Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Feminism

A Scientist’s Shirt: How Feminism Has Turned On Itself

Last week, Matt Taylor, a British scientist associated with the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission (which landed a probe on a comet), wore a shirt with scantily clad women on it:

Many online commentators took offense to the shirt, calling it sexist. Taylor eventually issued a tearful apology. This piece is not about whether or not the shirt is sexist. A man was reduced to tears because he wore a shirt that some people didn’t like. Should feminism be in the business of making men cry because of the shirts they wear?

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Was Stephen A. Smith “Blaming the Victim”?

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has been suspended by the network for a week following comments he made concerning domestic violence. Smith has been accused of “blaming the victim”–attributing violence exclusively to the wrongful behavior of the victim rather than to the perpetrator. Is that what Smith did? Let’s take a look.

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Leave Thomas the Tank Engine Alone

A recent article on The Guardian‘s website by one Tracy Van Slyke has stirred up controversy among parents and culture critics as to whether or not Thomas and Friends is a suitable television program for children. Van Slyke slates the show, claiming that it’s authoritarian, sexist, anti-environmentalist, and even racist. Van Slyke says that she is thankful her son “never went through a manic train fascination like so many other children.” I’m 22. I don’t have any children. But Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends  originally came out in the 1980s–unlike so many of the people writing about this show, I remember what it’s like to have “manic train fascination”. I still have the old episodes on VHS, I still have my wooden magnet trains, and once in a great long while, I even get them out and play with them. So here follows a defense of Thomas from someone who knows what it’s like to be a kid who loves Thomas and loves trains.

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In Defense of Shailene Woodley

Actress Shailene Woodley (of The Descendants, The Spectacular Now, and Divergent fame) has recently taken a bit of flak from many practitioners of identity politics for comments she made to Time magazine about feminism. They accuse her of essentializing the feminist literature, of treating it as monolithic and failing to see the diversity of perspectives it encompasses. Their critique is too demanding and ignores something very pressing in what Woodley is saying that the feminist movement as a whole needs to take note of.

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You’re Not the Boss of Me: Don’t Ban Bossy

Recently I’ve been seeing a new identity politics argument circulating around the internet that grinds my gears: Ban Bossy. This is not to say that I don’t agree with the movement’s aims–I think it would be wonderful if women had more self-confidence. My problem is that the arguments for banning bossy are spectacularly unconvincing. Here’s why.

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