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When Violence Is “Somewhat Mild”.

20 Apr

“I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. […] I thought he was a little bit younger than I was, and I did not know if he was armed or not.”

Yeah, that happened. That was George Zimmerman’s non-pology to Trayvon Martin’s parents, as if they had lost their son in a car accident, as if it would have been fine to shoot a person “a little bit younger” than Zimmerman was, and as if you can just assume that every Black person walking back home from a store with candy and ice tea in their hands could be armed and just looking for an opportunity to attack you. Oh, wait – Zimmerman was the one pursuing Martin in his SUV, despite being explicitly told by the police to not to… “Disingenuous and insulting” were really kind words to choose for Trayvon Martin’s parents’ lawyer when describing Zimmerman’s words.

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Show Yourselves Out.

17 Mar

What is it with “conservative” people? Not even the term does their political agenda justice, because it is not about the conservation or preservation of any “traditions” that have shown to work out well for most people, it is about pushing an agenda of discrimination against anyone and anything who/that does not comply with their world views and/or their personal preferences.  If it is about conservation and preservation, it is about the conservation and preservation of kyriarchy, of white supremacy, of sexism – paired with the goal of not only keeping discriminatory structures the way they are, but of actively furthering them.

There have been studies that tried to show that prejudices are actually linked to a lower IQ. Personally, I think those are crap. Clearly, a lack of education seems to result in ignorance many times. This does not mean, however, that people who have not had the privilege of higher education are automatically discriminatory in their behaviour (yay, classism!), and nothing could be further from actual reality than claiming that people who are well-educated or (self-proclaimedly…) smart are automatically “liberal” or anything the like in their way of thinking. Indeed, trying to put people into boxes according to simplified schemes, like this study does, seems to be exactly what conservatives do, and yet, a strategy the academics who conducted this study employ just as well.

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“Fauxminists”, Season 3.

28 Dec

There is a whole internet clusterfuck going on about Hugo Schwyzer (yet again) – and if you’d like to read about it: see Feministe discussions here and here. From my point of view, this is what basically happened:

1. Clarisse Thorn, a blogger who has written, I think, very interestingly about subjects other than Hugo Schwyzer, has posted an interview with him on Feministe.

2. People got angry, because Schwyzer has a, well, interesting history and an interesting present behaviour. As you can read in the posts (because I certainly will not link to Hugo himself), Hugo is somewhat of a (self-declared) poster boy for male feminist allies, teaches gender studies at Pasadena Community College, has his own blog and writes for other blogs (such as the Good Men Project which has been linked here before – definitely need to re-think that, obviously… :/) and is an influential and prominent voice within publicized Feminism™.

Hugo also has a history of sleeping with his female students whilst being their professor (and, well, somewhat bragging about it, I’d say), of being condescending and discriminatory towards women of colour, of trying to intertwine Feminism™ with Christianity (after he’s made a 180° religious turn, apparently), of profiting from a WASP and monetarily carefree upbringing and, oh, last but not least, of once trying to kill his ex-girlfriend who had apparently been abused that same day by another man, and was lying drugged and unconscious on his kitchen floor. When he was stopped by the police, he lied that it was a mutual suicide plan (when, in reality, he had decided for her that both of them should die now…) and, subsequently, never had to face any legal consequences. I was unaware of many of these pieces of information (that he himself revealed, except for the reports of discrimination against WOC…), and so were many other people – consequently, that led to a bit of a shock and rage that this dude is such a central figure, according to some (white) feminists, when it comes to promoting feminist work and his own career (which goes very well, apparently – at least he has tenure and a large fan base).

Hugo suffers from NPD and is vocal about that. That invited speculation about the way he deals with his past. Hugo also is open about his past mistakes and has apologized for some of them. That invited speculation whether this subsequently requires (un?)conditional forgiveness (and if forgiving means forgetting).

If you read his post (linked in one of the Feministe threads I have linked above) about the “incident” of attempted murder, you (well, I ;)) might get the feeling that he doesn’t really understand what the problem is, though… That’s because: he doesn’t. He seems to see himself as the actual victim here, and is now whining about all the rage he encounters because of his past and present behaviour.

Boo Hoo. ‘Tis tragic, indeed.

People have gotten angry with him (and Clarisse for providing a forum for him, yet again) and I am sure he has, as he has said, gotten some ugly and horrific hate mail (and personally think that this is understandable, but not justifiable).

And here’s the But you were sensing: This is not the actual problem. Here’s the actual problem:

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Why Is The Rum Gone?

7 Dec

There is a new political party in town, the so-called “Pirate Party”, who have caused some furore within established political structures and won several seats in Berlin’s Senate earlier this year. Also, they fucking annoy me.

What has started out (at least in popular perception) as a bit of a white nerd gathering (no offense, Pete ;)) over the – rightly heavily criticized – internet censorship and privacy-abolishment attempts by former Secretary Ursula von der Leyen and others, has, within 2 years, seemingly turned into a movement for more transparent and democratic political structures and processes and an alleged alternative to the tiresome political establishment in this country (and others).

Obviously, the Pirate Party is a new party on the political spectrum, and posing the same standards concerning professionalism (meant as: know what you’re doing and how to communicate it properly), elaborate party programme and routine in political processes is maybe too much to ask at this point. Nonetheless, the Pirate Party is aiming to play the “big boys’ game” (quite literally, sadly) and has entered major elections, so I do hold them to a certain standard if they think they’re ready for state and federal elections.

As examined in the post about Occupy Wall Street, the Pirates too embrace a political concept of openness that leads to specific chances and specific problems and, in my view, the Pirate Party is doing a really crappy job in dealing with the latter, and seems to have an almost amusingly naive (to use a friendly word) outlook on certain issues, particularly and not surprisingly, gender and race.

One of the long-held grievances by leftist activists against the Pirate Party has been its downright ignorance when dealing with gender issues and acknowledging that there might be certain structural problems if their percentage of women members is as low as it is and women seem to have a very hard time achieving positions of voice and influence in their seemingly progressive and gender equal party.

Pirates (men and women alike) tend to proclaim a pink-bubble-gender-and identity-equality, despite the actual status of women in their party and the influx of Men’s Right Activists (even if they do not call themselves that explicitly; also another article on men’s rights in the Pirate Party here) which clearly send quite different signals. It is therefore mildly amusing and annoying at the same time – especially, since some Pirates think they’re inventing something brand new here in terms of gender equality and identity politics, and just have to deal with inevitable childhood illnesses, no matter how many feminist activists have debated and lived through shit like this time and again in different organisations and their criticism could actually lead to some timely improvements if it wasn’t either negated or ignored.

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Too Much Information?

2 Dec

I was going to write a different blog post. For some time now, I had a text in mind that, in the wake of Jacquelyn Friedman’s new book on ‘feminist’ (obviously, broadly spoken…) dating and sex, concerned itself with the question many people who are attracted to men™ have asked and discussed and never answered: feminist men interested in heterosexual relationships – anyone? Anywhere?

Obviously, this has been debated a lot (e.g., on Feministe when Jill posed the question how people “date while feminist”) and is a complex issue; for me, due to personal reasons, especially regarding heterosexual relationships and all the negotiations and potential deal breakers they can entail. Thankfully, I have not yet had to deal with super special misogynistic snow flakes (…and being fat helps when it comes to weeding out the people who do not deserve to get laid in the first place…), and since my private environment is either in support of feminism or at least somewhat aware of my political base line (albeit due to my snarky comments or raised voice or the combination of the two… *ahem*), I can be quite happy to report that overt, unchallenged sexism is something I seldom have to deal with in my immediate (male) surroundings now (…it used to be different).  And having any sort of (intimate) relationship with someone who does not share key features of this basic value system, i.e., “leftist” or “progressive” policies or whatever you want to name it, is a clear “deal breaker” and dude would neither get a second glance nor open ear.

Notwithstanding, as “Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street” has just recently shown yet again, defining yourself as a progressive or even explicitly feminist man does not mean that you actually are one. I think this is a problem due to a lack of individual reflection and comprehension (and here is a fantastic piece about the horrors of “faux feminists”), but also a structural complexity: of course, overcoming socially engraved beliefs and practices is hard, especially when you are living within the culture and society that reproduces and reinforces said beliefs and practices every single day, and belittles or threatens you if you refuse to play along. I expect you to try damned hard, however – it is your responsibility if you claim to support gender equality (that should be an integral part of your “progressive” stance).

I was now going to start dissecting the question as to how feminist exactly a man has to be (and in which regards), so one can “work with” that – clearly, certain issues that I would deem feminist in principle are somewhat relational negotiations in practice, and although the slogan “the personal is political” holds true, intimate relationships tend to not function satisfactory for either person/people if handled as party conventions where the goal is to push your political wing’s programme to the fullest extend (…although I’ve heard that works for some people – and I’ve once tried… hard… ;)).

Yet, right in the middle of the classic thought about how much (anti?-)feminist compromise is justifiable and how to write about that, something else happened, and kind of caught me off guard.

As said above, feminism does not come as a surprise to virtually every man I know on a more personal level, is somewhat common in the professional/humanities/academia surrounding I am working, and I am far from ‘hiding’ it in daily interactions (although, apparently, simply stating a differing opinion is still considered radically feminist, even totally akin to the SCUM manifesto… :: eye roll ::), although I do not roam the streets yelling about it (yet) or wear batches (anymore). This blog is written under a pseudonym, nonetheless, because I actually like to not be identified for once, would find it a bit too revealing to share things like these under my real name with the internet, and think that words can carry without names (although most of my friends and some of my colleague actually know who occupies this virtual space :)). As I had to experience, however: in times of googling people, privacy is just shot to shit anyway.

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