Neurotopia

I’m putting this post under “education” because I define a new term at the end of it. Which, of course, qualifies it to be educational.

By now you’ve probably picked up on the Sexiest Female Scientist list being passed around by some atheist guy, so I won’t bother to link to it and drive up the turd’s traffic. I will, however, give my quick 2 cents on this particular brand of sexism.

Sheril and PZ already hit this topic, among many others, but I think Janet’s take comes closest to my own position. She writes:

However, it’s pretty assy to dismiss not just the intuitions but the actual experiences of a significant number of people who tell you (repeatedly), that they are harmed by X. To dismiss these experiences while saying, “No, give me an argument against X,” is clueless at best.

Look, central to the project of being ethical is recognizing that it’s not all about you. It is not enough to evaluate courses of action on the basis of first principles that seem plausible to you, or of actual experiences you have had — how things impact others matters. That means that listening to what people are telling you about how X impacts them is a pretty crucial step — one that ought to inform not just your thoughts but your actions.

There. That’s it. That is the definition of male privilege. When you, as a man get to substitute your own version of reality for a woman’s, you are exercising male privilege. As a practical example– if you, as a man, decide that no, actually women aren’t or shouldn’t be offended by posting their pictures in a Top 15 Science Hottie post, and then dismiss the opinions of actual women including some of whom you posted about because “they should be flattered”, you are exercising male privilege. You are also a dick.

With that in mind, I take credit for introducing my own term to the blogosphere.

labia puncher (n)- A man whose privileged status allows him to substitute his own opinion/interpretation on the appropriateness of a comment or situation directed at a woman, in lieu of actually considering said woman’s opinion. The labia puncher differs from a mansplainer in that the mansplainer merely reiterates a position already taken by a woman and gets credit for it, while a labia puncher is just a cum-chugging cock gobbler who can’t get a date for obvious reasons.

Comments

  1. #1 Scicurious
    July 19, 2010

    I miss you, dude. :)

    Also, I want a BIG SIGN that says “THIS IS ABOUT MORE THAN YOU”. I want it stitched into every piece of clothing on every sign, on everything that everyone is forced to look at. It would blink red. I think it might make the world a better place.

  2. #2 MJ
    July 19, 2010

    I think feminist philosophers already have a verb that roughly corresponds to your noun “labia puncher”: it’s “silencing.” From a review of Rae Langton’s “Sexual Solipsism”:

    “According to Langton and Hornsby, silencing is systematic communicative interference constituted by (a systematic pattern of) hearers failing to recognize the communicative intention of speakers. Pornography is alleged to bring about silencing since consuming (certain sorts of) pornography brings it about that (some) men fail to recognize (some) women’s intention to sexually refuse. When this happens, those women thereby fail to communicate their refusals to those men and they are thus silenced.”

    So the idea would be that the privileged male here is failing to recognize the women he posts pictures of as intending or even potentially intending to refuse consent (to have their pictures posted), and thereby silencing them, or being a labia puncher, as it were.

  3. #3 Evil Monkey
    July 19, 2010

    Interesting. I really should go look up more of the feminist vocabulary, especially since they already have classy, accurate ways of stating my verbal diarrhea.

  4. #4 Saint Gasoline
    July 19, 2010

    It is perfectly acceptable to dismiss personal experiences and ask for an actual argument. I wager you’d do the same thing if someone breathlessly asserted that homeopathy cured their cancer. You’re also ignoring the fact that “actual women” are defending him against those who are calling him sexist. The fact is, someone’s personal experiences could be misinterpreted or misinformed, which is why argument and better evidence is needed.

    The guy posted pictures and said nothing remotely derogatory about the women. Instead, people are foisting sexism upon him because of a long history of female oppression that he has nothing to do with, as if this somehow means he is also engaging in female oppression when he clearly has no such intention. In the process they are calling him all sorts of derogatory names, including but not limited to “dick”, and with full intentions of being derogatory. You wouldn’t react to someone accidentally stubbing your toe and insisting he didn’t mean any offense or harm by beating the crap out of him, and similarly you shouldn’t react to his relatively innocuous post and reasonable defenses of his opinions with such venom.

    If this is about more than just him, then make it more than just about him. All I see is personal attacks against the guy and pisspoor attempts to link up his own actions with those of legitimate sexists. I am not convinced by any of the lines of argument offered that purport to show posting pictures of attractive scientists somehow harms women. This isn’t to deny what women may think they experience, only that the harm they are attributing to this list is probably mistaken.

  5. #5 Evil Monkey
    July 19, 2010

    “Dismissing personal experiences” is exactly the point. Glad it went way over your head.

    “This isn’t to deny what women may think they experience” is exactly what the privileged do. And, what you’re doing right here.

    The harm they attribute to the list isn’t mistaken, because it is their experience. Aren’t you glad you have the authority to take that away from them though?

    I call a spade a spade. I don’t hide behind some sexist list and ignorance (feigned or otherwise). Whether he meant it to be derogatory or oppressive is irrelevant, which is the entire point; those with privilege can get away with it as long as they don’t mean it.

  6. #6 Vince Whirlwind
    July 19, 2010

    Why is it sexist? Some people are hot. Some are not. Reality.

    People who are eternally finding something to be offended by are fairly easy to dismiss.

  7. #7 Mojave66
    July 20, 2010

    What is it about “being taken seriously as a human and a scientist” is beyond you guys (and yes, most of you are guys)? How about asking for permission before you make a stupid little list like this? How about, as PZ points out, you ASK the women involved how they actually *feel* about being labeled as “hot”?

    Plus, I’m betting that your “hot” is not my “hot.” But of course heterosexual males get to define “hot” and the rest of us are humorless, silly or queer if we don’t get it.

    This fucking pisses me off beyond words.

  8. #8 Mike Lisieski
    July 20, 2010

    This reminds me of all of those comments that blatantly racist people make, where they say things like, “I’m not racist, I just don’t really like hanging around Mexican/black/white/Indian people.” Claiming you’re not sexist and then doing sexist things (like collapsing the merits of an almost exclusively female group of scientists into their sex appeal to a heteronormative male viewer) is just hypocrasy.

    I don’t think the guy is a dick; I think he was naive. I don’t think anybody should be slinging insults at him after he apologizes, but I also don’t think anybody needs to jump to his defense. He’s responsible for what he posts, whether he knew it would offend people or not. I think the fires are really being fueled by the people who want to defend his slip-up.

  9. #9 Thomas
    July 20, 2010

    Are you equally offended by this calendar of male scientists as sex objects:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/bums-biceps-and-bunsen-burners-1323140.html

  10. #10 Neuroskeptic
    July 20, 2010

    The list is undoubtedly the work of a first-class dick. But is there anything more to it than that? Is it “male privilege” to make this list and then act surprised when people get offended, or is it just being a dick? Because people do stuff like this all the time, without it being a gender issue. They’re just dicks. I mean if I went into a church and pissed on a Bible I wouldn’t be exercising atheist privilege, because there isn’t any such thing, I’d just be being a dick. Not everything is about privilege.

  11. #11 Scicurious
    July 20, 2010

    Neuroskeptic, I think it is real, honest male privilege, because this guy is completely ignoring calls from the girls that they are upset and they want their photos taken down. Every time he ignores those girls and says “I’m not taking the photos down until I hear an argument” he is saying “Your opinion of YOUR OWN PICTURE being on my site doesn’t matter. Your opinions do not matter, and YOU do not matter except insofar as I find you worth fapping to”. It makes it even worse that at the same time he is taking every thing every GUY there says into consideration. If that isn’t an exercise of male privilege I don’t know what is.

  12. #12 Jimbo Jones
    July 20, 2010

    Thomas: given that it’s a calendar of people who:
    1) gave permission to be in it
    2) are in a priviledged position

    The answer is no. And the fact that you couldn’t see why doesn’t speak well for you.

    Neuroskeptic: Telling people that their experience of the world doesn’t count, and being agreed with? Priviledge all over. Also being a dick. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Your example is not one of priviledge: it takes a less powerful group and has them attacking a more powerful group. Reverse it; have a Christian march into a freethought meeting, grab the meeting agenda and piss on it. And get away with a wrist slap, as would happen in reality. This becomes an example of priviledged action.

  13. #13 Rhetoreek
    July 20, 2010

    There is an issue of male language here. The list is a rating of one thing, a subject judgement of physical attractiveness of women as captured in a (single?) photograph. It is an opinion of one quality, and in that sense it could easily have been a list of the 15 tallest women. And before someone suggests there is a difference there, because height is an measurement not open to individual preferences, well actually the type of ‘hotness’ this list is measuring is clearly the universal, culturally established, type.

    The interpretation of the list, this measure of ‘hotness’, as being a rating of the broader concept of a womans beauty, or worse seeing it as a measure of their worth as a human being, is an interpretation being attributed to it primarily by women.

    Now perhaps some of those commenters really do see the list and make that shallow judgement of the women therein but I would claim that the vast overwhelming majority of human beings do not see it that way.

    In fact it is my personal experience that I know, from my own peer group, that the vast majority of people do not come to that interpretation, but this brings up the second issue.

    You can argue and name call all you want about men being dicks for “dismissing personal experiences” but that grossly simplifies and misrepresents what is happening. The fact that women are defending the list (or at least arguing it’s harmless and unoffensive) highlights that things are clearly not black and white. So while your experiences do count, it is blatantly obvious from the comments being posted that the men consider the women complaining to be in a very vocal, and all too easily offended, minority.

    If that is not the case, then you’ll do your cause a lot more justice by actually addressing that misconception. In fact until you do so you are simply wasting your time.

  14. #14 IanW
    July 20, 2010

    You guys covneniently forget that science blogs has been just as guilty in one way or another, in advancing this agenda.

    In 2006, PZ blogged about whether or not Richard Dawkins is sexy.

    Isis had a blog discussing sexy scientists which was curiously accompanied by a media add showiing women in various states of disrobement: http://scienceblogs.com/isisthescientist/2009/04/dr_isis_asdr_sexy.php

    Greg Laden blogged on how sexy is fine:
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2010/01/are_the_skepchicks_too_sexy.php

    You know what they say about people who live in glass houses….

    I know that Pepsigate was the trigger for an exodus from Sci Blogs, but it wasn’t the sole contributor. I’m left wondering how much of that exodus was a result of a lot of little things like this: like blogging gossip instead of science.

    The blogger with his insignificant list of sexy scientists now has a forum instead of a blog, and you guys gave it to him.

  15. #15 Eric Lund
    July 20, 2010

    The interpretation of the list, this measure of ‘hotness’, as being a rating of the broader concept of a womans beauty, or worse seeing it as a measure of their worth as a human being, is an interpretation being attributed to it primarily by women.

    To call this statement baloney would be an insult to baloney.

    There is a reason you don’t see pin-up calendars in workplaces anymore, and it’s a similar reason to why I (a male, in case it’s not obvious from my name) found that post offensive. Some of the commenters to PZ’s post made the analogy to a pin-up calendar, and I agree that that’s what this list is. Meet Dr. August, -ologist Jane Science. What does she do? I don’t know, but the d00d who wrote that post thinks she looks hawt in a bikini.* A big part of the problem with the post is that the author provides no information whatsoever about the science these women are doing, for which they have spent many years in training. All we have to go on (in most cases; I recognized some of the women as current or former ScienceBloggers) is a name, a field, and a photo. If you don’t think that trivializes their careers, you’re not paying attention.

    Actually, there is one important difference between this list and a pin-up calendar. The girls in a real pin-up calendar have, at least in principle, signed releases acknowledging that their photos will be used for this purpose. The d00d who wrote that post just grabbed photos off the net without asking for permission. If I were his lawyer (IANAL), I would be advising him to settle out of court should any of the women sue him.

    *Yes, at least one of the photos is of a woman wearing a bikini.

  16. #16 Saint Gasoline
    July 20, 2010

    “The harm they attribute to the list isn’t mistaken, because it is their experience. Aren’t you glad you have the authority to take that away from them though?”

    This has nothing to do with my authority. I am not treating these claims any different than I would any other claim I have doubts about. The people who insist that lists like these harm women are not offering any good reasons to suppose that this list could actually do any harm. The best arguments seem to argue that many obvious sexists throughout history would also construct such lists, but that doesn’t demonstrate causation any more than pointing out that historically sexists have also eaten, and therefore concluding that anyone who eats is sexist.

    “I call a spade a spade. I don’t hide behind some sexist list and ignorance (feigned or otherwise). Whether he meant it to be derogatory or oppressive is irrelevant, which is the entire point; those with privilege can get away with it as long as they don’t mean it.”

    I think intent is entirely relevant if you’re going to call someone a dick about it. If anyone is acting like a dick, it’s you, as you resort to name-calling and don’t even bother to address his arguments, quickly dismissing them by attacking his character instead of what he actually says. Meanwhile, he has said absolutely nothing derogatory about his critics or the women featured.

    To use my analogy again, suppose a naturopath insisted that his personal experience was that he has cured cancer over and over again with homeopathy and herbal remedies. You would rightly expect better evidence, because his experience could be mistaken, and probably is without better evidence. The homeopath then responds, mimicking you in this post, that you are using your position of privelege as a Western scientist and academic, steeped in an ideology of colonialism, to dismiss his experiences as a practitioner of Eastern medicine.

    Do you see how this isn’t an argument? It’s just a bald assertion, and a baseless one at that; an assertion that many of the more postmodern types of feminists are happy making, to boot. No one is denying the experience, only the interpretation of that experience.

    Now, those arguing that posting a list of publicly available images and commenting that they are attractive AND scientists is somehow an example of male privelege, please explain. I have seen a feminist blog posting pictures of soccer players they consider “hot”, for instance, and I saw nothing wrong with it (aside from the hypocrisy and double standard). Anyone on the Internet can compile a list of pictures they consider attractive and get away with it. This is not an example of male privilege, as women can and have done it. Not only that, but it seems to be an example of female privilege in this case, because a feminist blog can do it with little fury, but when an atheist blog run by a man does it the Internet erupts with all kinds of nonsensical slander against the guy.

    Further, those arguing that he “ignored” all their other qualities besides their attractiveness are being deliberately obtuse. He DID mention that they were scientists and mentioned their fields of study, so clearly he wasn’t ignoring their intellectual achievements.

    Now, no one is denying that women face various degrees of implicit and explicit sexism. We are only denying that this list is part of that sexism. It is not, and until a better argument is presented that demonstrates that, I will continue to disagree.

    By the way, to dismiss my arguments by simply labeling me “sexist” and refusing to engage is also an example of what you’re talking about. It’s also a prime example of what is so wrong with much ideology—it hides behind character assassination and moral outrage to prevent itself from falsifiability. To call Luke a dick when you engage in this kind of tactic is certainly a case of the pot calling the snow black.

  17. #17 Dan
    July 20, 2010

    I’m still sorting out exactly what happened and who’s said what about this ‘Sexiest Scientists’ incident, but before I go any further, I have to censure EM for using “cum chugging cock gobbler” as a pejorative. What’s with that, man? Penises and semen have unjustly become metaphors for male privilege and the subjectivization of women. This is a post about increasing awareness about male privilege and being an ally to feminists, and THAT’S how you go about it? I appreciate that you’re attacking an instance of prejudice, but not when you use another instance of prejudice as your weapon.

  18. #18 Evil Monkey
    July 20, 2010

    Dan- you are spot on. In fact, you’re the only one so far to point out that it is hypocritical as fuck. I’d hazard a guess that you might be the most enlightened commenter so far. Sometimes childish pin-up posts merit childish responses, but I don’t do meta-irony well, if that wasn’t obvious.

  19. #19 Jimbo Jones
    July 20, 2010

    IanW:

    You guys covneniently forget that science blogs has been just as guilty in one way or another, in advancing this agenda.
    In 2006, PZ blogged about whether or not Richard Dawkins is sexy.

    Largely irrelevant: it’s a privileged person talking about a similarly privileged person.

    Isis had a blog discussing sexy scientists which was curiously accompanied by a media add showiing women in various states of disrobement: http://scienceblogs.com/isisthescientist/2009/04/dr_isis_asdr_sexy.php

    Largely irrelevant: The post was in the context of discussing privilege, which is hard to do without evidence.

    Greg Laden blogged on how sexy is fine:
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2010/01/are_the_skepchicks_too_sexy.php

    Largely irrelevant: The post was in the context of discussing privilege and how to mess with people’s pre-established privileged ideas.

    tl;dr version: Try reading next time, so that you might look less silly.

  20. #20 DuWayne
    July 21, 2010

    Sometimes childish pin-up posts merit childish responses, but I don’t do meta-irony well, if that wasn’t obvious.

    Given the rest of the post, I was rather hoping you were going for irony. If it hadn’t been addressed, I would have asked – though I would have emailed.

    Saint Gasoline -

    It is perfectly acceptable to dismiss personal experiences and ask for an actual argument.

    Good fucking grief, are you really that fucking ignorant? What the hell do you think the discussion of those personal experiences are? Would you also argue that someone’s personal experience with racism wouldn’t be a valid argument against the assertion that racism doesn’t exist – or that a given statement isn’t racist?

    I am so sick and goddamned tired of the dismissal of personal experiences with sexism/racism/anti-gay bigotry/etc. as valid points in discussions of those issues. I am even more tired of the absolute stupidity of the argument that some women/brown people/queers think it’s all right. Here is a smack from the fucking cluestick – some women are sexist themselves, some brown people are racist about brown people, some queers hate homosexuality. Others of those categories just have a very different experience.

    More importantly, those personal experiences you are so very keen on dismissing are the heart of the discussion. If no one had personal experiences with sexism that garnered their reaction, we wouldn’t be talking about this. That includes a couple of people who are actually on that fucking list – having personal experiences with exactly that sort of objectification that were very well covered by them. More than a little ironic.

    But I suppose their personal experience with being objectified in the blogosphere and strenuously objecting to it – then it happening again on the post being discussed – are completely irrelevant to the discussion.

  21. #21 Saint Gasoline
    July 21, 2010

    I never argued that personal experiences were totally irrelevant, DuWayne, only that personal experiences can be misinformed or misinterpreted easily, as I showed with my example of the Naturopath who insists can cure cancer. Do you disagree that personal experces can be mistaken?

    In fact, your own response belies my point—you admit that some women disagree, based on their own experiences, and dismiss their experience by labeling them as sexist. That gets to my point that in disputes of personal experience, you just trade experience and leave it at that, as they can be contradictory. How did you decide that the feminist experience was correct? Hopefully through argument and evidence! That was my only point.

    To answer your question, I would argue that personal experiences can be irrelevant in an argument about race, depending on the context and if the personal experience is misinformed or somehow wrong in some way. In this case, I think those who are claiming this harms women are mistaken, and that they have not justified their claims of personal experience of harm with any evidence or argument that would give it precedener those who argue that this list does not harm them. Further, I see no reasonable mechanism by which such a list would harm the women through any fault of the list-maker. I can elaborate more, and I plan to in a blog post, of which I’ll post a link here when I’ve filled out my argument a bit more.

  22. #22 Jimbo Jones
    July 22, 2010

    Saint Gasoline:
    Yes, I disagree that personal experiences can be mistaken. A single personal experience shouldn’t be taken as evidence of widespread phenomena, but collective personal experiences are the only evidence of widespread social phenomena.

    Discrimination is all in the personal experience. An example: If I experience discrimination on the basis of religious belief (or lack thereof), there’s no evidence of that barring my own personal experience. That doesn’t mean discrimination didn’t happen. And if others who share my views don’t think that the actions were discriminatory, that still doesn’t indicate a lack of discrimination. To say it does says that you know better about a person’s own mind and experiences than they do.

    The fact that there are women who don’t think that the world is sexist doesn’t eliminate the ones that do. And, more to the point, when the first group are shown a different interpretation of most of the things around them, they tend to agree that they’re being discriminated against. The reason that there are a lot of people who don’t understand sexism is because our entire culture is sexist. Damned near everything in the media exists with the assumption that men are expected to be strong, and earn the money of a household. Similarly, with the assumption that women are supposed to be over-emotional beings who provide the social care that a family needs.

    Examples (108 of them, if you care to go through them all):
    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2010/06/assvertising-mcfail.html

    To your charge that you can’t see the problem with the “15 science hotties” list, since when is lack of imagination proof of anything? But let me assist your imagination: by presenting the women as “hot women of science”, they are reduced to being eye candy for the masses. There’s no real reference to them being intelligent, no reference to their personalities. They’re just inhuman ornaments for a web page now. Especially in that some of the women have been asking to be removed from the list and have been told “no, your name and image will serve my purposes, I don’t care that you don’t want them to.”

    Which, when you really think about it, is pretty bloody disgusting, no?

  23. #23 DuWayne
    July 22, 2010

    I never argued that personal experiences were totally irrelevant, DuWayne, only that personal experiences can be misinformed or misinterpreted easily, as I showed with my example of the Naturopath who insists can cure cancer. Do you disagree that personal experces can be mistaken?

    When you are talking about apples and fucking broccoli, it really doesn’t matter. Of course personal experiences can be mistaken, that doesn’t mean the experience of sexism is.

    In fact, your own response belies my point—you admit that some women disagree, based on their own experiences, and dismiss their experience by labeling them as sexist.

    No, I didn’t dismiss their experience by labeling them sexist. I said that some women are, while others haven’t had the same experience – huge fucking difference. To make it clearer, because apparently you have reading comprehension problems, some women have never really been faced with problems related to sexism – such as having a boss who liked to touch them inappropriately, or getting paid less than a male colleague, or finding out they were advanced in a position because their boss thought they were hot, etc.

    Then there are women who are just flat sexist/misogynistic themselves – and yes, I have no problem whatsoever invalidating their feelings. Women who believe that other women should submit to their husbands are wrong. Women who believe that other women should be legally prohibited from having an abortion are wrong. Women who believe that a woman’s place is in the home and not in the workforce are wrong. Just like brown people who believe that brown people are ignorant, subhuman cretins are wrong, or gays who hate themselves and other gays, because they believe homosexuality is an abomination are wrong.

    That gets to my point that in disputes of personal experience, you just trade experience and leave it at that, as they can be contradictory. How did you decide that the feminist experience was correct? Hopefully through argument and evidence! That was my only point.

    You could trade experience, but at some point it falls flat. Take a woman who has been molested by her boss and who is afraid of making waves, because being labeled as a troublemaker will adversely affect her future career choices. She believes that the sort of objectification we are talking about is pretty shitty – mainly because, as was the case with her boss, permission to do so wasn’t given by those involved. Contrast that with a woman who has never experienced any serious gender related problems, who doesn’t see what the problem is.

    What exactly makes the latter woman’s lack of experience a reasonable argument against the former woman’s experience being objectified and touched inappropriately by her boss? Or we could contrast the former, with a woman who believes she deserved what she got, because she shouldn’t be having a career in the first place.

    In any case, if anyone was basing the entirety of this discussion on personal experience, you might have a point. But that is not what we are talking about.

    To answer your question, I would argue that personal experiences can be irrelevant in an argument about race, depending on the context and if the personal experience is misinformed or somehow wrong in some way.

    While I would argue that there are very few discussions about race – or gender, where such experiences aren’t a very important part of the discussion, precisely because they may be misinformed – or can be subject to different interpretations. While sometimes the context of these discussions may be very obvious, the offense very overt, a lot of the time it is not so obvious – this case, in some ways, included. The personal experience and feelings of people who are part of a given outgroup being discussed are important, because ultimately that is what people should be basing future behavior on.

    To be very clear, I am not saying that the only consideration is personal feelings. What I mean by that, is that things that we do and say affect other people. While we can’t ever please everyone, we do need to decide who we are willing to hurt/offend and to what degree. You may come out of this conversation believing this is no big deal, which if you believe strongly about it, you should. But you should also come out of this conversation understanding that there are women who are extremely bothered by the notion of objectifying women in this manner without their permission – because this sort of objectification without permission has had an adverse affect on them in the past.

    In this case, I think those who are claiming this harms women are mistaken, and that they have not justified their claims of personal experience of harm with any evidence or argument that would give it precedener those who argue that this list does not harm them.

    Have you considered why you feel that way? Why is it so important to you, to feel you have a right to objectify women without their permission? More importantly, why do the feelings of women who have had very shitty experiences with such objectification, take precedence over the feelings of women who haven’t? Should we also give equal weight to the opinion of women who believe “those sluts” deserve it, because they’re uppity career women – instead of the homemakers god intended they be?

    To be very clear about this, I am not trying to imply that I am above all those sorts of thoughts. I occasionally objectify women (and men), I sometimes think in somewhat sexist terms – about women and men. Just as I have some very negative biases in a lot of other contexts. I am not trying to claim perfection, I just think seriously considering those biases is important.

    Further, I see no reasonable mechanism by which such a list would harm the women through any fault of the list-maker.

    For fucks sake, the list maker made the fucking list!

    Though honestly, I am not inclined to hate on him all that much for doing so. I think that having an excuse to have the conversation is important. I also think that the harm is relatively minor, especially when the discussion it wrought is taken into account.

    What I do think is harmful, is making the baseline assumption that all feelings/experiences are equally valid. That the opinion of a woman who has never really experienced problems due to objectification are due equal consideration of the opinion of women who have. Or that we should pay the least attention to women who believe that a woman’s place is barefoot and pregnant – in the kitchen.

  24. #24 The Goddess
    July 23, 2010

    ” Isis had a blog discussing sexy scientists which was curiously accompanied by a media add showiing women in various states of disrobement: http://scienceblogs.com/isisthescientist/2009/04/dr_isis_asdr_sexy.php

    Largely irrelevant: The post was in the context of discussing privilege, which is hard to do without evidence.”

    Oh please the photos were not in any way necessary- that’s total bullshit. She likes to appear edgy and it increases perception of her own “hotness” that she reminds people of all the time. Like the way she mentions her bra and panties etc in the post cited. Yeah I know she’s being edgy and ironic. Yeah right. Sure she is.

    And in another post she even used the same photo as the top photo in Luke’s post! Without attribution, or aming the model, who is apparently an actual scientist. She posts this sexist cheesecake crap all the time.

    Like, well, today as a matter of fact. She apparently finds porn watching “hilarious”. This was inspired by a post sent to her by another blogger who she and Zuska attacked for HIS post about porn. Get it? It’s not hypocrisy – it’s irony! It’s edgy!

    http://scienceblogs.com/isisthescientist/2010/07/help_bp_learn_to_photoshop.php

    Damn I’m sorry she didn’t join the exodus. I had my fingers crossed. She’s an attention-hungry embarrassment.

  25. #25 Joshua
    July 31, 2010

    This is going to sound rude to some, but is offered in an entirely different spirit…

    There is a wide distribution of sensitivity to issues like this. The sensitivity of some posters here is on one end of the spectrum. Their feelings are nevertheless real and it is unkind to dismiss them. Someone who does is not, though, a misogynist or exerting “male privilege” – they are just being insensitive.

    Having an exceptionally high or exceptionally low sensitivity to offense, relative to the rest of society, is generally experienced by most as anti-social. I suspect that most people who read this exchange will conclude they should avoid the topic with both the offender and the offended, and will form a negative impression of both.

    That is why, even though it has no bearing on what you feel, you would wish to mount a defense of your feelings that would persuade a majority to share them, if you think that you sensitivity (or insensitivity) should be more normal.

    But even if you do so, there is no guarantee you wouldn’t simply alienate the majority further.

    Some of the comments here run the risk of suggesting that viewing someone as a sexual object is some for of gender crime. Good luck fighting millions of years of biology. But calling this “male privilege” is an assault on men everywhere who know very well that *female* is the selective sex!

    Bearing the above in mind I have nothing to offer other than, in general, a plea for tolerance and understanding whenever possible.

  26. #26 Brian D.
    August 2, 2010

    Having worked in all female offices (except for me,) I’ve had the female version of a labia puncher with whom I had to deal. I call those: penis punchers. lol. Or when it’s especially bad, Estrogen Nazis.

  27. #27 LeahJanes
    August 18, 2010

    I am irritated by the varying and mostly incorrect spellings of “privileged” in these comments.

  28. #28 Gary L.
    September 17, 2010

    Nice job on the homophobic terminology at the end of the post.

  29. #29 Devizakereskedés
    October 25, 2010

    I just came across your post by chance. It’s great to see someone is putting this much thought into writing articles as good as this one which are available for free on the web!

  30. #30 Amy
    December 2, 2010

    How can anyone argue with the way someone “feels”? I’m just an uneducated doofus, but feelings are real, whether understood by others or not. I think that the ladys who would like to be removed from the list should be removed out of the respect that they deserve. The fact that they are refused this courtesy shows disrespect to those women who were so graciously honored due to physical appearance.

  31. #31 Emmers
    February 6, 2011

    Whenever anybody says “God! Don’t be so _sensitive_!” I am extremely tempted to show them this Something Positive comic. http://www.somethingpositive.net/sp11102008.shtml Especially if they have young children of their own.

    You don’t get to decide whether something is offensive to someone else. It is, or it isn’t. Your only decision is how you react to that: calmly, or petulant-whiny-childishly.

  32. #32 Noah Easterly
    February 6, 2011

    What’s with the anti-gay language there at the end?

  33. #33 altın çilek
    April 2, 2011

    I don’t think the guy is a dick; I think he was naive. I don’t think anybody should be slinging insults at him after he apologizes, but I also don’t think anybody needs to jump to his defense. He’s responsible for what he posts, whether he knew it would offend people or not. I think the fires are really being fueled by the people who want to defend his slip-up.

  34. #34 sudha
    October 7, 2011

    Over the past few days there has been a bit of discussion about the place of women in science. Part of it revolves around this ill-advised post which clearly objectifies women. Creepily, in my not so humble opinion. Sheril Kirshenbaum of the Intersection responded in a very calm and rational manner, and some other bloggers have weighed in as well. I found the discussion particularly interesting given the fact that Newsweek just had an article discussing the “Beauty Advantage” and how looks do matter, more than we’d like to admit actually, and that women do have it worse. So it goes without saying, but needs to be said despite some people’s objections, that everyone really should use a more critical eye towards their own verbal regurgitation’s … before they spew them into the workplace, cyberspace, the street, or wherever they happen to be at the time.

  35. #35 sesli chat
    October 15, 2011

    However, it’s pretty assy to dismiss not just the intuitions but the actual experiences of a significant number of people who tell you (repeatedly), that they are harmed by X. To dismiss these experiences while saying, “No, give me an argument against X,” is clueless at best.

  36. #36 David
    November 11, 2011

    I had never seen the article, and was annoyed it was already taken down. But as we all know, once it’s uploaded once, it’s there for forever. (the 15 sexiest article).
    For any others outside the loop, here it is http://web.archive.org/web/20100721060747/http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=10073
    (Coming in at this point in the game, it seems incredibly tame)

  37. #37 Houston Weight Loss Centers
    December 27, 2011

    I don’t think the guy is a dick; I think he was naive. I don’t think anybody should be slinging insults at him after he apologizes, but I also don’t think anybody needs to jump to his defense.

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