Friday, February 24, 2017

"Stop Using Women And Girls To Justify Transphobia" - Huffington Post Still Thinks All Women Think The Same

A certain article that I saw from the Huffington Post has peaked my interest. Mostly, I'm fascinated by the truly sincere arrogance and sexism displayed by the writer, and before the reader judges this article solely off of this statement, I will explain further down in the article exactly what I mean.

First, I want to talk about the article itself. Alex Berg posted yesterday her trending article "Stop Using Women And Girls To Justify Transphobia," which has been shared many times over on Facebook and was featured as a 'trending' article on the Huffington Post website. Berg describes herself as a multimedia journalist since she helps produce many of the Huffington Post's video segments along with documentaries dealing with the troublestroubles faced by the transgender population, and she focuses mostly on LGBTQ issues in her reporting. 

The Voice of All Women
Her article is an opinion piece about the recent announcement from the Trump Administration where the president has stated that he will repeal a guidance put in by the Obama Administration allowing transgender people the ability to choose their bathroom of choice in a public school. Overall, she has reacted very negatively to the action, and she is very upset that those who opposed the guidance are using the protection of young girls as an argument against allowing transgender people into children's restrooms. 

After claiming that rescinding the access of transgender women to women's restrooms in public schools as discrimination against the LGBTQ community, Berg begins her argument as such:
"A common claim that opponents of such protections for trans students make is that allowing transgender people into bathrooms endangers cisgender women and girls. In his much discussed appearance on “Real Time,” alt-right former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos told host Bill Maher that he “makes no apologies for protecting women and children from men who are confused about their sexual identity.” This argument perpetuates the myth that trans people are predators, when they are far more likely to face violence and harassment in restrooms at the hands of cis people."

It looks like Berg really looked at the facts when she decided to write her piece. The only problem is that the articles she is linking to are either misquoted by Berg or useless in terms of factual evidence. The first article that references how some argue that allowing transgender persons into bathrooms endangers cisgender women is actually a link to an interview with self-proclaimed radical feminist and chair on the director's board of the Women's Liberation Front, Kara Dansky, on "Tucker Carlson Tonight." In Dansky's interview, she did not say that the Obama guidance was endangering cisgender women, and instead she talked about the difference between rights for biological women and transgender women. From the Fox Insider article that accompanies the video segment;
"'We think that 'women and girls' are a meaningful category worthy of civil rights protection,' she [Dansky] said. 'If we define sex, under Title IX, to mean gender identity, what we're essentially saying is that "women and girl" can mean anyone who self-identifies as "women and girl," which makes the category "women and girls" meaningless as a category.'"
Of course, it might be silly to assume that anyone can assume themselves as a different gender and therefore be legally defined as "transgender" under US Federal Law. Historically, the legal definition of transgender and gender identity has been left up to the states, but according to the original text from Obama's issued guidance, the letter ultimately usurps the state's power of transgender issues regarding public schools.

The guidance states that any individual who doesn't claim to be their biological gender may be allowed to classify themselves as whatever gender they please. It's also fairly important to note that the guidance doesn't say "student" in these definitions, and instead only says "individual." Although the definition is broad and vague, perhaps intentionally, the guidance does relate these definitions to Title IX as a student related issue. What's baffling is that there is no qualification for being considered transgender, including medical or legal.

Kara Dansky is right when she says that anyone who wants to claim that they are a woman or a girl will be treated as a woman or a girl. The Title IX amendment as given by the Obama Administration grants that power to any student of any school receiving federal funding, which includes all public education systems and any school that receives tuition from Pell grants, FASFA loans, or other federal student aid programs. In essence, anyone who claims to be a woman can enter the women's restrooms, join school-associated battered women's shelters, join women's sports teams, enter women's locker rooms, receive housing in women's-only housing sections, and et-cetera, and the same rule applies to any person claiming to be a man. What I personally find striking is that the Obama guidance claims that disallowing men who claim to be women from entering female-only areas or joining female-only clubs, teams, and housing situations would limit or deny the transgender person from an equal access to educational programs or activities.

There are no educational programs that bar women or men specifically from attendance (except for historically all male or all female institutes, for which the majority have rewritten their rules to accept transgender students), however one could argue that sports teams that have been segregated by sex do limit certain gender's abilities to partake in said sports. I would argue that sexually segregated sports teams are something to be cherished due to the biological differences of the genders. Scientists once thought that women would one day be able to compete with men in track, cross country, cycling, and swimming events if they as a gender were allowed the equal opportunity of proper training, strong coaching, and more experience in the sports, however there is now considerable research available that states that women are unable to fairly compete with men due to the manner in which testosterone affects the muscles' strength and endurance along with the hormone's affects on heart size, oxygen levels in the bloodstream, and body fat percentage. As an example of this phenomena, here is a survey of ten thousand runners' 5k times compared by age and sex from;

The Obama ordinance has the potential of limiting or denying a student's ability to partake in an institution's activity by allowing a transgender female who doesn't have to provide medical documentation or partake in a medical treatment program to join a female sports team which would bar female students that didn't make the cut competing against a biological man and affect the outcomes of future competitions, games, and meets in the female sports team's league, and all the while the biological man will have complete access to the restrooms and locker rooms that would otherwise be restricted to his biologically female teammates. To reiterate, the transgender female wouldn't even be required to make an attempt to look like a female, and before I get criticisms for stating that females have a certain "look," I would like the readers attempting to make this criticism imagine a six-foot-tall, two hundred and forty pound transgender woman with a buzz-cut and goatee showering in the women's track team's locker room. Of course one might argue that this incident never happens and that it never would happen, but the response to such a quip is that if it were to occur, it would be legally acceptable. The fact is that there is potential for a man masquerading as a transgender female to dominate a women's sports league or enter and abuse women in a women's locker room, and that takes away women's protections from both unfair sports competitions against biological men and the reality that any male predator could potentially enter a woman's locker room or restroom.

To bring this conversation back to the quote from her article, Berg then goes on to mention right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopolous, who stated that he “makes no apologies for protecting women and children from men who are confused about their sexual identity.” She uses Yiannopolous's name as a hyperlink to an article that criticizes Bill Maher for "taking credit for the former Brietbart editor’s swift downfall." Now, a discussion on Yiannopolous's alleged defense of pedophilia is definitely worthy of discussion, however due to the lengthy subject matter that would need to be addressed I will follow in Berg's footsteps by skipping the article's content entirely and only focusing on the quote. Yiannopoulos's quote is similar to Danksy's, and the provocateur is stating that the cost of allowing transgender females into women's restrooms, locker rooms, and other female-only areas is the risk of sexual assault from a man masquerading as a transgender female and the overall degradation of the value of women's biology. Berg counters this statement by claiming that theses risks aren't as important as the risk of bullying and abuse of transgender people in the bathrooms congruent with their biological genders.

With this counterargument, Berg is assuming several things about the sexes. I hope that the reader remembers my claim of sexism at the beginning of this blog post, because this statement is abhorrently prejudiced to men, women, and transgender persons. To begin, the assumption that transgender women won't be bullied, harassed, or assaulted in a women's restroom or locker room implies that only men or those who identify as men are capable of these actions; furthermore, the assumption that transgender men won't be bullied, harassed, or assaulted in a men's restroom also implies that only women or those who identify as women are capable of these actions. In regards to transgender people, Berg is assuming that a transgender person wouldn't abuse his or her access to a public restroom and that transgender people can do no wrong when it comes to sexual assault. This of course is untrue, like for example the 2012 case of Jessica Hambrook (who's legal name is Christopher Hambrook) who had been living as a woman for three years and joined two women's shelters where she raped and sexually assaulted several women.

To further strengthen her argument, Berg used her statement about transgender people being more likely to face harassment and sexual abuse as a hyperlink to a UCLA study done by Dr. Jody L. Herman, PhD. The study concludes that transgender persons and those that do not conform to their biological gender are unsafe and under threat of abuse in restrooms that do not correlate with their biological gender, however the study finds itself under serious scrutiny due to a couple of blatant biases. The first bias is the sample size; the survey consists of 93 individuals who either work, live, go to school, or have spent time in Washington, DC. The second bias is the $50 lottery award to apply incentive for people to participate in the survey. The third and most damning bias that totally discredits the study is the method of data collection used by Dr. Herman;

With a cash incentive and an inability to prove one's nonconformity of their biological gender identity, the data collected excluding the unlisted amount of personal interviews and the six follow-up interviews is rendered unverifiable and useless. Dr. Herman states in her paper that the follow-up interviews were used to give more qualitative data for the study, but it is a logical fallacy to use six singular instances as a method of describing an entire group of people. I am not trying to argue that transgender women don't face harassment or physical assault in the women's restroom, but Berg's use of this study to prove her point is in my opinion extremely careless.

Berg continues her article by further attacking the protection of women and young girls through sex segregation;
"Yet, Yiannopoulos’s line is a common refrain that continues to be used by those who care little about real, not mythical, violence against women. When walking back LGBTQ protections or promoting so-called 'bathroom bills,' proponents of such legislation have said that allowing trans people to use the appropriate restroom means men can 'enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls,' and that businesses that allow trans people to use the appropriate restroom pose 'a danger to wives and daughters.'

But invoking women’s safety while ignoring real violence faced by women and girls on college campuses, on the street and within their own homes is nothing more than a veil for hate. This so-called protection is a justification for transphobia — and as cisgender women, we’re done being your excuse."
These two paragraphs are a shocking collection of blatant sexism, name calling, and projection. To begin, Berg states that those who oppose the sex segregation of gender-specific areas do not care about the violence that she considers real. After boldly making this claim, she then goes on to ignore the fact that the anti "bathroom bill" stance is founded upon the reality that there are people who have been abusing this type of anti-discriminatory legislation for years already; or in other words, she ignores real violence that happens to women. I'd like to allow the readers to imagine a scenario where a middle-aged man enters a women's locker room, exposes himself to a group of young girls, and faces no criminal charges for his actions. It sounds ridiculous that this could happen, but there are already numerous reported cases of peeping toms and sexual predators gaining access to women's locker rooms by sexually identifying as a woman. As an example, here is an incident where a man entered a women's changing room at a public pool and disrobed in front of a girl's swim team. He did this twice, and he wasn't prosecuted since he identified as a woman. Here is another case where a 45 year-old man is known to have spent his day lounging naked in a women's locker room that is frequented by girls as young as six years old. In this incident, the man was not only exonerated from any criminal charge, but he was also given continuous free access to the women's locker room due to his sexual identification.

Berg states that those who oppose this type of legislation due to women's safety ignore violence against women on college campuses, the streets, and women's homes. This is not only a baseless claim, but also an extreme example of a straw man argument. Berg follow's the modern progressive left's practice of demonizing any person that disagree with her, and this is important when considering the information that she has cited to back up her claims in relation to this part of her quote;
" cisgender women, we’re done being your excuse."
One might notice that I put the word "we're" in bold. Here is where the true sexism begins to peacock out of Berg's ideology behind transgender specific legislation and women's safety. She is claiming here that cisgender women are sick of being used as a reason to oppose these types of bills, but a lot of her information that she has supplied to claim that those who oppose "bathroom bills" came from cisgender female feminists. The truth of the matter is that not all cisgender women agree that transgender females should be allowed in women's private areas in a business or public structure, and even the first person she linked to, Kara Danksy, was a cisgender woman who explained the exact kind of behavior that Berg is displaying in her article. Danksy stated in her interview that the progressive left and the majority of the radical feminist organizations do not want a conversation about transgender access to sex segregated areas of privacy, and any person that dares to oppose the so-called "bathroom bills" will be labeled as transphobic or hateful. Perhaps Berg's quote implies that she believes all cisgender women think the same in regards to transgender bathroom legislation, or maybe Berg is suggesting that cisgender women who don't want transgender females in their restrooms and locker rooms have forfeited their right to identify as cisgender. Maybe there really is some kind of collective consciousness of cisgender women, and I am just not aware of it, and all of the cisgender women who oppose "bathroom bills" are just putting on a show. No matter how I try and interpret this statement, it only comes off as not only sexist but also as a blatant disregard for the potential endangerment of women's safety and privacy, and a purposeful ignorance of the previously reported occurrences of sexual harassment and violence towards women as a result of this type of legislation.

The illogical hate Berg has for women's safety advocates continues with more straw man arguments and deceiving statistics from overtly biased studies;
"There are no recorded cases of transgender people harming anyone in the bathroom. In fact, trans people are far more likely to encounter violence and harassment themselves. In 2016 alone, at least 27 transgender people were murdered, the majority being transgender women of color. A whopping 41 percent of transgender people will attempt suicide in their lifetimes, compared with just 4.6 percent of the general public, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute. On top of that, trans women encounter structural sexism just as cis women do. Perpetuating the lie that transgender people are predators just feeds into this discrimination. And we cis women never asked for this kind of “protection” to begin with."
As I've demonstrated earlier, the statement of "no recorded cases of transgender people harming anyone in the bathroom" is a blatant lie. The lie comes from the fact that Berg is ignoring the definition of "transgender" and "gender identity" used in the Obama guidance. Any person who claims to be a transgender person is by the legal definition of the former Title IX guidance a transgender person regardless of medical diagnosis or attempt to display some sort of effort towards transitioning to the claimed gender identity. The 45 year-old man who flashed young girls in the Washington State public pool was protected by this type of legislation, since he is legally considered a transgender woman by definition. Jessica Hambrook who raped young women in the Toronto women's shelters was granted access to the shelters' sleeping quarters, restrooms, and locker rooms due to her legal status of being a transgender woman. The argument against the "bathroom bills" is not centered around those who are transgender and seeking out the proper medical help for their situation; it is about refusing to allow persons with malintent the legal ability to enter any female-only area of privacy while placing women and girls in unnecessary danger.

The rest of the paragraph enters transgender people into the Oppression Olympics, and Berg tries to convince her readers that the safety and privacy of female-only areas is irrelevant because of how badly transgender people get treated by society. These issues are very sad and disheartening, but they are all straw men; and furthermore, if I was a transgender person I would find it incredibly insulting that someone would try to state that sex integration for restrooms and other gender-specific areas of privacy would solve or combat the transgender suicide crisis. I would think that if 41% of all transgender people are attempting suicide, then there is a much more serious problem going on than feeling uncomfortable in a bathroom. The other argument that one could make is that transgender people are attempting suicide due to the amount of harassment they receive on a daily basis, but not only would granting bathroom access be irrelevant to solving this issue, the argument also frames a massive mental health issue that is plaguing the transgender community into something so trivializing as being harassed. There are (however unfortunate) a plethora of minority communities that are harassed on a daily basis, but the transgender community, according to Berg, are somehow the only community that is affected to the point in which there exists a 41% attempted suicide rate. There is no other community in the United States that comes withing spitting distance of 41%, and the margins are historically unheard of. To give some perspective, during the Holocaust, the rate of suicide in Nazi internment camps was somewhere between 25,000 to 100,000 suicides a year, meaning that 8% would be the highest possible estimate for risk or rate of suicide (the calculation being 500,000 divided by 6 million).

In my personal opinion, I think it is crazy to outright disregard the blatant safety risk imposed by allowing transgender person under the current legal definition to enter female-only and male-only areas. I think it's even crazier to make statements such as "Transgender people should be able to enter whatever bathroom they want because they try to kill themselves a lot" or "transgender people should be able to enter whatever bathroom they want because there's rape culture and people who don't support 'bathroom bills' don't care about rape culture;"
"If opponents of trans protections sincerely cared about the safety of women and girls, they’d care about ending rape culture. They’d care about holding President Trump accountable for more than 15 allegations of sexual assault and harassment against women. And they wouldn’t paternalistically tell us who we ought to fear when we proudly count trans and queer people as part of our communities."
Allowing predators a loophole to legally enter women's restrooms and locker rooms is rape culture. President Trump's sexual assault allegations are so amazingly irrelevant that I shouldn't have to mention that they've all either been heavily discredited or the alleged victim has made a point to disappear (possibly because some of them were paid actors). Just because someone is against the "bathroom bills" doesn't mean they are telling you to fear trans people. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and just because people are questioning a law's practicality, it doesn't mean that those people are evil or succumbing to some sort of 'phobia.'

The good news is that I don't have to let people make me feel bad about caring for women's safety in public restrooms, and I hope the readers who took the time to read my blog post understand that they don't have to feel bad either. If you know that what you stand for is right, then you don't have to let anybody tell you how to feel. Offense is never given, it's only taken. As soon as our society realizes this concept, we'll be much more productive when it comes to solving our societal issues.

 "[T]here is a very rich blogosphere and Twitter community of marginalized feminists, and I try to engage with that community, but I find that as a queer woman the way that I experience the challenges that feminism tries to address is really different from a the way a straight woman might experience feminism." I am marginalized because I am queer and that is unfair, but God forbid if you disagree with my political opinions then you are nothing but pure evil.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Real men provide/ Real women appreciate it," Triad Community Lets Seven Words Dictate Their Emotions/Actions, And KLEUR tries to Capitalize on the Situation

In the fourth week of February, crisis struck the state of North Carolina. Dozens of people are outraged enough to the point in which a statewide protest will be held at a small location on the business 40 interstate between Winston-Salem and Greensboro. The cause for the protest is this diabolical plot:

From the Triad City Beat
That's right; it's a billboard with a slightly provocative, seven-word message. According to Joel Sronce of the Triad City Beat, the sign that has caused such an outrage is owned by the Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising company. The Triad's community has reacted so far by giving their unofficial Facebook page a rating of one star.

although, there has only been one rating given, so far
Joel Sronce contacted President Bill Whiteheart of the Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising company for comment, to which he responded:
"We understand very well, I’m sure as you do, the Constitution of the United States, and it is a ‘freedom of speech’ type message where the parties that have paid for that advertising are conveying a heartfelt message to the public."
Of course one would be incredibly naive in believing Mr. Whiteheart's statement, since as Joel Sronce points out Mr. Whiteheart is a dirty republican.

does this ring a bell?

The protest is being hosted by KLEUR, a company that describes itself as a "Lifestyle Supply and Marketplace," and it functions similarly to any other middle class clothing store if the store had a coffee shop, a lounge, a donation page, and a social justice warrior attitude. Since this new era of protesting everything can cause misunderstandings as to why a certain company would endorse a political protest, I visited KLEUR's page on Facebook to try and find out what the protest is about. The page states a manifesto of action 
against the harmful sign:

"This billboard is new and currently standing on West Bound Business I-40, headed into Winston -Salem from Kernersville

On Sunday we have a public demonstration expressing our feelings about why this is offensive. If you are a woman or man who feels this is a harmful message, please consider joining us. Stay tuned for location and plan.
The power here is in numbers, so PLEASE make this a priority, and PLEASE spread word and request your friends join and show up. Don't abandon this! Show up right at 11 in case we are made to disperse. (We are looking into securing a an escort but that seems be it. ) 
Call the local papers and news network and demand they come and cover this. The more calls they get, the better." 
According to these statements, KLEUR wants a lot of people to attend, but more importantly they want a lot of press coverage for their event. Although I am now aware that the company is looking for that sweet, sweet free press, I'm still a little confused as to what the protest is about. I think some people often get confused when I ask these kinds of questions, but I am genuinely not sure what the sign is saying that should cause such an outrage, and in these kinds of situations I get frustrated with the lack of reasoning given by the protest coordinators. I understand that some might feel this is offensive, but since I don't exactly understand why I'm looking for the reasoning behind KLEUR's response. So far, I can only tell that the company is only looking for free advertising.

Luckily for me and for the others who may be confused, KLEUR posted an update on their page:
We are NOT protesting that the sign is capable of existing, or the people who put it up, or the ad agency, or the right to put it up. We are protesting patriarchy and sexism, and that this antiquated way of thinking about women exists at all. We are protesting the implied demand that women be silent and appreciate, regardless of whatever circumstances, their role as non-providers."
From here I can gather a few more pieces to the puzzle, but I'm still having trouble putting everything together. If we look at the definition of the word "protest," the word serves as a noun to signify a stance of opposition, and as a verb it either means to project that stance of opposition or to dispute the legality of a certain action. In this case, KLEUR has stated that it is not protesting the legality of the statement, but they are wishing to express their dissent of their interpretation of the seven deadly words on the sign. Essentially, what KLEUR is doing is gathering a large amount of people to sit near the sign for several hours and state that they don't like this thing.

In regards why KLEUR doesn't like the sign's message, I am still left a little puzzled. KLEUR is protesting patriarchy and sexism, and the implied demand that women be silent and appreciative as a non-provider.

So let's look at the sign's message, "Real men provide/ Real women appreciate it." Even though the statement is only seven words long, I think I'll need to break it down to fully analyze a fair interpretation.

"Real men provide." To provide is to make arrangements for supplying a means of support, be it money, love, affection, or even a literal, physical support of a person's body. The sign states that a real man would supply or prepare previous arrangements for the supply of some time of support. The opposite of this would be for the man to not supply anything at all. I think that it is fair to suppose that the sign is speaking in terms of a relationship or a marriage, and if that is the case, I don't know of a real man that wouldn't be supplying whatever support he could in a relationship. If I was a woman that was married to a man that wasn't supplying support of any kind, I would drop him so fast that he'd break the sound barrier.

"Real women appreciate it." If I  analyze this sentence in the context of the first statement, keeping in mind that the sign is referencing a relationship or marriage between a man or a woman, then the word "appreciate" means to recognize the full worth of something or to be thankful and express gratitude towards something. If a man is providing for his wife or partner, should the woman not have to be appreciative for it? If I were married to an unappreciative woman, I'd leave her faster than Britain left the EU.

KLEUR states that these phrases are sexist, so to explore this idea, I will manipulate the phrase and explore its opposites.

"Real men don't provide, Real women appreciate it." In this case, the sign would be stating that women appreciate it when their male partners don't provide for them or their family. I think it would be common sense to state that no woman would want to be in a relationship with a nonsupporting or uninvolved man, and furthermore no self-respecting person would appreciate being in a relationship with such a partner.

"Real men provide, Real women don't appreciate it." This statement would imply that if a woman wanted to consider herself "real," then she shouldn't appreciate it when her male partner provides for her or for her family. A sign with this message would be promoting an attitude of disdain towards husbands and their efforts to support a family in whatever way they can, and if that were the case I would argue the sign would be very sexist. Thankfully, this is not the sign, and women don't have to be unappreciative in order to be "real."

"Real men don't provide, real women don't appreciate it." To take the sign's message and change it to the exact opposite only reinforces the original message of the sign. I don't think either partner of a relationship would appreciate their better half being nonsupportive or unhelpful. A relationship is not a one sided deal; it's a team effort that requires two teammates. If one teammate isn't putting in his or her fair share, then that team is never going to make it to the playoffs.

Another way to analyze the statement for sexism would be to lengthen it's wording and over-complicate it. From this, I would say an accurate lengthening would be this; "Men of worth provide for their partners with their best efforts in either a relationship or marriage, as opposed to being nonsupportive or wholly uninvolved in the two's combined efforts. Women of worth appreciate their partners' provisions, as opposed to being unappreciative or ungrateful for their partners' support."

I could also reverse the roles of the genders in the statement and see how the message portrays itself in a different context; "Women of worth provide for their partners with their best efforts in either a relationship or marriage, as opposed to being nonsupportive or wholly uninvolved in the two's combined efforts. Men of worth appreciate their partners' provisions, as opposed to being unappreciative or ungrateful for their partners' support." As I stated earlier, a relationship is a team effort. Both parties are expected to provide something, and the situation is never as black and white as some might want to believe. If the man has job and the woman is a stay-at-home mother, then the man provides the money and the woman provides the childcare and other housework. If both the man and the woman have jobs, then they both provide money, childcare, and housework. If the woman has a job and the man is a stay-at-home father, then the woman provides the money and the man provides childcare and other housework. Of course, these aren't rules, however these are statements that anyone who has reasonable common sense and views a relationship or a marriage as a team effort would say. For example, just because one partner has a job while the other partner is unemployed doesn't mean that the job-bearing partner never has to watch the kids or clean the house or what have you, but if he or she is gone most of the week while the other is at home all day, maybe the stay-at-home parent should focus more on the housework. These situations are vastly unique across every individual relationship, and a healthy marriage comes with the discussion of how both partners can help contribute as opposed to deciding who is the provider and who is the non-provider.

The word "sexism" defines itself as prejudice or stereotyping against one gender, but it's hard to tell if any analysis I've come up with so far contains any form of prejudice towards either gender. The billboard isn't saying anything specific about either gender unless an onlooker perceives it in that way. I think the billboard can be interpreted in a hundred thousand different contexts if I really sat down and thought about it. Perhaps the billboard is stating that most men don't provide, or that most women don't appreciate their partners' provisions, or that men should always provide and women should always appreciate. In reality, if someone is trying to make a statement that is only seven words long, it probably isn't worth the time to come up with all of these possible interpretations.

In regards to KLEUR's assessment that the billboard promotes patriarchy, I just don't see how that can be the case. KLEUR is attempting some sort of virtue-signaling campaign to capture the attention of women who care about gender equality and manipulate it for publicity reasons. If the protest isn't meant to promote action to remove the billboard, surely KLEUR knows that a protest of this manner would only bring it more attention. Maybe KLEUR isn't aware of the free market of ideas and how attention is used as a currency to invest in arguments, and the lack of attention is the number one killer of stupid ideas, but since I don't doubt the intelligence of KLEUR's businesspeople, I'm sure they know exactly what they are doing. Broad claims such as "the billboard demands that women be silent and appreciative," are such large, vague stretches that it's almost criminal that they are able to get people to believe them.

The question still remains; what does the sign really imply in its statement? Well, according to Joel Sronce's interview with Bill Whiteheart, the party responsible for the sign's erection has stated that "they will have a forthcoming announcement in the future." Although I would say it would be much more responsible to wait and see what other shenanigans the billboard activist has planned, KLEUR has decided to go gung-ho into the "scream and yell at the things we don't like" phase in accordance to the new era's rules for civil discourse. Although I wholly believe that the protest will not accomplish anything, I am confident that the protesters will tell me that I'm wrong while finding the self-righteousness that they are searching for.

When I was growing up, I was taught that offense is never given, but only taken. I hope that those who are truly outraged by this sign can one day learn to look past such petty things and focus their passion on bigger and more important issues. Maybe the person who paid for the billboard only wanted to see a reaction from it, and we're all playing into his or her pocket.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Social Change is a Cult

I go to a small liberal arts college,and I'm only posting this because I hope people realize that liberalism shouldn't be laughed at and called a 'mental illness,' and instead it should be recognized as to what it truly is; a cult.

For one of my classes, I was required to attend a seminar given by Tony Woodcock, who is a leading pioneer in the field of arts management and music education. He was also the president of the New England Conservatory for a number of years, and he's established outreach programs for big-name orchestras that he's managed. He also apparently writes for Huffpo from time to time, as I just learned.

The thing about Tony Woodcock is that I know deep down in his heart, he is a good person, but he has been manipulated, and it was so obvious to me during his seminar. He gave a lecture about "our duty as artists to help change the world," and I wish I had recorded the lecture due to the outright brainwashing he tried to do to the students in attendance. His core message throughout the lecture was this, "if you have the time to be creative while another person in another part of the world is starving, have you really done your job as an artist?" Another strong theme was the purpose of charity, and he repeatedly made statements such as, "in the so-called 'developed west,' we combat poverty by paying for our avoidance of it through poverty," which of course leads me to believe that this guy doesn't give to charity and has found a way to not only justify his decision to not give to his fellow man but also a way of feeling superior about it.

Although, I can't say that he doesn't give to charity since he has helped develop several arts outreach programs in the US for underprivileged youth, however it's his reasoning behind it that seems incredibly strange. His goal was to get us, a handful of artists at a liberal arts conservatory, to enact what he calls "social change" in our communities, and he went on spiels about how it's our duty to help illegal immigrants and refugees and protect women's rights and promote racial equality and every other liberal talking point. At the end of the lecture, there was a Q&A portion, and I made the mistake of asking a simple question about his lecture. I said, "In regards to social change, what should we be trying to change into?" He asked me to clarify what I meant, and I said "What is the end goal to all of the social change?"

I didn't criticize him, I didn't speak out against his lecture, and I wasn't trying to be an edgy kid trying to attack some guy giving a lecture. All I wanted to know is what his goal for this social change was. After all, he explained to us that if we were not a part of the social change, then we would be bad people. I just wanted to know what social change I should push for if he wanted to consider me a good person. His answer to me was so crazy:

"I've never thought about it like that before. You know I think that young people and some older people get too caught up in this idea that there has to be an end goal, so I would say that it is more important to think about the change than to worry about what we should all be trying to accomplish."

What? You're going to tell me that I'm a bad person if I don't follow this ideology of social change, but you can't tell me why I should do it or what the outcome of it should be? Another lady that I didn't recognize chimed in saying that "It's specific to the community you're looking to work with, but I don't think we should be worried about an overall goal." I think that's an acceptable answer, but she was not the only one to answer a question that she wasn't expected to respond to. The dean of my school happened to be there as well, to which he said,

"I think your question is so important, but the end goal doesn't matter. What matters is how we can change people's lives through social change one step at a time."

Then, since this question was apparently open-ended and directed towards everyone, one of the other students in the audience responded, saying:

"I don't really think it should be about an end goal, but it is obvious that there is social change that needs to be done in the world. You might think that nothing needs to be done, but if you look at what's happening today and think that everything is ok, then you should probably do some serious self-reflection."

At this point my jimmies were properly rustled since I knew this student personally and I knew that he didn't involve himself with any charitable programs, and I'm not trying to brag about what I do but I spend a significant amount of time serving for a program (which I don't want to mention since it might cost me my position) where I go to underprivileged schools and help the teachers of those schools. I've helped illegal immigrants, I've helped refugees, and I've been to schools that were so bad that only 20% of the kids passed their reading and math EOG's. What's really crazy is that the question I asked suddenly took all of this information, and that student who said this to me knew this about me, and threw it out the window, even though my question wasn't critical or promotional. I was only asking for Tony Woodcock's reasoning, and he couldn't give it to me.

So let me get this straight; If I don't believe in this progressive ideology of social change, I am a bad person. If I even question the reasoning behind the social change, I am a bad person and it suddenly becomes ok to publicly ridicule me (I should note that I am paraphrasing, but the quotes are practically verbatim). Is this not a cult? Is this not an ideology of "don't ask why, just do as you're told?" I don't see my volunteer work (which is both a part of a certain program and outside of that program during my spare time) as social change or social entrepreneurship, I see it as me trying to be a contributing member of society. But that's not what they want, they want to see our society change, and you're either with them or against them. This is a cult.

Progressiveness, liberalism, social entrepreneurship; the left is a cult.

Here is an archive link to one of Tony Woodcock's Huffpo articles where he talks about Social Entrepreneurship and how there are corporate benefits to giving the poor a better education.

From the article:

"Their philosophies share commonalities too:
• They all hold up education as the foundation for improvement at the individual, family and societal levels, but they question very deeply the methods, relevance, and value of current systems of education." 
This means nothing. Nobody agrees with the current education system. These are just words.  
"• They value Social Justice and people above profits. For them, the notion that the poor represent the price of doing business is anathema. They understand that poverty is the result of choices and structures society has made." 
The poor don't represent the price of doing business. The poor represent the people that give up their rights to an oppressive government, or the people that have made life decisions in a non-oppressive government that have put them in their position. Tony Woodcock believes that people have no control over their own lives, and that a person's own choices don't affect one's own life. 
"• But most of all they believe that poverty is An Externally Imposed Phenomenon, which produces the misery and inequality that we see in the world today. They believe that the poor are fantastic human beings who represent some of the greatest potential for growth and human development. They are not the “deserving poor”; they are the poor who deserve our serious respect and attention."
Tony Woodcock believes that the poor cannot help themselves, and although he likes to say that the poor are fantastic and incredibly smart, he doesn't allow them the thought that they might be able to create success for themselves. They have to be helped because they cannot help themselves. They are the greatest potential for growth and human development, yet they can't do it on their own because society won't let them. 

It seems like such a thoughtful idea, but if I was on the receiving end of this philosophy, I would consider it incredibly insulting that these rich elite were looking to make a corporate gain off of my education because they believed that I couldn't help myself even if I wanted to. They believe that I have been wronged, and instead of allowing me to make my own choices about it, they will make those choices for me because I wouldn't be able to even if I worked my hardest to change my situation. This philosophy is so domineering and degrading at the same time; they claim that the poor aren't stupid or incapable, yet they don't trust that the poor can help themselves.