Skepchick Quickies 5.16

Jen got called in to perform emergency neurosurgery this morning, so I’m filling in for her. I cannot disclose anymore details, because despite that her non-medical-professional status means she’s not bound by privacy laws, her silence is bound by secret society of superhuman honor code. Anyway, quickies:

Someday Buying a Vibrator Will Be as Boring as Buying an iPod, but using them will never be… until I can install my grocery app onto it.

Vicar thought gays shouldn’t get married, so when they die, they shouldn’t get buried either. Because gay is a choice and dying is… what?! (sent in by Rei Malebario)

In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is. (sent in by everyone everywhere)

Men don’t get objectified, too. So you cant stop saying that now: People See Sexy Pictures of Women as Objects, Not People; Sexy-Looking Men as People (sent in by Anne Sauer)

Compassionate Skepticism: “The bottom line is, scientific knowledge and thinking come loaded with awesome responsibility. Critical thinking can serve as a weapon to staunchly defend prior notions in the hands of the intellectually disingenuous. It can also be a source of arrogant superiority if you let it.”



Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. Bout time we had another contentious thread up in here. Let the games begin!

    BTW, although I agree it’s probably easiest being a straight white male (I don’t know, I’m not white), it’s also pretty easy being non-female in general.

    I think most men in general have it really easy in society (except for maybe black men, who society can be especially awful to). Our competence is always assumed to be high in the workplace and our emotions aren’t criticized as “female drama” and instead are upheld as valid reactions.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that give us non-white men a little credit for having lots of privilege too :P. Especially within our own communities.

    1. So eh, I suppose if I was going by the halo difficulty system of
      – Easy
      – Normal
      – Heroic
      – Legendary

      I’d say my life as a brown-ish man with squinty eyes (mixed race), I’d rate my difficulty level as Easy-Normal.

      What about everyone else?

      1. On your scale, I’d probably rank at least “Normal”
        But that depends on how one defines it.

        How would one classify this sort of life?
        Since leaving the military six years ago, I’ve held only two civilian jobs, neither in the field I went to technical school for (the first lasted only three months).

        I have to rely on relavitives for housing. Only recently got a car, and it’s barely operative. There are college students with newer, higher end cars than mine.

        And how does being dateless for life figure into the difficulty rating?

    2. “Bout time we had another contentious thread up in here. Let the games begin!”

      I’m not sure why this is contentious. I think it’s the sort of humor that most people will understand whether they are predisposed to agree with the sentiment or not.

      1. Not contentious amongst each other no, but I expect a few of those MRA boys to find their way in here and get their underwear in a bunch about the statement that white guys have the most privilege.

        1. Can you imagine if we still had that dude form Canada around? Mike? Scott? Whatever his name was. Heh.

          I actually think he *may* have been part of that random influx of weird trolls we had for a moment there. It kind of came and went right around the time he was banned…

          1. Yeah he was definitely captain man, and I’m sure he would’ve flown in here to save men-kind as a whole from evil feminist character defamation.

            I think sometimes people miss the trolls though. I think everyone here can admit to enjoying tearing into the flesh of a fresh troll.

      1. Thanks for searching out the good replies you two!

        I stumbled into the “attractive white women are the most privileged because they don’t sleep with me” comments.

        Gah – if someone’s biggest struggle in life isn’t work/housing/violence/education blah blah but instead that models don’t want to have sex with them, then yeah, they’re privileged.

        Plus the privileges an attractive woman experiences aren’t the greatest – wealthier mates, an edge in the workplace, clothing that fits, possible success in Hollywood or high-paid prostitution – but when it comes to Davos they’re still arm candy. That’s not the most important kind of power and privilege.

        1. Yeah, as you can imagine there’s a veritable bouquet of point-missing throughout the comment section… I realized while reading through that a lot of otherwise well-intentioned commenters are misinterpreting “privileged” as “successful,” when it doesn’t mean that at all.

  2. I can see a different, but equally disturbing, reason for upside-down pictures of sexualized women to come across as objects while men don’t.

    The study attributes it to sexualized women being seen as objects while sexualized men are still seen as people. While I don’t disagree that that is a big contributing factor to the effect I think another part of the effect may be caused by volume. Seeing men in sexualized poses is novel while seeing women in sexualized poses is so commonplace as to be mundane.

    It’s still beyond fucked up but the solution, or at least a move toward a solution, would be easier. I look forward to more research.

    1. I feel like it’s probably a mix of both. You know how when “Xerox” became so ubiquitous as to mean photo-copying in general? Kinda like that.

    2. Something else in that study to consider too;

      “There was no difference between male and female participants.”

      So I suppose women see sexalized women as objects too?

      I have to wonder if this is some evolutionary developement thing that’s been wired into our brains.
      If so, maybe someone can rewire it.

      1. Yes, the article points out that men and women both see sexualized women as objects and men as people. I’m disinclined to think that it is “evolutionary wiring” and more inclined to think it is cultural wiring.

  3. Yeah, straight, white, affluent male here. And yes, I’m acutely aware that I’m playing the game on the easiest setting. The way to make the game more challenging is not to play solo. Form a guild with everyone you know playing the harder settings and don’t count any victories that your guild doesn’t share in.

  4. This is just an epic quote:

    “The player who plays on the “Gay Minority Female” setting? Hardcore.”

  5. It’s funny, because I have been able to pass for white and I totally got treated better than when people found out I was Puerto Rican… and vice versa! Lots easier to get along with some black people when they don’t think of you as being white.

  6. I buy my sex toys where I got my Sansa+ Clip: On Amazon. So it’s already just like buying an iPod! Because I buy everything online, like a lot of this country. :P

    That said, it’s pretty cool seeing this “sex toy revolution”. Yay!

      1. That’s a relief. I thought you were warning about the danger of a new STD spread by sex toys: the slow clap.

  7. How about “RICH straight white male” that would probably be the easiest setting or maybe just the equivalent of entering the konami code

  8. I have a question that is serious but may sound stupid. I freely admit that when I don’t know sexy women I enjoy the eye candy as much as possible without making the situation awkward. To me, this only slightly more embarrassing than admitting that I masturbate. Is that bad? Also, I freely admit that I’m probably living life on easy mode… although it does suck when my achievements are downplayed because they are ‘expected’ results coming from a nerdy white male.

    1. If you’re noticing that you’re doing it, so is everyone else. Especially since there’s kind of a big difference between the normal noticing of attractive people, and actively pushing the limits of looking at them without getting caught. It is better to masturbate than to be the weird staring stalking person when you’re out and about… unless you’re masturbating while you’re out and about which is really awkward.

      1. Thanks for the response. Now that I think about it more, I actually don’t want to be a guy that actively pushes the limit of looking at women without getting caught.

        1. It’s perfectly okay to notice attractive people. Just be respectful and not creepy. Staring is not cool.

          1. Your thoughts on noticing an attractive person, going home and privately self-gratify over the memory of that person. No doubt the vast majority of human beings do this. Is this harmless objectification? Or is it equally as bad as the “male gaze” form of objectification?

          2. Considering I masturbate quite often, and I tend to masturbate using intricate fantasies of current celebrities I find hot … yeah, not a problem at all. It’s harmless, at least in the basic sense, because it only involves you, your hand, and your private bits. NO ONE ELSE is involved.

            The only way it could become harmful is if you allow your fantasies to dictate your actual life, and your sexual life with others. Though that’s a bit simplistic because sometimes it’s SUPER FUN to bring in your fantasies.

            Don’t be a dick.
            Don’t stare.
            Don’t treat every woman (or man, whatever gets you goin’) you meet as a sex object. That is, it’s perfectly okay to think, “this person is attractive” — but if you’re not a sexist ass, you then *move on* and communicate with them as though they are people, and not just there for your sexual gratification.

          3. Also, there are some discussions I’ve seen about the fact that often, men find a huge variety of women attractive, but will only admit and publicly be seen with women who fit what society (and their friends) deem attractive. So, maybe they find the body type of Queen Latifah just as (or more) attractive as the body type of Jennifer Aniston, and perhaps they even pick up bigger women online or in bars for one night stands, but they only date the Jennifer Aniston type, because society has made it shameful for them to be attracted to anything else.

            So … what you fantasize about may not even match what the “male gaze” finds attractive! :)

        2. Yeah, you kind of don’t want to be that guy. I remember explaining this to my peons back in the long ago:

          Looking once means nothing, because everyone looks at everyone.

          Looking twice is OK, maybe that person is really good looking.

          Looking three times, especially if you’re going out of your way to look, is sort of borderline.

          Looking four times means you’re going out of your way to look for sure, and now you have to go say hello.

          Looking between five and ten times without saying hello increases your need to say something and decreases the likelihood of getting any further than hello.

          Looking more than ten times means that she’s justified in calling security to have a conversation with you in a room in the back of the building.

          1. And if you look … and then look her up and down like she’s some sort of coat … and then continue to stare at her and her tits … and never say a word (or if you do, it’s something like, “Hey, baby!”), then you are an asshole. And likely sexist. Ick!

  9. Was workin’ on unlocking god mode with infinite ammo … but then life would get boring fast and I’d have to move onto something else.

  10. Straight, white, normally abled male is the easiest setting.

    Have some kind of disability? Blindness, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, et.c.? That will increase the difficulty significantly.

    1. I’m sure it does, if the playing field were strictly straight white men. However, straight white male with disability still plays at an easier level than anyone else with a disability. If a company has to hire so many differently abled people for a quota to prove they’re not discriminatory, they will favour you over other disabled persons. Straight white male is still an edge.

      1. Depends a lot on the disability, too. For instance, I think a white male who has a VERY obvious mental disability will probably have a harder time than a black male who isn’t mentally disabled.

        That, I think, has more to do with how our society treats and sees the mentally disabled, though, and not so much about race.

        1. Ugh, yeah, no blanket statements about people with disabilities please. Not even based on “type of disability.”

          Someone who involuntarily spends spends 20 years of their life in a nursing home or mental institution before finally being murdered by her “caretakers” is not less oppressed trans gay etc etc etc woman who manages to hold down a job, own a nice house in the suburbs, gets married, etc. Someone with even really obvious schizophrenia who does that is not more oppressed than a cis Black male who spends 20 years of his life in a jail after being convicted of a crime he didn’t commit before finally being murdered by his “caretakers.”

          Someone in the comments on the other place said something like “being privileged and being successful are not the same thing.” Okay, but some people are literally put in JAILS. Being imprisoned or murdered are probably the two most oppressive things possible. And actually everyone’s situations vary and it is not based on what kind of person you are at all, but both how lucky you are in your starting points and what comes after. (there’s even bias in what people call “privilege,” I think, and what you “can’t do anything about” or doesn’t count)

          I’m okay with the concept in the post but let’s not start making blanket statements like “if you’re a straight white male you are less oppressed than a Latino, even if you’re disabled and the Latino isn’t.” PS if you try to brake it down by disability type then you are just creating a disability hierarchy which is not cool either.

          1. The concept of the “big three” honestly bothers me a lot. Bell hooks says it’s “class, race, and gender.” This guy is choosing to focus on gender, race, and orientation. I get that no one can cover everything, especially not all at once, but maybe realize that other things can have just as much of an impact, especially once you get down to individuals?

          2. I misunderstood the comments so there is a bit of red herring mixed in with my points, sorry about that. I still stick with the general idea though that people should generally not start trying to apply these ideas to individual people.

  11. Rich, straight, white, Christian, able-bodied, good-looking, cis, male …

    We could go on. There’s a lot of ways to have advantages.

  12. I’m a straight (mostly anyway), chubby, poor, minority female and I probably have generalized anxiety disorder, and I still feel very privileged when I hear about stuff other folks have to go through.

    Much respect to the undocumented, transgendered, disabled, chubby, gay minority ladies out there. ;)

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