Welcome to the new home of The Masculine Mystique!

Status

“The Masculine Mystique” is now called “XY Feminist”. I’ll be blogging here on an irregular basis, or contributing to one of my other related projects:

  • The List of Male Privileges – The project that started this whole blog. This list serves as the summary / table of contents for the majority of this blog.
  • The Arrow – A blog covering my first attempt to write a radical feminist science fiction novel. I’m looking for suggestions and feedback from anyone interested in the project, so I will be tossing out my ideas about sci-fi and occasionally posting drafts as well.
  • Feminist Game Reviews – There’s a ton of sexist and misogynist video games out there, as Feminist Frequency has shown in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. So I’m posting reviews for the rare games where you don’t get stuck playing  sexist stereotypes, and where the female characters are not degraded or assaulted. Submissions are also welcome!
  • Ad-response stickers – An old project from my college years. After some particularly misogynistic ads went up in a nearby subway station, I made these nifty little stickers so that people could make their objections to the ads known. Unfortunately, this shit happens all the time, so I’ve kept the stickers online (sold at cost) for anyone else who wants them.
  • My Goodreads page, where I post some of the great books that I have read, and occasional reviews of them as well!

I hope you find something useful here, and comments are always welcome.

Troll Stomping – Countering the Skunk Strategy of Debate

Anyone who follows me here or on Twitter knows that I treat commenters with the exact same level of respect that they give me. (This leads to some hilarious indignation on the part of trolls!)

But the one time I don’t bandy crooked words is when people resort to the Skunk Strategy of debate.

What is the Skunk Strategy, you say?

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Frozen 2?

I have several insightful and in-depth posts in the works, but they’re going to take some time to research and fully flesh out. In the meantime, here’s some feminist-themed speculation about everyone’s favorite slightly less sexist than usual Disney princess movie, Frozen.

It’s already a given that Disney will grow Frozen into as big a franchise as humanly possible. By lightening up a bit on the traditionally regressive Disney princess formula (and letting a woman direct an animated feature-length film for the first time in the company’s history), the movie has fired up young women everywhere and saved the company’s earnings for 2014. And for all that Disney lacks in creating new, progressive, risk-taking franchises, it more than makes up for in monetizing existing properties for all that they’re worth. (Expect the Broadway version of Frozen to run for at least a decade.) But that said, do you think Disney has enough creativity and resolve to continue down the path that Frozen has laid out? Can they actually find it within themselves to build a bigger and better Frozen 2?

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Why Semi-Pornulated Halloween Costumes are Still a Problem

In my last post, Nadia pointed out that the “adult” women’s Halloween costumes I ranted against were not nearly as revealing as the actual outfits used in pornography:

“…The link you showed me was far from revealing. From your link I thought I was expecting: bikinis, ankle high heels, short shorts that shows a person’s behind, and somehow reveal lots of breasts. You know, half naked clothing.”

She concludes that women shouldn’t be judged by wearing revealing clothing:

“Showing a bit of skin is natural and shouldn’t be seen as something ‘sexy’ or demeaning. Society demonizes women’s bodies and makes us want to be ashamed of expressing our bodies, for ourselves not anyone else.”

And I agree with Nadia on both counts: the costumes that I linked to were mildly pornulated at best, and they were not nearly as bad as the outfits typically associated with mainstream pornography.

But with a major Hat Tip to Twisty, I still believe that they are a big problem, even for women who want to express their bodies through these costumes.

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A Pornified Halloween Censors Women’s Creativity and Imagination

As I noted years ago on this blog, Halloween has been pornified beyond all recognition. But don’t take my word for it, things have gotten so bad this year that even the Daily Show has taken notice:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-october-22-2013/sexy-halloween-costumes

[Damn WordPress hates embedded players! GAH!]

But the pornification of Halloween has another pernicious consequence for women. Halloween was one of the few holidays where people were encouraged to let their creativity and imagination run wild. But as women are culturally forced into tighter and tighter halloween costumes, their imaginations and creativity are forced out.

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Feminism 101: Why Sexism in Mass Media is Dangerous – Part 4

“As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”
~Bell Hooks

This is part three of a multi-part series on the dangers of sexism in the mass media. If you haven’t already, you should read Part 1Part 2 and Part 3 first.

The Normalization of Sexism and Misogyny

Last time, we looked at how the mass media created a spike in youth cigarette smoking. But cigarettes were a success story. There was at an effective pushback to the media’s glamorization of cigarettes, and the levels of youth smoking were greatly diminished [1]. Unfortunately, unlike cigarettes, the heyday of mass media misogyny is far from over.

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Feminism 101: Why Sexism in Mass Media is Dangerous – Part 3

Wednesday: “Don’t worry. We’re getting out of here.”
Joel: “But…it’s Disney.”
Wednesday: (takes a deep breath)

~Addams Family Values (1993)

This is part three of a multi-part series on the dangers of sexism in the mass media. If you haven’t already, you should read Part 1 and Part 2 first.

The Mass Media and Normalization

In Part 1 we covered several cognitive biases that make people susceptible to mass media influence, and in Part 2 we looked at how damaging mass media messages have pushed susceptible people over the edge.

Yet, there are still those in the absolutist free-speech movement who would claim that these are only harmless words. For them, considerations for a minority will always take a back seat to personal sovereignty.

And when the calls for respect come from minority groups (women, ethnic minorities, survivors of sexual violence, the disabled, or anyone else regularly targeted by South Park[1] ) you’ll find that the number of people taking the absolutist position will increase dramatically, but I digress.

Those who take the absolutist position on free-speech typically treat bigoted and abusive media stories as isolated incidents. As if it was only one violent story, or one sexist video game, or a few backhanded comments made by one celebrity in isolation.

But bigotry is never spoken in isolation. It’s never one novel with an assaulted female lead, or one bigoted opinion article, or one damsel in distress, or one dick with a web comic/expo. This shit comes in droves, from all sides.

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