Women That Need To Get Back In The Kitchen (And Make Me Some Pie!)

{Note: I started working on this blog post when I was on a borrowed laptop as mine wasn’t turning on, it wa abandond due to keyboard issues on the loaned laptop.  The post below is a combination of what I wrote then, some edits to it and what I’m writing now.}

So the train wreck that is thunderf00ts decent into misogyny is on going, it started with this tweet about a video (I’ll go on in some depth with this in a bit, oh don’t you worry) and then continued with him telling PZMyers to watch the video, which lead to the following replies: 1, 2 and 3.  So what is it about is video?  Well the woman in it talks about what she refers to as the tyranny of female hypo agency, I’ll put the video below but be warned…..it’s long and its very clear that she’s reading from a script, and she’s fairly monotone!

So why do I have a problem with this?  And more immediately why did I pick the title I did?  Well for one thing she herself commented on not being in the kitchen, for another the whole thing has really ticked me off!  “How so?” I hear you ask…..well lets go through that.

“Sexual market value” and insecurity

This phrase, used mostly in the start of the video irked me.  Why?  It assumes that the be all and end all of a woman is her looks and thats all it is, nothing else.  In fact she pretty much said outright that women rely on this ‘sexual market value’ as opposed to develop things like their skills, admittedly she is paraphrasing this from someone elses video but in a way that infers she agrees with this.  Same with the insecurity, she even goes to the effort of pointing out how the attractiveness of women peaks early and then goes down hill.  I can only really draw on anecdotal evidence for this but out of all the women I know, which includes myself, there’s quite a lot of women that have sought additional skills/training/qualifications either out of getting them for interests sake or neding them to develop their career.  For myself it is a mixture of personal interest and career development, I have a long term goal but my short and medium term plans keep getting chopped and changed based on my whims.  But less of me, lets move on to…..what was it now?  Oh yes, this next bit is a doozy.

“Mens spaces”

So, mens spaces……places that have typically been the reserve of men…you know, like the work place, pubs, science/industry, politics etc pretty much anything that has been stereo typically male (so lets throw in the voting booth as well).  She spends a long time coming up with a quasi-scientific, well psuedo-science, reason for why women are effectively the weaker/less able sex using the notion that because of evolution we get “the men folk” to do all the risky things etc etc.  Want to know what this strikes as being?  Sexism Realism, thats right the race realists have a sexism counter part, I’m sure that this person will deny it but thats what I think.

So yes, mens spaces….women shouldn’t be in them and we need to stop trying to elbow our way in.  Well excuse me for being born with a vagina and being interested in things that are in “mens spaces”….especially as I clearly didn’t earn my right to be there off my own back and had to get a big strong man to make some space for me in these “mens spaces” and then help me redecorate…..(btw for those that don’t know me thats my sarcastic streak coming through)…  As it happens science is one of these “mens spaces” and like many other women I’ve got into the field because I can do the things needed, that is having a combination of the required entry qualifications and the ability to undertake the study.

Women need things made easier for them

To say that people are making things easier for women because women can’t cope is bollocks.  Yes, there still is a lot of male dominance in some places and whilst people are working on making things more equal it is based more upon the pursuit of equality/equality of opportunity.  I’d like to say no woman would want something just handed to her but there are those that would, as there are men that want an easy ride, so I can’t.  But what I can say is that I’m sure most women wouldn’t want things handed to them on a plate, I know I would be furious if that ever happened with me and my work or studies.

In fact if we have a quick look at British History, not the butchery from the video mind but a real one, specifically more recent history you’ll come across the Iron Lady herself…Margaret (Maggie) Thatcher…..or evil incarnate as some undoubtedly refer to her as.  Now irrespective of what you think of her political policies you’ve got to admire her for what she did for British women, she became Prime Minister and this made a lot of women think that she’d make things easier for other women.  But she didn’t, she did nothing to make things biased towards women.  What this meant is that she wasn’t about to undermine womens efforts to do things and to show that we are as capable as men at doing things.  Which, as a female Brit, I think it’s great…..because it shows If I want something and I work at it I can achieve it myself without a hand out.

As to her comment about the historic coffee houses she’s missed the context of the womens protests.  Lets review that now shall we.  Whilst this wiki entry does generally support what she’s saying it also mentions two other things.  Firstly it talks about the role played by some women within coffee houses themselves and the fact that they were meant to be open to all despite class/gender.  And yes, it does also talk about the efforts of women to get them shut down, the concerns stated were due to male sexual performance….the good old sterility and impotence double whammy.  See, the big concern was the fella going off to one of these places after work and coming home tired and not interested in getting it on.  Now whilst this might not have been the case with every coffeehouse, or every patron of coffee houses, it was frequent enough to be a concern of the day.  The reason being that many coffee houses were the fronts for brothels, as the book mentioned in this blog post discusses.  So looking back with modern hindsight I can completely see why these women would have wanted the coffee houses closed, whilst I’m quite happy for any guy I’m in a relationship to to go on a lads night out if I discovered he was getting a bit extra in then there would be trouble.

If it was, as she suggests, because men were gathering and doing their own thing away from women’s influence then you’d see women trying to bad every all male activity…..but we’ve not been.

“Girl Gamers”

This bit of the video is one that actually gets my goat quite considerably if I’m honest, and why?  Well as a female geek that’s partaken of the gaming side of geekdom (even if I’ve not been as hardcore a gamer as others) I can again speak from a position of experience for how laughably wrong.  Why?  Well it’s an accepted trope/stereotype that female characters have a tendancy to be scantily clad, or at least running around in moderately impractical gear, and the depending on the game world you are in there is a definite inverse relation to how effective the armour is and how much flesh it covers.  Can this be a problem for a few women?  Probably, but the vast majority of us just tend to find it entertaining how the guys can get a little obsessed over a bunch of pixels.

Patronising air quotes about girl gamers aside let’s take a quick look through some of the hassle women gamers have to put up with via the archive provided by the submissions to Fat, Ugly or Slutty (don’t blame me if you lose all respect for humanity after visiting it).  They’ve categorised things neatly, there’s a place for Death Threats, there’s the Unprovoked Rage section and the joy that is the X-Rated section.  That’s just 3 of the sections, but abuse and harassment of women gamers IS an issue, I’ve never experienced it myself as I’ve never been a massive online gamer.  And whilst I’ve been around some places where phrase ‘pics or gtfo’ is used in a tongue in cheek manner when you mention that you are a woman on the internet there are plenty of instances when it’s not meant in a nice way at all.  I’m also going to state that I don’t for one second think that this behaviour is typical of male gamers at all, it’s likely that (as with all these things) it’s some small contingent of male gamers that are either insecure and threatened by female gamers or are just sheeping along because it’s “cool” to insult female gamers.

As for my presence in any of my geeky activities I’ve always been welcomed in as an equal and have never had to barge my way in and elbow people out.  In fact I can lay the ‘blame’ for my geekyness soley on my father, he’s the one that let me what Star Trek as a child (repeats of TOS, there was no TNG back then) and after reading The Hobbit as a bed time story he thought he’d give The Lord of The Rings a go…..a bit heavy going for a 7 and 5 year old though.  And as for the insidious thing of wanting to be safe in your environment for shame my fellow geeky ladies…  Clearly we should all just accept that we are in geekdom to act as eye candy etc for the male geeks out there.  We don’t get to dress up in the costumes we want and not be sexually harrassed or the like for it, infact it’s our duty to let the touchy feely male geeks let their hands roam…..  Please excuse me whilst I go throw up………hmmmm…….I feel better now.

I think having ‘safe zones’ at large con’s and the like is actually a good idea.  Why?  Well for what ever reason someone might need to find a quiet space and chill out, it might be because they’re a female geek and some guy has been trying it on, it might even be a guy that’s got a woman that can’t take the hint…..it could be for any number of reasons.  But hey, that’s just me pointing out something that’s a good idea for many pragmatic reasons.

Sexism realism

The video finishes off with a romp through some evolutionary theory and history as an attempt to justify the fact that women should know their place.  Not to mention trotting out the word hypoagency some more, which to all intence and purpose seems to be something that the MRA’s dreamt up themselves.  I’ve googled and checked online dictionaries, google just spews out links to MRA sites and copies of this video and the online dictionaries hit a blank too.  And unless I’ve missed what she’s refering to with the word hypoagency I’m assuming that she means a high level of agency, in which case the word should be hyperagency (i.e. lots of it) as opposed to hypoagency (not a lot of agency at all).

Closing thoughts

Whilst the youtuber has clearly gone to the effort of scripting her video she needs to improve things a little.  For one she need to have a couple of practice reads and then try doing the video without looking like she’s on an auto que.  She also needs to go over the difference between causality and correlation, just because she thinks she’s connected some dot together to make a pretty shape doesn’t mean shes created something that we all think is a pretty shape.  As I said in the note at the start of this blog post I’d started to write this and then had to put it to one side.  I was reminded to revisit this and finish it thanks to an excellent video by TheTruePooka, he discusses male hypoagency and the draft, check it out:

I’d also like to pick up something from the womans video description too, she said women would barge in, redecorate and change the CD selection to Sarah McClachlan CD’s.  Again this is something that is not only a litle bit off base but also mildly insulting.  Now I’m sure that Ms McClachlan has a fine voice and sings with good technique she’s just not an artist I would listen to.  And whilst I would change the CD’s to something else due to the fact I only know a couple of RATM’s songs I’d prefer something along the lines of this:

But hey, I’m sure metal music is just another “Male Space” that I’m invading……


(Not always that girlie at all)