“Sexual harassment is primarily targeted at women who violate gender roles.”

Berdahl found that women with relatively masculine personalities (e.g., assertive, dominant, and independent), compared to women who meet feminine ideals, experience the most sexual harassment.  That is to say, “sexual harassment is primarily targeted at women who violate gender roles.” https://www-2.rotman.utoronto.ca/facbios/file/Berdahl%20JAP%202007.pdf

Good to know.



The Authority Gap, Mary Ann Sieghart – A MUST READ

As I was reading this book, I realized right away I wanted to post about it, so I started making a list of bits to mention, but very quickly there were just too many!!  So – A MUST READ.  This book is FULL of all the stats you ever wanted to support your personal experience: it’s NOT just you, it wasn’t just then, it wasn’t just there …   For every bit below, I’ve underlined in my copy of the book twenty more …

70% of men rate men more highly than women for achieving the same goals (p4).

“We will continue to assume that a man knows what he’s talking about until he proves otherwise” (p7).  Yes.  And we shouldn’t (as the book shows).  So, NEW RULE: Assume that men are full of shit until proven otherwise.

“It’s as if men are swimming with the current in a river and women are swimming against it” (p17).  Yes.  YES!!  “[Men] don’t experience the myriad of little insults to their self-esteem and confidence that women have to put up with daily …” (p17).  “Even when a woman gets a top job for which she’s qualified, people ask her what her qualifications are in a way that men are never asked” (p55).

Re women in government, “Women read their briefs, they don’t just read the summary of their Cabinet papers, they’ve actually done the homework, often much more diligently” (p78).  And THAT’S why fewer women seek such positions: we see the responsibility; men see just the power.

“Think how hard it must be for a female economist to thrive in a world of such intellectual rigour when the words most likely to be associated with her [previous statistic] are ‘tits’, ‘anal’, ‘horny’, and ‘prostitute’.  And these are written in a public forum!” (p89).

In all nine countries, boys were much more likely to claim they knew and understood proper numbers, subjunctive scaling, and declarative fractions.  A delightful study to read about because THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS!  Proof of men’s bullshitting through and through.

Female job applicants who negotiate their offered salary are twice as likely not to be hired as male applicants who do so.

Information offered to a group by a man was twice as likely to be used by the group for a decision as information offered by a woman.

“The cat sat on the mat.”  Excellent analysis (too long to reproduce here).  p144-5.

Male judges on literary prize panels not reading books by women.  Just not reading them. p145-6

“There’s something innately very patronizing about knowing that half the population considers my thoughts on anything to be completely irrelevant to them” (p150).  Well-put.

News coverage on abortion … 81% of those quoted were men.  Re birth control?  75%.  Were men.

Re being White Dude Alex online instead of Lady Alex.  “For an entire week, I got to see what it was like to be treated with respect.  As a man, I could use the same words and be met with discussion, with disagreement, or even nothing at all, instead of insults.  [and rape threats and death threats] I became an equal human being, one whose voice deserves to be heard.” p265

“What kind of a person read through a newspaper and thought ‘Hmmm.  I don’t appreciate Reporter X’s writing.  I think I’ll send some hard-core porn mail recommending a good, solid raping.’ …” (p268).


Wealthy Americans – great piece at The Onion

Check it out!  Wealthy Americans Assure Populace … 




Male Privilege: Case # 32,564,978

So I recently read a book written by a grassroots activist advocating government reform.  It wasn’t excellent, but it did have a few good insights, and, frankly, I’m happy to see any books by activists and any books advocating government reform.  That said, the book really grabbed my attention when I read the lengthy acknowledgements section at the end.  The guy, as is fashionable these days, acknowledged his white male privilege, but as I read through the acknowledgements, I thought ‘You have no idea.’

My first clue was that he’d written, early on, as if it were a matter of simple fact, “So if I’m invited to a fund-raiser, I go.  And when I make eye contact with the candidate, I too am saying, ‘I might be calling you for something.  I hope you’ll answer the call.  I’m on your team'” (p141).  I realized right then: this has been written by a man; this is how a man experiences the world.  Because if I, a woman, had gone to a fund-raiser and had caught the (male) candidate’s eye, he probably would’ve understood me to mean ‘Yes, I’ll come up to your room afterwards and give you a blow job.’  (Or perhaps he would’ve just ignored me.  Years ago, when I went to a talk by Alan Borovoy, then President of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, I approached him after the talk, on fire with a passion for justice, ready to join his activism, his (male) assistant told me he didn’t have time for questions.  And Borovoy agreed by not even acknowledging my presence just a few feet away from him.)

My second clue was that the guy didn’t do the research for ‘his’ book.  To me, that’s part of writing a book and I think the person who did the research should have gotten co-author credit.  (At least he got title page credit.)  And, well, that’s a male thing, isn’t it: taking credit for someone else’s work.

But back, onwards, to the Acknowledgements.  (And I’ll write this as if I’m talking to him.  Because I am.  In fact, I sent a version of this to him.  But I’m also talking to every man out there.  And every woman.  You should know how much easier it is for them … )

“[This book] was a fantasy and I truly had no clue where to start.”  If you were a woman, and you truly had no clue, you wouldn’t even think of writing a book.  Men do what they want; women do what they think they’re qualified to do.  Read the study of journalists asking men and women to be interviewed: men almost always say yes, whether they’re experts on the matter or not; women almost always say no, believing they’re not expert enough.  That is to say, men overestimate their competence; women underestimate theirs.

“It was my friend Peter … who suggested I’d need an editor and introduced me to … ”  Women tend not to have friends who know editors.  You figure out why.

“… who then told me I needed an agent and introduced me to Rick … ”  What the fuck.  Would you like to know how many queries I’ve sent to agents asking them to consider representing me?  Well over a hundred.  Probably close to two or three.  Hundred.  Women have to knock (and knock and knock) on the front door.  Men are (‘Psst! Over here!’) let in the back door.  Read Sieghart’s The Authority Gap.  And the many books like it.

“…who informed me that I needed a book proposal.”  You didn’t know that?  Every publisher’s website makes that quite clear.  (But you didn’t bother reading publishers’ websites; you’re going through life from back door to back door via friends who introduce you to people who roll out the red carpet for you because why?  Oh yeah.)

“[The agent] took an enormous leap of faith by joining the project and has been acting as my cheerleader, advocate, and advisor for half a decade.”  Ask him if he’s done that for any women.  It’s a ‘bro’ thing.  (By the way, twice I queried that particular literary agency; both times, I received no reply whatsoever, not even a form letter.  If the query had been from Patrick Tittle … well, who knows?  Actually, the researchers who have studied that sort of thing know.  And so we do too:  the query from the man will receive more attention.  Read Sieghart’s The Authority Gap.)

And you received interest from FOUR publishers?  Based on a proposal you re-wrote only once?  Un-fucking-believable.  If the proposal had been from a woman …

Eventually, you delivered “a bloated manuscript with 100 long-winded chapters.”  And they didn’t retract their contract?  If the manuscript had been from a woman …

“…and he showed me how to turn it into a book.”  Wow.  This reminds me of the  I was asked by a publisher to review a manuscript that had been submitted (this was after I’d published Critical Thinking: an appeal to reason with Routledge and What If? Collected Thought Experiments in Philosophy with Longman).  It had been written by a HUGE name in Philosophy, but the manuscript was a mess.  I mean C- grad student mess.  I tried to be kind while being honest; maybe it was time for the guy to quit, we all get old, our minds don’t last forever …  Weeks after I’d submitted my review (recommending that the manuscript not be published), it occurred to me that all of his work all of his life may have been like that and someone else fixed it up for him.  (And upon receiving the publisher’s rejection, he probably just gave the manuscript to someone else, perhaps one of his A+ grad students, and said ‘Be a sport/dear, and fix this up a bit, will you?’)  (And he/she would have said ‘Sure!’, honoured to have been asked.)  (Instead of ‘Hell, no!  Do your own damn work, Professor Y.’)  See, men get help.  They get detailed feedback.  (Again, read Sieghart’s The Authority Gap.)  So they get shown how to turn something into a book.  Women are expected to submit publication-ready manuscripts and if they don’t, well, sorry, we can’t offer you a contract, it’s/you’re just not good enough.

And wow, that research tour.  Nothing like that would ever happen to me.  I’m sure of it.  You got taken seriously.  You have no idea —   Women don’t.  Get taken seriously.  Read Jass Richards’ The ReGender App. And Chris Wind’s This is what happens.  And see https://www.hellyeahimafeminist.com/male-privilege/ and https://www.hellyeahimafeminist.com/25-ways-i-was-granted-white-male-privilege-after-i-transitioned/ and https://www.hellyeahimafeminist.com/like-night-and-day-indeed/ and https://www.hellyeahimafeminist.com/proof-of-sexism/.

“During my travels, many couches and guestrooms were generously shared …”  Again, if you’d been a woman, in most cases it would have been considered inappropriate.  While I was recording a CD in Toronto at Musicworks, I had to drive three hours each way, there and back, (I couldn’t afford a hotel room).  Not once did anyone involved offer their couch (let alone “their entire home for writing retreats”).  And I didn’t expect them to.  Women don’t expect things to be given to them.  Men do.  It’s called male entitlement.

” … helped me battle procrastination and doubt …”  Men get cheerleaders.  Women don’t.  Think back to your high school sports teams.  Any of the women’s teams have a bunch of people applauding their every move, encouraging their every step … ?  They probably didn’t even have the bleachers filled.  Not even half-filled.

“The final draft was polished by … who proposed hundreds of clever edits and then by … who proposed thousands.”  Yeah.  See above regarding that philosopher.  Look, if the manuscript needed thousands of edits, it was not a final draft.  It was—  My god, but you guys play by different rules.  The bar is set WAY HIGHER for women.

“I’m very grateful to the people who kept me employed, fed, and housed during the six years it took to produce this work”—you mean you didn’t have to pay rent/mortgage or buy food?  You didn’t support yourself?  Even though you received a $30,000 advance?  (Quick comparison: for my business ethics text, I received a $5,000 advance, out of which I had to pay permissions.)  Unfuckingbelievable.




College/University Students are Not Expected to Read

“A student who worked as a janitor at his college was sanctioned because he was seen reading a book called Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan … (The image on the cover was upsetting to the two people who reported him.) …” (The Coddling the American Mind, Lukianoff and Haidt, p207).

So, pursuant to my previous post, and keeping in mind the numerous instances in which guest speakers who would voice a view in opposition to that held by students were ‘disinvited’, not only are college/university students not expected to think, they’re not even expected to read.


Handing Over Our Thinking to Algorithms

I was struck by something Lukianoff and Haidt said in The Coddling of the American Mind when they describe the response to Rebecca Tuvel’s article (“In Defense of Transracialism”) in Hypatia: “It is striking  how many of the critics’ complaints refer not to Tuvel’s arguments but to her word choices” (p105).  At first, I thought, with a grimace, that’s because so many people can’t understand arguments .

But recalling the proliferation of demands that people’s twitter accounts be suspended, I think there might be something else going on: people are using algorithms, which can identify individual words or phrases, but not arguments, to determine what’s acceptable and what’s objectionable.

And that’s scarey.  Just one of the many scarey things about turning over our lives to various versions of artificial intelligence.  Algorithms and so forth are only as good as their creators, and I suggest that those creators, IT (Business/Computer Studies) graduates, are not the sharpest pencils in the box.

(A predecessor point along the same spectrum: customer service departments that require their reps to follow a script instead of allowing them to think for themselves like human beings.  We all know how frustrating that is.  Just a few degrees more frustrating than the also-predecessor automated answering machine menus.)



Open Season on Women: More evidence of the pornification of our society

I live in a small lake-centered community about three hours north of Toronto, consisting of about thirty houses: about ten are occupied year-round; the others are occupied mostly just during the summer.  So, small neighbourhood.

Over the past few years, I’ve experienced six instances of what I would call over-the-top insult.  Specifically misogynist insult.

Man #1: I’d called the MNR to inquire about laws concerning cutting down trees at the shoreline; I emphasized that the guy was doing so on his own private property, but still, I wondered if that was okay—in some areas it is not, because it messes up the ecosystem.  The man had put up for sale the peninsula in question (my precious view!), and I had already offered to purchase it at its assessed value, at twice its assessed value, at three times its assessed value—he refused to sell it to me, believing that he could get more for the house on top of the hill if this slice of waterfront was attached (true, but what he could get for house-without-peninsula + only-peninsula might have been even more), and he thought that clearing the peninsula would make it more attractive.  (And maybe he didn’t think women should own property.)  That afternoon (after paddling over in the morning and begging him to stop, suggesting that the next owners might actually like the natural woodsiness—to no avail whatsoever), I stopped at his house with yet another offer: I would pay the property taxes on the peninsula until he sold the property if he would agree to not cut down any more trees.  Barely suppressing rage (at what?), he called me a cunt, flicked the rag he happened to have in his hand at me, pushed me back into my car, told me to leave before he became a murderer, then reached in and smacked my dog.

Man #2:  This guy had recently purchased a cottage at the end of our dead-end lane, and his young son had started driving an ATV up and down, and up and down, and up and down, annoying everyone …   So I finally stopped him, told him there was a nearby stretch of road that had no one living on it, and suggested he play with his ATV there instead.  Next up and down, it was his father on the ATV.  He got off, stomped toward me, stood way too close, started jabbing his finger at me, called me a bitch, and told me that his son could drive his ATV wherever he wanted to.  Later, while I was walking on the road (dirt/gravel road with no sidewalks), I saw his fast-approaching pick-up, moved as far to the edge of the road as I could, and faced the ditch so I wouldn’t get any gravel in my face.  He came so close to me, I felt the swoosh of wind; if I’d happened to bend down to re-tie my shoelace while I waited for him to pass by, I’d probably be in a wheelchair now.

Man #3: The smoke from this guy’s burning leaves had been drifting onto my property for hours, forcing me inside with all the windows closed (I’m one of the many for whom such smoke is a headache trigger).  So, deciding to take an indirect approach and thus avoid a physical confrontation, I simply left information about the toxicity of smoke from burning leaves in his mailbox; I figured he could read it and (hopefully) make the decision on his own to just let the leaves decompose in a pile in the corner of his almost-an-acre lot—it was better for the environment that way, quite apart from more respectful of his neighbours.  A few days later, he happened to be picking up his mail when I walked by.  He asked if I had been the one to put the information in his mailbox; I said yes; he then called me a coward and a cunt, all the while standing way too close and doing the finger jabbing thing.

Man #4: My transgression in this case?  I’d knocked over the guy’s pile of rocks.  It had apparently taken him hours to build.  Unfortunately, he’d built it about thirty feet from shore (and not by any means close to his own property), right in the middle of what I think of as my kayak path—which he would have known had he been paying any attention to me kayaking past almost every day for the last twenty years, hugging the shore to be safe from the jetskis.  Apparently he needed a landmark, other than, oh, I don’t know, the dead tree on the opposite shore, in order to avoid the submerged sandbar that was there.  So he raced out on his jetski to me in my kayak and started yelling at me, calling me a bitch, asking me how stupid I was, and generally throwing a tantrum.

Man #5: This time?  Apparently I wasn’t moving quickly enough from the easy walking of the middle of a seldom-travelled dirt road to the soft edge.  That is to say, I wasn’t running out of his way.  So while heading straight for me on his ATV, he shouted ‘Ya gotta get out of my way!’  Not terribly misognynistic unless you recognized the patronizing tone he managed to put into it.  Like I was a toddler who needed to be told to look both ways before crossing a road.  (Sidenote: his father, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, had wanted to hire me to be his maid and caretaker—I’m a consultant for a firm in Washington—and asked if I liked sex and was I any good at it.)

Man #6: I’ve saved the ‘best’ for last.  On my way back from an all-afternoon paddle up the river, I stopped in front of a cottage (another of the eight upwind from my house) to ask that they put out the smokepit they’d had going since morning (so, for eight hours).  Long story short, a guy came running down to the dock and started lunging at me (as if trying to scare away a bear?), calling me crazy, telling me to fuck off, telling me to mind my own business, and finally telling me I should take off my headphones (they were already off), bash my head with rocks, jump into the lake, and drown.  Die.  (He probably also called me a cunt, but I’m not sure, because I was so transfixed by his foaming-at-the-mouth reaction to me, to my simple request … )

So.  What are the odds?  Assuming one man per house, that’s six out of thirty, which is one in five.  One in five men responded with absolute outrage when I challenged them on something.  That in itself isn’t particularly new.  Someone once said that “When men make demands, they expect women to comply.”  True enough.  And when women make demands, men completely lose their shit.

And I’m no stranger to sexism—as a female human being, I’ve been dismissed and/or ignored all my life.

What caught me by surprise, in every case, was the vehemence of the response, so disproportionate to the stimulus (two of the six uttered near death threats), and the ease with which those who called me a cunt did so.

On top of all that, in four of the six cases, I was significantly older than the man in question.  Insults among peers is one thing, but it takes a certain arrogance to insult someone twenty or thirty years your senior: no deference, no hesitation, they were just as reckless, just as abusive, with me as I imagine they might be with their peers.

At first, I thought of individual explanations, something in our history … but to three of the six, I was a total stranger.

So.  What’s going on?  Yes, our society is increasingly uncivil.  And some have attributed that to the internet: in general, people are more insulting when they are anonymous and, no surprise, that rudeness becomes a habit and crosses over into ‘real’ life.

But that doesn’t explain the sexual nature of the insults.  Or the ease—and the rage—with which I was called a bitch or a cunt.

So I’m thinking it’s due to internet porn.  Most porn, now, is incredibly aggressive and humiliating to women (read Dines’ Pornland and Bray and Reist’s Big Porn, Inc.): women are routinely slapped, hit, fucked; spat on, pissed on; and yes, of course, called a bitch and a cunt.  Routinely.  And most men watch porn.  And, well, we become what we expose ourselves to.  (Read the research).  Therefore, most men believe they have a right to hurl abuse, sexual abuse, at a woman.  Any woman.  Anytime.  Anywhere.

(Act accordingly.)


This is Not The Truman Show

I live in a cabin on a lake in a forest (purchased back when people like me, not-rich people, could afford such things).  There are about ten permanent residences; about ten cottages owned by people who may (or may not) be there during any given weekend or week; and, now, oh the horror, about ten houses owned by absentee landlords who rent them out on a short-term basis (typically for a weekend or a week).  So in addition to the 20 or so people who live here and the familiar 20 or so people who are here occasionally, we now have up to another 100 people (because ‘Sleeps 10!’), strangers, who are here pretty much all the time from mid-spring to mid-fall.

I moved here for the beauty, the quiet, the solitude.  Paddling here used to feel like paddling in Algonquin.  It doesn’t feel that way anymore.  (‘Course, I suspect that paddling in Algonquin doesn’t even feel like paddling in Algonquin anymore.)  Now it often feels like paddling around a pond in Toronto.

A while ago I was accused of being rude.  Because I didn’t smile and wave back when I paddled past someone sitting on a dock who’d smiled and waved at me.  Excuse me?

I am not part of your cottage experience.  This is not The Truman Show.  I’m an actual, real person, and I live here.  I do not come into existence when you arrive and disappear when you leave.

You’ve been suckered by the rental ads claiming a cottage escape where you can relax and have fun.  Like many tourists, you think the people you see are part of the package.  I assure you we are not.

You may be able to relax and have fun here.  But keep in mind that you’re really just renting a house in someone else’s neighbourhood for the weekend/week.

So you’ll understand why many of us are pissed off by your jetskis that shove gasoline fumes and engine noise into every cove (and over a gallon of uncombusted fuel directly into the lake for every hour of operation), your all-day firepits that send smoke into everyone’s back yard, and your evening campfires during which due to the acoustics of the lake and your insistence on using your outdoor voices (because, hey, you’re outdoors!  up north, in the wild!) we have to listen to your inane conversations (and sometimes your gawdawful music) when we really want to listen to the loons.  (And I’m the one who’s rude?!)

So, no.  If you smile and wave at me when I pass by (and I doubt you do that to every stranger who passes by when you’re sitting on your porch at home in your own neighbourhood), I’m not going to smile and wave back.




Surely, A Metaphor (for what’s happening to our planet)

Weather websites are issuing air quality alerts because of the smoke coming from forest fires in the northeast, and yet people in cottage country just a few hours north of Toronto have smokepits going all day, presumably so they won’t be bothered by mosquitoes.

Never mind that said smokepits fill the whole neighbourhood with toxic smoke, worse by far than that coming from the forementioned forest fires.

Never mind that there are non-toxic (and non-trespassive) alternatives like zapper racquets and protective clothing.

A confrontation with a neighbour about this ended in a not-quite death threat: it took less than sixty seconds for the man to go from “Mind your own business!” (I am: when your smoke crosses over onto my property, it becomes my business.) to “Fuck off, bitch! Why don’t you smash your head with rocks, then jump in the lake and drown?!”  (Seriously.  That’s what he said.  He was practically foaming at the mouth.)

Canada hasn’t met any of the emissions targets it’s set.  Not one.  (No surprise.  Given Mr. Mind-your-own-business. Who apparently has no understanding of, and/or no interest in, cause and effect.)

So, like South Koreans, who also live with unbreathable air, due to China, I’ll be getting some smoke masks and nose filters.  Sigh.



The replacement of journalism

“The replacement of journalism by rumor aggregators …”  (Zendegi, Greg Egan).  Yes.  That.  Precisely.