Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches

Standing astride history yelling “stop Pajama Boy!” (and other political links)

As you may recall, a few years ago the Obama Administration’s early ads for ACA health coverage included a young man signing up while sipping coffee in his pajamas. Some conservatives still freak out about “Pajama Boy.”

•Conservative bloggers are also shell-shocked about the Obama administration supporting transgender students.

•Don’t worry that Donald Trump is sexist. According to one Republican leader, Trump is above normal rules. I’m sure they’ll find a way to excuse his other problems too. And discover that as the party has all its eggs in Trump’s basket, the basket is awesome. Certainly supposedly moral conservative Foster Fries (all women need for contraception is an aspirin pressed between their legs!) is fine with it—he’s not going to judge Trump just because of a few affairs in his past.

•There have been several recent cases where a toddler found their parent’s gun and injured themselves using it. Police response seems to vary depending on skin color.

•Eye doctors sometimes hang on to the glasses prescription so you can’t get the specs somewhere else. Bad idea, the government says. And insurers must now provide services regardless of gender identity.

•The working class was better off back when we had unionized manufacturing jobs. LGM argues that in today’s economy the “union” part is the more important. Conversely, outsourcing and the gig economy can reach even management jobs. And here’s another argument for paying service workers well.

•Speaking of the gig economy, Lyft is agreeing to a $27 million settlement to keep California drivers classified as independent contractors, not employees.

•A security guard gunned down a fleeing man for stealing a 95 cent candy bar.

•A while back I linked to a Rewire story that involved a right-to-life group tricking a teen into signing a document claiming she didn’t want an abortion. Rewire alerted me that the attorney involved in the mess is running for the Mississippi state court.

•North Carolina governor Pat McCrory—the guy now struggling to defend the No Transsexuals in Bathrooms Law—has always been hostile to gays.

•As Scott Lemieux says, claims that American liberals want white, working-class Trump voters to suffer hardship are bullshit. I don’t think they deserve more consideration than, say, the black or Hispanic working class, but they don’t deserve less either.

•A company developed a New Improved Blood Test a couple of years back … but it turns out it doesn’t work well.

•A new Senate bill would limit the government’s ability to hack into our computers and phones as part of an investigation. The DOJ unsurprising says the bill is not needed.

•The threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs continues to grow.

•One woman’s story: enlisted in the military, raped, discharged as mentally unstable when she spoke up.

•This Ruthless World vents about militarizing police in America and the belief the military have all the answers to everything.

•Muslims skewed heavily Republican in 2000; today not so much. Could it be because of things like a Republican insisting a Muslim can’t be Republican (although the Repub objector was overruled in this case)? Northier Than Thou looks at the way rules and platforms become creeds. You can also check out my blog post about dogma from a few years back.

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Sexism and other political links

I’ve written before about the idea heroism is supposed to be uniquely male. And one blogger’s similar complaint that Real Men Protect, Real Women Are Protected. Complementarian Christians are big on the ideal, unless it requires protecting women from abuse.

•Jimmy Carter shocked people by admitting he sometimes lusted for women other than his wife. Republicans slammed Bill Clinton for being a philanderer. Yet as Ted Cruz notes, Repubs are flocking to Donald Trump, lecher and serial philanderer. At the link, Frank Bruni suggests Trump can get away with it partly because he’s a sexist pig: he’s not about informed consent and equal satisfaction, he’s about the Mad Men era when a man could slap his secretary on the butt and not take any blowback. And lots of conservatives miss those days (and he makes similar points to my recent And column).

•Someone suggests if guys fail in high school, it’s girls’ fault for looking too sexy.

•Objectivist Carl Barney runs a for-profit chain of colleges. Which means he opposes government loans, except when students take them out to make him rich (the colleges are no longer for-profit, but one lawsuit charges that’s to evade inconvenient regulations.

•Speaking of regulations, Baltimore food trucks are suing over city rules that keep them 300 feet away from a competing bricks-and-mortar store (can’t sell truck pizza if you’re that close to a pizza place). The plaintiffs argue they’re being held to a standard not applied to regular restaurants. Of course that argument admits that they’re free of a lot of costs and expenses regular restaurants face (parking lots, rental fees, etc.). It’s a minor thing, but I’ve written about the issue as a reporter, so it caught my interest.

•Stonewall, the bar where modern gay rights began (though gay-rights activists did exist prior to Stonewall), is becoming a national monument.

•Megan McArdle richsplains that instead of worrying about income inequality, we should be concerned about things like “inequality of opportunity.” Except she’s already on record saying we should do nothing about inequality of opportunity. So as noted at the first link, I suspect this upcoming series is less about solutions and more about warning us not to take money from the rich and give it to the poor who are poor because they’re failures.

•Heidi Cruz would like you to know that Ted Cruz’s campaign for the White House is as important as the fight to end slavery.

•A new conservative meme has forced-birthers declaring All Lives Matter, equating the fight to stop women getting abortions with the fight against police who kill black people. Oh, and one Missouri forced-birther has declared that having to bear your rapist’s child is a silver lining for the victim (a common anti-abortion claim).

•So there’s spyware that users can install on other people’s phones — partner, child, employee — without the target knowing it. Although a lot of the ads talk about how you can eavesdrop or track people, some manufacturers also say You Must Never Actually Do This to shield themselves from liability. At the link, Consumerist looks at the legal landscape. Another company has tried the same defense.

•If you text someone while driving and texting makes them crash, you might be liable.

•A federal court says a lawsuit against Facebook’s over its facial-recognition system can proceed.

•A politician claims the alleged bribes he took were just First Amendment-protected free speech.

Trump’s thoughts on dealing with crooks, and critics.

 

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Megan McArdle: You can’t cheat an honest man, therefore scamming customers is okay.

So it seems some restaurants which advertise locally raised food are lying about it (first-rate reporting from Tampa Times’ Laura Reiley here), but Megan McArdle explains that’s okay. Customers don’t really want locally raised food, they want the smug sense of eating virtuously, and they get that whether the food is local or not. (“People walked out of those meals happier than they would have been if they’d been told they were eating regular food.”). And they undoubtedly wouldn’t want to pay what local would really cost, or endure not getting produce when it’s out of season, so the restaurants have no choice. And the customers have to know the price is too low. And “you can’t cheat an honest man” so the customers have to be complicit, right?

All of which assumes, for example, that the restaurants aren’t raising the price as is; that the consumers have some idea what locally raised grassfed beef should cost; and that the restaurateurs really wanted to provide farm-to-table meals but just couldn’t afford it, so they’re really not that fraudulent. Evidence for any of these points is notably lacking. I suspect the subtext is that all those people who say they care about the environment, ethical eating, etc., are just phonies so no need for anyone to care what they think (just as nobody cares about equality of opportunity, so we can keep the poor down in good conscience).

•So according to Trump, Ted Cruz’s father was complicit in the JFK shooting. And said father exhorting evangelicals to vote for Cruz as God’s favored candidate has just shocked Trump, utterly. Which I believe, actually, we already know how poorly Trump reacts to people defying him. Trump’s charge was based on a National Enquirer story, but as Digby notes, Trump and the Enquirer are tight.

•Oklahoma Repub David Brumbagh says if the state yanks the license of doctors who perform abortions, God will improve the economy. I have a strong suspicion he will not say the same about proposals to give our cloaks to the beggar or feed the hungry.

•The Taliban are killing aid-workers providing polio vaccinations because they might be American spies. This is bad, though they’re quite right that we do that.

•Ms. Marvel creator G. Willow Wilson ponders what to do about Marvel’s top guy Ike Perlmutter giving money to Trump. For more discussion of boycotts, see here.

•For Confederate History Month (April) David Neiwert provides a history of lynching.

•Seattle’s increase in the minimum wage has not forced employers to raise prices.

•The Trademark Office believes it can deny trademark protection to offensive ones such as “Washington Redskins.” Now the Supreme Court will decide if that’s so.

Trump’s view of himself as possible commander-in-chief: there are no illegal orders, because he’s the chief!

•North Carolina’s voting restrictions have survived the first round of court challenges.

•God help us, the prison-industrial complex is an important part of our economy. At the link, Mississipi county officials complain that the shrinking prison population is cutting into their funding, to say nothing of not having prisoners to use as slave labor.

 

 

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Sexual Harassment at DC Comics

DC recently let go the long-time editor of its Vertigo line, which has seen a catastrophic sales slump. This brought back to the limelight an old issue with another editor, Eddie Berganza, who’s stayed at DC despite multiple sexual harassment allegations (not that there’s a connection between the two). Heidi McDonald says DC sources have confirmed the rumor that when Berganza was Superman editor, no women could work in the Superman office — and points out the unlikelihood of anyone tolerating a “no men in the office” rule. McDonald has also written more broadly about sexual harassment in comics, including stories about longtime DC editor Julius Schwartz (which is disappointing to me, as I love his comics work over the years, but I don’t doubt that it’s true).

There is nothing terribly surprising in this. Organizations in these cases have an ugly tendency to protect their own — and “their own” is invariably the person with authority or seniority, not the low-ranked employee. This is not particularly a comics thing: all organizations protect their own, from the Catholic Church to the military. But that’s no excuse.

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Undead sexist cliches: strong women are unbelievable women (#SFWApro)

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(Art uncredited, all rights to current holder)

Sara C. Roethle discusses an article by one Nathan Albertson arguing that The Force Awakens‘ Rey is completely ridiculous and so are all other female fighters in fiction (Wonder Woman, Ripley, Black Widow, etc.) Albertson quotes the Bible saying things like “weak as women” which proves therefore women are weaker than men. And a woman just can’t beat up a man, anyway. And besides, women just shouldn’t do stuff like that (the same argument John C. Wright has made). It’s unfeminine, and denies the fundamental difference between the sexes: men are most manly when they protect the woman, woman is most feminine when she lets the man be the boss. And besides, doesn’t the fact movies keep making the men the real heroes and showing women worrying about having boyfriends and kids prove that even Hollywood knows what women are really like?

Roethle makes good points about the fact a trained woman can indeed take down a man, and that Rey is no more ridiculous in a fight than if Finn were doing the same things. I recommend reading her piece, but I’ll add a couple more points:

•Lots of women have been formidable fighters. Mary Read and Anne Bonney were pirates. Women cross-dressed as men to fight in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and countless European wars. Russian women worked as everything from snipers to fighter pilots (the “Night Witches”). The amazons of Dahomey (women selected as the king’s elite royal guard).

•The fact that movies keep writing in stereotypes such as Of Course All A Woman Wants Is A Boyfriend/Baby, does not prove that they’re true. This is an annoyingly common argument: the fact that many people are scared of black men proves blacks are dangerous; the fact that stereotypes are race specific (Jews are tight with money, Irish drink, French are great lovers) proves they’re true (otherwise why would they fasten on a particular race/nationality). No. And no. Believing in negative (or positive) stereotypes doesn’t prove they’re true.

•And while it’s a minor point, describing Ripley of the Alien films as “godmother of them all” is just wrong. Wonder Woman predated her. So did the Black Widow. And Jirel of Joiry, shown above.

For bonus sexism, here are some articles from the Federalist (not a direct link) explaining how patriarchy makes women happier than feminism because both women and men want the man in charge (which is why, according to the Federalist, women also like Fifty Shades of Grey). You know I think we’re long past the point where anti-feminists can pretend they’re “defending tradition” — women have had legal equality for more than 40 years, and second-wave feminism has been around just as long. Whatever Mollie Hemingway and the other writers at feminist want to drag us back to, it no longer counts as tradition any more than trial by combat or the divine right of kings.

•And since I’m in this vein, let’s remember David Goyer’s declaration that the super-strong She-Hulk is really a male fantasy, because (his theory) guys dream about being strong enough to bed her. Because obviously she wouldn’t just sleep with you because she likes you or you’re sexy, you have to be strong enough to take her down. This is another Undead Sexist Cliche about strong women, that the guy has to be stronger than she is to be worthy of her/interesting to her. Only Superman can date Wonder Woman. Red Sonja will only accept a man who can outfight her (Marvel’s version, Robert E. Howard’s was different). The idea has cropped up other places to. And yes, it is a kind of male fantasy (guy attains the unattainable woman by surpassing her). But She-Hulk’s never played by that rule, so Mr. Goyer, you’re full of it.

For more on this topic, check out a previous Undead Sexist Cliche post.

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Politics, starting with the state where I live

NC Governor Pat McCrory distorts the effects of our state’s new anti-gay&transgender bill (although he has tweaked it slightly). And contrary to reports about how banning trans people from the “wrong” restroom is to protect women and children, more Republicans have been arrested for sex crimes in bathrooms than trans-people (in fairness the crimes were having sex in a restroom, which is not something I’m overly horrified at).

•In Indiana, a delegate to the Republican delegate expresses doubts about Trump’s electability. An anonymous email warns him he’s going to be doxxed and that he’d better go into hiding.

•Indiana now requires all fetuses be buried, whether aborted or miscarried. Indiana women are updating the governor on their periods, just to show they’re following the law. Shakezula weighs in.

•A proposed bill in New York State would require drivers post-accident be subject to phone checks on whether they were texting/playing games etc. before the accident.

Now, moving onto non-geographic issues—

•There’s no right-winger so extreme Ted Cruz refuses his support (well almost. He eventually renounced an anti-gay activist who wants the death penalty for gays, but it took a while). But after all, Repubs have been recruiting support from the far, far right since before this century, so why not? Perhaps it’s not surprising that right-wing First Amendment Is Only For Christians theocrat Bryan Fischer sounds a lot like the Republican front-runners.

•An 18-year-old male Trump supporter wants America’s women to know that “”Misogyny was an issue about maybe 60, 80 years ago … That’s not an issue today. There are a lot bigger fish to fry”

•Scott Lemieux argues the Democrats are further to the left than they’ve been in at least 30 years (I think he’s right, and I think this is a good thing). Case in point.

•We can look at the current political furor as a clash over domination and entitlement.

•I’ve mentioned before that some Republicans are quite open that the purpose of voter-ID bills is to reduce the Democratic vote. Here’s another example.

•No, Paul Ryan is not a safe, sane alternative to Trump and Cruz.

•How much did Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill increase incarceration and reduce crime? Less effect on either than claimed.

•Goldman Sachs is paying $5 billion to settle charges it sold off toxic mortgage securities (i.e., the mortgages weren’t sound) before the financial meltdown.

•Right-wing hack Camille Paglia wants you to know she’s pro-choice but thinks the anti-abortion side is morally superior. More blather at the link.

•Andrew Sullivan, conservative gay columnist (he once accused liberals opposed to the Iraq war of being potential traitors) is astonishingly back in print. As I’ve mentioned before, no matter how wrong warhawk pundits were, their careers don’t suffer.

•Nintendo employee Alison Rapp was harassed online. Nintendo insists its firing her is a complete coincidence.

•Speaking of harassment, the Guardian analyzed its comments and found that women get the most harassment. And feminism and rape are two of the topics that generate the most outrage.

 

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New And column out

As you probably know, after Donald Trump said women who get abortions should see jail time, a lot of right-to-lifers insisted that of course none of them want that to happen. They’re bullshitting. Some of them apparently don’t; some definitely do; some say they don’t because they know politically that won’t fly. I would bet money many in the latter category would swing to supporting punishment as soon as it did become politically feasible. And as noted at the link, women are already being punished …

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