Holy Blatant Sexism, Batman!

So yeah, this actually got written.

Women’s judo: it’s disturbing to watch these girls beat each other up

Watching Gemma Gibbons gaining Britain’s first judo medal in 12 years, I found myself wondering: is women fighting each other violently a perfectly wholesome spectator sport?

With those judo contestants – and I realise this will probably sound appallingly sexist – I couldn’t help wondering about their soft limbs battered black and blue with bruises.

Holy crap.

The good news? As of right now, there are almost 700 comments on the thread, and they seem to be almost universally attacking the (male, of course) author for his condescending patriarchal vapidity. Does one need any more evidence to conclude that feminism is still relevant?


Screw Your Preconceptions

Life is not Disney. Everything you know from Hollywood is wrong. “Common sense” is bullshit. How much of life’s misery could be averted by keeping these things in mind? Take, for example, relationships. If TV is to be believed, relationships are pretty straightforward: Meet someone. Fall in love. Dating turns into marriage. Kids. Happily ever after.

This is a fantasy, and it’s not the “gosh, that would be ideal” kind of fantasy. It’s the “complete work of fiction” kind.

Healthy relationships don’t just happen. They take work and commitment. Not every day is sunshine and roses. Sometimes you argue—sometimes about big things. And odds are good (like 100%) that this won’t always happen in the ways you anticipate.

Consider the romantic comedy genre (cue groaning). How many unique movies are there within this genre? Basically none. Take a look at that chart over there (→ that way →). X meets Y. X flubs meeting. X and Y get to know each other better. X and Y begin dating. Things go well. Really well. Then not so well. Big problem. The couple either splits up or seems likely to split. Additional hardships come, causing X and Y to rekindle their devotion to one another. X and Y overcome hardships. Marriage. Roll credits. The End. Happily ever after. X and Y are forever satisfied with their love, and there’s no more to the story.

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Papal Peccancy

For an organization that claims to be the only true representative of goodness on the face of the planet, the Catholic church sure does a really great job of being horrible. Sadly, it’s getting to the point where I feel like any further writing about the Catholic church would just be an exercise in futility, but the Vatican makes it so easy to get upset! You might expect an institution that offers itself as a significant force for good to make an honest attempt at doing good, but this apparently is not on the official agenda. What can I possibly say against the Catholic church that it isn’t already saying against itself? Well, I suppose there are a few things.

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Humor’s Great … If You’re Funny

When something bad happens to someone you care about, a natural response is the desire to comfort them. There are a number of different strategies for doing this, and the longer you know someone, the more you learn about which strategies will be appropriate. What can reliably calm one person down may instead aggravate the problem for another. And when you’re in that situation, on either end, it’s kind of a big deal.

My default strategy for coping with upset people is humor because it’s much harder to be angry or sad if you’re laughing. Still, delivery is an important part of any joke, and it’s important to know your audience. Not everyone enjoys offensive humor; some people love off-color jokes while others have no sense of humor see them as perversely morbid. It’s generally best not to get those two crowds mixed up, so the safer option often becomes erring on the side of caution. Sometimes overriding the urge to make light of a serious situation can be difficult, but there’s wisdom in not needlessly pissing people off, especially people you’re less familiar with.

Unless you’re the Internet, that is. Many people on the Internat exhibit some strange compulsion to piss people off. (This is often called trolling, but in my experience, people who claim to have been trolling usually are just trying to save face after making idiots of themselves. Or perhaps to piss the other person off even more.)

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Feminism and Sex

Previously, I wrote about what feminism is, and I included a link to a video detailing the “straw feminist” trope. (You’ll want to watch that video if you haven’t yet.) It’s very common for erroneous stereotypes to be partially rooted in reality, and feminism is no exception. Sadly, even what may seem like a reasonable, mature depiction of feminist issues are entirely capable of succumbing to this pitfall. Here’s one such example:

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Those Damn Feminists

Don’t you just hate those damn feminists? They incessantly drone on and on about their little pet ideology, which seeks to glorify women and strip men of their rights. They want to turn men into slaves. The world was so much better before feminists started changing things, so we’d be better off if feminism had never been popularized. If there is any redeeming feature to feminism, though, it’s that everything I’ve said before this sentence is complete nonsense. No feminist wants these things, and if you think feminism has damaged the social fabric, I invite your public humiliation comment.

But those people really do exist!”

Even if they do, those people represent feminism in precisely the same way that the zealots who want to murder all nonbelievers represent modern Christianity; they may have existed in the past, and there may even be the occasional person who still feels that way today and self-identifies using that label, but so what? The majority view is that these people are crazy and not worth listening to, so they cannot be viewed as representative of the whole. This view of feminism is erroneous, but why do so many people fall for it? In large part, the blame falls on logical fallacy and political opportunism.

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