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There is need in human life for levity. So, enjoy your time here in leisurely frivolity, where no Puritan can condem you.
Monday, November 23, A.D. 2015
Study Finds Sexism Rampant in Nature

Here is a classic from The Onion to brighten any day, “Study Finds Sexism Rampant in Nature”:

SAN DIEGO—According to a University of California–San Diego study released Monday, sexism is rampant throughout the natural world, particularly among the highest classes of vertebrates.

“When we first decided to examine attitudes and behaviors toward gender roles among non-humans, we were wholly unprepared for what we would find,” said Jennifer Tannen, leader of the UCSD research team, a joint venture between the school’s zoology and women’s studies departments. “Females living in the wild routinely fall victim to everything from stereotyping to exclusion from pack activities to sexual harassment.”

Nowhere is the natural world’s gender inequity more transparent, Tannen said, than in the unfair burden females assume for the rearing of offspring.

“Take the behavior of the ring-neck pheasant,” Tannen said. “After mating, the male immediately abandons the hen, leaving her responsible for the total care for the chicks. For the single mother-to-be, there is no assistance, either in the form of a partner or child support. Nor is there any legal recourse. It’s despicable.”

Tannen said pheasants are typical of the natural world, where a mere 5 percent of animal species mate for life. Among species that do form lasting pairs, the situation barely improves: Females must remain close to the nest to incubate eggs, nurse, and keep watch over the burrow while males are free to go off hunting and fishing with their friends.

“The sexist attitude that child-rearing is ‘women’s work’ is prevalent throughout nature and has been for generations, probably since reptiles first developed mammalian characteristics in the Triassic period,” Tannen said. “Sadly, most creatures never pause to challenge these woefully outdated gender roles.”

Tannen stressed the need to hold high those rare examples of species that do form caring, mutually supportive relationships.

“Wolves, beavers, gibbons, and a small African antelope known as a dik-dik all live in stable, monogamous pairs,” Tannen said. “Other animals need to look to them as positive models if we are to have any hope of one day creating an ecosystem of understanding and respect.”

More seriously, in addition to an unfair division of labor, nature is rife with sexual abuse and harassment. The UCSD study estimates that in 2001 alone, more than 170 trillion cases of abuse occurred in the world’s forests, grasslands, and oceans—all of them unreported. . . .

Make sure to read the rest of the woeful story.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, November 23, Anno Domini 2015
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Monday, November 9, A.D. 2015
Farce Isn’t the Right Word

Katherine Timpf reports on the claim from the Huffington Post that the word “too” is sexist and hurts women: “Adverbs: They’re hurting people.” Timpf writes in the National Review article:

According to a piece in the Huffington Post, the word “too” is sexist and hurts women by constantly making them feel like they’re not good enough.

In a piece titled “The 3-Letter Word That Cuts Women Down,” University of Vermont freshman Cameron Schaeffer explains that she had an “epiphany” about the word after talking with a friend about how she should cut her hair.

“Our conversation ended with, ‘Well you don’t want it to be too short or too long,’” Schaeffer writes.

“There is no proper way for a woman to cut her hair, let alone do anything right in this world . . . Everything is too this or too that,” she continues.

Now, when she says “everything,” of course what she really means is “everything as it applies to women.” After all, the very real damage inflicted by this word is yet another tragedy that only affects us:

“In my experience, I rarely hear too thrown around about men,” she explains. “You hear someone say, ‘He’s short,’ but you seldom hear ‘too short.’”

(To be fair, I don’t really hear a male described as “Too Short” very often either, but kind feel like that’s probably just because he hasn’t released an album since 2012 and isn’t really on the scene as much as he used to be.)

If you think Schaeffer’s reaction to the word “too” is crazy, don’t worry. She thinks it’s crazy, too — crazy that a “a well-versed feminist” like her didn’t realize that she needed to be outraged sooner:

“I never realized how deeply a three-letter adverb could cut,” she writes.

“My internal opinion is always that I’m too this or too that,” she continues. “I, like most women, have been deprived of self-satisfaction and appreciation because of this word and this attitude.”

Yes…. Schaeffer says the word “too” has “deprived” her of “self-satisfaction and appreciation”  – which sounds pretty serious — and claims that “most women” feel the same way. Personally, I’ve never been offended by “too.” Actually, not to brag, but I’ve never been offended by “to” or “two” either. I guess I must just be really strong.

In any case, it’s not like Schaeffer is just ranting and whining. She ends her piece with a solution:

“We should call on both genders to cut the word too from their vocabulary when discussing women . . . I am taking a vow to ban the word too from my vocabulary.”

Other than the fact that she uses the word “both” when describing “genders” — suggesting that she still believes in that oppressive notion of a gender binary — this really sounds like a great idea.

There are a lot of grave dangers out there, and it’s clear to me now that the word “too” is one of them. I’m just glad that Schaeffer was smart enough to notice it, and also brave enough to alert all of us less-educated commonfolk so we can all work together and make the world a better place.

Yes, the po’ HuffPo girl is a college freshman (freshmyn? undisclosed identiteed student of first year enrollment status?), but do you really expect her insanity to lessen after four years in Burlington? Zombiefication has been underway in our climes for some time.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, November 9, Anno Domini 2015
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