Open Thread and Link Farm, Two-Face Was A Piker Edition

  1. “The hypocrisy is astounding”: this tax bill shows the GOP’s debt concerns were pure fraud
    In other news, ocean still wet.
  2. Can We Cut the Crap on the Debt from the Tax Bill Hurting Our Kids? | Beat the Press | Blogs | Publications | The Center for Economic and Policy Research
    The GOP tax bill is terrible – but the problem is not the effect of future debt on the children.
  3. GiveDirectly is launching their randomized control trial of long-term guaranteed basic income in Kenya. The Unit of Caring has gathered some highlights.
  4. Letting robots kill without human supervision could save lives | New Scientist
    You can’t read the whole article, because paywall, although you can read enough to get the gist of the argument.But honestly, I added this to the link farm because I just love the headline, about which someone on Twitter wrote “Was… was this written by killer robots?”

  5. What alarmist articles about transgender children get wrong.
    It’s not true that 80% – or anywhere near 80% – of transgender children either desist or detransition.
  6. Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children… | Julia Serano
  7. Prepubescent Transgender Children: What We Do and Do Not Know – Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
    Only the first page here. To read the whole article, email me and I can hook you up.
  8. When “desisters” aren’t: De-desistance in childhood and adolescent gender dysphoria | Gender Analysis

  9. ‘Lady Bird’ Star Laurie Metcalf Might Be the Best Actress Working Right Now
    I saw “Lady Bird”; the movie was wonderful – it did mostly the usual coming-of-age narrative moves, but it did them all so well – and Metcalf, as the main character’s mother, was astounding. (Metcalf is most famous for playing Jackie on “Roseanne.”)
  10. Speaking of Roseanne, one of my favorite TV shows ever, there’s going to be a tenth season next year, with Metcalf and the rest of the original cast (including John Goodman) returning to their old roles. I hope it’s good.
  11. The Rise of the Post-New Left Political Vocabulary | The Public Autonomy Project
    Long and (to me) interesting comparison of New Left and Social Justice Left jargon, asking why the vocabularies changed and if it matters.
  12. Obama won lots of votes from racially prejudiced whites (and some of them supported Trump) – The Washington Post
  13. Liberals Are Becoming Knee-Jerk Anti-Trumpists | New Republic
    “The left should be encouraging the president’s moderation on foreign policy rather than distorting the truth about alleged gaffes.” Article by Jeet Heer. (In context, I think “moderation” means not that Trump is a moderate, but that Trump has moderated his rhetoric and approach compared to his previous statements.)
  14. The Right Way, And The Wrong Way, To Measure the Benefits Of Tax Changes | Tax Policy Center
  15. Facing deportation, Lucio Perez is adapting to life in Amherst church sanctuary | masslive.com
  16. Here is a fantastic example of the difference between the male and female gaze. Patty Jenkins’ Amazon warriors on the left. Zack Snyder’s on the right.”
    I don’t think I agree with the terminology – perhaps I would call it a fantastic example of women as subjects vs objectification – actually, I’m not sure that’s right either – but whatever the terminology, it’s a striking comparison.
  17. The Zombie Fungus Takes Over Ants’ Bodies to Control Their Minds – The Atlantic
    Turns out the fungus is even creepier than previously thought. It’s like they plagiarized their ideas from “Get Out.”
  18. Sandy Hook Victim Noah Pozner’s Family Driven From Boca – The Forward
    Conspiracy theorists seem ridiculous, but they can (further) destroy people’s lives.
  19. How to stop sexism and raise a son who respects women.
  20. ZOA Rolled Out The Red Carpet For Steve Bannon — And It Backfired – The Forward
    The headline doesn’t really reflect the article. “Zionist Organization of America rolls out the red carpet for Steven Bannon, and this illustrates major divisions in the US Jewish community, and also Alan Dershowitz makes a cameo and is a jerk” would have been more accurate.
  21. A comic about every comment thread under any content involving a fat person existing. Ever.
    I’m jealous that I didn’t create this strip.
  22. An LAPD officer accidentally filmed himself putting cocaine in a suspect’s wallet – Vox
  23. Myths of the 1 Percent: What Puts People at the Top – The New York Times
    According to this economist, the answer isn’t trade, or information technology, or declining unions, or immigration. “Almost all of the growth in top American earners has come from just three economic sectors: professional services, finance and insurance, and health care, groups that tend to benefit from regulatory barriers that shelter them from competition.”
  24. Reflections of an Affirmative-Action Baby – The Atlantic
    The author, a white man, writes “the affirmative action I enjoyed, and the sexual harassment Sarah suffered, were connected. I was given extraordinary opportunity at TNR, in large measure, because talented women like Sarah Wildman were not.”
  25. Marvel takes on colonialism and white supremacy in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’
    The movie is an anti-colonial fantasy disguised as a screwball comedy disguised as an action movie. I really enjoyed it.
  26. Detroit cops posing as drug dealers tried to arrest Detroit cops posing as drug buyers and then they all had a fistfight in the middle of the street. This would make an awesome movie.
  27. The Disappearing Right to Earn a Living
    Do we really need someone to be licensed to hook up a stereo? “In the 1950s, about one in 20 American workers needed an occupational license before they could work in the occupation of their choice. Today, that figure stands at about one in four.” This is an issue I agree with libertarians about.
  28. Hari Kondabolu’s The Problem with Apu attempts to shut down The Simpsons’ racist caricature for good – The Verge
  29. The Last of the Iron Lungs
    The reporter found and interviewed the (as far as they know) last three people still using iron lungs to survive. All three are polio survivors, and boy, do they not like anti-vaxxers.
  30. I love Yoshitoshi Kanemaki’s wood carvings. Check out Kanemaki’s Behance page, and be sure to look at the gallery for the statue at the top of this post, which includes multiple angles as well as making-of photos.
  31. The bottom image is by Alessandro Sicioldr, another wonderful artist with a tendency to go all multi-face. Check out his behance, too.

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46 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Two-Face Was A Piker Edition

  1. 1
    Jokuvaan says:

    Robots killing somewhat independently is already reality in a peer adversary conflict like there are smart missiles seeking targets independently or smart mines that can tell apart a tank from a car.

  2. 2
    Seriously? says:

    On the difference between the male and female gaze, I do not get it.

    Both pictures show ‘warriors’ dressed is stupidly feminized attire that makes them vulnerable to any weapons that they are likely to face. Both pictures show ‘warriors’ who have forsaken the very first piece of armor anyone needs, the helmet. On both pictures, the ‘warriors’ have kept long unruly hair that will be a liability in combat, and failed to secure it. On both pictures, the ‘warriors’ lack warrior physique, and look like models who will feel the pangs of hunger after a short march.

    On the right, it is not immediately obvious that the ‘warriors’ do not know how to hold a sword.

    On the left, it is not immediately obvious that whoever armored them did not care about their lives. They had no idea how to make armor, but they may have actually cared.

  3. 3
    Gracchi says:

    Seriously?,

    Actually, the first piece of armor that blade-wielding warriors need is the shield. Full body armor that protects from arrows is extremely cumbersome and thus only works for heavy cavalry. Furthermore, blunt weapons can cause severe trauma when bashing plate armor. So a shield was key to stopping arrows and deflecting blunt weapons.

    The armor of the Amazon warriors seems inspired by ancient Athens, which suggests that they ought to look more like this. Interestingly, that armor has unnecessary nipples and muscular definition. I guess that the female gaze was strong in ancient Athens.

    Of course, plate armor is very expensive, so if the Amazonian warrior suffered from a pay gap (or were common soldiers, rather than elite soldiers), they might only be able to afford a linothorax or boiled leather armor. Unlike both movie pictures, it would still have been a single full breastplate.

    PS. I agree that it is silly how Hollywood tends to have lithe supermodels beat up burly men. That is not realistic as muscles and mass wins fights (in direct combat). Ronda Rousey and Gina Carano have done action movies and they have a much more realistic physique for combat (although not much acting prowess).

  4. 4
    Seriously? says:

    “Shields are not armor!” is a point that has been drummed into newbies in every HEMA club of which I have been a member.

    Blunt weapons that are superb at causing severe trauma against plate armor are a video game myth. It’s the mass, and its distribution that causes the damage, and that mass is always better off focused than spread on a blunt surface. Flanged maces are no more blunt weapons than morningstars are, and plenty of edged and thrusting weapons were orders of magnitude more common and significantly better suited for defeating armor than blunt ones, even at the height of plate armor use in Europe. The only place where blunt weapons were the go-to tool for defeating plate armor was Japan, and that was a combination of (1) powerful, authoritative government, (2) terrible iron ore and ignorance of blast furnaces and related metallurgical processes, and (3) high quality, proofed, imported European steel breastplates. Thus the kanabō, which outside of palaces still would be ‘festooned’ with spikes.

    Amazons are fictional, but even if the legend comes to us from the Greeks, they should not be wearing Greek inspired armor. The Greeks got hot and bothered by accounts of Sarmathian, Scythian, etc. women warriors, and constructed their silly narrative from there. That they had no idea of the role of Scythian women on the battlefield, or of the equipment those women used is amply evident from titillating details like Amazons cutting off their left breast so they could use bows. Of course, we know from the Odysseya that the Greeks considered recurves mysterious and borderline magical, and had no idea of thumb rings, so we have a great example of ignorance breeding bullshit.

    All this to say that the Amazons should be wearing scale over cloth over silk, at the very best, which of course would be much, much better protection that whatever the abominations in both screenshots happen to be… of course, so would be a few cotton T-shirts over a silk one. Or a linothorax, or a gamberson. Of course, none of these would be titillating, so no go.

    But of course, everything is wrong with everything on these two shots. The boob mounds channeling blows to heart and neck, the smooth shoulder armor that is pointless without at least a lower bevor, the non-overlapping plates of leather on the abdomens, the 11th century or later swords, the Gucci hangbag straps on the scabbards etc.

    What I do not understand is the purported superiority of one shot over the other. On the right, fewer abdomens are covered by the silly leather strips, which seem to have been designed on both shots by the same moron. That’s it. I see no other important differences.

    By the way, unless the actors on the right are posing for a picture in the parking lot, the movie(?) setting seems to have modern vehicles, thus probably firearms. With firearms in the equation, the ‘armor’ from the shot on the left becomes much worse than useless.

  5. 5
    Harlequin says:

    I don’t know anything about armor, but according to one costume designer, the inspiration was Roman, not Greek. That article also has some screencaps demonstrating that in Wonder Woman, there were many body types among the Amazons–though I haven’t seen Justice League to compare the Amazons who actually appear in that to know if the same is true there.

    That being said, it’s been pointed out to me that the costumes on the right in that comparison pic do also feature in the WW movie as training outfits, and the Amazons who appear in JL during battle are armored more like the Amazons in the WW movie. There are differences that stick out to me in makeup, posture, facial expressions, etc; but without knowing the provenance of the two pics (promo vs stills from filming or whatever) it’s hard to know how fair a comparison that is. As just an illustration of male gaze vs…not male gaze, I’d point as much to those characteristics as the bare midriffs, though.

  6. 6
    Gracchi says:

    Seriously?,

    Many people consider shields to be personal armor, but lets just agree to disagree on that point.

    I’m not very much into superhero comics, but I believe that the Wonder Woman mythology is that the Amazons were sequestered on an island away from ancient Greece and never developed gunpowder or such. However, they have some magical equipment given to them by the Gods. For example, indestructible bracelets that can deflect automatic gunfire. So upon contact with ‘Patriarch’s World,’ Wonder Woman was used to ancient Grecian warfare, but she adapted to deal with modern weaponry. That last bit is where the mythology obviously becomes super silly, like most superhero stories. So I think we should just ignore that part and judge the armor by the environment for which it was designed, which supposedly is ancient Greece-like.

  7. 7
    Gracchi says:

    Harlequin,

    Based on your link, I found this very interesting page about the scaled roman leather armor that was found.

  8. 8
    Seriously? says:

    I write: On the right, fewer abdomens are covered by the silly leather strips, which seem to have been designed on both shots by the same moron. That’s it.

    You write As just an illustration of male gaze vs…not male gaze, I’d point as much to those characteristics as the bare midriffs, though.

    First, one of the characters in the righthand shot has the exact same leather contraption as the characters on the left. Second, I said as much in my quote, and asked for other examples. Third, now that I have looked, promo shots from the new movie sometimes show many more characters having the fauld-wanna-be, so I guess it was removed to showcase the (unwarrior-like) toned abdominal muscles. My guess is that the woman who kept her ‘fauld’ looked less chiseled, i.e. less starved and dehydrated, and we can’t have that. Fourth, as you mentioned, in combat, the characters from the male-directed movie wear actual armor. Fifth, as far as I can tell, both screenshots show eye makeup, which is a horrible idea in combat, and the postures and expressions depend on the shot.

    So I do not think anyone here has made any decent argument as to one shot being ‘fantastically’ worse than the other. We are comparing two turds, and the only real difference is that they have been shat by persons of different gender.

    ———–

    Oh, and if showing off chiseled abdominal muscles is degrading and sexist, do you explain the dozens of male actors doing so via the female gaze?

  9. 9
    Harlequin says:

    Seriously?, apart from the Greek vs Roman issue, I was not responding to you or refuting you specifically, just musing on the topic in general. But to respond to a couple of your points in that last comment–

    So I do not think anyone here has made any decent argument as to one shot being ‘fantastically’ worse than the other. We are comparing two turds, and the only real difference is that they have been shat by persons of different gender.

    As I said above, posture, facial expressions, and type and amount of makeup are different between the shots. So are hairstyles. For example, on the left, most of the women are standing face-on to the camera, weight equally balanced on both feet; only one of the women on the right is doing the same. The women on the right are all at least looking at the camera, while one has her mouth open in the kind of sexy face models are often asked to do; on the left, the women are ignoring the camera. Some of the women on the right have their hair pulled over their shoulders. The lighting is dimmer and the main source appears not much higher than the women on the right, while it’s overhead and full sun on the left. Etc. Yes, they’re not directly comparable in the sense that they’re not the same kind of shot–but indeed that’s part of the point.

    I can’t do much more except that to say, as a woman who’s been exposed to American advertising my whole life, and as a queer woman, I look at those shots and see, on the left, a shot where I can more easily imagine myself as one of the women, and on the right, a shot where I’m steered to imagine myself as someone observing the women. To me, the difference is very stark. That’s a gut-level thing, though, and obviously not everyone will have the same reaction.

    As to your final question: one, “the male gaze” and “degrading and sexist” are not synonymous; you’re the only one here using or implying the latter terms. Two, this is a little oversimplified, but I think it’s useful anyway. There’s also a great cartoon on the topic that I can’t for the life of me find right now, but I’m sure somebody here will know what I’m talking about…the one with the female cartoonist who draws Spider-Man for a male comics fan?

  10. 10
    Seriously? says:

    I think we have a still from a movie, where the women are in character, and a promotional shot, where the women are posing. The gear from the two movies is indistinguishable from each other, and indeed, some of it is the same props, and all of it is bad.

  11. 11
    desipis says:

    If we’re comparing male gaze to female gaze, I think you have to look at something like this for the female gaze side.

  12. 12
    Ampersand says:

    I saw Justice League, and – iirc, it’s been weeks – it had Amazons fighting in both the skimpy outfits and in the fuller armor. (And yes, the armor in both cases is unrealistic.)

    I don’t think it’s true that the bikini-like outfits were as prominent in the WW movie, and most of the training outfits weren’t designed like that, iirc. Here’s a photo of Gal Gadot in the WW training outfit, for example.

    But – as Harlequin says – it’s about more than the outfit. Here’s a publicity photo of actresses from the WW movie wearing relatively skimpy outfits. But what’s being emphasized is that they look powerful.

    Oh, and if showing off chiseled abdominal muscles is degrading and sexist, do you explain the dozens of male actors doing so via the female gaze?

    As Harlequin pointed out, no one here brought up “degrading and sexist,” apart from you.

    I’ve gotten into this argument a lot with comic book fans over the years, who claim that since both superhero women and superhero men are drawn with extremely idealized bodies and skintight outfits, they’re being treated the same. I don’t know how to argue with this, because although they’re wrong, there’s no way of making someone see or acknowledge obvious aesthetic differences.

    Here, look at these two drawings of Batman. Both of them show him with an idealized body; he’s got a shirt on in the drawing on the left (which is from an actual Batman comic), but it’s far tighter than any real-life shirt would be, the better to show off those abs. The drawing on the right is by Joe Phillips, a gay comic book artist who did the drawing to show how Batman would be drawn if the idea was to show off, not how powerful his body looks, but how sexy his body looks.

    If you can’t see the difference, then I’m not sure what to tell you.

    I don’t think pinup poses and outfits are necessarily degrading or sexist. In the right context, it’s fun and entertaining to look at beautiful bodies. It’s a matter of context and storytelling. The problem with mainstream comic books is that female characters are drawn as pinups FAR more often than male characters, often in stories and situations where that approach goes against both the characterization and the tone of the story. (That’s less true now than it was a decade ago.)

  13. 13
    Harlequin says:

    Here’s a publicity photo of actresses from the WW movie wearing relatively skimpy outfits

    Oh, that’s quite a picture! I believe those are the three women in the front of the “male gaze” picture from the tweet in the roundup, too, and it helped me put my finger on what’s so weird about the “male gaze” picture–they just look so darn uncomfortable.

  14. 14
    Elusis says:

    I’ve gotten into this argument a lot with comic book fans over the years, who claim that since both superhero women and superhero men are drawn with extremely idealized bodies and skintight outfits, they’re being treated the same. I don’t know how to argue with this, because although they’re wrong, there’s no way of making someone see or acknowledge obvious aesthetic differences.

    Because just listening to women when they say things like

    I can’t do much more except that to say, as a woman who’s been exposed to American advertising my whole life, and as a queer woman, I look at those shots and see, on the left, a shot where I can more easily imagine myself as one of the women, and on the right, a shot where I’m steered to imagine myself as someone observing the women. To me, the difference is very stark.

    is not enough. No, we must have historically-based evidence! We must build a case for why we hate the one on the right and not so much the one on the left! We must convince people (read: men) that this feeling is Correct and not Simply Emotion!

  15. 15
    Michael says:

    A while back I complained that feminists demonized people that said they were afraid of hurting women and this reinforced the stigma that people that suffered from anxiety disorders suffered from. Barry said I was exaggerating and Kate said that it was in response to people complaining in spaces that women used to discuss rape and harassment. Well, look at this article:
    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2017/12/05/quit-playing-the-fool-guys-youre-hurting-our-reputation/
    It promotes the toxic idea that people that complain about being afraid of hurting women are really predators. “if you have to ask yourselves if you’ve crossed a line, then yes, you have crossed a line”- I don’t want to start on how toxic that philosophy is. And it was in response to people complaining to CBS- hardly a feminist space.

  16. 16
    Kate says:

    There are a lot of people with anxiety and OCD related disorders who are irrationally afraid of accidentally hurting people. My heart goes out to them. I hope they get the treatment they need. But, framing their fears as reasonable does no one any good.

    The passage PZ was reacting to wasn’t about them:

    “Have we gotten to the point now where men can’t say, ‘That’s a nice dress’ or ‘Did you do something with your hair?’” says the veteran sales associate for a Los Angeles company. “The potential problem is you can’t even feel safe saying, ‘Good morning’ anymore.”
    The sexual misconduct allegations that have brought down powerful men in Hollywood, media, politics and business are sending a shiver through the workplace. Men are wondering if it’s still OK to hug a female colleague or ask about her weekend. And some are asking themselves if they ever, perhaps even inadvertently, crossed the line.

    Read more: https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2017/12/05/quit-playing-the-fool-guys-youre-hurting-our-reputation/#ixzz50SevKo1w

    The notion that a man might be accused of sexual harassment for saying “good morning” is patently absurd. This is clearly framed to make accusations of sexual harassment look like hysterical witch hunts.
    The men being brought down by alligations of sexual harassment and assault didn’t simply ask about someone’s hair. They didn’t offer chaste hugs. They grabed at breasts and genitalia. They flashed women, masterbated in front of them and, in some cases, raped them. Men know damn well that those things are wrong.

  17. 17
    desipis says:

    Quote from PZ:

    Also, if you have to ask yourselves if you’ve crossed a line, then yes, you have crossed a line.

    That’s pretty much telling anyone with social anxiety that they are de facto sexual harassers.

  18. 18
    Mandolin says:

    I think our culture in general sucks at finding ways to heal and repair after someone has done something hurtful, accidentally or otherwise. We need more space for expiation. I don’t know whether that’s exclusively a leftist thing, I wouldn’t expect so, but it is in call out derived cultures in which I personally observe its extremity.

  19. 19
    Mandolin says:

    Desipis:

    I agree, he’s wrong on that one. I had the same response to that line when reading the post.

  20. 20
    Charles says:

    I’m curious: what is the acceptable way to express what PZ is expressing? For the vast majority of men, if we are wondering if we crossed a line, that’s because we crossed a line. How do we express that idea to other men without causing harm to the small minority of men who suffer from scrupulosity or the specific forms of social anxiety that relate to fear that you are crossing boundaries?

    The man in the article that PZ was responding to was a long-time salesman talking to news media. I find it highly unlikely that he suffers from scrupulosity. How do we address his dishonest claim without harming others?

  21. 21
    Michael says:

    My major problem with the article was this- the major reason why people suffering from scrupulosity, harm OCD, etc. don’t receive treatment is because they’re afraid that if they tell people about their condition, the people they tell will assume if they’re obsessed with the idea that they might or have hurt someone, then they really are a threat- or they don’t realize that they’re sick and they think they’re really a threat. But feminism sends the message that if you’re overly concerned you might violate the feminist rules, you’re just looking for an excuse to do something wrong. This is a silencing tactic. And I think it’s a false dichotomy to say that people that complain that they might easily get in trouble are either mentally ill or looking to get away with something. For example, according to this study 66 percent of Democratic men had recently reflected on their own behavior or attitudes towards women. Only half as many Republicans had:
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/large-majority-americans-say-there-sexual-harassment-job-n825121
    So does that mean that most Democratic men are sexual harassers or that Democrats are twice as likely to be sexual harassers as Republicans. No, it means that sometimes people worry about doing something wrong when they’ve done nothing wrong.The crucial question is whether the person ACTUALLY does something wrong. The fact that people who do something wrong and then claim that they didn’t know any better are lying does not imply that people that claim that they are worried about doing something wrong that isn’t really wrong are lying and looking to cause trouble.

  22. 22
    Charles says:

    After some off-line discussion and consideration, my proposed pithy version is this: “If you are intentionally crossing lines, we see you.” With the maybe less pithy addition: “Pretending that you are cutting back now because you don’t know where the lines are anymore won’t protect you.”

    The men who do most of the line crossing are the ones who know what they’re doing and are doing it because they want to. We don’t even need to get into the question of worrying about maybe having crossed a line.

  23. 23
    Gracchi says:

    Michael ,

    The logical conclusion is that sexual harassment by men will go down a lot if all Democrats become Republicans. /s

  24. 24
    Buttercupia says:

    Laurie Metcalfe was amazing in the short-lived HBO comedy Getting On. It’s a marvelous series overall and Metcalfe was brilliant, as was Neicy Nash.

  25. 25
    RonF says:

    “Have we gotten to the point now where men can’t say, ‘That’s a nice dress’ or ‘Did you do something with your hair?’” says the veteran sales associate for a Los Angeles company.

    Yes. And where has he been? I haven’t made any comment to any woman in my workplace regarding her appearance in any fashion for a good 20 years. And most guys I know do the same. All it takes is for someone having a bad day to take something you’ve said the wrong way, complain to HR and your career is ruined.

  26. 26
    Kate says:

    For example, according to this study 66 percent of Democratic men had recently reflected on their own behavior or attitudes towards women. Only half as many Republicans had:
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/large-majority-americans-say-there-sexual-harassment-job-n825121
    So does that mean that most Democratic men are sexual harassers or that Democrats are twice as likely to be sexual harassers as Republicans.

    How do you get from “reflected on their own behavior or attitudes towards women” to “are sexual harassers”. That’s one hell of a leap. There are a lot of problematic behaviors and attitudes that don’t constitute harassment.

    It would have been better if PZ had put in something like probably/usually/in most cases somewhere. But, the article that he criticized is far more damaging, both generally and to people who have this type of social anxiety, as it is designed to feed anxiety by presenting totally unreasonable fears as reasonable.

  27. 27
    Jake Squid says:

    All it takes is for someone having a bad day to take something you’ve said the wrong way, complain to HR and your career is ruined.

    I suppose this is true if you have the worst HR department imaginable. I mean, if somebody comes to me for what somebody else said to them, I try to get the situation resolved in a way that everybody understands why that thing was inappropriate or why that the thing was not inappropriate. Everybody should leave with knowledge of how they need to act towards their coworkers going forward. But if there is an ongoing pattern of behavior over a period of time, yeah, somebody is being let go. But once? Because somebody was having a bad day and misinterpreted? That doesn’t happen at any workplace that’s close to reasonable.

    I haven’t made any comment to any woman in my workplace regarding her appearance in any fashion for a good 20 years. And most guys I know do the same.

    Either your experience or my experience is far out of the norm. I’m guessing that it’s your experience that is unusual, but I could be wrong.

  28. 28
    Harlequin says:

    I haven’t made any comment to any woman in my workplace regarding her appearance in any fashion for a good 20 years. And most guys I know do the same.

    Either your experience or my experience is far out of the norm. I’m guessing that it’s your experience that is unusual, but I could be wrong.

    I can think of exactly one time in my career that a man mentioned anything about my appearance. It doesn’t seem to be the norm in my STEM field. People just aren’t that observant about it, either–in grad school I cut a foot off my hair, and the only person who noticed was the secretary. But that is a norm shared by all genders to some degree– not just men being extremely cautious about harassment.

  29. 29
    Jake Squid says:

    It doesn’t seem to be the norm in my STEM field.

    In pretty much every place I’ve ever worked, people make comments about new hairstyles or outfits. Just today a coworker said to me, “Is that a new sweater?” When I said that it wasn’t, she said, “Blue is a good color for you.” I’ve seen this happen weekly or monthly for 3 decades. Granted, I haven’t worked in STEM, but I have worked retail, computer consulting, TPA and food distribution.

  30. 30
    Michael says:

    @Kate#26- I’m not defending the article. If PZ had just criticized the article for presenting the fears as valid, then I’d agree with that. But instead, he argued that anyone that claimed to have such fears was lying. He doesn’t have the right to erase other people’s experiences just to make his argument easier. We agreed earlier that this argument by Captain Awkward was toxic:
    https://captainawkward.com/2013/04/20/476-i-have-anxiety-that-women-will-have-anxiety-about-me-approaching-them/
    In fact it’s a perfect example of why people with similar problems don’t confide in their friends and families- because they’re afraid they’ll react like Captain Awkward did. Yes, I know she apologized. But my point is that the argument she made was the same argument PZ made. The same argument that countless feminists have made.
    Let’s not forget another argument made in the comments of PZ’s article- feminists routinely say that correctly that autism doesn’t cause people to miss social cues to the extent of sexually harassing people. But they NEVER mention that there are disorders that can cause people to be AFRAID that might or might have sexually harassed people. Pardon me if I hold feminists to a higher standard then the demons in horror movies.
    Your argument seems to be that PZ and other feminists like him intended well. But what’s that argument feminists are so fond of making- “Intent isn’t magic”.

  31. 31
    Seriously? says:

    Just today a coworker said to me, “Is that a new sweater?” When I said that it wasn’t, she said, “Blue is a good color for you.”

    I work for an automotive manufacturer. Of the 280+ people in the plant, maybe 50 are women. Of them, there are five with whom I would allow myself to comment on a piece of clothing, and two with whom I would allow myself a comment about something particular suiting her.

    I have know the five for more than 15 years, and I have met them outside work. One of the two is someone whom I used to give piggy back rides when she was five, and the other I hired about twenty years ago, fresh out of high school, to bring my ‘department’ to the grand milestone of Two.

    I would not dare to comment on any other woman’s appearance. I’m a department head only answerable to the owners, and it is a privately owned company. No HR member would seek a fight with me. Still, I think it is looking for trouble… and a bit presumptuous, to boot. Now, it would be completely different if I were flirting, which I theoretically could imagine doing outside of my department, before I was married.

  32. 32
    Kate says:

    Pardon me if I hold feminists to a higher standard then the demons in horror movies.

    Sexual preadators are not “demons in horror movies”. They are all too real. We should be targeting them a lot more then we target feminist intersecionality fails.

    Your argument seems to be that PZ and other feminists like him intended well.

    Don’t put words in my mouth. My arguement is that what PZ said is true 95% of the time. He should have given thought to that other 5% and phrased his criticism differently. Nobody is perfect. “Intent isn’t magic”, but when someone is on the right side of issues 90% of the time, I’m willing to cut them some slack.

    I also question where some commenters here put their focus. How about calling out all the predators apropriating anxiety disorders and autism, and on and on to cover up their crimes? Maybe people would who suffer from anxiety would be less likely to fixate on this particular issue if there weren’t so many articles like the one PZ was criticizing hyping up problems that don’t exist?

  33. 33
    Charles says:

    Kate,

    I agree.

  34. 34
    Ampersand says:

    I don’t have a workplace, per se. But I routinely compliment my work peers (of any sex) when I meet them at cons, if they are wearing neat clothes or have an interesting hairstyle or tattoo or something.

    My rules for compliments are, don’t make compliments lecherous, and compliment only things that people have obviously put some effort or thought into. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a problem. I acted the same way back when I had a real job, and again, never had a problem or a complaint. (I’m confident my boss would have told me if there had been a complaint.)

    Can anyone cite an actual case – documented in a mainstream newspaper article or public record – of anyone being fired or successfully sued for nothing more than “are those new glasses? They look nice” or the equivalent? Something where we have more than the word of the employee in question to go on.

    It may have happened somewhere. Probably has – the law of large numbers and all that. But I’m not persuaded that this is a common problem.

  35. 35
    VK says:

    A friend of mine has a great set of rules for telling the difference between “awkward, possibly autistic” and “creepy as fuck”.

    1) Does the person do it to everyone? (i.e. is this behaviour targeted at women? Bonus point if only attractive or vulnerable women)
    2) Do they change their behaviour when observed? (i.e. is this something that they stop when men are around to see, or when independent witnesses are there)
    3) Do they refuse to change their behaviour when requested?

    If the answer to all of those is yes, the chance of them being “creepy as fuck” is too high to ignore. Particularly worth applying this standard if there is someone who all the women agree is creepy and all the men have no idea what they are talking about.

  36. 36
    Sebastian H says:

    The “does he do it to everybody” thing goes a long way. Joe Biden is clearly WAAAAYYYY more touchy than I comfortable with. Be he’s never seemed creepy to me. (Please universe don’t let me be setting myself up by saying that).

    Kevin Spacey always always struck me as super creepy on the other hand.

    I totally believe rape culture is a thing, and I can see it from a different angle.

    I’m DEFINITELY awkward and probably on the low end of the scale at picking up signals. I’m also 100% homosexual, so I definitely know that I wasn’t staring at your boobs. But I’m tall and have been told I have an imposing voice. I can definitely see women respond in the “protective don’t even think about raping me” pose sometimes in elevators late at night, or when I’m crossing a parking lot near them. It makes me sad because they definitely don’t have to be afraid of me–but they definitely are afraid of what I represent to them. That sucks. (For them, I mean. Having someone scared of me in the parking lot doesn’t suck for me).

  37. 37
    Jameson Quinn says:

    > What PZ said is true 95% of the time.

    What exactly would “95%” mean here? If it’s “95% of the behaviors that are either directly creepy or awkwardly pseudocreepy are direct”, then that may be roughly true. But if it means “95% of the times somebody worries about whether they’re being creepy, they are” then it’s certainly false.

    Quick back-of-the-envelope calculation. Say 30% of men are serial creepers, 80% of men have had a creepy lapse or two, and 5% of men are overscrupulous. (I myself have been in categories 2 and 3, at different times.) The serial creepers behave questionably at least x times as often and the overscrupulous question their behavior at least x times as often, where x>>5. That would mean that >95% of the questionable behavior was indeed creepy, but <50% of the self-questioning about behavior was well-founded. And so PZ’s rule would be unhelpful in over half of the cases where it was applicable.

  38. 38
    RonF says:

    Jake @ 37:

    Either your experience or my experience is far out of the norm. I’m guessing that it’s your experience that is unusual, but I could be wrong.

    I *occasionally* hear women compliment other women on a new hairstyle or article of clothing. I never hear men offer such. And there are women here I’ve been working with for > 15 years and pretty much say anything to (including a black woman who I’ve worked with for 20 years and with whom I have regularly discussed race relations and politics).

    I suppose this is true if you have the worst HR department imaginable.

    It doesn’t have to mean you get fired over the incident. It can mean that you’ll never see a promotion again, or that during the next layoff you’ll end up on the list to go instead of someone else. It could mean that you’ll never get on any planning/strategic group. Now, the fact that I work in STEM and have all my life may be a factor. In fact, ever since I left high school I have spent my class/lab/work time in environments where women have been significantly in the minority.

    Sebastian @ 36:

    I’m also 100% homosexual, so I definitely know that I wasn’t staring at your boobs.

    I was in an opera with 40 cast members. The male half was mostly gay. During a costume fitting incident that actually is a pretty funny story in itself I asked one of the gay guys “What are YOU looking at?” and was immediately assured by the gay guys that “Even gay guys like boobs!”

  39. 39
    RonF says:

    So now Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) is resigning after it has become publicized that he discussed surrogacy with a couple of his aides and offered one of them $5 million to actually be a surrogate for him and his wife.

    I’m not clear why he should have to resign. There may be more to it, of course. I can see why such a thing could make his aides uncomfortable, but he didn’t assault anyone or attempt to do so and he didn’t propose having sex with anyone but his wife. He didn’t propose anything illegal. Why – again, on the available information – should he have to resign?

  40. 40
    Ampersand says:

    Ron, from Politico:

    The sources said Franks approached two female staffers about acting as a potential surrogate for him and his wife, who has struggled with fertility issues for years. But the aides were concerned that Franks was asking to have sexual relations with them. It was not clear to the women whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization. Franks opposes abortion rights as well as procedures that discard embryos.

    A former staffer also alleged that Franks tried to persuade a female aide that they were in love by having her read an article that described how a person knows they’re in love with someone, the sources said. One woman believed she was the subject of retribution after rebuffing Franks. While she enjoyed access to the congressman before the incident, that access was revoked afterward, she told Republican leaders.

  41. 41
    Sebastian H says:

    Well the reason I mentioned the boobs thing is actually from a particular incident.

    I was studying for finals at law school (the day before the test) and I was really tired. I went to the school 7-11-type store and was trying to get a sugary snack. But I was kinda spacey (more than usual) because I was tired. So while I was looking at the Hostess display (the one that used to have little racks with the packages in it) a young woman yelled at me: “Stop looking at my boobs!” I was startled and I said something like “What?”She said “I saw you looking at my boobs. Stop it, thats not OK”. I was very muddled and confused, so I just blurted out the truth: “I wasn’t staring at your boobs, I was just trying to decide between the Ho-Hos and the Ding-Dongs”. She had that head exploding look and screamed “You Asshole” and then stormed off.

    I didn’t realize till just after that she probably interpreted my response as meaning something like Ta-Tas.

    Anyway, I’m certain that when she tells the story it begins with something like “I was feeling pretty good about myself as a feminist so when this jerk was oggling my boobs I decided to tell him off” and ends with something like “Can you believe he said [sarcasm dripping from her voice] ‘I was trying to eat Ho-Hos'”

    Which is sad for both of us.

  42. 42
    nobody.really says:

    So the Democrats have decided to send to the Senate a Smith and a Jones?

    Hooray for the party of diversity….

  43. 43
    Kate says:

    Democrats didn’t sent Jones to the senate. The African American community in Alabama sent Jones to the senate.
    And Smith is a woman. Women are still underrepresented in the Senate. So, yes Smith is a diversity apointment.

  44. 44
    Charles says:

    If the African American community in Alabama were able to send Jones to the Senate, Clinton would be president. White Alabama Republicans sent Jones to the Senate. About 150k of them crossed over to vote for Jones, and 20k of them showed up to write in not-Moore.

    Really, white Republicans, white Democrats, and black Democrats sent Jones to the Senate. Subtract even a few of those and he would have lost.

  45. 45
    Sebastian H says:

    Heck, the massive nonturnout of Republicans also sent him to the Senate. For which we should all be very grateful as well.

  46. 46
    nobody.really says:

    Heck, the massive nonturnout of Republicans also sent him to the Senate. For which we should all be very grateful as well.

    As a gesture of my gratitude for their restraint, I’m going to refrain from sending them a fruitcake. For which they should all be very grateful.

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