Notes and Comment Blog

Our short and pithy observations on the passing scene as it relates to the mission of Butterflies and Wheels. Woolly-headed or razor-sharp comments in the media, anti-rationalist rhetoric in books or magazines or overheard on the bus, it’s all grist to our mill. And sometimes we will hold forth on the basis of no inspiration at all beyond what happens to occur to us.


The list of Fellows gets shorter again

Jun 17th, 2015 11:52 am | By

Hemant reported in an update yesterday that Phil Zuckerman had asked to be removed from the Secular Policy Institute’s list of Fellows; today he is off the list.

Two more have left: Ron Lindsay and Stephen Law.

CFI is no longer a member of the SPI. (Or possibly never was – at any rate it’s not now. We know they have a history of adding organizations without asking, and then balking when asked to remove.)

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



All the superheroes

Jun 17th, 2015 11:28 am | By

David Koepsell has a beautiful piece at the CFI blog which you must read right this minute. It’s in the form of a letter to his daughter.

Dear Amelia,

It broke my heart last week when we were talking as I drove you to school. You saw the poster for the Avengers movie and asked who “the girl” was. When I explained she is Black Widow, and that she is an Avenger, you laughed and said “how can she be an Avenger? Avengers are superheroes, and she’s a girl.” It horrifies me to know that already, there are forces at work on you that convince you that somehow, girls and women cannot be anything you want. And I meant it when I told you that yes, women can be superheroes.You can be.

The world is full of people who will try to tell you that you can’t be or do something, sometimes due to you background, sometimes due to other things that don’t matter. Many members of your father’s family, my grandparents and their relatives, were despised, imprisoned, tortured, and killed because of our ethnicity, because we are descended from Jews. Millions of people were judged as unworthy, unclean, unfit. While the nations that tried to wipe us out lost in a world war, the battles over prejudice continue. Captain America cannot save us from the ongoing harm that those who judge others due to ethnicity, religion, skin color, and gender pose to every child who wants to be exactly what she wants to be.

There, that should be enough to make it impossible for you not to read the rest.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Never cite Brendan

Jun 16th, 2015 6:04 pm | By

Updating to add: I had it in mind all along that Hunt was pushed out of a non-tenured position, but the post doesn’t reflect that. He wouldn’t be pushed out of a tenured position because of his remarks, and I wouldn’t advocate that he should be.

Many of the usual suspects – Dawkins, yes, but not only Dawkins – are raging about the illiberal attacks on Tim Hunt. But they’re doing it by ignoring the time and place at which he made his oh so funny “joke.” They’re ignoring the fact that he said it in a work environment. Picture an admiral trash-talking about women in the Navy, at an official Navy event. Would that be generally considered a mere joke? Picture a CEO making racist comments at a company banquet – would that be seen as just some yuks among buddies?

I don’t think so.

Dawkins in his tweet cited this awful article in Reason by the always-awful Brendan O’Neill. (Yes really, Our Brendan yet again.) The whole piece is deeply dishonest, because it does that pretending it was just a joke on a social occasion thing.

Hunt is a British biochemist. A really good one. In 2001 he won the Nobel Prize for his breakthrough work on cells. He’s a fellow of the Royal Society in London, founded in 1660 and thought to be the oldest scientific research institution in the world. And this week he was unceremoniously ditched by University College London for telling a joke.

No. Not just “for telling a joke” – for telling it when and where and to whom he did.

But Our Brendan takes that line throughout.

In a normal world, a world which valued the freedom to make a doofus of oneself, that should have been the end of it. Seventy-two-year-old man of science makes outdated joke, tumbleweed rolls by, The End.

No. That’s staggeringly disingenuous. He wasn’t being a “doofus” and it wasn’t just an “outdated joke.” It was a top man expressing (“jokey”) contempt for women in his field, at a work conference in that field. It was, in short, a hostile work environment. Saying it was “just a joke” hasn’t cut it in about thirty years.

But we don’t live in a normal world. Certainly we don’t live in a world where people are allowed to make off-color comments. And so with tedious, life-zapping predicability, Hunt fell victim to the offence-policers, to the machine of outrage being constantly cranked up by self-styled guardians of what we may think, say, and even joke about.

Nope, and nope, and nope. All wrong. All ignoring the salient points.

His comments were branded “shocking and bewildering.” (You find a silly joke bewildering? You really should get out more.) And then came the denouement to this latest outburst of confected fury: Hunt “resigned” from UCL, where he was honorary professor.

“Resign” is in quote marks because it’s pretty clear he was elbowed out. Consider UCL’s statement about his leaving. “UCL was the first university in England to admit women students on equal terms to men, and the university believes that this outcome [Hunt’s resignation] is compatible with our commitment to gender equality.”

Quite. That’s part of their job, do you see? To make sure there isn’t a hostile work environment for women and other despised groups at UCL. They have every right to say what they did, and in fact a duty to.

That’s another way of saying that Hunt’s penchant for making un-PC jokes was incompatible with life at UCL. So he had to be excommunicated. Professors of Britain, be warned: tell a funny that irritates the right-on, and you shall be cast out.

No. Again, it’s not about mere irritation, it’s about a hostile work environment. I don’t believe O’Neill is too stupid to grasp that.

What is truly alarming, what should really send a shiver down every liberal’s spine, is not the words that came out of Hunt’s mouth but the haranguing of him that followed, the shunning of him by the academy and possibly by the scientific elite itself.

Nonsense. The academy needs to ensure that casual sexism and racism aren’t just business as usual. That’s part of their job.

The response to Hunt is way more archaic than what Hunt said. Sure, his views might be a bit pre-women’s lib, pre-1960s. But the tormenting and sacking of people for what they think and say is pre-modern. It’s positively Inquisitorial.

“Women’s lib”??? It’s sheer affectation – he’s nowhere near old enough for that absurd label to be a natural part of his vocabulary – it’s been dead as a dodo since 1971 at the latest. And again, it’s not about what Hunt thinks and says in general, it’s about what he thinks and says on the job.

The Hunt incident is quite terrifying. For what we have here is a university, under pressure from an intolerant mob, judging a professor’s fitness for office by his personal thoughts, his idea of humour. Profs should be judged by one thing alone: their depth of knowledge. It shouldn’t matter one iota if they are sexist, stupid, unfunny, religious, uncouth, ugly, or whatever. All that should matter is whether they have the brainpower to do the job at hand.

Nope. They have other duties as part of the job. Their “depth of knowledge” is not a free pass to be dismissive and scornful (however jestingly) toward subordinates. Professors don’t have a golden permit to say anything they feel like saying merely because they’re professors. Professing is a job, and it has requirements.

UCL and the mob’s hounding of Hunt echoes the university of the pre-Enlightenment era, when only those who were 100 percent Good Catholics had a hope in hell of getting a job. Only now, academics must be unflinchingly in accordance with the commandments of PC rather than with Biblical thinking. A Nobel Laureate has been broken on the wheel of PC. This is bad. Really bad. For if even a Nobel winner can be treated like this, what hope is there for lesser professors? The chilling effect of the Hunt debacle on the Western academy is likely to be pretty intense.

No, it’s not “PC.” It’s the rules of the workplace. Deal with it.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



The witch-hunt under the bed

Jun 16th, 2015 4:54 pm | By

And more from the Department of Please Please Please Please Stop, Dawkins Division:

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins Jun 14
“A moment to savour”? Really? Please, Guardian, could we just lighten up on the witch-hunts? #ReinstateTimHunt. http://reason.com/archives/2015/06/13/the-illiberal-persecution-of-tim-

Again with the putative witch hunts – again used by a man, to rebuke women for rebelling against casually contemptuous treatment. Wouldn’t it be nice if Richard Dawkins actually came out against some item of casually contemptuous treatment of women? Wouldn’t it be nice if he didn’t keep insisting that because stonings and forced marriages are so horrific, therefore women in places like the UK and the US should stop rebelling against casually contemptuous treatment? I think that would be nice. It would make a change, too.

And he didn’t say it in haste and then withdraw it, either. He said it and then defended it.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins Jun 14
@SquashedLumps I didn’t like Tim Hunt’s joke. But I loathe and detest mob rule and witch hunts and politically correct feeding frenzies.

And that’s the important thing. It’s never the important thing to say, “my dear fellow, with all the respect in the world, you really mustn’t talk about our women colleagues  in that way; it’s not right.” No. That’s not the important thing to do. The important thing to do is to protest against the women colleagues’ protests, by calling the women witch hunters and mob rulers and PC piranhas.

So I wish he would Please Please Please Please Stop. But I know he won’t; he’s made that crystal clear by now.

He was at the CFI conference this past weekend. He was – naturally – at the awards banquet Friday where he was among those receiving an award. His was a lifetime achievement award. I naturally kept wishing he hadn’t mucked up the appearance of his lifetime achievement by indulging in so much hostility to rebellious women recently. It doesn’t adorn his record. It makes it harder to read his books with unalloyed pleasure.

In his remarks after receiving the award, he made a “People’s Front of Judaea” reference. For the millionth time, I wished he wouldn’t. It’s not petty little squabbles over nomenclature, it’s the horrible sexist bullshit that women still have to deal with and that he is encouraging. And now here he is again, back at work, belittling women and complaining of witch hunts. What a pity he won’t stop.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Mixed Gender Lab

Jun 16th, 2015 4:32 pm | By

Via Sarah Tuttle, via Jen, a useful sign:

Sarah Tuttle ‏@niais
Ok. I made a lab sign, if anyone needs one. #TimHunt #DistractinglySexy #WomenInScience #STEM #SafeLab

Embedded image permalink

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



More #DistractinglySexy

Jun 16th, 2015 3:31 pm | By

Our friend Jen Philipps:

jen phillips ‏@ClutchScience Jun 12
Collection protocols may vary, but tear production is reliably abundant. #DistractinglySexy

Embedded image permalink

As luck would have it, the tears of girl scientists make excellent embryo medium #DistractinglySexy

Embedded image permalink

Sarcastic Rover (whom I have a crush on):

SarcasticRover ‏@SarcasticRover Jun 15
Can being a woman prevent others from doing their job? No… that’s stupid. #distractinglysexy

Embedded image permalink

And a couple more floating around –

Embedded image permalink

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Under the rock

Jun 16th, 2015 12:34 pm | By

More on Hemant’s post about the “Secular Policy Council.”

He starts with pointing out that a lot of their content is identical to content from the Secular Coalition for America – where she used to be Executive Director until she…erm…left it a year ago. Mary Ellen Sikes points out in a comment that the content has a Creative Commons agreement. That sounds benign until you remember that Rogers used to work for them. Quoting Mary Ellen:

If you check the bottom of page 3 of the SCA’s Model Secular Policy Guide, you’ll see the following: “Permission is granted for the reproduction of this document in whole or in part without consent of the authors and the Secular Coalition for America.” [The website terms of use state, “This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.” — but the specific statement on the Guide itself seems to override that.]

In other words, Edwina Rogers oversaw the development of a Model Secular Policy Guide that lacked a copyright, thus allowing her to republish it at another organization. As well, the Creative Commons license for the site as a whole represents a change which I believe (but am not positive) came about under her direction.. Perhaps the SCA Board can explain its thinking about these alterations to its intellectual property status.

Jeezus.

Back to Hemant:

It all looked very familiar… and the CEO of this new group was Edwina Rogers.

It appeared that, after parting ways with the SCA, she was setting up her own organization with a lot of overlapping parts.

This new organization didn’t lack credibility. In addition to that large coalition of supporting groups, she had a number of big-name “Fellows” — “distinguished scientists and scholars dedicated to the idea that policymaking should be informed by scientific evidence.”

That list of fellows included: Lawrence Krauss, Peter Boghossian, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Steven Pinker, Rebecca GoldsteinCarolyn Porco, Michael Shermer, and Andy Thomson.

All of those people have now left, and Hemant did an update to say Phil Zuckerman has now joined the leavers.

Hemant wonders why they left, and if it was their doing or the SPI’s.

Last week, I reached out to all the former Fellows I just named to find out if they could shed some light on those questions.

While some of them did not respond, the ones who did, including Steven Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein, told me they asked to be removed. They have no formal connection with SPI anymore.

It’s my understanding that Sam Harris left a while ago, but the rest of the names have all asked to be taken off the list over the past week or two.

And that’s the point at which he dropped the Dennett bomb.

Richard Dawkins — who is the subject of one of the damning accusations in Rogers’ lawsuit — said that he requested to be taken off the list after hearing from Dennett.

He also told me, “I have no recollection of how I [came] to be on the list in the first place.”

That’s pretty interesting considering how his image was used to promote the organization from the get-go:

Yes, yes it is.

That’s actually what I’ve thought about it all along – thought and said – that it’s basically just a list of Top Names, of “Thought Leaders” (never forget it was the Global Secular Council / Secular Policy Institute that started calling them that), for no particular purpose other than having a list of Top Names. It was just some ridiculous Look At Me project engaged in an infinite loop of adding people so as to draw in more people who would draw in more people repeat forever. Look at us being important. Bow.

And at least for now, the cover photo for SPI’s Facebook page still features both Dawkins and Krauss, neither of whom are Fellows anymore:

I asked Rogers about this situation a few days ago (and again over the weekend), but have not yet received an on-the-record statement. If she provides one, I’ll post an update.

Well, she was at the CFI conference over the weekend, being important.

So there you are. A large number of their Top Names have bailed, at least one of them having been added to their list of Top Names without his knowledge or permission. More are likely to follow suit as they find out what’s going on.

The whole thing is an embarrassment.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



A fellowship should be consensual

Jun 16th, 2015 11:51 am | By

Oh my god.

You know I’ve always wondered why all those Big Name atheist and secularist types signed up to the “Global Secular Institute” now more modestly named the Secular Policy Institute. You know I wondered it very loudly and without muffling or disguise.

Now we know.

Hemant has a post today titled Notable Atheists and Scientists Are Disassociating from the Secular Policy Institute. I did a loud sustained intake of breath – “gasped” is inadequate to describe what I did – when I reached this bit:

Daniel Dennett in particular told me he asked to be removed from their list after learning that Rogers had filed a lawsuit against the Secular Coalition for America(which made some damning allegations about the SCA and several people associated with it).

Not only did Dennett inform many of the other Fellows why he was leaving (prompting them to do the same), here’s the most shocking part of what he told me:

I didn’t know I was a Fellow of SPI until I saw my picture and name on the website.

Oh.my.god.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Too sexy for the lab

Jun 16th, 2015 11:00 am | By

The BBC tells us:

Female scientists have been sharing “distractingly sexy” photos of themselves after a feminist website encouraged them to respond to comments by a Nobel laureate.

Here’s one:

Andrea Bidgood ‏@Andreabigfoot Jun 11
#distractinglysexy hot science at work. Haven’t cried all week

Embedded image permalink

Whoaaaaaaaa throw some cold water over me.

Many of them are hilarious, such as:

Morgan Kelly ‏@MorganWKelly Jun 10
Smelled like dead oysters at the faculty meeting. Hope I wasn’t too #distractinglysexy

Embedded image permalink

They distract in India too:

Jane Evans ‏@jede39 Jun 10
@rhiannonlucyc @VagendaMagazine Indian rocket scientists #distractinglysexy

Embedded image permalink

And Stephanie Evans, whose feed is full of STEM and women in STEM goodness:

Stephanie Evans ‏@StephEvz43 Jun 10
Idk how any men were able to function when I was in this bunny suit and integrating a satellite. #distractinglysexy

Embedded image permalink

Makes it hard to think straight, doesn’t she.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Not quite

Jun 16th, 2015 10:25 am | By

A genius tweets:

Mark J. Perry ‏@Mark_J_Perry Jun 12
Cartoon of the Day: The Gender Disparity in STEM explained
(HT: @stevenfhayward) @CHSommers @AsheSchow @instapundit

Embedded image permalink

No.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



A fine table

Jun 16th, 2015 10:10 am | By

I’m back.

The return trip was one nightmare after another – the Buffalo to Chicago flight canceled due to (I’ve just learned) tornadoes; the process to rebook unbelievably badly handled by American Airlines that’s AMERICAN AIRLINES; the  rebooking entailing a four hour wait in Buffalo and a time of arrival in Seattle five hours later than the scheduled one; the Buffalo to Detroit flight made to sit at the gate for an hour because of a storm in Detroit, and – now this was really unfair – the train from the airport to downtown Seattle made to sit in the third station for twenty stinking minutes because of an accident on or near the tracks farther up the line. Do admit.

On the other hand – there was the getting off in Detroit and going to the Departures board and finding the next flight to Seattle and seeing that it left in twenty minutes and was 61 gates away – and the sprint to get there in 19 minutes, knowing the whole time that it was hopeless because all the cancellations would mean that every flight was packed to the rafters, and my deep loathing of every human being who impeded my desperate sprint, which they all did, and finding the gate and seeing the last people at the door, and rushing up to the desk to gasp out “Do you have any leftover seats?”…

…and being told YES.

So I got on a flight that left two solid hours before the one I’d been booked on.

That’s the second time I’ve done that. Yay me.

So now I’m back, and my usual rate of idle chatter will resume.

Here’s a photo of Taslima and me at the Friday evening dinner, taken by Kevin Smith of CFI Canada. theobromine and Eamon Knight of CFI Ottawa are on my other side.

 

A few minutes after that Taslima asked me what the elevated table at the other end of the room was about – it was the star table, where all the stars sat. I told her that if the powers had seen her she would be there too, and she laughed at the idea. A few minutes after that there was Tom Flynn to bear her away. We were sad to lose our dinner companion but happy to see her where she belongs.

That looks like Michael De Dora next to Taslima’s head. And Nick Little talking to the guy with his back to us.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Looking at the edge

Jun 15th, 2015 4:37 am | By

I saved up and splurged on taking the tour to Niagara Falls yesterday afternoon and evening. I didn’t say anything about it beforehand, because Taslima had decided to go with me and if I had mentioned it we would have had to take a security detail with us.

We went first to the Botanical Garden and the Butterfly Conservatory, and then in stages down the gorge with stops to gape in awe, ending up at the Falls. One of my favorite views is a few yards back from the falls where you can see the edge kind of hanging in the air but not what’s behind and below it – but you know what’s behind and below it, yet the edge itself looks so calm. It’s a weirdly terrifying, sublime, spooky kind of sight…and, now I think of it, simple enough that you can actually hold an image of it in your mind, unlike most landscapes.

Another favorite – everyone’s favorite – is right above that edge. The river is dark as it charges along over the rocky bed, and then as it hurtles over the edge it’s bright, toothpaste green. Also, it’s very within reach. There’s a decorative wrought-iron fence and a little area of grassy river bank like any other grassy river bank – and then there’s the Niagara River just before it plunges off the ledge.

We had dinner at the Skylon, 500 feet up. You can imagine.

Taslima took pics; I’ll ask her if I can share some.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



One foot in front of the other

Jun 14th, 2015 5:50 am | By

Walk accomplished.

The campus isn’t as ugly as I remembered.

……

……

IT’S UGLIER.

It’s like an act or revenge on the students.

I’m serious. You just walk around saying “what were they thinking?”

But – I hadn’t done any sustained walking (apart from the walk from the Ks to the Gs at O’Hare) since I left home, so this was good.

Dang it’s muggy though. Seattle doesn’t do muggy – once the temperature goes up the humidity drops.

I saw five ground hogs on the side of a little hill.

I got slightly lost coming back from the central part of the campus, and there is NO ONE around – I felt mild panic for a minute (not wanting to miss Stephen’s lecture just because stupid) but then a car appeared so I was able to confirm that Flint Road was that way.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



What is this “walking” you speak of?

Jun 14th, 2015 3:31 am | By

I’m going to Niagara Falls this afternoon. I was here for nearly 3 weeks in 2007, and I never managed to get to the Falls, though I did get to the Finger Lakes (all the way to Skaneateles) and Niagara-on-the-Lake, which were cool. The omission has always bugged me, so I’M GOING.

So there.

Meanwhile I think I’ll have time for a walk this morning. Ima go over to the entrance to the university, if I can make it without being run over – there are literally no sidewalks here. None. You have to walk in the street. Hey, you’re not supposed to be walking in the first place, so don’t look at us! It’s extra fun because people go about 50 miles an hour on these suburban streets with no sidewalks.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Saturday evening

Jun 13th, 2015 3:46 pm | By

I’m about to go to the 2 hour Point of Inquiry interview of Richard Dawkins. Could be interesting.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



The second time

Jun 13th, 2015 7:20 am | By

A great moment. At the secularism panel just now with Barry Kosmin and Ron Lindsay and Phil Zuckerman, moderated by Paul Fidalgo, Paul asked the audience, how many of you have attended a Secular Sunday Assembly?

A LOT of hands went up.

Ron said something I didn’t hear, and Paul said, “That’s a great question – how many of you have gone twice?”

One hand went up.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



On the panel

Jun 13th, 2015 3:43 am | By

Taslima took this action shot yesterday.

Embedded image permalink

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



At Reason for Change

Jun 12th, 2015 2:10 pm | By

Taslima tweeted yesterday evening

Embedded image permalink

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Status

Jun 11th, 2015 7:07 pm | By

I got here.

Talked to all the people at the reception.

Dropped food on the floor.

Generally misbehaved.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Discomfort with the more social aspects of gender

Jun 10th, 2015 5:46 pm | By

I upset quite a few people the other day with that Nail polish post. Some of the people who were upset are, frankly, assholes, and they can go ahead and be upset, but a lot of them aren’t, and I’m sorry I upset those people.

I didn’t like or agree with everything in that Elinor Burkett article, and I skipped over most of them – but maybe I should have said I wasn’t endorsing the whole thing.

Someone in a Facebook group recommended this tumblr post cis by default, and I found what it says resonates with me a lot. It starts with some body discomforts, and then moves to the social.

I also just had a lot of discomfort with the more social (not physical) aspects of gender. And this admittedly did start from a lot of conversations about trans and variant gender identities – partially because they made me realize that everyone else did not, in fact, think about gender the way I did. Hearing both cis and trans people talk about how they had this mental sense of gender confused me, because I never felt that way. I identified as female, yes, but only because I I had the traits that defined that category – the same way that I was seen as [mostly] white (another whole issue) or labelled as upper middle class, it was just a role that was assigned to me based on how society organizes categories. And I could deal with that.

That’s just it, you know? It’s a fact – that is, it’s what you’ve always been told. That doesn’t necessarily make it something you identify with. The more I read about this and have conversations about it, the less convinced I am that I’ve ever identified as being female – but I haven’t (mostly) rejected it either. It’s just there. I deal with it.

But when people talked about what it meant to them to identify as a woman, and things like that, I felt left out in the cold. Because for me, while I’m fine with the fact that I have certain physical traits, and thus fall into a certain category, if it comes down to that sense of “me” that makes my core mental personality…there’s nothing about being a “woman” there.

Yeah. There isn’t.

Or at least…not very much. Other things loom much larger.

On the other hand I do identify as a feminist. That’s one of the things that looms larger. And being a feminist does in a way cause me to identify as a woman more than I otherwise would. And that makes me think about what it would be like to be a woman if feminism didn’t exist…and I can’t wrap my head around it. Everything I try to think on the subject is itself feminist, so it breaks down. “If there were no feminism I…I…I would be frustrated and angry.” If there were no feminism what would I be frustrated and angry about? It’s hard to think about. At any rate the idea of being a woman with no feminism in existence is bleak.

But there have been women in that situation since forever, and there still are. Yes, but that’s a different world. I grew up in this one, and it’s what shaped me, and that one would be like air to a fish.

What if there were no feminism but there were trans people, and transitioning were totally mainstream and unproblematic?

I don’t know. I can’t tell. I can’t tell if what I would feel in that situation is gender dysphoria, or something much milder. I suspect it’s the latter, but I really don’t know.

So eventually, even though I had questioned myself for a long time, I ended up just staying as “cis” because it mostly worked, even if imperfectly; and for the most part I don’t usually bring up my discomforts unless it’s with people who I think are worth opening up to about it. I’m aware that I still have a privilege over trans people in many ways since for all intents and purposes, the world still sees me as cis. (Even though when I’ve had some bits of worse dysphoria, and craved to have someone see something other than “cis girl”, it’s never happened, and I’ve sort of just given up on that. Although it still makes me a bit happy when someone accidentally says “sir”, even if it’s a bit disappointing when they immediately correct themselves. But that’s still relatively minor compared to what other people have to deal with.)

It works for me too, but that’s because I have a lot of room to be eccentric. If I didn’t…I don’t know, I can’t even imagine how I would function then, because that would be a different person. I’m a cis by default weirdo; that’s my identity.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)