This sexist music video gets real meta real fast

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Prepare to go down a rabbit hole of modern life in this incredible video for "Bike Engine" by Stylo G x Jacob Plant. Read the rest

Helen Mirren has been shutting down sexism since the 1970s

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Feminism may have only become a mainstream talking point in Hollywood in the past few years, but watching Helen Mirren handle this shockingly sexist interview from 1975 reveals she's been leading the feminist charge for a long time now. Read the rest

Machine-learning model fed web content makes racist and sexist associations

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Human biases exposed by Implicit Association Tests can be replicated in machine learning using GloVe word embedding, according to a new study where GloVe was trained on "a corpus of text from the Web." Read the rest

The ultimate guide to talking to a woman with headphones on

Photo: talblesalt (CC BY 2.0)

Everyone's angry today about a sexist guide to "approaching women with headphones on" which encourages socially awkward men to ignore this obvious social cue and harass women in public. Nasty tips include "don't allow her to ignore you" and "don't allow her control the interaction." Typical pickup artist griftbait, in other words: selling an idea the reality of which will only make things worse in the long run for the losers being grifted.

For the record, here's a better guide to talking to women (or anyone else) in public with headphones on: Read the rest

Facebook returns trending picks to mechanical feed only to see total garbage float to top

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
After being accused of political bias in its trending news picks, Facebook returned to a purely algorithmic feed. Within hours, the machine picked a gross fake-news hatebait item claiming Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was being forced out of the network, thereby forcing a human being to remove it from the trending feed. Bias! Read the rest

Republican party more or less doomed to Trumpism, white supremacy, self-loathing

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The Republican Party spent decades telling its base to hate and mistrust the mainstream media. But now conservative outlets are lurching to the far right, taking the base with it and leaving the party and its brand of conservatism stranded in political no-mans land.

As [former George W. Bush speechwriter David] Frum predicted and we’ve witnessed over the years, there is not much the Republican Congressional leadership can do to satisfy these folks in the right wing media because their ratings rely on fomenting anger and threats to “blow shit up!” I suspect this is precisely why Paul Ryan resisted taking on the role of House Speaker after John Boehner was ejected from his leadership position. He knows that he is now the target and this won’t end well.

Four years ago, I wrote "this is American conservatism's immune system going into anaphylactic shock. Fun to watch, while it lasts!"

It's not fun anymore. Read the rest

Important man's African-American colleague wins Olympic medal

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At the Olympic games in Rio, The Mercury News reports that top U.S. swimmer "Michael Phelps shares historic night with African-American."

The subject of The Mercury News's unspecific racial disinterest is in fact Stanford junior Simone Manuel, who not only has a name and is neither Phelps' sister or wife, but is the gold medal winner in the 100-meter freestyle event.

The Mercury News later apologized for its "insensitve headline." Read the rest

Important man's wife wins Olympic medal

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"Wife of a Bears' lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics," The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday. Sadly, the headline writers were unable to figure out her name before Tweet time, but they eventually did and later credited the wifehood (and the medal) to "Corey Cogdell-Unrein, the wife of Bears lineman Mitch Unrein." Read the rest

Roundup of newspapers that illustrated Hillary Clinton's nomination with pictures of her husband

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The excuses for this come prepackaged: it's what was on the photo wires, his was the great speech of the night, it illustrates a moment of transition in politics, etc. Read the rest

In 1995 Walmart pulled a "Someday A Woman Will Be President" t-shirt because it was offensive (Updated)

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Nick Kapur spotted this gem in an old newspaper: "A Wal-Mart store pulled a popular T-shirt proclaiming “Someday a woman will be president” off its shelves, saying it was offensive to some shoppers."

“It was determined the T-shirt was offensive to some people and so the decision was made to pull it from the sales floor,” Jane Bockholt said. She refused to reveal the nature of the customer’s complaint.

Ann Moliver Ruben, the 70-year-old psychologist who designed the shirt and sold them to the store, said the retailer’s response means “that promoting females as leaders is still a very threatening concept in this country.

A buyer at the company reportedly said that the shirt "goes against Wal-Mart's family values," but it didn't respond to press inquiries other than to confirm a customer complaint about the shirt and their removal from the store in which they were being sold. At the time, the United Kingdom, Israel and Pakistan were among countries to have elected women leaders.

After the story hit the papers, though, the company admitted its mistake.

"We made a mistake," Jay Allen, a Wal-Mart spokesman, told the Associated Press. "In this case, we overreacted."

The shirt appears to pop up on Ebay and Etsy often.

Correction: 1995, not 1985.

Update: Walmart Director of Corporate Communications Danit Marquardt spotted this doing the rounds and sent an email: “Wow, it still pains us that we made this mistake 20 years ago. We’re proud of the fact that our country – and our company – has made so much progress in advancing women in the workplace, and in society.” Read the rest

"This Male-Designed Female Character Just Loves To Flaunt Her Sexuality"

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Point and Clickbait posted an amusing take on the adolescent fantasy that if you give a crudely-objectified female character a sword and sexuality she becomes proof that feminists just hate sex.

Critics of the game have suggested that Sexblade is “astoundingly sexist” and “terrible in every way”, but Farmer argues it’s wrong to suggest that Sexblade is sexist.

“Isn’t it shaming female sexuality to attack Sexblade like this?” he asked. “Sexblade is a fully-fleshed out and real character with strong, believable motivations which drive her to do things like moan orgasmically when she takes damage.”

“It’s the people who want to put a stop to that — they are the real sexists.”

Read the rest

Anti-suffragette postcards warn against giving women rights

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Vintage Everyday collects anti-suffragette postcards from a century hence. Despite the best efforts of angry gentlemen, women got the vote shortly thereafter. [via] Read the rest

In her "capacity as a daughter," Ivanka Trump insists dad Donald doesn't "grope" women

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Behold the Clan Trump, God's gift to women. Ivanka Trump, daughter of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, is speaking out on reports that her father is occasionally less than chivalrous with the ladies.

"I found it to be pretty disturbing based on the facts as I know them, and obviously I very much know them, both in the capacity as a daughter and in the capacity as an executive who's worked alongside him at this company for a decade," Trump told CBS' Norah O'Donnell. ... "It's largely been discredited, since most of the time when stories are inaccurate, they're not discredited. In this case, they went so far. They had a strong thesis and created facts to reinforce it, and I think that narrative has been played out now, and there's backlash in that regard," she said.

Come November, her fantasy world will be your reality. Read the rest

Should a programming conference host a reactionary weirdo?

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LambdaConf is a conference for people who are into functional programming. If you don't know what that means, it suffices to say that these are stout, yeomanly Hobbits of computer science. What's news is that they invited Mencius Moldbug to speak at it. Moldbug (real name Curtis Yarvin) is a Hollywood archetype of coders: the programming whiz who has strange and comically retrograde opinions of minorities, slavery, ladies, etc. So. Should he be invited to speak?

LambdaConf founder and chief organizer John A. De Goes wrote in a blog post that the conference decided to keep Yarvin as a speaker in order not to set a precedent of discriminating against attendees because of their beliefs. "LambdaConf does not and cannot endorse any of the wildly different, diametrically opposed, and controversial opinions held by speakers, attendees, volunteers, and vendors," he wrote. …

Jon Sterling, organizer of LambdaConf workshop PrlConf, decided to cancel the workshop, writing in an open letter: "We cannot possibly organize a workshop under the umbrella of a conference that values the free expression of racist and fascist views over the physical and emotional safety of its attendees and speakers."

Not all who oppose Yarvin's views say they will boycott the conference. The writers of a forthcoming book on the programming language Haskell say they are coming to support other speakers and attendees.

There's a passage in one of the Hannibal Lecter novels, probably Silence of the Lambs, where it's made clear that the good doctor, though incarcerated as a serial killer, is still engaged as a professional in his field of study. Read the rest

Trump promises "some form of punishment" for women who have abortions (Update: changed his mind)

Illustration: Rob Beschizza

Once pro-choice, the leading Republican presidential candidate now thinks that women who terminate pregnancies should be punished. Donald Trump's going to ban it, but is not sure yet just what he's going to have done to women who disobey him. But he's thinking about it.

[Chris] Matthews then pressed him for a straight answer on what a ban on abortion would entail.

“Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places but we have to ban it,” Trump answered.

The former reality television star later added that “there has to be some form of punishment,” for women who get abortions after a ban is implemented, acknowledging the punishment would “have to be determined.”

He's unsure about how racist to be, but in no two minds at all about the women. Expect to hear a lot more sexist nastiness as the campaign goes on.

Update: He's changed his mind.

There's something amazing about how Trump just blurts out the right-wing positions he's discerned without realizing some of that stuff is supposed to stay implicit. He's like an AI chatbot who boils down his audience to its most vulgar principles, leaving that audience half-delighted and half-terrified at how completely exposed they are by his performance. Read the rest

South Korea having a female leader has made North Korea even crazier

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Even within the batty realms of North Korea's propaganda, the invective thrown at South Korean President Park Geun-hye is remarkable.

In perhaps its lengthiest and harshest verbal attack on Park since she took office in 2013, the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday called her a "tailless, old, insane bitch," a "senile old woman" and a "murderous demon" destined to meet "a sudden and violent death."… North Korea previously called Park a "prostitute" and said she lives on the "groin of her American boss." It has frequently questioned her womanhood because she has no children, which the North labels as an "obligation" for women. North Korea also frequently refers to the "swish of her skirts," a Korean phrase used to describe women seen as overly aggressive.

"The swishes of Park Geun-hye's skirt, created by her American boss, are so unpredictable they're dumbfounding," an unnamed spokesman of the North's Joint National Organization of Working People said in a statement last year published by the KCNA. "This is all because the United States' black, hairy hands reach deep into Park Geun-hye's skirt."

Apart from the absurd sexism, there's a more politically unnerving aspect to it. For all its apparent insanity, North Korea's propaganda traditionally tried to appeal to South Korean leftists. This messaging indicates a new level of ignorance of the world outside, a turning-inwards of its paranoia. Read the rest

Former Westboro hate mouthpiece on leaving the church

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Be sure to read Adrian Chen's gripping profile of former Westboro Baptist Church twitterer Megan Phelps-Roper, who left the church after coming to realize the futility of its hate gospel.

Megan Phelps-Roper, picketing with Westboro when she was still an active member of the family hate cult.

On December 20, 2009, Phelps-Roper was in the basement of her house, for a church function, when she checked Twitter on her phone and saw that Brittany Murphy, the thirty-two-year-old actress, had died. When she read the tweet aloud, other church members reacted with glee, celebrating another righteous judgment from God… But Phelps-Roper had loved Murphy in “Clueless,” and she felt an unexpected pang—not quite sadness, but something close—over her death. As she continued scrolling through Twitter, she saw that it was full of people mourning Murphy. The contrast between the grief on Twitter and the buoyant mood in the basement unsettled her. She couldn’t bring herself to post a tweet thanking God for Murphy’s death.

If you're been wondering why Westboro's been kind of boring lately, it turns out that there was a coup of sorts within the church: day-to-day troll in chief Shirley Phelps-Roper (Megan's mother) was denounced, and a bunch of stodgy old men took over. Since then, women have been marginalized within the church and it has lost much of its media savvy.

Read Adrian's piece to the last sentence: there is an absolutely amazing ending to the life and mind of the church's founder, Fred Phelps.

[Image, top: Megan Phelps-Roper. Read the rest

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