May 24 2010

Spinster aunt yearns for radfem wiki

Have you tacqueax seen this? I found it when I was researching TV tropes. It’s called TV Tropes.

TV Tropes is a charmingly nerdy, somewhat dorkily written pseudo-scholarly reference work, a wiki-style compendium of literary conventions and devices used in television and beyond. Some of the tropes are direct from the good old literary canon, some are modern coinages what may or may not stand the test of time, but it’s all so Byzantine and labyrinthine and mezzanine and infinitely recursive I just can’t stop reading it.

This wiki is nothing if not overkill. It covers the beaming up of the aforementioned conventions and devices into the 21st century media mothership, sure, but it also identifies, classifies, and documents modern media-specific conventions and devices to the point of neurosis. This thing is hilarious, especially if you are a cinquagenarian spinster aunt who has begun to feel the hot breath of future shock on her wrinkly neck, because the concepts are often specific to pop sub-cultures I know nothing about on accounta they weren’t around when I was young enough to care about pop sub-cultures to the point of identifiying, classifying and documenting their minutiae. Anime. Video games. Fanfic.

Here’s an example.


Everything that is an element of the whole package immediately encompassing the text and not part of the text itself.

In other words, all that stuff that isn’t a part of the show/movie/story itself, but still comes with it. The stuff on the box, the stuff that comes before the show/movie, etc.

I had to meditate on that for a minute before I grasped what is meant by “the whole package” and “stuff on the box.” Whereas I might consider dustjacket blurbs as examples of something called “paratext,” it never before dawned on me that there is a whole, classifiable species of non-content “content” that envelops modern media. Bonus material, pop-ups, trailers, bloopers, closing credits, even PBS titles thanking Viewers Like You. I would quibble that some of this stuff isn’t, technically, text, but a lot of it is, so, fine.

Anyway, I mention all this because it has long been a dream of mine to do something similar with a blaming wiki. How convenient it would be! Instead of putting all this time and effort into banging out these lousy posts, I could just publish a collection of wiki links to the specific ideas and concepts I wish to drag out of mothballs to make whatever point, and call it a day! Because let’s face it; there’s not a whole lotta new under the patriarchy blaming sun.

Not My Nigel, Mansplainin, Obstreperal Lobe, She Was Asking For It, Empowerfulment, etc — they’d all be neatly collected in one spot for your blaming pleasure. Sadly, I’ve never been able to figure out how to do this wiki without having to spend 8 days a week culling out all the troll crap.

The idea for this non-post popped into my lobe when I noticed that my last two essays (“The Girl” and “The Slain Masseuse”) are actually blaming-trope classifications in disguise.

Got any favorite blaming conventions of your own? Or any idea how to pull off the wiki? Please enlighten the group.


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  1. Unree

    Excellent idea. I nominate the category of Ev Psych. People tell me it has other uses beyond entrenching the patriarchy, but I haven’t seen any.

    Melissa McEwan keeps a Shaxicon that will probably overlap some.

  2. E


    If you start one, we’ll all pitch in. You could set your own guidelines, i.e. “The only people who are allowed to edit this wiki are people who…” (already has an established feminist-web-presence, regularly posts in the comments on blog A/B/C or something)

    Go for it.

  3. SargassoSea

    All of this is very maddening, but in an inspirational way.

    Perhaps hench-moderators could be arranged and tolerated?

  4. Catherine

    If you don’t mind having ads on it, you can create a new wiki for free at http://create.wikia.com. It has a rich text editor so you don’t need to learn wikitext syntax (unless you want to). You could just copy and paste your essays and such in as new pages, and start linking them to each other, as a start, and then let people expand and tinker with them over time.

    There’s an existing wiki at http://feminism.wikia.com/ but it appears to be abandoned (anyone who wants to can start editing it, and take over admin rights by visiting http://adopt.wikia.com ). There’s also a much more active one about women in tech at http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/

    There’s other wiki hosts out there, I’m just not as familiar with them; most do have either ads or a monthly fee. (If they don’t, they don’t have a business plan, and they tend to have weak infrastructure and support, and/or disappear without warning.)

    Hope that helps!

  5. Notorious Ph.D.

    I request wiki pages for the MRAs (with subpages for Fathers’ Rights and also movements like Promise Keepers) and Nice Guys that the Polite Lady doesn’t want in her car. Nice Guys could be cross-references with “Not My Nigel” — the concepts are not identical, but they are linked, I’d think.

    I’d like to see an entry for “knob,” but I think that might get to be so long as to crash any terrestrial server.

  6. Blind Horse

    Brilliant lobe product, not sure how to go about bringing it to fruition.

    Have you ever seen http://www.dickipedia.org? Bills itself as “a wiki of dicks” and slays politicians, pop culture figures, etc. Something similar would work well for radfem, methinks.

  7. anonymouse

    It’s very possible to use wiki software without making it an open season wiki. Twisty could install wiki software and require editors to be a member of the wiki and then not allow new editor creation, which would thwart the trolls. All wiki software can be restricted this way, it’s just most people are familiar with wikipedia, which is left open on purpose.

  8. Pinko Punko

    How could you forget “Knobjectivism”?

  9. Danielle

    I’m actually already in the middle of working on something similar to that! I was planning to do it as an index of claims, not as a wiki, but it’s in progress – I put together a wordpress install for it, collated an organized list of claims, and have basically just started putting together the rebuttals to each claim. If anyone wants to help work on it, please let me know.

  10. kristyn joy

    Suggestion: Get Miss Andrist on board here, if she’s down with the idea.

    Also, if you need help with writing or mass-editing, let a blamer know.

    edj [dot] uv [dot] reason [at] gmail.com. “Radfem Wiki” or something similar in the subject line.

    Onwards and upwards.

  11. Elle

    In my offline life (and online, too – who am I fooling?), I’m a professor of women’s & gender studies. The RadFem wiki would be an AWESOME project for seniors to build in the WGS capstone class next year.

  12. Stella

    I’m willing to edit or write, too.

    I’d also like to point out that there is a useful atheism wiki from which we might draw some ideas: http://wiki.ironchariots.org/

    My only concern is: who will monitor it 24/7 to undo misogynist hate edits?

  13. nails

    TV tropes ate my life for a month or two. My current source of ignoring the world on the internet is the video blog titled “Everything is Terrible!”.

    My absolute favorite entry on tv tropes is Narm.

    Anyway, I would be in favor of the radfem wiki if there were not legions of trolls who would require constant attention. I mean, the number of them attracted to this blog over time is impressive considering how everything is designed to discourage that behavior. A wiki lets anyone edit, and brings out the inner knob of many a frat boy or MRA activist. A radfem wiki that has the membership tightly controlled would work out ok- like wikileaks, perhaps.

  14. Princess Rot


    [1] “Funfeminist” – I think this would need several subcategories, though.

    [2] Cosmopolitan. Cosmo needs it’s own tropes section, possibly called “Department for Recycled Patriarchal Garbage”.

    [3] Fauxgressives.

    [4] Fetus fetishists.

    [5] Also, “Beedy Ess Em” from yesterday’s post. Not BDSM. I like the seeing the non-word “beedy” in text. There’s something about it, it’s a very suitable name for a small automobile.

  15. AlphaBagel

    Perhaps in order to become a registered user (one capable of editing the wiki), a person would need to answer randomly-generated questions based on the material from “protected” pages. At the very least, trolls would have to get a bit of a radfem education before defacing the wiki.

  16. Belle

    What some wise and canny blamer needs to do is devise a troll-slayer app that identifies proposed content and implants a hard-drive eating virus. There could even be a warning: Troll content detected; clicking “submit” will unleash immediate, merciless and irrevocable troll-killers. Thank you very much.

  17. Azundris

    TVTropes has gotten sorta too big for its own good. I keep thinking that it’d be nice if there were a “Our 100 most important articles” section or some such, or voting on the pages, or at least ranking by number of page-views, but in all honesty? everything2.com’s softlinks sort of do the latter, and you can still waste many an evening on there.

  18. Gwen

    I like Meaningless Equality, as in a post I read by an econ prof recent that since women now make up more than half of college students, there’s no longer any reason we need women’s centers or programs to target the needs of female students. Equality thus means roughly equal numbers, regardless of the different levels of power, opportunities, or constraints faced by different groups. I hear this one a LOT.

  19. Andrea

    Controlled membership, yeah, I think that’s key. It wouldn’t necessarily need to be recruited (except initially) from people in a specific circle. A volunteer application with sections like “what do you see X organization doing in a year?” seems to work fairly well. A controlled membership that is approved by a handful of carefully suggestive questions could save moderation from being time-consuming, or possible contributors from losing their momentum.

    But! I don’t know how to set up any web-based software. I’ve dabbled in free-hand and pitiful PhP, but not MySQL or Apache. I can write HTML forms and crappy PhP scripts, but that’s about it so far. I do know HTML 4.0 and CSS pretty well, but that’s probably only useful for building “skins” or “themes,” which could be useful for Drupal. But the wiki format and the wiki “brand,” especially, is the point here. As much as I wish a radfem “indymedia” brand could flourish. Hm.

    There’s a lot of different wiki software, it seems. I can continue looking into which one would be most relevant and would be happy to help with things like picking a license format, finding a server, any coding that I know/can learn, etc.

  20. Andrea


    I just found this. Looks like it hasn’t gotten very far yet. But, that WikiDot one has controlled membership through an application process and publicly accessible content. Running MediaWiki on an ad-free paid server would look nice, though. Wonder how impossible it is to configure in the same way.

  21. Keri

    This is a great idea!

  22. Keri

    We could have a whole section also on the myth of men inventing things, and the false belief of how men invented everything. We can write about how most science done by men has been a complete failure, until women get re-involved. How they lay claim to women’s inventions and ideas, coopt women’s work, and erase women’s names. How they destroy entire cultures built on women’s work, the evidence of women’s work, only so men can “discover” it later. Like rubber. Rubber was the hallmark of some advanced civilizations, made by cooking. Gee, wonder who figured that out. Along with magnets and explosives.

    It’s rather annoying because I know myself, and many women have an intuitive understanding of nature and the processes involved. It takes labs and high tech equipment (originated by women) for them to understand anything. All the paper that men need to record history that they destroy, to transmit information, that we used to tell by stories and metaphors, is just a waste. They are just inefficient. It’s annoying because I always understood how bees and flies and some birds and bats flew, intuitively and it is only in 2005 that male scientists begin to understand it, with high tech equipment. It’s annoying also because they claim we never knew it, when Nietche(sp) wrote about it, the oscillation. It’s soooo dumb.

  23. sam

    Radfems on the internet are a robust, multi-purposed network of diligent blog and website moderators with complementary posting and pruning styles.

  24. fannie

    I would help with the wiki.

    We musn’t forget an articles on (1) Western Women Have It Good Compared To Women in the Middle East and, its cousin, (2) Western Feminists Should Spend Less Time Criticizing Ads and More Time Saving Middle Eastern Women

  25. Magriff

    Here’s your own wiki Jill:


    Have fun! It’s pretty easy to use, if you want to invite more folks to edit just add their email address. If you wanna have it publicly editable there’s a setting for that.

  26. Melanie

    Rape Hurts Men Too and, related to the Nice Guy, what I like to call the Liberal Dude—he votes democratic (or Green) and lives in a co-op, but refuses to recognize you as a human being.

    There is software, and I’m sure there is some that is free and open source, that can make this very easy. I run open source, members-only collaboration software for a local non-profit on my domain, and set up and maintenance is not difficult at all if you have a little bit of knowledge of stuff like FTP and MySQL (and I’m talking basic stuff like installs, not programming databases and such). As for hosting, mine comes to less than $170 a year for domain and hosting with SQL access. I would be more than willing to contribute to a hosting fund to get the project started.

  27. Feminist Avatar

    Because I know you care about etymological issues- paratext is from the Greek, where para is ‘beside’- so it is literally ‘beside the text’. Paratext therefore doesn’t need to be ‘text’ in any form. However, if we are going to get properly post-structuralist on your ass, the text can be anything that can be ‘read’, including images, music, rooms, landscapes, the body, etc.

  28. nails

    “We can write about how most science done by men has been a complete failure, until women get re-involved. ”

    What? That isn’t true at all. Physics and Chemistry are hugely important examples of that. The patriarchal evil that exists in that history is the fact that half of the population was excluded from using their minds to solve interesting mysteries. We have no idea how many people of color/poor people/women had the potential for newton level genius but were never given the chance to develop it. When I look at the immense accomplishments of people who had access to science and information for the last 200 years or so(a small amount of upper class white men) I realize that so much more can be accomplished when everyone is able to be involved in the sciences. The geniuses who revolutionize a field are rare anyways, most science happened in tiny steps, people making small contributions that added up to something very important over time. The number of people working in the sciences makes a difference because of that. I have a feeling that you are going to say most are ‘failures’ by treating science as a factory (where something useful *must* be produced for it to be a win) instead of a very organized form of human curiosity about the world.

  29. nails

    Wow I didn’t even notice this part until a minute ago:

    “It’s rather annoying because I know myself, and many women have an intuitive understanding of nature and the processes involved. It takes labs and high tech equipment (originated by women) for them to understand anything. All the paper that men need to record history that they destroy, to transmit information, that we used to tell by stories and metaphors, is just a waste. They are just inefficient. It’s annoying because I always understood how bees and flies and some birds and bats flew, intuitively and it is only in 2005 that male scientists begin to understand it, with high tech equipment. It’s annoying also because they claim we never knew it, when Nietche(sp) wrote about it, the oscillation. It’s soooo dumb.”

    Science is about understanding that your intuition is not always right and that the way to really *know* that it was involves testing and repeatability and good structure for experiments. You can tell me you intuitively know whatever you want to, but it doesn’t prove it at all. Much of science is also extremely counter intuitive, like the structure of atoms and how they react with one another. There is absolutely no human intuition that applies to a problem like atoms and chemistry, it had to be figured out in small steps and experiment and repeatable experiments. They call chemistry “the central science” for a reason, it is central to damn near any other field of scientific study.

    I personally think that the lack of science understanding that most people (especially girls) have in western countries is part of the damage of patriarchy. They kept all the tools for understanding the universe away from us, and some feminists decided that must mean that they aren’t worth anything at all. Nothing could be further from the truth. Science is the most reliable and most successful tool for understanding the nature of the universe around us, and I am sad that so many people have decided that it is worthless because men monopolized it. Men monopolized that whole deal where they get to not be raped or be owned as property too, you know. Science is one of the things we should reclaim as a part of the human experience- of curiosity and knowledge, of awe at the universe. Radfems who are anti science are missing the fuck out, and it depresses me.

  30. Stella

    I agree with nails. Very much.

  31. rootlesscosmo

    it never before dawned on me that there is a whole, classifiable species of non-content “content” that envelops modern media. Bonus material, pop-ups, trailers, bloopers, closing credits, even PBS titles thanking Viewers Like You. I would quibble that some of this stuff isn’t, technically, text, but a lot of it is, so, fine.

    And somebody sits down at a keyboard and writes it–the paragraphs of copy in mail order catalogs, the “continuity” that fills up the seconds between TV programs, the form letters the bank sends announcing higher credit card interest. And then it has to be submitted to someone else who edits it. A very depressing thought.

  32. jael

    nails, you’re on fire this week.

  33. JJ

    Thank you nails.

  34. Bruce the Dude

    I can’t wait for the “Breast Cancer is Pink” page!

  35. yttik

    “We could have a whole section also on the myth of men inventing things, and the false belief of how men invented everything.”

    No, Keri is correct, we need to reclaim our history! Women were excluded from the public sphere of science, but they went right on inventing and studying science anyway. Chemistry probably originated in a woman’s kitchen. Women were using plants to heal people long before men working for pharmaceuticals “invented” it.

    “They kept all the tools for understanding the universe away from us”

    No, they kept all of the male tools for understanding the universe away from us. Why are the male tools still the only ones we considerate legitimate?

  36. Ames

    Depending on where you have IBTP hosted, you may already have access to a wiki package (or several). The ISP I use allows me (for free) to configure a wiki for use under any domain, just as you have implemented WordPress under your domain using a subdomain/subdirectory. That option is always my preference, rather than hosting it on someone else’s server where I don’t have as much control over (or knowledge of their) security and privacy controls. My ISP gives me the option of using any one of five wiki software packages (such as MediaWiki or TikiWiki) and after doing some research over the last few years, as long as you pick one of the well-supported ones, it mostly comes down to your preferences for the functionality and interface. For the popular ones, it takes about a half hour to set one up and maybe another half hour to create your first pages. Customizing takes more time of course and controlled membership would be something to look into for each wiki package. There’s a Comparison of Wiki Software page on wikipedia that’s helpful.

    Oh yeah, and a radfem wiki would be great.

  37. Hedgepig

    I’m with Keri and Yttik here. Women (midwives/wise women/witches et al) were the ones doing science in its most practical form, empirical testing, back when educated men were learning about the humours in Latin.

  38. Bruce

    there are definitely a number of wiki-type platforms available for free, with a variety of control levels to keep out problem children.

  39. Melanie

    Ames is very much correct. If the IBTP.com domain has a control panel page (often at places like domain.com:7839 [random port number that I just made up] or domain.com/cpanel), you should check it and see if you already have access to wiki software that will self-install with just a few mouse clicks.

  40. Kiuku

    We absolutely need to reclaim our history. There is no excuse for there to be lists of male names for what is obviously and at times known to be women’s work. They go to great lengths to hide and erase women’s names from history. It’s either deep insecurity or a cold-calculated plot of males. I suspect it’s because they’ve never done a thing, and, actually, can’t, on their own. Alchemy, explosive mixtures started with Lao Tsu and other women. Ratios, basic math and proportion started with cooking, as well as fire. Gathering, and weaving, pottery, all women’s work. The triangle and geometry started, as far as we know, with Aganice, and priestesses before her. Then it was continued with Theono. The list goes on. It should be celebrated. Humanity should be celebrated through women, who conceived it.

  41. Sarah

    Has anyone mentioned http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Geek_Feminism_Wiki yet? Geeky! Feminism-y! Awesomeness!

  42. Jill

    Thanks, I already know how to install the wiki; what I don’t know is how to keep it from going south and keep it accessible at the same time, without having to sit at my desk all day and all night protecting it from teenage boys. I tried it once before and failed, and then I tried to do a forum and that failed, too.

    “Radfems who are anti science are missing the fuck out, and it depresses me.

    Ain’t it the truth. Nails is on fire.

  43. agasaya


    Great post. Of course we have a lot of faux-science which makes a lot of money for a lot of men and men-wanna-bees. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a whistle-blower and litigant against the pesticide industry and am frequently being poisoned by perps using insecticides (even caught on film). So, it happens in Phoenix (I was driving to Ca where I hope to find some aid) and I go to an ER where the moron toxicologist refuses to test me for the offending chemical. Such proofs of exposure are required by the cops before they will investigate such incidents. Why? SHE claimed that inhaling insecticides like RAID is non-toxic and anything to the contrary is psuedo-science. I was told to mind my knitting when I disagreed of course because, you know, only doctors can read journals.

    I’m making out a complaint for malpractice right now (not a suit but just want her to ‘splain herself to the medical board. Women are disproportionally harmed by toxic chemicals (thresholds for harm are normed on healthy adult males of course) and I’ve now developed an autoimmune disease because of that little bit of gender discrimination.

    Science! Might be nice if we took the testosterone out of it but then the original studies of breast cancer were all on male patients.

  44. Melanie

    Francis Crick received the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA without acknowledging his use of Rosalind Franklin’s previous work. Lise Meitner did most of the work towards discovering nuclear fission but her partner Otto Hahn won the Nobel without her.

    The prize itself, of course, is secondary to the importance of young women seeing other female names in their textbooks. People wonder why there are less women in the sciences but it’s no mystery to me: a recent study showed that female math majors did more poorly on math tests when they were informed beforehand that it was expected of them, as women, to do inferior work.

  45. Stella

    Claiming that science is “male” and therefore worthless sets several dangerous precedents, including the aforementioned tendency to view “intuition” as “truth” when, in fact, so called “common sense” is often scientifically wrong, but the worst part is that making science “male” and intuition “female” means that, once again, women are relegated to the realm of sentimentalism and feelings-based reasoning No, thank you.

  46. Carolyn

    Thanks Magriff–I just signed up; I’d be happy to chip in (and moderate if necessary–on a couple of other boards I have the ‘privilege’ of being able to delete things, just because I’m usually up earlier than everyone else and see stuff first). Keri, I absolutely support your points, and have run into several female engineers in the 19th century whose names have taken some serious research to find. I think we have to remember that we give credit for ‘inventing’ the scientific method to Francis Bacon, who advocated the use of the antagonistic methods of trial law to “torture nature’s secrets from her” (in the 17th century ‘trial law’ included torture). Systematic observation and the development of testable hypotheses, are not the realm of ‘science’ alone; lots of people (including women) did and do this all the time. We only give it a special name when elite men do it. Keri, I did want to ask if you have any books/articles/authors to recommend; I’ve certainly run into many of your examples but would like to read more.

  47. Carolyn

    Oops, forgot another thing–Kiuku, do we have any evidence that Lao Tzu was female?

  48. speedbudget

    Jill – Just wanted to offer my editing services if needed. I am a court reporter, and we are all self-acknowledged grammar dorks. I would love to help you clean up some posts if it came to that.

    We are in a backlash time right now, so I don’t think the odds of getting Franklin and Meitner and Curie into the books in any prominent fashion is going to happen soon. I know! WIKI. “Chicks Whom the Doods Copied Off Of Then Totally Claimed It Was All Their Idea.”

  49. Jeff

    There could be an extensive article on derailing. Derailing for Dummies is back online, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have it posted up in other places.

  50. norbizness

    “Is The Personal Really Political Or Is It Just Solipsism?”

  51. tigtog

    Once you’ve all decided where this wiki is going to be, I’ll be very happy to link to it from the Resources page at FF101, and also from the Jargon File page there. Just let me know!

    @Jeff, I might ask the Derailing for Dummies people if they’d like to mirror that on a page at FF101, since the whole purpose of the blog is diverting attempted derails of feminist discussions.

  52. Jezebella

    No, Stella, thank YOU for pointing at that “women’s intuition” is a bogus construct, and “male rationality” equally bogus. I do not want to be forced into the squishy intuitive lady-brain category, thank you very much.

  53. yttik

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with intuition and feeling-based reasoning. When men do it it’s called being divinely inspired or playing a hunch.

  54. Jeff

    yttik, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not scientific, just as men claiming divine inspiration or playing hunches is also not scientific.

  55. yttik

    “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” -Einstein

    Scientific theories are the product of human imagination and intuition. Women have excelled in science since the beginning of time and have not been recognized for their work.

    I am shocked to discover that that is a controversial statement to make on a feminist blog.

    Science does not cut itself off from half the human race and half the human brain’s capabilities. When that happens it’s not science, it’s male centric knobjectivism.

  56. Someone

    Completely non-contributional here, but my husbeast found TV Tropes last week and has been doing the same thing you have. It’s amusing to see all the stuff we pick up on being catalogued, plus lots we haven’t yet.

    I think your wiki idea is fab. Do eeet.

  57. CassieC

    Both rational testing and creative intuition (or just willingness to try entirely new ideas) are necessary for good science. But neither of them is a male or female trait, sweet virgin mary of gender essentialist bullshit.

    It could be argued that certain types of teaching, available more or less to each gender, favor rational or intuitive approaches. Since women were forbidden from doing math for the longest time, and still are broadly discouraged from learning it, as a gender, they are still cut off from rational thinking tools. Sucks. But as a scientist who thinks about EVERYTHING in math, you will pry my rational thinking from my dead cold vagina-brain. That is all.

  58. Jezebella

    No, yttik, there’s nothing *wrong* with intuitive inquiry, common sense, etc., but when you’re a woman who isn’t intuitive it gets tiresome to be told that you *should be* because, you know, lady-brains are just *made that way*. No, actually, they’re not all made that way. Associating intuition and feeling-based reasoning with women perpetuates the man-culture/woman-nature trope as well as gender essentialism.

    I cannot tell you the grief us non-intuitive, non-touchy-feely women get for not thinking in a feminine enough manner. I’m not even a *scientist*, yo, it’s not like I’m invested in defending the scientific rationalist method or something.

  59. m Andrea

    I love this idea, it is the best thing I’ve heard in a very long time. But no No AND NO. It is not possible to weed out the fauxfeminists who will quite predictably join in quite predictably large numbers in order to spew their quite predictable whut-about-teh-menz concern trollage simply by asking them a series of “random questions”. The trolls are getting quite good at declaring themselves to be feminist, hanging out for a while, and only then insidiously introducing their bile and watered down feminism. In order to keep those insufferable handmaidens From Ruining Everything, constant vigilance must be maintained.

    If you’re not prepared to do that, then give up now. Maybe that’s what everybody meant, in which case: I demand to be on the committee which does nothing but throw trolls out. Seriously, if I can’t play, then forget it because most of you aren’t even close to being evil enough. What are you gonna do when Amanda shows up or Tig starts crying about the transgendered?

    From AlphaBagal: Perhaps in order to become a registered user (one capable of editing the wiki), a person would need to answer randomly-generated questions based on the material from “protected” pages. At the very least, trolls would have to get a bit of a radfem education before defacing the wiki.

    That would be part of the application process, in place of the usual captchu. It’s not the obvious trolls you have to worry about, but the fauxfeminists.

    Oops I just checked your commenting policy. If you are so fucking stupid as to make the logical argument that someone is a monkey simply because he has the desire to eat a banana, THEN YOU ARE NOT A RADICAL FEMINIST.

  60. m Andrea

    The desire to eat bananas does not make me a monkey. The desire to perform boyish activities or the desire to express boyish traits does not make me a boy.

    Tran’s logic is too simplistic to even qualify as a mental disability, it’s amoeba logic. The desire to perform X is a desire, and the desire to express X is a desire. Amoeba logic fails to identify the presence of desire.

    “I am hungry” really means, if we are to be precise in our thoughts, that I feel hungry. Amoebae are a one-celled organism which are so incapable of rational thought that they perceive zero distinction between “I AM” and “I FEEL”.

  61. m Andrea

    My second comment appears (to me at least) to have been posted, but the first one did not.

  62. Stella


    “Scientific theories are the product of human imagination and intuition. Women have excelled in science since the beginning of time and have not been recognized for their work.

    “I am shocked to discover that that is a controversial statement to make on a feminist blog.”

    Speaking for myself, I don’t think it’s controversial at all; I quite agree that women’s contributions to science have been largely and systematically unrecognized.

    I do not, however, view the work of Marie Curie as equivalent to my mom’s intuitions. That was my point. Everyone has intuition, gut feelings, etc. I suspect women give them more weight because we are socialized to think we have a special “women’s intuition” that men lack. I suspect it’s more about the efficiency with which the brain synthesizes cumulative, minor observations. Maybe women’s brains, for some biological reason, have an edge and are slightly better at that; or maybe it’s all social conditioning. I have no idea.

    But I do not buy the argument that there are “women’s ways of knowing.” I do not buy the argument that the scientific method is inherently misogynist or oppressive. Those ancient midwives who were mentioned previously? They were practicing science, they just didn’t call it that. And, yes, they should be recognized. And I am willing to bet that midwives who knowingly make use of the scientific method and incorporate the latest scientific data into their practice will have much greater success than midwives who result to intuition, crystals, prayer, potions, or whatever other “women’s ways” were more prevalent in AD 400.


    “I cannot tell you the grief us non-intuitive, non-touchy-feely women get for not thinking in a feminine enough manner.”


    I recently realized that I may in fact just be too logical to understand most people. And I’m okay with that.

  63. Ames

    Faith in science has all the limitations of faith in anything else, notably the limitations of humans themselves. Science doesn’t exist in hermetically-sealed perfection, it’s performed by humans with all their flaws, biases, weaknesses, blind spots, wishful thinking, interpretations, gut reactions, emotional needs, logical fallacies, axes to grind, etc. That we have created theories that cohere fairly well does not universalize to science being the be all and end all of human endeavor. This doesn’t make me anti-science, it makes me as skeptical of it as of any other human system that is purported to be the answer to all my prayers.

  64. yttik

    Perhaps a wiki is not a good idea. Perhaps a simple dictionary of radfem terms would be a better place to start.

    As you can see, trying to define radfem thought is much like herding cats.

  65. Stella

    Who said science was the answer to all our prayers?

    I do not have “faith” in any monolithic science, I just think it’s the best method humans have found for making sense of reality, so far. Plus, it’s inherently biased toward skepticism. Scientific knowledge only grows through people questioning theories and testing them. I like that.

    I should add I am not a technophile. I think we’d do well as species to apply our scientific discoveries in holistic ways that recognize the primary importance of a living, thriving ecosystem. I don’t have “faith” that science will usher in some miraculous solution to the ecocide we’ve committed with joyful abandon. We need a massive refocus of values, and, to me, feminism is a huge part of the solution. But science can be, as well.

  66. XtinaS

    Thanks, I already know how to install the wiki; what I don’t know is how to keep it from going south and keep it accessible at the same time, without having to sit at my desk all day and all night protecting it from teenage boys.

    I don’t know from your hosting package, but you could set the wiki to where any new-user registrations have to be vetted by you before the accounts become active, and then only give like a handful of people access to do this thing.  Alternately, you could put the wiki together yourself, but allow logged-in-only access to the various discussion pages, so you get others’ input while also not having a wiki full of spam.

  67. Ames

    And, by the way, I come to this skepticism as an insider, my degrees and career are in science.

  68. utahgirl

    What Ames said. The way we are taught the history of science and “civilization” does cut out a lot of advancements made by non-rich-white-males (and then destroyed and/or co-opted by rich-white-males), which fact should be quite obvious to anyone who thinks about it for a few seconds. Devaluing all discoveries that were not made within the white male infrastructure of Science as mystical bullshit is just as dangerous and misogynist as is claiming that women have an essentially different manner of knowing and learning.
    Many women, because they are so ardently discouraged (by the patriarchy) from developing the capacity to use scientific and mathematical methods of reasoning, do rely more heavily on verbal or emotional intelligence (which is also a skill that requires development). This does not mean either way of thinking is superior, nor does it mean scientific discoveries and advancements made by women or non-civilized people outside the realm of white male Science came from some special intuition inherent in brown people/ladies.

  69. Keri

    Science is great and all. I agree that women had been doing empirical science and even that was called witchcraft and men feared women’s technology in ancient times as sorcery. When men do it, it’s respectable. A lot of what we really appreciate came from alchemy and it should be noted that science or empiricism are not the only ways to arrive at knowledge and truth. Alchemy for instance gave us explosives and fireworks. Mysticism and the creative process arrives at many truths. Dance and art aren’t just hobbies to kill time, but vehicles for the expression and gaining of natural truths and ideas. Intuition has given us more than science ever will, in my opinion. Science is good for proving what we’ve already known as a human species via women’s, and sometimes men’s, intuition.

  70. Keri

    btw, if anyone can tell, I’m not impressed with Newton, or any heralded male, for that matter. I certainly don’t consider him a genius.

  71. Keri

    at best, a plagiarist

  72. SargassoSea

    Hmm. I’m told that I’m both very logical and non-touchy-feelie but also uncannily intuitive.

    Is it possible to be all three of these things at once? Ima check my user’s manual and get back.

  73. Jezebella

    I don’t know, Keri, I’m kind of a big fan of penicillin, handwashing to prevent spread of germs, electricity, vaccinations, contraception, air conditioning, and the internet, all science-based developments that have contributed greatly to my comfort, health, and longevity.

    Life before modern medicine was nasty, short, and brutish, especially for women.

    The dichotomy between intuition/science is a false one when it comes to judging contributions to human health and well-being. It takes both to get from noticing an unusual mold in the petri dish to life-saving penicillin, not just one or the other. Your dismissal of science is short-sighted and ahistorical.

  74. Carolyn

    Keri, you should be impressed with Newton–he was an alchemist! And one of the best.

  75. janicen

    What we sometimes call “intuition” isn’t really intuition at all, but a lightening fast assessment or decision which comes from years of study and experience, and is based on proven scientific facts. Sometimes what we call intuition is discredited and considered less valid than science because, IMO, it is associated with being female.

  76. yttik

    When men use their “squishy lady brains”, they are called fucking brilliant. For example, “Newton’s Brilliant Scientific Intuition.” It is only when women think as complete brained human beings, that we start defining parts of thought as irrational, female, touchy-feelie, emotional. It is the same brain as a male’s, functioning in the same way, but it is only women who are expected to handicap themselves by denying one half of their intellectual skill out of fear that they might be labeled squishy, hormonal, or irrational. The fact that the patriarchy has assigned these terms to intuition when it occurs in females, and only when it occurs in females, does not make it an undesirable trait or even a trait it is possible to separate one’s self from.

    Why is intuition in women viewed as a problem? Because we’re usually much better at. From the day we are born women are required to use intuition to survive. Keeping yourself safe from rape, violence, and starvation, as much of the world’s women have to do, is a pretty damned good motivation for the brain to start hyper-developing it’s intuition.

    Does that sharply developed intuition predispose women to be brilliant scientists? You’re damned right it does, just as it made Einstein and Newton brilliant scientists.

  77. Keri

    I’m pretty sure it was women who gave male so-called doctors the concept of washing hands. Midwives. It’s not science. Honestly I can’t think of one thing that came out of science. I believe there are a lot of stories and myths about Newton. He may have plagiarized his laws of Physics from an Islamic philosopher. I don’t think Einstein was that impressive either. I mean come on. What goes up comes back down? That’s impressive? And Einstein’s everything is relative. That’s impressive? It’s nothing new, and it certainly isn’t impressive.

  78. Keri

    There is controversy over whether or not Newton came up with Calculus. Some other guy had the exact same thing at the exact same time. They both probably got it off the same boat they got the laws of physics off of.

  79. Keri

    And yes the men during that time tried to do Alchemy, and failed miserably.

  80. Jeff

    If all of the atoms in the universe could be turned into pixels, and these pixels could be manipulated such that they formed a matrix sufficient to convey visual information, and upon that visual matrix the image of a face being held in palms was displayed, it would not be a facepalm big enough to say what needs to be said right now.

  81. Zygar


    Without scientists such as Einstein, you wouldn’t have this magic box on which to type your silly gibberish.

  82. JBT

    Despite the separating, categorizing and ranking that the patriarchy does so well, brains, both male and female, work in an holistic fashion. All feelings, sensations and states of being are available to any brain (except, perhaps, injured brains), but the same type of thought (and any attributions) is called something different, depending on which gender produced it. Of course, because so-called logic is valued under patriarchy, men are termed logical. If there is a thought, or school of thought, deemed worthy by patriarchy, then men will possess it naturally and easily, while women must prove themselves and be doubted.

    Women are devalued under patriarchy, so women in science are devalued, natch. Some women seemed to hope that mastery of a science would give them a pass (many of the women scientists we so want to laud were horribly misogynistic, determined to believe that they were special and “not like other women” – ugh! like the heroine of every pot-boiler romance novel who could seriously use some CR), but of course, they failed to escape the “Wow! A woman thought of that? Hmm!” attitude, akin the the whitey attitude of “Wow! That black person is articulate!”

    As women, we can talk up our scientific literacy or logical brilliance as much as we like, but since we are women, what we say just doesn’t rank. Many women don’t enter the sciences because, instead of being the usual one down, we are at least two or three down, and our very thought processes are suspect, even by those who claim to support women in science. Well, they say, they just need a little extra help an’ all, forgetting about the all-male fraternity of study-groups, etc., -from which the few women are often exiled- that helped the man-brain master difficult concepts. My significant other, who is working on her doctorate in mechanical engineering, has never been asked to join a study group (of which there are a plethora). In fact, although her work is ground-breaking mathematically, she is ignored by her colleagues in the lab. Here you can see some of her mathematical modeling of the Mandelbrot set:



    Bigotry runs deeper than we realize. Even now, in 2010, I have patients ask if there is male doctor around to supervise me. When I tell them I am the ranking physician, and they are damn lucky to get me, it is not a comfort to them (patients, male and female, report greater satisfaction when a male performs a procedure, just as they report surprise when a female-performed procedure goes well – oh, yeah! Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this sexism). Of course, because my skill set is broader and more up-to-date than the others in my practice, I am asked to do many of the technically challenging cases. One of my male colleagues told a patient that I “needed to practice” so he was going to *let* me do the procedure – or they stand in the background to watch how it’s done, while assuming an air of supervision. Please. But it’s so easy for them to get away with it, just by the assumptions that people make. Has anyone ever effectively busted Crapson and Dick’s (“I’m such a paragon of rational thought, I consider ev-psych tenable, and therefore, you should, too”) balls for hi-jacking Franklin’s work (never were two men more thrilled at the death of a woman)? No, it’s not going to happen.

    The dispute is not between rational thought and intuition (they are not mutually exclusive but interdependent – why does every fuckin’ thing have to be a good/bad patriarchal dialectic?), but between real life and patriarchy.

    Apologies, because this has nothing to do with a wiki.

  83. Ames

    Yes, Jeff, just a patronizing gesture (wrought with turgid prose) is more than enough to convey your meaning.

  84. Ames

    Which reminds me, we must suggest a useful addition to Derailing for Dummies” that covers the male technique of eye-rolling condescension (and writing equivalent: “I can’t even get into how ridiculous this is…”) to convey that the discussion is so ridiculously lady-brained that he can’t even begin to wade in. Thank you, Jeff, for the reminder.

  85. yttik

    “Without scientists such as Einstein, you wouldn’t have this magic box…”

    Actually, without scientists like Ada Lovelace, Hedy Lamarr, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Fran Bilas, Kay McNulty, Marlyn Wescoff, Ruth Lichterman, Jean E. Sammet, Mary Allen Wilkes and Grace Hopper, we wouldn’t have this magic box to type on.

  86. Comrade Svilova

    Yup, I was enjoying reading the discussion until the “facepalm derail.” Oh, for a day when people who aren’t interested in a conversation will just STEP AWAY rather than feel compelled to share their disinterest with the people thoroughly engaged in the discussion.

  87. Jezebella

    Keri, you “can’t think of one thing that came out of science”? Seriously? Try harder, mang. Jeff’s facepalm was obnoxious, but I’m feeling a little face-palmy my own self. And I’m not a dude.

  88. Ames

    When I reference “faith” I’m not alluding to whether science (let alone technology, another thing entirely) can pull our asses out of the fire. I’m referring directly to the comments on this post that give credit to science out of scale.

    Imagining that science is “inherently biased toward skepticism” leaves out the human part of the equation. In the hands of such humans, scientific activities have been known to obfuscate facts, divert time and money from pursuing such facts, and, you know, make shit up. That’s the part about science not existing in a vacuum and all.

    The quaint idea that “[s]cientific knowledge only grows through people questioning theories and testing them” is, well, quaint. For instance, there are a whole bunch of chemists and other such scientists working day and night for big pharma who don’t give one giant damn about truth and beauty. Their “knowledge” (the quotes indicate the relative nature of such things, not irony) grows in direct proportion to funding and if the funding pays to say that a drug works, then work it will, “science” (quotes here because, when used this way, what the hell does the word mean?) be damned.

    The scientific method is a beautiful thing. I’m a big fan of the germ theory when it comes to saving our asses from hell-bent bacterium. A computer and all it can do is a modern wonder representing human endeavor that deserves respect. But scientists? They’re soaking in the patriarchy and behave accordingly. And in the end, science is only as good as the humans who purvey it.

  89. Hedgepig

    Amen Ames.

    Also, my intuition tells me that some of us have got our wires crossed having this argument and actually aren’t in much disagreement…but it’s just a feeling.

    A really terrific book about how steeped in patriarchal culture is science, written by a woman who loves science (Margaret Wertheim), is “Pythagoras’ Trousers: God, Physics and the Gender Wars”. A really nice overview of the history of science, that actually includes women’s part in it all.

  90. Kiuku

    Exactly Yttik. This is why we need the radfem wiki, so people who are so culturally engaged to think of how magical men brought us everythign in the world..I mean, Einstein had nothing to do with computers or computer languages, which was invented by women. Thank you for sharing their names. Women were doing all the computing, women put together the first computer, we don’t know their names, but I know it was their idea, attributed to one man (and not Einstein, genius) but was really the work of Ada Lovelace and women like her. That’s also why the first computer was programmed by women, binary, cobol, and all of the first computer languages were done by women.

  91. Kiuku

    If it wasn’t for women, men wouldn’t have:

    Clothing, cooking, fire, weaving, sewing, pottery, combustion, fireworks, magnets (first used for divination), the Tao, hand washing, dynamic properties of life, feng shui, alchemy (Lao Tsu), rubber, mathematics (ratios from cooking. Also Aganice, Thoeno, Hypatia), astronomy (Aganice, En Hedu’Anna, hypatia), philosophy (mentoring Plato), novels, writing, poetry, probably music, automata (the first automata was an automated loom then piano), Geometry, the golden mean, the right triangle, theono’s properties of a triangle, computers, radio waves, kevlar, most inventions of convenience, DNA, x rays, uranium, I know I’m missing stuff, probably everything else.

    Any Patriarch who thinks he’s so great or that men gave us the weerrrlldd, should tell us how the pyramids and megaliths were built or how the Egyptians had aerodynamic toy plane models.

  92. Isabel

    Another female scientist notably missing from many biology textbooks is Lynn Margulis, even though she is responsible for radically altering how we view the tree of life. She’s consider wacky by many, perhaps justifiably, but so what? And look at what nutjob James Watson gets away with (or did, until he did something so outrageous that they had to fire him). But even now he’s still in the textbooks, (right about where Rosalind Franklin belongs).

  93. Citizen Jane

    If this is a project you are seriously interested in and you want a geek to get her code on, let me know. I’m guessing that your web hosting already provides wiki software.

    As for Tvtropes, I would like to encourage IBTP fans to get involved, to balance out against the MRAs who are already very involved there. Tvtropes is actually pretty influential. I have seen some direct references to it in television shows, and it certainly gets people thinking about how media is presented to us.

  94. Citizen Jane

    Sorry for the double-post, but I just wanted to say that I used to sound just like Keri, but I have since done what Tvtropes would call a Face Heel Turn.

    As nails so beautifully outlined above, we are denied science. It used to be outright illegal for women to practice it, and still is in some parts of the world. Nowadays we are simply discouraged, told we aren’t smart enough, and denied the educational resources our male peers take for granted.

    It is a pretty common defense mechanism when someone is denied something life-changing, then they tell themselves that they don’t want it because it’s crap anyway. Patriarchy exploits this human nature to get us to participate in our oppression, and go along with denying ourselves the joys and wonders of science.

    I know I used to be like that. Maybe Keri is, too. Although, it’s not my place to psychoanalyze her, so I’ll keep that as a possibly maybe. If this rings true, Keri, then I implore you to fight back.

  95. Zygar

    Actually, without scientists like Ada Lovelace, Hedy Lamarr, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Fran Bilas, Kay McNulty, Marlyn Wescoff, Ruth Lichterman, Jean E. Sammet, Mary Allen Wilkes and Grace Hopper, we wouldn’t have this magic box to type on.

    I’m not disparaging their contributions by naming a man who also was vital. Science has suffered for not accepting the accomplishments of women. Just as some suffer for not accepting science as an accomplishment.

  96. nails

    “I’m pretty sure it was women who gave male so-called doctors the concept of washing hands”

    No, it wasn’t.

    The connection was solidified when doctors (who were not allowed to be ladies at the time) performed autopsies on corpses and then passed the exact same diseases onto mothers/babies when they assisted in giving birth. You can bet that the people who published that data were not women either, because women were not fucking allowed to do significant things in medicine or science in the west. Midwives served as the control because they did not do things like autopsies. It was really terrible and unfair, and I really hate the idea that being cut off from something like science means that what we were forced to do in the mean time was just as good. It wasn’t. It was fucking slavery, we were the property of all important men folk (either as wives or prostitutes). Lets acknowledge the damage instead of romanticizing it, jesus. Cooking and raising children and everything else was the free labor in society that men took for granted and it still is, it isn’t some equally engaging occupation that women freely chose or something. The work of those women was essential to society and it still is, and it should not be taken for granted. It is work that must be done, and that men have pawned off on women and not paid us for. The legacy of oppression is that women have been forced into that role for thousands of years without assistance. Women were as brilliant as any human could be in such a situation. We were forced into roles that discouraged thinking. We were kept from making contributions that could change the world in the way that men were allowed to. Women have had their accomplishments co opted and paved over and erased, and there isn’t any denying that. The tradgedy that exists in the persistent exclusion of people outside the most privileged class is still very very sad though. There is not any shame or stupidity in doing what was allowed for women at the time, women who were excluded weren’t at fault. There isn’t a need to prove that their socially accepted activities were on par with world changing ideas like material sciences and modern medicine.

    And for people unimpressed with newton- maybe you should look up this thing called ‘engineering’ and how modern societies wouldn’t have much infrastructure without it, and how 90% of people in modern societies would be dead without infrastructure. It is massively important if you want to, you know, build things that will actually do what they are intended to do. Chemical engineering gave us material sciences, the effects of which are apparent in damn near everything we do. Chemical engineering in the form of pharmacology means that you get drugs when you have surgery instead of a piece of wood to bite down on. It also means you have sutures that have desirable properties rather than what was lying around. It means artificial hips and elbows, central lines for people who need big doses of drugs or nutrients…it means everything to a shit load of people. The fact that someone else had a similar idea around the same time doesn’t detract from the revolutionary implications that the idea had on society.

    The paradox here is that we are all discussing how valuable science is on computers, mostly from countries where vaccination and modern medicine are advanced enough that most people live into an adulthood that affords enough leisure time to think about shit like this.

  97. irden

    Both keri and nails are right.
    It is true that women contributed to every aspect of human lives in a significant way, in some areas probably more so than men. It is also true that these women are widely ignored in history books, and that the face of science (and philosophy/politics/anything really) is universally a white male EVEN THOUGH they often worked together with or were mentored by women. Platon was mentored by a woman; Einstein profited greatly off his wife’s scientific work.

    However, there is nothing inherently male about science. Modern scientific canon is misogynist in some aspects like Ev.Psych and medicine. But intuition and feelings cover a different aspect of human life than science. It is not possible to replace the one with the other, and asking which is better is like asking whether potatoes are better than bricks. They are needed for different purposes.

    As far as I know, the number of women who died in childbirth was at a peak in 19th century hospitals. Obviously, modern medicine is more efficient at birthing assistance than traditional midwifing, especially in case of complications. But in the early 19th century, a midwife was the better choice. Either way, the need to take care of women’s issues is what gave modern medicine the concept of disinfection.
    Lao Zi (other romanisations incluse Lao Tsu and Lao Tze) is the name of an ancient chinese philosophical text. Its author is universally depicted as male. It has no direct connection to gunpowder. As far as chinese classical texts go, though, many songs in the Book of Songs are written from a female perspective; the Yi Jing and with it a huge chunk of chinese alchemy and religion is based on a tradition of female shamans; and the Shi Ji (Historical Records) on which the tradition of history writing in China is based, is known to have been co-authored by a female relative of the main author Sima Qian.

  98. Kiuku

    modern societies wouldn’t have infrastructure without Newton or without engineering, which came from Newton?



    Well I find much of what is said back and forth to be wrong, and mythological, and actually cultural, patriarchal belief sets that aren’t necessarily true. I’m not here to debate because I don’t believe in fighting, even with facts, or words. You can use anything to fight. That’s what men invented. And it’s really the only thing they ever did come up with.

  99. Kiuku

    I’ve read a lot of what tradesmen have to say about their craft in regard to engineers and blueprints, for instance. Let’s instead marvel at the beauty and sophistication of the infrastructure of societies that aren’t modern.

  100. Kiuku

    In fact, you can only marvel, because for a lot of it, we have no idea exactly how it was built.

  101. Lurker Lyn

    De-lurking to point at a history magazine that might be of interest:


  102. Jill

    “Faith in science has all the limitations of faith in anything else”

    Aaauuugghhhh! Science is the antithesis of “faith”! One may trust or mistrust the practitioners of science, but that is another thing entirely.

  103. Femanazi

    Hi all, a newbie here. Not a newbie to blaming the patriarchy or as a reader here, just first post.

    Anywho, a wiki would be AWESOME! Would love to offer up an idea or two, but time is a huge issue for me as well, and can’t imagine what a pain in the arse it would be to monitor it, and not just from teenage boys! Grown men, well into their prime, are not above derailing feminist thought. I certainly BTP!!!

    I might be biting off more than I can chew, but here I go.

    I am taking all sides in the science debate and honestly all sides are validating eachother. It is well known that intuition is what creates the theory and testing it creates new intuitions. So, I don’t see what the problem is here, you need them both for science to work. I’m not a scientist. I am a ceritfied dog groomer and canine psycholigist(with some matriarchal and feminine studies under my belt), and I HAVE to use my intuitions, as well as test them! You can NOT seperate them. And sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, back to the ole drawing board. Same goes for science!Science starts out as a hunch and then is further tested.

    I agree whole heartidly with Nails in that in our recent past women were absolutely excluded from science and being doctors, but what about the hundreds of thousands of years prior to that dark age? And what about other parts of the world? Believe it or not, our paleolithic ancestors were not barbaric, ignorant cave men who went about clubbing women over their heads. Infact they were very knoledgable about their enviornment and the cycles of life, as well as the cosmos. They were also very peaceful, civilized Matriarchies. There is TONS of evidence popping up every day that proves this! Many scholars are now standing up and saying that civilization was not created by war, but by women. Scholars like D.M. Murdock(aka,.Acharya S), barbara G. Walker, Jame DeMeo and many, many more. Infact, they have a whole grongressional studies dedicated to matriarchal studies of the past and PRESENT.
    Which BTW, patriarchy is NOT universal!!

    I think what Keri and others have been saying is that science was stolen from us with the patriarchal take over. And it ABSOLUTELY was!! Paleolithic and early neolithic infants had a much higher survival rate than the later neolithic and bronze age infants (and even today). That is pricisely the time of a patriarchal take over.

    Another good example would be the Native Americans east of the Mississippi, who happen to have been matriarchal and had a clear understanding of cleanliness and the importance of washing their hands and herbal disinfectants and had a much higher infant survival rate than that of the invading Europeans(who at the time believed bathing was sinful, cuz you had to get naked and touch yourself).

    Matilda Josly Gage even wrote about the superior civility of the Native Americans and how the women could walk at night and not be raped! And, it is a FACT that the Natives were the BIGGEST influence on the first wave of feminists, as well as the slavery abolishment movement. Gage and Stanton became members of the Mohawk tribe.

    I better end it here, cuz I can go on all day about matriachy.

    BTW, I am a female supremist, cuz science has proved the female is superior in all fields except strenght. And strength can only go so far. Just my opinion. And NO! I am not willing to change it! :P

    IBTP for EVERYTHING horrible in this world.

  104. Femanazi

    Sorry about all the “infacts”. Lol I was rushing and I have no idea why. Its a pretty slow day here.

    Matilda Joslyn Gage also talks about how women’s contributions to science, inventions, and many other great things, have been deliberately taken out of history, along with our matriarchal past, in her book ‘Woman Church and State.’ A MUST read!

    There is also a couple of other books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. ‘Women and Science’ by Suzanne Le-May Sheffield, and Alan Cantwell’s book ‘Four women Against Cancer. Both focus on contributions of women to science and medical, but of course, were completely ignored.IBTP! I wish I could say whether they are worth reading or not, but at least they are out there.

  105. Ames

    At the risk of posting too many times on one thread, I’d just like to say that any debate about “science” and “faith” hinges on definitions of the words. It’s true that “[s]cience is the antithesis of ‘faith’,” if by “faith” you mean wishful thinking with no basis in consistent physical proof and by “science” you mean the controlled process of proving physical realities. No argument there. But science as a practice doesn’t always rise to that level, yet some people speak of it as if it does. History is full of humans screwing up “science” (so-called, but only because it involved knowing something and using a system) and that’s from where my skepticism derives.

  106. ivyleaves

    But the skepticism is about whether or not science occurred, not about science itself. Just as we pick apart evo-psych and show that it is NOT science. It doesn’t deserve the label of science and that is what needs to be talked about. I do think that it is extremely difficult to have an example of “pure” science unsullied by human bias in some way, and in the social “sciences,” it’s impossible as far as I can see.

  107. MPMR


    Regarding your long list of things men wouldn’t have without women:

    You say “probably music”, but the rest you’re completely certain about. Ha!

    “mathematics (ratios from cooking. Also Aganice, Thoeno, Hypatia)”

    The claim that humans wouldn’t have mathematics without those three women is a whole truck load of poop. As a female mathematician, I am a big fan of Hypatia and I don’t think the men of scientific history need any more horn-tooting than they already have. But to act like the couple hundred male mathematicians she worked at the same time as couldn’t have done anything without her is rampantly at odds with reality.

    “I’m not here to debate because I don’t believe in fighting, even with facts, or words.”

    They aren’t facts if they aren’t true.

    CassieC: Sweet virgin mary of gender essentialist bullshit indeed.

  108. minervaK

    Christ in a sidecar. Now I’ll NEVER get off the internet.

  109. Rachel

    What does “tacqueax” mean? It doesn’t appear in my abridged OED.

  110. Jill

    What does “tacqueax” mean?


  111. Rachel

    Is that pronounced like “taco”? What’s the etymology?

  112. Rachel

    Never mind, I found the “Yo, taqueau” post. Now I’m hungry.

  113. Saphire

    Science, whether ruined by men or not is a bad thing. It’s all about male systemising. There are other more female ways to see the world. Nature is calculated to precision. To say evolution or science is responsible for that precision is naive. Everything does not exist because ‘science said so’. I kinda have to laugh at atheists (and I don’t believe in some bearded guy in the sky either).

    Even Newton wrote more about the occult than his science. As did many other great minds. There is something out there that is the ‘unmoved mover’ for definite. To put so much faith in science is phoney. We probably don’t even have the ability or schemas to think about why we’re here. Our very nature is calculated to the last cell. To say no thing has the blue print for that is naivety at its best.

  114. Saphire

    Plus, those highest is psychoticism tend to be atheist.

  115. jael

    When did not acknowledging women turn into thus everything men come up with is bad? The devaluation of one idea vis a vie another does not mean another is false/incorrect/not valuable as a result. I think JBT hit the nail on the head: it’s not one way of doing things wins that’s important, it’s the devaluation of contributions that needs to be rectified, and the basis of knowledge gathering broadened.

    On this whole science/men/bad ~ intuition/women/good thing. For the proponents of said dichotomy, what do you see the objective of (radical) feminism as being? Is the objective a World Without Patriarchy where Men and Women are equal; or is it a World where Women Trump Men?

    Lastly, what on earth is a “more female way of seeing the world” (and “female intuition”)? I thought were were trying to move beyond gender essentialism.

  116. CassieC

    Thanks Stella, Jezebella, MPMR, nails, jael & Jill (and others? couldn’t find them on my last run through the comments)

    But I’m still fucking depressed at the large number of anti-science-women-are-inherently-touchy-feely-nature-intuitive crap on this thread. It’s reminding me of Amanda Marcotte’s blogging on the anti-vaccination, anti-birth control, anti-climate change and other anti-science fundamentalists.

    Has the fundie anti-intellectual mindrot set in so deep that even self-proclaimed feminists would reach for the kool aid? Listen, hard times a-been, hard times a-coming, we need lobes running on full hard-nosed rational throttle to face this shit. If you’re turning to the “women are intuitive and Newton was a poseur” side, you might as well sign up directly with the army of the patriarchy. I hear they pay better and at least you won’t be wasting our time trying to talk you off the cliff of uselessness.

  117. Joshua Mitchell

    What about this as a slightly different take on saphire’s argument http://gearingupfortheslowdown.blogspot.com/ (stolen from reddit, if anyone saw it there first)

    “As Karl Stern discusses in the opening chapters of his book The Flight from Woman, the eventual devaluation of the aspects of these dichotomies generally assigned as ‘female’: private, soul, emotional, myth, intuitive is the logical and necessary outcome of the modernist thinking begun by Descartes in his Meditations and continued on by many great and respectable minds. A worldview or culture that values the public, body, logical, scientific and rational approach to the world to the exclusion of all other perspectives necessarily results in such power structures and individual struggles as seen today. In a society that values growth and success in the public sphere to the exclusion of the private, a necessary spiritual sickness and death will result. The collective hysteria that underpins the ills of American society will not be fixed by the same approach that has encouraged them, however it is the only approach that is considered, per the axioms of modern thinking: rational to the devaluation of intuitive.”

    It doesn’t require gender essentialism to to think that a completely rational, unemotional take on the world might be unhealthy and that the disenfranchisement of women also made people discard things associated (falsely) with women.

  118. Hedgepig

    The hard times that are a-coming will arrive thanks to such scientific and technological wonders as mining for oil, building a whole lot of gadgets that rely on oil and that we now all rely on, and various agricultural innovations that have resulted in a massive and unsustainable human population.
    The unthinking application of scientific and technological discoveries has created a situation where an insanely huge number of humans rely totally on technologies that rely totally on unrenewable and finite substances. According to CassieC it’s us luddites that are the problem. Well, forgive me if I postpone signing up to patriarchy’s army until after I clean out the henhouse.

  119. yttik

    The whole definition of “science” is male dominated and male defined. I do not want equality with male science, I want to redefine the term so that it will finally include the other half of the equation.

    Science is a male dominated institution often funded and influenced by other male dominated institutions, such as the church and the military industrial complex. Science gave us penicillin but they also gave us the nuclear bomb and the disease inducing toxic soup we all get to live in at the moment. I do not stand in awe of science because it really does have a dark side that I am not sure I wish to celebrate.

  120. Saphire

    Jeesh, shot down for having an opinion. So now we get guns held to our head if we don’t exactly worship science? If we’re not with the ‘full nosed rational throttle’ crowd?

    There’s something other than science at work here, like a social magic. I study psychology as an undergrad and am sick of all the science to explain the most basic things. Something larger at work explains the patriarchy – not fucking science and not fucking rationality. Is the patriarchy rational to you, does it make sense? Do we need to be male and systemise everything to make sense of it? Do we need test tube answers? No. We need intuition, social magic, social intution to return the hate, get them to fuck off our backs using social norms, changing them magically almost.

    Jael (is a male), in answer to your first paragraph – society functions on subjugation. Just my opinion, but women have to trump men. The alternative is men trump women and leads to violence, a death every second across the globe. It’s not good.

    As to your second paragraph – you sound like you’re crapping your pants Jael! Haha

    As to your third paragraph, female intution is ‘social magic’ if you like. A lot of things happen socially that are far from rational or scientific. These norms govern everything we do, how we live, who gets bullied, a lot of coincidences and strange happenings that just aren’t science – gaining intuition to these is traditionally women’s domain. (And spearheaded males say this, not me).

  121. jael

    Saphire, sorry sweet cheeks. We’re possessed of the same lady parts. But nice try. You can even have another avoiding the adfeminim try if you like!

    On your comment that society functions on subjugation – isn’t subjugation in and of itself patriarchy? Women (or persons of colour, or poor people or what have you) getting to be top dog doesn’t solve the problem – which is the subjugation – it just transfers it. A transferred oppression is still oppression. Transcending the subjugation is how we transcend patriarchy, not by shifting the oppression to someone who isn’t us. That just convenient, not radical or fundamentally transformative.

    Yttk – I have no problems with what you’re saying re redefinition. My point it only that what science has given us has been good and bad: I don’t think we need to throw out the good in efforts to make it better.

    That said, I think my posts are up this tread. Until we blame again, y’all.

  122. Citizen Jane

    Wow, are there really so many gender essentialists at this blog? I’m amazed by how many people are coming here to say “You know all those ridiculous gender stereotypes that patriarchy came up with to keep us oppressed for centuries? They’re totally awesome, aren’t they? But don’t worry, it totally makes women better than men, which is totally what our goal should be here.”

    As for “women’s intuition,” you will find that it is common to ascribe some sort of mystical ability to oppressed groups which is supposed to stand in opposition to the rationalality and higher thinking the group doesn’t have. Goffman has written all about it. We like to say that the disabled have some kind of sixth sense. And remember when this was about Tvtropes.org? Take a look at the Tvtropes page on the Magical Negro.

    Buying into this patriarchal nonsense is not helping feminism and it’s not helping any woman.

    And that’s my third comment so I guess I’m done in this thread now.

  123. speedbudget

    In the interest of science and group cohesion, I give you kitties and hamsters.


  124. awhirlinlondon

    But oh, how I will miss some of the predictability!

    1. Brilliant, provocative blog post in what is clearly the best, tightest writing on the web.

    2. Insightful commentary and conversation from many of the usual suspects, all of whom I wish were in my life rather than living in my computer. nails, yttik, Comrade S, Saragasso, speed, Jezebella, Norbiz, Notorious, agasaya and countless, countless others.

    3. Jokes.

    4. Troll attack.

    5. General heaping on, mad evisceration of and whooping laughter at troll.

    6. Troll posts increasing numbers of offended, defensive posts and stomps off / is booted from Savage Death Island.

    7. I like tacos!

    8. Jill, this is the only sane corner of discourse in my life. I love you and want to have your babies. This place is saving my life.

    9. More sane and insightful commentary.

    10. “I am NOT a racist! I am not I am not I am not!”

    11. “Yes, you are, actually.”

    12. 27 increasingly hysterical posts on the subject of “I AM NOT A RACIST and why is everyone picking on me! Everyone is always picking on me, see??!!!! See??”

    13. CPP: “Hey, I am not a racist? Shut the fucking fuck up. Everyone’s fucking laughing at you and no-one cares what you fucking think.”

    14.PP: “Other PP? You are such a fuckwit.”

    15. More jokes / tacos / commentary.

    16. 4 wrap-up posts from K, each of which demonstrates a new and interesting way to think about the ways in which men are scum and should all be killed, preferably as slowly and painfully as possible.

    I think that’s it, but I may have missed something.

  125. awhirlinlondon

    oh shit. Posted to wrong entry. Fuck. Please delete me – will re-post in the proper place.

  126. CassieC

    @Hedgepig for my last comment before shutting the old piehole (actually before I biff off and fill it with pie, but we digress).

    I am a luddite. I am a scientist who is also an environmentalist and a technology critic. I think being a scientist makes me a better luddite and technology critic and environmentalist, actually. It certainly allows me to not make facile overgeneralizations like “agricultural innovation enabled unsustainable overpopulation”, since my scientific understanding is that population growth is foremost driven by longer life expectancies, which mainly stem from basic health and hygiene improvements (with diets as a secondary factor). Agricultural innovations have allowed the larger population (from longer life expectancies) to continue living, and depending on diets and other consumption patterns, there is no reason to believe that the 9 billion cannot live happily and healthily on the production of the earth (of course inequalities and overconsumption will be problems, but that’s not inherent unsustainability). However, it is typical of Americans, even those who call themselves environmentalists, to blame population rather than their own consumption levels.

    @Saphire: magic? really? that’s a really interesting working hypothesis. You might want to go and look up Karl Popper and falsifiability before you base your career on it, though.

  127. nails

    “It doesn’t require gender essentialism to to think that a completely rational, unemotional take on the world might be unhealthy and that the disenfranchisement of women also made people discard things associated (falsely) with women.”

    A completely unemotional take on the world isn’t rational. It is inhuman and extremely unhealthy for whoever is enduring such an existence.

    Dr. Spock is a fictional character, folks.

    “The hard times that are a-coming will arrive thanks to such scientific and technological wonders as mining for oil, building a whole lot of gadgets that rely on oil and that we now all rely on, and various agricultural innovations that have resulted in a massive and unsustainable human population.”

    Those problems exist because of a campaign of global dominance perpetuated by a bunch of knobs (patriarchy). When you look into their various activities around the globe you start to realize that whoever has the power will get their product made in higher quantities, and if it is running out, even better (for rich capitalists). Creating the technology doesn’t lead to using it to ruin the earth otherwise. If communities and people in general had some kind of say in their economic standing I very much doubt that they would pick to fuel their life with fossil fuels, and something could have been done long ago. How good or bad anything is doesn’t matter in white supremacist capitalist patriarchy- domination does. The people with power happened to be invested in those kinds of energy, and when it gets scarce they can charge even more, so it goes on. Hell, scientists are the ones warning us of the problems and pleading with governments to do something. It is the same story as it ever was- the powerful control the weak. It used to be by the sword, but I doubt anyone here is going to go all anti-pointy-things on us because they have been used for evil before.

  128. Hermionemone

    There is a way science explains and supports the “social magic” mentioned by Saphire.

    In animal behavioural psychology and game theory there is the idea of an “evolutionarily stable strategy” or ESS. When a critter follows the ESS, it is most likely to have maximum long-term success in reproduction (the gold standard in evolutionary studies) relative to the other critters in the same environment. When a ‘new idea’ comes along in the form of altered behaviour patterns, one can analyze how well any sub-population following the new pattern will do compared to the pre-existing population. Sometimes the new one is stable (not out-competed and eliminated) by the critters following the previously-established ESSs.

    This supposes that the parent critters pass down or pass on their behaviour patterns either genetically or socially. The presumption of genetic influence of behavioural variability is what gets evolutionary psychologists in trouble. But the stability of the behaviours themselves is something independent of the method of their passing on/down/around.

    Our human intelligence provides a new dimension to ESS selection: we can imagine what would happen “if everybody did that”. This can allow new ideas to persist longer than they would otherwise, just because we like the idea of the social environment that would exist if only more people would act that way. Call it applied wishful thinking, or social magic. If enough people believe a social pattern should exist and act in a way to enable it to exist, it can come into existence.

    “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you” is a popular example which, on the face of it, only becomes stable when a significant number of people believe and act on it. In a world where many or most people act on a maxim of “take every advantage you can regardless of the other person” the golden rule would disappear except for us rational people looking ahead to a day when it is more prevalent.

    My personal folly is imagining what kind of a world we’d have if everybody got around by bicycle. Intuitively I suspect it would be an improvement over our existing transportation system. My scientific approach to validating the idea uses myself as a test subject — if I can successfully get around by bicycle, even in the hostile environment of a modern city, in all or most weather, for all or most errands and purposes, then it will be an existence proof that the idea may be workable in general. The more people who believe, and act on the belief, that bicycles are useful transportation devices, the safer and more reliable and convenient that method will become, especially when the balance of behaviour prevalence tips toward phasing out the baseline method, sitting in cars getting pulled around by ridiculously overpowered mechanical motors. Cities could then be designed around bicycles not cars, and only get better from there.

    I wonder if a non-patriarchal society could be created by enough women and men believing and acting as if the old patriarchal pattern were irrelevant. It almost certainly would require some kind of virtual or physical separation between patriarchy-compliant and non-patriarchy-compliant space. The NPC faction would increase due to defectors from PC space, if perceived to be the superior, evolutionarily stable strategy.

    Magic is (or can be) performative wishful thinking with a grounding in logic.

  129. Natalia

    Lets acknowledge the damage instead of romanticizing it, jesus.

    Wise words.

  130. Miss Andrist

    Re: radfem wiki yearnings.

    I’ll build it if you’ll populate it. (I just don’t do content, I just fight internet d00dmenz versus laments that mens’ concerns are in danger of being forgotten because as another blamer on another blog put it, it’s not like the concerns of men are in the fucking water.)

  131. Mokele

    Wow. Many of these comments, and Keri in particular, is why those of us doing *actual* science ignore the input of folks outside academia – often it’s ridiculous gibberish showing minimal to no understanding of how science works.

    Come on Keri, lets hear your intuitions about flight. I’ll give you an easy one: Explain the interactions of wingbeat amplitude and frequency as flight speed of any given vertebrate increases in terms of muscular contraction and activation kinetics. What’s your “intuition” on that?

  132. Miss Andrist

    Perusing to see if there were any reply to my offer. Alas, there is not. That’s okay. It stands.

    Meanwhilst, I ran through the comments.

    @m Andrea and any who say it can’t be done (not Andrea, unless you’re the same person):

    Your objections are -slightly- flawed. It would hardly be impossible. In fact, it would actually be relatively easy. You just need a professional developer to produce said nuanced, weighted randomized registration pop quiz.

    And while we’re at it, why not filter trolls / MRAs to a hall of shame with all info on display complete with geolocation of IP courtesy Google’s API? (Side note about IPs: ISPs assign customers dynamic IP addresses due to the limitations of IPv4 which must “roll” periodically, so IPv4 doesn’t have the power it had 15 years ago.)


    How many times do I have to volunteer my happy ass? That goes for all of you radfems. (Yes, there’s a trust thing involved. If it makes you feel better, my professional reputation as a freelancer is also at stake.)

    I do LAMP / AJAX + AHAH. That’s *nix, Apache, MySQL and PHP5. X/D/HTML, CSS 1/2/3, JavaScript, XML/XSL. I also do RoR and IIS6/7 + ASP.NET (VB). What can I say? I’m a heavy hitter. I do this for a living, but the pr0nz saturation of teh interwebs may drive me to give it up or make other Very Poor Choices. >_<

    Anyway – point is, all of you – I 100% guarantee that your blogs are all running PHP5 on Apache unless your space is donated and even then, you still have about a 95% chance of running something I deal with.

    I'd also host this wiki myself. Srsly. Hit me up.

  133. Miss Andrist

    Also, re: women, science.

    Sophie Germain prime.
    Grace Hopper (‘Mother of COBOL’)
    Radia Perlman (‘Mother of the Internet’)

    Stuff women invented and built:
    The first operating system
    Transfer control protocol (such as in “standard TCP/IP”)

    In fact, the association between foundational computer engineering and science and nerdy adolescent males is mostly a myth propagated by users (see: irc.) The ACTUAL engineers and programmers were a bunch of middle-aged women. ^_^ My heroes.

    Additional little-known fact: modern object-oriented programming exists thanks to Noam Chomsky.

  1. Spinster aunt reveals her inner Firestone « I Blame The Patriarchy

    […] Concludes this commenter: All the paper that men need to record history that they destroy, to transmit information, that we used to tell by stories and metaphors, is just a waste. They are just inefficient. It’s annoying because I always understood how bees and flies and some birds and bats flew, intuitively and it is only in 2005 that male scientists begin to understand it, with high tech equipment. It’s annoying also because they claim we never knew it, when Nietche(sp) wrote about it, the oscillation. It’s soooo dumb. […]

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