Sperm and Womb Differ. Get Over It.

Many people seem to forget that feminism is not aimed at denying the physiological differences between men and women. Nobody in their right mind can argue that male and female bodies are the same. It’s the social, economic, legal and political inequalities that feminism addresses and combats. Recognizing that, to give an example, women menstruate and men don’t is not sexist. It just recognizes a fact of objective reality.

The reason why I just gave this little explanation on what feminism actually does is the following post which bandies about the word “sexism” without any understanding what sexism entails:

I wrote about Flores-Villar v. United States last year. The Times summarizes the state of the law in 1974, when Ruben Flores-Villar was born: “Children born outside the country to an unmarried American parent are considered American citizens at birth if the parent lived in the United States before the child was born. For a mother, the required period of residence is one year. For a father, it is 10 years, five of them after he turns 14. Fathers must also prove parenthood and pledge to support the child.”

The case involves Ruben Flores-Villar, whose father — but not mother — is an American. Ruben was born in Mexico and moved to the US when he was two months old. Ruben has been declared an “illegal immigrant” and deported to Mexico. Ruben’s father was sixteen years old when Ruben was born, and so the “five of them after he turns 14″ provision of the law was impossible to meet.

(It’s important to note that immigration law was altered in the 1980s; the current law is still sexist and should be fixed, but the discrepancy is not as large as it was when Ruben was born.)

The reason why there is such a difference in how mothers and father are treated under this law is obvious. It’s the same reason why women who donate eggs get paid huge sums of money while men who donate sperm get nothing. Contributing sperm versus contributing an egg + carrying the fetus to term + giving birth to the baby while putting your own health and sometimes life at risk are not equal. They are unequal not because society is sexist but because nature made it so.

Sexist societies always deny the value of fatherhood. They present everything that has to do with child-rearing as an exclusively female area of interest and expertise. Mass media present men as inept fathers who are always in need of being guided by women to whom parenting skills come “naturally.” This sexist system ends up hurting everybody.

The above-mentioned law is not about fatherhood, however. It’s obviously aimed at avoiding the creation of a black market which will be inundated with sperm for sale the second these restrictions are lowered.

Weiner Lied!

Are this journalist and I surrounded by the same Americans?

The public outrage has stemmed in my opinion not from Weiner’s tweets, but his deception. Rep. Weiner lied to reporters, instructed others to lie and went so far as to invent a completely fallacious story that his Blackberry and Twitter account were hacked.

Seriously? This whole brouhaha came about just because Weiner lied about who sent his tweets? That’s truly an egregious lie. In a country that is passionately dedicated to hold its politicians to a high standard of truthfulness, it is no doubt that Weiner has been punished. Look what we did to the guy who told us that whopper about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was the same guy, if you remember, who said,

By far the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum.

And his campaign promised that,

Governor Bush’s income tax cuts will benefit all Americans, but they are especially focused on low and moderate income families.

When it turned out that, in reality, the top 20% of earners received 69% of Bush’s tax cuts, we surely held him accountable for lying about something this important.

For those with a short-term memory loss of Orwellian nature, I want to offer a little reminder of how the entire presidential campaign of 2004was conducted by the progressives under the slogan “Bush Lied!” Remember the bumper stickers, the articles, the websites? If you do, then you’ve got to remember that the voters did not care. In 2000, it was very difficult for Bush to hustle up a win. In 2004 – after the lies – he won fair and square.

So one politician lies and says,

We found the weapons of mass destruction.

And another politician lies about sending naked pictures of himself. The latter is forced to resign, while the former is elected to a second term as president. And there are still people who think that it’s the deception that the voters care about? For the information about what really bugs the voters, please see my preceding post.

P.S. For those who want to start the debate along the lines of “Bush didn’t lie, he was just misinformed”, this argument is as convincing as the argument that Weiner had no idea how Twitter worked, so technically he didn’t lie. Before such arguments are made on my blog, familiarize yourselves with the issue. For example, here and here.

Daniel Innerarity on Human Dignity

Please remember the name of Daniel Innerarity, one of Spain’s leading philosophers of our time. I am preparing a conference talk based on his work and will be sharing some of Innerarity’s ideas (as well as my ideas on his ideas) with you on my blog. Spanish philosophers (artists, scientists, writers, etc.) find it quite difficult to make themselves known outside of their country even when their work is definitely worthy of being widely known. Innerarity is a philosopher who definitely deserves being read but it is hard to find his books in North America even in the original, let alone in an English translation.

The translations of all the quotes will be mine. I warn you that I don’t translate word for word. My translations always sacrifice the similarity of the form to the original text in favor of remaining faithful to the content.

So here is what Innerarity has to say about chance and human dignity in his book Ethics of Hospitality:

The fact that all of us get born as a result of actions whose outcome is more or less uncertain serves as a guarantee of our human dignity. It is as if not being intentionally created by anybody gave us the right to escape anybody’s absolute domination in the course of our lives.

It is very impressive that Innerarity is not afraid of talking about chance and eventuality in his work. Fatalism is one of the qualities that, in the mythology of national character, has been associated with the Spaniards. Consequently, anybody from Spain who wanted to pass for a serious thinker had to be very careful not to play into this myth. However, after a while, trying studiously not to be what your national mythology expects you to be becomes quite limiting. Innerarity overcomes the fear of appearing old-fashioned and nationalistic in order to take his ideas in the direction he needs.

Handbags

This is a Birkin bag that costs $280,000. Notice that you either have to hold the straps in your hand (which makes it impossible to use that hand to hold a cell phone, blog, take pictures, etc. Or, you have to push the straps up and hold the bag in the crook of your elbow, which is also quite uncomfortable. $280,000, people. And maybe something is wrong with my aesthetic perceptions, but I find it quite ugly.

And this is a bag I just bought from an artisan in Florida. It’s hand-made and one of a kind. It also has a chain that allows you to wear it over the shoulder.

This bag costs 7,000 times less than the Birkin you can see on the picture above. In my opinion, it is about 7000 times more beautiful than the crocodile monstrosity.

Will I have to end every one of my posts with the “Why are people stupid” query?

“Why Does My Blog Have So Few Hits?”

“I keep posting all the time but readers just don’t come. What am I doing wrong?” bloggers often ask. Here is a list of things you might want to consider, if you are one of them. Everybody else should feel free to leave their own suggestions in the comment section. Don’t worry, I will not insult your intelligence with the suggestions of the “write great content and check your spelling” kind.

  1. People prefer a dialogue to a monologue. If a reader comes to a blog several times and leaves comments, they are usually expecting some sort of a response. Nobody wants to feel like they are talking to themselves and not being noticed. Responding to comments takes time and effort but this is something you need to do to in order to acknowledge the effort of people who comment on your blog. It is also a good idea to follow your readers to their blogs. You might discover some pretty great blogs this way and start a fruitful dialogue.
  2. Reading is as important as writing. A successful blogger spends as much time reading other blogs and commenting on them as writing and commenting on their own blog. When you leave comments on other blogs, this allows both those bloggers and their readers to discover your existence and, possibly, follow you to your resource. Reading other blogs can also provide you with inspiration for your own posts.
  3. Pay attention to the post titles. I said it before, but I feel it bears repeating: for a beginning blogger, post titles are crucial. The best way to go is to imagine what a Google search that you want to take people to your post will look like and name the post accordingly. See, for example, the title of this post. I have absolutely no doubt that quite a few people will enter this phrase into their search engine and alight on my blog. In a while, I will even be able to tell you exactly how many readers came to the blog this way.
  4. Ask questions. A blog is a great thing not only because you can share your ideas but also because you can get help and feedback on a variety of issues. My life has become so much easier since I discovered that I can simply ask for help on the blog and people will offer extremely valuable suggestions and advice. On the other hand, readers enjoy sharing their knowledge and being helpful. Posts that ask questions and allow people to enter into a dialogue are always very popular.
  5. Listen to the readers. Of course, it’s impossible to accommodate everybody, but if there is a suggestion several readers keep voicing, it might be a good idea to listen. To give an example, I prefer to see posts that aren’t syndicated in full but just give you the first several lines in Google Reader. Readers told me, however, that they hated that and preferred to see posts in their entirety in their blogrolls. I don’t understand that but, since this is what people want, I changed the format of my blog’s syndication. There are obviously cases when accommodating requests is impossible for you. I still haven’t been able to honor the request of some of my readers to blog less. 🙂 Sorry, my friends, I just can’t help it.
  6. Explore the widgets. Some blogs are more hospitable than others and make it easier for you to explore them. Sometimes, you alight on an interesting post and want to read more by the same blogger on topics that are of interest to you. However, some blogs make it very hard to find one’s way around them. Tag clouds, lists of most popular posts, random posts from the past, and easy to navigate archives make people spend more time on the blog and read more posts.

Palin Pregnancy Deniers Gain Traction

Do you remember how I told you about this freaky group of conspiracy theorists who are bent on proving that Sarah Palin’s youngest child isn’t really hers? Those creeps who have spent years poring over Palin’s photos taken during her pregnancy trying to analyze whether “this is how pregnant women really look”? The ones who keep staring at the kid’s ears through a magnifying glass to see whether they have changed over time?

As long as they remained a marginalized group of crazed woman-haters, nobody needed to care much about them. However, certain pseudo-feminists have now started paying attention to these freaks and offering them a platform to vent their frustrations arising from not being allowed to rummage around in Palin’s underwear as much as they want. Recently, Hugo Schwyzer has decided to lend credence to this movement of Babygate (their favorite word) conspiracy theorists and went on the blog of one of their most rabid representatives, Lora Novak, for an interview.

If you decide to read the interview, you will see that every question Novak asks is that of a passionate anti-feminist who could care less about Palin’s politics. All that motivates her is the hatred towards women who manage to have children, extremely successful careers, and remain strikingly beautiful. What saddens me is that Hugo Schwyzer would try to attract his immense fan base to the website of this anti-woman conspiracy theorist and lend credence to her crazy ideas by entertaining fantasies about Babygaters’ unreasonable scenarios:

 If she did pretend that her daughter’s baby was hers, she did something that would be entirely in keeping with her faith and her frontier ethos.   This isn’t new.  A hell of a lot of children have grown up being told that their mothers were their older sisters, and that their biological grandmothers were their moms.

It is truly hard to find anybody who dislikes Palin’s politics more than I do. However, I would never participate in fueling the Babygate insanity by suggesting that it made an ounce of sense. I don’t remember a single discussion of whether a male politician’s children are actually his. Taking into account that it is a lot easier to be mistaken about who a kid’s father is than to doubt the identity of the mother, it is obvious that Babygaters are motivated by nothing other than their passionate hatred of women.

My blog doesn’t have nearly the popularity of Hugo’s (yet). However, when I blogged about Palin’s pregnancy deniers, I refused to link to their blogs. I didn’t want to attract attention to their vile anti-women propaganda and promote them by sending my readers to their anti-feminist  resources. I only wish that other people who claim to be feminists thought twice before offering support to woman haters of Novak’s ilk.