The Left Hand of Link Roundup (Sep 9th, 2009)

8 thoughts on “The Left Hand of Link Roundup (Sep 9th, 2009)

  1. Rick

    Wow, the “Web-monitoring software gathers data on kid chats” story is abhorrent on so many levels. Talk about an argument for using open source! Not to mention talking to your kids instead of using software to “monitor” them.

    1. Mary

      [Edited by Mary: I’ve removed this comment of mine on reflection because of its length. It’s pretty clear that a blog entry is trying to get out of me here and I don’t want to derail the comment thread. You can see the original text of the comment at my site. I’ll update that link if I eventually make the blog entry.]

  2. Erika

    “I don’t see gender, I just see people.” This is me. This is what I think. Why is this comic calling me stupid? I don’t get it.

    1. Erika

      In fact, I do get it, it fits with the whole derailingfordummies worldview. But what a cheap bit of nastiness. Why is this what feminism seems to be?

      1. Skud

        Well, my take on it (and I do not in any way represent A Softer World, of course) is that:

        a) Most people who say that sort of thing do indeed see gender, and often act towards people according to their gender, even if they don’t realise it. Take a look at the “pink brain, blue brain” link above, where eg. parents are more protective of female babies than male ones. I’m betting this is also true of most people who say they don’t see gender. So saying “I don’t see…” is just denial.

        b) Saying you don’t see gender, you just see people, denies people’s experiences as gendered individuals. Gender is a big part of our lives and (in the case of women who are also feminists) an important part of our political struggle. Ignoring that is kinda rude and dismissive. We saw a version of this (albeit centred around race) in re: Worldcon a few weeks back. Take a look at L. Jagi Lamplighter’s apology (see point 2) afterwards.

        c) Even if you don’t see gender, the world at large does, and discriminates on the basis of it. People who say “I don’t see gender” often do so in a way that suggests they are absolved of any further responsibility to work towards gender equality.

      2. Erika

        Ok, I do see that there are situations where “I don’t see gender” could be stupid and offensive, especially if it’s someone actively defending their own sexism. But it’s not inherently offensive. And saying that it’s stupid, without any other context, is offensive. The thing is, it’s not even saying anything against sexism. It’s saying something against a particular form of anti-sexism. Are well-meaning anti-sexists who aren’t well clued in to the nuances of feminism (or have substantial differences with the party line) really the enemy? Sometimes I get the sense they are.

        I’m not a run-with-the-crowd type. I don’t follow drumbeats. That’s how I got to be a geek feminist. Or, not-feminist, if neccessary. So things (like that comic) that sound like drum-beating, that want me to shut up and get with the program, don’t sit well with me.

        As for a), sure, gender does matter in everyday life, and it’s important to be realistic, but that shouldn’t prevent someone from having an ideal of genderblindness, shouldn’t prevent that from being an acceptable feminist position.

        As for b), I don’t know how the idea of being genderblind could be rude and dismissive in itself. It’s an idea, not an insult. It’s an attitude, not an absolute. It doesn’t deny anybody anything. People can have gendered experiences without being seen as gendered all the time. The comic is certainly rude and dismissive though.

  3. Yatima

    “I wonder if, for instance, my college adviser would have been able to get away with pretending I was too stupid for graduate school–he said as much to me in a slightly gentled-up fashion–if I hadn’t myself learned to be so self-deprecating.”

    Christ. Mine, too.

    1. Laughingrat

      What, did you go to a lesser-known state university in Ohio, too? Or is it the much more likely sad truth that this stuff goes on everywhere? Alas.

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