Fuck yeah, San Marino!

Okay, so they suck at football but I love them. I support them in all their games, even against England. Facing almost certain defeat in every game, it takes persistence, spirit and a solid pair of balls to keep coming out and trying your best.

I’m especially enamoured with their first choice keeper, Aldo Simoncini. Not only does he sometimes impress me with his goalkeeping but his life story and attitude are really inspiring. Read this article about him and tell me you don’t admire his spirit.

Actually, the team and manager are always universally positive in interviews. They’re proud to play for their country despite the overwhelming odds against them. They aren’t naive – they’re very realistic about their chances – but they’re just happy to have the opportunity to play on some of the world’s biggest stages.

When you look at the facts, it’s easy to see why they’re stuck at the bottom of the FIFA rankings. San Marino has a population of about 33,000; nobody expects a Messi or Ronaldo to appear in a pool of that size. In fact, San Marino has a dearth of professional footballers of any level. The team comprises only a couple of players that make a full-time living playing football; the rest of them are part-timers with day jobs ranging from accountant to carpenter.

It’s hard not to admire a bunch of guys holding down full-time jobs and still finding the time, energy and motivation to train and play football at an international level. You just know that they must really love the game. It’s a combination of passion, enthusiasm and relentless optimism that makes the San Marino team the greatest and most lovable underdog in international football.

Needless to say, I’m completely opposed to those who say that San Marino shouldn’t be allowed to compete in qualification for the World Cup and Euro tournaments. I’d present an argument for the position that international football should be open to all nations but that isn’t really what this post is about.

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Page 3 “victory”

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read up on it.

Personally, I’ve always found myself agreeing with the campaigners. I haven’t actually heard any of their arguments but I have my own longstanding opinion of Page 3 and I’m sure it’s probably similar to the official party line.

The role of newspapers is to present the news. They are inherently serious because they deal with serious social and political subjects — even The Sun deals with these subjects, albeit horribly. The subtext of Page 3 is that the role of women in these serious matters is simply to look good. To place a naked woman next to serious discussion for the purposes of titillation marginalises and trivialises the role of women in the creation of the news and, concomitantly, the functioning of society. According to The Sun, the primary, newsworthy female contribution to contemporary society is superficial. Page 3 is simply out of context and entirely out of place in a newspaper.

Given that what I described above is – in my humble opinion, at least – the primary problem here, The Sun‘s relatively minor capitulation can’t be considered a victory at all. The newspaper will still use Page 3 to portray attractive women as newsworthy simply for being attractive — the sum total of their contribution to society. In fact, The Sun‘s token effort betrays their complete lack of understanding of the problem. Nobody, I believe, was particularly upset about the nudity itself (and if they were, they should never, ever be allowed on the internet). The focus was always the casual sexism involved in dedicating space in a fucking newspaper to reinforce the message that women are to be valued principally for their appearance and for their ability to provide light relief from the serious business of society.

If I was actively involved in the campaign, I’d probably be hailing it as a victory for morale purposes but it’s not really.

Cars: mode of transport or oppressive product of the patriarchy?

Let me put the MRAs out there at rest by saying straight off that the answer is most definitely the latter. The modern car is the product of over a century of work by almost exclusively male designers and engineers. Is it any surprise that the car was, in fact, subtly designed to promote rape culture?

It is clear to me that the car was intended to be a metaphorical woman. The misogynistic creators of the automobile expected them to be purchased as demure, subservient members of the family. They designed cars to have the same traits they believed an ideal woman should have: loyalty, an undemanding nature and an unfaltering willingness to serve. The chauvinists didn’t stop there though and the truly disturbing part is the way they utilised the car-as-wife metaphor to promote and normalise rape.

Petrol pump inside car

This should come with an NSFW tag.

It all starts with the method of refuelling. Petrol pumps are self-evidently phallic objects. I don’t feel like I should have to explain this part so just fucking look at one, okay? You should keep your distance unless you know what you’re doing. Don’t blame me if you end up with petrol in your eye.

The woman (or “car”) has been designed to receive the phallus (or “petrol pump”) in such a manner as to simulate sexual intercourse. The problem is that this intercourse is entirely non-consensual. When was the last time you saw someone ask for their car’s permission before unceremoniously penetrating it? Exactly. You’ve probably never seen that happen and neither have I. All of which just goes to show how bad things have become.

The act of refuelling your car normalises rape. The act of driving it reinforces gender roles. If you’re not already convinced that the metaphor is intentional, allow me to show you a transcript I obtained of a meeting that took place a long time ago between two directors of an unnamed multinational car manufacturer. I’ll use only the first initial of each man (T and A) to protect their privacy (read: I don’t want to die in my sleep).

T: Imagine a place where polygamy is legal.
A: Iraq?
T: No. America! Every family will have two wives: the one with no brain and the car. Each will be subservient to the husband in all matters.
A: Can we find a way to get rape in there somehow?
T:  Sure. Refuelling. Look at the phallic shape of our fuel pumps. Every time a man puts the pump into his car, he is performing an act of metaphorical rape! In public!
A: Hahaha.
T: Hahaha.
A: Won’t the women be upset that we have created this thing that will be referred to in the future as rape culture?
T: The testing confirmed our original suspicions. The women never needed to refuel our test cars because they wrecked them almost immediately. We saved a fortune on crash test dummies!
A: What happened? Did they drive the cars up the wall with their nagging?
T: Hahaha.
A: Hahaha.
T: The best part of our plan is that men everywhere will be paying good money to perform this public act of rape. We’re treating women like property! We’re saying “come here and do this sexual assault and then pay for it!” You don’t even pay the woman, you pay the pimp — ahem, pump.
A: Hey, T, how is a woman like a car?
T: She stays quiet and does everything you ask of her?
A: No, I’m telling a joke. The answer is that you have to service her occasionally to ensure she doesn’t stop working.
T: Hahaha.
A: Hahaha.
T: I’m now going to go out and promote this thing that will be referred to in the future as rape culture.
A: Bye, T. I will stay here and oppress female employees.
T: For the patriarchy!
A: The patriarchy!
T: Hahaha.
A: Hahaha.

Pretty damning evidence, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Do you believe in gender equality?

A loaded question

The question “do you believe in gender equality?” has been used countless times to semantically co-opt people into the feminist movement against their will. The argument typically starts with someone declaring that they aren’t a feminist in the presence of a feminist. The feminist asks the speaker if they believe in gender equality. At this point, the feminist’s new victim is put on the spot with two options: try arguing a position that, without recourse to scripture or a misguided appeal to nature, is basically untenable or sheepishly answer in the affirmative. “Aha!”, exclaims the feminist in a smug tone, “you are a feminist”.

The argument sometimes works in practice because it disarms people and gives them no chance to think of a reasonable response.  This post is my personal response to the argument.

What is “gender equality” anyway?

I have a qualm with the term “gender equality”. What does it actually mean? Is someone who holds complementarian views but believes the genders are of equal value a supporter of gender equality? Do you have to vehemently oppose gender roles in order to promote gender equality? The term is simply too nebulous to be used in an argument that relies entirely on well-defined terminology. I’d personally request a clear definition of “gender equality” before answering the question. For simplicity’s sake, let’s define “gender equality” as “equal rights in law for all genders”.

Dictionary definitions

In theory, the argument is logically flawless provided that you agree precisely with the other person’s definition of a feminist — once again, an immaculate definition must be requested. If the given definition is very strict (i.e. someone who believes in equal rights for all genders) then someone who believes in equal rights for all genders is necessarily a feminist. When someone uses this definition, however, there’s no need to agree with them (in fact, you’ll find that many dictionaries will back you up if you don’t). If you disagree with any of the axioms, definitions or premises used in or by an argument then there’s no reason to accept the argument’s conclusion, even if the argument itself is internally valid.

In practice, “feminist” is an overloaded term — and the dictionaries that feminists are so fond of support this assertion. “Feminist” almost universally implies both “someone who believes in equal rights for all genders” and “a supporter of feminism”. The reason you can be one and not the other – thus in disagreement with the person posing the question in the title – is that feminism, itself, is a movement, which you may not want to consider yourself part of.

A movement consists of a set of actions carried out by loosely-connected parties. Even if you support the ideology driving a movement, you may still disagree with the vast majority of actions that occur as a result of that movement. In progress, movements have a tendency to spawn ad-hoc “sub-beliefs” that are not part of the ideology’s canon (e.g. in the feminist community, it is sometimes held that rape jokes are universally unacceptable). Merely agreeing with a movement’s ideology does not imply an agreement with its working system of sub-beliefs. It’s entirely possible to diverge from the feminist movement while still supporting the idea of equal rights.

Let’s be charitable

Let’s be charitable for a moment and define a feminist as simply “a supporter of equal rights for all genders”. You should never do this in a real world setting because you wrongly cede ground by doing so but I want to talk about the feminist bait-and-switch argument from every angle.

Firstly, it’s probably worth noting that any definition that explicitly includes the word “rights” is obsolete in the Western world. In every advanced Western country I can think of, women already have the same legal rights as men. The rights feminists claim to covet are already enshrined in law. In many cases, women have more rights than men (maternity leave laws come to mind). Earlier waves of feminism made this kind of “appeal to law” redundant. In fact, given the inextricable connection between “rights” and “laws”, astute feminists may wish to cherry-pick their definitions even further so as to avoid any reference to the legislature. Nevertheless, let’s stick with our game of make-believe and carry on discussing the common definition given above.

It has been repeatedly suggested by many men and women that the words and actions of the typical modern self-described feminist are incongruent with the definition of a feminist given in the opening paragraph of this section. I don’t recommend engaging the argument on these terms but it should be quite possible to show that the average feminist doesn’t actually live up to their own definition of feminism. If you really want to fuck with a feminist, you can make a convincing case that you are, in fact, the real feminist and they are not. If you want to go a step further, you can try to force the feminist to deploy the “no true Scotsman” fallacy repeatedly until you finally demonstrate that there’s no practical example of a modern “feminist” who qualifies as a feminist by our given definition.

Words mean what people think they mean. Right now, people don’t think that “feminist” describes a supporter of equality. It’s all very well waving a dictionary in someone’s face but nobody trusts the self-described patriot who hates his country. Anyone can give themselves a label but if they fail to act in a way that justifies the label, they will be judged to have misapplied that label. If this happens on a sufficiently large scale, the label itself and its definition will be called into question. This is precisely what’s happening with feminism. People are struggling to reconcile the popular definition of feminism with their first-hand experiences of feminists.

Meanwhile, back in reality…

I believe the ambiguous definition of “feminist” is often willfully exploited by those who ask the question posed in the title. In the eyes of the overwhelming majority of people, there is no separation of a feminist as a supporter of equal rights from the mass of connotations given to the word by the feminist movement. By identifying as a feminist, you signal tacit endorsement of a range of beliefs and actions taken to further those beliefs, which are beyond – and far more concrete than – “equal rights for all”.

Some of the actions taken by self-described feminists may not even further the “equal rights” agenda (many would argue that they don’t). That is the nature of movements; they are not static statements of beliefs or values. There are a number of reasons you might not want to be considered part of the feminist movement. You may object to being labelled a feminist simply because you don’t support or want to be associated with the actions and beliefs of the feminist movement. You don’t even need a reason not to consider yourself part of a movement, which is an active entity that no-one can be forced to participate in.

I choose not to identify with the feminist movement for myriad reasons. Not least is the intellectual dishonesty rampant within the movement. The words “academic integrity” simply aren’t in the feminist lexicon. In my experience, there is a general willingness to support a point with poorly derived statistics if doing so leads to the “right” conclusions. The CDC studies on the prevalence of rape, for example, are rendered worthless by profound methodological flaws and anyone parroting the “1 in 5” line is naive at best. Similarly, the “wage gap” has been wildly inflated by studies not using suitable controls. There’s a plethora of horribly flawed “research” that appears to have been carried out with the sole intention of providing feminists with tasty soundbites. And, as far as I can see, the vast majority are gobbling it up without a second thought or primary source. I don’t want to be associated with a movement where this is commonplace.

The intellectual dishonesty of many feminists extends to the way they conduct and manage discourse and, more specifically, dissent. Silencing tactics are exceptionally common. Accusations of “sexism” and “misogyny” can and will be used liberally to shut down any uncomfortable argument. “Misogynist” has become a byword for “someone who makes my emotionally-based reasoning sad”. The most egregious silencing occurs whenever men try to organise to discuss issues that disproportionately affect them — as if an all-male conversation is now an existential threat to the female race. Conferences designed to address the disproportionately high rate of male suicide, unfair custody rules and other “male” problems have been interrupted by gate-crashers (often armed with whistles or loudspeakers) or just cancelled completely (usually as a result of pressure on local government officials, fake bomb threats or petty vandalism).

Many activities of feminists paint a rather dim picture of both the methods and motives of those involved. Rarely are they condemned by other feminists. When pressed for a response from the feminist masses, you might get a lazy excuse coupled with an insincere statement full of politicking and words like “condone” and “unacceptable”. Other responses in their repertoire include stony-faced denial and enthusiastic support. The one thing you won’t see is genuine disapproval. All is fair in love and man-hate. The problem is that when you identify with a movement, these actions are being transitively carried out in your name (at least as far as public perception is concerned).

Are men welcome anyway?

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time observing feminist “spaces”. Call me crazy but I think you should have a very good understanding of something before you criticise and dismiss it. I’ve noticed that female feminists have an uneasy, fractious relationship with their male “allies”. Most often, the relationship is one of subordination: “you’re welcome to come along for the ride but you have to follow everything we say and voice no opinions of your own”. The modern consensus seems to be that men can be bit-part mini-feminists. There is, perhaps ironically, no notion of gender equality within the feminist movement itself (which, to me, intimates an admittance that the feminist movement is, in fact, a movement to advance women’s collective position in society rather than a movement for gender equality — if men need feminism too and these women care so much about gender equality, where are the male seats at the top table?).

An older view contends that men can never be true feminists, which is to say that they should not refer to themselves as feminists. Although less popular now – partly due to widespread acceptance of the fact that male participation and assistance are essentially necessary for enabling modern feminism – this purist perspective is far from dead. The school of thought that male and female feminists are of equal value is embryonic in that it doesn’t really exist outside of theoretical discussion. Feminists will almost invariably argue that it shouldn’t exist and they’re probably right. All of this can leave a man wondering if they’re being co-opted into a movement where they’re not even really welcome.

I’ve spoken to many men who once considered themselves feminists. A lot of them were just attempting to white knight (some even admitted it) until they realised that – how do I put this delicately? – 99% of women don’t actually want a man who willingly allows himself to be subjugated. Not to put too much focus on anecdotal evidence (or, indeed, anecdotes in general) but sycophancy leads to a lack of respect and a lack of respect leads to a lack of sex. Some of the male ex-feminists I’ve spoken to were involved in the movement for the “right” reasons but inevitably became disillusioned by the level of man-bashing rhetoric and the concomitant insecurity and cognitive dissonance accompanying a lack of belonging. Most people don’t stick around in friendship circles to experience disdain or antipathy. It’s a strange practice to “encourage” (ensnare, force, guilt trip; take your pick) men to identify with a movement where their welcome is heavily conditional; an invitation contingent on their utility.

In conclusion

Feminists would have us believe in a false dichotomy: “feminist” or “sexist” — pick one. Of course, it’s a ridiculous assertion — in fact, I would say that the current dichotomy is between feminism and free speech, which seem mutually incompatible. What about those men and women who fully support gender equality but believe that the current generation of feminists aren’t actually working towards anything of the sort? An increasing number of people, I feel, are becoming disillusioned with modern feminism (and rightly so). Those who wish to sidestep the false dichotomy minefield have taken to using terms like “egalitarian” and “equalist” to describe a belief in gender equality without the feminist connotations. Is this the start of a euphemism treadmill? I don’t think so. People who describe themselves as “egalitarians” or “equalists” tend to have a willingness to also work on issues that disproportionately affect men.

For all their attempts to monopolise gender equality activism, I’ve never seen a feminist pay more than cursory attention to men’s issues. Pretending to care about problems that disproportionately affect men is a favourite tactic amongst feminists. By being vaguely aware of the statistics and saying the right things, feminists can basically starve men’s activists of oxygen by making a show of “taking on” their issues and redirecting the attention to their own cause. They’ve used a similar tactic with minority groups under the umbrella term “intersectionality” (see also: Gays Against Feminism).

In terms of male issues specifically, every “male” issue is conveniently explained by the “patriarchy”, which feminists often use as a point of convergence to garner bilateral support for action that, in practice, very heavily favours women. If you can project every social evil onto the patriarchal bogeyman, you can continue to justify ignoring everyone else’s problems in favour of fighting the patriarchy. By constantly redefining and expanding the boundaries of “patriarchy”, the goalposts can be moved again and again so that only women’s issues are ever actually addressed. This is by design. In reality, I think that many feminists would love nothing more than for the other activist groups to disappear overnight. In lieu of such a neat solution, however, they’ve mastered the art of conglomerating and co-opting other groups in a way that furthers the feminist agenda (far more than those of the groups they exploit). It’s tyranny of the female majority writ small.

Menthol cancer sticks are feminist trojan horse

I have long been sceptical of menthol cigarettes. The menthol cigarette is a light form of cigarette for people who don’t actually enjoy smoking. They’re the sort of thing you might give your baby when you’re not sure if he or she is old enough to smoke yet. It seems like the only grown adults consuming these dubious bringers of cancer are women (certainly this is true where I live).  I decided to investigate why menthol cigarettes are still being produced. The results were shocking.

Once upon a time, “menthol” was actually spelled “menfol”. The spelling was mysteriously changed under suspicious circumstances many years ago. I wondered if the change was deliberately engineered to obfuscate something. But what? Well, it turns out that “menfol” is an anagram. Rearrange the letters and you get “femnol”. With me so far? Okay, good. Now, like you, I had no idea what femnol was. The word hinted at a molecule with an OH group but there was no mention of it in the mainstream academic literature.

I turned to the deep web for off-the-record information. I’d tell you how to find it but you’d probably just freak out. I found some absolute nutters peddling all kinds of conspiracy theories on there. I also found what I was looking for. It turns out that femnol is an extremely potent drug used in hormone replacement therapy for men looking to become women. But why, then, was it never referenced in the science journals I perused? It turns out that femnol was never picked up on by mainstream (sheeple) medicine because it was considered too strong. It was hidden by the female chemists who discovered it because they found that it turned every man who took it into a stunning 10/10 babe. Being scientists, these women knew a favourable reproductive strategy when they saw one. Who could blame them for “losing” their research?

Unfortunately, at some point along the line, the research was discovered. Fast forward to the present day and billions of cigarettes containing femnol are being produced. Millions of – already rather effeminate – men are choosing to smoke menthol cigarettes for some reason (gypsy toothbrush, anyone?). These poor men are unwittingly being turned into women by the militant feminists of Big Tobacco. As of yet, I’ve been unable to determine how deep this thing goes but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were government or even Illuminati involvement. The end game? Isn’t it obvious? The aim is to create a homogeneous single-sex society living under the matriarchy — the single most oppressive social structure known to man (especially male man).

This has got to be the biggest conspiracy I’ve ever unravelled. I advise everyone to stop smoking menthol cigarettes IMMEDIATELY!! Let the people know about this crime against the patriarchy! Wake up and rise up, my fellow men!! It’s time to take the men out of menthol!!

The Privileged iPhone Foundation

Last Christmas, more than 200 million children in the US and Western countries around the world did not get an iPhone from Santa. At The Privileged iPhone Foundation1, we think it’s time to put an end to this travesty. This year, the foundation will be raising money to ensure that no spoilt brat or annoying hipster goes without life’s essentials. For just $550, you can guarantee a first-world child clean drinking water a brand new iPhone 5s in the colour of their choice — because we realise that having an iPhone in the wrong colour is almost as bad as not having one at all.

In the longer term, the foundation is working for a future where no child is born into a family that can only provide a primitive standard of food, shelter and toys. Our most recent initiative – the No Child Left On Android initiative – is actually a mandatory sterilisation scheme. We aim to provide poor families with the tools they need in order to not have any more children — whether they like it or not. Society has no problem with taking children away from abusive parents; why should a home without love (and iPhones) be exempt?

Please just take a few moments to read what some of these children have written about their experience of living in poverty that you couldn’t even imagine.

Twitter complaints about not getting an iPhone for Christmas

Breaks your heart, doesn’t it?

1: It’s important to realise that the iPhones themselves are in no way privileged — the name of our foundation is a misnomer.

The dying art of conversation

I was brought up to pay my full attention to anyone who’s talking to me. I was taught to make eye contact, use appropriate body language and genuinely try to listen to what’s being said. Unlike many other questionable rules of etiquette that I now ignore – please, someone, tell me why putting your knife and fork together when you’ve finished eating makes you a better person – the rules governing social interaction have stuck with me. I agree with them, I see the value in them and there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ve made me a more socially adept adult.

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