me! I forgot.

50. If you manage a team, make sure that your employees know that you recognize period pain and cystitis as legitimate reasons for a sick day.

As with the maternity/paternity leave thing, I think the United States’ utter lack of employee health standards in the work place, glorification of going to work while ill, and abysmal to nonexistent sick day policies is stupid. So yeah, give people more available sick days and make it clear that being bowled over by period cramps is sufficient reason for using one. I have no problem with this.

51. If you have a strict boss (or mom or teacher) who is a woman, she is not a “bitch.” Grow up.

Stop telling people how to use words. You’re straight up saying we can’t use insults and profanity if the insult-ee is a woman now.

We’re so strong, guys. It’s unbelievable how strong you can be from the safety of a fainting couch.

57. If you see women with their hands up, put yours down. This can be taken as a metaphor for a lot of things. Think about it.

I’ve thought about it, and it’s stupid. Stop telling people to socially demote themselves for the sake of making you feel better. It’s patronizing to everyone involved.

58. Raising a feminist daughter means she’s going to disagree with you. And probably be right. Feel proud, not threatened.

Or, or . . . you could not push your socio-political beliefs onto a child with no concept of what they truly mean or entail, answer their questions when they have them, and let them develop their own thoughts and opinions about things. You could do that.

God, you’re like those cringey conservative parents who give their newborns Baby Republican onesies or tell them they’re a Christian before they even know what the concept of God is.

65. Challenge the patriarchs in your religious group when they enable the oppression of women.

Does this apply to Muslims, Dani? Or just the safe-to-criticize, white people religions?

67. Trust women’s religious choices. Don’t pretend to liberate them just so you can criticise their beliefs.

Called it.

68. Examine who books your trips, arranges outings, organizes Christmas, buys birthday cards. Is it a woman? IS IT?

If it is, so what? Those are extraneous things. You know, the stuff you do because you want to do it. Nobody’s reluctantly booking a vacation or grumpily planning fun amusement park day trips. These are things you do because you want to do them. You’d think a woman who wrote a 100-point list on everything she wants from other people would get the concept.

69. And if it is actually you, a man, don’t even dare get in touch with me looking for your medal.

What the fuck is this list, guys?!

“You’re being a bad ally to women if you don’t do the things on this list, but if you do the things on this list, don’t expect me to be happy about it! You’re still a piece of shit who deserves no credit for doing anything good!”

What?! And I bet you wonder why more men aren’t allied with you and your cause. The whole “treating them like shit even when they behave exactly how you want them to” thing probably contributes to it, if I had to make a guess. Just a shot in the dark here.

70. Take stock of the emotional labor you expect from women. Do you turn to the women around you for emotional support and give nothing in return?

So . . . don’t be the emotional leech in a one-sided relationship? Wow, Dani, you’re so insightful into the human experience. We definitely required your enlightened list of grievances.

74. If a woman tells you she was raped, assaulted, or abused, don’t ask her for proof. Ask how you can support her.

What’s with these liberal circles and insisting that we take one specific group and regard their experiences and their claims in ways we would never regard other, similar situations? In the first list we have the idea that a POC perceiving a slight against them should just be taken wholesale even when we don’t treat anyone else that way. And in this list we have the idea that we should just believe a woman who says she was assaulted/abused wholesale even when we don’t treat any other crime that way.

But no double standards, ever. Amiright, guys?

77. Do not walk too close to a woman late at night. That shit can be scary.

Can a black man walk uncomfortably close to you at night, Dani? If you perceive that as scary, you’re being racist, remember? Intersectionality is important, Dani. Don’t half-ass your commitment to equality.

78. If you see a woman being followed or otherwise bothered by a stranger, stick around to make sure she’s safe.

Way to ask people to white knight for you in real life situations that could get them hurt, Dani. If you see a woman in a possibly dangerous situation, call the respective authorities–the cops, a bouncer, security. Don’t ask people to be civilian vigilantes on your behalf.

Also, women are strong, guys. That’s why we need random strangers to keep an eye on us to ensure our safety.

80. If you are a queer man, recognize that your sexuality doesn’t exclude you from potential misogyny.

Nope. Nope. You can’t be all intersectional on me yet, Dani. I still haven’t gotten an answer to the “Are women allowed to find black men scary?” question. Don’t bring the gays into it now. That overcomplicates things.

83. Remember that you can lack consent in situations not involving sex—such as when pursuing uninterested women or forcing a hug on a colleague.

Maybe don’t make implicit connections between being hugged when you don’t want to be hugged and being raped? Maybe don’t do that?

Fuck, I’m so done with this list.

85. Trust a woman to know her own body. If she says she won’t enjoy part of your sexual repertoire, do not try to convince her otherwise.

What do you mean, “Don’t try to convince her otherwise.”? That’s how experimenting sexually works! You are made aware of a kink or a fetish, and you’re not sure if you’d be really into it. Or you think you’d be into it, but you haven’t tried it. Then you go to someone and ask them if they want to try it out. And maybe they do say no that one time, but why does that then mean that you’re no longer allowed to bring up the topic again? Why does that then mean that you’re not allowed to bring up some counter-arguments to their worries or pre-conceieved notions to try to get them to meet you half-way? Relationships are about communication, and you’re essentially telling people that they’re not allowed to have discussions about topics that the woman involved is initially unimpressed by. There’s a difference between badgering your wife to do some sex act she’s repeatedly refused to do and trying to persuade your partner to be open to a sexual experience they’re unsure about, and absolutely no distinction between the two is being made here. Shocking.

How much you want to bet Dani Beckett is single and wondering why?

87. It is not cute to try to persuade a woman to have sex with you. EVER. AT ALL. Go home.

What is with this idea that women are these unshakably certain creatures who never change their minds about anything ever, who cannot be persuaded, who cannot be swayed from their initial opinion on anything? Once again, there is a difference between harassing a woman who has made it clear she wants nowhere near your dick and coy dating games wherein a woman says no to a man’s initial sexual advances as a step in the flirtation process, and it’s usually clear which situation it is for anyone who isn’t actually autistic. For someone who just wrote a point about body language and non-verbal cues, Dani sure as fuck loves to ignore them when they pop up in contexts she finds annoying.

89. Accidentally impregnated a women who doesn’t want a kid? Abortions cost money. Pay for half of it.

It takes two to tango, and abortions cost like $1,000, apparently. So sure, split the fee. Make it easier for everyone.

90. Accidentally came inside a woman without protection? Plan B is expensive. Pay for all of it.

What? What is the logic between points 89 and 90? As I said, it takes two to tango. Either you go halfsies on expensive Plan B pregnancy prevention measures, or you don’t. I don’t even get the internal logic of this one. A woman should be reasonably expected to pay $500 towards an abortion, but paying like $40 bucks towards a Plan B pill is just too much?

92. Examine your opinion on abortion. Then put it in a box. Because, honestly, it’s completely irrelevant.

Fuck you, Dani Beckett. Sincerely. You’re going to draft up hundreds and hundreds of points all about what men need to do for you, all about what men aren’t allowed to do, all about all the ways men fucked up, all about what men should do to be better–but men aren’t allowed to have any opinion on “a woman’s issue.” You can tell men what to do all fucking day. But their opinions on what women should do? Totally irrelevant. We don’t need to hear them.

But no double standards, guys. You know what? I take back my response to Number 89. Because if a guy’s input on the topic of abortion is totally worthless, I guess you don’t need any of his totally worthless money to help pay for one.

95. Believe women’s pain. Periods hurt. Endometriosis is real. Polycystic ovaries, vaginal pain, cystitis. These things are real. Hysteria isn’t.

It is though? Yeah, the old-timey definition of hysteria as “any mental or physical issue that makes a woman slightly discontent” is from a bygone era, obviously. But hysteria as a specific sub-type of anxiety is a thing. Congratulations on being so woke on mental health that you ignore an actual mental health issue because at one point the same terminology was used in a sexist manner.

All of those other things are also real. We’ve already talked about the various womanly pains and how they’re real and should be taken seriously. What did you cut out of this list if this repetitive bullshit is what you decided was crucial to keep?

97. Lobby your elected officials to implement high quality sex education in schools.

Heeeeeey, something that would actually be helpful. That’s a pleasant surprise for this list.

99. Do not ever assume you know what it’s like.

You’re not fucking special, Dani. And wait a minute, did you take it upon yourself to mindread and assume what’s going on in men’s heads and assume you know what their mental and external experiences are like in this very list? Multiple times?

Is that lack of an understanding only a one-way street where men perpetually know nothing but women just understand the trials and tribulations of all genders instictually?

100. Mainly, just listen to women. Listen to us and believe us. It’s the only place to start if you actually want all women to have a “Happy International Women’s Day.”

Oh, I wish I hadn’t taken it upon myself to listen to you, Dani Beckett.

This was fucking exhausting.

Laughing at a “Race Realist” Lecture

How about something a bit different?

I just stumbled across this lecture, which seems to be fairly well-liked among the alt-right and/or white supremacist scene. It’s about “race realism” and how Africans’ dearth in mental ability is supposedly reflected in their native languages. And holy shit, is it a gold mine of pseudo-intellectual garbage. To sum up the argumentation: “I studied the apparent lack of one abstract concept in one Africa-originating language, so now I’m going to talk about how black people as a global, generalized racial group have no ability to congnicize any abstract concepts whatsoever and are therefore intellectually lacking.” If you think that’s a little bit more than a hop, skip, and a jump away from a logical conclusion, congratulations, you’re smarter than 90% of the people who commented on this video. If you want to feel simultaneously entertained and enraged by idiots too stupid to realize they’re not smarter than you, then grab your popcorn and start reading.

This is going to be a really nerdy post by the way, with lots of philosophy of language and psycholinguistics mumbo-jumbo thrown in. I think that kind of thing is interesting, which is why I decided to address this lecture; but I majored in language cognition and neurology, so the esoteric subjects I think are entertaining may not be overly interesting to anyone else. Warning you now.

Also, this lecture is an hour long. I literally could not get past his opening statements before having pages full of notes on everything wrong he was saying. I stopped after five fucking minutes, because that was enough fuel for five blog posts, let along just one. So if you want me to respond to the next 50 minutes of this lecture, let me know. Otherwise, I’m only going to address literally the first five minutes of this travesty of academic work.

He starts out with a nice little anecdote about how students he met in Nigeria informed him that they weren’t able to say something like “half-way up the tree,” instead only being able to say “up” without further qualifers, with there being no sense of gradation. He then goes on to speak about how oral languages (ones with no writing system) are by necessity finite in size and “basically static.” From there, he states that since the size of these oral languages is limited, then the concepts in that language are also limited. Most egregiously, he then says that “the language and thinking of these people is going to be impoverished in comparison to a language like English.”

Okay . . . what?

What is this guy’s PhD in, chiropractic medicine? The fucking thesis statement–the backbone of his entire argument in this lecture–is just flat out wrong. It’s not just a little inaccurate. It’s not a difference of opinion. It is just wholly incorrect. Either this guy is actively and intentionally lying to his audience who he knows won’t question what he’s saying to any great degree, or he is so stuck in the mental frame work of “race realism” that he somehow managed to overlook one of the foundational rules of human linguistics even when he was trying to be accurate. I actually dug out my notebook from my Intro Psychology of Language course, and the first bullet point on the first page goes against his thesis. This is not rare knowledge available only to the most specialized linguistics researchers in elite academia. Here’s a link about the basics of human language for you guys. The Key Points section is all you need.

Oral language is not “finite and static.” The thing that differentiates human language from the communication of other creatures–the thing that makes humans cogntively unique–is our infinitely productive language and ability to communicate abstract concepts. For everyone too lazy to click that link:


  • Human language is generative, which means that it can communicate an infinite number of ideas from a finite number of parts.

  • Human language is recursive, which means that it can build upon itself without limits.

  • Human language uses displacement, which means that it can refer to things that are not directly present.


There is not a known human language in existence or out of existence (that includes strictly oral languages) that has not been infinitely productive. That includes African languages.

What do I mean by that? That simply means that the capacity to create novel words is always present within the structure of a language. As long as a word can be spoken with the phonemes of that language, it can be recognized as a potential term and integrated into the wider vocabulary. And that’s just in regards to totally new base words; you can also infinitely generate novel terms by taking base morphemes (individual units of meaning) and sticking them together in new ways to create words that are understandable even if they’ve never been heard or spoken before. For instance, what do you think exculpatory means? You may not have heard that word before, but you’d probably be able to guess what it means because you can put together morphemes! Ex-, culp-, -ate , and –ory. Ex means not, culp as in culpable, and -atory describing a consistent, descriptive state.

Any language that has morphemes is infinitely productive. All human languages have morphemes, by the way. That’s also ignoring things like tense, gender, and other various grammatical forms that also enable the formation of novel words through set grammatical rules and conjugations that can be universally applied and understood. So, to put it briefly, the notion that a language is “static and finite” in size because its vocabulary is smaller is just not accurate. This professor goes on a tangent about how small the native Africans’ dictionary was compared to his pocket dictionary of English as though that was somehow an indication of their language being “impoverished.”

This is especially inaccurate when you consider that a good number of African languages are tonal and grammar-heavy, unlike English. With all languages you see this trade-off: A language with a lower vocabulary has a ridiculously more complex grammatical and conjugation system to derive meaning. A language with a large vocabulary has quote/unquote impoverished grammar and syntax by comparison, because it derives most of its meaning through words, not grammar. English is a very vocabulary-heavy language, so there’s less meaning derived from grammar. There is a tribal language in Africa–I forget the name, sue me–where a sentence is usually just a single actual word, but a very complex meaning is taken almost completely from grammatical conjugations onto that single word: who they’re talking to, what their relationship to that person is, is there more than one person present, what topic it is they are talking about, how urgent the topic is, where on the timeline the topic happened, how they feel about the topic, how they think others should feel about the topic, etc. In that language, all of those linguistic subtleties are achieved through grammar, not words. They don’t have words for those concepts because the language doesn’t require them. The dictionary for some random African language being small compared to a vocabulary-heavy language like English says nothing about how expressive that language is.

The worst thing about this argument is that it could easily be applied to any language, including English. “Look, this language has less X than other languages, therefore it’s impoverished!” His first anecdote about how lacking African languages are is all about how one of them was too vague with its location descriptions. You could do the same thing with English. Easily. For example, English prepositions are very difficult for most non-native learners of the language because English prepositions are incredibly vague and under-informative. The sentence “It’s under the table,” is really shitty. Is it stuck underneath the tabletop? Is it on the floor underneath the table? Is it visible underneath the table or obscured? What side of the table is it under? Is it all the way underneath the table or only part way? Is it closer to you or me? There are languages that let you know those things with a single preposition or particle. I guess English is impoverished now.

Hell, Japanese is considered to have one of the most intricate writing systems ever established. You know why it has that intricate writing system, though? Because it is phonologically impoverished. That’s fancy talk for “far too many of their words sound/are phonetically spelled the same way.” わたし, for example, can refer to multiple different words. It’s the kanji, 私 vs.  渡し just to name a few, that lets you know what the actual intended meaning is. Seeing as how this professor is a stereotypical alt-righter and a race realist, I highly doubt he’s willing to call the Japanese dumb; but using his same logic, I could call the Japanese language “static and finite” because it doesn’t have enough phonemes to make unique words and has to rely on a separate writing system to offer differentiation. Compared to strictly oral languages that rely solely on audibly distinguishable sound, Japanese is pretty much retarded.

Now that I’ve made it clear why calling any human language “static and finite” is incredibly off-base and unsupported by actual linguistics, let’s move on to his point about abstract thinking. This professor is paying major lip-service toward the Whorfian view of langauage, aka linguistic relativity.

The principle of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects its speakers’ world view or cognition. Popularly known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, or Whorfianism, the principle is often defined to include two versions. The strong version says that language determines thought, and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories, whereas the weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.

For those of you who really like Orwell, he discusses this very frequently in 1984. The entire concept of Newspeak is one based around strong linguistic relativity: if you get rid of the word for something, people will have no concept of it. This is a very interesting hypothesis, and very fun to talk about, but it’s just not overly accurate. It’s at least not completely and utterly wrong like the “African languages are static” talking point, but progress in the field of psycholinguistics since the initial Whorfian hypothesis shows it to be lacking. All you have to do is look at babies and non-speaking infants and realize that they have conceptual understanding of the world and its contents before having access to language. So his statement about “the size of these oral languages being limited leads to concepts of that language being limited” is also not true.

The general consensus is that human beings don’t need specific words to refer to concepts (abstract or otherwise) in order to have an idea of those concepts, but having a specific word makes mental compartmentalization easier. That’s not saying that language has no effect on our mental concepts: the Pirahã, for example, are a very isolated Amazonian tribe whose language doesn’t have a numerical system, and it’s essentially been impossible to teach them how to count past the subitizing range (1-3). This professor would probably take that as an example of the Pirahã being a punch of stupid brown people who can’t do math haha, but that tribe lacks a numerical system because they think of “number” in more abstract terms (“not enough,” “enough,” “more than enough”). In other words, they think in more abstract conceptual terms than hu-white people, so you definitely cannot say that they lack the ability to think in abstractions, as is being argued about “impoverished” languages.

How concepts work is still contested. There are multiple camps in philosophy and linguistics. But they all agree that a specific vocab. word isn’t necessary for concept-building. They just disagree on everything after that. Personally, I like Wittgenstein and his idea that we understand and tweek our mental concepts by putting them on a constantly calibrating scale of comparison. That doesn’t require words at all, it just requires you to recognize how similar or different things are.

To bring it back to 1984, someone living without freedom doesn’t need the word “freedom” to get the concept because they can mentally understand that something exists on the opposite end of the scale from where they are now. A good example of this is the supremely disappointing (but good for this one reference) movie The Invention of Lying, where the main character is trying to explain that he lied without having a word for “truth” or “lie,” so he just settles with, “I said something that wasn’t.” The concept is there without the words. The idea that having a small vocabulary means that a language utterly castrates your cognitive ability to form and rectify concepts is not true. Just like most everything else this “doctor” said in this entire lecture is not true.

Nerdy rant: Over.