Kathleen Stock, Material Girls – a few quotes and notes

“So: it follows from the logic of [Judith] Butler’s worldview [social constructionism] not only that there are not two naturally pre-given, stable biological sexes, but also that there are no pre-given facts about natural selection.  There is no sexual reproduction.  There are no pre-given chemical elements or biological species.  There is no climate change, at least not as commonly understood.  There are no molecules, atoms, or quarks.  There are no viruses and no bacteria; no successful drugs nor placebos.  … ” (p63)

No wonder social constructionism is so appealing: knowledge doesn’t matter; learning about anything is useless—don’t bother.

“And an advertisement for the American Mariposa Health clinic, which provides ‘gender-affirming hormone therapy, from anywhere’, exhorts prospective clients to ‘Live your authentic life’. (p113)

Imagine that slogan for Prozac: live your authentic life.

“In this context, treating males with female gender identities as women in every possible context … sends a contemptuously dismissive message to women already conscious of unequal treatment of their interests.  This messages says: the interests of males with female gender identities are more important than yours.” (p160)


“As trans scholar Jack (then Judith) Halberstam wrote in 1998: ‘If adolescence for boys represents a rite of passage … and an ascension to some version (however attenuated) of social power, for girls, adolescence is a lesson in restraint, punishment, and repression.'” (p192).

Indeed.  (And no wonder girls don’t want to be girls.)

“A 2015 survey found the average sixteen-to twenty-five-year-old woman spends over five hours a week taking selfies.” (p233) 

Seriously?  We used to call such women airheads.

Trans describing (loss of) male privilege

This kind of thing makes me want to say EVERY man should be trans for a year …


Can’t decide which is more appalling …

While reading Laura Bates’ Men Who Hate Women, a scene from a movie based on a true story about a young woman who was captured by a man and kept imprisoned/enslaved by him for years popped into my head: at one point, she was allowed outside to help him wash his car or something and at great risk, she turned away from him and covertly held up her chained hands so a watching neighbour, an older man, could see. The look on the neighbour man’s face has stayed with me: one part ‘none of my business’ and one part confusion (because why is she showing him that she’s into some kind of kinky stuff?). I can’t decide which is more appalling.

Men Who Hate Men: the extremism nobody is talking about, Laura Bates

I highly recommend reading this book! (Laura Bates is the person behind “Everyday Sexism” for those of you who don’t know …)

A few quotes and notes …

About all the pick-up artist sites (p79) teaching men what to say and do, how to trick a woman into having sex with him – They must not believe that a woman could actually like them, want to be with them, want to have sex with them. And they’re probably right.

“… one recent study [found] that just a quarter of young people were ever taught about consent at school” (p87). You have to be taught not to force someone to do something??

Maybe it’s not that women lie about rape (p98); maybe it’s that their definition of rape differs from that of men’s. Maybe many men think that forced sex is just sex. Such men have likely never had unforced sex.

Re trolls (p144) – When they say they’re just trying to provoke a reaction, I think that’s just a cover, like saying it was just a joke. They’re lying. They really mean it.

Saying that a non sequitur is an intentional derailment (which is what Bates and many others claim) is often giving too much credit. A non sequitur is almost always the result of not understanding the presented argument and so not understanding what’s relevant and what’s not. Happens all the time. (And it’s pretty much why I’ve stopped talking to people. No one can follow an argument any more. Let alone make an argument.)

Re ‘she cheated on me’ (some guy’s wife had sex with someone else) – I never really considered that before, calling it ‘cheating’. To cheat is to do something unfair. I guess it’s unfair in that it’s breaking the rules, the rules being no extra-marital sex. But incels also invoke fairness when talking about sexual access. So it might not be ‘Unfair, you’re breaking the rules’ but ‘Unfair, you’re supposed to provide sexual access only to me’—which the incels then turn into ‘Unfair, you’re supposed to provide sexual access to anyone who wants it.’ Presumably they mean only unmarried ‘you’ people, because otherwise they’d have a war on their hands with married men.

“He has advised men to expose themselves and start masturbating in front of women, in an attempt to harass them into having sex” (p155-6). Yeah. That’ll make me want you.

Re women’s purpose is to have babies and care for those children (p180) – Ah. I just realized why some men are so insistent about that. It’s because they don’t want to take care of those children. They could, of course, just stop making them (or support the provision of contraception and abortion), but their masculinity (which they stupidly continue to accept) depends on them having children. (And as their sperm continues to become less and less viable, they’ll more and more blame the women …)

Re women ‘have the upper hand when it comes to deciding who can and cannot have sex’ (p226) – Like men never say ‘no’? Hm. Guess not. (They’ll fuck anything that moves. Actually, they’ll even fuck it if it’s not moving.) So if not for women, our evolution would be the result of men’s choices, which are completely indiscriminate. Yeah, that’s a good alternative.

Re ‘Sorry ladies, but a clumsy pass over dinner is NOT a sex assault’ (Daily Mail headline) (p241) – What was that clumsy pass—a pat on the bum? Why not just use your words? Ah. Because men are linguistically challenged. (And note the sport metaphor. It’s all a game, is it? And you just want to win? Though apparently they’re cognitively challenged as well, because one passes to someone on the same team.)

And ‘the idea of a woman playing hard to get’ (p242) – I’ve always thought that meant she’s being a tease. Now I’m thinking it means she’s saying no. And maybe it’s meant that all along … A lot of the time.)

Re “‘Time to stop being ‘charming’ to waitresses. Time to stop trying to make women laugh … One misfired flirt and I could be out of a job …'” (p246-7) – Yes! Stop it all! Be nice, like you are to other men, that’s it! If you want to get to know someone better, man or woman, ask them out for coffee or whatever it is you typically do.

“But this argument goes up in a puff of smoke when you point out the curious fact that these men, who claim to have no idea these behaviours are sexual or inappropriate, are nonetheless not acting in this manner towards other men” (p258). YES!!!

“When I visit schools, extraordinary though it sounds, I frequently hear young people say that ‘rape is a compliment really’ or ‘crying is part of foreplay’. At one school, at which they had had a rape case involving a 14-year-old boy, a teacher asked: ‘Why didn’t you stop when she was crying?’ The boy looked back at her, bewildered, and said: ‘because it’s normal for girls to cry during sex.'” (p271). What? WHAT??? (And does he get that from porn or from his parents’ bedroom?) (Or both?) So … we need to flood the internet with videos of joyous sex, sex that makes you smile?

Re ‘When did rape become a crime?’ (p279) – Um, when physical assault became a crime? ‘Men used to go around raping bishes all the time.’ Good god, how does a man here and now actually honestly believe this shit???

“It is ironic that so much pressure is brought to bear on women to allow for the humanity and individuality of fallible men when it is precisely this courtesy that incels unfailingly refuse to pay to women” (p316). Well-said.

“I’m reminded of David Sherratt, whose journey out of the manosphere was so simply facilitated by meeting a girl who talked to him” (p318) – What, boys don’t usually talk to girls? And yet, and yet, remembering my own school years, hell, even in my own family, no, they don’t. There was this invisible wall. No boy ever spoke to me. And I certainly never had the courage to speak to a boy. (Yes, it would have required courage. Because they were so … superior … to me.) (I’ve come a long way.) My own brother never spoke to me. Incredible. Well, the good news is this is something schools could easily remedy (now that girls are allowed to attend school…)

The Rules of Misogyny

Check it out here.

(#2 is inspired by incels and #3, #4, #6, #8, and #17 are inspired by transgenders, for those who remain oblivious of what’s going on in those fringe-to-mainstream movements; the rest are and have been forever the case…)

“Rape: leave it to men to …”

“Rape: leave it to men to turn the creation of life into a degradation.” from Jess (forthcoming), Peg Tittle

excerpts from MacKinnon’s Women’s Lives, Men’s Laws

I’ve just finished reading yet another MacKinnon book, Women’s Lives, Men’s Laws, and as usual, it’s absolutely brilliant. The book is well worth a complete read; I paste below some perfect gems.

(My used copy is marked DISCARD by the Porter County Library system. In itself, telling. Sigh.)

Reading this now.  It’s heavy-going, but well worth it.  MacKinnon is absolutely brilliant.  Her ideas, her articulation of those ideas, … Read all her books.  As for this one, I’ll post outstanding bits as I go along.

“If something were done about male sexual aggression and intrusion on women as the paradigm of sex, there would be no abortion problem as we know it, if only because dramatically fewer abortions would likely be needed.” p19

“…  it is the way society punishes women for reproduction that creates women’s problem with reproduction, not reproduction itself.”  p26

“Men rise and fall. … In the lives of women, men are served, children are cared for, home is made, work is done, the sun goes down.” p32

“The allegedly forbidden quality of pornography sexualizes it by surrounding it with power and taboo and makes defending and using it appear to be an act of daring and danger … ”  p37

 “All the sexual abuses of women’s everyday lives that are not recognized by the law are there in the pornography: the humiliation, the objectification, the forced access, the torture, the use of children, the sexualized racial hatred, the misogyny.  As Andrea Dworkin has said, ‘Pornography is the law for women.'” p37

“In goin from everyday life to law, sexual harassment went from a grip to a grievance, from a shameful story about a woman to actionable testimony about a man.”  p40

“It is clear that men do not want to restrict pornography very much or they would treat it seriously, as they treat air traffic control, for instance.” p40

“Like other inequalities, but in its own way, the subjection of women is institutionalized, including in law, cumulatively and systematically shaping access to human dignity, respect, resources, physical security, credibility, membership in community, speech, and power.  Composed of all its variations, the group women has a collective social history of disempowerment, exploitation, and subordination …” p52

Read pretty much all of chapter 9, “Of Mice and Men” wherein MacKinnon compares humans’ treatment of animals with men’s treatment of women …

“Both animals and women have been socially configured as property … specifically for possession and use.  … status objects to be acquired and paraded by men … Men have also appointed themselvs women’s and animals’ representatives without asking …”(p93

“When your name is used to degrade others by attribution, it locates your relative standing as well, such as when ‘gir’l is used as an insult among boys.”  p94

“Both women and animals are seen as needing to be subdued and controlled.” p94

[There are laws against ‘crush videos’ … ] There is no such law against depicting cruelty to women …” p96

“The notion of consent …, the law’s line between intercourse and rape, is so passive that a dead body could satisfy it.” p129

“Men may identify more readily with the fetus more than with the pregnant woman if only because all have been fetuses and none will ever be a pregnant woman.” p135

“Men, as a group, are not comparably disempowered by their reproductive capacities.  Nobody forces them to impregnate women.  They are not generally required by society to spend their lives caring for children to the comparative preclusion of other life pursuits.”  p137

“… it shows how powerless women are that it takes a fetus to make a woman look powerful by comparison.” p141

“If states wanted to protect the fetus, rather than discriminate against women, they would help the woman, not make her a criminal.”  p143

“Some states quarantine arrested women prostitutes but not arrested male customers …  because the women are more likely to communicate venereal diseases than the men are.  Where the women got the venereal diseases is not discussed …” p154

“In light of the evidence, human sexual aggression is best understood as social—attitudinal and ideological, role-bound and identity-defined—not natural.  Causally speaking, nothing makes inevitable its high prevalence and incidence in everyday life, or in wars or genocides, except social rank orderings, advantage-seeking, inculcation, conformity (including to peer behavior and pressure, standards of prior generations, orders, media representations, and the like).” p240

“… consent to sex is not the same as wanting it.” p244

“You feel you have come upon a secret codebook that you were not meant to see but that has both obscured and determined your life.”  p251

“Women should study these medical articles [Jeffrey Masson’s A Dark Science] for the same reasons they should study pornography: to see what is behind how they are seen and treated and to find out what men really think of them.” p251

“In the nineteenth century, men were looking at pornography, writing theology; looking at pornography, writing literature; looking at pornography, writing laws and designing our political institutions.  Who is to say they were not also looking at pornography and writing and practicing science and medicine?” p255

“Men are very different with women than they are with men.”  p283

“Women learned, or relearned, that powerlessness means not being believed no matter how much sense you make or how much evidence you have.”  p288

“Whether Bill Clinton should resign depends on whether his ability to govern can survive being made into sex in public.  Welcome to women’s lives, Bill … Now that you are sex, do you have any authority left?” p295

“It tells us how much women are worth that something few people have much good to say about [pornography] is more important than we are.” p308

“Many spoke  of … the shattered self, and the shame, anger, anguish, outrage, and despair they felt at living in a country where their torture is enjoyed …” p314

“Through its consumption, it further institutionalizes a subhuman, victimized, second-class status for women by conditioning men’s orgasm to sexual inequality.” p316

“Most cities do not offer businesses where one can go and pay to abuse a Jew[ish man] or a Black [man] …” p317

[re protecting pornography as freedom of speech] “… women are now men’s ‘speech’ because our pain, humiliation, torture, use, and second-class status is something they want to say.” p325-6

“One [social belief about women and sexuality common on the Right] is that men have a stronger sex drive than women. That sex is a drive is assumed; that pleasure and reproduction drive men’s drivenness is treated as a natural fact.  Socially compulsive and compulsory masculinity is not considered as a competing explanation.”  p333

[In response to men being by nature predisposed to rape] “No one suggests that since men are evolutionarily more aggressive, they are hard-wired to murder, and that laws against murder should therefore be eliminated.”  p336

“Each new communication technology—the printing press, the camera, the moving picture, the tape recorder, the telephone, the television, the video recorder, the VCR, cable, and, now, the computer—has brought more pornography with it.”  p352

“Ever more women have had to live out ever more of their lives in environments pornography has made.” p352 [Consider ‘merely’ the increasing prevalence of being called a cunt.]

“As pornography saturates social life, it becomes more visible and legitmate, hence less visible as pornography.” p352

“Most pornography, if circulated in a working environment, would be actionable as sexual harassment.  The damage done would be clear if the materials were nonsexual libel or the people involved were understood to be people rather than prostitutes or sex or ‘some women’ who are ‘like that’.” p353

“… what is done to women in pornography is not a fact of nature or an act of liberation or a private peccadillo to be respectfully skirted but an ongoing social atrocity.” p356

“Public available, effectively legal, pornography has stature: it is visible, credible, and legitimated.  At the same time, its influence and damaging effects are denied as nonexistent, indeterminate, or merely academic, contrary to all the evidence.  Its victims have had no stature at all.” p359

Funny, but true … free ‘dictionary’ …

Jane Smith’s Translation Dictionary of Everyday Lies, Insults, Manipulations, and Clueless Comments

NOW AVAILABLE and FREE TO SITE VISITORS (just send a request, specifying your preference of epub or pdf)

Jane Smith is a character In my novel A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extraterrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar (blurb below).  And she started this dictionary. I’ve continued it. And everyone else is supposed to finish it. Well, add to it. (It’s unlikely it’ll ever be finished.) Send additions – new definitions to the entries already listed and/or completely new entries – for future editions to me at  (Additionally, you can add your entries to the tumblr page I set up, hoping it would become viral like “Everyday Sexism” and “Why I’m a Feminist” and #MeToo. Sadly, it did not.)

Jane also started a list titled “And here’s something else that would never happen to a man …” – which I include at the end of the dictionary (it’s also in Sexist Shit that Pisses Me Off, 2e). I created a tumblr page for this as well, similarly hoping it would become viral, but, similarly, it did not. Pity. (But it’s not too late! Add your additions to the page and send them to me for future editions of the Dictionary.)


A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extraterrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar: When a self-appointed independent activist and her office-temp-with-a-doctorate buddy embark on a quest for a chocolate bar (a bar that serves not alcohol, but chocolate – in all its deliciously decadent forms), they pick up a hitchhiking extraterrestrial who’s stopped on Earth to ask for directions. Trying to explain Earl (Earth), confronting sexism (rather like bashing your head against a jellyfish), and committing assorted outrageous acts and everyday rebellions, they help “X” find the information she needs to get back home – and go with her – to become chocolate bartenders. A (way) off-the-beaten-path first contact story.

Killing What You Enjoy

So I saw an ad on the website of the far-too-nearby gun club for a book by one of its members (“The Gun Guy”) that “takes the reader through the joyful and humorous stories about life at the hunt camp, hunting culture, and the joys of nature and wildlife.”

I wrote him a short letter: You “take the reader through the joyful and humorous stories about life at the hunt camp, hunting culture, and the joys of nature and wildlife.”  And yet you kill it.  You do not see the contradiction?  (If you enjoy wildlife, you wouldn’t fucking kill it.)”

He wrote back: “I have to say … I respectfully disagree.  I don’t see a contradiction.  Man is part of nature.  We are omnivores, we eat food of both plant and animal origin.  Harvesting an animal to eat is no different than picking a roast up at the grocery store.”

I’ll grant the last point, but as I pointed out in my response to his response:  “I do not eat animals.  I don’t need to.  And if I were that desperate to have to kill another to stay alive, I certainly wouldn’t call it sport, I would not enjoy it.”

I also said: “That we can do something doesn’t mean we should do that something.”

He did not write back again.

Upon re-reading his (initial, only) response a month later, having lost a battle with the MNR about clear-cutting a chunk of forest just a couple hundred feet from my house,* is the complete absence of an ethical perspective.  ‘Man is, we are, we eat.‘  There are no should sentences, no justifications for what he is, what he does.  It reminds me of the currently popular “It is what it is.”  Which drives me nuts.  What the fuck does that mean?  It means ‘I refuse to consider whether it should be that way’; ‘I refuse to consider right/wrong’; ‘I refuse to be an ethical animal.’

What also strikes me now is the complete lack of recognition that he is killing something he enjoys.**  I guess that’s how men kill the girlfriends and wives they love so much.

* About which a neighbour said, undistressed, ‘That’s what it’s for.’  What?   It took me a minute to see that he was MNR, and male, to the core: things are resources, they exist for our use, they have no intrinsic or autonomous value.  Unbelievably, neither my neighbour nor the MNR even recognizes the forest’s instrumental value as the lungs of our planet, as desperately needed carbon containers .  Let alone its instrumental value as a beautiful thing.

** And not to end or prevent pain, as in benevolent euthanasia.

If you can’t say anything nice, maybe there’s nothing nice to say. Say it anyway.

If you’re a woman, you’ve surely been told, reprimanded, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’  To the extent that there may be nothing nice to say, that standard of politeness has crippled us.  It has made us keep our opinions to ourselves.

My neighbours have their tv on all the time; as a result, they do very little thinking on their own.  Not only because there is no silence, typically required for thought, but also because they’re exposing themselves so relentlessly to a worldview censored by a handful of conglomerates motivated primarily by self-interest.  And then, because there’s nothing going on in their heads, they can’t stand the silence, so they keep the tv on all the time …  But do I say “Shut that thing off and wake the fuck up!”?  Of course not.  That would be rude.

They also travel a lot, by RV and by plane, checking off destinations on their bucket list.  (They also keep their thermostat at 21 degrees, make single-stop trips by car into town all the time, and eat meat every day.)  Do I point out that they’re leaving a huge ecological footprint, that they’ve contributed to the climate change, that they’re partly responsible for the increasing number and severity of storms, even the forest fires that have twice ravaged areas in their own province, and that they’re therefore being rather selfish and inconsiderate?  No.  I ask whether they had a good trip.

It the standard were applied to men as well, on the one hand that would be worse: everyone would be self-censoring, no one would be honest, dissent would be internalized and then extinguished altogether.  However, as it is applied mostly to women, it enables one of the worst elements of sexism: it makes us mute. 

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