The Big Fat Feminist Critique in The Middle of The Room


Brought to you by the words Autism, Female, and Tech World — Eds

Okay, Feminism, It’s Time We Had a Talk About Empathy

by 

Growing up with autism is a never-ending series of lessons in how people without autism expect the rest of the world to relate to them.

….

‘Don’t be so direct, don’t you know you’re being insulting?’ ‘Put yourself in her shoes — when are you going to develop a sense of empathy?’ Invariably, the autistic behaviour is marked as less-than, called out as needing to change. So we adapt; we learn to keep our “abnormal” attitudes and behaviours to ourselves in the hope of blending in,  and when we discover communities where, by chance, we fit in a little better without having to try so hard, we cling to those safe spaces like a drowning man clings to a lifebuoy.

I stumbled into my first such space when I was eight, and its name wasFidoNet. I didn’t think of myself as a programmer back then, just a girl who liked fractals and science fiction and BASIC on my IBM PCjr, …. In a very real sense, I did most of my growing up online.

Nobody on FidoNet ever told me ‘no girls allowed’ — or even implied it, at least to an extent that I might have picked up on — and as a result, the assertion that “technology is a boys’ club” has always been foreign to me. Sure, I was always one of a scant handful of girls in the after-school computer or science club, but none of that mattered when there were NASA missions or flight simulator games to geek out on.

I have since been made painfully aware that my experience is atypical. Every time, it has been a woman who has done so. Every time, it has been a lesson in how the woman I am talking with expects the tech world to relate to her and other people like her.

Ironically, I have been discriminated against in the tech world because of my gender; I just didn’t notice until it was brought to my attention long after the fact.

What does leave me feeling snubbed, however — not to mention “scapegoated for the endemic misogyny in our field” — is being told that talking about my overwhelmingly positive relationship with the tech community is nothing more than a callous announcement of ‘fuck you, got mine.

What I’ve got, and what I wish the rest of the “women in tech” community who rage against the misogyny they see everywhere they look could also have, is a blazingly single-minded focus on whatever topic I happen to be perseverating on at the moment. It has kept me awake for days puzzling out novel algorithms and it has thwarted a wannabe PUA at a conference completely by accident. It is also apparently the most crashingly successful defense against attempts to make me feel inferior that has ever been devised. When I’m someplace that says on the label that it’s all about the tech, so am I. I may have come by it naturally, but it is a teachable skill. Not only that, it’s a skill that transforms the places where it’s exercised.

The “women in tech” experience is not monolithic — not for the women who feel uncomfortable in the tech community, and not for the women who feel comfortable in it, either. None of our stories are universal, but when we look at any landscape of stories from enough of a remove, we begin to see patterns. Right now, the dominant narrative about women in tech is overwhelmingly woven of antipatterns. We know a lot about how to go from problems to bad solutions, but if we’re going to make a tech community where people feel welcome, we have to figure out how to go from problems to good solutions — and disparaging women like me as gender traitors makes those of us who aren’t too socially thickheaded to know better far more reluctant to speak up so that there can even be a narrative about amelioration patterns. This isn’t “fuck you, got mine,” this is “damn you, why won’t you let me give you what I have?”

Read all of it at https://medium.com/dear-blank/bd6321c66b37

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What’s the Big Deal About Gossip?


Eh.

Gossip is *such* a double-edged sword.

When it comes to gossip you usually have two camps. The first being “gossip is horrible and never to be done.” The second being “ooooo guuurl tell me what sh*t happened last night.”

And then there are those of the second group who love to re-distribute their recently heard intel to everyone else, regardless of if the intel has been fact-checked and verified.

There are also others who love to start gossip; and sometimes, those people doen’t even need to see anything to get the gossip going.

It’s easy to demonize gossip and those who spread gossip but are those who demonize all who gossip right?

If you were to trust in religion and other forms of thinking that come from non-scientific origins then yes. Religious types and most who subscribe to “rules of thumb” or “common sense” thinking and tend to be all-or-nothing, tend to label all gossip as bad and nothing good can come out of it. (Even though when they talk to their friend about someone possibly being a child predator because so-and-so’s child got the bad touch from this person, this person is indeed gossiping. And something indeed good is coming out of that gossip. Oddly specific example, I know.)

However if you believe in science, then you may know that not all gossip is bad. For example, a 2012 study from University of California, Berkeley, suggests that gossip can help us “police bad behavior, prevent exploitation and lower stress.”

And in 2006, the American Psychological Association (APA) published an article about the “evolutionary past” of gossip and what that past means to us now.

“Natural selection, he theorizes, pressured people to learn as much as possible about the people in their social network-be they an authority figure, potential romantic partner, teacher, political ally or enemy. Knowing about other group members helped people eschew risky alliances, by informing them, for instance, which group member might double-cross them.

“In the process, gossiping also helped facilitate bonds by showing others we trust them enough to share information. …”

Read about the University of California, Berkeley study on the UC Berkeley News Center website. (Is it just me or does the article neglect to mention the title of the study?)

Read the APA story “Bonding over others’ business.”

The point isn’t to completely turn a blind eye to gossiping. Vicious, malicious rumor-mongering is never something to be praised. With that said, finding out indirectly that your buddy is hurting because of money or because a partner just left them or maybe even learning that that guy you’re dating has an issue with impulse control is not such a bad thing and might even be beneficial to your personal health and the health of your social community.

 

5 Tips On Buddha’s Way of Forgiveness and Reconciliation


It’s so great to know that this website can help some people, whether it be helping someone discover Buddhism or helping someone with anger or even helping someone feel emotionally validated.

One of the most popular posts on this website is “Buddha on Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Right & Wrong.”

When I wrote this post, I was definitely deep in the middle of trying to figure out my actions vs. the actions of someone else. It was a hot emotional storm, I needed answers. I looked to Buddhism because it’s what I practice.

Anyhow, I think it’s time to revisit the Forgiveness and Reconciliation text. One reason is because it’s been awhile since I’ve read the text and even as I re-read it now, the text has great points that should be kept in mind when faced with dealing with forgiveness or reconciliation. Another reason is because, “why not?”

Tip 1

The Buddha says forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things

Forgiveness is finding a way to be non-reactive and unperturbed by what has happened to you.

That’s the goal and as simple as it sounds, it can be a hard goal to achieve. It means deciding not to retaliate or seek revenge. It also means that you -even- forgive the other person for harming you.

And the thing with forgiveness is that it’s something that can be just for you. Like treating yourself to ice cream. You don’t have to explain to the other person why you are at this state. You don’t even have to tell them. Forgiveness is ultimately for you.

Reconciliation means “a return to amicability.” A return to amicability requires trust being reestablished. Trust is established when respect is shown by both parties for the “mutual standards of what is and what is not acceptable behavior.”

However, if you or the other person do the things below, a return to amicability (and trust) may not be possible at all.

a)Deny responsibility for your actions or maintain you did nothing wrong.

b)Insist that the other person’s feelings don’t matter or that they have no right to hold you to their standards of right and wrong.

c)Do not admit that you hurt the other person and were wrong to do so.

d)Do not promise to show restraint in the future.

Doing any of these things hurts the ability of the other person to trust that you will not hurt them again in the future and this makes a return to amicability mighty mighty hard to do.

FYI: If you are the person who was hurt, you aren’t scott-free from duties either.  You need to conduct the process of reconciliation in a respectful manner.

Tip 2

The values of the culture matter

Sometimes, you’ll find out that it’s not just one person out of whack in your situation. Sometimes it’s the entire fucking culture that’s out of fucking whack. An example of this can be like the following:

*****

“some people have recommended living by a non-dual vision that transcends attachment to right and wrong. This vision, however, is open to abuse as well. In communities where it is espoused, irresponsible members can use the rhetoric of non-duality and non-attachment to excuse genuinely harmful behavior; their victims are left adrift, with no commonly accepted standards on which to base their appeals for redress. Even the act of forgiveness is suspect in such a context, for what right do the victims have to judge actions as requiring forgiveness or not? All too often, the victims are the ones held at fault for imposing their standards on others and not being able to rise above dualistic views.

This means that right and wrong have not really been transcended in such a community. They’ve simply been realigned: If you can claim a non-dual perspective, you’re in the right no matter what you’ve done. If you complain about another person’s behavior, you’re in the wrong. And because this realignment is not openly acknowledged as such, it creates an atmosphere of hypocrisy in which genuine reconciliation is impossible.”

*****

It may be impossible to avoid running into communities like this but you can still do the work it takes to have values in yourself that can contribute to you being able to create future peaceful reconciliations.

If you are in the right, reflect on your own actions before you accuse another of wrongdoing. Ask yourself the following:

Am I free from unreconciled offenses of my own?

Am I motivated by kindness, rather than vengeance?

Am I really clear on our mutual standards?

If you can answer yes to all these questions then bring up whatever issue you have. Again, this may be easier to write on paper than to practice in life; and that’s okay.

Tip 3

Frame the acceptance of blame as honorable

This tip goes hand-in-hand with the ideas of conducting the process of reconciliation in a respectful way and creating values in yourself that can contribute to a peaceful reconciliation.

Encourage the thought that the honest acceptance of blame is a honorable act without shame.  The Buddha says, this is the way to make progress in your spiritual development.

“the ability to recognize one’s mistakes and admit them to others is the essential factor in achieving purity in thought, word, and deed”

Psychology too says the same about apologizing being a means to mature development.

Tip 4

Ground rules matter

Communication is most likely the most important part of reconciliation. One thing to find out is the “root intention” of the people or parties involved. “If those intentions were irredeemably malicious or dishonest, reconciliation is impossible.”

Try to stick to the major wrongdoings that caused the dispute. Promise not to dig up and use the other parties “minor offenses.” If both of the parties have committed wrongdoings, then both parties need to confess to their wrongdoing.

Ultimately the goal of all of this is to help both parties gain a mutual understanding of what actions created the disharmony and then the goal after that will hopefully be a promise to try and avoid those actions in the future.

“Even if the parties to a reconciliation agree to disagree, their agreement needs to distinguish between right and wrong ways of handling their differences.”

Tip 5

Not all disputes will be resolved

How sad my face gets when I read this tip, but it is unfortunately true.

“There are times when one or both parties are unwilling to exercise the honesty and restraint that true reconciliation requires.”

And there you go, a quick review on the great Bu-tastic way Buddha has framed forgiveness and reconciliation.

KQED’s Forum Talks With Sex At Dawn Author


In societies where women are not shamed about sex, they have just as many lovers as men and fight over their rights just as vehemently as men.

This is what I heard on the radio as I pulled into the parking lot at work.  At that moment, I felt completely validated, gobsmacked and elated. I had to find out who this was and what this show was about.

The man talking was psychologist Christopher Ryan, co-author of the book “Sex at Dawn.” It’s a book that traces the evolution of sexual thought and practices; reflecting on how society and its shape has influenced the bonds of matrimony and relationships between men and women. But you hear more about the book on the show Ryan was on, KQED’s Forum show.

Ryan was on Forum discussing the topic “Are Humans Meant for Monogamy?” A topic that has been looked at often in Western subcultures that investigate ideas about sex and love.

Are Humans Meant for Monogamy?

I suggest you take a listen to the program. Ryan goes over some interesting subjects and one of my favorites is him going over the cultural rules of a hunter-gather society and how that is reflected in the OWS movement.

Another great topic is how having farms and growing crops changed how humans interacted with the world and each other.

And my .02 cents to the person who asks why women aren’t vocal about being promiscuous, even if single. Although a woman can say she is promiscuous and doesn’t want a partner a thousand times, it doesn’t mean they will find a partner who believes they mean what they say or that they will find a partner who doesn’t take casual to mean, I can be an insensitive and inconsiderate person to you.

After awhile you just stop being vocal.

.o2 cents, for real.

Sapiosexual Is a Word? And Other Stories


So a curious word was in my Facebook feed today. The word was sapiosexual. “What’s this?” you ask. I’ll tell you.

Sapiosexual is “a behavior of becoming attracted to or aroused by intelligence and its use.”

OMG right?

Basically it goes like this:

Me? I don’t care too much about the looks. I want an incisive, inquisitive, insightful, irreverent mind. I want someone for whom philosophical discussion is foreplay. I want someone who sometimes makes me go ouch due to their wit and evil sense of humor. I want someone that I can reach out and touch randomly. I want someone I can cuddle with. I decided this all means that I am sapiosexual.

I feel like this is …  has been the feelings of most people who have a bent towards rationality and logic; however,  never before has this abstract idea been laid out in such a concrete way. (By the way, the word sapiosexual is a neologism.)

And, as so often happens when you (or I at least) discover new knowledge, more intellectual knowledge/information in regards to intellectual love spewed forth. This time in the form of an old(ish) website post about “the needs of an INTP” spouse or mate. It definitely struck a chord with me. Maybe it will with you too.

Below is what I found,  a general gender-neutral statement about what an INTP mate needs. After the jump is what an INTP woman wrote about in regards to her INTP needs in a mate.

Cheers!

-=Eds

IGANOKAMI’S GUIDE TO THE INTP MATE

1. Lots of sex 
I dont think it is just me as an INTP who finds this a very important part of a relationship and the most important physical expression of love in a relationship – it is NOT a selfish act for selfish physical satisfaction. but hell, it is damn pleasing, too

2. Moral support 
It is a tough world out there for INTPs

3. An equal 
INTPs have no wish to dominate, and are crushed by domination

4. Someone who is next to unoffendable. 
INTPs tend to lack tact, but also want and need to be brutally honest with thier intimate partners – they want someone who they can playfully insult, who will then either laugh in thier face or give it right back.

5. Someone who can accept them for who they are and not try to change them. 
INTPs appear erratic to the casual observer in a relationship, for example – they appear to demand solitude one moment, sex the next. Non-INTPs find this VERY hard to reconcile with their typical conception of “love”

6. Someone who accepts the peculiar WAYS they show thier love. 
Be it really, really sappy hopless-romantic type drivel or passionate physical expression, or just a touch or a simple look. The INTP way is very hard to catch, if you blink, you miss it. Non-INTPs tend to want tokens and words, not a slow dance in a room with no radio, not a quiet cuddle in front of the TV at the end of the day, or the other strange and random expressions that INTPs tend to give. [This ties in with #5.]

7. SPACE [as in both physical and emotional space
In case it was missed, I’ll mention it again: SPACE!! INTP men need their free time to pursue intellectual pursuits, and CAN NOT be:
a.) disturbed 
b.) told they dont love thier partner because they spend too much time “alone”, etc. 
INTP men disappear for a while, then come out swinging. this FORCES most non-INTPs to think that the INTP partner only wants them for sex. This is wrong, but if the non-INTP is not capable of #5 and #6, they are forced to believe it.

8. Comforting. [this goes along with #2.]
The world sucks, particularly for INTPs. They are capable of an utterly staggering amount of patience and responsibility, but in the long run, without #2 and #8, the relationship will ultimately die, or the INTP will DIE a very real death. With #2 and #8, an INTP can take a spectacular amount of abuse, responsibility, and patience in life, as long as his partner supplies #2 and #8 in sufficient quantities.

9. An intellect. a person who can hold their own in a debate. 
The words “you always think you are right!!” are the LAST words an INTP wants to hear from their mate. The INTP wants debate! Wants intellectual stimulation! If they doesnt get it at home, #7 becomes very very very important. If their mate can not handle #7, there will be PROBLEMS. If the mate can supply #9, the INTP will be very happily occupied with their mate for a long, long time.

10. Someone to learn with. [This goes with #9]
Someone who is interested in learning and intellectual stimulation. The INTP needs someone who they can learn with and enjoy the mysteries and adventures of life with. Someone who can understand their interest in the esoteric, show appreciation for their interests, and even join them in these interests, or introduce them to new ones. 

11. Someone capable of self reflection and self analysis. 
Often the INTP finds that they are the only one “growing” in a relationship, the only one who can see the problems in the relationship. This usually forces the INTP to be the one to change, to be the one to compromise for their partner. Because many non-INTPs have no true ability to self reflect the non-INTP thinks they are ALWAYS right. The INTP spends their life examining themselves and their relationship to see what they need to do to make it work. So they spend all their time critically analyzing it, and the mate does nothing but demand that they change. This will eventually lead to the spiritual DEATH of the INTP, if not the actual PHYSICAL death of the INTP. To avoid this, the INTP person NEEDS a mate who can examine the relationship WITH them, so they can grow TOGETHER

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Rebecca West Wednesday: Love and Suicide


I was reading though Flavorwire’s story, “Bad Romance: History’s Ill-Fated Literary Couples,” and came upon this bit. It is a letter from feminist and all-around writer Rebecca West to her paramour of the time H.G. Wells, who is considered to be the “Father of Science Fiction.”

I’m posting this because  I love the elegance of West’s writing; how she infuses a bit of dark humor into what is obviously a very painful thing for her. I empathize greatly with her pain.

Dear H.G.,

During the next few days I shall either put a bullet through my head or commit something more shattering to myself than death. At any rate I shall be quite a different person. I refuse to be cheated out of my deathbed scene. I don’t understand why you wanted me three months ago and don’t want me now. I wish I knew why that were so. It’s something I can’t understand, something I despise. And the worst of it is that if I despise you I rage because you stand between me and peace. Of course you’re quite right. I haven’t anything to give you. You have only a passion for excitement and for comfort. You don’t want any more excitement and I do not give people comfort. […] On reflection I can imagine that the occasion on which my mother found me most helpful to live with was when I helped her out of a burning house. I always knew that you would hurt me to death someday, but I hoped to choose the time and place. You’ve always been unconsciously hostile to me and I have tried to conciliate you by hacking away at my love for you, cutting it down to the little thing that was the most you wanted. I am always at a loss when I meet hostility, because I can love and I can do practically nothing else. I was the wrong sort of person for you to have to do with. You want a world of people falling over each other like puppies, people to quarrel and play with, people who rage and ache instead of people who burn. You can’t conceive a person resenting the humiliation of an emotional failure so much that they twice tried to kill themselves: that seems silly to you. I can’t conceive of a person who runs about lighting bonfires and yet nourishes a dislike of flame: that seems silly to me.You’ve literally ruined me. I’m burned down to my foundations. I may build myself again or I may not. You say obsessions are curable. But people like me who swing themselves from one passion to another, and if they miss smash down somewhere where there aren’t any passions at all but only bare boards and sawdust. You have done for me utterly. You know it. That’s why you are trying to persuade yousrelf that I am a coarse, sprawling, boneless creature and so it doesn’t matter. […] But I know you will derive immense satisfaction from thinking of me as an unbalanced young female who flopped about in your drawing-room in an unecessary heart-attack.

–Rebecca West to H.G. Wells, 1913