Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 06:53 on 12-11-2011, valse de la lune
Arthur: yep, that's what I mean. It's similar to how some nerds like to whine that they too are oppressed because people were mean to them in school. But there's no such thing as "nerdism." It's not a real oppression; it doesn't signify and the only context it will be taken seriously is among other self-pitying nerds/straights/whites/men.

TryCatcher? Your apologia for homophobia and your apparent belief that misandry or anti-white racism is a real thing leads me to believe that you are a smug, privilege-denying tool. I don't usually say this kind of thing in respect of FB as a space, but everything you've ever said regarding minorities has been condescending bullshit. Sit down. Your input isn't half as incisive or clever as you'd like to think. It's old hat. You are boring and sophomoric.

this debunking of the concept of female privilege seems apropos.


Aw, how did I miss this? *bookmarks*

You mention male privilege in a blog post, and it’s inevitable: Someone else (usually male) will start asking about female privilege. If men have privilege, don’t women have privilege too? And does that undercut the idea of male privilege as a type of gender subordination which is built into society? (Because, the implication goes, we all have privilege — and so feminists should stop complaining about male privilege.)


Textbook.
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at 03:37 on 12-11-2011, Frank
I inferred 'anti-white racism or "heterophobia" doesn't exist' to mean that even if it occurs, it doesn't oppress straight whites to any significant degree as racism and homophobia from straight whites. Even straight whites who don't want to be racist or homophobic but have grown up in pop culture that pushes the dominant cultures tropes of PoC and LGBTQI individuals and their cultures and communities, slip into the dominant narrative of the culture and say something racist or do something homophobic.
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at 03:32 on 12-11-2011, Fin permalink
at 03:07 on 12-11-2011, Arthur B
By the way, try to not throw unsupported statements of "X and Y don't exist" just because it doesn't fit your narrative. Is just childish.

I don't want to put words in valse's mouth, but my understanding of what was being said is that whilst misandry-as-individual-quirk does demonstrably exist, misandry-as-social-phenomenon does not exist in the way that misogyny-as-social-phenomenon most definitely does.

In other words, you can probably find a misandrist here and there, in the same way that if you look hard enough you'll find people who believe any arbitrary thing you could care to posit. What you don't find is a pervasive culture of misandry.

Please correct me if I'm getting this wrong, valse.
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at 02:07 on 12-11-2011, TryCatcher
I didn't "insisted" on that, I just made a rash statement and didn't wanted to fight for it. I could have said "a lot of young men are completely unsure of their own masculinity and they attack viciously everything that isn't on their demographic in a sad attempt to overcompensate", but thought that it was too long at the moment. And that statement doesn't even come fron a need to "defend" nerds, it comes from my (highly cynical) observation that most people are just petty and put their "tribe" above all else. Probably myself included.

There you have the long explanation for that.

By the way, try to not throw unsupported statements of "X and Y don't exist" just because it doesn't fit your narrative. Is just childish.
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at 22:36 on 11-11-2011, valse de la lune
As it were the derailment and apparent shift of focus to men came about as I thought the original discussion was about men to some degree and you yourself brought up the priviledge of the male demographic.


I, oh, wow. I'd like to believe you are saying all this in good faith, but either the point is zipping over your head at incredible speeds or you honestly don't get why it's neither appropriate nor welcome to trot out the suffering of men when male privilege is brought up. Take a look at this. Concerns race rather than gender, but in certain contexts operate in not-dissimilar ways. Look up aversive racism and aversive racism too, and then check Derailing for Dummies out. You're ticking boxes like you wouldn't believe.

As such I thought that continuing the discussion along those lines was perhaps tangential, but it interested me to do so. If I had a hidden agenda it would have been to influence you to a more moderate statement on the subject rather than winning as such.


To what? Because it sounds to me like you're pulling the devil's advocate card.

As was clear in my earlier posts I did conceed most of your points and I actually consider myself a feminist, though perhaps not enough or perhaps differently than you'd like.


Do you identify as a woman?

As you brought up misandrism and your doubts as to its existence, I merely thought it interesting to prove by counter-example that such sentiments are extant. I am well aware that they are not in any way a significant part of feminist thought, whatever some older scifi would have us think.


I don't doubt that misandry exists; I know for a fact that it doesn't exist in any meaningful manner, much like how anti-white racism or "heterophobia" doesn't exist.
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at 21:52 on 11-11-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
valse: I'm sorry, but I thought we were having a different discussion. As it were the derailment and apparent shift of focus to men came about as I thought the original discussion was about men to some degree and you yourself brought up the priviledge of the male demographic. As such I thought that continuing the discussion along those lines was perhaps tangential, but it interested me to do so. If I had a hidden agenda it would have been to influence you to a more moderate statement on the subject rather than winning as such. Actually what I meant to say was that I realize that the group "White male heterosexuals" is more advantaged in most places yes. Probably everywhere. Perhaps not Dubai? I usually try to avoid blank statements on issues I am not more sure about.

As was clear in my earlier posts I did conceed most of your points and I actually consider myself a feminist, though perhaps not enough or perhaps differently than you'd like. I do not understand how you got to your conclusion of my intentions in bringing up Solanas. As you brought up misandrism and your doubts as to its existence, I merely thought it interesting to prove by counter-example that such sentiments are extant. I am well aware that they are not in any way a significant part of feminist thought, whatever some older scifi would have us think. I do think that you jumped to some pretty big conclusions about my intentions in my writing in general with your last post and I do not mean that as a defense of myself or my writing. I will grant that I did not perhaps express myself adequately, which, of course, is my fault entirely.

But I do apologize for angering you and I will try not to repeat the mistake.
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at 21:43 on 11-11-2011, Frank
The retcon requires my hate.
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at 21:30 on 11-11-2011, valse de la lune
Oops, I accidentally a word so that didn't make sense. What I meant to say is: "She's not on wheels anymore, though."
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at 20:40 on 11-11-2011, Frank
Yeah... how are you defining 'compelling character'? Cuz Barbara Gordon kicked open the door to the fridge she was stuffed in and wheeled the fuck out, kicking some ass.
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at 19:16 on 11-11-2011, Ibmiller
Good point about category confusion. Since I regard all text as literature (which leads to my more exclusionary friends to pointing at street signs and mocking my "literature"), I have no real terminology problems with "Beowulf" or such being "literture" - but I do acknowledge that there is a distinction between what I use as boxes, and what boxes existed back then, and that distinction makes a big difference in how you look at the composition of a work.

And originality is indeed overrated. Skill and intelligence in handling old concepts, even cliches, are much more interesting to me than most "new" ideas (which, I think, are usually pretty old, just with new names slapped on).

Also, I must have missed that comic book statement. I'm a big baffled...I mean, I personally don't find Venom compelling, but he's certainly more interesting to me than the Punisher. And I think that comics, while definitely written by 30-40 year old fanboys (mostly, though some bright spots of non-boy-ness exist), are actually written for the adolescent crowd. I think the statistics show that the majority of comic buyers still read and purchase them between 12 years old and college - which is why things like the recent DC reboot happened and seem to work out okay, despite the fairly articulate reasons for them not to happen or work. Because people like me, who have graduated and still read and buy comics, are in the significant minority. So I don't think that they are written for 40 year olds. Sometimes I wish they were - we might have actually good things happen every now and then. But that might be me getting agist.
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at 19:12 on 11-11-2011, Jamie Johnston
On other topics, I don't know whether anyone here is in any danger of going to see The ides of March but my recommendation would be to wait 'til it's on the telly. It's a competent and well-made political thriller about rich white USian dudes that does exactly all the things you'd expect such a film to do. Clooney is unremarkable, Gosling is pretty good, and Wood almost overcomes the fact that the writers have given her a plot device rather than a character. (In fact there's a sequence near the end that pretty much explicitly invites the audience to regard all attractive young women as interchangeable and doomed.)

From the trailer, though, I quite like the look of The awakening.
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at 18:57 on 11-11-2011, Jamie Johnston
Catching up a bit...

Ibmiller wrote:
I would also like to moot the issue of "what is derivative fiction," if anyone's interested. I mean, tie-in work is pretty clearly a commercially driven property, but there are a lot of professionally published Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austen, King Arthur, and the occasionally more difficult to find Narnia, Shakespeare, and Virgil fanfic. Okay, yes, I consider the Inferno fanfiction (to some extent...but then, I think the Aeneid is kind of Homeric fanfiction, so I'm clearly beyond all reason).

I wouldn't say beyond all reason at all. I mean, as we saw from the discussion about Beowulf being 'wish-fulfillment' a while back, in many ways it gets unhelpful to try to classify pre-modern texts in boxes made by and for modern readers (to the point where I hesitate to say 'fiction' or 'literature' rather than 'texts'). But it's got to be productive and relevant to point out that tie-in and fan works on the one hand, and a huge proportion of ancient western narrative texts on the other hand, are both based on re-using existing characters and settings. If only to counteract the excessive premium placed on 'originality' and the accompanying deprecation of fan-work &c.

It's also, of course, a creative approach that has underpinned comics since they began. Speaking of which, TryCatcher wrote:
About comic books, their main problem is that they are written by ad for 40-year old fanboys. There's hasn't been a compelling character on the big two (Marvel and DC) since The Punisher. So yeah.

Wow, that's quite a statement! I mean, of course there's no arguing over tastes, so never mind how compelling you can get by saying 'hey what if Batman really liked guns?' — are you really saying neither Marvel nor DC have created a single compelling character since 1974? o_O
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at 18:31 on 11-11-2011, valse de la lune
Maybe is me, but making a huge "Systematical Opression of the System" statement just because some guys decided to use a female pseudonym seems out of proportion.


Look, ma, someone's fighting a straw man!

You seem to generally have a lot of opinions with regards to minorities and said opinions have consistently followed a pattern of deflection or apologia, e.g. the WoW thing which you insisted was totally not homophobia. Do you have any further scintillating insights you'd like to offer? Are you some kind of ambassador from Kotaku or Reddit?
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at 17:59 on 11-11-2011, TryCatcher
Maybe is me, but making a huge "Systematical Opression of the System" statement just because some guys decided to use a female pseudonym seems out of proportion. Note that I already wrote my opinion on trying to pass fiction stories as facts.
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at 16:13 on 11-11-2011, valse de la lune
See Janne, what you are doing is called "derailing." An epic amount of it even, and every single word textbook as can be. You started off with the premise of men being treated unfairly because of their gender and in no time flat you went on to "but what about poor/gay/disabled men of color!" Who are not treated unfairly because of their gender: they're treated that way on account of their class, their orientation, their disability, or their ethnicity. You are moving the goalposts.

Assuming so for every given male and treating them differently as a result would be unfair treatment, as there are poor white males whose lot in life is not necessarily better than anyone elses.


Feminist call this argument "but what about the meeeeeennnnn" in the most mocking, sneering manner possible. To wit: the way men turn a discussion about women and feminism into a discussion about men because men should be the center of attention in all contexts at any given time. Also, see above. Poor white men don't suffer because they are white or they are men. They suffer because they're poor. Even then, poor women will still have to deal with misogyny, which poor men do not. And no, this isn't Oppression Olympics because--I repeat--men are not oppressed for being men.

I do realize that of many possible groups "white male heterosexual" is at an advantage to other groups, which should be corrected by prudent laws and good social policies, for example in education and the like. But it can be unfair if taken to individuals. There are differences between countries for example and shouldn't everybody at least have the opprtunity to try and be a moral person?


Are you, like, saying that there are countries in which white straight men are treated worse than any other group? Because that's hilarious and I double-dare you to name one. Crying that whites are subjected to racism in certain countries will not score you any point, because white people have global privilege and generally the option to get the fuck out if they can't cope with Japan or whatever. Exception's Middle Easterners and marginalized Eastern Europeans (the latter of which don't generally seek fairer fortunes or escape from poverty in Asia; they more frequently head for Western Europe and the States), but I'd make a stab in the dark and guess you aren't thinking about that.

I'm not even sure what you mean regarding the moral person thing.

On misandry, I suppose it wouldn't be very usual, but isn't Valerie Solanas kind of an example?


You are right, an isolated incident is just like systematic, institutionized bigotry reinforced across multiple cultures by power, politics, ingrained prejudices and the media. I sure got told.

Here's something I don't get. What is it about women saying "we are oppressed, and this is how" that brings out all the "BUT WE ARE OPPRESSED TOO, WHAT ABOUT US" from men, but most often straight white cis men citing isolated cases as evidence of the prejudices they must face in life? Do they think being oppressed confers access to an exclusive club? Do they want to become the majority victims of rape, domestic abuse, and unequal pay? Will that make them happy?
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at 14:44 on 11-11-2011, Arthur B
On pseudonyms: I would argue that there are ethical ways to use them. If you make it clear in your author bio that your pseudonym is a pseudonym and don't make any claims or assertions about your real-life identity - if, in other words, you use it solely as a label and make it clear that's what you're doing - then I struggle to see what's objectionable since you're not claiming that you're actually a member of any club you don't have any right to be in, and your readers will be aware that there is a possibility you might be a dude or a straight woman instead of a woman or a gay guy.

On the other hand, actually coming up with a fantasy life for your pseudonym and writing fictional coming out stories which are passed off as real is just gross. There's lots and lots of real coming out stories which deserve the limelight more than your selffic.
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at 14:35 on 11-11-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
valse: But that is why I said individually. I do not know how the idea itself is absurd; I have no problem imagining a situation. Although I quite agree it is not systematic. Though I have to say that there is a thought that unfair genre roles can have bad effects on everybody involved in it. And I don't mean equally or that the harm materialises in the same way or as strongly, but for example the practice of those in power to systematically send the young men to die in wars is an example.

And also that while it can be said that (white heterosexual) males are privileged as a group over (white heterosexual) females, it is quite clear that if we look at individuals and take into account such things as education, class, race and sickness, we can safely assume that not every given person from the male group is privileged over every given person from the female group. Assuming so for every given male and treating them differently as a result would be unfair treatment, as there are poor white males whose lot in life is not necessarily better than anyone elses.

I do realize that of many possible groups "white male heterosexual" is at an advantage to other groups, which should be corrected by prudent laws and good social policies, for example in education and the like. But it can be unfair if taken to individuals. There are differences between countries for example and shouldn't everybody at least have the opprtunity to try and be a moral person? On misandry, I suppose it wouldn't be very usual, but isn't Valerie Solanas kind of an example?

I guess the thing with men pretending to be women to sell booksis that it is kinda unavoidable though, as when there are willing writers and there's money to be had, it would be hard to stop such a practice. I mean, would even the publisher necessarily know something like that if the author didn't wish for it to be known? But yes, it's not nice and I would assume the prime motivator is money.
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at 12:46 on 11-11-2011, valse de la lune
The thing about men pretending to be women is that it's creepy, due to:

1) someone from a privileged group appropriating an identity he has direct, unambiguous privilege over (the oppression of which he consistently benefits from)
2) doing so in order to gain, to an extent lesser or greater, the trust of said marginalized group and thereby profiting from it

With regards to romance there's some gender essentialism going on, but at the same time I don't much like the idea of a guy barging in, putting on a veneer (however thin: even by obscuring through initials) that he too is part of this women-dominated market. It's dishonest. A woman using a male pseudonym or initials to obscure her gender, on the other hand, is doing so as a minority that's trying to get by in an arena that's predominantly stacked against her. The dynamics are different. Romance, both straight and M/M, is one of the few areas in which women will benefit by being known as women. It's like how there are scholarships for students of color but no scholarships specifically targeted at white students.

Do you think that men as individuals can be categorically treated prima facie "unfairly" because of their gender, or just in this particular case or cases resembling it?


The idea that cis men can ever be treated "unfairly" due to their gender is absurd. Misandry doesn't exist as a systematic oppression; I'd argue it doesn't even exist at all. Of course, men's right advocates insist otherwise, but they also seriously say shit like "bigoted feminists" so I daresay they can be written off as socially malodorous wastes of oxygen who should be flown into the sun.
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at 11:05 on 11-11-2011, TryCatcher
I don't care about pseudonyms anymore that I care about those weird names that artists take, much less on the Internet age. But, as always, people writing about a fictional life without saying that is fiction is dishonest.
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at 10:44 on 11-11-2011, Shimmin
Would you find it less objectionable if they simply used neutral names (like initials), even though most people would probably assume they were female?
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at 10:39 on 11-11-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
Well, I suppose so. But then, since the motives for people doing so are no doubt varied and mostly not accessible to us, I might argue that regardless of motivation or feelings of shame, these acts could just as well be seen as performative challenges to the controlling discourse that tries to enforce the rules of who can do and what. Is the term community as it describes such a large market as romantic novels even accurate(I know I used it myself)? In the end isn't it more of a marketing ploy to appeal to an age old gender assumption and also to tell people how they should be and what they should write? In that case people changing their identity would be welcome to, if it helped them express themselves without people questioning their motives or gender rights in doing so.

But I suppose that is reaching a bit. Do you think that men as individuals can be categorically treated prima facie "unfairly" because of their gender, or just in this particular case or cases resembling it?
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at 09:39 on 11-11-2011, valse de la lune
If some male writer's feel that it is impossible for them to get published or any sort of attention if they use their own name writing romantic novels, it seems unfair to deny them the possibility, if they really like the genre and want to write in it.


Tbh I don't really give much of a shit how it might be ~unfair~ to male writers; being dudes already gives you huge perks in every other area of life, so men will just have to put up with whatever disadvantages they perceive in writing romance under their own names--and frankly, I suspect the pseudonym has more to do with them being ashamed of what they write. With regards to women using male pseudonyms to write M/M wankfodder, I only care insofar as straight women pretending to be gay men--emphasis on "straight pretending to be gay" (sometimes even going so far as blogging about their "coming out" experiences or having to deal with homophobia) because that's gross. By itself, a woman using a male pseudonym doesn't necessarily invade or exploit because men aren't marginalized, nor require a safe space/community.
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