Looking Back

Hey everyone!

This is to let everyone know that I’ll be taken an extended break from making new content, and to explain how all this got started.  This site has come an extremely long way from a year and a half ago, when I first started by writing a response to the male privilege checklist.  But this project actually began well before that.

As I said in the comments section of another post, this project began shortly after I transitioned a little over 2 years ago.  I was getting told all sorts of bizarre things about what life would be like as a woman – mostly from other women. I was told that men were going to “objectify me”, that I had to be careful when I went out at night, that I’d be earning less than men, and all the usual jazz I’m sure you’re familiar with. I was prepared to face these challenges as a woman, as I wanted to be treated just like any other woman… but they never came. Men never “objectified” me. They were certainly attracted to me! They were always so nice, and asked me out frequently – usually working up the courage first, and being all nervous when they finally did… so I started to think, who gets nervous talking to an object?  Who works up the courage to ask a household object out on a date?? This didn’t make any sense.  Also, my paychecks started going *up*, not down.

I started reading about some of these things, and wrote some of my preliminary ideas in an email to another trans friend.  That just opened up the flood gates, because the exchange quickly went south. Very soon after the discussion began, I was suddenly a “rape apologist”, and being brainwashed by this “patriarchy”. That exchange nearly ended a 20 year friendship with this person, and at that point, I was determined to learn all I could, and write an email back responding to all these points.  I still wasn’t sure what patriarchy even was – but I knew I wasn’t brainwashed, I knew I didn’t walk around being oppressed everywhere, and I certainly knew I wasn’t a rape apologist.

The other day, I was reading through some of the very earliest notes I took when I first began studying all this.  I put these notes up for peer review – beginning with my friend of over 20 years – and I got stomped pretty hard in the debate that followed.

But that was a good thing.  I found out where I was wrong, looked again at things I couldn’t answer, and studied more on the areas where I was lacking.

I began taking notes again, and researched further to better understand key terms, and see how they logically fit together.  I wanted to fully explore all the arguments put forth by every side, and went through the trouble of reading the original studies anytime they were cited.  During this time I visited a lot of Third Waver sites, and still didn’t know that there was, in fact, a clear division between the different waves of feminism.  Several months later, I put these notes up for review again, and was soundly whooped again – though this time not as bad.

So I went back to reviewing and researching.  This time I went so far as to start studying ancient civilizations and archaeology… a subject I never had any interest in.  But I seriously wanted the last and final answer in the question for how, when, where, and why this whole “patriarchy” thing got started, because that seemed to be the cornerstone for all Third Waver theory.  I wanted to know at precisely what point a caveman hit a cavewoman over the head with a club and dragged her back to his cave, and then turned that into a system of government.  I wanted to know exactly when it was decided that women were worthless, and forever relegated to scrubbing things – until just recently, when, through centuries of unrelenting hard work, they FINALLY taught those big bad men to stop beating them and treat them like people, all thanks to feminism.

I also wanted to learn about male privilege.  I spent 30 years as a male and was homeless during most of that time.  I faced going hungry over and over again.  I frequently worked 2 or more jobs just to have enough to eat while studying science in a parking lot, hoping to educate myself into something that would lead to me being housed.  I kept myself healthy by never using drugs, drinking, or smoking, and stayed in shape doing pull ups off street signs and pushups with my packs on.  I became suicidal more than once.  And this all changed the day I became a woman.  Suddenly I had housing.  I had people giving me things, and treating me immeasurably better.  So I really was curious about that privilege I was supposedly having!  And that I now do not have.

Finally I also noticed that no one ever tried to rape me.  Like, ever.  According to 3rd Wavers, we have to teach men not to rape, implying that they literally don’t know that rape is bad.  1 in 5 women get raped or assaulted!  Yet over the last 2 years and 27 days, I’ve walked all over Portland, at all times of day and often in the middle of the night.  I’d walk from the Northwest side over near Transition Projects, and walk all the way back home, across Burnside bridge and towards North Portland.  It’s just over 3 miles.  I’d often do that in the middle of the night – between 10pm and 2am.  Never raped.  Never assaulted.  Not even once.  And I could do that over and over and over again and still never be harmed.

Men never “catcalled” me either – until the 10 Hour Walk through New York video showed me that “catcalling”, literally, means saying things like “hello” and “god bless you”.

So this resulted in one final email that I was going to write back to my friend.  I was going to research the living hell out of every aspect of feminist theory, tracking down every study I could find and read every one of them front to back, and I would spend 6 or more hours a day doing this for months at a time.  The email grew larger and larger.  Finally I decided to put it in an MS Word doc.  Then *that* became larger and larger!  Then I sent it off to multiple people across the internets for peer review – and this included every 3rd Waver I could find who was willing to review it (even had an interesting exchange with AronRa when I included him in the review process – but that’s another story).  Only when I was absolutely positive each section was backed by evidence, and had reviewed all the counter evidence, and that the material could survive the maximum level of scrutiny, did I finally send it to my friend.  An entire book written for this one person.

…….. and they only read it half way.  Once they got to the chapter where feminist theory was discussed, they went only a few pages in, then stopped.  They also completely quit talking to me about feminist theory.  I never again heard how the “friend zone” means men think they’re entitled to sex, or anything about objectification.  I’d later see the same thing happen anytime I talked with 3rd Wavers online.

I started transferring the chapters of my book onto 4th Wavers as a means of making the information completely free for everyone.  I never intended on selling the book.  It was originally meant for that one person anyway, but I had put so much time and effort into the research, and I felt that these subjects were important for the ongoing public discussion surrounding feminist theory, so I wanted others to have access, and I didn’t want to hold any of it behind a paywall.

To push the peer review process even further, I would upload a chapter (which always provided a chance to improve it again a little before it was published online), then post the links to relevant topics on 3rd Wave Feminist boards.  Again and again, 3rd Wavers would start popping off in their typical angry fashion, accusing me of the usual routine (MRA / misogynist / rape apologist / etc), but were never able to answer any of the things I wrote.  The material always survived scrutiny, and half the time they wouldn’t even click the link, as they couldn’t bare to have their narrative challenged.  That’s when I started to realize that this was a faith based movement I was dealing with.  Not only do they lack any actual evidence, they behave just like young earth creationist when you challenge religion.  They never respond to the content in what I posted, and often have to resort to deleting comments or banning me from the forums.  I posted a few links on Upworthy’s facebook page a few times, and they’ve since started moderating the comments.  Still no actual challenges to any of the materials.

I kept publishing new articles over the next year, sometimes from my book, and sometimes new content in response to what I found online.  I did this until just recently, when I found that I had covered virtually every 3rd Waver argument.  It was at that point, that I made a compilation page, which you can see here: https://4thwavers.wordpress.com/2016/01/26/how-to-answer-3rd-wave-feminist-arguments/ .  It had become so common to just pick the appropriate link, drop it into the conversation, and watch the discussion shut down, that I made this list so others can do it too.

And with that, nearly all the contents of the book I had written are now uploaded – much of it has been improved to better fit a webpage, and now functions better as an airtight response to any common 3rd Wave argument you might find.

The final and last post I had been working on was how to distinguish between science and narratives – a major part of my book that still wasn’t uploaded.  However, you can now find that part here: https://4thwavers.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/science-vs-story-telling-how-do-you-know-whats-actually-real/ .

At this point, I won’t be sending out copies of the book anymore.  Sorry, but most of the information can now be found on 4th Wavers, plus it’s actually better written here than it is in the book.  The site works as kind of a “second edition”.  I might still come back on occasion and write another article, but I will usually only do this if people ask.  If you have some ideas for an article you’d like to see made, leave it in the comments section and if it gets enough likes, I’ll go to work on it.

For now, I feel like this is a extremely major chapter, that’s finally complete.

Thanks everyone for your support!

Samus Aran waving bye

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4 thoughts on “Looking Back

  1. Thanks for all your hard work, Athena. Your dedication to research and evidence-based analysis of these highly-emotive topics is amazing – if you’re not thinking of publishing it, perhaps it could become a really interesting dissertation?
    Enjoy your well-earned break.

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  2. So awesome! And I have a confession to make- though I would never seek to convert anyone to anything I do sometimes feel the same way about atheism when it goes up against quantum theory. Atheism vs orthodox religion I totally get- woman created from a rib? That’s like the joke and the punchline in the same sentence. But quantum science’s pursuit of the reality that lies beneath our understanding of physics and dictates the very scope of it is incredibly fascinating. Physics isn’t unraveling- we’re just discovering superior science. Soon lol worthy theories like panspermia and abiogenesis won’t be necessary because our understanding of time, space, and consciousness will be upgraded.

    But I digress. I love your blog, and I love the illusions you are shattering and the hard work you put into it. I’m very grateful for this resource and the ripple effect I’m sure it has already had in the fight to bring love, equality, and common sense back to the public discourse.

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    • I’m still open to making new posts in the future, mostly this will be only if I start getting requests for a particular topic. Recently for example, there was a great deal of criticism focused on my What is Privilege article, and it appears a few arguments were raised that I didn’t address in that article. I count that as a need to expand on that post and respond to those concerns, so I’ve been thinking about making a What is Privilege Part 2. That might get posted in a few days.

      But yea I believe I’ve finished the majority of the work here, as I’ve answered the most common 3rd Waver arguments. I’ll still do topics if I get requests for them.

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