You are currently browsing The Arbourist’s articles.

Hey folks, the woke internet is doing it’s best to deplatform and silence critical analysis and criticism of gender ideology.  Here’s the thing, if your ideology wasn’t shit to start with, it could withstand critique and still be coherent.  It isn’t, thus the censorship.

The following article was removed from publication on Medium. We present it unedited for readers to make up their own minds.

There’s a lot of chat around about pronouns right now. Specifically, ‘preferred’ pronouns. By which is usually meant, the pronouns a person would prefer other people to use when they are the subject being discussed by those people.

This is how I want you to talk about me’.

Almost without exception, the people who request, or demand, others talk about them using specific pronouns, are asking for pronouns associated with the opposite sex to their own.

A simple politeness. A courtesy.

I’ve heard many people tell me they don’t mind doing this, as a courtesy, although it takes some effort to keep up the mental gymnastics of perceiving one sex, but consistently using pronouns for the other. That’s a personal choice, and I respect the reasons why some people make it.

I’ve also heard many people declaring that anyone who won’t comply (usually directed at a woman) is obnoxious, mean, hostile, and unpleasant. ‘Misgendering’ is hate speech. They say.

But I refuse to use female pronouns for anyone male.
Because pronouns are like Rohypnol.

One of the biggest obstacles to halting the stampede over women’s rights is pronoun and preferred name ‘courtesy’. People severely underestimate the psychological impact to themselves, and to others, of compliance.

Pronouns are like Rohypnol to your brain’s defences.

You doubt this absurd claim I just made, obviously. You have the fortitude of mind to be uninfluenced by such trivia, and I have got this wrong. I understand. Bear with.

And try this quick experiment.

The cost of USING preferred pronouns yourself:

The Stroop Effect

Have you heard of the STROOP TEST?

It’s a well known “name that colour” psychological phenomenon. A quick and simple experiment where you have to say the colour of the words written in front of you. Simple as that. Except the speed and accuracy of your answers is heavily impacted by any incongruence between the colour you see, and the actual word itself.

Try it HERE, if you like fun interactive tests. It takes less than a minute to complete. Compare the difference in your times between part one and part two of the experiment.

You’ll find you have to consciously fight the conflict of input to your brain each and every time. And it leaves you confused, distracted, slower, frustrated and fatigued.

Forcing our brains to ignore the evidence of our eyes, to ignore a conflict between what we see and know to be true, and what we are expected to say, affects us.

USING preferred pronouns does the same. It alters your attention, your speed of processing, your automaticity. You may find it makes you anxious. You pay less heed to what you want to say, and more to what is expected of you. It slows you down, confuses you, makes you less reactive.
That’s not a good thing.

The cost of HEARING or READING preferred pronouns from others:

Experiment 2.

For a week, re-translate all the transgender articles and comments you find, back to sex-based pronouns, nouns and original names. Rewrite them back to the blunt truth and then read them again. Doing this exercise solely in your mind will do just fine, but editing on a screen is better.

Convert female pronouns back to male; use surnames instead of first names, and convert terms like transwoman back to just ‘man’.

Better yet, if you know the original name of the subject, use it, be it David, or Rhys, or Ashton, or Jonathan.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, yes? It shouldn’t matter. No-one else will be hurt or affected by this private experiment. It’s entirely between you, and your own resilient mind.

(Try not to get banned from anywhere during this experiment)

Read your translated version again.

If those small acts of preferred pronoun compliance are truly meaningless concessions, (although, see above banning potential for contradictory evidence of import) given as a courtesy to others at no cost to you or to other women, then this private exercise will change nothing, cost nothing, affect no-one. You’ll walk away thinking, yep, as I thought, fuss about nothing.

After all, nothing *should* change, should it, simply with the alteration of pronouns and names? You already know the actual sex of the subject you’re reading about. Pronouns, male or female, add no incremental information. How can they in any way alter your perception, or influence you when you already know all the facts? They’re an irrelevance, the easiest concession to make. Not worth consideration, inconsequential. Right?

Cognitively, you should be immune to the effects of such linguistic cross-dressing. Pronouns are irrelevant, so you concede them easily, because they have no power to influence you, since you already see clearly. Yes?

[And you can confess here, it’s OK. You may already think that the minority of women who refuse to comply with pronouns are just awkward buggers, who can’t think strategically, don’t know when to let it go, probably are extremists. Do themselves no favours, damage their own ‘cause’, even. Unreasonable.]

But try the experiment. Translate pronouns and references back to male. Insert ‘dead-names’ or use surnames. (No-one will know but you) Read it a second time. And be honest with yourself.

Do you feel differently, on reading it this way?
Do you react differently?
How’s your anxiety?
Are you angrier?
Do you feel more scared?
Is your sense of injustice alerted?
What level have your natural defences armed to?

You may discover that, despite yourself, you have a viscerally different reaction to what is before your eyes.

Same story, same players, same core knowledge.

Different pronouns, different reaction.

Pronouns are like Rohypnol.

They dull your defences. They change your inhibitions. They’re meant to. You’ve had a lifetime’s experience learning to be alert to ‘him’ and relax to ‘her’. For good reason. This instinctive response keeps you safe. It’s not even a conscious thing. It’s like your hairs standing on end. Your subconscious brain is helping you not get eaten by the sabre tooth tiger that your eyes haven’t noticed yet.

Oscar probably didn’t intend the instinctive female response his words provoked

Incongruent pronouns also make your brain work much harder; not just when you are using them, but when you are receiving them as information. You are working constantly to keep that story straight in your head. Male or female? Which one, again? Concentrate harder. Ignore your instincts, ignore your reaction.

And that’s just you. You’re already aware of all the pertinent information, already alert, you know the score, no flies on you.

And you’re still affected emotionally and instinctively by incongruent pronouns, nouns, and names. Despite your efforts to be immune. You’re not immune to this effect. You can know perfectly the actual sex of a male person, and yet you will still react differently if someone calls them she instead of he.

So what then, is the impact on everyone who isn’t even aware yet, hasn’t fully comprehended yet what’s going on?

Pronouns are Rohypnol. They change our perception, lower our defences, make us react differently, alter the reality in front of us.

They’re meant to.
They numb us.
They confuse us.
They remove our instinctive safety responses.

They work.

If you do this experiment you may still decide to accept or use female pronouns for male people, perhaps a little wiser, but cognisant of their influence on you and others. That’s a choice you may make. At least now you understand that you may be voluntarily suppressing your own natural response. Your eyes are more open.

Maybe you’ll continue to mentally translate ‘preferred’ pronouns and names in your head back to reality, every time, as I do. We give ourselves the best chance to understand the reality of the situation before us. It becomes easier with practice. I want my instincts as intact as possible.

Maybe you shrug. You can live with this little phenomenon. Or it didn’t work for you, you don’t see it.

But please. Don’t judge so harshly those of us who refuse to submit, refuse to comply with preferred pronouns. There are good reasons why we might be doing that, for our own sakes, and for the sakes of others.

Pronouns are Rohypnol.

I want to be alert. I want others to be alert. I want people to see the real picture, and I want those instinctive reactions that we feel when something is wrong, to be un-blunted, un-dulled by this cheap but effective psychological trick. I feel like I owe this to myself, and I absolutely owe it to other women.

And more than anything, I owe this to girls. I don’t want to play even the tiniest part in grooming them to disregard their natural protective instincts. Those instincts are there for a reason. To keep them safe. They need those instincts intact, and sharp.

And that’s why I won’t use preferred pronouns.

Using Rohypnol on others isn’t a courtesy.

Recommended to me by John Zande.  Funny, but less so given the recent uptick in the assault on women’s rights.

The CBC has a leaked copy of the Inquiry, some highlights:

“The inquiry officially began on Sept. 1, 2016, and was given a two-year mandate to examine systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls. The government granted a six-month extension in 2018, with the final report due by April 30, 2019. The inquiry had requested a two-year extension.

Among the report’s recommendations is a call for an immediate end to birth alerts — a system used by child welfare agencies to flag a person’s history, which may lead to a baby being apprehended from its mother in the hospital.

It also calls for a transformation of policing to reduce racism in police forces, and more funding to overhaul First Nations policing, bring rural and remote communities up to a higher standard, and better technology for sexual assault investigations.”

What we as Canadians can do:

The report also makes these recommendations to all Canadians:

  • Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.

  • Decolonize by learning the true history of Canada and Indigenous history in your local area.

  • Develop knowledge and read the final report.

  • Using what you have learned and some of the resources suggested, become a strong ally … actively working to break down barriers and to support others in every relationship and encounter in which you participate.

  • Confront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia, and transphobia, and teach or encourage others to do the same, wherever it occurs, in your home, in your workplace, or in social settings.

  • Protect, support, and promote the safety of women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people by acknowledging and respecting the value of every person and every community, as well as the right of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to generate their own, self-determined solutions.

  • Create time and space for relationships based on respect as human beings, supporting and embracing differences with kindness, love, and respect. Learn about Indigenous principles of relationship specific to those Nations or communities in your local area and work, and put them into practice in all of your relationships with Indigenous Peoples.

  • Help hold all governments accountable to act on the Calls for Justice, and to implement them according to the important principles we set.

 

We shall see how the general population of Canada reacts, I hope that we can read the report and move toward a better future with our indigenous peoples.

A surprising movement from Vivaldi.

La Follia’ (The Madness) is a musical theme of the most ancient and widespread in the music and European history. It originated in Portugal from 1500 to 1600 and was created to accompany a dance ballad by shepherds and farmers at a fertility rite, a truly embarrassing event that included dancers carry on their shoulders men dressed as women. In 1700 the ‘Folies d’Espagne’ becomes part of the repertoire of the French court, after suffering a solemnization treated before it is acceptable to the arrogance of the French and the slow and majestic courtly celebrations.

About Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) is one of the most virtuoso violinists of his time and a great music composer Baroque. Veneziano, the son of an amateur violinist who at one point gave the barber career to devote himself solely to music, had all the characteristics typical of the enfant prodige: red hair, bronchial asthma, intended, at the behest of his mother, the ecclesiastical life . This is because seeing him so sickly at birth, had seen fit to baptize him in a hurry and do promise that if he survived he would become a priest. That’s why they called him “The Red Priest”.

Of the original frenzy popular, ‘La Follia’ retains little, but can not lose what isdemonic. There is a definite melody (approximately the first 50 seconds) which provides the structure on which the performer is free to improvise. For the remaining nine minutes it comes to variations of this theme, which is usually expressed in its most simple and recognizable form at the beginning. ‘La Follia’, in fact, is precisely to signify obsession, mania, and highlights the stubborn character of the theme that comes back, again transformed, but basically does not change. Some of the changes are calm, persuasive, others hysterical, sensual, exciting; some by palpitations.

According to John Feffer the roots of our current political situation lay in the great roll-back of the 1970’s.

“The last time globalization transformed the world so thoroughly, in the early twentieth century, the ensuing backlash led to liberalism’s first catastrophic fail. In those years, liberals consistently failed to understand that the ground had shifted under them. In Russia, Bolsheviks took power from the weak crew of potential democratic reformers that had overthrown the tsar, inspiring a handful of movements in Europe that attempted something similar. In Germany, illiberal politicians took aim at the cosmopolitan values of the Weimar Republic. In Italy and Spain, leaders adopted virulent nationalism, challenging incipient global institutions like the League of Nations. In the wake of the Great Depression, Japanese ultra-militarists easily dispatched the weak Taisho democracy. Meanwhile, in the United States, right-wing demagogues like Father Charles Coughlin built large followings by railing on the radio against communists, Wall Street, and “the international money-changers in the temple,” though they failed to take power in the era of a charismatic liberal president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Where liberalism survived, it did so largely by absorbing some of the strategies of the illiberal communists and fascists, namely relying on the state to keep the economy afloat, as Roosevelt did with his New Deal policies. This lesson carried over into the post-World War II-era in which American liberals continued to embrace New Deal principles that would culminate in President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs and European liberals embraced the compromises that would eventually produce the European Union. At the global level, nations of various ideological dispositions came together to create a set of institutions — the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund — meant to ensure some degree of permanent stability. Economic globalization resumed, but this time in a regulatory environment that, initially, seemed to spread the benefits more equally.

That all changed in the 1970s when, in one country after another, a new generation of liberals and conservatives began to dismantle those very regulations in hopes that an unfettered market would jump-start growth globally. However, only after China embraced capitalism and the Soviet Union collapsed did economic globalization take a quantum leap to true globalization. With it the world returned to Gilded Age levels of concentrated wealth and inequality. No surprise, then, that the instability and intolerance of that long-gone era has returned as well.

Leaders like Putin, Erdogan, and Trump aren’t just politically savvy, nor have they simply been lucky or unusually ruthless. Instead, they sensed the changing mood of a moment and were able to capitalize on a profound discontent with the status quo that liberals had built, a discontent that won’t disappear simply because right-wing populists are exposed as frauds, incompetents, or cheats. Worse, crafty operators with even more ambitious agendas stand ready to destroy the liberal status quo once and for all.”

The potential danger the populist right poses to the political system we have, cannot be underestimated.

 

Popular conception of Mind is still burdened, to a certain extent, with the cloak of Cartesian Dualism.  The notion that our brains are primarily computational/abstraction machines being transported around in a useful bags of flesh is strong heuristic model that, while providing clarity in many areas, often obfuscates our relationship with the environment, and how the environment shapes us.  Sally Davies writes eloquently about our conception of mind and how feminists can break the limitations that the current model imposes on society.

“While philosophers are inordinately fond of comparing humans to entities that are different to ‘us’ – zombies, bats, AIs, octopuses, aliens – they’ve been rather slower to show an interest in the complex lives of certain creatures who already live alongside ‘us’ day to day, who can walk and talk and describe their subjectivity, but who until recently have been shut out of the category of full and proper personhood. Feminist theory, concerned with the operation of patriarchy and the liberation of women, is a powerful tool for revealing the pernicious effects of setting women to the side – including how such exclusion might permit unexamined assumptions and questionable theories to persist.

In her classic text The Second Sex (1949), the French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir performed just such a move against the bedrock of Enlightenment philosophy, the knowing human subject. ‘Man is not a natural species: he is a historical idea,’ she said, paraphrasing her fellow philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty. The very idea of the Human is not some universal given, de Beauvoir claimed, but a byproduct of how societies have systematically degraded women:

The devaluation of woman represents a necessary stage in the history of humanity; for she derived her prestige not from her positive value but from man’s weakness; she incarnated disturbing natural mysteries: man escapes her grasp when he frees himself from nature.Woman, in other words, is humanity’s foil. She is the ‘Other’, bearing the brand of the not-quite-Human, which lets man point at her and whisper: We know what we are, because, thank god, we are not that.

Thus when de Beauvoir makes the oft-quoted point that ‘one is not born, but rather becomes, woman’, she is not just saying that women’s minds and selves are socially constructed. More trenchantly, she is arguing that women become women precisely so that men can become Human. While the Human has access to Cartesian qualities of reason, truth and clarity, the Other is linked to irrationality, emotion and vagueness; where the Human has civilisation and culture, the Other is aligned with nature and matter; and where the Human has a honed and powerful mind, the Other is at the mercy of the body. De Beauvoir writes:

Man vainly forgets that his anatomy also includes hormones and testicles. He grasps his body as a direct and normal link with the world that he believes he apprehends in all objectivity, whereas he considers the woman’s body an obstacle, a prison, burdened by everything that particularises it.The American philosopher Martha Nussbaum extends a version of de Beauvoir’s analysis in her bookPolitical Emotions (2013). Drawing on child and developmental psychology, Nussbaum says that the human condition is framed by an awareness of vulnerability on the one hand, and the desire to change and control our reality on the other. This inescapable bind creates a universal impulse towards narcissism and disgust, she says. We feel disgust at our own mortal and fleshly nature, and at any reminders of our finitude and fragility as creatures. So we subordinate others in order to project onto them all the qualities that we wish to deny in ourselves – that they are base, animal, Other – while we imagine ourselves as transcending to the realm of the mighty, truly Human.”

This is classic analysis of De Beauvoir and a great summary of how women are viewed in society. A different model of Mind, known as embodied cognition, suggests a different framework to view our interactions and behaviour in society.

“Computational thinking remains dominant within cognitive science and philosophy of mind. But new frontiers are opening up that view the body as something more than just a brain-carrying robot. In doing so, they have created the potential for alliances with feminist thinkers influenced by the likes of Fausto-Sterling. Within a broad church that can be called – not uncontentiously – embodied cognition, a growing number of psychologists, scientists and theorists are approaching mental life as something that is not just contingent on, but constituted by, the state of our bodies. In the place of a Cartesian computer, the mind becomes more like a clay pot thrown on a wheel, to use the philosopher Michael Kirchhoff’s metaphor. The wet clay spins on a rotating disk, shaping and reshaping itself under the potter’s hands, arms and muscles, which in turn respond to how the material is moving. The mind is moulded by forces operating both within it and upon it, but also linked up to the world and the body as a single, dynamic yet mostly stable system.

It takes only a small leap to see the political potential of embodied cognition for feminists seeking a path out of the quagmire of sex and gender – or indeed any other critical social theorists keen to overthrow falsely naturalised and unjust hierarchies. Embodied cognition allows us to recognise the agency of biology without ceding the significance of power or politics. In her essay ‘Throwing Like a Girl’ (1980), the American philosopher Iris Marion Young cites empirical research suggesting that women playing sport are more likely than men to perceive a ball to be coming at them, aggressively, rather than towards them; they also tend not to trust their bodies, and to experience their limbs as awkward encumbrances rather than tools to help them realise their aims. Drawing on the work of de Beauvoir, Young suggests that female bodily experience is often rooted ‘in the fact that feminine existence experiences the body as a mere thing – a fragile thing, which must be picked up and coaxed into movement, a thing that exists as looked at and acted upon.’ But Young denies that this state of affairs is in any way natural, or that it flows from something intrinsic to female biology; instead, she says, such feelings are byproducts of how women learn to live in their bodies. One therefore doesn’t need some essential definition of ‘female’ to accept that embodiment matters, and to see how it shapes and can be shaped by culture.”

Fascinating.  The pivot away from the computational model allows a more textured analysis of how deeply rooted patriarchal norms in society are.  More hopefully we can see that the roots of female oppression are not a clear cut case of strictly biological factors, but rather of social construction, and social constructs are not immutable products of nature and thus, can be changed.

These just excepts from a very meaty and interesting essay, I recommend going to Aeon Magazine and reading the whole article as it well worth your time.

 

This Blog best viewed with Ad-Block and Firefox!

What is ad block? It is an application that, at your discretion blocks out advertising so you can browse the internet for content as opposed to ads. If you do not have it, get it here so you can enjoy my blog without the insidious advertising.

Like Privacy?

Change your Browser to Duck Duck Go.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 513 other followers

Progressive Bloggers

Categories

June 2019
M T W T F S S
« May    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Archives

Blogs I Follow

The DWR Community

Volunteer petunia

Observations and analysis on survival, love and struggle

femlab

the feminist exhibition space at the university of alberta

Raising Orlando

About gender, identity, parenting and containing multitudes

REAL for women

Reflecting Equality in Australian Legislation for women

The Feminist Kitanu

Spreading the dangerous disease of radical feminism

Double Plus Good

The Evolution Will Not BeTelevised

la scapigliata

writer, doctor, wearer of many hats

Teach The Change

Teaching Artist/ Progressive Educator

liberated558

Still she persisted

Old Wives' Tales

feminism, motherhood, writing

Female Personhood

Identifying as female since the dawn of time.

Radfem Resources | Radical Feminist Literature

A virtual library for those interested in radical feminist literature and resources.

Not The News in Briefs

A blog by Helen Saxby

SOLIDARITY WITH HELEN STEEL

A blog in support of Helen Steel

thenationalsentinel.wordpress.com/

Where media credibility made a comeback.

BigBooButch

Memoirs of a Butch Lesbian

RadFemSpiraling

Radical Feminism Discourse

a sledge and crowbar

deconstructing identity and culture

The Radical Pen

Fighting For Female Liberation from Patriarchy

Emma

Politics, things that make you think, and recreational breaks

Easilyriled's Blog

cranky. joyful. radical. funny. feminist.

Nordic Model Now!

Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution

The WordPress C(h)ronicle

These are the best links shared by people working with WordPress

HANDS ACROSS THE AISLE

Gender is the Problem, Not the Solution

fmnst

Peak Trans and other feminist topics

There Are So Many Things Wrong With This

if you don't like the news, make some of your own

Gentle Curiosity

Musing over important things. More questions than answers.

violetwisp

short commentaries, pretty pictures and strong opinions

Revive the Second Wave

gender-critical sex-negative intersectional radical feminism

Trans Animal Farm

The Trans Trend is Orwellian

Princess Henry of Wales

Priestess Belisama

miss guts.

just a girl on a journey

writing by renee

Trigger warning: feminism, women's rights

RANCOM!

Happily Retired

freer lives

A socialist critique of gender ideology

Centering Women

A radical feminist page made for women only

radicalkitten

radical Elemental feminism

%d bloggers like this: