The Myth of Over 35

The Myth of Over 35

Dear Readers, I wrote this piece some time back and then sat on it because I didn’t really want to have a bunch of arguments about fertility issues.  For whatever reason, people just DESPISE older women having babies, and will get really bent out of shape over it, choosing to argue by dredging up old studies that have been completely debunked while ignoring all other studies and all anecdotal evidence (there’s nothing wrong with anecdotes, peeps, the word “anecdote” simply means a case study that was never published). This leaves me to expend massive amounts of time looking up studies to prove what I say is true, studies which are then typically ignored because people just despise older women having babies and will stop at nothing to try to prevent it.  Not only is this BORING and a pointless waste of my precious time trying to convince the unconvinceable, it also bears a stunning resemblance to what I do all day at my job as a fertility counselor, and since I write for fun, that’s an unpleasant experience for me.  

Additionally, and more importantly, the message I impart in this essay is hurtful to some women who have experienced premature ovarian failure, who wanted to conceive at older ages (and in some cases, even at younger ages) and couldn’t.  And hurting anyone’s feelings is never my intent.  It is entirely true that because odds of conception do wane with time, some women cannot get pregnant easily or at all over 35, 37, 40, and me sharing the reality that most women CAN is in no way meant to invalidate these experiences in any way.  I am simply trying to impart biological reality to women who have been terrified by liars and charlatans into imagining that all their eggs poof into dust on their 35th birthday, because for the majority of women, that simply isn’t the case.  This myth has caused misery and stress to SO MANY WOMEN and it is past time that someone begins to push back on it.  

I heard about a bit of a brouhaha on Twitter a few months back involving Stefan Molyneux, who’s some kind of terrible MRA pundit-y person.  He posted this little factoid:

This is the kind of thing I find outrageous because I run a fertility website and it’s blatantly, pathologically untrue.  And it’s the worst kind of untrue – just true enough to trick people into believing it.

On the surface of it, it is true.  Technically It’s from a study called Human Ovarian Reserve from Conception to Menopause

And here’s one of the scary, scary graphics from that study.

But if you go to the article and read the fine print, you’ll see that the “0” is actually 18-22 weeks before birth and the steepest part of the curve when egg reserve drops the fastest is between conception and age 20 (very few legitimate people are calling for women to have babies when they’re less than 20 years old, not even Stefan Molyneux, and to my knowledge no one is calling for babies in the womb to get pregnant, not even the Quiverfull Movement).

The reason why 90% of a woman’s eggs are “dead” by the time they’re 30 is because 50% of them are dead by the time she is BORN.  That’s right – the age at which a female human being has the most eggs she ever will is at 20 weeks’ gestation – somewhere between 7-10 million eggs, for most of us.  Then, for reasons we do not understand, while that little baby girl is still growing in her mother’s womb, half of those eggs die.  And they don’t stop dying, either.  They keep right on dying – a process called “atresia” – until puberty begins, at which point girls have about 300,000 eggs left.  And those eggs continue to age and die throughout our entire lives.  But despite all this, it is still more than enough as women will only ever ovulate about 300-500 of those eggs.

If that sounds unbelievable, let’s quickly do the math: Let’s assume you get your period at the age of 12, and have menopause at the age of 50.  That’s 38 years of ovulating, 12 months in a year, 456 eggs released.  And most of us skip out on at least some of those months due to irregular cycles, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, so we don’t even need that many.

So for Molyneux to claim “90% of all your eggs are dead by the age of 30” may be technically accurate, but it’s realistically bullshit.  It’s a math trick framed in frightening language.  If you start off with a very high number of something, and explode 90% of them, but only need a few, you still have plenty left.  Women only ovulate 300-500 eggs over their entire lives and most couples only want 1-3 children.  Although it’s true that we lose eggs very quickly before birth and up to puberty, and continue losing them across our whole lives, at age 30 the vast majority of women have plenty of eggs left to have 1-3 children!  Even the vast majority of women over 35 have plenty.  You only need ONE EGG to conceive, you don’t need to have millions of them waiting in the wings (which is fortunate since not even 20 year olds have millions of eggs!)  Most women can get pregnant at the dreaded 35 without difficulty, and many of us, myself included, conceived without trouble even over 40.  By the time you’re 43, 44, 45, the picture is less rosy, of course, (although still not insurmountable for some) – but that doesn’t mean that 30 year olds need to be in a panic over their dying eggs.

Eggs are bizarre things.  Most of them are truly born to die – in our mother’s womb, when we’re little girls, when we’re surly teenagers, and then every month we ovulate until menopause.  We actually develop 15-30 eggs in each ovary every month and only release the best one or two.  Additionally, 1000 eggs per month die without being developed.   These eggs are not “wasted”.  They are clearly serving some purpose that science does not yet understand, and rather than viewing them as precious resources that are being squandered by our stupid bodies doing stupid things stupidly, view them as an important and fully necessary part of the reproductive process instead.  For some reason we do not understand, we NEED those eggs.

We NEED those eggs to form and then die when we’re in our mother’s wombs.  We NEED those 1000 eggs to die each month.  We NEED those 15-30 eggs to start to develop and then stop along the way leaving only the best one to be released to greet their hordes of admiring spermy fans.  Because if we didn’t need them for something, those eggs wouldn’t exist, and our bodies would have some other method of ovulating (many animals do).  Those eggs are serving some purpose and it’s silly to act as if they were precious potential babies poofing into dust.

I mean, seriously – men make as many as 500 million sperm in one ejaculate, but only about 200 of those make it to the egg.  Do we look at those extra sperm as wasted, as a biological mistake, of course not, because historically most doctors have been men and men tend to see things their bodies do as right, and the things women’s bodies do as wrong.  Through most of human history we were in a kind of Medical Dark Age where women’s bodies (which are freaking insanely cool – it’s AMAZING how it all works, and if you have a female body, give it a hug! your body deserves it!) have been made out to be deeply flawed and in need of men to fix them, either by having sex with them or treating them medically.  The notion that women’s bodies are these ticking time bombs constantly about to explode in everyone’s faces while men’s bodies function the way bodies are supposed ta be is misogyny at its most insidious.

When some began to push back on Stefan’s ridiculous math, he changed tactics, but continued to mislead.

First of all, you can see how neatly he changes tactics within this tweet – he started off talking about women age 30, and then switches to 40-45 when called out on it.  I somehow managed to get into a Twitter spat with some other MRA wack job again recently over the same study, and he pulled the exact same trick – started off tweeting about how 30 year olds are “90% infertile” and then switched over to talking about 45 year olds immediately.  But this doesn’t pass the smell test – after all, all of us know lots of 30 year olds who get pregnant easily, and even plenty of 35-40 year olds, thus we all know instinctively that saying “90% of all eggs you ever have are dead” does NOT translate to “90% infertility rate” regardless of how someone tries to twist a study.  At age 37 you still have about 25,000 eggs left on average and that’s plenty to conceive with for at least a few years.

Telling 30 year olds they’re 90% infertile by using data regarding 45 year olds is a massive “how to lie with stats” switcheroo, isn’t it?  But beyond that particular act of sophistry, the rate of miscarriage across the ENTIRE population is believed to be 30% if you include chemical pregnancies (pregnancies that end very soon after a positive pregnancy test).  The rate of pregnancies that end after being medically confirmed by a doctor (including recurrent miscarriages) is 17-20-28% FOR EVERYONE regardless of age (the range of numbers is depending on the stats you use…different studies have found different rates because they were done in different sample groups).  So going from 17/20/28% to 34% is really not the huge jump that people might assume that it is.  And at least some of that risk can be mitigated by taking folate supplements, avoiding smoking, coffee, alcohol, and medication (including herbal supplements YE GODS ladies please enough with the herbal supplements, they are HARMFUL TO YOU no matter what your “naturopath” says), and following a lower carb, but NOT very low carb diet when trying to conceive.

Rates of Down Syndrome do rise with age as well but again, Molyneux goes directly from arguing about 30 year olds to much older women. 

Even accepting these stats at face value, they mean 999 out of 1000 women at age 30 will not have a baby with Down Syndrome.  399 will not at age 35.  99 will not at age 40.  And very few women have babies at 49!  The guy is using numbers that while gleaned from legitimate sources, he frames in a manipulative, smoke-and-mirrors way to scare 30 year old women – who have in most cases a solid decade of fertility ahead of them with risks only slightly higher than they did in their 20’s.

Brief aside, I feel the need to point out here that most women at the ages of 45+ DON’T WANT TO have children.  I think these scumsucking MRA play upon the natural desire of women in their 30’s to have children to trick people into subconsciously envisioning this barren future in which women sit around with a raging case of the sadz because they can no longer bring life into the world.  It isn’t like that.  It’s been shown in studies that women are HAPPIER after menopause.   Your life doesn’t revolve around your period or lack thereof!  Think about it – those years between 25-50 you had time to do all these things you like to do, well, the years between 50-75 last just as long only you have even more time to do them in!  Just because you have different priorities rather than being pregnant and whatever mischief your toddler is getting into and going to shitty school programs, that does not mean you are unhappy, depressed, longing for youth/death, or any such thing.  (I kinda wonder if this is men projecting their OWN fears about old age onto women…hmmm…)  When you get here, you’ll know, but in the meantime, take it from an old chick, 50 is fabulous.

This is what 50 looks like:

No dried up old crones here.  Still happy, still healthy, still energetic, still surrounded by friends and family, still brimming over with purpose in my life, still looking forward to the next 25 years and all the crazy shit I’m gonna pack into it. 

And another brief aside, why do we act like Down Syndrome is the worst thing that ever happened, anyway?  Ya ever met anyone with Down Syndrome?  They’re fucking AMAZING and if the worst thing a person ever experience in their lives is getting to know and love a person with Down Syndrome, that is a blessing, not a curse.  QUIT ACTING LIKE DISABILITIES ARE PRISON SENTENCES.  They aren’t.  People live with disabilities and loved ones with disabilities every day, and the fact that so many conservative men particularly (because this is a conservative feminist blog, y’all, in case you forgot) have fallen under the spell of MRA and buy into the notion that women over the age of 35 must not be allowed to breed under any circumstances because they have a higher chance of a baby with Down Syndrome flies in the face of what being PRO-LIFE even means.

You may wonder why this matters, I mean, srlsly, why do I even care, whatever, forget it Jake, it’s Molyneuxtown.  But it matters because a lot of women are TERRIFIED at 30, at 35, at 38 – that they’re infertile or will be any minute.  Women are in a panic and going to see specialists and taking countless herbs (which in many, many cases DIMINISH your odds of conception, make your cycle highly irregular, and can even cause miscarriage) and dangerously high doses of vitamins/fish oil/aspirin (high doses of blood thinners can also cause miscarriage, and may even KILL YOU) and having Mayan Fertility Massages (yes, that’s an actual thing) out of this totally misguided fear that their eggs are all poofing into dust when they aren’t – or they are, but it’s by design.  Women are making insane life-altering decisions like marrying irredeemable douchenozzles at freakishly young ages and passing up on career opportunities because of this misinformation.  Women who DO NOT NEED IVF are mortgaging their homes and charging up credit cards pursuing IVF after only a couple of months of trying – taking the doctor’s time and energy away from actually infertile women who DO need IVF to conceive.  Women are spending their entire pregnancy stressed thinking they’re “high risk” (stress – not good for pregnancies!) when they’re only 30 years old.

IT IS ALL BULLSHIT.

At the tender age of 30, let alone 35, a fairly huge chunk of women have been brainwashed into worrying themselves into a state of panic thinking they won’t be able to have kids or more kids because some click-seeking pundit on the Internet posting a misleading study.  Women, and not a few of them, either, are existing in a perpetual state of existential terror thinking they have to fall pregnant in a month because they’re 32 and they JUST KNOW they’re like totally infertile or whatever if it takes them three months instead (this is totally normal!!).  Lest you think I exaggerate, I have to talk people down off this fertility ledge every darn day because of misinformation like what Molyneux is peddling.  Literally just yesterday I had a 28 year old worried that she “wasn’t as young as she used to be.”

It’s ridiculous.  Completely and totally ridiculous.  But is there any truth to what he’s saying?  We wouldn’t be doing our jobs here if we didn’t look at how this all REALLY works. So look we shall.

We’ve all heard that fertility drops suddenly, precipitously, dramatically, drastically, shockingly, like a stone, insert your over-the-top frightening adverb of choice here, once a woman hits 35.  I regularly, REGULARLY have people who come to me and think there is some magical event that happens on their 35th birthday, like a switch gets flipped, a bomb goes off, and good eggs suddenly turn bad.  This is NOT SO. 

There is, absolutely, a gradual decline in overall fertility and egg quality that starts off…you guessed it – back when a woman is in her mother’s womb, and continues over the course of an entire life.  But declining fertility is like walking down a hill – as we age, we start walking a little faster over time and the hill gets a little steeper.  Our eggs do decline gradually in quality as we age.  But there is no appreciable difference between a woman’s eggs a month before her 35th birthday, and a month after, or 2 months after, or even a year after.  35 is simply the age where across the entire population, this decline in fertility becomes statistically observable, and rising rates of negative events such as miscarriage, chromosomal abnormalities, and high risk pregnancy also begin to become statistically observable.  

Despite this, a woman over 40 has about a 5-7% chance of conceiving in any given month.  But considering that 30 year olds only have a 20% chance of conceiving in any given month, this is not as huge a drop as you might think.  And this is BY MONTH and NOT overall (huge misconception!)  These statistics do not mean that only 5% of women over 40 will ever get pregnant, but that in every month that passes, 40-plus year olds who are trying, 5-7% of them get pregnant.  (this number is higher for the average 40 year old than the average 45 year old, of course, because they’ve walked further down a steeper hill.) Keep trying, and if you’re still fertile, even though you’re not as fertile as you were at the age of 22, you can expect that 5-7% chance every month.  

That sounds scary low, but consider this – even younger women only have a 20-30% chance of conceiving every month!  It takes fully fertile couples an average of 3-6 months to fall pregnant.  According to the NHS, women 19-26 92% will get pregnant in a year and 98% after 2 years.  Women 25-39 82% will conceive after 1 year, and 90% after 2 years (hey, wow, that 90% includes even those women over the dreaded age of 35!!)  If you use timed intercourse (being sure to have sex in the fertile window, which lasts 2-4 days for most couples) the average couple can boost their chances of conception per month from 10-15% to 14-23% depending on their age. 

Even at 40, your chance of conceiving within a year is 40-50%, much higher than the gloom-and-doomers would have you believe.  And it may be even better than that for many women.  A peculiarity of medical studies is that when you’re studying a group of people who does something that is inherently not random (such as, women age 40 getting pregnant, which has historically not been terribly common) it skews the results.  Until very, very recently, relatively few women got pregnant over 35, let alone 40.  Because women tended to marry young and have children right away, most women had already completed their families by 30, let alone 40.  They were no longer trying, so we cannot know how easily (or not) they might have conceived. The vast majority of women who were trying at age 40 (again, until quite recently) were women who for SOME REASON had not had children by then.  Such reasons include fertility issues and overall poor health both of which lower chances of conceiving considerably.

That’s right, all those scary numbers you’ve read about were based NOT on a random sample, but on women who were basically handpicked to be more likely to have fertility issues to begin with.

The truth is, we honestly do not know what a woman’s real chances of conception at 40 are.   We do know that by the time a woman is my age, 50, she is at a pretty high risk of infertility/miscarriage/chromosomal abnormalities/pregnancy complications were she to get pregnant, if she could, which I probably couldn’t, thank heavens, because I already have so many children I have to lay them down to sleep in laundry baskets and the bathtub.  But this decline in fertility/rise in risks is MINOR especially at first.  A woman who is 39 is at a much lower risk than a 49 year old, and a woman who is only 35 is significantly lower still.  And if you’re 30?  Fugetaboutit, girl, you’ve got time!  Your eggs poofing into dust is not something you need to be worrying about. 

Tell Stefan to eff off and you do you.  

Again, this is across the entire population.  A good many problems that affect fertility or raise chances of miscarriage and pregnancy complications, are treatable, controllable, or avoidable.  A good part of the reason why pregnancy risks (aside from egg quality issues) go up as women age is because more people in that cohort have those problems.  High blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, autoimmune disorders and many other ailments become more widespread as a population ages and all of them can cause reduced fertility, greater rates of miscarriage, and for a pregnancy to be higher risk.  But if you don’t have these problems – or if you do, and you’re being medically treated for them – and are in otherwise good health, the odds are excellent your pregnancy will go just fine for both mother and baby, even IF you do suffer a complication.  

People are bad at analyzing risk.  It’s just a fact.  So people who are less bad at it like, oh, I don’t know, DOCTORS, who go to school a really super long time to learn…something, right?…ought to be far better at breaking this information down for people.  Doctors and other medical professionals have GOT to do better at communicating the reality of risk becasue otherwise Stefan Molyneux is going to do it instead.  The vast majority of people over 30 are able to get pregnant just fine.  Most people 35 plus, even up till 40, and maybe a little beyond, are able to get pregnant just fine.  It may take a bit longer and older moms may have slightly more miscarriages and slightly higher risk of complications than the population as a whole, but if they’re in good health and living a reasonably healthy lifestyle they can have healthy pregnancies with healthy babies.

Why is it that we’re not told these things?  Because we are NOT being told these things.*

I was amazed to learn most of the numbers that al legedly “prove” that women have trouble conceiving over 35 came primariy from birth records compiled in the 1600s through the early 1800s.  That’s right, those oft-quoted statistics come from a time before prenatal vitamins, before antibiotics, from a time and a place where diseases that left both men (during the past, in many cases if a couple did not have children it was assumed to be the woman, but we now know it’s just as likely to be male factor infertility) and women infertile such as syphilis, mumps, and rickets, were endemic.  More recent data paints a much happier picture of the ability of 35-40 year olds (let alone 30-35 year olds!) to conceive.  

I think the most likely explanation for this phenomenon is that the medico-industrial complex doesn’t want to admit they were wrong.  They’ve spent the past several decades declaring loudly and constantly that you’re risking your own life and your baby’s life if you get pregnant over 35 IF you can even conceive at all, and for them to turn around and say “welp, as it turns out we were using data FROM THE 1600s-1700s TO PROVE THAT and oopsie it appears we were just a tad bit wrong” I’m sure would be pretty embarrassing.  So they aren’t saying that. 

For the less cynical in the audience, even if it’s just the idea that OBGYN’s and pediatricians don’t want to deal with any elevated risk factor since it’s stressful for them and makes more work – hey, I understand how that could be.  I can understand that.  You’ve seen some horror stories, you may be overly proactive in warning people from taking even remote risks.  But if you’re a skeptic like myself, you may even stop to wonder “hmm, fertility doctors are actually profiting on promoting this myth, scaring every woman who got two negative pregnancy tests in a row into thinking they’re infertile and need IVF to the tune of $30k” and it seems a little more sinister.  I’m not saying it’s true, but I’m just saying it occurs to me it could be true – and I’ve seen enough clients go to visit a reproductive endocrinologist and come out convinced they need IVF, only to conceive naturally on their own with ease, to find it plausible.

And don’t even get me started on the herb and vitamin peddlers, who have made a cottage industry out of giving women herbs that actually CAUSE fertility problems in the guise of “curing” fertility problems that women don’t even have.  That’s a whole ‘nother article there.  Suffice it to say, if you’re over 35 and want to conceive the very best thing you can do is not take herbs or massive doses of vitamins even if your chiropractor told you they were great and that you had “adrenal fatigue” or “estrogen dominance”   or some other medical-sounding issue that is probably not even real or is a pathologicalization of a normal biological state.  If you’re taking herbs (while wondering what became of your period and why your hair is falling out now) because you read online that “women over 35 are infertile” please toss them in the trash, and if you’re not on them, I beg you to never start.  Herbs cause fertility problems for a great many people who start taking them and if you go to your naturopath with this problem and their solution is “take more herbs” please throw your naturopath into the garbage as well.  

Diet quacks are also partly to blame.  The whole “eat lots of carbs, not much meat, and everything low fat” diet that was recommended by “experts” most of our life is proving to be utterly terrible for egg quality.   The second best thing you can do to help yourself conceive after ditching herbs and those who prescribe them is to eat a lower carb (but not VERY low carb), higher protein diet that has good levels of healthy fat.  Keto diets can also be quite bad for fertility, disrupting the menstrual cycle of many women on it. Your best bet is a Mediterranean-style diet with whole grains, healthy fats, fruit, veg, low or no sugar, and a good amount of protein and healthy fat.  And exercise MODERATELY – not too much, not too little.

Lastly, like I mentioned in the intro, people have SUCH a passion for hating older moms!  It seems almost primordial to me, like it’s tapping into some sort of vestigial animal programming or something.  And who knows, maybe it is.  People have a vested interest in controlling others’ behavior, from an evolutionary perspective.  Historically, it very well may have been the case that the villagers didn’t want to see Abraham’s wife Sarah getting pregnant at a very old age because they might have had to care for the baby when she died.  These kinds of primitive fears hang on in our guts even though we live in the modern world.  We may have anxiety about older parents written into our very DNA – but like Katharine Hepburn said in “The African Queen”, nature is what we were put on earth to rise above.

But did you notice what I noticed about all those people?  All of them are benefiting in some way or another from scaring women into thinking their fertility is tanking at a very young age.  Whether they’re selling IVF, herbs, diet programs, or are just busybodies who like to tell other people to run their lives, none of these people necessarily have women’s best interests at heart when they terrify them with horror stories about dying eggs and pregnancy complications.  I’m not saying they are evil monsters out to get innocent women, of course, but I’m just saying they have their own motives for keeping women insecure about their fertility.

The unfortunate thing about this essay is that I actually share Molyneux’ outrage about some of this stuff.  The fact is, even though it’s not as sudden a drop as people claim, fertility does decline with age and risks do increase.  That’s just reality.  Please don’t take my pushing back on scaremongering as a denial of that reality.  There are women, quite a few of them, who did postpone having children and ended up childless or having fewer children than they desired as a result.  

I can’t disagree with the guy here.  Really can’t.

The women of at least 3 generations – the Boomers, my cohort Generation X, and the Millennials, were indeed sold a pretty massive bill of goods about their ability to get pregnant at older ages (Millennials, it’s not too late!!  Learn from our mistakes!)  We were told that we HAD TO have a solid career and a long term, very stable marriage to a man who was “ready to be a father” before we could even consider having a child.  And that left a whole lot of us looking 45 in the face and realizing we had done everything but that one thing that mattered the most. 

But the answer to this is NOT to turn around and sell women of future generations some OTHER bill of goods that is equally untrue.  Stefan Molyneux should have made his case without resorting to deceptive fearmongering with a healthy dollop of misogyny, and if he had, I would have applauded and agreed. 

*While I was lucky and had a supportive doctor and great medical care for my pregnancies at 37, 39, and 42, the stories I have heard from many of the women on my fertility website are haunting – medical professionals saying absolutely inexcusable things, offering unsolicited life advice, outright lying about a woman’s chance of having a healthy pregnancy, denying women medication that is medically indicated because “you already have enough children”, even pushing people to have highly invasive tests (despite there being better tests available now) like amniocentesis, that in a few cases caused the loss of genetically normal babies. This is not ok.

Are Women Over 40 Useless?

Are Women Over 40 Useless?

Let me just preface this piece with a big ol’ NOT ALL MEN because of my many, many posts in which I rag on men, this post in particular does not apply to any man I personally know and is directed solely at that certain subset of odious dudebros who crawl around under the rocks of the Internet.

Last month there was a shitpost on Twitter that got everyone all riled up.  

Some scumsucking waste of space MRA-type posted “Women over 40 are useless” and then made fun of everyone who replied.  I didn’t take a screenshot, because I prefer not to give the guy free publicity.  Besides, this is a sentiment we’ve seen repeatedly over the past couple decades, as misogynists gradually realized that SCIENCE!!! ™ was a great way to shit on women and scientists were like, IDK whatevs, we’re mostly men too. So it was neither clever nor original, and thus deserves to fade into oblivion.

If you have been so fortunate as to never having encountered this notion before, according to some people, it doesn’t make any sense for women to stay alive and continue to function into our old age, because we’re no longer reproductively “relevant”.  According to some men, women should curl up and die if we make their peepees sad because anything they can’t stick their dicks into shouldn’t exist.

Of course, men are not exactly discriminating when it comes to sticking their dicks into things, after all you can see men fucking literally insane things like vacuum cleaners (damn, I went to link to this news article I read a few years back of a man who was seriously injured pursuing carnal knowledge of a Hoover and it turns out there is an entire genre of porn based around this concept.  Men, ru ok?) and exhaust pipes.

For whatever reason, rather than minding their own business, some men seem hell bent on going out of their way to tell older women that they wouldn’t have sex with them under any circumstances and using SCIENCE!!! ™  to make it seem like a logical step rather than assholery.

(brief aside – not only it is assholery, but it is assholery based on a huge and entirely erroneous assumption that older women even WANT to have sex with such men anyway, that we’re dying of a raging case of the horn-horns and crave some douchebag’s dong to make our world complete, which not so much.  A whole lot of older women have experienced a series of tedious, painful romantic relationships with chronically disappointing males and have decided to take a hard pass on them in the future, and find that we do not miss them one iota. Additionally, many of us find that gray hair and wrinkles a very lovely gift that for the first time in our entire lives, allows us to navigate the world not being constantly harassed and predated.  This is not a sad state of affairs, but a cause for joy, as it is a cause for joy any time one has a 250 lb tumor excised.)

Some pretty important people take this concept quite seriously.

Et tu, Discover?

As it so happens, evolutionary biology happens to be one of the 7000 subjects I am pathologically interested in. I went through a phase of several years in which I read dozens of books and articles on the topic, to such an extent that while I’d never call myself an expert, I’m certainly a knowledgeable layman.  I don’t often talk about evolutionary biology though, because even though I find it a tremendously helpful lens through which to view the world, bringing it up invariably starts an argument, either with a person who cannot wrap their heads around the fact that human beings are a particular thing and thus have behaviors that are innate and not a social construct, or worse, people who think they know a lot about evolutionary biology because they read an MRA website once.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Now, the logical answer to the question of “why do human females outlive their fertility” is that obviously it helps in some way to pass down our genes to future generations.  We don’t really need to know why it’s good, it’s obviously and inarguably good, because if it wasn’t beneficial, it wouldn’t BE.  We mature mamas would have died out a long time ago if we were actually useless, hanging heavily around the neck of society like a pair of dimestore reading glasses dangling on a chain. If the existence of older women was truly pointless, we our genes would have not survived to this generation, not unlike the genes of a man who exclusively fucks vacuum cleaners.

You see, armchair evolutionary biologists, that’s how evolutionary biology actually WORKS when you’re engaging with it in intellectual honesty rather than as a means to an end.  Women over 40 are clearly not useless, because if they were useless, they wouldn’t exist.

But that would be a really short essay.  So rather than dismiss the question out of hand, because I’m an inquisitive person and I never dismiss anything out of hand, even gross and pathological ideas, let’s take a peek at the question through that useful lens of evolutionary biology, and see what lies beneath.  After all, the question of why human females outlive their fertility is not actually gross or pathological because questions asked from legitimate scientific curiosity are never either of those things.  Why human females outlive their fertility so significantly is completely scientifically legitimate and very intriguing, even though it’s a shame that pop-culture mansplainers choose to publicly phrase to the question as “Dude isn’t it FUCKED UP that bitches don’t just like up and DIE when we’re through shooting our penises into them?”

To start off, let me explain what I mean when I say “human beings are a thing and our behavior is innate, and not a social construct”.  People sometimes get confused by this notion because it’s clear that samurais and Zulu warriors and the Kardashians are all human beings and yet they act wildly different from one another.  But underneath the surface, human beings have things in common, and this is because we are all human beings.  A dog has more things in common with a dog than it does with a cat, for example – even a chihuahua will bark at a stranger, and a Great Dane, even though it is as big as a lion, has far more in common behaviorally speaking with the chihuahua than it does the King of Beasts.  So it stands to reason that human beings, who ARE ANIMALS, are gonna have some qualities that are innate to our species.  

Scientists have compiled a list of these qualities and it’s referred to as the List of Human Universals.  These things speak to what it means to be human.  Every human culture ties knots, for example, isn’t that crazy??  All humans use metaphors despite the fact that they’re as unnecessary as a soup sandwich. Every human culture does their hair in SOME fashion; obviously not the same fashion across all humans, but all humans style their hair (even Nancy Pelosi; perhaps she’s not a lizard after all). Every human language has nouns and verbs, every human culture uses baby talk when speaking to infants, every human culture has some type of poetry.

There are, of course, bad things innate to humanity too, like jealousy and war and rape and greed, and they are a part of us just like it is a part of your dog’s nature to sniff the butt of any new dog he encounters. No matter how much liberals like to pretend they can erase these fundamentally human qualities if only they get the magic just right, unfortunately pretending and believing in magic are human characteristics as well and these qualities are as innate as your cat licking itself and a deer bounding along.  They’re real and inarguable.

Some of these qualities are sex-based in nature.  Because just like with those deer I mentioned above, where the boy deer ram their antlers into each other to win the favor of the girl deer, in the Animal Kingdom, there are things that males do that females don’t and vice versa.  So, like, for example, if two human women get into a fight, neither one says “I’m going to rape you and force you to bear a child against your will”.  That is something a man might say, so if you see someone saying that, they are probably a man, no matter what they call themselves.        

And believe it or not, this is still Arnold Schwarzennegger:

So sometimes, it can be the case that men may not understand the value or worth or usefulness of some things women do and are, because the things that men value and find worthy and useful are not always the same thing as the things that women do. And vice versa! Sure! I guess! If you say so! Though I do find men have much better PR people than women do as a general rule and we have all long been expected to look at the amazing things men do and ooh and ahh over them, while the things women do are often denigrated and belittled. Because oohing and aahing over the stuff men do while surviving on no praise and no recognition for our own phenomenal exploits is one of the things women do best.

Anyway, a lot of men across the political spectrum like to treat evolutionary biology like an all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet in which they get to pick and choose the stuff they like and leave behind that disgusting tofu-veggie stirfry because they’re scared of anything that isn’t deepfried and covered in gravy.  But unlike an all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet, that is not how evolutionary biology works.  Evolutionary biology is not a fair weather friend in which when it works for you, you use it, and when it says something you don’t like, you ignore it. If you purport to believe in SCIENCE!!™ you have to take a bite of everything laid out on the evolutionary biology smorgasbord whether you like it or whether you’d rather have a second helping of 24 year olds.

So open wide, because here comes a great big old bite of reality!!

Why do women over 40 exist?  Because society NEEDS THEM.  Because our families NEED US.  Because older women are protectors, providers, and preservers of the cultural wisdom that rash and inexperienced younger people may not be privy to.  Because when older women survive past their fertile years, their children and grandchildren and nieces and nephews and all the people in their tribe or village or nation who are distantly related to them are all more likely to survive.  

Older women – we know shit and we can help you.  

It doesn’t take a rocket, or any other kind of scientist either to ponder the many, many useful roles that older women fill in all sorts of cultures and societies historically and around the world.  All it takes is some intellectual honesty and a smidge of knowledge that didn’t come from a YouTube video made by a guy called TestosteroneDaemonALPHA69. Older women, are, shockingly, much more valuable to the survival of the species than an Instagram model.  And interestingly, women live longer on average then men – six to eight years, as a matter of fact, and no, this isn’t just because daring men die younger, SCIENCE!!! ™ has shown us that men are more vulnerable to a whole host of health issues. Which just goes to show you that older women are actually MORE valuable than older men are, since you guys weren’t even valuable enough to keep alive as long as us. 

Those who live by the sword of evolutionary biology, must die by the sword of evolutionary biology, and evolutionary biology tells us that older women are super important because we keep right on existing.  Things that are beneficial to the species – useful, even – survive.  Things that don’t, don’t.  And older women survive.

Lo and behold, the ability to shoot a feeble stream of semen into Anna Nicole Smith at the age of 89 is, evolutionarily speaking, much less useful than the ability of a 42/52/62/72/82 and yes, even 92 year old grandmother to provide childcare, gather and prepare foods, make clothes and other household goods, toss a log on the fire now and then, charm friends and form alliances with neighbors and strangers, care for the injured or sick (our superior immune systems plus a lifetime of exposure to germs give women the advantage against all sorts of bugaboos), and serve as a living font of wisdom and knowhow collected over the course of a lifetime – critical back in the days before written language was invented.

Old ladies, the world’s original memesters.

How can this be, that something many men don’t particularly want to ejaculate into has utility in other ways?  Because SEX IS NOT THE ENDGAME, gents!  I know some of you have had your brains addled by the supernormal stimuli of Internet porn to such extent that you think sticking your dick into a hole is the end all, be all, but it isn’t.  Passing down genes to future generations is the endgame.  Sex is merely the mechanism. Yes, sexual selection drives evolution, but sexual selection ain’t shit if your offspring does not survive to reproduce, themselves. 

You can have the most beautiful woman in the world, let’s say IDK, Margot Robbie, or whoever, she seems hot right now, and if she was plunked down in nature, red in tooth and claw, without anyone to help her, even if she was filled to overflowing with your precious seed, she would not survive and nor would your genes. Game over, man, game over. Even if she had YOU to help her, you big strong brute you, the minute that baby started to come you would have no idea what to do and would run around boiling water and tearing sheets because you saw that on some old sitcom somewhere and you would LONG for a grizzled old gal who knew what the fuck she was doing to show up.

If a woman got to the age of 40 (really, more like 45, after all I had baby at 42 and it wasn’t even hard) and then keeled over dead the second her uterus closed up shop, what would happen to those kids she had at 39?  Little tiny humans need care, a lot of care, a lot of care for a very long time, so much care you would literally not believe how much care if you have no children yet, and so it only makes sense that women would live at least a childhood’s length beyond when they can have a baby. 

Fun fact, you can’t trust Debbie from the secretarial pool to raise your kid for you once you’re gone. This is because no matter how young and perky she is, Debbie is a cunt.  There’s a reason why there are so many fairy tales about evil stepmothers (my stepmother is the world’s greatest, but there are a lot of fairy tales about them for a reason).  And that’s because you can’t trust another person – anyone, let alone someone whose interests may run completely counter to the interests of a child she is completely unrelated to – to raise your kid. 

Researchers call this “The Cinderella Effect” – stepparents are far more likely to kill their partner’s children than biological parents are. It’s gross, it’s ugly, it’s one of the harshest truths there is, but stepparents are among the most likely people to kill your offspring.  It would be evolutionarily insane for nature to program women to stay fertile till 45 and then keel over dead leaving Tiny Adorable Children in mortal peril in the clutches of a 22 year old whose biggest claim to fame up till that point is that she can tie a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue. 

And here’s the weirdest part – actually sex IS the endgame.  In a world where men’s brains are not addled by the supernormal stimuli of Internet porn to such extent that they cannot wrap their peabrains around a woman having any use other than as cum dumpster, men are actually attracted to women for all sorts of reasons.  Men find things like a woman being smart, hard-working, kind, generous, wise, affectionate, domestic, friendly, well-rounded and I don’t mean in a physical way – whatever, insert your fave non-sexual descriptor here – sexy.  That is why, not so very long ago, people actually sought out human connections with people they found compatible and companionable rather than just swiping right on Tinder on those nights their ShopVac had a headache.  Being attracted to someone is based on more than just appearance; I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

Because EVOLUTION ITSELF has programmed you, YES YOU, my masculine friend, with the desire to get with women who not only have curvy hips and glorious titties, but who are capable of surviving – not only surviving themselves and keeping your offspring alive, but even keeping YOU alive.  Again, YES YOU, and any man in denial about the usefulness of his trusty ol’ wife to keep him alive has never stopped to consider that before very recently, women – those same women you like to decry as lazybone bon-bon eaters – did a huge amount of work to keep the family, up to and including her husband, alive. 

Mundane shit like washing dishes and fetching clean water and keeping the fire going and milking the cow and dumping the chamber pots used to be, even just a century ago, matters of life and death.  Women who were clever and creative and charming could even give their spouses a leg up on the competition by using resources frugally, gathering or creating resources herself, and forming social alliances that men could then exploit to gain more resources.  And science support this too – married men make more money than unmarried men, and even live longer than unmarried men do.  The longer a man is married (or in other words, the older his wife gets) the stronger the effect. That’s right, we actually get MORE useful to you over the course of time, even though we aren’t quite as shiny as we used to be.

This is a two-way street, of course.  Men who stay alive are themselves able to continue to protect and provide for their wives and those little knee-biters they sired, and the more shady customers amongst the ranks of maleness may even end up with more opportunities to spread their seed because of their mate’s efforts.  Because your first wife kept you alive, nursed you back to health after that nasty encounter with the saber tooth tiger and prevented you from getting intestinal parasites, even helped you to gather up scarce resources in a hard cruel world, men may be more able to take on a second wife or even a third, or at least hit a couple chicks on the side now and then.

Evolutionary biology weaves a pretty tangled web sometimes.

Bros, if you weren’t attracted to things beyond pretty faces and shapely bods, the whole human race would have died out a super long time ago.  Including YOU.  Especially you, my dudes, because of all the men who have ever lived, only 40% of them have genes that survived to this day and male genes dying out happens quite a bit really – not only from greater odds of accidents and disease, but because every time Genghis Khan rolls into town the first thing he does is kill off all the adult males. The truth is, it’s very, very likely those non-Margot-Robbie-esque qualities that attract you that matter the most to the survival of your genes. The things women bring to the table beyond appearance alone matter hugely and they render us very, very far from useless even once we stop releasing eggs every month. 

And if that still isn’t enough, I have one more little cherry to drop on top of our evolutionary biology sundae here – when you mate with a long lived person, you ensure that your genes are then mixed with genes for a long lifespan, improving the survival and pass-down-ability of your genes even more so.  Thus it is entirely possible – indeed, likely – that one of the many reasons women live as long as they do is as an advertisement of what you’re gonna get as that young nubile thing you’re smitten with, ages.  For unlike Hollywood portrayals where the 16 year old nymphet inexplicably has a hideous ancient old crone for a mother, in nature, 16 year old nymphets often have 32-50 year old mothers who are still young and attractive and are able to not only help raise their children’s offspring, but are also a living testament to healthy genes running in the family.

Long story short – the question is NOT “why do human females outlive their fertility” but “why WOULDN’T they outlive their fertility, all things considered?”  The answer is obvious and clearcut if you believe in evolutionary biology half as much as you claim to, dudes. 

But hey. If you are a person who looks at your fellow human as nothing more than a hole to stick your genitals into and decries people as useless on that basis, may I suggest simply buying a vacuum cleaner instead?

everything you ever wanted to know about WAP but were afraid to ask

everything you ever wanted to know about WAP but were afraid to ask

While we have experienced some incredibly stupid controversies over the course of the past four years, my nominee for the stupidest controversy of them all has got to be the brouhaha over the Cardi B song WAP.  If you are a wise person you know nothing about this song and I regret to inform you that it exists.  I’m not going to post a video because I just really don’t see the point; by now you’ve either seen it or you don’t want to and it’s not a good song anyway.

WAP is one of those songs that is allegedly meant to celebrate women’s sexuality by viewing it through the lens of what men like.  Because the initials WAP stand for “wet ass p—-”.  I mean, ok, that’s fine, whatever. The existence of this song reminds me of this classic Simpsons gag in which Bart demands attention from everyone.

 

I think it’s gotten to the point in our culture where everything has been so in our faces screeching so loudly for so long, and so many barriers have been broken along the way – barriers of politeness, civility, good taste, and good sense, that people who intend to shock have to resort to ridiculous lengths to do that. That’s the only reason why this inane song even exists.  WAP is just a barrier of politeness that hadn’t yet been broken so someone broke it to make money.  The tiredness of the gimmick BORES me. 

But this isn’t about any of that. I don’t care that there is a song called WAP.  It doesn’t bother me that it exists because so far it exists in adult spaces and the kiddies aren’t even in school to come home asking a lot of questions about it.

The thing that pisses me off about WAP is this – the song has enabled some people on both sides of the aisle to further politicize and pathologize the natural functions of the female body in ways that are gross and wrong.

As some of you know, in my day job I run a women’s fertility website and on that website I am the official “sexpert”.  For the past twelve years, people have come to me seeking answers to questions about how their bodies work.  Unlike most sex researchers, people seek my counsel when they’re trying to get pregnant (rather than knowing they’re a part of a Very Important Research Project, in which case they might make themselves sound more outrageous or more tame depending on what they think the researcher wants to hear).  So they tend to give me honest answers so I can better assist them in the process of conceiving.  They don’t exaggerate, they don’t keep secrets from me, they give it to me straight because they want to get pregnant and I need the facts in order to enable me to do that.  

The people – 99.99% of them women – come to me from all six continents (no one from Antarctica yet) and again, unlike most sex researchers, I have the privilege to assist quite a large swath of people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.  All are extremely forthright with me, not only about what is going on with their junk, but what they think and feel about it, and at this point I can state emphatically that regardless of ethnicity or nationality, the ties that bind women in terms of our sex are universal.  Some people I spend years with, taking this journey at their side, chatting with them several times a week, and as a result of this incredible opportunity the fates have granted me, I really feel that I’ve got a window into female sexuality that other people lack.

The truth is this – a shocking number of women don’t understand their bodies, are told a lot of insane and ridiculous half-truths and untruths about their bodies even by people who call themselves “experts” and “doctors”, and carry shame and embarrassment about their bodies as a result.  And a shocking number of men don’t understand the female body, don’t want to understand it, are told a lot of insane and ridiculous things about the female body, and feel quite entitled to add to the shame and embarrassment women feel about their bodies.  Sometimes this male entitlement borders on abusive, or is abuse outright.  And lest you think this state of affairs affects only women on certain continents and in certain socioeconomic classes, think again.

One of the biggest arenas in which this disconnect occurs is the issue of vaginal lubrication and since the WAP controversy is stirring up this whole hornet’s nest it seems like a good time to talk about it.

Since ignorance on this somewhat taboo subject abounds, let me do a brief rundown for you on how the female body ACTUALLY works.  Brief, I promise.

Women in their childbearing years have this pesky little thingy called a menstrual cycle that governs our lives just as much as chronic and insistent boners govern yours, my dudes, if not far far more.  Contrary to popular belief (I’ll be using that phrase a lot) the menstrual cycle is not always regular, and it doesn’t always take 28 days (in fact it’s much more common to have cycles that vary a bit and are sometimes a little shorter or a little longer than it is to always have precise 28 day cycles).  By cycle, I mean it’s just a series of events that happen in a particular sequence – NOT that it is always set in stone, the same for everyone, but the events that occur happen in this particular order cause that’s how the body works.  The menstrual cycle is not even the same for every person every month, it changes over time, and that too is ok and totally normal. 

During the first part of the cycle, which is called the follicular phase, women make a lot of estrogen and a couple other lesser known hormones that stimulate an egg to develop and be released called follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone (men make these too in different amounts than women do – our bodies use these hormones for a couple different purposes, not only ovulation).  In addition, during the follicular phase estrogen stimulates the uterine lining to grow nice and lush to allow a fertilized egg to implant there.

But estrogen does some other pretty cool things too.  It causes numerous changes in our body, one of which is the production of fluids all throughout our reproductive tract that enable sperm to survive (without these fluids, sperm quickly die in the vagina) and swim to the egg.  We call the form of this fluid we are the most familiar with “egg white cervical mucus” because it’s mucus, made by the cervix (not the vagina itself, but it flows down into the vagina from the cervix), and it has an appearance kinda like egg white – stretchy and clear.  We’ll nickname this EWCM for short.

(brief but important aside – that having been said, just because this mucus is called “egg white mucus”, it is NOT EGG WHITE, like out of an egg.  They are different things.  Anyone who tells you to use egg white as a lubricant in your vagina to help you get pregnant for any reason (egg whites do NOT make you have a boy!) is wrong and is setting you up for a horrible vaginal and even uterine infection – the kind of infection that could possibly end a pregnancy.  I don’t care how many titles they have after their name, egg whites in the VJ is not a good idea.  I don’t care that your friend used them and everything was fine – some people win games of Russian Roulette too.  Egg whites may be natural, but so is botulism.  Not only do egg whites have potential contaminants in them such as salmonella which are known to cause miscarriages, their pH is super high, much higher than the pH of either semen or cervical mucus, and this high pH favors the overgrowth of nasty microbes that exist naturally in the vagina and on the penis that would normally not pose a problem.  NO EGG WHITES!)

It is true.  WAP DOES NOT simply come from arousal fluid.  In fact, it’s entirely possible to have increased hormonal vaginal wetness at certain times of the month and have NO interest in sex whatsoever.  Women often experience greater arousal at the same time of the month they have this egg white cervical mucus courtesy of our buddy estrogen, but both the EWCM and increased libido are caused by the rising hormones.

After ovulation has occurred, we enter the luteal phase, and the hole in the ovary that the egg came out of turns into this neat little critter which we only have half the cycle, called the corpus luteum.  The purpose of the corpus luteum is to make hormones, and the most important hormone the CL makes is progesterone.  Progesterone does three very important things.  Firstly, it stops the development all the other eggs, since women develop 15-30 eggs per ovary every month, and only the best one or two are released.  You won’t ovulate again after having ovulated already thanks to progesterone and the rest of those eggs will be absorbed rather than turning you into Octomom.  Secondly, progesterone helps the uterine lining to thicken and prepare even more for the arrival of a fertilized egg in about 7 days.  And finally, this rise in progesterone causes the EWCM to dry up and our cervixes, which were soft, swollen, and open, to harden and close.  This is to prevent infection – EWCM is great for conceiving but it also can encourage microbial growth as well so we only make it when we need it.

Progesterone makes some other things happen which are more irritating – our sex drive drops, some of us get a bit crabby or depressed (contrary to popular belief, PMS for many people happens not only right before their period arrives but in that post-ovulation week), and many of us find our self-control is a bit lower leading to binge eating and impulse buying (ask me how I know).  And that lack of EWCM means that most women do experience vaginal dryness particularly the week after ovulation.  Luckily, in about 7 days’ time, our body will release another burst of estrogen to help sustain the uterine lining, and at that point many women experience an improved mood, a boost in sex drive, and resurgence in WAP then – though rarely the levels that it reaches prior to ovulation.  If you conceive, the corpus luteum hangs around and makes progesterone to sustain a pregnancy (till well into the first trimester when the developing placenta takes over and the CL goes away) and if you don’t, then it withers up and both progesterone and estrogen drop sharply, and your period comes.

EWCM aside, women do make a natural vaginal lubricant fluid for sex that can happen at any time of the month.  Please note, this naturally occurring lubricant is NOT always tied to arousal per se.  Our bodies can make that lubricant even when we do not want to have sex at all.  It’s natural and intended to prevent our delicate girly bits from sustaining injury during sexual intercourse.  It is entirely possible – just like it is possible for men to get an erection they don’t want if their genitals are stimulated or sometimes even if their eyeballs are – for there to be a release of vaginal lubrication when a woman does not want to have sex at all.  Even in cases of rape this can happen and so the presence of this natural lubrication in the vagina does not directly equate to a woman feeling aroused. AT ALL, and so menfolk, please do not doubt a woman’s word when she says not tonight, she has a headache.

But regardless of arousal fluid, the primary source of what most would recognize as WAP is the natural rise in hormones, estrogen in particular, that occurs prior to ovulation.

Now, some stuff can interfere in this process.  Medication (including hormonal birth control and fertility medications such as Clomid), herbs (vitex, saw palmetto, mint, licorice root…and please ladies, do not use any licorice root, even in the form of tea or candy, when pregnant or even when trying to conceive as it may harm your baby’s brain development…and many other herbs too numerous to list, even many that are said to help improve cervical mucus), supplements (even seemingly benign things like Vitamin B6, certain amino acids, and bee pollen can muck up your cycle…and this is true even if a naturopath tells you to take them!)  Even drinking alcohol to excess or too much green tea can make cervical mucus scanty.  Stress, lack of sleep, being too thin or dropping a lot of weight even if you aren’t too thin, having been ill, exercising a lot, sudden changes in diet, breastfeeding, the natural results of the aging process – all these things can affect your hormone levels in ways that may alter the amount and consistency of the cervical mucus a woman produces. 

Just as women can experience lubrication without arousal, it is equally true that women can feel extremely aroused and have little to no vaginal lubrication due to hormones at certain times of the month, or those things I mentioned in the previous paragraph that interfere with hormones. This is why they sell those tubes of goo at the drugstore.  Buy them!  They’re good!  If you don’t like one, buy a different one!

Just like we all have different facial features and hair color and skin tone we all have different patterns to our cycles as well.  You aren’t a broken person if you don’t have a lot of cervical mucus, I promise – believe it or not, the opinion of Cardi B really doesn’t reflect biological reality.  Nor are you a broken person if you DO have a lot.  MANY women have 7-10 days of EWCM, before, during, and slightly after ovulation.  (EWCM does not, contrary to many people’s belief, appear only the day of ovulation.)  And MANY women don’t!  And all these variations are ok!  It’s just how the Good Lord made us!  Some people have EWCM visible for a day or so, but it’s up inside where we can’t see it.  Please don’t go spelunking, tho – you can injure yourself doing that and also introduce microbes that can cause infection.  I promise you it is up there.  

EWCM, aka WAP, is natural and normal and a part of how a vagina is meant to work.  I occasionally encounter a client who tells me she has been self-treating (and in a few very sad and enraging instances, was being treated by medical professionals) for “chronic vaginal infections” that “come back every month!” when what she was really experiencing was simply her body’s natural cyclical production of EWCM.  

So that brings me to Ben Shapiro.  Ben Shapiro is a right wing pundit who happens to be married to an OBGYN.  When WAP dropped Shapiro decided to take issue with it since this is 2020 and I guess it’s the fate we all deserve.  That’s his choice I suppose; personally I have bigger fish to fry than worrying about a silly song and I think it makes conservatives look like prudish morons when they do.  But to each their own.  

The thing that infuriated me about Ben was that he chose to do this by medicalization, contributing to the “women’s bodies are ticking time bombs” trope that I despise so greatly.  

ben

And, no.  As I already described in detail that many probably thought was too much already, it is normal and natural for many women to have a lot of vaginal discharge at some parts of the month.  EWCM is not pathological, vaginas are not diseased or gross, it just part of the way the female body works.  It’s a part of our bodies like men’s morning wood is part of theirs.  Yes, women can get some issues with that part of our anatomy at times as any parts of anyone’s anatomy can sometimes misfire, but you don’t just go jumping from a little extra joy juice to “diseased whore” in a single bound, dude.

Not to be outdone, Cardi B then released a video in which she then took it upon herself to call out and shame women who DON’T have a lot of EWCM, which she called “DAP” (dry ass p—-).  She claimed it was due to “pH balance” and uncleanliness and in my opinion this was just as gross and wrong and misogynistic as what Ben Shapiro said.  Look, Miss B, don’t pretend to celebrate a woman’s body to sell albums and then turn around and mock women who experience with issues of vaginal dryness, act like they have a medical problem and that it’s caused by a lack of sanitation, when the damn fact is that at least some of the time we ALL have DAP (even u Cardi B) and it is completely out of our control! 

Please note, this has the n-word (which I completely do not endorse in any way) and some very foul language in it even for me.    

 

Now, you may be wondering why all this matters.  Celebrities gonna celebrity.  Why am I taking time from my day to write this essay (trust me I’ve asked myself the same question about 38 times over the course of the last couple hours).  But the thing is, it is because this kind of shit is BAD FOR WOMEN and when it comes in the form of a video like WAP it is bad for women in the guise of being good for women!  And complaining about things that say they are good for women when they are actually bad for women is the whole freaking reason I started this blog anyway.

Seriously – I get questions again and again from women around the world who feel like freaks because they have what they perceive to be too much vaginal lubrication or not enough vaginal lubrication or are experiencing entirely natural fluctuations in the amount of lubrication they produce.  This chronic failure on the parts of basically everyone to recognize that there is a normal cycle in which sometimes we have WAP and sometimes we have DAP, and that there is wide ranging variation across the female population in which some of us make more than others and even individually we have some months that are more WAPpier than others causes women to be plagued with self doubt on a good day.  

On a bad day, it’s very much worse than that.

You see, it isn’t just that it gives us the sadz.  It is that women are maltreated and actually ABUSED because of male perceptions of their vaginal levels of hydration.

In some parts of the world and among immigrants to our part of the world, having a lot of EWCM is seen as a sign of either disease (thanks, Ben, for contributing to that, you misogynistic a-hole) or more often, a sign of promiscuity, because women’s desire is seen as so dangerous they actually remove the clitoris of young girls as they reach sexual maturity.   Women in many cultures use caustic agents in their vagina to dry up cervical mucus and give a perception of “tightness” that is wrongfully associated by some to be a marker of a lack of sexual experience.   This practice causes vaginal infections and UTI, injuries such as tearing which can be quite severe, prevents conception (which can lead to spousal abuse and even murder when a man or his family becomes enraged that his wife has not produced offspring because sperm can’t survive the toxic brew of drying chemicals) and even enables HIV to spread more easily.  

Women DIE because of the stigma against EWCM, a thing our bodies make naturally.

In other parts of the world, AKA OUR part of the world, a lesser known but still misogynistic and abusive practice is when men refuse to let their partners use storebought lubricants because they claim any time a woman is experiencing intermittent vaginal dryness it’s a sign of unfaithfulness, lack of interest in sex/her spouse, or that she is broken/damaged in some Freudian way.  Some men claim that using a store-bought lubricant is a method of trying to hide infidelity or physical flaws (just like some MRA claim that using makeup is “lying”, they also claim using lube is “lying).  These men would rather their wives experience sexual pain than to use a lubricant.  Here’s a lovely example where a woman who just had a baby 3 months ago that she is still breastfeeding is being punished by her partner for vaginal dryness.   And here is another one about a woman on birth control experiencing the same issue.      And here’s one more just for those who still doubt.  This is a story I hear over and over again, FAR more often than the women who are forced to use drying agents, and I don’t hear many sexperts like the people who write for Vice or Teen Vogue saying an official word despite how ubiquitous it is.  

And then if that’s not bad enough, around ovulation when a woman is naturally having EWCM, some of these men then take that as an additional sign of infidelity.  “Wul, she’s dry sometimes, and wet sometimes, and that must mean she’s cheating on me, guess I’ll beat her”.  This is a real thing, people.  Men, maybe even some men you actually know, are regularly accusing their wives of cheating and threatening divorce or violence against them on this basis of the amount of vaginal discharge they have.  (this is not only something that has been reported to me hundreds of times, but is something I have personally experienced in a relationship, so keep it to yourself, there, Doubting Thomas).  

The solution Cardi B offers…WAP, supposedly meant as female empowerment, simply further promotes the idea of having a lot of vaginal lubrication naturally as being the “right” way for a woman to be because men like it that way.   

No.  No, Cardi B, that is not female empowerment any more than it was empowering to women when you had your vagina bleached.

I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t even watch this one, you’re on your own.

 

There is one commonality between men who punish their wives for being “too wet” and men who punish their wives for being “too dry” and that commonality is men.  Men, who in many cases have no understanding of the way the female body even works, imposing their sexual desires onto women, and becoming enraged and abusive when our bodies fail to comply.  Helpful hint dudes, the WORST thing you can possibly do for your sex life is to make your wife feel a lot of pressure about sex.  Nowhere in the song WAP will you read any lyrics about how Cardi B or Megan Thee Stallion’s boyfriends hollered derogatory names at them till they got WAP (and considering Megan was actually shot by her boyfriend, that’s saying a lot.) 

Yelling at women, saying they are frigid, getting butthurt and inconsolable because a woman’s body doesn’t work the way that some early 2000’s era PUA led you to believe it should, and refusing to just open a goddamn tube of KY during the times of the month when women happen to need it THROUGH NO FAULT OF OUR OWN simply ends up with women associating sex with fear, stress, and pain. And that, dear chums, will spoil your sex lives FOREVER. 

And I wouldn’t even fucking care for your sake, but it will also ruin HER sex life forever and she deserves better.

This is not about you, dudes.  It’s just the way we gals are built.  Please quit viewing everything a woman does and experiences through the lens of “is this good for my peener”.  Because expecting…nay, demanding…WAP at the times of the month and in circumstances when DAP is what is happening is like asking you to start breathing out your asshole – doesn’t matter how much you might want to, it’s not gonna happen, because it’s biologically impossible.   

The female body is a weird and wonderful thing.  It does some amazing shit, but just like every body system we possess, our lovely vaginas follow rules we can’t just set aside because you watched a lot of porn growing up and had this vision of the way women’s bodies worked that just so happens to be completely untrue.

Learn the rules, just like you learned the rules of how to play fantasy football and set the timing on a 1968 Ford Fairlaine and all those many many many hard and challenging things u brainy brainy men learn along the way. 

And rejoice! The female body is actually a lot less challenging than a lot of stuff you guys set your mind to.

 

 

 

but men tho

but men tho

Please note, while this piece was precipitated by couple of recent encounters, it is not directed at anyone individually (not at all and I cannot stress that enough). It is a piece that I have had brewing for a good long while, since I first wrote the words “but men tho” in response to a conversation that happened several months ago. It just so happened to crystallize before my eyes this morning but it has been a long time coming and is based on hundreds of conversations I have had and thousands of observations I have made over the past 4 years.

I don’t want anyone to take any offense at this personally because it’s just some stuff that I wanted to say for a while, that I got into the mood to say today, and is not a reaction to any particular person or encounter at all whatsoever.

Whenever I get into battle of the sexes stuff someone always comes along to say “but men tho”. Men have problems too, I am told, and I agree.

Men do have problems, and I only mean that slightly sarcastically.

Problems are like nipples. We all got em. But problems are also like nipples in that men’s and women’s nipples, despite the fact that both of us have them, are not the same, neither in form nor in function. Women’s nipples are bigger due to biology, and men respond to the sight of a bare chest differently than women do also because of biology. Women’s nipples do some pretty crazy shit while men’s sit their on their chests and look nonchalant. The biological differences between male and female nipples and the reactions to them have triggered/created cultural differences based on that difference in biology.  (that’s why women in most cultures cover up our boobies and men don’t.)

Sometimes two different groups of people can both have a quality or a characteristic or a problem in common but there are undeniably differences in terms of severity, intensity, and/or how the characteristic/problem manifests. For example, both men and women can go bald, but you’d be a lunatic if you claimed that it was JUST AS BIG A PROBLEM FOR WOMEN AS IT IS MEN (if, in fact it is a problem for men, and let me just tell you as someone who doesn’t mind a chrome dome – it isn’t). My point is simply that more men go bald than women do, and that is simply a fact we all agree on because it hasn’t been all imbued with political insanity (yet).

By virtue of biology, women experience physical challenges that men do not face. Women are smaller, weaker, we are much more likely to experience autoimmune diseases and ailments of the reproductive organs, most of us have a period every month which affects our body in unique and oftentimes life-disrupting ways, most of us experience menopause, and we spent huge chunks of our life (like, way more time than you spent fixing up that 1968 ‘Stang, bro) propagating the human race. Having a kid, YOUR KID, requires 18 months of massive and undeniable biological transformation and sacrifice (it’s 18 months because the physical changes that come from pregnancy, not to mention lactation for those who choose to go that route, linger for the better part of a year after giving birth and you just ain’t right till at least 9 months after) and 18 years of life transformation and sacrifice as women do the lion’s share of the childrearing.

Undeniable. Inarguable. As different as a set of nips on a dude vs. Dolly Parton.

Then in addition to those massive physical and hormonal differences, there are also huge psychological differences that are also biological in nature but are a little more amorphous and arguable. But I think most of us would agree that not only are men and women shaped differently, we behave differently too, because we are all animals and in most of the animal kingdom the male and the female of the species don’t act the same. For some reason I do not understand, biologists and anthropologists can dispassionately and accurately rack up descriptions of sex-based differences all throughout the animal kingdom and yet when it comes to Homo Sapiens, with an entirely straight face mind you, be all like “no way man nu-uh men and women are exactly the same in every way and we act and think and feel exactly the same and we always have the same motives.”

I mean, come on. Are you even serious with that? And the answer is of course no, they are not serious people, at least not serious about garnering a deeper understanding of human nature. What they are serious about is destroying all of human civilization because they think they can build it back up again, better, by which I mean in this version of civilization they will be the one with the power.

The psychological differences between men and women is a hell of a huge ball of wax to get into first thing in the fucking morning even though I drank a LOT of coffee, so I’m going to cut some corners and sum it up this way: by dint of being the subject of men’s desire, women are subject TO men’s desire, and this carries with it challenges and threats that men don’t face, particularly given that men are like twice the size of us. I am the average height and weight for an American woman and yet my husband is a foot taller than me and weighs 100 lbs more. Not to mention there are not strangers lurking out there who potentially want to sexually harm him.

Can he possibly experience the world the way I do? Of course he can’t. He can walk across a dark parking lot whenever the fuck he wants to and never feel the slightest concern. This doesn’t make one of us less than human, it simply means we have different sets of experiences within the continuum of humanity. It has an effect on your psyche just like a guy who went to war will have a different set of experiences and a different psyche than a guy who simply played a lot of Call of Duty growing up. It may even be that when it comes to men and women, women have EVOLVED some psychological differences that helped them stay alive in a world full of dangers (because up until very recently, the world was a much more dangerous place than it is now, for women most of all). Beyond the effects of culture upon our psyche, women may have nipples of the mind in which we react to circumstances and stimuli in a different fashion than men do that are written right into our very DNA.

(I know, I know “women rape too, women abuse men too, hurr de durr”, can we ever be honest that it is by and large women who face this danger at the hands of men and that we should probably take that into consideration when designing the rules, regs, and customs of our society? I mean seriously, this is a CONSERVATIVE blog folks, leave the lying about human nature and pretending that black is white and up is down and social engineering based on utter stupidity and fake statistics and deceit to the fucking liberals, wouldya?? Don’t be all Steven Pinker in the streets and a men’s rights activist in the sheets, my conservative dudes.)

The only real genetic difference in all of humanity is our sex. Did you catch that? Want me to say it again? THE ONLY REAL GENETIC DIFFERENCE IN ALL OF HUMANITY IS OUR SEX. Black folks and white folks are genetically all but identical. Gay people and straight people are genetically all but identical. Christians and Muslims and atheists ARE genetically identical. Men and women are NOT genetically identical and the people who say that they are have political agendas. Men and women of all races have, in their freaking genome, 6500 known genetic differences AT LEAST and scientists are discovering more every day.

Men and women are NOT THE SAME on a genetic level and that difference in genes has consequences for human behavior and culture that spread from that truth like ripples on the water. You know it men, and I know it, and everyone knows it deep down inside even the people who have to pretend to believe in fantasies because their political movement has gone so far off the track that it left reality far far behind.

So don’t give me your “but men tho” shit and call yourself a conservative because conservatives are supposed to be about NOT denying reality so you can remake society in a way you imagine would be better. Being a conservative is about ACCEPTING reality and understanding that people are a thing like dogs and cats and ducks and wombats, and then setting up societies based on that reality. Pretending that every problem a woman faces is ACHTUALLY experienced by men too just as much is not only fucking bullshit, but it isn’t even fucking conservative because it denies biological reality.

Right now, women’s rights are under assault. Not only in the traditional ways, but in a new insidious way as men dressed in women’s clothes who are sexually stimulated by doing that, try to lay claim to women’s private and safe spaces by PRETENDING TO BE US and then forcing us to pretend not to notice or else we’ll be in big trouble. In the meantime, other men impart messages to young women experiencing mental health challenges, at their most vulnerable stage of development, that being a woman is so wrong and so unpleasant, and they are so flawed and inferior in every way they should erase their femininity completely by the use of strong hormones that will leave them sterile and cause permanent harm to their health. And those of us who question this process are facing threats of rape and murder and being deplatformed for supposedly being “abusers” even as our likenesses are being hung in effigy by these so-called civil rights activists.

brief aside – Feel free to call me a TERF if you would like to, but this is not an anti-trans position to hold. I believe fully that people have a right to present as whatever gender they would like to, to wear whatever clothes they would like to and live their lives however they want. God bless America. I can to some extent even comprehend how someone could feel they were born into the wrong body because during the 70’s the fashion was to dress your daughter like an androgynous tomboy when inside I was and am a much more girly girl than I was allowed to be. But at the same time, I also believe that people have a right to associate with whoever they want and to live their lives in some semblance of safety and security and men accost, bully, threaten, frighten, shout down, grope, intimidate, abuse, stare at, leer at, and yes even rape women. Thus I will fight to the death for the rights of WOMEN. Not “cis women”, not wumben, not wimpund, not woomud, but WOMEN! The real deal!  Accept no imitations!

And conservative men, you had fucking better have my goddamn back on this. If, as you claim and I have never had any reason to doubt you, that the role of a conservative man is as a protector of women, have my back. This is NOT the time to say “but men tho” and try to make this about YOU. Because not everything is about you all the time.

Let me make this one thing perfectly clear. I LOVE MEN. (probably more than is good for me at times, le sigh) I have four sons, a husband, a father, a kid brother, two uncles, two nephews, and the best goddamn group of male friends/coworkers/Twitter followers any chick can lay claim to. I freely acknowledge that men face challenges that women don’t and that being a man can suck in many huge and undeniable ways that society should grapple with and account for just as it must grapple and account for the unique challenges that women face. But can the spotlight ever shine on women and our problems for a moment without men coming along with one of those big hooks to try to pull us out of it so they can get in there and say “but men tho”? EVER?

I know what you think. I know you think “the spotlight is always on women it seems like to me” and I know you believe that with every fiber of your being. But it isn’t. By all rights, using straight 3rd grade statistics and nothing else, the spotlight should be on women 50% of the time because we are 50% of the people. Sometimes when someone else is getting something that is a fair portion and is what they deserve, and you maybe feel you aren’t getting your fair share, it can SEEM LIKE that other person is getting more than they should be getting and I know this because I have five children. But just like with splitting up one cupcake between two kids, even when it seems like Johnny is getting a bigger piece of the cupcake THIS time, it may be because Jimmy got a bigger piece of the cupcake the last time. That’s very easy for Johnny to forget in the heat of the cupcake.

Not to mention that in some arenas the spotlight should be on women more because women are more interested and active in a certain arena of human existence or are more affected by something – like women’s health for example. Surely it is reasonable that women should be able to discuss matters of their personal health without men butting in to discuss their health instead, right? Just as there are arenas and endeavors that are mostly men and SHOULD BE mostly men without anyone coming along to say “the real problem here is how drinking beer and watching the Super Bowl affects WOMEN.” You instinctively and rightfully roll your eyes at that (and I agree with you, even at my most ridiculously liberal-iest I thought it was off-putting, even offensive when women forced their way into every facet of men’s existence and wouldn’t shut up about themselves ever). So RESPECT MY AUTHORITY when it comes to talking about women and women’s shit and don’t do the exact same thing to me, would you?

“but men tho”. Sheesh.

I understand, completely completely understand that many men hate feminism for reasons. I further understand that some of my male chums do not understand why I have this blog in which I put the word “FEMINIST” right up there at the top when otherwise I am so totally cool. But it’s because feminism is just wanting what is good for women. I just want what is good for women. That’s all. I have no dark agenda here, no sinister purpose where I want to see men wiped off the map so I can take their position at the table of power. What is good for women can also be good for men because we are meant to be in some sort of partnership just like the boy lion gets to chill in the shade while the girl lions go hunting. What works for me can work for you, I promise.

Keep your piece of the pie and I’ll even squirt some whipped cream on it for you, baby.

I just want what is good for women. And the truth is, liberals don’t have it. What liberals say is good for women is a childless existence spent slaving away for a nameless faceless corporation in which we get treated as a cum dumpster for whoever swiped right on Tinder this weekend and then using our money to buy products that the nameless faceless corporation provided for us until we die of chick cancer we got because we never had any children. And what liberals say is good for men is a loveless sexless existence looking up ever more extreme versions of tentacle porn and wondering why life is so empty all the time even though your apartment is full of products that the nameless faceless corporations sold you, until you die of suicide.

I am simply looking for a better way.

Much of what passes for “feminism” in our country is either “Aunt Jemima feminism” in which the most hollow of gestures is made loudly (like ensuring that actresses paid millions of dollars make millions more dollars even though everyone went to see the Matt Damon movie and not the forgettable starlet he’s costarring with) while actual issues affecting women are swept under the rug, or are brought to the forefront solely in service of an insidious political end. Like the #metoo movement – a movement that was basically tailor made to erode civil liberties and get rid of some “old white men” in positions of power and was immediately dropped in favor of the next outrage of the week. I admit, freely, the word “feminism” has been corrupted by Actual Bad Guys and used for evil purposes. You hate that, rightfully, and I hate it too.

But this doesn’t mean that women don’t still need to advocate for their rights. Women as a class – truly, more than any other class, because all other classes were created in the brains of human beings rather than based on fundamental genetic differences – have a need to advocate as a group sometimes. Just because some people have implemented feminism badly and subverted it for their own ends doesn’t mean it isn’t still necessary to protect women’s rights and that women don’t still continue to face unique-to-our-sex challenges across the spectrum due to our biology.

I’m trying to make a better feminism, one that has room for both men and women to find happiness and self-fulfillment – sometimes even finding that in each other rather than being at each other’s throats all the time. We are allies with a shared cause, not enemies, I promise.

We left some pretty excellent shit in the past. Those old timey people, for all their flaws, understood some stuff we have forgotten. I personally think conservatism has a lot of answers that women are desperately seeking. I am begging you, conservative men, please don’t through the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to feminism. Please don’t write me off as a crank and a weirdo for trying to reclaim a perfectly good word that has been co-opted by evil people. What is good for women is what is good for HUMANITY even if the liberals deny that. Don’t play their game for them by living up to the worst stereotypes they try to create of you – being a mansplaining a-hole who can’t ever resist the temptation to butt into every conversation like the Kool Aid Man to blurt out “but men tho” every time a woman has the temerity to complain about anything.

 

 

 

Deceive? All Women?

Deceive? All Women?

Can we talk about women?  And I don’t mean platitudes about bravery and persistence, I mean the ugly stuff, the nasty stuff, the stuff that makes us look bad, the stuff that gives cannon fodder for the MRA’s and causes even the good guys to lock eyes across a crowded room and spend a moment in a mutual flashback, thinking back on those cray-crays that gave them relationship PTSD.

I’m talking about women and lying.  Lying on an epic scale.

Now, I’ve written in the past about the main – and legitimate – reason women lie in a piece about honesty, viewed through the lens of Better Call Saul.  I think most female deceit is an understandable survival mechanism borne from having to deal with people – parents, bosses, romantic partners – who are highly controlling and even borderline abusive.  Women, by virtue of our sex, are all too often put into positions where we are a junior partner in a relationship (not just romantic, but any relationship), where we have no power and no control over circumstances that are largely inflicted upon us, and some women lie to simply achieve a small amount of wiggle room in which to exist.

But there is another kind of dishonesty that some women partake in.  I wrote about its fictional manifestation in my Valentine’s Day piece on Gone GirlI’m talking about dishonesty on a level that is absolutely unbelievable, where you really cannot believe a person would ever do something so twisted, so conniving.  I’m talking about the kind of lying in which a person creates a false reality – literally a persona that doesn’t exist, or a chain of events that never occurred – to manipulate others, to play on their heartstrings, to trick people into believing things that are not true about the world and another person and even reality itself.

There are probably some men who do this type of thing too, and in fact it sounds as if some women have encountered them a time or two.  But I haven’t seen any personally, whereas I’ve encountered a fair few women who fall into this category.  Men absolutely gaslight, it’s true, but it’s for different reasons, to seize and retain control of any given situation.  I have experienced, and utterly despise this type of gaslighting (you have no idea how much I despise it) but to some extent I understand it; it often happens in the heat of the moment and from a dysfunctional need to control ingrained into men by both biology and society rather than a distinct desire and active decision to manipulate.  I can forgive that type of not-really-intentional gaslighting because I don’t think it’s evil inasmuch as I think it’s a flaw borne from fear and insecurity.

But there are some people, in my experience mostly women, who are willing to literally fabricate evidence and twist the bounds of reality to get people to do and think and feel what they want them to.  Some carry this even to the point of incriminating innocent people and entire classes of people, for what appears to be no better reason than to tug on people’s heartstrings and get a little attention.  I have, in my work as a fertility counselor, encountered several women who told incredible and heartbreaking stories about children who died, multiple pregnancies that ended in a loss, fertility clinics that had badly wronged them, husbands who cheated, who were eventually revealed to be lying.  Some of them were spinning their sob story to try and get free stuff out of me (silly, because I spend 80% of my time helping clients for free). But a good number were doing it just for fun, for sympathy, to garner attention they couldn’t get elsewhere.  And while I do try to understand the loneliness and emotional need that could drive a person to do something like this, often enough I’ve seen this chicanery coupled with actual acts of cruelty committed against others that I can’t, quite.

BethAnn McLaughlin is a neuroscientist who at one point in time had been deeply involved in the #MeTooSTEM movement.  Over time some very serious accusations were levied against her – accusations including that she had marginalized minorities and harassed victims of sexual assault.  So McLaughlin was known to be a chick with some issues, that’s for sure, but none of those red flags prepared people for what was about to come.

A few days back, McLaughlin posted about her “friend” sciencing_bi, a longtime Twitter activist (since 2016), claiming she had died of Covid 19.

beth31

sciencing_bi was purported to be a bisexual Hopi anthropologist or paleontologist who spoke English as a second language, was a victim of sexual assault and harassment, who as it so happened was good friends IRL with BethAnn McLaughlin.  sciencing_bi was pretty much the poster child for marginalized people – she ticked off every box you can possibly imagine – and then if that wasn’t enough, she developed Covid on top of it all. Interestingly, McLaughlin was the only person who seemed to have ever met sciencing_bi in person and posted “pictures” with her that later were revealed to be of McLaughlin’s daughter.

sciencing_bi_mclneuro_2018tweet

(by the way, this isn’t even yosemite)

Later on, perhaps unsatisfied by the level of sympathy she personally was receiving in the wake of her “friend’s” death, McLaughlin implied that she and sciencing_bi had been lovers – which, by the way, would have been quite sketchy considering that sciencing_bi was allegedly a complainant in a #metooSTEM case and McLaughlin was meant to be in charge of that movement.

sciencing_bi_mclneuro_crying

There is a huge, and considering the state of race relations in America right now, highly concerning racial component at play in all this.  It is especially troubling given that sciencing-bi’s racial heritage was only revealed after McLaughlin got in trouble for racial insensitivity herself, and that sciencing_bi made extremely untrue claims about her “employer” at Arizona State University forcing her to prove her racial identity and claiming she was made to continue working during the pandemic – both patently untrue and harmful to the reputation of ASU.  sciencing_bi even claimed that the entire state of Alabama was full of people who had persecuted her for her race and sexual orientation.  This is worthy of a deep and prolonged discussion, but I don’t feel it’s my place to comment upon any of that; I’ll leave it to folks more knowledgeable than me to unravel those elements.  

beth41

What I want to discuss is the glaring and unignorable implications of the person who perpetuated this act was in charge of a significant wing of the #metoo movement!!!  A person willing to lie to an extent high enough to manufacture a FAKE PERSON and do active harm to ASU and those who work there has been going around calling out men as sex pests at best, rapists at worst, as oppressors, as villains, as fundamentally untrustworthy perverts, and claiming that we need to believe all women without evidence of wrongdoing.  This person who was living and breathing deceit was calling out men over rumors, innuendo, and even anonymous tweets and anyone who questioned the #metoo movement, who wondered if we were taking things too far, and asked for proof were called complicit in the patriarchy.

beth22

 

My collective Lucys, we got some ‘splainin to do.  

Now, you may find this outrageous, may claim I’m calling out my fellow women over the actions of one, but remember, that was our rallying cry.  BELIEVE ALL WOMEN.  All women.  Not most women, not the vast majority of women, but all women.  Believe all women, without proof, without due process.  Believe.  Don’t reserve judgement and wait for proof.  Those of us who questioned the process were shouted down. We were supposed to believe, unquestioningly, without hesitation, because we were told that no woman would ever lie about such a thing.  No woman would ever lie about something as serious as sexual assault to garner attention or to get revenge.  Men were getting tried and convicted in the court of public opinion on the basis not only of uncorroborated charges but on Tweets and rumors and hearsay and our defense, ladies, was that no woman would ever lie about being assaulted.

Well, as it turns out, one of the lead accusers has revealed herself willing to lie for attention, to make herself look like a better person, to garner respect she hadn’t earned, to get revenge on those she thought had wronged her (her technical term for these people SHE had harassed was “harassholes” – she uses this term in one of the tweets I shared above).  In the guise of sciencing_bi, BethAnn McLaughlin jumped on a bandwagon to make false claims against two men who worked at Harvard.

One of the biggest promoters of one of the branches of #metoo was so deceitful she invented a whole ‘nother person and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt she invented claims of being assaulted and harassed.  That freaking MEANS something.  It is a reality check that cannot be ignored, a dust bunny of lies that cannot be just swept under the rug.  This woman was so prominent in the #metoo movement this picture exists of her from when she won the “Disobedience Award of 2018”:

BethAnn_preview

And yet knowing all this, we’re still supposed to “believe all women”.  We’re still supposed to take delight in seeing men excoriated in the public eye over claims that are not only unproven, but unprovable.

I think we need a reset button on the #metoo movement until we have some sort of process in place to investigate claims of assault without ruining men’s lives.  Not because #metoo is unnecessary; indeed, I think it’s incredibly necessary and long overdue.  But because it is so important, we cannot approach something as important as keeping women safe by creating a world in which men are now subject to the whims of an accuser who may be making false allegations for their own ends.  Women do face disproportional dangers in the workplace, academia, and the world. It’s simply a fact, like gravity is a fact.  Claiming that all women are paragons of virtue who always speak true does not keep women safe, it simply means that society is so busy hunting down innocent men that the guilty ones can sneak past in the chaos of false accusation and constant denial.  

The truth is, you can’t believe all women.  Women CAN lie, Beth McLaughlin aside.  Women can lie because all human beings do lie on occasion, and in a climate that rewards lying without any consequences, more people will lie and many others, even people who are generally truthful folks, will find themselves exaggerating even when they don’t really mean to be dishonest.  That’s why when #metoo founder Alyssa Milano quotes “rates of people lying about sexual assault” she’s such a nincompoop – those rates are not tracking a physical law, set in stone and unvarying.  They are measuring human behavior at a point in time, and if the circumstances change, human behavior can – and will – change right alongside it.

Mobthink operates as if there’s something toxic in the air, it spreads like a contagion.  This is how witch hunts and Red Scares happen.  The truth gets stretched to fit a narrative and then it gets stretched a little further to fit a fantasy that supports the narrative.  It is undeniable that some women are willing to lie about some pretty crazy and important stuff, to an extent that boggles the mind – BethAnn McLaughlin has proven that to those who doubt it.

beth40  

SHE IS TALKING ABOUT A PERSON WHO NEVER FUCKING EXISTED.  This is one of the people we have put in charge of the #metoo movement.  This is one of the people telling us we must “believe all women”.

The saddest part of it is, I don’t think “believe all women” helps anyone, even the accusers.  It doesn’t make anyone happier or better off and it doesn’t even make anyone safer.  Because as muddying the waters by pursuing a zillion false claims simply makes it that much harder for women to seek redress for actual wrongs.  It leads people to continue to doubt our word, to question our honesty, to assume we are exaggerating and overreacting. “Believing All Women” makes women less safe,and less likely to be believed, not more so.  And it closes doors that women have heretofore had open to them by making men afraid to mentor women, afraid to take meetings one on one with women, afraid to grant women opportunities for advancement to prevent rumors of favoritism based on sexual relationships from flying.

So where does that leave us?  Women want to be safe from unwanted predation.  Men want to be safe from false accusations.  Organizations want to be free from predation and accusation that happens under their watchful eye, since we are now holding organizations responsible for creating a safe work environment. We all need a world in which the system is not so clogged up with claims of dubious merit that we have a hard time separating wheat from chaff, and we need a world in which fears of being guilty till proven innocent are not actively harming women in the workplace. 

How do we make that happen? 

You know, it’s funny, but as dull as it sounds, we have a system already in place.  It’s a system in which allegations are made through proper channels (not broadcast all across social media), innocence is presumed until proven otherwise, and investigated by impartial parties.  Then and only then guilt is ascertained and punishment is decided.  It isn’t a flawless system; sometimes the guilty are wrongfully exonerated and the innocent are falsely punished, but on the whole, it’s worked pretty darn well for any group that isn’t in the throes of a witch hunt.  It’s pretty much the basis of Western civilization as a whole.  We cannot build a functioning civilization if anyone can make up anything about you at any time and you get fired without any evidence whatsoever beyond one person’s word (or even two or three, because BethAnn McLaughlin was apparently two people!)

Now, for a couple-three decades there, that system didn’t work too well when it came to sexual assault and harassment, but I am convinced the reason it didn’t work well wasn’t because of any issues with presumption of innocence per se.  It was because of cultural issues where men and women were put into unsupervised situations they probably shouldn’t have been in (many of which involving copious amounts of drugs and alcohol), in a climate of Dionysian indulgence in which fulfillment of sexual desire was seen as not only a virtue, but one of the highest goals a human can possibly attain.  And men’s desire was seen as more powerful, more valid, more immediate and undeniable than a woman’s wish to be left alone. 

In this climate, women have truly felt – and I know this because I am a woman and I myself have felt this way many times – that not giving in to a man’s request for sex means we are mean, cruel, bad sports, not a team player, and pathologically uncool.  A woman saying no to sex (or a drink, or recreational drugs, or to meetings in hotel rooms any of which may lead to sex) has been historically, since the dawn of The Pill anyway, been painted as an uptight prude who is Officially No Fun, a hairy-legged feminist harpy who shouldn’t be treated with kindness or respect.  Women, particularly within the borders of certain fields like media/entertainment, have up until quite recently faced a terrible amount of pressure to say yes to sex they do not want, and this doesn’t even get into the cases where force was involved.

This doesn’t mean the system itself was flawed.  Presuming innocence till guilt is established is a sound and admirable goal in any case where two parties disagree.  It simply means that in the sexual climate we were dwelling in for a few decades, forces were at play that undermined and diluted our ability to properly adjudicate issues of sexual assault.  Without those forces, the system would have worked far, far better.

Doing away with a fundamental assumption of innocence because it hasn’t been always implemented perfectly is like tossing out the baby with the bathwater.  And doing away with this cornerstone of our system of jurisprudence in a pointless attempt solve a separate and unrelated issue in our culture is lunacy.

If you want to start a REAL movement of reform, a movement in which women will be safer from harassment and assault and men will be safer from false allegations, we first need to change the culture in which partying and putting out are seen as noble endeavors for adults to be engaging in in the workforce and within academia.  We need to change the culture in ways to empower women to say NO and for men to not think ill of them when they do.  If this seems impossible, that’s silly, because up until 1960 women used to say NO all the time and men did indeed respect them for that, because everyone understood the risk of unwanted pregnancy.  

Or to put it another way, as I’ve said in the past, what good is consent anyway when there is enormous social pressure (starting as soon as we are old enough to lay our eyes upon the media) put upon women to consent? 

Changing absolutely nothing within our culture and simply saying “believe all women, hurr de durr” is not a solution.  Changing absolutely nothing in our culture and saying “believe all women” will create a freaking army of false accusers and a world in which no man is willing to extend his hand to help a female co-worker up the ladder for fear that she may end up knifing him in the back.  It will create a world so full of false allegations that the real creeps can hide in plain sight.  “Believe all women” is a recipe for a world in which all of us are worse off.  But at the same time we can’t just go back to the way things were the past 50ish years either, because that didn’t work.  Women weren’t safe in that world, that’s why so many of us have horror stories about handsy bosses and pushy coworkers and regrets about things we did that we really didn’t want to do, but we kind of felt like we had to. 

Solving the problem of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace is going to take a two-pronged effort.  We have got to change the culture to make it ok, truly ok, for women to say no to men without facing negative consequences for that.  And simultaneously we need to return to a system in which innocence is presumed until proven otherwise.  Not one or the other, both.  Because he said, she said is too open for misinterpretation in a world in which people are pursuing questionable consensual relationships.  It’s too easily abused, in both directions. 

The more we incentivize her existence, the more BethAnn McLaughlins will exist, yet we cannot deny that #metoo came into existence for a reason and the reason was that many women felt pressured into sexual situations that may have been technically  “consensual” but weren’t exactly wanted.   

I know, men, that it may bring an end to the workplace all-you-can-sex buffet for some of you.  But it prevents the creation of monsters who are willing to stop at nothing to bring you down, for no better reason than they’re lonesome and want the attention.

Because we can’t believe all women.

See Guile?

See Guile?

I’d love to credit this cartoon I share in the piece but I found it uncredited.  If you know who created the art let me know so I can give credit where it’s due. UPDATE: I found the artist – it is the amazing Tatsuya Ishida. If you can, support them on Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/sinfest?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=creatorshare

I’ve found writing has been a challenge for me lately.  I’ve tried on and discarded several potential causes ranging from existential worry due to Covid19 to having too much on my plate right now to perimenopause (turning 50 will do that to you).

This morning I woke up at 4am at long last fathoming what my problem is.  It’s that up until very recently, I put a lot of faith in the notion that people are convincible.  By a lot of faith I mean that one of the core tenets of my personal philosophy is that people are reasonable and can be talked into doing the right thing.  Because people are both reasonable and convincible, therefore you don’t need to use government force to make them do stuff.  You just explain your position until they get it, and if they don’t get it, you explain better.

0b629c745b177c9339f20d453ac57225

But I’m not sure I believe that any more.  Because there are two parties in a speaker-listener relationship, and the motives of the listener matter far more than I ever realized.  If the person receiving your message doesn’t have good intentions, it doesn’t matter how brilliantly you make your case.  They’ll never hear it, not really, even if your words reach their eardrums.

Convincing people who don’t want to be convinced is impossible.

In 2016 when I started this blog whilst under the influence of too much Freddie deBoer (just kidding, there is no such thing as too much Freddie deBoer), I thought I could help people understand some stuff about the world that they didn’t seem to, like why Donald Trump was elected and that there was nothing wrong with Princess Leia’s gold bikini.  After four years of doing that – many times at the expense of my family and my sanity – it has gradually dawned on me that I have changed precisely no minds.  People do like some stuff I’ve written and I am so grateful for that, but it’s been people who were inclined to agree with me anyway.  Simultaneously I’ve watched with dismay as person after person, many of whom I like and respect, and even a few I love, have fallen under the control of a philosophy that is both dangerous and nonsensical.  Some of them have even been espousing beliefs that are polar opposite to views they held just a few years ago.  How polar opposite?  Well, the term “Pod People” comes to mind.

Thus I have had to conclude that while people evidently are convincible, they are apparently not reasonable.  People can be persuaded, clearly they can, because I know of several people who believe things they never believed in the past.  But apparently it’s possible for decent folks to be persuaded to believe heinous things not by reasoned arguments because there are no reasoned arguments for Cancel Culture, but by  rhetorical gimmicks.  Rhetorical gimmicks like the motte and bailey, the straw man, the bandwagon, and everybody’s favorite of late, the ad hominem attack.  People ARE being persuaded, persuaded to accept a political philosophy that hinges on a Kafka Trap.  People are being persuaded to accept this political philosophy against their own best interests and even against things they used to believe quite recently.

What’s a Kafka Trap, you ask?  It’s a no-win scenario imagined by the writer Franz Kafka, in which a person is accused of something and there’s no way for them to prove their innocence.  The modern day example, of course, involves unproven accusations of Badthink (insert your fave flavor of Badthink here).  If you ignore the accusations, you’re clearly guilty because you refuse to care enough to try to clear your name, and if you protest the charges that is also proof of guilt because of course a guilty person would say they’re innocent.  There’s no way to win if you’re caught in a Kafka Trap, because everyone is guilty until proven innocent, and there’s no way to prove your innocence because trying to clear your name is taken as evidence of guilt.  So you better put your head down and toe the line and keep your mouth shut and go along with the mob, lest you be the next one accused.

The only way to avoid guilt in a culture based around a Kafka Trap is to never be accused of anything.  Of course, that hands over a terrible amount of power into the hands of people willing to make accusations, and the way folks are bestowing upon accusers special privileges nowadays ends up making accusations even more attractive.

It’s a no-brainer – if you design a culture where people are rewarded for making wild accusations and face no punishment for doing so, you’re going to have more and more people making wild accusations.

We’re dealing with straight up Salem Witch Trial mentality here, and even though it hasn’t gotten to that level yet, that doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t.  If you’re one of those people who will now be all like “faugh, you’re making a Slippery Slope argument here atomic, because things are nowhere near that bad, after all JK Rowling is a billionaire!”, I would just like to humbly submit that the time to stop the witch hunt is when people start saying “dude I think there be witches about, hast thou seen my blighted crops” rather than while the inquisitor is setting the torch to the wood piled up round someone’s feet.

There are no witches about, just a free society, free-ish anyway, for now, if you have the luxury of not being easily fired, but it’s getting a lot less free every day that passes.  I know you know it deep down inside even though many of you refuse to acknowledge it openly.

My old buddy liberalism is succumbing to fascism.

Ea5QW15WkAQGc7Y

Now some would say that it’s impossible for left-wingers to be fascist because fascism is a right wing philosophy, yadda yadda.  But I think that’s semantics and silliness.  So I’ll lay out the case for Woke Fascism and then you can decide for yourself.

1) What fascism is, at its core, is a movement that is nationalistic and xenophobic – which Wokeness absolutely is.  It may not be nationalistic towards a specific country, but it is nationalistic towards its own movement – highly nationalistic, patriotic even.  And the Woke Movement is basically trying to take over several countries of the world right now.  A Fascist movement in search of a country to rule is still a Fascist movement even if it doesn’t yet have the country to rule.  Woke Fascism, like other Fascist movements, is also extremely intolerant, even xenophobic, of other viewpoints, of other intellectual schools of thought.  This includes freely using moral terms like “evil” to describe their “enemies”, by which I mean anyone who has a slightly different take on just about anything not officially approved by Woke, Inc.  Like other Fascist movements, Woke Fascists regularly call their political foes unclean and compare them to vermin and garbage and filth*.

(Look at her using her free speech to decry that her free speech is under assault, I hear some of you saying, but I reiterate – the time to stop the witch hunt is at the beginning rather than once it’s well underway and anyone disingenuously trying to make me look like a paranoid weirdo for doing so simply confirms to me that I’m on the right track here.  You don’t wait till your house is engulfed in flames before you try to put it out, and a person criticizing the chick with the fire extinguisher wants to see the house burn.)

2)Fascism is obsessed with symbols – both their own and other people’s.  If millions of people were to go out on the streets simultaneously wearing a matching hat, for instance (not just individuals acting on their own wearing a hat similar to the hats of others – imposing an anti-hat ban would actually be very fascist, of course – but going out and marching in those hats to prove a political point and intimidate opponents) there’s something kinda fascist-y about that, IMVVVVHO.

pussy hats

The only thing Fascists love better than their own symbols is destroying other people’s.

I’ll just leave this here.

ShaunKingPhotoTwitterThreadTearJesusDownManufacturedHomeProNws

3)In a Fascist system, violence is seen as a means to an end, and it’s inarguable that violence has become more and more acceptable amongst the Wokes over the course of the past decade or so.  All these trends – the violence, the lies, the hate speech – started long before Donald Trump even if you personally didn’t happen to be paying attention till 2016.  Donald Trump was the Molotov cocktail people threw to try to stop Woke Fascism – a terrible, destructive solution but many felt it was the only way.  If you’re one of those naive, good-hearted folks who believes the unrest in our nation is a Donald Trump problem and everything will just go back to normal if you vote for Biden, with all due respect, you are wrong, and you need to start operating in the world that IS rather than the world you might like to exist.  I know we grew up being taught that there are two parties and they work together peacefully towards a mutually acceptable outcome.  But Woke Fascism will be satisfied by nothing short of complete victory.

4) Just as all Fascist systems do, the Wokes have created a handy set of scapegoats to blame for all the woes and troubles in the world.  Whether you call them conservatives, Republicans, Christians, Wypipo, racists, Karens, TERFS, Pochos, Uncle Toms, etc these identifiers are being used in the service of creating several groups of scapegoats who it is seen as ok to hate.  Many Woke Fascists call openly for punitive measures to be imposed upon these scapegoats, up to and including violence.  Fascists will often state that if not for these scapegoats who are ruining everything, we would have paradise on Earth, and that is a sentiment I’ve heard expressed again and again – that if not for those standing in the way of the Woke wishlist we’d have utopia.

5)Fascism involves a high level of control of national institutions such as the media, the school system, the tech industry, medicine, education, most major corporations, etc.  And fascists want to destroy any institutions they cannot control.  Black Lives Matter states openly that one of its goals is the dissolution of one of the most important human institutions of all – the family.

6)One of the defining characteristics of fascism is that those in power control the media and use it as a mouthpiece.  Fascists use all possible forms of manipulation of people’s beliefs – not only the media, religious institutions, art, fiction and entertainment – in our culture these things are fully under the control of the Wokes now and it is undeniable they are using every one of these spheres of influence to promote their worldview whenever possible.  Censorship, which presently abounds, is one of the most common ways that fascists use to manipulate people’s beliefs – even extending into attempts to silence formerly acceptable, even commonplace viewpoints.

goya

One of the funnier debates I’ve gotten into recently was with a self-professed Marxist who found it very important to come to the defense of the New York Times, which is a massive corporation worth billions of dollars.  A Marxist defending a corporation?  Kind of an odd move, wouldn’t you say?  A little off brand, really.  But the New York Times is the modern day equivalent of Leni Riefenstahl – constructing plausible, and to some, even beautiful lies to promote Woke Fascist Utopia.  These Woke Fascists are not leftists at all.  Leftists call for the destruction of corporations and more power granted the individual, and the collective individual aka the government.  But the Woke LOVE their corporations because the corporations are pushing their nationalist agenda.

The Woke Movement is Fascism, plain and simple, dressed up in bohemian clothes to make it more palatable to a modern day audience that likes cosplaying.

Remember, Hitler also called his fascist movement socialism.

No matter what you want to call yourselves, you’re Fascists, you Fascists.

anarcarebears

I could go on here listing example after example after example of Woke Fascism but this is getting too long as it is.  Besides, this isn’t an essay about Fascism on the left, this is an essay about people being convincible, but irrational, and how depressing it is.

So if all I’m doing is preaching to the already-convinced, am I accomplishing anything really?  Is all my writing just a waste of time I could be spending on weeding my garden and reading to my children, because to be honest with you those things are far more enjoyable than screaming pointlessly into the void, even though I’m superduperly awesome at screaming pointlessly into the void.

Is persuasion lost on the mind of a person who is unreasonable?

I know a lot of folks on the right believe that.  Many believe that we must stop persuading and start playing by the same rules Woke Fascism follows – cancelling people, playing dirty, name calling, demonizing our opponents, using sophistry and fallacy instead of reasoned arguments – focusing our energies on concocting some other rotten fascist mythology to appeal to the hearts and minds of the far-too-many people who are sadly so easily swayed by rotten fascist mythology.

And I have to admit I am closer to believing that than I’ve ever been before.  Because as I’ve written about in the past, the Woke Fascists are operating under an entirely different set of facts – alternative facts, as Kellyanne Conway once said.  I’m not sure that reason could possibly work on someone who has been taught from the nursery that the sky is green, down is up, that the word “cosmopolitan” has a sinister meaning, and that calls for a smaller government are tantamount to killing people.

I no longer believe it is possible to convince the unreasonable by reasonable means.  That leaves unreasonable means, and unreasonable means have never been what I’m all about.  While I’ve speculated in the past about Good Fascism – fascism in the service of Mom, Apple Pie, freedom, and the heritage of the Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, pro-reason tradition that has brought all of us around the world a standard of living that is inarguably the best the world has ever known, I don’t want that.  I want no fascism, even if the fascism in question agrees with my personal values.

It’s no wonder I’m suffering from a lack of motivation.

Even as recently as the start of this year I could sit down and bust out an essay, a great essay because all my best essays come from when I write something from start to finish over the course of a morning, and I can’t do that now.  I get distracted, anxious, bored, scatterbrained; I find even the most tedious household chores preferable to writing, which is my normally most favorite-est thing in the whole wide world.  I start projects with so much promise only to stop them when they’re nearly complete.  Because what’s the fucking point, really?  I no longer believe in what I’m doing, or more that I still believe in it, but I know it’s useless.  I know in my gut that even though I am right, I cannot convince the unreasonable through reasonable means.  Believing otherwise is tantamount to believing in Santa Claus.

It’s sucked the wind right out of me.  My self-imposed standards are too high to resort to unreasonable means for more than a snarky quip or two, and even though sometimes I do fall short of my lofty goals I’ll never be able to delight wallowing in the mud.  It is daunting to learn that all along it was the charlatans willing to resort to appealing to the worst elements of humankind who were somehow the most able to convince people.  That’s a revelation I would have preferred not to have had.

I don’t know what I’m asking of my readers.  This isn’t a request for encouragement, it’s an explanation, and it’s not really for you as much as it is for me.  Yesterday I couldn’t understand why I had been doing so much writing for the past four years but lately I haven’t been able to string words together at all, let alone so effortlessly the way I used to.  And this morning I woke up and I understood the reason why.  So I set out to process it via writing because this is how I best think.

To my surprise, it flowed perfectly, the words came when the words hadn’t been coming, and I suppose it’s because I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything here.  I’m just revealing the heartbreaking truth I’ve learned, which is that people are not so rational as I had once believed, and it may be that because of this, the person who appeals to their irrationality has a leg up on the one who attempts to reason.

Boom.  There it is.  Kinda hard to ignore once you’ve seen it.

So, People of Reason, my beloved tribe, scarce as we are, let’s not forget that when we look at the Woke Fascists, we’re looking at a group of people in the grip of something that is not sane, something that is driving them to dispense with the rules of liberalism and become something else entirely, something dishonest, something sinister, something that doesn’t respond to reason because it chooses not to.

And we cannot convince the unreasonable by reasonable means.

*Now, if you’d like to point out that it’s really or also conservatives who are saying stuff like this, have at it, and you’ll find numerous examples to your credit.  That is also wrong.  But the difference between Woke Fascism and conservatism is that Woke Fascists have made a movement based on demonizing and othering vast swaths of people and even those in their own movement who only just slightly disagree with the minutest of details in the Woke Wish List.  Whereas conservatives and centrists have plenty of people like me among our ranks, who stand up against the fascist xenophobic cranks and the greedy Chamber of Commerce Republicans and sometimes even Jesse Kelly, who decry the idiots on our own side.  Yet we aren’t demonized or cancelled for it – and in many cases are highly respected.  Conservatives aren’t in lockstep, not even a little.  There’s not even any pressure on us to BE in lockstep.

Can you say the same, Woke friends?  Because it flat out amazes me how the same people who can argue with a straight face “this isn’t a witch hunt because not even a single solitary witch has been drowned yet” can equate the vitriol of a crank – even a crank as predominant as Donald Trump – with an entire movement acting with a hive mind.  If you’re telling me that the cranks on your side are indicative of nothing, I’ll believe you, provided that you grant my side the same premise.

But I know that you won’t, you Woke Fascist Pigs, so I’ll leave you with one more thought.

The difference between conservativism and Woke Fascism is this: conservativism is a movement of individuals some of whom are at times entirely wrong and awful, and Woke Fascism is a movement of people who are at times entirely wrong and awful acting under the influence of mobthought.  Liberals used to be their own best inner critics and it was their very finest quality, but they’ve pulled that weed out by its roots (except for Bill Maher, occasionally, but I’m sure they’ll get his annoying smug ass cancelled soon enough).  From the top down to the bottom Woke Fascists are walking in lockstep in a lot of really ugly ways, and just to spring a Kafka trap on y’all here for a change – whether you ignore it or you deny it, you only convince me more that this phenomenon exists.

Your collective is guilty.

How Woke Was My Bookshelf

How Woke Was My Bookshelf

As the nice people who occasionally read my blog know I wrote this in its embryonic form a couple of days ago.  I wasn’t happy with it, but posted it anyway because I kinda have writer’s block and just wanted to get ANYthing posted to hopefully snap me out of it.  (not to mention I think everything I write is awful when I post it.)  But I still wasn’t happy with it after sitting on it a couple days so I felt I needed to make some changes.  The situation we’re in is too important not to deserve the best essay I can write and there are too many bad-faith actors out there who are willing to misrepresent anything not stated with the utmost of clarity.  So as I should have done in the first place, I’ve split the original essay into two interconnected and hopefully-better essays that with any luck are more capable of communicating what I’m trying to say here.

I learned something recently.

Apparently there’s this expression called “rootless cosmopolitanism” which is an anti-Semitic term.   An acquaintance of mine claimed it was such a well known term that everyone who saw it in her social media bio immediately knew it meant she was Jewish. And she went on to claim that anyone using the word “cosmopolitan” in a negative way was being subtly anti-Semitic, a dog whistle, as they say.  (I have a screenshot, I’d rather not post it, please just trust that I am not creating a straw man here).

Well, I didn’t know.  I could have walked by that expression a million times and never even had the slightest clue what it meant.  And cosmopolitan ALONE??  That’s a magazine or something that Carrie Bradshaw drinks, right?  Cosmopolitan means to me living in a city and being sophisticated.  And that’s it.  I’m a some-college-educated 50 year old woman who reads history books, is obsessed with words, and hangs out with a fair number of people who happen to be Jewish.  Yet I didn’t know that “cosmopolitan” had any dark meaning whatsoever.  The vast, VAST majority of people I know, also wouldn’t have known or even guessed at that, not in a million years.

Please understand I’m not saying she’s wrong – she may very well be right for her ingroup (super highly educated upper class people who work in either academia or the media and live in big cities) and maybe the alt-right or something, IDK.  But I am not in her ingroup or the alt-right, and so any assumption that “cosmopolitan” is in any way a reasonable basis to assume widespread anti-Semitism across the entire population, to me seems incorrect.  Expecting everyone regardless of their level of education, cultural heritage, and regional background to know what appears to me to be a peculiar, specialized usage of a relatively common word seems to be asking a lot of people. And even more incorrect would be to judge someone’s motivation if they used the term inappropriately.  The dismissive, la-di-da ease at which this person (who probably should have known better, being super highly educated and all) threw out an accusation of anti-Semitism over a commonly used word came off positively Marie-Antoinette-ish, considering lives are being ruined left and right by these sorts of accusations.

That got me thinking about Error Management Theory.  EMT analyzes the ways in which humans are programmed to either overestimate or underestimate threats based on how much they personally a)potentially benefit from them or b)are potentially harmed by them.  If you think about it, it makes intuitive sense – the person who overreacted to things that might harm them, or took a chance on slightly hinky gambles that could pay off for them in the long run, might end up better off than an individual who tried to always make accurate guesses about the risks involved in any set of circumstances.   The human brain approaches the world with a curious combination of erring on the side of caution and carpe diem, whenever there’s a potential upside to day-seizing.

The best-known example of error management is called sexual overperception bias.  Men chronically tend to overestimate a woman’s sexual interest in them, while women generally underestimate men’s sexual interest in them and overestimate the risks men pose.  The reason for this is believed to be that there’s an evolutionary benefit to men to overestimating women’s sexual interest (after all, if you don’t try, you’ll never score) while women benefit by being distrustful, because that way they’re less likely into put themselves in situations of danger where they trust prematurely or where the man is less than committed to a relationship (you want to be with me?  ok, first prove your stability before I give you my number, and then your commitment to our ongoing relationship before I put out).

What does all this have to do with classism, you may ask?  Well, bear with me.

I wonder – and there very well may be scholarship to this effect; I just haven’t seen it – if there’s some sort of error management issue coming into play when it comes to -isms (any of them.  insert your favorite prejudice-related-ism here).  Could it be that those of us who benefit from seeing -isms everywhere see them constantly, and those of us who benefit from not seeing them, don’t?

Well, duh.  I think that’s stating something incredibly obvious and inarguable about human nature, something that seems particularly relevant nowadays, and anyone who argues against the notion is probably suffering from some sort of bias themselves.  Some people who benefit from seeing oppression are invariably finding it in the oddest places, and some people who don’t are at times ignoring it right under their noses.

As it so happens, I actually started this essay quite some time ago after the Cosmopolitan Incident, and set it aside because it felt like unnecessary pot-stirring at that point in time.  But since the pot has got bubbling all on its own, I guess me adding to it a little won’t do any harm.  I got to thinking about EMT errors and -isms again recently because of cookbooks.  That’s how far this woke nonsense has infiltrated our brains, we’re looking for racism in cookbooks – and as predicted by EMT, finding it.

A woman I follow on Facebook for canning recipes was publicly flagellating herself over her white privilege because she had gone over her entire cookbook collection didn’t have any canning cookbooks that were written by black authors.  (I have a screenshot, I’d rather not post it because I don’t want this poor clueless well-intentioned woman to get dragged, but it happened precisely as I characterize it – again, not a straw man).  Then, to rectify this horrible injustice she had inadvertently committed, she did research to find cookbooks that black authors had written or participated in writing that involved food preservation, and bought them.

All of them.  Every food preservation cookbook on the market with a black author or co-author.  New.  Hardcover.  The words “small” and “fortune” come to mind.

Seeing this display of wealth used to buy the modern day version of a papal indulgence, it struck me for the umpteenth time how the Cult of Wokeness is so reliant on its followers having this massive amount of leisure time available to sit around thinking up things that somehow reveal one’s many, many problematic assumptions or the assumptions of others.  It struck me yet again how the only people who can keep up with the everchanging demands of wokistry are rich and entitled folk who have the time and money to waste on empty gestures of virtue signaling whilst ignoring actual problems because they aren’t affected by them directly.

Performative Wokeness often devolves into a supreme display of privilege as it did with Cookbook Lady.  It’s certainly not something a working person putting in a full day at the office taking care of kids and trying to keep a house clean-ish while maybe scraping together 10 minutes for themselves would have the time or the energy to do.  And yet we’re supposed to applaud this extremely privileged woman for somehow doing the “hard work of anti-racism” when all she really did was take a free afternoon and rearrange her cookbooks, then went out with her clearly very adequate money and bought some new cookbooks.

If Performative Wokeness is something only rich intellectuals have time and money and a thorough enough educational background to pull off (meaning, they know the sordid history of the word “cosmopolitan”) then being publicly woke really is out of reach of the majority of everyday folks.  Should we continue down this path where there’s an unspoken prerequisite of Performative Wokeness to take your place in polite society (because after all, silence is violence, silence is complicity, and we’re supposed to all do the hard work of being anti-racists and never shut up about it), it’s surely going to end up creating a class divide where only certain sets of people are able to perform the various rituals required to prove themselves pure.

Or broaden the class divide, because it’s already there.

Some would say that these people may be misguided, but their motives are pure, not tainted in the ways that EMT would predict.  They’re just trying to create a better world, and I should respect that.  But I tend to disagree about the better world they’re supposedly creating and I DEFINITELY disagree about the purity of their motives.  Ostentatious displays of Performative Wokeness are not borne from kindness or thoughtfulness.  People…including unscrupulous people…benefit from them in terms of social currency.  The person willing to go through the motions out of sheer self-interest is seen by many as “better” than the person who refuses, even if the latter person’s ethical compass might be far more true.

Performative Wokeness, 2020, reminds me of intraspecific competition (competition within a species – think two buck deer locking horns).  Proving that you are a good/cool/stylish/superior person by buying something others don’t have or showing off some arcane knowledge that you possess that people around you lack, and then implying that others are less good or less successful because they haven’t bought said thing or aren’t aware of the arcane knowledge, benefits YOU.  It means that you are able to forge social connections with others who are impressed by you, and social connections are incredibly valuable things for human beings (particularly of the female variety, since we are generally less talented at using brute force) to have.  Social connections can mean survival when times get tough – greater access to resources, protection from mob violence, and in the long run, better opportunities for your children.

How many times have we seen people doing this kind of thing in day to day life?  Oh, you don’t have a (insert consumer product here), you’re such a loser!  or Who doesn’t know THAT incredibly important thing that I happen to be privy to?  As strange as it sounds, flaunting one’s massive and woke cookbook collection may as well be the tail of a peacock or the antlers of a deer – something that impresses because yours is so much bigger than the other guys’.  I am better than you because I have this stuff that you do not have.  You are worse than me because you do not know about this thing that I know.  I mean, that’s what fashionable brand names are all about, is flaunting one’s ability to stay current with the rapidly-changing whims of pop culture, and being able to afford the right products to flaunt.  It’s both sad and yet unsurprising that our borderline-insane American consumer culture extends its trendiness into the realm of social justice, with people who are not even registered to vote flaunting BLM t-shirts (29.95 plus 4.95 s&h).

Getting a leg up on the competition in the hunt for scarce resources is a part of human nature we’ve all witnessed again and again, so it’s no wonder it crops up here and now with wokeness running amok.  Things are scary right now, and in scary times people are gonna want to strengthen whatever bonds they have with their ingroup (or whatever group they think is the strongest).  Virtue signals are flying because a good many people want to prove that they are worthy of an alliance, or at the least are not one of the outsiders.

People selling things – be it consumer goods or philosophies – have been capitalizing on this tendency of people to want to wage class warfare by conspicuous consumption for a very long time.  I can assure you a lot of people selling wokeism now care only about their bottom line.  A lot of people selling things are happy to capitalize on the people in our nation being at each other’s throats to sell us goods, or a bill of goods.  And a lot of people buying are only too happy to buy or retweet their way into virtue without putting in any effort to make the world a better place.  (Please understand, I’m not saying anyone is doing this deliberately; just like with Error Management Biases, we’re talking about motivations human beings have that lay beneath the surface, below what we’re really aware of.)

Because it’s impossible to remove personal benefit and selfish motivation from the equation, Performative Wokeness is, at best, a stupid way to judge whether someone is racist (because they’re really just showing off that they’re rich, not good) and at worst is something that actually perpetuates racism by keeping skin color first and foremost in everyone’s mind constantly.  The very conspicuous, all-encompassing Performative Wokeness that is apparently required of us here in 2020, is basically an unattainable goal for people who are less well off.

Defining fighting racism in terms of things only rich people can do, is pretty gross, I think we can all agree on that.  But you know, incessant virtue signaling would probably be not a big deal on its own.  After all, this type of conspicuous consumption as class warfare has been around a long, long time, and it’s not going anywhere any time soon.  Those of us who have remained sane (are you out there?  I hope) could all laugh about it and move on if it was just relegated to virtue signalling and empty preening.

But that vignette I opened with illustrates the problem.  Performative Wokeness is not just about people showing off how good they are.  It’s about people showing off how bad YOU are, and as predicted by Error Management Theory, those who benefit from seeing threats where none are intended will find them.  People who cannot afford to buy their way in, and who do not have the time or energy or mental acuity to stay fully informed on the rapidly shifting meanings of every word in the English language that now means something totally different than it did a week ago, are now being considered Actual Bad Guys for not having the luxury of being able to indulge in displays of Performative Wokeness.   Performative Wokeness + Error Management Bias has devolved into Cancel Culture, and now people aren’t just showing off, they’re tearing down.

Performative Wokeness may be gross and ridiculous and classist, but at the end of the day it’s harmless due to its extreme silliness.  Cancel Culture, on the other hand, is toxic and destructive.  And none of us are immune to it.

Cancel Culture crosses party lines.  Cancel Culture has infected everyone.  In fact, I am myself engaging in Cancel Culture by calling out this obviously bored out of her ever-lovin-skull woman who just wanted to do what she told herself was the right thing and fix the rampant white supremacy in her cookbook collection, and then preach/brag to the world about it because someone told her that silence = complicity.

And how am I using Cancel Culture, pray tell?  Well lo and behold, just as predicted by Error Management Theory, I care most about the -ism that threatens me directly – classism.  I saw classism in the cookbook shit where I’m sure absolutely none was intended.   The gal in the vignette I opened with saw anti-Semitism in people using the word “cosmopolitan”, and I, as an Actual Poor Person, saw classism in her claim, and we were probably both totally wrong and out of line to do so.

And this happened because of this quirk in our brains where we are programmed to either overestimate or underestimate threats based on how much we a)potentially benefit from them or b)are potentially harmed by them.  Error Management Theory FTW.

Never, EVER forget that when people benefit from seeing threats, they will overestimate them, and the more they benefit, the more threats they will see/overestimate.  This does not mean that racism is not a massive problem in our society that desperately needs to be addressed (that would, of course, be an EMT error in the opposite direction, so please avoid that pitfall) but it DOES indicate not everyone doing Performative Wokeness has pure motives.  In fact, a good chunk of them don’t.

Cancelled pundit Kevin Williamson recently wrote about how the divisions in America at their core are a battle between the pretty rich and the slightly more rich and he was dead right about that.  Many of the people out in the streets, the spoiled Antifa punks who have never known a day of deprivation in their lives, with their $175 hoodies and attitude problems that only entitlement could create, most of them don’t care about me and they don’t care about you even when they, like, so totally claim to.  They are using wokeness as a cudgel to attack others with, and the bigger their wokeness, the more mighty they perceive themselves to be.  They’re the equivalent of deer in rut looking for another deer to lock horns with.

This is not a revolution, it’s intraspecific competition.  The more woke they are, the bigger their cudgel, and whoever whacks the most people the hardest, wins.

This social unrest is not about changing anything.  It’s about pulling down some other privileged people for alleged badthink with the Cudgel of Performative Wokeness so the young upstarts can take their place in the socioeconomic and political hierarchy (even though the upstarts themselves were already extremely privileged.)  Cancel Culture is a tool to these faux-revolutionaries, a means to an end, a way to wipe out the people ahead of them in the pecking order not so they can open the doors to the oppressed peoples of the world, but for themselves, so they themselves can replace the old guard who was blocking their way.

You can see this happening in Seattle where protests that started off about George Floyd and an entirely justified demand for police reform became about rich white people cosplaying the Russian Revolution (to paraphrase Williamson, Champagne Bolsheviks have adopted poverty and squalor as class camouflage, the end result of which will be the Goldman Sachs Fund For Racial Equality).

All this Cancel Culture bullshit is not about helping minorities.  Minorities are being used by slightly less rich, mostly white people to bring down and replace slightly more rich, mostly white people in the rich, mostly white people hierarchy while most non-rich and/or non-white people get left in the dust, yet again.  This Woke Luxury Class demands that we all carefully curate our cookbook collections as it polices the Internet looking for errant use of the word “cosmopolitan”, and then damn near break their arms patting themselves on the back for it as if they’ve cured the -isms of the world by the most meaningless and dare I say, enjoyable of virtue signaling gestures.  (Shopping for new cookbooks, even when one is consumed by white guilt, is never bad.)  And they do this because they are personally benefiting from it, because it gives them a leg up on the intraspecific competition.

In the meantime people out here in the real world can’t find jobs, they’re getting shot in the streets, innocent people are locked in jail awaiting trial for crimes they didn’t commit and they lose their jobs because they can’t afford bail (perhaps, Chrissy Teigen, this might have been a better use of your money), the schools in our neighborhoods are a disaster, we can’t afford medical care and even if we can the doctors treat us like drug-seeking liars and send us away without treatment or mock our weight, we’re so miserable we’re dying left and right from opioids and alcoholism, we have a pandemic that is killing massive numbers of poor people and very few rich ones, and I could go on for several more paragraphs about all the shit poor folks of every color have to eat daily while rich people sit at their computers eating ethically-sourced bonbons and virtue signaling to each other, but this piece is already too long as it is.

So before you look around at the unwashed masses who disgust you because they haven’t posted a picture of themselves wearing the appropriate consumer goods that you think they should have and saying the magic words you happened to read about just yesterday, stop and ask yourself who you’re really doing your Performative Woke mating dance for.  Who is benefiting?  Because I think a whole lot of people are doing this to make themselves look good and not to help another living soul, and in trying to make themselves look good, they’re making disadvantaged people already struggling to make a living look bad.

 

 

 

 

War? Good God, y’all!

War? Good God, y’all!

Since I wrote my last blog entry back in February, the world has changed. The coronavirus happened, and some people are saying we shouldn’t talk about things like politics any more, because it’s just not that important. But politics matter, and in times of crisis they matter if anything more because they’re governing the direction our country will be heading into the future. And in case you hadn’t noticed, even if it’s considered gauche to talk about, politics continue even when no one dares to analyze them. 

So, I carry on.

In my last piece,  I talked about how I had given up for a while on writing about politics, but I’d restarted again because I felt like it was my responsibility to push back on things that many people assume to be true, that are not true.

And I’m sure a lot of people said War?  Come on, atomic, you gotta be exaggerating here.

But I’m not. I believe we are closer to a civil war than at any point in my adult life.  I feel like we’re (in the words of Jim Steinman/Bonnie Tyler) livin’ in a powder keg and giving off sparks and the weird thing is, a whole lot of people don’t even seem to care. A whole lot of people in any given moment seem hell bent on giving off MORE sparks. The few of us who try to act as voices of reason within our own respective movements, are immediately lumped in as working for “the bad guys”. I would go so far as to say this is one of the major things that has changed over the course of my life.  The voices of reason, of moderation, who used to be listened to and respected even when it was secretly disagreed-with, are shouted down and even demonized as simply another set of enemies. If you don’t believe me, Google “Centrists are the literal worst” because there are a whole lot of people out there, particularly on the left, who view anyone willing to compromise with the opposition as traitors even worse than overt political enemies.

It’s been my hope as the Covid crisis developed, that by seeing how quickly our world can be turned upside down and inside out, how quickly all this unprecedented liberty and comfort and safety so many take completely for granted can go away leaving us not only with no toilet paper and boneless chicken breasts, but no ANYTHING, not even liberty and comfort and security, would wake people up to how precarious our situation truly is. But it doesn’t seem to be the case. People are still continuing to spew hate and create/consume/share fake news and actually ROOT for our country to fail so they can own the other side.

It’s insane.  Even I, who knew all along it could come down to this, finds it insane.         

One of the more dismaying things I’ve seen the past month is people who I respect and love, people who raised me to be the relatively thoughtful, ethical, empathetic person I like to think that I am, delighting…DELIGHTING…in people they politically disagree with getting and even dying from coronavirus. And I don’t mean politicians like Boris Johnson, I mean actual human beings like people whose “sin” was going to church or watching Fox News. I’m having a really hard time seeing the person who exhorted to me, time after time, to “never judge a man till you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins” (it was a different time then) DELIGHTING in seeing people die from coronavirus because they don’t have the “right” beliefs. I don’t even know what to do with that. I truly don’t.

So yeah. I do think it’s war. I’m not happy about it, but I’ve never been good at pretending the Emperor has no clothes.

What does war look like, anyway? We all know what the later stages look like, all yelling and shooting and bleeding and dying, but I think war starts off long before it turns into war-war. I suspect that in most of humanity’s conflagrations, before there was a single shot fired, there was a war being waged for hearts and minds. A war in which each side was still mulling things over, thinking things through, and that is a war women fight just as much as men do if not even more so. We encounter it every time we go to the store or church or our child’s school and overhear our loved ones and neighbors and our frenemies saying things that are wrong, wrong, wrong. People don’t want to realize this is war and they particularly don’t want to realize they have to be the ones to fight it, but it is and you do.

Why not just play nice though?? I mean, if we’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks, why give off MORE sparks by challenging people? Why escalate and aggravate by pointing out inconvenient truths like “actually, people who live in America’s rural areas are NOT stupid racist inhuman monsters”? Why not just nod and smile and grab your green beans or your children and be on your way? Doesn’t it just increase the divisions to push back?

People say that to me, in fact someone said it fairly recently, and I understand where they’re coming from. I really do. But there’s a huge gulf between calling someone a snowflake or similar demeaning names to escalate an argument, and pointing out an ugly belief that a person may not have thought through. These things are not the same, and equating them is completely unfair. Because ugly and ignorant beliefs snowball if they’re never pushed back on. They grow and pick up speed until they become completely unstoppable when ignored.

In fact that’s exactly what ugly beliefs are like, is a snowball rolling down a hill. They start off small, and are easily stopped with a gentle hand. Maybe if they get a little momentum built up, they roll till they smack into a tree and stop rolling, or even disintegrate totally. But if you let them keep rolling along without meeting any resistance at all, pretty soon they have enough speed and mass to obliterate anything in their paths and then boom, that’s the end of your ski lodge.

We – those of us with those moderating, reasonable voices – have to push back on the little things because little things become big things and big things cannot be stopped.  And even though I know everyone rightfully hates Nazi references, you don’t wait till Hitler’s having a rally with tens of thousands of people in it to stand in the middle of the crowd and be all like “you know, I like the Jews, they’re good people, just like you and me, and the stuff you’re saying about them is bullshit”. That fight needed to be fought in grocery stores and churches and schools, and it needed to be fought by all reasonable people, thereby stopping that ugly and ignorant snowball, long before Hitler ever came to power. And it needed to be fought even if the people talking shit about Jews in 1920 didn’t like you that much for saying something about it. 

As most of you know already, I believe the conservative reluctance to engage and push back because we wanted to play nice and avoid social censure has brought about a state of affairs in which it’s nearly impossible to communicate with liberals, because liberals don’t honestly KNOW much about what conservatives think, feel, and believe. At least, not much that didn’t come from their own side – many of whom profit bigly from the business of demonizing cons. This is not the rank and file liberals’ fault. It is not even the liberal grifters’ fault. 

It is OUR fault, conservatives. You cannot fault a person for having ugly and ignorant beliefs if their beliefs are never challenged and brought to the light. You cannot fault a person for believing a thing if they’ve only ever heard one side from everyone they ever talked to. You cannot fault a person for not stopping to think about something if no one ever said “well achtually” to them, in their whole entire lives. It is our fault, conservatives, our fault for keeping our mouths shut to keep the peace, for letting the liberals take over Hollywood and the media and the school system and using them to indoctrinate everyone while we did nothing, for keeping our beliefs secret to be sure no one ever thought the worse of us for our “embarrassing” and “problematic” beliefs.

A couple weeks back on Twitter there was a blue check (a member of the “official press”) who was in a minor car accident somewhere in rural America. He was flabbergasted, FLABBERGASTED that the emergency responders and tow truck drivers and car repairmen were nice to him. He said he was surprised that they were kind to “someone with New York licence plates and a California driver’s license”. He was shocked that people in Middle America treated he and his family (including a small child, to whom one of the responders generously gave a little stuffed animal present) with kindness and decency. It was apparently some sort of mind-boggling revelation to the guy that he received excellent and skillful post-accident treatment, let alone kindness and generosity in a red state.

Do you understand how fucked up this is?  A member of the American press corps fully believed with every fiber of his being that after being in a car accident, because he was from New York City (New York City??  GET A ROPE!  That’s how rural people think, right??  Like a stupid commercial from the 1980s that was set in cowboy times) or maybe California that he was going to encounter rudeness and hostility at best, or be sacrificed to our rural gods or something at worst, like he’d stumbled into Midsommar by crashing his car in the wrong place. And he posted this in complete seriousness! Please understand, his amazement was NOT centered around the notion that “oh wow gosh maybe I was wrong about rural people all along, they actually are nice, normal, and talented” either BTW. He posted from a perspective of “OMG guys can you believe there actually ARE a couple cool people in Red States, they’re not all actually inbred troglodytes, isn’t that AMAZEBALLZ?” He learned absolutely nothing from the experience. His completely flawed and disgusting underlying assumption remained the same, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

If ever there was something that needed to be pushed back on, it was that. And so I politely did, politely, mind you, gently, maybe even, and from a fellow conservative, I got “OMG CAN’T YOU JUST BE NICE” like I was calling the dude a snowflake or being inflammatory in some way, when I absolutely was not in any way shape or form. I found that pretty ironic given the fact that I’ve gone out of my way to reach out to liberals again and again and been repeatedly shit on as I’ve talked about in the past, and also because I’m such a vocal critic of meanspiritedness among conservatives as I’ve also talked about in the past, but I digress.   

(I’m not gonna screenshot this because the whole thing was frustrating and I don’t particularly want to keep going with an argument I walked away from by going to look it up. If you haven’t seen this type of exchange happen 500k times per year on social media, you’re probably not spending much time on social media. But it happened exactly the way I am characterizing it.)

Can you please try to understand, my eminently respectable conservative peeps, try and wrap your little Bulwark-soaked brains around this factoid – a whole lot of basically decent leftists ACTUALLY believe that everyone on the right lives in Rural America, and furthermore see everyone who lives in Rural America as inhuman barely-literate monsters who are inflamed to hostility at the sight of a license plate that reads “New York” on it. That’s not hyperbole. It’s not a political ploy. They BELIEVE IT. And the reason why they find something that goddamn ridick so easy to believe is that all us nice and normal people keep our mouths shut because we don’t want anyone to think we are a big fat meanie pants leaving only whack jobs like Milo and Richard Spencer flapping their decidedly awful and disgusting flappers. Much of this is by design, with the media amplifying the handful of terrible conservative voices whilst muting the many sensible ones, but much of it is the failure of people like you and me to ever say a word even in the face of really gross and terribly wrong beliefs.  

And that is on us. It is our fault, and our failing. We have been cowardly in the face of being attacked again and again. We acted like we were getting attacked by a bear and played dead and hoped it would all go away. But it isn’t going away. I know Jesus says to turn the other cheek and everything, but this is ridiculous. We fight now, or we fight later.

We’re standing here dumbly staring up at all these giant snowballs of ugly and hateful beliefs plummeting down Mount Everest at us, wondering why everyone thinks we’re such awful people that we need to be reeducated and even eradicated when all we’re doing is holding a set of time-honored beliefs about the nature of people and the position of government that was respected by just about everyone up until the past 25 years or so even when they disagreed with them. But in case you haven’t noticed, over the past 25 years a whole lot of people up and decided that conservatives are Actual Bad Guys and Actual Bad Guys deserve to be annihilated.  DESERVE TO BE ANNIHILATED.

They believe this because you and to a lesser extent, I, let them believe it.  

You wanted them to like you, and in trying to curry their favor and “be nice” you ended up staying silent in the face of unforgivable lies and seemingly depthless toxicity. You let even their ugliest and wrongest beliefs go unchallenged because you didn’t want people to think you were “mean.” And I did it too. I was busy, I was tired, I was afraid, I wanted people who I liked, to like me in return. I understand it’s hard to fight the good fight. It carries a price and I haven’t always been willing to pay it. But the bill has come due. We can’t put off paying at least the minimum balance. So I’m not going to keep silent any more, even if it ends up with my fellow cons thinking I’m part of the problem when I am so totally not. And you shouldn’t either.

Because this is war. Like global pandemics, war comes at you whether you want it or not. It comes if you’re ready for it or not. I hate to break it to you, Internet friends and e-neighbors, but in war, you gotta be confrontational sometimes.  Some people are going to conflate confrontational with meanness, that’s just how it goes. But by being a little bit “mean” sooner, by calling some asshole out on their bullshit online in the here and now even though it may be a little awkward and upsetting for everyone involved, it may be that we don’t have to be very, very mean later on.

Please decent people across the political aisle, but most especially conservatives – Join me! Don’t wait till you’re that one little voice in the middle of tens of thousands of people calling for good sense and self-restraint. Don’t wait till unstoppable forces like gravity or mob mentality overwhelm you, because I promise, you are not an immovable object. You are a small and fragile person probably with even smaller and fragile-er children, and you’re all standing in the path of a snowball of indeterminate size and speed. When it comes it’s going to be coming at you with the suddenness of the coronavirus, only it’s gonna be a lot less discerning about who it kills. Your ski lodge will not be enough to protect you. If you don’t believe it, I suggest you Google this thing called “The 20th Century”, it’s fairly illuminating.

Strap on your snowshoes, climb through that deep snow up to the top of the hill with me and let’s stomp on those tiny snowballs before they really get rolling. 

 

 

Oh Lawd, She Comin

Oh Lawd, She Comin

When I started this writing journey back in 2016 I did it mainly because the world felt like it was coming apart at the seams, and I thought I could bring people together.

It seems naive now, but I really did think that. I thought that conservatives were misunderstood because for several decades, we were so busy living our lives, we’d left our movement in the hands of some people who did not have America’s best interests at heart and represented conservatism in ways that did not represent the views of most cons. We kept voting for them and letting them be our mouthpieces since they were better than the alternative, but we didn’t agree with them on all the issues and even when we did, we didn’t approve of their messaging.

Under this assumption, I felt that liberals couldn’t be blamed for thinking the worst of conservatives, because the people who were representing us were all too eager to show them our worst sides, and never seemed to manage to put forth our best. Despite this, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that liberals actually HATED conservatives. I thought we were mostly on the same side and they just needed to get to know us better and understand our motives were pure – we still wanted what was best for America, we just had two different visions of what that was. 

In my innocence, I wrote one of my first widely-published political essays called “America 2017 is a Bad Marriage”Let’s just say that it did not bring people together in the fashion that I’d hoped, at all, and I realized I had an uphill battle in front of me. Over the course of a very long and disillusioning 2017 I was forced to face the reality that liberals and conservatives were a lot further apart than I realized, and that hostility, even hatred, simmered very close to the surface, particularly for liberals.  

A year later I regrouped and tried writing about reconciliation again in “The Odd Couple”, admitting, ok, maybe it’s true, liberals really DO hate conservatives, but we’re stuck together not unlike roommates Oscar and Felix in that old TV show, and we had better learn to get along even if we’re opposites, and you never know, maybe if we try, we could even find some common ground.

That didn’t go much better.

Only slightly daunted (I am not easily daunted) I changed strategy and tried to inspire conservatives to reach across the aisle in less aggressive ways in my “standing up by backing down” series and I did my darndest to be a vocal internal critic of conservatives, calling them out when they were wrong, like I did in “Mata Hairy”.

I even wrote a piece called “fear and loathing” in which I begged liberals to search their hearts and try to see things from the conservative perspective, to think of reasons why cons might actually be fearful of inflammatory liberal rhetoric and extreme and drastic policy suggestions. Yet en masse the liberals, even those I consider good friends, stood before me and blinked and scratched their heads and acted befuddled at the very question, even as social media seethed with declarations of hate and threats of violence against conservatives coming from celebrities, pundits, journalists, and politicians alike.

Since November 8, 2016, I have reached out to liberals repeatedly to try to find common ground, to forge connections, to build upon our mutual foundation of being stuck together as inmates in the insane asylum that is America of the 21st century. And for my trouble I’ve been slapped down, verbally crapped on, humiliated, had my motives and my intelligence called into question, and worst of all, I have had my every deepest fear proven right. As I sit here 3 years later I don’t think we CAN get along. I really don’t. Because the liberals don’t want to get along, they want to win.

I didn’t want to be right. Not at all. I wanted the liberals to prove to me that they actually WERE more moral than conservatives, that they were the better people as they’d claimed for so long, that my worst fears about them becoming hyperpartisan fascists ready to burn the handy scapegoats of conservatism at the proverbial stake were wrong. I wanted all of us who were decent people on both sides to come together, to join forces and shout down the people who would divide us – across the political spectrum.

But liberals, even the decent ones, didn’t want to do that. They only wanted to shout down the people on MY side, and much to my very great surprise, even at times when I tried to criticize conservatives from the inside in ways most liberals should have agreed with, rather than join with me, they turned on me and attacked me instead. Even when they didn’t know what I was talking about, rather than take the time to find out, some of my liberal acquaintances were quite happy to assume I was the worst conservative stereotype their Vox-soaked brains could conjure up.

I realized that they preferred the scary conservative under the bed to the reality of a nuanced person that has weighed the available information and drawn a different conclusion than they have and I have had to do some very deep thinking about why that might be the case.   

The moment I realized my worst fears were 100% true was when I published my piece “Ashes in the Wind”.  Once again, I had tried to write a post about finding common ground, wondering if it was even possible, and once again, liberals treated me disingenuously, claiming that my discussing a book set in the Civil War era that I read as a teenager marked me as a Confederate sympathizer or something. In their rush to damn me and to correct me like I was an errant child, they utterly missed the point of what I was actually saying, which had nothing to do the the Confederacy or racism and was simply about people of divergent beliefs getting along. Even the kindest and most thoughtful among them implied what I should have written instead was yet ANOTHER thought piece in which Problematic Badthink was yet again overanalyzed rather than an IMO-much-more-desperately-needed investigation on whether liberals and conservatives could ever see eye to eye.   

It was baffling. What did they want from me, anyway? I eventually realized that what  they wanted me to write the piece that THEY would have written in my place. They didn’t want to hear my take, they wanted me to write their take for them. They wanted to bully me, a writer of conservative thinkpieces, into writing a liberal thinkpiece!

And let me just say not only no, but HELL NO. If there’s one thing the world has enough of, it is liberal navelgazing about Problematic Badthink. We have very serious issues developing before our eyes here and now that MUST BE DEALT WITH if this nation is to continue, and I find exploring those issues of much more importance than yet another rumination on the Problematic Badthink of the past to be tossed on the heap with the other 123,456,789 of them that were published today alone. But I thanked them for their input anyway, because it made me understand for the first time the mindset of the people who I was dealing with. I am endlessly appreciative for the negativity surrounding “Ashes in the Wind” because above all else, it was the response to this post which really brought it home to me what the liberal endgame is.

This is war. I can’t deny it any more. Whether it’s a political cold war, a culture war, whatever you want to call it, I can’t pretend otherwise any longer. I’ve been attacked one too many times for trying to make peace. I tried to bring people together repeatedly, and I failed spectacularly every time. And much to my surprise the ones who didn’t want to reconcile were liberals – not all of them, but a pretty goddamn large chunk of them.

I can no longer deny what is self-evident – a good many liberals want to destroy what they can destroy of my culture, the culture that has brought women like me more freedom, wealth, and security than has ever been the case through all of history. I can no longer deny that liberals want to tear down the things I love (even a lot of things that ARE LIBERAL) and replace it with a philosophy and a world that I do not think many people, even liberals themselves, are going to like at all. And they’re going to do this by doing what they tried to do to me – tearing conservatives down until the weak-willed give in and start talking about issues of liberal interest (and sadly, I’ve already seen this happen to a couple of good people) and demonizing the ones who refuse to back down.

And I guess I will be demonized because I will NEVER EVER EVER start writing liberal thinkpieces to make people like me. EVER.

Bring it. Because what I learned from watching Republican morons like Jeb Bush try and fail and try and fail to curry favor with Democrats is that it doesn’t matter, liberals are gonna demonize me anyway, because they need to believe in the conservative boogeyman under the bed. They NEED me to be a boogeyman because they’re more comfortable with a conservative boogeyman than a thoughtful person making a reasoned argument and seeing the world a different way. If I don’t look enough like a boogeyman for their liking, they’ll poke me with sharp sticks and thrust hot torches into my face to try to provoke me to act like the boogeyman they want me to be. And even if I stay strong and continue to be the better person, they’ll twist my words and take things out of context or even outright lie about my intentions.  

If I write an article about a book I read in junior high school, they’ll make it about me being a Confederate sympathizer. If I say a nice thing about Kellyanne Conway – regardless of her politics, an admirable woman who truly worked her butt off to get where she is today – they’ll call me a Nazi (MY GOOD FRIEND CALLED ME A NAZI. A GOOD FRIEND!) I’ve been accused of wanting children in cages and hoping that people without health insurance die. And why?? Because I have to be a boogeyman. If I exist, and I am not a boogeyman, worse still I am a thoughtful and kind person, then it means that the liberal worldview may actually be wrong because I’ve seen the same dataset and I drew a different conclusion. They don’t want to inspect my conclusions too much because they might find reasons to question the massive holes in their philosophy.

A whole lot of liberals have some burning and undeniable need to see themselves as the smartest and nicest and most ethical people who know the One True Way to carry America forward to her glorious future because that’s how they defined themselves back in 1968, and the existence of people like me who are also smart and nice and ethical and think there’s a different way, shatters their illusions.

Knowing this, I quit writing about politics openly for a while, I admit it, because I got fed up with the perpetually deceit-soaked responses to the entirely reasonable stuff I wrote and I was, quite frankly, so upset at times that I felt tempted to resort to being a boogeyman, to lash out against the liberals as they lashed out against me. That’s the way the game is played, you see – attack until a conservative lashes out, and then retreat to the moral high ground and congratulate yourselves on how much better a person you are.

 I thought maybe what my purpose was instead, was to prove to the liberals in my readership that a conservative can be witty, bright, insightful, talented, AND conservativeAnd that, I think, is a mission that I have accomplished. A liberal I admire greatly once called me “everything a conservative should be” and another one I don’t admire at all called me “a knockoff version of Ann Coulter” and I take both of those as huge compliments even though the one was meant as an insult.  

But it’s not enough.

Since my first post in 2017 I’ve concluded that we got to where we are now NOT because Republican voters left the conservative movement in the hands of some people who did not have America’s best interests at heart. The truth is, the media simply didn’t cover any of the conservative pundits and politicians making better arguments. They existed, I just didn’t know it at the time.  The media has been cherrypicking the voices we heard, amplifying the useful idiot conservatives who either said what liberals wanted to hear, like Mitt Romney, or who said what liberals wanted to fear, like Steve King. Before November 8, 2016, I still accepted the mainstream media at face value, but after 3 years of fake news and laughably wrong predictions, of scare tactics and deceptive statistics, of stories based around the single tweet of a lunatic living under a rock somewhere, now I know better. And thus I really really guess that I gotta, even though I don’t want to not even a little, start hitting it harder on politics than I have been lately.  Because I cannot trust the mainstream media to represent reality. Their game is creating boogeymen.

If I tell liberals “hey, I’m scared of you” and they really, truly can’t come up with a single reason why cons might have some concerns about the rhetoric coming from the liberal movement (while I think the bulk of them were dirty rotten fakers, some – the best of them, matter of fact – did appear to be genuinely at a loss why I might fear their movement because don’t you know it’s all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, and LOVE SWEET LOVE????) then we as conservatives have got to do better at making our case to them. We can’t trust the middlemen to do it for us, be they the Republican Party or the New York Times. Decent liberals are not even hearing most of the arguments we might make to them, and only part of this is due to selective hearing. The media is telling them lies. Politicians are telling them lies. And their friends and cohorts just say what they want to believe back and forth to each other like a circle of parrots. 

Liberals haven’t wised up like we have, cons, they still believe the media and the politicians and the swamp creatures of Washington DC, and they WANT to see the conservative boogeyman wherever they look. They want to see the conservative boogeyman because it justifies not only their hatred, but their sense of superiority.

They have no one to speak truth to them if we don’t do it.  

So I guess I can’t keep hiding behind Jane Austen vampire stories and reviews of 30 year old romance novels, as much as I’d like to. I gotta take the fight to the entrenched liberal battlements because they’ll never come down off their intellectual mountaintop to hear it otherwise. Even if they disagree, and they will, at least they’ll hear an argument from someone who ain’t Tom Nichols or Newt Gingrich or Evan McMullin or Matt Shea – conservatives who tell liberals what they want to hear and a few more who confirm their priors.

And so I gird my loins and don my spiritual armor and prepare once more to jump into the fray, to speak truth, even though my voice shakes. As is the case in any war, even a cultural war, being one of the guys in the trenches is hard and scary and may even cost you your life (literally, or figuratively) and a lot of people are too cowardly or too weak to do it. But I can do it, I have the ability. I understand the arguments and I can make them eloquently without calling anyone “snowflake” even when it’s so, so very tempting to. Most people don’t have the ability, or the strength. So I don’t have the choice not to answer the call.

Pray for me, for wisdom, for strength, for courage, and above all else for the future of the nation who depends upon the people like you and me who are not so all consumed with partisanship we can no longer see the world beyond the colors red and blue.

JLo’s Vent

JLo’s Vent

I curse an awful lot in this, and am mean to several people, a few of them who don’t even deserve it.  Just wanna let you know that going in.

As some of you know, there was a brouhaha on Twitter the other day regarding the Superbowl halftime show and unfortunately this brouhaha involved me.  

I didn’t want to get involved in a brouhaha.  I try to remain as brouhaha-free as a writer of thinkpieces can be in this crazy old world.  I was attempting to criticize the conservative movement (Matt Walsh in particular) for being anti-woman, much as I did in my piece Mata Hairy  and its followup piece glam and flash.  But some liberals I’m chummy with decided that me being an internal critic of conservatism gave them an opening to then pile on to bitch about ALL conservatives, including me, it sure seemed like anyway even though they tried to walk it back after they did it, for thinking “ya know, maybe that Superbowl halftime show was just a little bit over the top, and it probably should have been dialed down a bit since the Superbowl is one of the few things we still come together with our families to watch, and maybe we didn’t need to see JLo jackin it on national TV.”

Because that’s what happened.  Aside from skimpy costumes, stripper poles, and very unfortunate camera angles brought to you by CrotchVision, now in Cinemascope, JLo actually pretended to masturbate while writhing around on her back, and I’m sorry, that is where I draw the line with Sunday Afternoon Family Entertainment.  Luckily my kids weren’t watching right then, but I can imagine the questions seeing a woman explicitly finger her VJ in the middle of a dance routine might warrant from 10 and 12 year old boys in particular (By the way, I have actually complained to the NFL twice in the past about them putting ads for gory slasher films in football games, so my concern about inappropriate content is in no way limited to sex acts). Yes, it was brief, but it was by far clearer than the Janet Jackson nip slip thing, and it just did not need to happen.

I’m not going to give the arguments that were made at me much print since I don’t want to expend any more of my precious time to even encapsulate them.  I’m sure you can imagine. It was basically “Prude” and “Adam Levine had no shirt last year” and “U watch violence” and my personal fave “ur kid already watches internet porn”!

No, I assure you, they don’t. 

The absolutely stunning thing about all this (and the actual reason I’m writing this essay instead of just letting it go, Jake, it’s Liberaltown, you can’t expect shit to make any fucking sense here, because it doesn’t) is that these passionate brouhaha commenters didn’t even know what I was complaining about.  They had no idea JLo had done anything beyond wearing slighty risque attire and bebopping around.  It simply confirmed their priors to jump to the very huge conclusion that all conservatives are flying off the handle at seeing girls in sparkly swimsuits gyrate and they were off to the races, not caring to slow down enough to even find out what I was actually concerned about, let alone not caring enough to realize I was actually CRITICIZING THE CONSERVATIVE RESPONSE in my original Tweet.  They came to my Twitter feed to make fun of me and the people like me and then feigned befuddled confusion that I might have a problem with their behavior, simultaneously managing to entirely undermine the conservative-critical point I was making when they did it.  

THANKS, FUCKTARDS!

Some of these people are cool people too.  Not a-holes. Well, a couple of them were decidedly a-holes, but I don’t care about them.  My upsettedness comes from the snapjudgementalism of the people I like who are apparently willing to immediately lump me in with the Bible Brigade Biddies, when I was really making a nuanced argument that was ACTUALLY ABOUT FEMINISM.  More than that, when I tried to correct them since they were so totally wrong about what I was even saying, some of these folks made it perfectly clear they didn’t care a fig for my opinion or feelings and instead tripped all over themselves rushing to tell me how wrong I was again, only louder.  They were willing to happily ride roughshod over a woman making a feminist argument in order to joyously mock prudish conservatives, high fiving each other and doing shirtless chest bumps, only thankfully figuratively because not even Adam Levine gets by with that shit.  

I don’t quite see how I can interpret any of that as being anything other than tribalism > feminism, I really don’t.  Dunkin on cons is wayyyy more fun than listening to some feminist harpy, amirite boys?

Hey and by the way, don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back telling yourself what a good ally you are any time soon, dickweeds.

These dudes came rolling up to shoot me down based on me allegedly being a prude and they HADN’T EVEN WATCHED THE HALFTIME SHOW, didn’t know what had happened, did not know that woman had just feigned masturbation on national television, and some of them did not even bother to read my original tweet in which I was criticizing a conservative for their response to the halftime show.  (!!!!!) They were just incredibly fucking sure they knew the score, entirely fucking convinced they had the market on reality cornered, and were so very happy to see the Church Lady whereever they looked, even in their adorable and totally outrageous friend atomic, and so they couldn’t bring themselves to shut the fuck up even when repeatedly asked to.

Tell me how this is any different from someone who’s never read Harry Potter crying “Witch!”

It isn’t.  It isn’t at all.  It’s the behavior of people who are blind with prejudice, engaging in tribalism as ridiculous as anyone with a colorfully painted face screaming at a football game, going through the world assuming that everyone they encounter who ain’t on their team is a stereotype of a caricature who never actually existed.

Some of these people probably think I’m being unfair, and I am, but this is my blog, and I get to be unfair here.  I’m tired of playing fair and giving the benefit of every doubt to people who don’t extend me the same courtesy, like, seriously ever, even though I slave away over a hot keyboard creating mountains of content for their ungrateful asses.  

So tell me this, Liberal Geniuses of the Internet – do we as a culture have to have any standards of decency or is it anything goes?  Will the Superbowl halftime show in 2040 be brought to you by Astroglide and feature people actually fucking on there, and if anyone has a problem with their kids seeing that, well, they shouldn’t let them watch a sportsball match in the first place because violence is OHBVEEUSLEE just the same as sex.  UR A BAD PARENT!

(Record scratch…sex and violence  – if football is violence, which I do not concede – ain’t the same thing, yo.  They aren’t the same at all, and I can prove that because after u watch porn, u want to have sex, like, right then and there, immediately if not sooner, and I have watched a lot of dudes play football and a lot of shows where people slice other people with swords and headbutt each other and I’ve never wanted to do any of those things, and certainly not within 2 minutes of watching.  But hey, by all means, keep lying about reality, liberals, you’re really convincing me of how I should vote for your candidates and let you run the whole entire world.  That’s sarcasm since u seem to have such a dreadfully hard time understanding the subtle nuances of the shit I say.)

Because just as I’d fully agree the liberals had a point with tearing the old sexually repressive ways down, the conservatives have a point too in saying enough is enough already.  Somewhere between burqas and Tijuana donkey shows there’s gotta be some kind of line where most of us look around and say “ok this is a pretty good place to set our boundary, where most of us aren’t going around offended most of the time and small children don’t need the terms “santorum” and “filthy sanchez” defined for them, yet most of us have the freedom to dress how we would like within reason and adults can enjoy some titillating entertainment in venues in which titillation is appropriate.

(helpful hint – The Superbowl is NOT one of those venues, and don’t you dare come at me with “shirtless Adam Levine, double standards because a chick pretending to masturbate is just as explicit as a dude without his shirt on OHBVEEUSLEE.”  Heads up – first of all, I thought Shirtless Levine was tacky as hell too, but more importantly, men and women are not the same. MEN AND WOMEN ARE NOT THE SAME and the rules governing our public sexual behavior are therefore different for a wide variety of reasons any person not completely drunk on partisan KoolAid would admit.  You can shout ur rage at the sky about how unfair it is chicks can’t go round without their titties swinging free all you like, but it doesn’t make it a fact that men and women have the same sexual reactions to stuff because they DON’T.  Women can see men without a shirt and not go berserk, whereas men, particularly of the youngish variety of whom God has entrusted four of the little bastards into my care – not so much.  Whether that is innate or cultural is irrelevant, I don’t give two shits what happens “in nature”, it’s absolutely the case in America 2020, and again, pretending otherwise simply reveals to me the utter disingenuousness of liberal arguments on this topic.)

And furthermore, claiming “parents need to raise their sons not to be misogynistic rapey toxic masculinity bastards, don’t objectify women” out of one side of your mouth while telling me “JLo’s visbly shaved pussy needs to be exhibited on TV in front of your pubescent sons during a national sporting event with a thin strap of sparkly material covering it and how dare you complain about ur sons seeing that because head injuries and Adam Levine and also by the way let’s throw Shakira’s wiggly ass in there too” has gotta be the most whiplash-inducing set of directives since Liz Warren told me we needed a president that was honest and forthright. 

Forget it, Jake, it’s Liberaltown.  

Enough is enough already.  Why is is so EEEVVULLLL of me to want some areas of human existence that don’t involve people masturbating?  Why is it EEEVVULLLL of me to want a safe space for my kids to grow up without seeing sex before they’re ready?  I’m not the one being unreasonable here, Sport, it’s you.  I’m just trying to be a good mama.  My requests for a few tiny pockets of this world to remain somewhat sex-free and suitable for a family to enter them together are perfectly reasonable and relatively minor and I am not a bad person or a hypocrite for making them.  Let there be some family shit for families without thrusting pelvises, ok?  Why is that so fucking hard?

WHY DO YOU WANT SEX ON THE SUPERBOWL?  Why?  Why is this a necessity?  Why is JLo’s twat in the Superbowl up there with Mom and apple pie for you?  Do you even know?  You want to peddle sex to children, to LITTLE CHILDREN, you want sex everywhere in every thing all the time, you want cartoon characters and Muppets to have sexualities for some reason even, and you don’t even know why.  I think I know why, but I’m not telling, because it’s a nuanced argument and I’m fed up with making nuanced arguments to people so stupefied with tribalism that they basically have adult-onset Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Long story short – “Our team Good, our team have boobies.  Ur team BAD, ur team have no boobies.”

Did ya get that one or did you need me to dumb it down a little more for ya?

Again, I say, once upon a time, liberals were correct to kick down some old and dusty Puritanical stupidities like laws against dildos and homosexuality.  I for one like very much being able to wear yoga pants and tank tops in public and not marrying the first man I kissed.  These freedoms are good freedoms.  These freedoms virtually all of us would agree upon, liberal and conservative alike.  These freedoms are fanfuckintastic.  There are women and girls, and not a few, walking around Planet Earth right now who have had their clitoris surgically removed to prevent them from experiencing sexual pleasure.  There are women and girls who risk getting stoned to death for being raped or being homosexual.  In America 2020, the battle has been won, we have an insane and amazing amount of sexual freedom the likes of which no human being has ever seen, and especially not any woman.   

When will it be enough for you?  Ever?  

Public decency is by necessity a line drawing exercise and drawing lines means that some of us who exist on the margins will have to suck it up and deal.  And maybe, just maybe, the group that needs to suck it up and deal is YOU this time.  Just because ur team has built its self-image around a mythology where they’re the brave superheroes bringing Shakira’s quivering tush to the deprived pre-teen masses doesn’t make you actual heroes.   It’s cosplay just like about 90% of everything you #resisters do is cosplay.  You don’t give a shit about kids, you don’t give a shit about women, you don’t give a shit about freedom of expression (you’re trying to erode it every goddamn chance you get, except when it involves seeing JLo’s taint apparently).  You mock prudish conservatives because your movement defined itself on being pro-boobie a long time ago and you gotta go scream at your football game like the primitive tribe member you are.

The thing I learned about the Bible Brigade Biddies when I actually took the time to get to know them, is that they are concerned about modesty because they actually kind of care about girls and think they know what is best for them.  They may be wrong, but their motivation (like that of a good many feminists too BTW) is to protect girls from messages that the world is telling them – to dress like a slut to make boys like you because your sexuality is the only thing that matters about you – a toxic message that I myself internalized growing up.  And the Biddies’ other motivation is to protect girls from boys who get too interested in sexish stuff when they’re not old enough to handle it and may pressure girls to do things they’re not old enough to handle either.  Their motive is to PROTECT those who are not capable of protecting themselves because they are still in their formative years.  You may disagree about the necessity of their protection, but don’t you dare impugn their motivation. 

Most conservatives aren’t Handmaid’s Tale prudes looking to keep women barefoot and pregnant and they never actually were.  Most conservatives are simply people who have a different view of what the world ought to look like and a different opinion regarding what is the best way for people to live to attain maximum happiness.  Like a good many myths, this myth of heroic liberals fighting prudish conservatives may have been historically useful and even somewhat true (I’m skeptical, but I’ll give it to you) but in the modern world, it’s no longer valid.  YOU WON.  We all won.  Why not give conservatives a charitable read on their concerns, huh?  We have a pretty fucking amazing level of freedom both sexually and otherwise, and all we’re asking for is a little moderation in how we exercise that freedom in certain venues.

No pretend masturbation on the Superbowl because children might be watching.  Maybe forgo the stripper pole next year, and let’s do away with the up-close-and-personal crotch shots.   It’s a family sporting event, not Vegas.  It’s a reasonable request we’re making and is not at all extreme.  That you insist on saying it’s an extreme position, I think says more about you than it does me – namely that you’re so in love with the idea your own mythology you can’t recognize a sensible, legitimate argument when you see one.