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No rights are absolute and there is no hierarchy of rights.
I don't think it's sexist to want to acknowledge sexuality exists and can present issues when close proximity, intimacy, or touch are part of the work environment. For heterosexual people, which is the larger percent of the population, that involves specific issues that come up when men and women interact. Also, while there is no culture that is effective at stoping sexual assault or boundary violations, I actually think cultures that force accepting intimate interaction from people you... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:47 AM on November 15, 2012
(I add that I live in a milieu where there have been coalitions between non-Muslim GLBT folks and Muslim immigrants' organizations working on voting and immigrants' rights, and if GLBT people, Muslim and non- (and there are Muslim GLBT people, which fact sometimes gets dropped out of discussions like this) want to build good relationships with traditionalist Muslim communities, making a big ol' fuss because you can't get a haircut - especially in a climate of Islamophobia and ZOMG-Sharia-law -... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:52 AM on November 15, 2012
I mean, I do want to add that there is cultural crap that makes it hard for a woman to get a "man's" haircut, and I hate that cultural crap. (I wish I had a good barbershop nearby - there used to be one run by a really old-school butch dyke, but it closed in the recession.) You don't need to be a conservative Muslim to be a sexist asshole to a woman who wants a butch haircut - there are plenty of barbershops run by men of all... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:08 AM on November 15, 2012

The Corporatization Of Higher Education
University is not meant to be a "life experience", it's an education and research institution. Everything else is superfluous

But the thing is, college is a life experience - it just doesn't need snack bars and so on. I guess if I were marketing this idea, I would emphasize that friendships, mentorships, intellectual discovery, the experience of sports (playing soccer, biking, using a regular old-style... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:03 PM on November 14, 2012

Evicted for smelling bad
(I just want to jump in to say that different people have different senses of smell, which is probably a factor in both this discussion and the case. I have a very weak sense of smell and have no trouble hanging around people who don't bathe or visiting houses where no one cleans (very, very smelly people are sort of "dialed down" for me - someone who might smell unbearable to others may smell only sort of unpleasant to me) but my housemate has a very strong sense... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:39 AM on November 9, 2012

70% of Muslims in America voted for Bush in 2000
Isn't at least some of what happened the consolidation of African Muslim immigrant populations? Perhaps I speak as a Minnesotan high on the thrill of defeating the voter suppression initiative* but I have a tough time assuming that, say, the Somali population here is going to be a Republican group, like, ever. Sure, there's a lot of cultural conservatism - but plenty of Somalis here have seen that (while there are certainly racist gays and lesbians) the white folks who aren't... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:03 AM on November 7, 2012

on Kate Moss, and "taking one for the team"
I find it really hard to imagine working as a photographer and coaxing a crying subject to do something she didn't want to do, especially something as charged as posing without clothes.

Also, back in the nineties most people I knew really loathed Kate Moss. In fact, as recently as a few years ago, everyone loathed Kate Moss. She has unpleasant corporate connections (that skeevy TopShop dude), there's some kind of racism thing I dimly remember, plus... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:40 AM on November 5, 2012
You do this too, you just don't realize it and chalk it up to merely dressing as you like...which everyone believes themselves to be doing. The only difference is who is doing the telling.

Also, there's a world of difference between "everyone 'round here wears flip-flops and cutoffs in the summer so I will feel a bit weird if I wear heels and a dress" (or vice-versa) and a constant barrage of fast-fashion marketing for specific brands and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:58 AM on November 5, 2012
The thing is, it's creepy and gross exploitation all the way down - from Kate Moss to whatever anonymous model Dov Charney is having it off with this week to the shop girls getting fired if they don't look right to the warehouse workers shipping this stuff to the sweatshops making it. Even couture is not immune, though certainly the houses that do very specialized things (the places that do embroidery and beading for the couture, very high-end shoe makers like Edward Green) seem like they... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:14 AM on November 5, 2012
This is categorically and demonstrably untrue. She's THE most successful model of all time in terms of improving sales by a factor of like, 100. Hire Kate Moss, sell more stuff, guaranteed.

Certainly, you could write a pretty good book about Kate Moss in the popular imagination.

I think it's that a lot of female celebrities are both widely hated and popular/fascinating to the public, and someone who is... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:31 AM on November 5, 2012
Basically, the folks who felt/identified as marginal or non-mainstream seemed those most likely to reflexively sneer at Moss or Spears or (for the more political types) Clinton or other female political figures as complicit or corrupt or soiled somehow. Given that such people are by definition in the minority of the population, it's not hard to reconcile remembering "everyone" as hating Kate Moss with the latter's incredible mainstream appeal and popularity. I remember... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:45 PM on November 6, 2012

"I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence."
I remember reading We Are All In The Dumps With Jack and Guy and I just knew that Maurice Sendak must be gay - this was in 1993, before the internet was available to me - and that made me so happy. I don't know why I knew that - somewhat because you can read Jack and Guy as a gay couple who adopt a kid, somewhat because the whole absence of heteropatriarchy and the ambivalence/tenderness toward the Poor Little Kid just seem very non-straight to me.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:30 PM on November 5, 2012

The Plot to Destroy America's Beer
Was in Shanghai a few years back. Being shown around by local officials. We kept going to nice tourist restaurants. I kept nudging my driver, a low level government worker, to take me to a local place with lots of spicy food. Finally, one day, while the rest of the group was being taken to some fancy lunch place, me, our driver and two others went to the local joint. He orders for us and tells the server to make it spicy. Server asks what I want to drink in halting English. I said cold... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:56 AM on November 5, 2012

"What I did not expect was shrugging boredom, the most feared of student reactions."
I did not realize until this moment that Holden was supposed to be a phony. I thought I just found him phony. Admittedly, I think I read the book when I was 15 and haven't looked at it since. I've always had trouble with picking out unreliable narrators - where the author really intends you to think radically differently from them - as opposed to human and fallible narrators who interpret the world.

I enjoyed the experience of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:41 AM on November 4, 2012
I wonder whether...the problem lies less with the books than the teaching. (Given that everyone in class has the ability to read the books without too much effort). I really like the idea of the 'book circles' mentioned above - kids get some choice of what to read and then work in targeted groups.

Now, I loathed an awful lot of what we read for class (and I think that if we'd revised the 'everything written by Americans from 1910 - 1970' portion of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:04 PM on November 4, 2012

Growing Up With Nell
So they conducted an experiment and remotely collected data from a population that they had no buy-in with, didn't make any efforts to co-design with, and never collected consent from?

Isn't the language in this article deeply, deeply patronizing? Sort of "talking dog" language? Also, isn't it sort of creepy to drop and leave mysterious boxes with no information? Isn't that white people showboating? Would anyone do that... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:21 AM on November 1, 2012

I'm pretty quick to knee-jerk about development projects and privilege and colonialism, but this seems kind of incredible. I'd suggest you separate the article from the project, for one thing - I expect that the implementers of the project know much more about the situation in these villages than this article suggests. For one thing, this article explains:

Ethiopian technicians had taught adults in the village to use. Once a week, a technician
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:22 AM on November 1, 2012

"The purpose is not to substantiate but to enchant."
Toward the end of the article, it talks about how "science is in trouble" due to inaccurate and dubious popularizations - studies get blown out of proportion, stupid truisms get passed off as science and as a result, many people don't trust research.

I'd argue that this isn't precisely what happens. What happens is that power, in its various forms, needs to legitimate itself - not in a pure, state-bureau-of-propaganda way, that's been discredited. But systems... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:14 PM on October 31, 2012

12 Amazing Things About Bats
I already live in a bat house. We have had four bat intrusions into the main house during the past few years. I've had rabies prophylaxis twice - as per CDC guidelines since I was asleep in a room containing a bat - and our little cat has had two emergency vet visits for rabies boosters after cleverly catching bats. Of course, this means that I am officially the batproof member of the household and am now in charge of coordinating bat removal. My tip for all who need to... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:40 AM on October 31, 2012
Frowner: Maybe you should consider if you are in fact a kind of bat?

Perhaps some kind of bat-human hybrid? A bat-man, if you will? Or in my case a bat-woman. I wonder if I could turn my strange powers - if any - to the benefit of society?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:46 AM on October 31, 2012

The horror, the horror
Okay, since this seems like the place for recommending a very, very scary story....."White",, a novella by Tim Lebbon, is probably the scariest thing I've ever read. Although I'd also say that certain parts of The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica are pretty scary too with less of a "terrible things will get you RIGHT NOW" feeling.

Oh, gosh, and "The Specialist's Hat" by Kelly Link. Jesus.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:04 AM on October 26, 2012
As soon as you mentioned this, I immediately thought, "Wait, was the Spell of the Sorceror's Skull also by this guy?" It was, and I remember being very scared by that book back in grade school. THen again, Castlevania 2 scared me about as much back then, too. xD

The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull is still creepy, IMO, but The Curse of the Blue Figurine (which I always read in my head as "The CURSE of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:03 PM on October 26, 2012

But you're like a brother to me!
Yes, interviewing a group of US college students in 2012 totally explains every social interaction between all straight men and women ever. Just think of the topics we can settle by studying these kids! I bet we'll discover that women expect to stay home with the kids, that men don't like to talk about emotions, and that "minorities" are "oversensitive", plus teh gays are great decorators.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:43 AM on October 25, 2012
Also, should we really be drawing such sweeping conclusions about a bunch of people aged between 18 and 23?

Also, should we really assume that culture and socialization have nothing to do with how people experience their feelings and how they describe them?

And I think there's some lurking moralizing about sex in all these articles, sort of a "see, see, women think they are so pure but really everything is all carnal and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:48 AM on October 25, 2012
Also, as a woman who has had many, many male friends, I would be absolutely fucking astonished if even a fraction of them had any sexual interest in me whatsoever.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:54 AM on October 25, 2012
As it were.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:55 AM on October 25, 2012
And here is a thing: I would contend as someone socialized female that women are brought up to feel that attraction is a dangerous and charged way to related to the world, and we are brought up to believe that we are not active agents who pick, choose and evaluate partners. Luckily, given enough time most of us figure out that we need to evaluation consciously rather than do the unconscious triage that we tend to do when young.

Men, on the other... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:58 AM on October 25, 2012

But because girls have only been presented to you as first this "mysterious Other" with these weird, inferior interests (shopping, dresses, dolls, playing house) and then as sexual/love objects once you're a bit older - and not so much as potential friends all this time - you perceive most interactions with women on the basis of their sexual/love possibilities; which ends up as paying too much attention to females you find attractive while mostly ignoring females
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:15 PM on October 25, 2012
I'm a gay dude, and the best sex I have is with my best friends

One thing I notice: when gay dudes' sexual practices are explained for straight people, not only is it usually in homophobic terms ("gay men! so promiscuous! and they cannot love! plus, it's gross!") but casual sex is always described as not only the real of male sexuality ("all men would totally have sex with strangers all the time if possible")... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:31 PM on October 25, 2012
Thank you, aggrieved international, for recalling that the United States is not the world and that Americans (or shall I, in deference to your sensitivities, use the execrable "USians"?) are not global citizens.

And yet, how strange it is that this type of "science" is almost always used to "prove" things that further advantage the already advantaged and deny the experiences of the vulnerable.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:37 PM on October 25, 2012
Like, I could see conceding that I'd like to have sex with my female friends in the abstract, and sure, it'd be an ego boost to think that they're all one hot second away from jumping my bones


Also, I submit that since the social cost to straight men of having sex is lower (no pregnancy risk, less likely to be physically forced to do something you don't want to do, if she turns into a stalker she is less likely to be violent) and the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:01 PM on October 25, 2012

If the gay scene offers any insight, it's that the two are not mutually exclusive!


And this is where the stuff flex was talking about - the part where straight dudes are raised to think that women are stupid/contemptible/contaminatingly-feminine/boring Others - comes into play.

It would be awesome if more dudes could be able to be both friendly and attracted to women.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:05 PM on October 25, 2012
awkward...

really? did I accidentally Spoonerize? I do that a lot because I was raised in a profanity/innuendo-free household and a lot of words that are hiLARiously sexual to others aren't to me. Amusingly, some of the French I learned from my mother, for example, was completely innocent in the sixties and is obscene slang now.

Or is it that you assume I'm a dude, so if I say that I'd sleep with my friends that... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:13 PM on October 25, 2012
huh? How could that be pointing out a Spoonerism? Or am I thinking of some other use of the term?

Oh, sadly you are right! It wasn't a Spoonerism. Freudian slip, I suppose, both times.

My teacher in freshman HS English was under the impression that all Freudian slips are sexual, on the assumption that Freud is filthy. We had a little disagreement about this that did not end well for me.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:19 PM on October 25, 2012
Freud? He's just wrong.

Only brutal honesty will suffice now, I see. So I must sadly admit that I have only read parts of Anti-Oedipus and two of those little Semiotexte Deleuze/Guattari books, and my ability to talk about Deleuze is...hm...sharply limited! Sharply limited would be the phrase. I mean, you can't be an anarchist without hearing about rhizomes, rhizomes, rhizomes all the time, but that doesn't mean... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:35 PM on October 25, 2012
Freud? He's just wrong.

I mean, I can tell you why Freud is wrong...and yet at the same time (see what I did there?) I became a happier person who was a lot easier to be around after thinking through all that stuff about disavowal. Also the stuff about wishes. Is it because I have been brought into being as a Freudian subject so it "works" on me? Is it because of a strong placebo effect? What is a subject anyway?... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:00 PM on October 25, 2012
This is good, but please don't skimp on the realisation that even though Continental philosophers aren't demanding formal logic that they are demanding a large cultural base of knowledge

That was why I read Freud in the first place! Amazing how much one is helped when reading a book called Anti-Oedipus by having read Freud.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:04 PM on October 25, 2012

Living in the era of 'friends with benefits' and finding yourself locked into the role of friend without benefits is bound to be even more galling than usual. Anyone who finds it galling way over and beyond the call of friendship gets not a drop of censure from me.


I feel like you must be misunderstanding the whole "friends with benefits" thing. Now, if every friendship normally was sexual, and you alone were left out, that... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:14 PM on October 25, 2012

The Fact of the Matter?
On September 24, 2012 Radiolab aired their Yellow Rain segment in an episode titled “The Fact of the Matter.” Everybody in the show had a name, a profession, institutional affiliation except Eng Yang, who was identified as “Hmong guy,” and me, “his niece.” The fact that I am an award-winning writer was ignored. The fact that my uncle was an official radio man and documenter of the Hmong experience to the Thai government during the war was absent. In the interview, the Hmong knowledge... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:32 PM on October 23, 2012
And also there's this question of for whom. For whom is this story being reported? Is it for white people and the Hmong guests are a kind of sideshow? What is the purpose of this story? Why is this angle on this story being taken? Why is the story "people have a conspiracy idea about 'yellow rain' but it isn't true" instead of "what happened to Hmong people and continues to happen to them" or "Hmong intellectuals respond to the war"?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:34 PM on October 23, 2012
As I recall the episode (-and, true I haven't read the Hyphen article) the gist of what the episode was about wasn't defending 'Truth'. It was about demonstrating how difficult the concept of truth in fact is and how 'Truth' basically doesn't exist. Upon reflection, yea, maybe it was poorly handled, poorly thought out, maybe naive of them to think this was going to come out okay. But, what about the alternative? They could've run the story and not involved anyone from the Hmong... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:14 PM on October 23, 2012

BOYFRIEND REQUIRED
This? Is pretty awesome. Although also sad, because people, it is sad that a woman has to specify "don't become violent", "treat women equally", etc. Those things should be like "must be carbon-based life form".

Most of these things really aren't that stringent.

When I decided to be really serious about dating, I could have made a similar list. I think if I'd written it out, it might have... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:22 AM on October 23, 2012
Willing to put up with a control freak who organizes her personal life around lists.

Also, I have a beloved friend who organizes their life around lists, maps and charts. Having a list and strong standards does not mean that you're a jerk - you can be a jerk and have lists, but you can also be someone who says "I am setting up these lists so that once the list is dealt with, everything else is all freedom and relaxation!"
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:23 AM on October 23, 2012
"I don't discriminate based on looks." I find it very hard to believe that a woman with this level of specificity in who she is looking for does not have a single preference when it comes to looks. That, to me, feels like further judgement on people who care about looks as "discriminating." This list is purely discrimination.

Two things come to mind: I am incredibly picky about quite a lot of things in dates,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:37 AM on October 23, 2012

Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive?
No, actually, the key factor is that no one actually wants to redistribute money and resources. The government keeps trying to substitute knowledge and hectoring for actual resources*, because nobody wants to trust the poors with actual money or cost any rich people anything. You want people to eat better? Hello, make sure everyone gets a living wage at a safe and non-discriminatory job and can work an 8 hour day, make sure that everyone has a kitchen which meets minimum food-storage,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:53 PM on October 20, 2012

Does This Plate Of Beans Vibrate?
It is part and parcel of a larger issue I have been processing for a while now - what does sex look like in a truly equal society? What would female sexuality - and my individual sexuality - look like if it was not so deeply shaped by everything around us? What do *I* really want that is of myself and not what I am told I should want - that is bound up in this inherently unequal dynamic of behaviours, expectations, approved scripts, and yes, androcentric?... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:04 AM on October 18, 2012
And I think people reading it as heteronormative, etc., are just reading it wrong — it's trying to diagnose all kinds of cultural assumptions about sex (implicitly assumed to be hetero, penetrative, etc.), but it's not endorsing those assumptions.

I think that if you write about, let's be honest, vibrators and dildoes..and you don't even mention queer folks, and you don't even allude to the way that businesses run... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:15 AM on October 18, 2012
I was and continue to be surprised that those are the conclusions you have drawn and the suggestions you are reading into the piece because I do not see them there! I read her wording as being very, overly careful to not, as RogerB says, endorse that model.

Maybe this is a contradiction in the way that the piece itself is written - that there's some tension in the thing itself.

See, to me she keeps returning to this theme of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:31 AM on October 18, 2012
I mean, I'm sure the writer is a person I'd like and respect if we met - no one could produce this article without having a basic analysis that I would find smart and generally awesome. It's just that I have some trouble with the piece itself.

Although like everyone else under white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, if I wrote an essay about sexuality it would be full of me unconsciously revealing all kinds of assumptions which would mostly be wrong and/or depressing.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:33 AM on October 18, 2012
You keep doing this — you're taking a critical claim that, in An's actual article, is clearly about the way sex toys are sold

We may just have to agree to disagree - I feel like this is a piece with a very deep underlying discomfort about sex toys, masturbation and sex-that-doesn't-look-like-"sex", with a layer of reasoning applied on top. (I've written pieces like that myself!) That doesn't mean that I think the reasoning is wrong, but I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:53 AM on October 18, 2012

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