The threat to discourse no one talks about

My mom described this video as “sexy.” I can tell you that it was not what I was expecting, but she’s not wrong either.


“Men are socialized to be stoic, rational beings. The only emotions we’re allowed are anger and joy, and in a precious few instances, we’re allowed to cry — like if our sports team loses. As an MRA, I always believed it was women and feminism putting men in this box. But these feminist texts not only validated the crisis of masculinity, they pointed out men are the biggest policers of masculinity. Men beat each other down for being ‘girly,’ for liking sewing or baking, for crying. For being ‘faggots.’ ‘You gotta man up.’ ‘You can’t be a pussy, right?’

“MRAs and feminists were acknowledging the same problems, but the MRAs weren’t locating the right cause. The feminists pointed out, ‘No, actually this is rooted in the same patriarchal institutions that are harming women.’ It was subtle but profound.”

I was a Men’s Rights Activist, via Christine Bowman.

ENB is amazing, and gave you some #feministstofollow:

I was thinking recently about how so many of the women who introduced me to online feminism have disappointed me in recent years, which inspired me to make a list of people who I *do* consider feminist role models and icons. I’m probably missing some, but in part:

Joan Didion
Diana Athill
Candida Royalle
Katie Roiphe
Ma Rainey
Chris Kraus
Laura Kipnis
Sharon Presley
Lady Aiko
Mihztress Matisse
Maggie McNeill
Julie Stewart
Deirdre McCloskey
Susan Crowley
Tina Johnson-Marcel
Morgan Elizabeth-Karadjian McNaught
Melissa Stopke
Janis Joplin
Zelda Fitzgerald
Jo March
Katherine Mangu-Ward
Cathy Reisenwitz
Kitty Murti
Katha Pollitt
Margot Tenenbaum
Bessie Smith
Conor Friedersdorf
Nick Gillespie
Alice Dreger
Tara Burns
Freddie DeBoer
& of course, Keith and Diane Brown

“He said, ‘I’d never had the opportunity to be the object of hate before. The hard part isn’t the hate. It’s the object.’

“Something else that often comes up is how lonely it feels. ‘The fear of ostracisation strikes at the core of who we are,’ Lewinsky says. ‘We cannot survive alone.’”

Monica Lewinsky: ‘The shame sticks to you like tar’

It’s difficult to put into words how it feels to be publicly shamed. It’s jarring to be mocked and lied about, especially by the people I used to consider my allies. People who haven’t experienced it, or who’ve experienced a lesser version tell me that it’s just mean words on the internet. But it’s not. It’s targeted, hateful, specific, gendered, and sometimes threatening. It is hurtful and scary. It’s unending. And then I feel shame that I let it get to me. You can kind of get it if you watch closely what happens when a woman has opinions on the internet. The hate is so omnipresent that if you just pay attention you’ll see it. But you don’t really get it until you’re a target of faceless hordes of angry, racist, misogynistic, white men. No one talks about the fact that only the toughest women are willing to continue to speak out in a way that angers the angry hordes. No one talks about how that impacts discourse. It sure as fuck limits speech more than @nero losing a blue checkmark.

I don’t say this every day. But this is a true must-read: The Killer Hiding in the CDC Map. “What caused Haiti’s cholera epidemic? The CDC museum knows but won’t say.”

Is domestic life the enemy of creative work? via Will Wilkinson. The parts of this I enjoyed most deal with what it takes to be an artist or writer, and how that conflicts with being a good parent. I agree with Will’s share text:

“Not that there aren’t real, unavoidable, and tragic tradeoffs between parenting and creative work, but the ubiquitous yet unnamed villain of this story is the super-intense parenting norms that prevail among MFA and academic types. Folks really need to read some behavioral genetics twins studies and relax. Of course, that’s easy to say but maybe not possible at all if you’ve already drunk too deeply from the Rousseauian well, or if the people whose disapproval you fear have. An essay on the damage dogmatic blank slatism does especially to creative women would be useful. Even a modest statement of the more determinist view–your kid’s genes mean they’ll turn out a lot like you as long as you give them a not-so-demanding threshold level of decent loving care–would likely elicit pretty vehement resistance, which I think would usefully illustrate the nature and depth of the problem.”

Again, people don’t talk enough about the role disapproval plays in women’s “choices.” Women are socialized to be compliant. It’s most of what makes girls better students than boys. But when a woman has kids, people turn up the shame and harassment for non-compliance up to 11. Part of this makes sense. I think there’s a natural desire to make sure all children are well cared for. But it just goes WAY too far. If people want to be sure all children are cared for they should be fostering and volunteering to babysit because there are kids even in America that don’t have their basic needs met. But there’s no reason for people to be heaping shame on mothers for not breastfeeding/using daycare/co-sleeping/not co-sleeping/attachment parenting/letting their kids cry it out. FUCK THAT NOISE. It doesn’t matter and it’s none of your fucking business. And be sure that even if a kid has both parents in the home it’s only the mom that gets blamed for any of this. Dads get a medal just for showing up. Dude you are not babysitting if it’s your own kid. Sit down.

So yeah. I get enough shit just for being a woman and having an opinion on the internet. I’m not exactly chomping at the bit for people to tell me I’m an evil monster for my parenting style.

Race, art, and essentialism via Jamelle Bouie.


  1. Dan

    What’s your reasoning behind including this in the middle of your piece?

    “I don’t say this every day. But this is a true must-read: The Killer Hiding in the CDC Map. “What caused Haiti’s cholera epidemic? The CDC museum knows but won’t say.”

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