By Sasha - 26 Aug 2014

Yes, all men are potential rapists.

A twitter conversation about rape prevention.

Person 1: You’re the one that has a problem w/ a safety tool available to women. Or are you one of the “teach men not to rape” girls?!Person 2: god forbid anyone teach men not to rape! :|
Person 1: You truly believe #rape is taught/untaught?! It isn’t! That suggests EVERY man is a potential rapist!

I saw the conversation to the left on Twitter tonight and it made me angry. It made me angry because its ridiculous. If this is the reason why so many people are opposed to rape prevention efforts that prioritize educating men, then all me to say out loud for everyone to hear:

Yes, all men are potential rapists.

Rapists are not aberrations. Rapists are not inhuman monsters. Rapists are people. Most rapists are men. Not-raping isn’t some natural instinct that some monstrous people simply lack. People are rapists or are not rapists because of what they learn from family, friends, and society. I am not a rapist because I was taught not to rape. I was taught that women are people. I was taught to empathize with other people and to treat them kindly. I was taught about consent and I was taught that sexual contact without consent is rape.

Those might seem like pretty basic facts, but do you know what else I was taught? I was taught that men know what’s best for women. I was taught that women are teases. I was taught that being horny excuses bad behavior. I was taught that no one likes a slut. I was taught that if a woman is raped a great many people will doubt her. I was taught that people will excuse or forgive men who mistreat women.

We live in a society where a man who once mistreated dogs and now works to help them is hated and reviled but a man who raped a woman is a cuddly figure of fun. We are taught that women are worth less than dogs. Don’t believe me? When did you last see a woman raped on TV? And when did you last see a dog mistreated or killed on TV?

We live in a world where people worry about the futures of young rapists but can’t empathize enough with rape victims to not be shitlords about rape jokes.

We live in a world where it’s routine to call women “wives, mothers, and daughters” in order to argue for their rights and safety. Why is that? It’s because everyone assumes that people (meaning men) need to think about women’s relationship to men. That’s because men are taught to think of men as people deserving of empathy but we are not taught that about women.

I was taught everything I needed to be taught to be a rapist. Thankfully for me I was also taught everything I needed to be taught to not be a rapist.

Don’t we owe it to other men and boys to give them the same thing?

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By Brian Anders - 13 Jun 2014

Who could ask for anything more?

Who could ask for anything more?

This weekend is a special weekend for me.  On Saturday, I will celebrate 11 years of marriage with my brilliant, amazing, strong and determined wife, Elyse.  And on Sunday, we will celebrate Elyse’s birthday, and Father’s Day.

This weekend, in many ways, is a celebration of my life.  The beauty of this weekend is I can share it with those I love most.  And while the commercial world says I need to go out and buy something made of steel for our anniversary, and buy some trinket or some other gift for Elyse’s birthday.  The expectation for Elyse is to give me some gift on behalf of our 2 children.  The truth is, this weekend is a celebration of the gifts we have already received.

Elyse has given me strength, courage, and knowledge.  She challenges me daily and expects me to rise to every challenge.  She understands I am not perfect, and never will be.  But with that said, she pushes me toward perfection.  Even if perfection is something we can never achieve, there is no reason we cannot continue to strive to be better.

I am not the man I am today without Elyse.  Her inspiration drives me to be a better person, a better leader, a better father and a better husband.  She never hesitates to call me out.  To hold me accountable for what I say and what I do.  It can be frustrating and even angering, but in the end, she does it so I continue to be a better all around human being.

My gift to Elyse is being a feminist.  Standing by her and fighting for a better world for all people, not just all women.  To help move forward to a world where all of us stand on equal ground.  By no means am I close to being where I need to be, but I am willing to push myself.  I have a long way to go and a lot of work ahead.

And let’s not forget my 2 wonderful children.  Moose and Bug, our amazing son and daughter, remind us everyday why we fight.  They are an inspiration to us.

Moose has overcome so much already in his life.  He was speech delayed, and now he has surpassed many of the kids in his class in reading and speech.  He is about to start his 3rd year of acting school, and now he aspires to play ice hockey.  He continues to amaze me.

Bug is our badass princess who takes shit from no one.  Thursday, she took her first hockey class, and she rocked.  Years ago, Jeremy Roenick, former NHL All-Star and current NBC Sports NHL Analyst, said on the Dan Patrick Show that women had no place playing professional ice hockey with men.  FUCK YOU, ROENICK!  My little girl can dominate if she wants.

What could be a greater gift this weekend than my family.  They are the inspiration for everything I do, and for who I am.  They are worth every moment of sacrifice I make.  It truly is a labor of love.

Happy Birthday, Elyse.  Thank you for 12 years and 10 months of sharing your life with me.  Thank you for giving me the honor of being your husband for the past 11 years.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life and your family.  And, thank you for 2 amazing kids.

I love you.

 

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By Brian Anders - 13 May 2014

WTF Hollywood?!?! You’re better than that

What do the following 6 movies have in common?

Group 1

  • Kick-Ass 2

  • Man of Steel

  • Sharknado

  • We’re the Millers

  • The Wolverine

  • World War Z

What do the following 6 movies have in common?

Group 2

  • 21 Jump Street

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2

  • The Avengers

  • Rush

  • Star Trek Into the Darkness

  • This is the End

Both groups have been judged using a system called The Bechdel Test.  For those of you unfamiliar with this system, the premise is simple:

  1. Does the movie have at least 2 named women in it?

  2. Do the 2 women speak to each other?

  3. Is the conversation about something other than a man?

Seriously, simple premise.  How the fuck can you not get this one right?  Have 2 women, like most of our lives (mother talking to daughter, sister talking to sister, friend talking to friend, etc.), speak to each other about something other than a man.

As I am sitting here writing this, my wife is speaking to her mother about another woman.  Wow, that fucking simple.

Now back to the questions from the beginning.  Group 1 passes the test.  Group 2 fails the test.  That’s right, group 2 fails with directors like Joss Whedon and Judd Apatow.  Joss Whedon who has developed characters like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Zoё Washburne, River Tam, and Echo.  Judd Apatow who created characters like Lindsay Weir and quoted as saying about the HBO hit Girls, he hoped the show would provide men with an insight into “realistic females”.

This proves that even the best still fail.  What it also proves is that Hollywood has a long way to go.

Movies that fail need to be the exception and not the norm.  If it were the norm, then going to see The Avengers or The Amazing Spider-Man 2 would not be a big deal.

On April 8, 2014, Elyse Mo Fo Anders tweeted the following:

I am making a vow.  Right now.  I will not watch a movie that does not pass the Bechdel test.  And I will side eye anyone who does.

As her teammate and best friend, I am following the same rule.  We will neither watch these movies nor will we allow our children to watch them.

I have been telling my oldest son, Moose, since the previews started that I would take him to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  When I found out it failed, and yet the movie stars Sally Field as Aunt May and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, I thought, “WHAT THE FUCK SONY!?!?!?!?!?”

I had to explain to Moose why we are not going to see the movie.  He was sad, but he accepted our decision.

I will continue to boycott any movie that does not pass this test.  Therefore, I implore Hollywood, take this test to heart.  Start making movies that pass this test.  Start making movies with strong female characters with basic human interaction not about men.  Really, is it that fucking hard?  Would it really have been hard to have a scene with Aunt May and Gwen Stacy talking about school or family? Seriously?

Get the message, Hollywood.  Get it right.  Shark fucking Nado got it right.  Let me repeat, SHARK FUCKING NADO!!!  Just because women talk, doesn’t mean it has to be the traditional “chick flick”.  And besides, there is nothing wrong with a strong female movie.  To this day, I will stop everything to watch A League of Their Own or Steel Magnolias, because they are fucking awesome movies.

Be awesome, Hollywood.  I don’t ever want to disappoint one of my children again.

 

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By Brian Anders - 17 Apr 2014

Feminist Princesses? FUCK YEAH!

bug-7528

Being between jobs, I spend a lot of time trying to keep myself busy during the day.  I tend to do a lot of chores and small projects that have gone neglected.  Over the last 2 months, the small projects have led several afternoon shopping runs.  During my shopping runs, I tend to swing through the toy section and see about something small for the kids.

When I was a kid, Barbie dominated the toy section.  In a normal department store, Barbie controlled about an aisle and half.  And in a toy store, whether it was Toys R Us, Circus World, Child’s World, or Kay-Bee, Barbie owned the girls’ section.

Don’t look now, but in Target, Barbie controls about a 1/3rd of a full aisle, and in some cases it’s less.  Why?  The domination of the Disney Princesses.  The Disney Princesses are now the dominant force, and they are being positioned only to increase their strength. (more…)

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By Sasha - 17 Mar 2014

A statement on women’s bodily autonomy and the morally bankrupt cowards who consider it up for debate.

An historical photograph of men  standing outside a doorway under a sign that read" Headquarters National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage"

The “atheist movement” in 5 years.

** UPDATED 03/18/2014 8:18AM PDT **

I thought that I had written all that needed to be said about the decietful, misogynist, forced-birth advocating, so called “secular pro life” movement two years ago. I didn’t realize then that the current mostly-male “leadership” of the secular movement was composed almost entirely of misogynists, abusers, liars, and morally-bankrupt cowards. Those who are not anti-woman seem to be so obsessed with courting “allies” that they have no problems throwing women under the bus to advance their petty agendas.

You can see the recent Secular Woman statement for a summary of the recent behavior of two alleged “allies” and apparently actual morally-bankrupt cowards, David Silverman and Hemant Mehta, regarding this sickening branch of misogynist atheism. I agree with Secular Woman completely, and I will go further and say that any one who considers such sexists as “allies” or who considers their views worthy of attention is not an ally of mine. I would rather break bread and ally myself with a theist who supports women and a secular government than I would shake hands with a reactionary bigot (or anyone who would ally themselves with them for any cause) who happens to be and atheist.

Anyone who believes that the (very real) problems faced by atheists in this country is the foremost issue of the day is either a fool, an asshole, or so completely ignorant of the world and its ways that they’re useless as an ally. Racism, economic inequality, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and ableism ruin lives and kill people in our own country. We don’t need to cast our colonialist gaze to distant lands full of brown people and their “scary” religions in order to find people suffering more than we are. Those problems are vastly more important than a cross or a Star of David on government property.

By all means,  fight like the devil against religious privilege and religious bigotry. But also benefit your fellow humans who are not necessarily atheists – yet. You are not only maximizing the good acts in the world, but you are setting an example that yelling on Fox News will never provide. You know what else? By working to improve all of our society you are making life better and more secure for people who may be questioning or who only hold on to their faith because they depend on the very real support structure it provides them in order to survive.

I can assure you that there are many times more atheists and potential atheists who care about social issues or who will be helped and freed from their faith with improvements in those social problems. If I wanted to grow a movement? That’s where I would recruit. That’s where I would put my energy. Not only is it good for the future of atheism but it’s good for my peace of mind and sense of morality.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the best thing to do for the atheist movement is to ally myself with medieval-thinkers who want to strip women of their bodily autonomy. Maybe they’re right and the future of the atheism really is with the angry white, entitled libertarian-types who resent uppity women and brown people and people who need wheelchair ramps and people whose sexuality and gender identity makes them feel icky. Maybe those guys and their wallets is where you want to put your energy.

Or maybe not. Some of them organized a worldwide march on Saturday. Ten people showed up.

**UPDATE**

Hemant Mehta has contacted Secular Woman saying there was a misunderstanding on his part about what was being requested. You can read his statement here.

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By Sasha - 25 Nov 2013

American Atheists new billboards are callous, arrogant, and not factually accurate.

I have supported and also criticized American Atheists over the years. Today I’m frustrated and am offering some criticism. Criticism that I hope is listened too. I’m an atheist and I want atheist organizations to prosper, but I also want them to reflect my values.

Today AA issues a new press release announcing six new billboards.

American Atheists launched six billboards on Monday in central New Jersey attacking the non-helpful responses by some religions to recent natural disasters. These responses have included praying for the victims and sending bibles and rosaries instead of requested relief supplies that can save lives.

While at least $300 million has been pledged by nations around the world to help survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines, a billion-dollar non-government organization, has responded to the disaster by sending 1,000 bibles and 12,000 rosaries to survivors, according to CBS News. Additionally, the Pope tweeted for Catholics to pray for the typhoon victims. His message was retweeted 30,000 times.

“Imagine if the Pope had asked for people to send money to victims or to send needed supplies. How much more useful would that have been to the people of the Philippines? This is insulting,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “Over 5,500 people have died, so Pope Francis leads people in prayer, and they send bibles and rosaries. This is repugnant; natural disasters should not be viewed as opportunities for proselytization.” Silverman continued, “Religion is not charity. It’s business masquerading as charity, and it needs to be recognized as such.”

The CBCP is indeed a catholic organization. It’s also in the Philippines, unlike American Atheists. If they distributed bibles and rosaries to their parishioners, what of it? They also called for and organized fundraising. Filipinos helping other Filipinos. Their news website has fundraising links all over the place.

The pope asked people to pray? How dare he do his job! He also called for “concrete help“, just like American Atheists is doing. He also announced $150,000 from the Vatican itself to support displaced people.

What I haven’t seen either of these organizations do is announce insensitive, self-aggrandizing, factually dubious condemnations of other people’s relief efforts. That seems to be American Atheists and only American Atheists right now.

So, as an ally I ask Dave Silverman and American Atheists to please reconsider these stupid billboards. I want a public face of atheism that is based on doing good deeds and caring about humanity. I do not want an American Atheism that thinks it’s a good idea to look like a smug asshole pointing (easily discredited) fingers over a pile of corpses.

EDIT: Nov 25, 2013 – 4:30pm PST:

This afternoon I was tipped to this RT on David Silverman’s timeline, which suggests that he now knows that the pope did in fact call for “concrete help” – Mr. Silverman seems happy to use that to mock the efficacy of prayer and also happy to still pretend it never happened to score a rhetorical point.

IMG_2898[1]

D. Cameron Webb ‏@dcameronwebb 3h
.@Pontifex asked for prayers and “concrete help” for disaster victims. A stunning admission that prayer is useless mush? @MrAtheistPants
Retweeted by David Silverman

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By Sasha - 14 Oct 2013

The privilege of being surprised.

It's kind of like this.

Your orgy is kind of like this.

There is an event happening in Ohio on November 2nd that might shock and surprise you for many reasons. It’s an event to celebrate  Día de Muertos, the Mexican holiday to commemorate and celebrate reflect upon your dead ancestors and loved ones, with a BDSM play party. We’re grown ups and we know people have sex and even have kinky sex in groups. The part that may be a shock for some is that the organizer of the event is a self-described “diversity” educator. That’s right: this crass event of cultural appropriation, where a holiday for remembering your dead friends and family is being used as exotic set dressing for an orgy is being organized by someone who thinks they are helping fight racism. But if you’re surprised, it probably because you’re white. Why do I feel comfortable making an assumption like that? Because of how privilege works. (more…)

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By Carl - 11 Oct 2013

Facebook doesn’t care if you die

Fuck_facebook

Dear Mr Zuckerberg,

It must be pretty awesome to be a white dude with billions of dollars. It must be nice to be able to afford peace of mind. You do realize that not everyone is a billionaire right? Because when Facebook makes decisions to allow any timeline to be found by name alone that’s seriously messed up. Your suggestions to make things more secure are laughable:

1. Share each post with the people you want to be able to see it. You control this every time you post.

2. Use Activity Log to review individual things you’ve already shared. Here you can delete things you may not want to appear on Facebook anymore, untag photos and change the privacy of past posts.

3. Ask friends and others to remove anything they may have shared about you that you don’t want on the site. You can do this by reaching out to the person directly, or using the reporting feature, also available in Activity Log.

Seriously? That’s your suggestion for someone who’s being stalked or threatened? Literally go through everything you’ve ever shared on Facebook and change the settings? Ask nicely for other people to remove things they’ve tagged you in? Seriously? You’re literally putting the lives of thousands if not millions of people on the line because… it makes you more money? it makes life easier for your engineers? because it’s cool?  I can’t help but notice that you didn’t include the best possible option:

#4. Delete my account on from a service that I’m increasingly disappointed with who not only gives the impression of not caring about people being harassed, but is actually taking measure to make it easier for them to be harassed.

I’m not sure I can continue to support a company that places anything over the lives and safety of assault victims, battered spouses, queer folks or a whole host of other people who have legitimate reason to fear for their lives. I wouldn’t associate with a person who had assisted in the harassment/assault/murder of someone else so I’m not sure why I should stick around on Facebook.

I’m going to spend the weekend doing some soul searching. This article will likely be one of the last things I ever post on my own wall.

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By Sasha - 23 Sep 2013

An Open Letter to Hugo Schwyzer

@hugoschwyzer: @DaniParadis @redlighvoicesback off. If you can't distinguish critique from a hightech lynching for uppity mentally men...

@hugoschwyzer: @DaniParadis @redlighvoicesback off. If you can’t distinguish critique from a hightech lynching for uppity mentally men…

From one cis hetero white man to another: Shut the fuck up.

I realize none of this is likely to make much of a difference to you, because you’re not about accountability or criticism. No, not you Hugo. But you’re hurting people. You are being an abuser. You are verbally abusing women of color, and then you apologize and cry about your mental illness and “go away”…but you come back. I think you will always come back so long as you feel like you can get away with it. Because I think you like to feel important. It seems that negative attention is almost as good as positive for you, and maybe there’s that inner abuser that’s really the core of who you are Hugo. Maybe the “real’” Hugo isn’t the man who writes about consent, but is instead the man who tried to kill his girlfriend. I think maybe that is the real you. I think maybe you used your mainstream white handsomeness and your abuser’s facility at bullshit to talk your way into spaces where you could victimize on a grand scale.

None of what I’m saying is new. It’s been said thousands of times. You just have to hope that the people who say it are the ones that you and the people who choose to support you can and will marginalize. You are half-smart, and you know just enough about feminism and social justice to get that slimy little wedge into feminist spaces. Then you wallow around crushing anyone who doesn’t serve your purposes.

This is far from my best writing, Hugo. But I don’t know if you deserve my best. I’m writing this because you make me angry. Because I became a feminist because of people like you — no, stop patting yourself on the back. I became a feminist because of slimy creeps who hurt people. I became a feminist because of callow pieces of human garbage who victimize and destroy and get away with it because they are smiling “nice guys” who say the right things when they get in trouble.

Hugo Schwyzer, I became a feminist to stop people like you. You are the walking, talking incarnation of patriarchy and you just need to shut the fuck up.

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By SpokesGay - 22 Sep 2013

Go rub your face in this inhumanity.

Cassidy Lynn Campbell, the first openly transgender woman to be crowned prom queen, can’t have one day in her life to treasure. If she has to suffer this way, then you do too. Watch it and weep. AND THEN GET THE FUCK UP OFF YOUR ASS AND DO SOMETHING TO MAKE THE WORLD SAFE FOR TRANSGENDER PEOPLE.

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