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This statement is troubling isn't it?

Warning: I'll delete any comment that tries to turn this into a competition between men and women or suggests that by spotlighting the accomplishments of women I am attacking men

You elect to make a point about gender but then say that if anyone responds in kind it is them and not you or Kathy who are "turning this into a competition"?

If I take your statement broadly then you seem to be saying that you want to talk about feminism without anyone being able to criticise your statements.

If I take your statement narrowly then firstly let me say that your post doesn't denigrate men but women. In effect by trying hard to come up with a handful of women's names you more or less announce to the world the exact thing you said you were trying to disprove, namely that women can do men's work.

By pointing out that women doing men's work are such an extreme anomoly that you can literally try to name them all in a small post ... I'm sorry -- how does that show women can be spies like men? or is your emphasis on "it is just about humanly possible" rather than a sense of equality?

But the main problem I have with this piece is that there's simply no evidence to suggest that anyone on the right is dismissing the outing of the CIA agent (Plame) because she was "only" a woman or because "women can't be spies".

The assumption of this position is what I would characterise as "turning this into a competition".

The only time I've seen the gender of Plame considered is when people have pointed out that "even the mob doesn't go after your wife". I think if Ambassador Wilson had had a male lover then his partner would have been more of a target, not less.

Where I have seen Plame's CIA status dismissed it was on the pretext that "she was only at a desk job".

So where is Kathy getting all this from?

If I were to write a diary like hers I could point to laws on the books and prosecuted currently that distinguish men and women in such a way as to underline that society does not take men seriously when they take on traditional female roles.

But I wouldn't want to be accused of "turning this into a competition" by making a better case than Kathy, so I won't provide examples. Left as an exercise for the reader...

I acknowledge that there are plenty of brave men all over this great big world of ours.

I read that in RSS, and thought "now that's just silly. What kind of lame-ass insecure excuse for a male human being would be threatened by the content of this post?" And then I clicked through to make a comment tweaking you mildly for thinking so little of us males.

Serves me right for being naive. I guess any minor flickering of, or disruption in, the Mandatory Female Gaze of Unqualified Adoration For All Males is enough to trip some males' offense buttons.

Note advised use of word "males." Men are better than that.

I didn't say "I know," I said "I suspect" and that was for a reason. I do suspect it plays subtly into the framing of the arguments that outing a CIA agent was no big deal.

Imagine if the CIA agent had been a man. Would we be hearing the same lame excuses? Perhaps, but I suspect this idea being floated that he wasn't "covert" enough for it to matter would never be considered.

It's all speculation on my part, but speculation based on my experience living and working in what is an apparently different world from the one inhabited by those who deny sexual discrimination exists.

And Chris, just because we all adore you (now), remember, that can change in an instant. Just stop blogging about your dog and see where all those female gazes go.

What kind of lame-ass insecure excuse for a male human being would be threatened by the content of this post?

I find it interesting to compare the quality of Kathy's response with Chris'. Or for that matter Chris' response with his normal quality. It's as if he decided to take a vacation from reason and wit. In fact if I hadn't skipped most of my armchair psychologist degree I'd be tempted to say that it looks a lot like Chris who is feeling threatened. But why?

Is it because he's a "lame-ass insecure excuse for a male human being"?

No, but there certainly seems something about his behaviour that needs explaining.

Perhaps closer to an explanation is his, "any minor flickering of, or disruption in, the Mandatory Male Gaze of Unqualified Adoration For All Females". Chris feels that as a mere male human being he is unworthy enough in these conversations. He sees his duty to mindlessly attack the mere male human being who gives the appearance of criticising women?

Down boy.

Chris I feel you have the same right to make a rational contribution here as a woman has. I bet the ladies agree. They even think I have a right to have an opinion. You are not "protecting" Kathy by attacking me. You are not "protecting" eRobin. They don't need your protection. Neither they nor I want you to act a fool like this.


Kathy: I don't deny sex discrimination happens. I deny it only happens to one sex. Now I'm guessing you will in theory agree with me that it happens to both men and women but your statement above really only makes sense in a world where sex discrimination against one sex is assumed to be so rampant as to be the explanation for more or less everything and discrimination against the other sex just about never happens.

Like I said above the opposite could be said to be true, and if I were to make a case like yours I could point to laws not mere speculation. Can you point to any laws which discriminate against women so as to restrict them to traditional gender roles? There are some but they are usually intended to protect women - whether they want to be protected or not. A bit like Chris' reaction in fact....

At any rate thanks for taking criticism seriously even if it was made by a mere male human being. =)

I do think Plame's occupation might have been used to dampen the advantages she has as a woman (Kathy is arguing the converse).

Normally a pretty white woman is the top class of "victim" for television. Stories about white women victims are a staple of TV "news" so why hasn't Plame gone on TV herself and said "I'm the victim here - these guys need to be locked away for what they did to me?" I think that would be a powerful moment.

Ambassador Wilson is all over the place but you never see her. It's a weak defence because I think people want to get it from the horse's mouth. So why have the Wilsons refused to roll out the big gun?

I'd say it was because her occupation demands a lack of publicity and even though her career is destroyed now, as the wingnut talking points on the Vanity Fair photo show, the right will use her occupation to attack her advantage of victim status as a woman if she tries to use it. They will accuse her of putting people in danger by outing herself -- even while they pretend when they really outed her it was no big deal.

So IMO the gender thing is relevent but it shows how women have privileges not how they have disadvantages.

I'd be tempted to say that it looks a lot like Chris who is feeling threatened.

Thanks for that, David. Needed the laugh.

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