thegrandnarrative + sjws   45

Why are so many teenage girls appearing in gender clinics? - Trans parenting
Lisa Littman, an assistant professor of behavioural and social sciences at Brown University, was curious about what was causing these changes. She had come across reports from parents on online forums describing a new pattern of behaviour: adolescents without a history of childhood gender dysphoria were announcing they were transgender after a period of immersing themselves in niche websites or after similar announcements from friends. Her study suggests that these children may be grappling with what she calls “rapid-onset gender dysphoria”.
For the study, Dr Littman recruited 256 parents of children whose symptoms of gender dysphoria suddenly appeared for the first time in adolescence. These parents—Ms Miller among them—took part anonymously in an online, 90-question survey. Dr Littman’s findings suggest that a process of “social and peer contagion” may play a role. According to the parents surveyed, 87% of children came out as transgender after spending more time online, after “cluster outbreaks” of gender dysphoria in friend groups, or both. (In a third of the friendship groups, half or more of the individuals came out as transgender; by contrast, just 0.7% of Americans aged between 18 and 24 are transgender.) Most children who came out became more popular as a result. Rachel, Ms Miller’s daughter, says that when she told her friends, all of whom she had met online, they congratulated her: “It was, like, welcome home.”
Dr Littman thinks that some adolescents may embrace the idea that they are transgender as a way of coping with symptoms of a different, underlying issue. Almost two-thirds of the children had one or more diagnoses of a psychiatric or developmental disorder preceding the onset of gender dysphoria; nearly half had self-harmed or experienced some trauma. This is consistent with other studies of gender dysphoria when it sets in during puberty. Some people distract themselves from emotional pain by drinking, taking drugs, cutting or starving themselves. Dr Littman suggests that, for some, gender dysphoria may also be in this category.
The study has attracted heavy criticism. Some is reasonable. Though it is a solid first attempt to describe a recently observed phenomenon, it is qualitative rather than quantitative, and relies solely on interviews with parents, not children. Dr Littman posted links to her survey on three websites where parents and clinicians had described the abrupt appearance of adolescent gender dysphoria: 4thWaveNow, Transgender Trend and youthtranscriticalprofessionals. Referring to these sites as “anti-trans”, Diane Ehrensaft, the director of mental health at a gender clinic in San Francisco, has written that “this would be like recruiting from Klan or alt-right sites to demonstrate that blacks really are an inferior race”. Dr Littman replies that 88% of the parents in her study said transgender people deserve the same rights as others, which is in line with national opinion. Similar methodology is frequently used in social research, particularly into children.
The reaction to publication of the study has gone beyond what might be expected in a regular academic dispute. Brown removed from its website a press release advertising her research, noting that PLOS ONE, the journal in which the study was published, was seeking “further expert assessment”. In a later statement, the university said: “There is an added obligation for vigilance in research design and analysis any time there are implications for the health of the communities at the centre of research and study.” Parents and academics have in turn attacked Brown for caving to pressure from trans activists.
Squashing research risks injuring the health of an unknown number of troubled adolescent girls. Rachel, now 21, believes she latched on to a trans identity as a way of coping with on-off depression and being sexually abused as a child. After receiving therapy, her gender dysphoria disappeared. Had her mother affirmed her gender identity as a 16-year-old, as several gender therapists urged, Rachel would have embarked on a medical transition that she turned out not to want after all.
transsexuals  SJWs  gender-dysphoria 
january 2019 by thegrandnarrative
When respect for diversity is taken to crazy extremes - Open Ideas
EVERY year the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts a gala. A single ticket costs $30,000. New York’s A-listers and wannabes deck themselves in overwrought garments designed for the party’s theme. Three years ago “China: Through the Looking Glass” inspired dresses with dragons (pictured), hair held in place with chopsticks and, from a few sartorially confused celebrities, kimonos.

The attire prompted an outcry over “cultural appropriation”—an elastic, ill-defined gripe. No such furore arose over the outfits at this year’s gala, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”, even though they included a stilettoed and sequinned pope, Jesus Christ in a gold tiara, and a spectacularly winged angel. Why not?

It is not as though the concept of cultural appropriation has fallen out of use. Gonzaga University issued a firmly worded statement warning “non-Mexican individuals” against celebrating Cinco de Mayo; the campus multicultural centre published a minatory infographic ordering, “Don’t you dare try on that ‘sombrero’.” About a week earlier an 18-year-old white student in Utah received hundreds of hostile comments after she wore a Chinese-inspired dress to her school prom.

The accusation is great at stirring up Twitter outrage. But what is cultural appropriation?

There is no agreed definition. Generally speaking, it’s the idea that a “dominant culture” wearing or using things from a “minority culture”—say, white American college kids in Brazilian bombachas or baggy trousers—is inherently disrespectful because the objects are taken out of their native context.

It’s not a completely new idea. More than two centuries ago it was popular for upper-class British and French to have their portraits painted dressed as Turkish sultans, which the historian Edward Said called “orientalism”. More recently some black Americans griped when Elvis Presley filched classic rhythm-and-blues riffs and sold them back to white, mainstream society.

Yet today the idea has expanded to new extremes—and obstructs free expression. In American colleges and universities, a vocal minority of students are pushing for official policies banning the practice—by, for example, disciplining students who wear Halloween costumes deemed inappropriate.

The threat here is quite overt. Offence is inherently subjective; university bureaucrats should not punish one student simply because her clothes hurt the feelings of another. Beyond the threat of punishment lies the threat of social stigma—that students, fearful of being accused, will censor themselves or feel themselves censored.

Had the Met gala opted for an Islamic theme (say, “Arabian Nights: Magic and Islam”), accusations of appropriation would have surely followed. This year Jared Leto, an actor, dressed as Jesus; had he dressed as Muhammad, even if in a plain and historically accurate thobe and turban, he would provoke all manner of disgust and denunciation. One can conjure any number of nightmare scenarios for galas themed around Judaism, blackness or, say, Aztecs—none of whom remain alive to be offended—no matter how sartorially sensitive the dresses.

That is because cultural appropriation is less about cultural disrespect or intolerance—for which much clearer terminology already exists—than about reinforcing the oppressor-oppressed binary through which social-justice advocates see the world. Because Christians and whites are groups deemed to have power, all manner of borrowing or parody is intolerable. And the inverse gets a free pass: nobody is upset when Asians wear European clothes, for instance.

The remedy for the selective application of the cultural appropriation label is not its expansion—as this would sweep in all manner of innocuous social interactions—but its retirement. The phrase stigmatises the beneficial cultural exchanges that happen in art, music, dance, cooking and language. The very idea is self-defeating. To declare black culture off-limits to non-blacks, for example, is to segregate it.

The term also fundamentally misunderstands the process by which all cultures form and progress: through creolisation and intermixing. To appropriate the words of John Donne, no culture is an island entirely of itself.
cultural-appropriation  SJWs 
january 2019 by thegrandnarrative
Q: A Single Term That Includes All Sexual Minorities - The Atlantic
None of this would matter much if today were, say, 2015, when identity politics seemed like a low-cost enterprise. Now, however, we see its price. So long as the libertarian right and the progressive left fail to speak to the country’s yearning for a transcendent identity, and majorities feel they are being ignored or disfavored, someone is bound to fill the resulting political vacuum. Political analysts and researchers find that resentment of political correctness and identitarian excess drove a lot of voters, including a lot of nonbigoted voters, toward Trump’s toxic version of national identity. When Steve Bannon, one of the Trump movement’s leading strategists, said, “If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats,” he knew what he was talking about.
LGBTQ  label-making  labels  gatekeepers  SJWs 
december 2018 by thegrandnarrative
My Affair With the Intellectual Dark Web – Great Escape – Medium
Words like “mansplaining” and “gaslighting” were suddenly in heavy rotation, often invoked with such elasticity as to render them nearly meaningless. Similarly, the term “woke,” which originated in black activism, was being now used to draw a bright line between those on the right side of things and those on the wrong side of things. The parlance of wokeness was being used online so frequently that it began to strike me as disingenuous, even a little desperate. After all, these weren’t just meme-crazed youngsters flouting their newly minted critical studies degrees. Many were in their forties and fifties, posting photos from their kids’ middle school graduations along with rage-filled jeremiads about toxic masculinity. One minute they were asking for recommendations for gastroenterologists in their area. The next, they were adopting the vocabulary of Tumblr, typing things like I.Just.Cant.With.This., and This is some fucked, patriarchal bullshit, amiright?

Granted, I was primed to be maximally annoyed, since, after decades of paying little attention to the interests of the generations that followed my own, I was suddenly consumed by the political activism of a very vocal minority of younger people, mostly millennials. The values of this minority were more or less in sync with my own. Still, there was something about the tone in which they espoused them, their very inflection, that made me feel like I was simultaneously being sent to my room by my mother and banned from a lunch table by the mean girls.

To my ears, every utterance was a scold, every reaction an eye roll, every policy idea (no matter how impractical) shot through with disgusted disbelief that no one had thought of it before. “Problematic,” that all-purpose recrimination for any person, place, or thing deemed insufficiently inclusive of all people, places, and things, was more weapon than word. Another operative word was “exhausted.” So intractable and unreasonable were their opponents that it was exhausting to have to keep repeating themselves. So persecuted were those whose identities veered outside the margins of white, heteronormative capitalist society that daily life itself amounted to a series of “violences” in which they were forced to “explain their humanity.” My very smart friends seemed to be lapping it up.
SJWs  media  intellectualism  identity-politics 
september 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Sarah Jeong, Harvard, and Strategic White-Bashing - The Atlantic
Think about what it takes to claw your way into America’s elite strata. Unless you were born into the upper-middle class, your surest route is to pursue an elite education. To do that, it pays to be exquisitely sensitive to the beliefs and prejudices of the people who hold the power to grant you access to the social and cultural capital you badly want. By setting the standards for what counts as praiseworthy, elite universities have a powerful effect on youthful go-getters. Their admissions decisions represent powerful “nudges” towards certain attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and I’ve known many first- and second-generation kids—I was one of them—who intuit this early on.

...So what if you’re an Asian American who has already made the cut? In that case, you might celebrate Harvard’s wisdom in judiciously balancing its student body, or warn that Harvard’s critics have a darker, more ominous agenda that can’t be trusted. This establishes you as an insider, who gets that Harvard is doing the right thing, while allowing you to distance yourself from less-enlightened, and less-elite, people of Asian origin: You’re all being duped by evil lower-whites who don’t grok racial justice.

And if you’re an Asian American aspiring to make the cut, even with the deck stacked against you, you might eschew complaining in favor of doing everything in your power to cultivate the personal qualities Harvard wants most, or at least to appear to have done so. One straightforward way to demonstrate that you are Harvard material might be to denounce Harvard as racist, provided you’re careful to do so in a way that flatters rather than offends those who run the university and are invested in its continued success. For example, you might reject the notion that affirmative action is the problem while arguing that Harvard shouldn’t endeavor to increase representation of rural and working-class whites, on the spurious grounds that all whites are privileged. That you’ll make these claims even though you yourself are hardly among the most downtrodden is immaterial: The important thing is to be interesting. What better way to demonstrate that you’re not a humdrum worker bee, afflicted with a lackluster personality, than to carefully and selectively express the right kind of righteous indignation?

I certainly don’t mean to single out Harvard. As the senior assistant director of admissions at Yale recently observed, “for those students who come to Yale, we expect them to be versed in issues of social justice. We encourage them to be vocal when they see an opportunity for change in our institution and in the world.” Picture yourself as an eager high schooler reading these words, and then jotting down notes. You absorb, assuming you hadn’t already, what it takes to make your way in contemporary elite America. And as you grow older, you lean into the rhetorical gambits that served you so well in the past. You might even build a worldview out of them.

...Or, alternatively, this sort of rhetoric can be less a tool of assimilation than a method of alleviating what I’ll call the burden of representativeness. If you are an outsider who finds yourself in an elite space, you may well feel an obligation to represent the people for whom you are serving as a stand-in—working-class people, or the members of disadvantaged minority groups. This could be true even, or perhaps particularly, if you are decidedly unrepresentative of the others in the group. Because you are present in elite spaces, your authenticity will often be called into question. So white-bashing becomes a form of assuaging internal and external doubts, affirming that despite ascending into the elite, you are not entirely of it.

Whatever their purposes, such statements don’t exist in the abstract. They’re addressed to specific audiences and serve particular ends. It’s when they travel beyond the audiences for which they were crafted that they backfire—the carefully calculated transgression now goes too far, the intended signal is no longer received. But despite the outrage they generate, they’re unlikely to disappear; in a variety of ways, they’re too useful to those who employ them to abandon.
Sarah-Jeong  SJWs  social-media  cultual-capital  identity-politics  elitism 
august 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Every Culture Appropriates - The Atlantic
It’s important to have these details in order to understand what is so deeply sinister about the claims now being made about the prom dress.

Like the idea that audiences should refrain from talking while music is performed, the idea that women should be able to move about as freely and easily as men is a cultural product—popularized by the North Atlantic world in the period after the First World War. If it’s wrong for one culture to borrow from another, then it was wrong to invent the cheongsam in the first place—because not only did the garment’s shape originate outside China, but so, too, did the garment’s purposes. It was precisely because they appreciated that they were importing Western ideas about women that the inventors of the cheongsam adapted a Western shape. They took something foreign and made it something domestic, in a pattern that has repeated itself in endless variations since the Neolithic period.

The policemen of cultural appropriation do not think that way. They have a morality tale to tell, one of Western victimization of non-Western peoples—a victimization so extreme that it is triggered by a Western girl’s purchase of a Chinese dress designed precisely so that Chinese girls could live more like Western girls.

In order to tell that story, the policemen of cultural appropriation must crush and deform much of the truth of cultural history—and in the process demean and infantilize the people they supposedly champion.

...The Western culture of personal autonomy and equal dignity is a precious thing precisely because it is not universal. Those who participate in that culture and enjoy its benefits may hope—do hope—that it may someday become universal. They may hope that their culture will shape the shared future of all humanity. But it is not a universal inheritance, and it is not the universal contemporary practice. If anything, that culture is at present in retreat, challenged and assailed both at home and abroad. It needs defending, and to be defended effectively it is vital to understand precisely how non-universal it is.

To the extent that the cultural-appropriation police are urging their targets to respect others who are different, they are saying something that everyone needs to hear. But beyond that, they can plunge into doomed tangles. American popular culture is a mishmash of influences: British Isles, Eastern European, West African, and who knows what else. Cole Porter committed no wrong by borrowing from Jewish music; Elvis Presley enriched the world when he fused country-and-western with rhythm-and-blues.

How to draw the line between that and America’s ugly tradition of minstrelsy, in which subordinated peoples are both mimicked and mocked—as Al Jolson mimicked and mocked black music in his notorious blackface career? There is no clear rule, but there is an open way: the values of respect and tolerance that draw precisely on the rationalist Enlightenment traditions both rejected and relied upon by the cultural-appropriation police. Those traditions are the spiritual core of American culture at its highest. And those values we should all hope to see appropriated by all this planet’s peoples and cultures.
cultural-appropriation  SJWs 
may 2018 by thegrandnarrative
The Academic Mob and Its Fatal Toll - Quillette
By examining primate and other animal behavior, along with witchcraft accusations, the McCarthy era, and the mid-eighties hysteria that led daycare workers to be accused and convicted of impossible feats of child sexual abuse, Harper suggested that mobbing is a primal behavior that humans engage in whenever they have been encouraged by someone in a position of influence or power to view another member of a community as a threat to that community. Once that happens, patterned and predictable stages of abuse will follow, and these will not let up until the target has been eliminated from the group or so disempowered that their continued presence in the group has no significance.

“Ultimately, mobbing didn’t break me. It made me,” Harper said. “It taught me a great deal about myself and others and made me a far more patient and compassionate person. But it’s a cruelty and violence that is both unnecessary and far more damaging than I think even the attackers can imagine.”
celebrity  celebrities  SJWs  psychology 
march 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Banning people like Jordan Peterson from causing offence – that’s the road to dystopia | Matthew d’Ancona | Opinion | The Guardian
For a vivid parable of what is wrong with contemporary discourse and culture – and of what could be right – look no further than last week’s Channel 4 News interview of Jordan Peterson, by Cathy Newman. At the time of writing, her half-hour grilling of the Toronto University professor of psychology has clocked up more than 2.3m views on YouTube, and provoked a cacophonous response across social media. So shamefully abusive have many of the attacks on Newman been that Channel 4 announced on Friday that it had called in security specialists.

As the digital temperature rose, Peterson quite rightly intervened on Twitter to stop the abuse: “If you’re threatening her, stop. Try to be civilized in your criticism.” It is unconscionable that a journalist doing her job should be threatened as Newman has been by “alt-right” idiots, with their pathetic Pepe the frog symbol, juvenile memes and claims that their adversaries have been “rekt”.

The onslaught has also eclipsed the content of a genuinely illuminating exchange. Newman is one of the best broadcasters in the business. Peterson is one of the most eclectic and stimulating public intellectuals at large today, fearless and impassioned in his philosophical inquiries, his application of clinical psychology to sensitive social dilemmas, and his critique of postmodernism and neo-Marxism in academia. His opinions are not to everyone’s taste, and his new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos – which I greatly enjoyed – has infuriated others. But so what?

Though it is unfair to pigeonhole two such intelligent people, the conversation between Peterson and Newman, distilled to its essentials, was an argument between classical liberal ideas and modern identity politics. Peterson made his case with reference to individual characteristics and attributes; Newman challenged him to consider the structural disadvantages facing, say, women in the workplace or transgender students.

Do watch the whole thing. It is absolutely not the one-sided rout of Newman that the far right alleges. On equal pay, I thought she had the psychologist on the ropes more than once. On the right to offend, Peterson was on stronger ground. “In order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive,” he said. “I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth … And that is what you should do … More power to you, as far as I concerned.”

It is much to Newman’s credit that, 23 minutes in, she drew breath, paused and considered her position. We say that we want our interviewers to be less pugnacious and more thoughtful – and yet we pillory them when they have the guts to be contemplative on air. There are plenty of people who think that Peterson has no place on a mainstream news programme, or even in academic life. The far right, on the other hand, believes that Newman personifies an elitist media caste that is obstructing a great populist revolution. Both groups are ridiculous, and spectacularly ignorant of what constitutes a progressive civilisation. They reduce human interaction to tedious name-calling between the “woke” and the “red-pilled”, awake to the truth of reality.

It cannot be said too often that the first amendment to the United States constitution was adopted with the explicit purpose of protecting minority opinion. Though we have no such jurisprudential protection in Britain, and we – like most democratic societies – curtail speech that is libellous, incites imminent violence or whips up racial hatred, our inherited presumption in favour of free expression is more important than ever. A pluralistic, diverse society needs more free speech, not less. It needs fewer safe spaces and bans, and more civility and resilience.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking: what right does a white, middle-class, straight, cis male who turns 50 this week have to say anything about this? And the answer is: I say what I like, within the law, and so do you.

Object that “speech is violence”, and I reply: tell that to the 262 reporters who, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, were imprisoned last year – a record high. It has become fashionable to claim that the wrong kind of words can cause damage to our “neural circuitry”. To which I say – really? Are we really going down the road where speech is included in the same category as fists and batons? Because once you allow that philosophical elision, you essentially ditch the Enlightenment – which, speaking for myself, I still find quite handy to have about the place.

Of all the delusions that grip our fractious era, one of the worst is the confident belief that greater restriction of speech will necessarily serve progressive ends. I see no logic in that whatsoever. As Peterson warns, everyone finds something objectionable or upsetting. It would be a moment of maximum peril if the primary test applied to expression became its capacity to offend. Why assume that those setting the rules would necessarily support the powerless or the disenfranchised? The injunction “You can’t say that” leads just as plausibly to Margaret Atwood’s Gilead or to Oceania.

To be a citizen is to engage, and the Newman-Peterson interview is a model of that engagement. Unless you believe that history has a self-evident direction – and it really doesn’t – you must accept that almost all progress is achieved by the hard grind of negotiation, tough debate and busy pluralism. The aphasia of “no-platform” and the bedlam of the digital mob add nothing to the mix. To quote the great African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates: let them talk.
SJWs  identity-politics 
january 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Social Media Is Making Us Dumber. Here’s Exhibit A. - The New York Times
But it’s actually a worthwhile episode to unpack, because it highlights a disturbing, worsening tendency in social media in which tribal allegiances are replacing shared empirical understandings of the world. Or maybe “subtribal” is the more precise, fitting term to use here. It’s one thing to say that left and right disagree on simple facts about the world — this sort of informational Balkanization has been going on for a while and long predates Twitter. What social media is doing is slicing the salami thinner and thinner, as it were, making it harder even for people who are otherwise in general ideological agreement to agree on basic facts about news events.

That’s because the pernicious social dynamics of these online spaces hammer home the idea that anyone who disagrees with you on any controversial subject, even a little bit, is incorrigibly dumb or evil or suspect. On a wide and expanding range of issues, there’s no such thing as good-faith disagreement.

The online anger aimed at Mr. Pinker provides a perfect case study.

...Now, maybe you disagree with certain parts of this argument — I do, in that I think Mr. Pinker overstates the intensity of campus political correctness — but it’s hard to have that debate in the first place when such a wildly skewed version of Mr. Pinker’s point is spreading like wildfire on the internet.

Steven Pinker will be O.K. A fleeting Twitter blowup isn’t going to bruise his long and successful career as a public intellectual. But this is happening more and more — and in many cases to people who don’t have the standing and reputation he does.

It’s getting harder and harder to talk about anything controversial online without every single utterance of an opinion immediately being caricatured by opportunistic outrage-mongers, at which point everyone, afraid to be caught exposed in the skirmish that’s about to break out, rushes for the safety of their ideological battlements, where they can safely scream out their righteousness in unison. In this case: “Steven Pinker said the alt-right is good! But the alt-right is bad! We must defend this principle!”

This is making us dumber.
social-media  alt-right  SJWs  Steven-Pinker 
january 2018 by thegrandnarrative
Controversial Speeches on Campus Are Not Violence - The Atlantic
We are not denying that college students encounter racism and other forms of discrimination on campus, from individuals or from institutional systems. We are, rather, pointing out a fact that is crucial in any discussion of stress and its effects: People do not react to the world as it is; they react to the world as they interpret it, and those interpretations are major determinants of success and failure in life. As we said in our Atlantic article:

Rather than trying to protect students from words and ideas that they will inevitably encounter, colleges should do all they can to equip students to thrive in a world full of words and ideas that they cannot control. One of the great truths taught by Buddhism (and Stoicism, Hinduism, and many other traditions) is that you can never achieve happiness by making the world conform to your desires. But you can master your desires and habits of thought. This, of course, is the goal of cognitive behavioral therapy.
SJWs  language  violence  academia 
july 2017 by thegrandnarrative
Food, Race, and Power: Who gets to be an authority on 'ethnic' cuisines?
I do not doubt that these people are talented chefs. But what irks me is that many will argue that they deserve the title of ‘authority’, and that despite their whiteness, they are hardly foreigners. After all, many of these chefs have years of classical training (or personal study) in the countries they specialize in. They’ve learned the language! They know the people! They’ve immersed themselves in the culture! They’ve studied the craft! How positively adventurous! How very admirable! But here’s the thing: my parents—and every other immigrant—moved to a new country and learned the language, got to know the people, adopted their way of life, simply because they were forced to, and not because it was fun or exotic or interesting or something that they were curious or passionate about. How come we don’t see swaths of immigrants being publicly lauded for culturally assimilating?

It’s only special when White people do it, I guess.
food  gatekeepers  authorities  ethinic  cuisine  pho  sjws 
january 2017 by thegrandnarrative
The End of Identity Liberalism
But the fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life. At a very young age our children are being encouraged to talk about their individual identities, even before they have them. By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good. In large part this is because of high school history curriculums, which anachronistically project the identity politics of today back onto the past, creating a distorted picture of the major forces and individuals that shaped our country. (The achievements of women’s rights movements, for instance, were real and important, but you cannot understand them if you do not first understand the founding fathers’ achievement in establishing a system of government based on the guarantee of rights.)
identity  politics  sjws 
november 2016 by thegrandnarrative
Coming out as ‘non-binary’ throws other women under the bus
The cool thing for “feminist” writers to do lately is “come out” as “non-binary” or “genderqueer.” These women claim to be non-binary based on the premise that they have complex inner lives and don’t identify with every aspect of their social subordination through femininity...

If these supposed indications of non-binary status sound to you like extremely mundane experiences common to a vast number of women, you would be correct. This is because non-binary identity is essentially devoid of meaning.

Some common narratives conveyed by “non-binary” women include: “I always liked having short hair,” “I don’t like being subjected to sexual violence,” “I feel uncomfortable in my female body.” Often being non-binary is defined by superficial choices that aren’t viewed as stereotypically “feminine.” However, even those choices seem to not be a requirement for non-binary status, as exemplified by Escobar, who looks as “feminine” as any woman.

Unlike some categorizations popular within quee
LGBTQ  SJWs  identity  gender 
august 2016 by thegrandnarrative
Does the Left Have a Smug Problem?
One of The Atlantic’s most frequent reader contributors, Ben Denny, highly recommends the essay and applies it to a few examples in the political discourse:

I lean pretty right, so I’ve been thinking the general uncharitably of the left for a long time. The essay mentions Jon Stewart as a driving force of the smugness movement, and I think that’s pretty on-point. Before the dominance of The Daily Show, the people I knew on the left who would make a snide, complete-sounding comment devoid of actual content and consider the argument settled were the dumb ones. During and after Stewart’s reign, though? All of them, or nearly so.

With few precious exceptions I can’t find anybody who is interested in political conversation anymore. Most of the kind of people I used to be able to have a friendly argument with are now convinced that anyone not on their side is either stupid, a bigot, or both. Many others can tell that isn’t true but can’t have the argument anyway. After being told that the other side is arguing in hateful bad faith for the majority of their adult lives, they never learned how.

A good example of this smugness in play is the common “If you are for the decent treatment of women, you are a feminist. We have a word for non-feminists: Sexists.” Let’s disregard that feminism is a giant movement with many complex offshoots advocating for any number of things ranging from reasonable to bat-shit crazy. If you don’t sign on with us, 100%, you are either a sexist or just ignorant. Maybe more soundbites will fix it.

Another decent but heavier example of how this forced “Anyone who doesn't agree with us is evil” dialogue works out can be seen in the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which would have let trans-gendered people use whichever restroom they felt comfortable with.

This would have had a positive effect for the folks for whom the law was designed, but the law was also not without potential issues. Any law that allows trans people to use whichever restroom they feel more comfor
sjws  feminism 
may 2016 by thegrandnarrative
Caitlin Moran: how to start – and win – an argument online | Books | The Guardian
1 Your tone is key

I’ve sat through 10 years of online debates, and the one thing I can tell you as a fact is that, if you communicate in anger, 90% of the response you will get in return will be just… more anger. Directed at you.

It doesn’t matter if what you are saying is true, factual or reasonable, because the majority of people will not be reading what you actually said. They’re just going to see the emotional pitch of your communique and reply in kind, instead.

I’ve seen so many potentially amazing debates go nowhere, because the person starting the debate was rightfully angry, but their tone seemingly worked as a dog whistle to attract a massive online fight. There were a couple of years when online feminism was basically a bunch of hurt, angry women – women who should have been on the same side – communicating with each other only in fury, and creating only fury in return. Every brilliant, bright, right thing they said was ignored.

When you make an initial post, remember th
internet  sjws  social  media  caitlin  moran 
march 2016 by thegrandnarrative
If leftwingers like me are condemned as rightwing, then what’s left? | Tim Lott | Opinion | The Guardian
One very key element of the liberal left has long been under threat: its liberalism – that is, its willingness to debate with anything outside a narrow range of opinions within its own walls. And the more scary and incomprehensible the world becomes, the more debate is replaced by edict and prejudice: literally pre-judging. Identity politics is one of the most significant developments of the last 50 years, but it has led to nerves being exposed in a way they rarely were by economic issues. Because identity is less about politics and more about that most sensitive of human constructions, the protection of the self – both group and individual.

And the more it becomes about the protection of self, the less it becomes about the back and forth of rational argument. All the beliefs, opinions and doubts I hold are just that: they are ideas, not ironclad convictions. I am not certain about any of them, and am quite willing to change my mind, as I have done many times in the past. But I will n
sjws  tumblr  identity  politics  trolls  internet  netizens  culture  outcalling  calling  out  public  shaming 
march 2016 by thegrandnarrative
On Privilege and Being Human | Quillette
was comparatively benign in origin: don’t assume that you know how someone else feels or claim that you understand their struggle unless you’ve “been there” and be worldly enough to acknowledge the distinct and self-evidential advantages that you may enjoy as a result of your racial origin, your economic and social demographic, your sexuality, your gender … the list continues as far you as you wish to stretch it. So far, so fine and noble. Quite frankly, it’s obvious advice that applies to all of us who aren’t fighting over half-rotten scraps of food on waste-ground, or living in fear in a war-torn, famine-ravaged part of the world. But too often the exhortation to “check your privilege” is brandished as a cudgel against anyone who is deemed to have any kind of authority or prestige, with little or no consideration given to how they might have attained that position. You’re an Emeritus Professor, successful author and pivotal figure in second wave feminism? Check your privilege. You’
privilege  sjws  writing 
december 2015 by thegrandnarrative
Why is ‘yellowface’ wrong yet pantomime dames are OK? | Helen Lewis | Opinion | The Guardian
But sometimes I feel as though everyone except me has access to a rule book on this stuff. For example, I’m prepared to concede that Janette Tough playing a Japanese man might well be crude, unfunny and reliant on stereotypes, treating racial difference as a punchline (although I’d prefer to see the film before making that claim). OK, then. But isn’t her portrayal of Wee Jimmy Krankie similarly offensive? You can muster a pretty good argument that Scottish schoolboys are victims of historical oppression: they have lower life expectancy than their English counterparts, and poor white children do worse at school than any other ethnic group. What? No takers for that? Oh, OK. As someone who considers drag to be ultimately playful and liberating, I do believe that there is a meaningful difference between it and yellowface. But it’s a difference that needs unpicking, and at the moment I feel like a year seven maths teacher: it would be really helpful if people showed their workings. And th
yellowface  sjws  tumblr  margaret  cho 
december 2015 by thegrandnarrative
The Halloween Costume Controversy at Yale's Silliman College - The Atlantic
Erika Christakis reflected on the frustrations of the students, drew on her scholarship and career experience, and composed an email inviting the community to think about the controversy through an intellectual lens that few if any had considered. Her message was a model of relevant, thoughtful, civil engagement. For her trouble, a faction of students are now trying to get the couple removed from their residential positions, which is to say, censured and ousted from their home on campus. Hundreds of Yale students are attacking them, some with hateful insults, shouted epithets, and a campaign of public shaming. In doing so, they have shown an illiberal streak that flows from flaws in their well-intentioned ideology. Those who purport to speak for marginalized students at elite colleges sometimes expose serious shortcomings in the way that their black, brown, or Asian classmates are treated, and would expose flaws in the way that religious students and ideological conservatives are tre
sjws  us  academia 
november 2015 by thegrandnarrative
Watch Students Tell Yale to Fire a Staffer Who Upset Their Safe Space Yale just became ground zero in the campus free speech wars.
It is not about creating an intellectual space, the students claim; it’s about creating safe spaces. This is as clear an articulation of students’ desires as they come, and it summarizes everything that's wrong with the modern college campus. Students should of course feel free to challenge university administrators—this is the essence of free speech. Students have every right to publicize their concerns and work to make Yale a more welcoming place for marginalized people (and administrators should listen). But a great many students, it seems, don’t actually desire a campus climate where such matters are up for debate. By their own admission, they want anyone who disagrees with them branded a threat to their safety and removed from their lives. If these students get their wish to turn Yale and other campuses into zones of emotional coddling, they will succeed only in destroying the very point of college.
sjws  us  academia 
november 2015 by thegrandnarrative
Underneath the 'Orientalist' kimono | The Japan Times
The original protesters — who, though not Japanese, identified as Asian-American — said the museum was perpetuating a racist stereotype that exoticized Asian culture. That stereotype has its roots in the colonial era, when Europeans viewed non-Western cultures as an oversimplified selection of traits in a way that dehumanized them — known by cultural theorists as an “Orientalist” perspective. The museum stopped allowing visitors to try on the kimono but continued allowing them to touch it. By July 16, protests had increased and become part of a wider advocacy movement protesting modern Orientalism on social media through the hashtag #whitesupremacykills on Twitter and “Stand Against Yellow Face” Facebook group. But the reaction to the exhibition from Japan — where the decline in popularity of the kimono as a form of dress is a national concern — was one of puzzlement and sadness. Many Japanese commentators expressed regret that fewer people would get to experience wearing a kimono.
kimonos  sjws  orientalism 
november 2015 by thegrandnarrative
What the row over banning Germaine Greer is really about
After a while, you begin to wonder if the opacity of language isn’t accidental at all. Trans activists, tired of being treated as objects of curiousity, fear or pity by outsiders, have decided to seize control of the discourse and develop their own ways of talking about how they feel. This is understandable, but it also means that everyone is constantly making mistakes. This would be OK – in everyday life, people slip up and get corrected, and the world keeps turning – but because it's happening in the crucible of social media, where women's opinions carry a higher cost, censure for those mistakes is distributed unfairly. There are phrases that a man could say – "female socialisation" springs to mind – with no comeback, but would be read as Deep TERF Code coming from a feminist's mouth. I've lost count of the number of times that male friends have expressed surprise that their normally quiet, polite Twitter experience suddenly turns into a hornet's nest if they chat with me about a co
sjws  LGBT  UK  Academia 
october 2015 by thegrandnarrative
What would Salon think of an article called, ‘Why I can’t stand Asian musicians who play Beethoven’?
From Salon comes an article called “Why I can’t stand white belly dancers,” with the subtitle “Whether they know it or not, white women who practice belly dance are engaging in appropriation.” A sample: Women I have confronted about this have said, “But I have been dancing for 15 years! This is something I have built a huge community on.” These women are more interested in their investment in belly dancing than in questioning and examining how their appropriation of the art causes others harm. To them, I can only say, I’m sure there are people who have been unwittingly racist for 15 years. It’s not too late. Find another form of self-expression. Make sure you’re not appropriating someone else’s. Appropriation — the horror! People treating artistic genres as if they were great ideas that are part of the common stock of humanity, available for all humanity to use, rather than the exclusive property of some particular race or ethnic group. What atrocity will the culturally insensiti
bellydance  racism  sjws  tumblr  cultual  appropriation  blackface 
september 2015 by thegrandnarrative
To the new culture cops, everything is appropriation - The Washington Post A few months ago, I read “The Orphan’s Tales” by Catherynne Valente. The fantasy novel draws on myths and folklore from many cultures, including, to my delight, fairy tales from my Russian childhood. Curious about the author, I looked her up online and was startled to find several social-media discussions bashing her for “cultural appropriation.” There was a post sneering at “how she totally gets a pass to write about Slavic cultures because her husband is Russian,” with a response noting that her spouse isn’t even a proper Russian, because he has lived in the United States since age 10. In another thread, Valente was denounced for her Japanese-style LiveJournal username, yuki-onna, adopted while she lived in Japan as a military wife. In response to such criticism, a browbeaten Valente eventually dropped the “problematic” moniker. Welcome to the new war on cultural appropriation. At one
cultural  appropriation  kimonos  SJWs 
august 2015 by thegrandnarrative
Jonathan Franzen interview: ‘There is no way to make myself not male' | Books | The Guardian
The irony of all this is that Franzen, a white male novelist frequently accused of elitism, is, in this scenario, something of an underdog, the nerd repeatedly beaten up by the cool kids online – although he identifies the real villain of the piece as the internet itself, which he compares in Purity to communist East Germany. “You can’t not have a relation to, in the case of East Germany, the socialism of the state,” Franzen says. “In the case of the internet, you can ignore it, or you can abet it. Either way, you are in a relation to it. And that’s what’s totalitarian.” As for social media, “it feels like a protection racket. Your reputation will be murdered unless you join in this thing that is, in significant part, about murdering reputations.” There is a long pause. “Why would I want to feed that machine?”
jonathan  franzen  social  media  SJWs 
august 2015 by thegrandnarrative
From Cecil the Lion to Climate Change: A Perfect Storm of Outrage Oneupmanship - The Atlantic
The dentist closed his practice and went into hiding. Many people called for his death, including the advocacy group PETA, specifically by way of hanging. CNN asked, “Where is Walter Palmer?” as if people needed to find him (and maybe bring him to justice, as many already believed they were.) The Internet has served to facilitate outrage, as the Internet does: the hotter the better. And because the case is so visceral and bipartisan in its opposition to Palmer’s act, few people stepped in to suggest that the fury, the people tweeting his home address, might be too much. That argument wins no outrage points. Instead, the people who hadn't jumped on the Cecil-outrage bandwagon jumped on the superiority-outrage bandwagon. It’s a bandwagon of outrage one-upmanship, and it’s just as rewarding as the original outrage bandwagon. Anyone can play, like this: It’s fine to be outraged about one lion, but what about all of the other lions who are hunted and killed every year? There are 250 Cec
internet  netizens  sjws  writing  example 
august 2015 by thegrandnarrative
The Pecking Disorder: Social Justice Warriors Gone Wild | Observer
The practical effects of such “social justice” ideology be seen in the communities where it flourishes (mainly on college campuses and online). It is a reverse caste system in which a person’s status and worth depends entirely on their perceived oppression and disadvantage. The nuances of rank can be as rigid as in the most oppressively hierarchical traditional society. A white woman upset by an insulting comment from a white man qualifies for sympathy and support; a white woman distraught at being ripped to shreds by a “woman of color” for an apparent racial faux pas can be ridiculed for “white girl tears.” However, if she turns out to be a rape victim, the mockery probably crosses a line. On the other hand, a straight white male trashed by an online mob for some vague offenses deemed misogynist and racist can invite more vitriol by revealing that he is a sexual abuse survivor suffering from post-traumatic stress. A recent controversy in the science fiction world illustrates this tox
sjws  tumblr  political  correctness  academia 
june 2015 by thegrandnarrative
In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas -
I’m old enough to remember a time when college students objected to providing a platform to certain speakers because they were deemed politically unacceptable. Now students worry whether acts of speech or pieces of writing may put them in emotional peril. Two weeks ago, students at Northwestern University marched to protest an article by Laura Kipnis, a professor in the university’s School of Communication. Professor Kipnis had criticized — O.K., ridiculed — what she called the sexual paranoia pervading campus life. The protesters carried mattresses and demanded that the administration condemn the essay. One student complained that Professor Kipnis was “erasing the very traumatic experience” of victims who spoke out. An organizer of the demonstration said, “we need to be setting aside spaces to talk” about “victim-blaming.” Last Wednesday, Northwestern’s president, Morton O. Schapiro, wrote an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal affirming his commitment to academic freedom. But p
censorship  debate  trigger  academia  tumblr  sjws  safe  spaces 
june 2015 by thegrandnarrative
A Note on Call-Out Culture – Briarpatch Magazine
Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and language use by others. People can be called out for statements and actions that are sexist, racist, ableist, and the list goes on. Because call-outs tend to be public, they can enable a particularly armchair and academic brand of activism: one in which the act of calling out is seen as an end in itself. What makes call-out culture so toxic is not necessarily its frequency so much as the nature and performance of the call-out itself. Especially in online venues like Twitter and Facebook, calling someone out isn’t just a private interaction between two individuals: it’s a public performance where people can demonstrate their wit or how pure their politics are. Indeed, sometimes it can feel like the performance itself is more significant than the content of the call-out. This is why “calling in” has been proposed as
callout  culture  calling  out  calling  in  SJWs  tumblr 
april 2015 by thegrandnarrative
Politically Correct Language Isn't Just About Being Polite—It's About Survival
Good for links to critiques also If there's so much that's problematic here, is there anything that resonates? Mainly, Chait's portrayal of the anxiety that progressive people often feel about expressing themselves rings true. Repeatedly, he gives examples of writers’ words being misconstrued, leading to ferocious pile-ons in social media. He quotes writers describing the ways in which they sculpt and censor their messages, fretting over the response they'll bring. In these moments, Chait's essay feels universal. "We're all human, aren't we?" he appears to ask. "Why are we screaming at each other?" It's when he connects these points to his larger thesis—that P.C. activists are like Marxists, seeking to eliminate intellectual freedom—that Chait loses most readers, including me. As Arthur Chu's response in the Daily Beast points out, the internet is not a world where strident leftists shout down thoughtful liberals; it's a world where everybody shouts about everyone else, from every co
PC  politial  correctness  SJWs  Tumblr  Jonathan  Chait 
february 2015 by thegrandnarrative
Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say -- NYMag
I am white and male, a fact that is certainly worth bearing in mind. I was also a student at the University of Michigan during the Jacobsen incident, and was attacked for writing an article for the campus paper defending the exhibit. If you consider this background and demographic information the very essence of my point of view, then there’s not much point in reading any further. But this pointlessness is exactly the point: Political correctness makes debate irrelevant and frequently impossible. Under p.c. culture, the same idea can be expressed identically by two people but received differently depending on the race and sex of the individuals doing the expressing. This has led to elaborate norms and terminology within certain communities on the left. For instance, “mansplaining,” a concept popularized in 2008 by Rebecca Solnit, who described the tendency of men to patronizingly hold forth to women on subjects the woman knows better — in Solnit’s case, the man in question mansplained
pc  tumblr  sjw  sjws  frees  peech  offense 
february 2015 by thegrandnarrative

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