Mirror, mirror

    I don’t care if you finally got a man to say ‘lady’, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing

    That’s one small step for womyn, three steps back for humankind

Yesterday the American Womyns Agency managed to kafkatrap a man into saying ‘lady’ the culmination of a ten year multi-disciplinary program, involving painting red with black spots a large polystyrene model of a beetle of the family Coccinellidae, and replaying a John Scalzi triumphal squee at top volume as the target got the second part of replying to the trap-question ‘What is that?’ which took very precise timing and high nausea tolerance. It was a powerful step forward for womyn and Womyn’s Studies alike. However, slightly before the big moment, coverage of the event reminded us how much progress remains to be accomplished back in the real world.

A number of the Womyn’s Studies graduates involved on this incredible project were interviewed in the hours leading to the kafkatrapping by the mainstream daily blah. One of those Womynists was Martha Tynker, who chose to dress, for this special occasion, in a bowling shirt covered in scantly clad caricatures of sexy men in provocative poses.

This is the sort of casual misandry than stops men entering certain arts fields. They see a womyn like that on TV and they don’t feel welcome. They see the bare-chested headless man with his top button of his fly undone on a ‘Romance’ cover in a colleague’s office and they know they aren’t respected. They hear comments about “MCPs” while out at a bar with fellow Womyn’s Studies students, and they decide to change majors. And those are the men who actually make it that far. Those are the few that persevered even when they were discouraged from pursuing degrees in drama, media studies, and whining throughout high school. These are the men who forged on despite the fact that they were told by elementary school classmates and the media at large that boys who like social ‘science’ are nerdy and unattractive. This is the climate that men who dream of working in HR or Government Equality Programs come up against, every single day. This shirt is representative of all of that.

The Pissific journalist Ross Adamwak brilliantly captures what that shirt represents in a community that continues to struggle, if not outright fail, to respect men.
‘No no men are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dudette in this shirt’ he twetted.

Reaction has been widespread after menists spread this across the twetterscape yesterday, a sample of which are replicated here:

‘You couldn’t even park a spaceship on a comet let alone trick a man into saying ‘lady’ by cutting off the bug part of what he says.’ – Wobbler.
‘If you can get a man to say ‘lady’, then you can wear what you like.’ — Moll
‘I mean it’s just silly, it’s not like the cartoon men on the shirt are doing something awful like landing a spaceship on a comet. They’re washing up the dishes and making sammiches.’ — Anne Elk
‘Look at any men’s magazine. You’ll see pictures by men for men of a lot sexier men in less clothes. And mostly they’re not doing liberating things.’ — Jo Mohr-Scati.
‘If you can’t cope with a shirt with cartoons of sexy men doing the dishes, you shouldn’t be doing womyn’s studies, go and do science or something.’ – A. Mary Kohn-Lefti.
‘Yergle bergle pumpkin. Your mother is a duck with fish-sperm. I’m looking for that little Asian chick I stalk. And I can do and say anything I please because I’m a SJW’ – Yamama Clamps.

Yes, it’s a ridiculous satire. Yet there are far, far less men in Womyn’s Studies –which, we are angrily assured, is every bit as (if not more) important to humankind as Engineering, Astrophysics and Mathematics put together – than there are women in Engineering or Astrophysics or Math. Do you think it’s because of the casual misandry? Maybe the shirts? Are they rejecting just under 50% of the human race?

I wait to hear what they’re going to do about that. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

I think landing on a comet is a great achievement, both for Homo sapiens and sf. My respect for the scientists who did it is vast. It’s a very elite club – but not one that wants to keep anyone who has the mental capacity and who loves the science out. I know these sort of folk: they want you to join them, desperately. They’ll help in any way they can. However dumb bunnies who look at this sort of achievement… and see a shirt as more important are not ever going to cut it, and that’s not because of their genitalia, or anything else irrelevant. It’s because they’re thick. Fantastic guys like Dr. Matt Taylor – who go out of their way to attract younger people into science, deserve our support and praise.

I am forcibly reminded of the great hoo-ha that resulted in the SFWA magazine being killed and the editor fired because it had a curvaceous woman in a chainmail bikini – with a stonking great sword, and a dead, and plainly male monster-man, on the cover. It was sexist. It made the woman into a sex object (with a sword she just killed a monster-man with). Irrelevant the countless women in even more scanty bikinis on any sunny Western-civ beach, Kim Kardashian’s tail end all over the internet, and the usually very revealing outfits designed to enhance the… mind (ha ha) in fashion magazines (by women, for women to read… even the covers of romance novels, which are pretty well undeniable objectification (when you leave the body on the cover, but cut the face off, it’s a small clue that the person is being made into ‘an object’. Possibly you missed it /sarc off. I don’t give a toss, myself. But sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and vice versa.)) Oddly, I remember one of the chief fuss-budgets lusting after a leather bustier – intended to exaggerate the sexual characteristics of the wearer, and impractical for any other reason, undoubtedly damned uncomfortable, moments after condemning the sexist chainmail. The cognitive dissonance didn’t seem to register with her.

It’s not actually about ‘micro-aggression’. There probably isn’t any, unless you try terribly, terribly hard to find something to be offended at (and even then 99.9% it’s completely innocent, and a dozen examples of far worse exist that they ignore). It’s actually about systematic abuse by the accuser. It follows much the same recipe of cruel psychological manipulation which Synova described in the comments on my post last week – where the target does nothing they can see as wrong: “Imagine doing this to a child.

The kid is walking through a room doing nothing much and suddenly POW… and then you tell the kid… well that was YOUR fault. You screwed up. You stepped on that spot on the floor.

So the kid looks at the spot and it looks like every other spot. But the kid is told that, no, the fact that she can’t even SEE the spot is what the problem is. You can’t SEE the spot… that’s why it is YOUR fault. Also, a good child will try to learn. You’re a good child, aren’t you?

So the kid says, yes… it was my fault. I could not SEE the spot. Not seeing the spot makes this my fault.

Afterward, it’s still impossible to see the spots, and walking across the room becomes fraught with danger. Sitting down at the keyboard gives this very “good” person the shakes and panic attacks… where are the spots? She still can’t see the spots but she MUST agree and believe that those spots exist.”

They’re trying to please, to ‘be good’, but the perpetrator will find something to give them a beating about. So they will try even harder to second guess and oblige the perpetrator’s every whim. They are, de facto, entrapped slaves. It’s vile behavior, whether done by a man to his partner, or ‘Requires Hate’ or Rose Eveleth to an unsuspecting scientist (yes a week on, and SJW behavior has changed… not at all. See how they learn and fix). It’s remotely possible the abuser is unaware of their own behavior, but it is more likely that they enjoy it, and rationalize its acceptability – ‘he deserved it.’ ‘I only hit her because I love her’, ‘it’s because I want more women in science, he deserves it’ or ‘I’m punching up.’

I’m sick of it. I think covers like these are great. And if you don’t like ‘em, by all means get Jim Hines to pose for your next cover. In a niqab, if it pleases you. But don’t expect or demand I do so. I’d rather have covers that appeal to the sort of people who like to read my books.

For the record: I am not ‘micro aggressive’ – not in my covers, actions, writing or words. I kill animals to feed myself and my family, with my hands, knives, guns and spears. I am bluntly better at that kind of physical ‘aggression’ than most Western urban people. I was born and bred into it and I’ve had much more practice. If anything it makes me a very gentle individual in my dealings with people. I know how fragile they are, and I have a code I live and die by. I was an army NCO. I know what aggressive language actually means too, and I seldom use that on purpose, but when I do, I do it properly. If I actually want to swat you, it will not be ‘micro’. If it is ‘micro’, look into your own head, and get over it.

What we actually need is people writing books (and landing spacecraft on comets, but we are writers) that inspire ANYONE to take up a career in STEM. It’s a hard path, and not that rewarding, either in respect, fame, or money. Heinlein did that well. He made it accessible, promising and, yes, ‘cool’. Off-hand I can think of no rival since.

Can you?

Oh, I’m at 124 pre-orders of Joy Cometh With The Mourning: A Reverend Joy Mystery
Thank you all. In the interests of honest advertizing I must remind you that it isn’t fantasy or sf, but a cozy murder-mystery.


  1. My favorite response so far has been “he deserved it because of what he was wearing” from Facebook. That sounds awfully familiar, can’t think why.

  2. When I was young, my heroes were big people. Not just tall, mind you, but big in all the best ways. They had big ideas, did big things, and generally were awesome people. Neil Armstrong, of course. Folks like my grandfather. Taught me things like the value of hard work and discipline, what respectability really means, and what matters when things get real.

    My grandmother is the one who taught me you’re only as big as what makes you mad, though. When you allow someone or something to make you angry, that loosens your own self control and gives that power to someone else (generally speaking- there are things worth getting genuinely p*ssed about). I can’t see a shirt being worth all this. I did use up about a month’s worth of expletives, not in anger, but in blank amazement, though.

    On a bleeping comet. They landed a probe. On a bleeping COMET. It makes me want to jump up and down like an idiot and shout it out! This is the stuff I literally dreamed about when I was a kid! This is bloody science *gold!* Beside this, a shirt? Even one of those colorfully loud, printed shirts pales to an insignificance one would need an especially powerful microscope to see!

    And that’s the size of the person who thinks a shirt is more important than one of the most awesome things done in space and science in my lifetime. I am truly, really, not even microconcerned about the shirt, or even whether or not the dude wears pants when he’s off landing a probe on a bleeping comet! That there’s a sort of person who is, that’s more a sad commentary on the sort of person they themselves are than anything about a guy who actually *did* something worthy of respect.

    It *is* a great achievement for all us thinking beings, apes, dragons, and various biologicals on planet Earth. Thanks for writing this, Dave. Spot on.

    1. You are on target. I think we all agree on this. Thus we must express our emotional distress over such a momentous achievement being reduced to a fashion contest, lest our heads explode and our blood pressure skyrocket. Thankfully Dave, Cedar and Sarah have e press my outrage far better than I could. When I tried to commit these feelings to paper of came out as incoherent vowels interspersed with swear words in three languages (can’t speak a clean word in two of them).

      1. You too? I used up about a two-months ration of obscenities just on this alone. A fantastic achievement, and a woman is havvering over the guy’s shirt. How bloody trivial can a woman get over a non-issue?

        1. In the attempt to try make them ‘worldly’ and ‘observant’ and …whatever it is they imagine they are, they only manage to prove right all the negative things that people have been saying about women for YEARS.

          Coz you know showing that feminism is all about the petty bullshit is gonna teach future generations of women that feminism is ’empowering’… not.

        1. It’s a “speaking in tongues” thing. Only instead of speaking some kind of Angelic speech when sufficiently “holy”, you start speaking in Klingon when sufficiently angry. 😉

      2. I actually am not much excited about the comet thing. The shirt is also not one that I would wear.

        But I’ve let pass things far more risible for the sake of an interesting technical project or discussion. Anyone interested enough in science and engineering to overcome the innate challenges can work with people who, reading politics into everything, are not causing good things outside the scope of the technical problem.

    2. Yeah, and the saddest thing about it all is that this guy is, by all accounts, an enthusiastic supporter of getting younger people to see science as cool. A big man, who would be delighted to encourage anyone into science. A guy who would not willfully put anyone off. Yes, he cried. Does that make less of scientist wanting other people the good the bad the ugly to do science? But Rose just saw him as another tool to keep men apologizing for standing on spots they can’t see.

  3. On this, here’s a nugget of thought, when hubby and I were grumbling about how hypocritical it was for women to bitch about what a man was wearing. He’d taken up media and culture as part of college before going into boot, and he recalled this interesting discussion.

    Why are dolls like Barbie made the way they are? There’s been lots of hue and cry from feminists about them being ‘unrealistic’ and ‘idealized’… but when you look at her boyfriend, Ken, the idea that Barbie is there to portray idealized men’s fantasy falls flat, because if we were going to go with that sole idea, Ken is not what a man would like to generally compete against. If Barbie and her hyperidealism is meant to ‘groom’ little girls’ brains into trying to force themselves into a man’s ideal woman, then Ken shouldn’t be what the designers of the doll would make. So if molding girls into men’s desire isn’t the case, whose idealization is in play here? Barbie is the hyperideal of girls, to appeal to girls, as is Ken is the masculine hyperideal image of girls of men.

            1. Nope, no bump. I have a Barb and Ken on the shelf in my study from when I was oil painting and needed models. Just smooth plastic on both bods. So jselvy is vindicated. (Rats)

  4. My first thought when reading about this who ridiculous issue is that most guys would have been totally cool if the interview had been with a female scientist wearing a shirt covered in scantily clad guys. (They exist. You can find one right here. The site also sells the Galaxy Gals shirt the scientist wore.) We’d be amused rather than offended. Speaking solely for myself, I’d think such a woman would be a fun and interesting co-worker.

    I even think the women currently bitching and moaning about the guy’s shirt wouldn’t say a word if a woman wore such a shirt. If they did comment, I’ll give good odds the comments would be along the lines of “Ha! Way to show true liberation by turning the tables on the men!” I’m sure some SJW men would take offense, but they’d shut up as soon as they realized the feminists weren’t complaining.

    1. I’m sure some SJW men would take offense, but they’d shut up as soon as they realized the feminists weren’t complaining.

      And that’s why it’s really repulsive. The SJW aren’t doing it in defense of any principles. They are doing it to dominate victims, and to get little pats on the head from other SJW. They have no integrity, which means consistency of ideals and willingness to act upon them.

      1. Exactly. When victimization depends on which group(s) you belong to rather than what crime was committed against you, you know you are dealing with delusional and tyrannical people.

  5. This was the straw that finally broke the metaphorical camel’s back for me:


    Feminists trick and slander several innocent men, portray them as predators and rapists, create potential long-term damage to their reputations and employment…to demonstrate how easily women are victimized.

    Could the manipulation be any more blatant? This constant portrayal of Western women as eternal, perpetual victims, so please give the SJWs more resources and power to fix it.

    And anybody who’s on good terms with Larry Correia, please point him in the direction of Geordie Tait’s genocide rant. That guy needs fisked in the worst way.

  6. These SJWs have lowered themselves PAST the level of 12-14 year old girls who go running to the teacher “he said a bad word! Make him stop!” every time a boy says “shut up” or “hey, it’s my turn!” on the playground.

  7. For the record: I am not ‘micro aggressive’ – not in my covers, actions, writing or words. I kill animals to feed myself and my family, with my hands, knives, guns and spears.

    Trust me. If I were being aggressive, there would be nothing “micro” about it.

    (And I’m going to presume that the problems I’m having reading wordpress sites at the moment are at my end because they usually are.)

  8. What we actually need is people writing books (and landing spacecraft on comets, but we are writers) that inspire ANYONE to take up a career in STEM.

    What can I say? I try. I split between fantasy and SF, but in the SF, I make a concerted effort to make science and engineering cool.

    I’m no Heinlein (nobody is), but I try.

  9. It’s getting to the point where the easiest way to anger a feminist is to have a Y-chromosome.

      1. Apparently a beard is enough to enrage them now. I’ve never grown my facial hair before, but I’m considering it.

        1. I think Arwen gets the “not-feminist-enough” anger by default, though. Because when you don’t join in the shrill chorus of denouncing anything and everything not-womyn, you must be a tool of the patriarchy.

          I already have a beard, and actively oppose the bullying. Plus I drive a gas guzzling pickup truck, say “yes ma’am, no ma’am,” and generally try to hold to a better standard. Cismale Heteronormative Opresso-Patriachy, ahoy!

  10. I agree the SJW are being ridiculous.
    But (from what I’very heard) this was a professional event, not a party. The SJW nonsense both masks and builds on the fact that the shirt was unprofessional, which makes it harder for fellow professionals to defend him. Professional women are not encouraged to wear see through, and men not to wear muscle shirts, because it says they are there for other than professional reasons, diminishing them professionally, and distracts the opposite sex. The fact that the shirt was unprofessional, not appropriate for the event, makes it harder for coworkers and supervisors to defend him.
    He made himself, his team, and his agency vulnerable, by unprofessional actions, and will pay for that, even if they think the SJW are ridiculus.

    1. I wouldn’t wear a shirt like that. However, unless there was a policy in place that specifically told him not to wear a shirt like that, then all our opinions about it being professional or unprofessional are kind of irrelevant. From what I understand, he was basically pulled out of a crowd to be interviewed, possibly because he was a more casual, cool looking scientist.

      Besides, the line between “professional” an “unprofessional” keeps blurring more and more.

    2. Chuck C, I refer you back to the very first comment made. if I want to have a discussion about professional dress, I’ll be sure to call you in to address us. This isn’t it. The issue has been addressed in several venues, hammered flatter and thinner than gold leaf every time, as irrelevant inapplicable and outright stupid in the context, and it actually never had much substance to start with. This was about accusing the individual of sexism on the basis of the images on that shirt, not about the shirt, or the color, or the appropriateness of wearing a beach shirt. They could have been on his tie or pen for all the relevance your comment has. Personally I couldn’t care what a brilliant scientist wore, but I’d fire one who couldn’t keep on topic, because that actually would endanger the task.
      You’re off topic.

    3. I’m sure if the gentleman were given a dress code to follow, he would have.

      But do you remember http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobak_Ferdowsi? SCIENCE IS COOL. OMG. ROCKET SCIENTIST WITH A FREAKING MOHAWK. Haawwwttt guuuyyyyyy!

      I’d bet you dollars to donuts they looked at their tattooed guy and his flashy, retro-cool, rockabilly style and said, “Yep, thumbs up. Can we make sure his station is closer to the cameras?”

      If they’re not willing to defend him, which it appears they aren’t, they are more culpable than he is, because they didn’t say, “Hey, not sure about that shirt, man. Got anything else?”

      1. The dude has tattoos all over his body…. But the neat thing about engineers is they look at your work, and nothing else. And that’s because Engineers are quirky geniuses. You don’t see programmers in suits either.

    4. You know what. When I worked at a Government Physics lab, the scariest one hour I have ever had, including my two car accidents, was when we had a session with a true government SJW. This was back in the Clinton era and sexual harassment was the big thing for these guys to harass people with. Which this guy spent most of the little session regaling his stories of how he wrecked lives and used the power of the government to abuse people for minor offenses that had offended various women. The idea that somebody could come and destroy lives for things that people might not realize what was happening scared the hell out of me.

  11. Actually, the whole #shirtstorm has me wondering, if we can keep women out of STEM with racy bowling shirts, what out fields of endeavor can we clear them out of with the proper sartorial equipage? Just by changing our wardrobe, could we end Feminism altogether, and force women back into the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, while we sport some pretty rad shirts?

    I do believe what’s-her-name at The Verge has inadvertently shown us the light!

    1. … what other fields…

      I swear, my word processor should have a post button. I’d never miss seeing a typo after I pressed it while editing again.

  12. While I agree that perhaps engaging in a straight up shouting match may not always be the best tactic, I firmly disagree with the concept of ceasefire.

    As others have mentioned above – NOT fighting back has done us no better. It’s like playing th prisoners dilemma when you always take the “nice” choice even when , like Lucy and the football, the other side always screws you over.

    Furthermore, the SJW’s are like little children. They don’t argue logically, only with the potemkin structures of it. They argue emotionally, rhetorically, and must be engaged on that level. Again, “shouting” back may not always be appropriate, but as you step aside to let them go off balance, give a healthy mocking push and a hearty “f*ck off!”.

    It can be the only way to break them out of their groupthink and fearful need to validate their worldview, by shocking them into dissonance. (See ESR’s “We are not sheep” for one technique.. http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1029) What’s the worst they’re going to do? Call us Angry right wingers? Bigots? Sexist? Racist? They already do that even when we calmly point out the facts.

    Finally – returning to the prisoners dilemma in game theory. An iterated game where time and time again you go up against another person, the best strategy is to start out trusting, but f they screw you (as the SJW’s have) hammer them, hammer them mercilessly (don’t listen to bleatings about how mean you are) until they stop. Then extend trust as long as they behave.

    We can discuss strategy and tactics, and which ones we as individuals can afford to employ and keep our livelihoods and sanity – people burn out, but the decades prove they’re in it for the long haul.

Comments are closed.