Brute Reason

A collection of thoughts about psychology, social justice, and anything else I give a shit about.

Topics: feminism / psychology / lgbtq / sex / politics / abortion / health / mental illness / language / depression / sexism / sexual assault / fashion / racism / education / social justice

my actual writing, if you're curious

This whole format is asking the wrong questions, from the wrong perspective. To ask if one can be a feminist and positions feminism as a question of individual choices and identity as a feminist rather than movement. It’s hardly a surprise that this format has erupted to popularity within comment journalism, which typically focuses on a watered-down liberal model of feminism, devoid of the radical kick we need to Get Shit Done. It elides asking why things are as they are, and proposing solutions, instead lumbering blame on the unfortunate women who commit unfeminist acts, or lauding those who act adequately feminist.
It’s about so much more than just a few words, Gay Community. It’s about the respect we need you to show us by refraining from using anti-trans words like “tr**ny” and “she-male,” just because we asked you to. It’s about demonstrating that you consider respecting the wishes of the Trans Community more important than your own inconvenience. It’s about modeling that respect to the straight community. It’s about actually showing us that you consider us equals, not just in words but in action.
Women don’t come in quarter pound increments. They aren’t here so you can carve off a thigh or make a nice rump roast. They aren’t here for your entertainment, amusement, or pleasure. They’re here to be themselves, doing their own thing, and they deserve to move through public spaces unmolested and free of harassment. Why it’s so difficult for people to grasp this, I will never know.
The fact of the matter is that a comment like ‘nice ass’ feels crude and unpleasant and threatening, because extended from ‘nice ass’ is something slimy and threatening and gross, something sinister. Something claiming that ass as public property. It’s hard to articulate how this feels to someone who doesn’t get it on a visceral level — someone who hasn’t, say, walked down a dark alley in San Francisco on a quick shortcut, only to hear a low, rough voice saying something about your breasts, or your body, or your ass, or some other part of you. That voice isn’t complimentary. It’s asserting ownership, reminding you that you are vulnerable, reminding you that as someone with a body like yours, you are considered to be an object belonging to the public commons.
On a larger level, your partner shouldn’t stand for racism, period. On a caring, loving level, he certainly shouldn’t be silent about anyone being racist to you or in your presence. That’s not because he needs to protect you but because he loves you. Being Iraqi is a beautiful part of who you are. It should be something your partner cherishes—at least enough to say “knock it off” to his friends. Your partner sees his newsfeed and sees you having to fight these people. And judging from your letter, he hasn’t been stepping up. That’s a problem. If you’re wondering why he has racist friends, it’s because he wants them.
This is why conservative men confidently endorse laws and social rules that are anti-sex, even when that makes them screamingly obvious hypocrites who feel zero desire to curtail their own sexual proclivities. They know, from long personal experience, that they will never have to live by the rules. Ban abortion? Well, luckily women will still get them. They will just have to work harder at it. Cut off insurance coverage for contraception? Good thing women are so desperate to use it that they’ll pay out of pocket anyway. Even if they somehow managed to overturn Lawrence v. Texas and the oral sex ban became enforceable, most straight white men can be pretty certain that the only people who will get in trouble for it are gay people and people of color—you know, people whose privacy the cops already feel empowered to intrude upon.
The reason that conservative politicians can keep launching one attack after another against sexual freedom and reproductive rights without worrying about losing their base of straight white male support is that straight white men know they will never have to obey these laws. So they can feel free to posture about how terrible all this sex is and how it’s supposedly ruining “the family,” all while knowing that they are safe to keep having all the sex they want, even the kinky sex, without any real fear of being punished for it in the way that other people have to fear they will be.

With this law, the reason is obvious: Because of Lawrence v. Texas, the ban on oral sex in Louisiana is unenforceable. So this is purely a symbolic move, meant to shore up a general social disapproval of non-procreative sex. But, let’s be clear that social disapproval will be selectively applied. Straight men will continue to enjoy social support for having sex while their female partners are shamed for it.
With bullying, you’re facing basically the same problem you have when it comes to rape culture. Everyone flaps their gums about how bad rape is, but when the rubber hits the road, a whole bunch of people side with rapists against rape victims. With this incident, you even see the same logic that rape and domestic violence victims often hear, that speaking out against abuse somehow deprives their assailant of his privacy.

Beyond that, the problem with bullying is that adults look the other way for exactly the same reasons kids do: They don’t like the victim, they find the whole process amusing or even what the victim deserves, they think the victim is whiny, etc. As long as adults feel this way, bullies will feel free to do their thing, safe in the knowledge that the adults are on their side. To fix bullying, we need to shift some of the efforts away from sending a “message” to kids that bullying is bad and start really tackling the culture of the adults who tolerate or even encourage it.


When straight men are like “but if I share a locker room with a gay guy he might look at me!”

Okay leaving aside the fact that gay doesn’t mean attracted to you

And gay doesn’t mean “lacking in any sort of human decency or inability to prevent staring”





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