Nice Prizes For Good Little Girls

I was never a good little girl.  It wasn’t that I was bad, exactly, or at least I never had evil intent.  But I was never very good at obeying, or at doing what I was expected to do, expressed or assumed.

I could adduce several reasons, including the fact that I lived at odds with my strong willed mother, but I don’t think that’s it.  I think it’s more a fault in ourselves — or in this case, in myself — that I was not put together right from early on.

Oh, sure, I liked baby dolls — for a while, though mostly I liked doing their hair until they were bald — but I also liked cars, and trains, and I really liked making stuff out of wood.  And while I could sort of kind of like pretty dresses and clothes, I couldn’t be bothered to stay in them or keep them clean very long.  Mom said the only way to keep clean after putting me in a pretty dress was to sit me down somewhere and have two adults keep an eye on me.  The wall or the tree or the mud puddle might have been there for months, but the minute I was put in a clean, frilly dress, I felt an irresistible desire to meddle with it.

It got worse when I entered middle school, and when most girls were trying to impress boys — and teachers — with how pretty and sweet and gentle they were.

It was as though I hadn’t got the memo.  I knew very well that teachers preferred girls who obeyed and parroted back their line than girls who actually learned, learned more than was required and thought for themselves.

And of course there was sexism.  Look this was a Latin culture in the sixties and seventies.  Some teachers might pay lip service to women being as smart as men, and everyone paid lip service to women having the same rights as men.  But every day, in interaction, men were expected to be smarter and more rational than women.  In school even the teachers who tried not to acted like it was very strange I could compete with boys.  And because boys had the advantage of being expected to be right and smart, it was pretty hard to compete.

I was expected to be smart but not so smart.  Which is part of the reason I felt the need to be smarter than all of them.

Somewhere at the back of my mind, I had the idea that people would like me DESPITE the fact I wouldn’t play their game?  Adolescent rebellion, perhaps.

It grew into something different: a decision to do and fight for what is right, regardless of what people wanted me to do.  If you always rebel against what people want or expect, they control you as completely as though you always did what they wanted.

As an adult, not feeling the need to be liked, or approved of, I developed my opinions and ideas with no reference to what those with power wanted me to believe.  And most of all I prize the right to be left alone.

Oh, sure, I played the game when I was first published (and to get published) but that was different.  I was doing it not just for me but for the kids.  To be blunt, we needed the money, and for various reasons that was my best choice.  Also, of course, I felt I should be writing, and this was the only way to get published.  (It seems like another world now.)

But as soon as I could, I walked away from those houses in which uniformity of opinion and behavior was expected.  I still am not very good at being a good girl.

Which is good.

Because recently there is a lot of talk — and action.  Has anyone forgotten the all-woman Nebulas — about giving prizes to women, about women only now breaking into science fiction (an insult to all the women who came before) about the Importance of Recognizing Women.

And every time they talk about this, every time they ignore the pioneering women, every time they recognize inferior work because it was wirtten by a person who happens to have a vagina and SAY WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR, I see my teachers smirking about girls who wore jeans and enjoining us to wear nice dresses and behave in a feminine manner.  I hear “Nice Prizes For Good Little Girls.”

I wouldn’t want a prize given in those conditions.  I guess the adolescent still lives in me.  me.  I want to win on my intellect, on my work, on the qualities of mind and personality that mean a lot more than what I was born with.

Note I was born into a sexist society, yes, but I’ve never been oppressed.  I’ve never given anyone the right to oppress me, and I’ve yet to meet the man I can’t compete with on more than equal terms.

I don’t need anyone and certainly not people who think they’re superior to the rest of us, to “improve my lot” or make up for supposed oppression.  I do not need Nice Prizes For Good Little Girls.

This is good, since I’ll never manage to be a good little girl.

But just like I wondered, when I was in first grade, about the berribonned girls in frills who never stepped wrong, never felt the need to jump in a mud puddle, and never climbed a tree, I wonder about the women in the field, those women who babble about being liberated and about how they don’t need men, and about whatever the party line is, and who don’t view it as an insult that others assume the right to reward them for being good little girls.

Liberated?  They’re just doing what is expected of them, like any Victorian housewife.

Self-sufficient women who think for themselves don’t get these pats on the back.  And this is good because we’d break the arms of those patting us.

We make our own way, we think our own thoughts, and we do not feel the need to attack men or hate them.  Those men who compete with us on equal terms are our brothers.  The others we ignore.

Because like those men we are free.  And that’s all we ask for.

576 responses to “Nice Prizes For Good Little Girls

  1. Accepting that people are and should be individuals? Women, what are you talking about? 😉

    • I was going to say something about making meat loaf vs making sammiches, but I’m afraid all the women here would set aside individuality and inundate me in carp.

      • Hey, I make the best meatloaf. All others are pale imitations.

        • You aren’t to bad at cooking up stories, either.

        • Pale imitations? You mean, like tofu?

          • I would assume a pale imitation meatloaf would be beige-colored, and probably made of TVP or some such…

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Ground turkey or chicken.

              • But those are real meat, not imitation like TVP…

              • Actually, I’m finding that I like chicken meatloaf better than beef. If absorbs the spices better (the fact that my fiancee has unpleasant reactions to beef fat also is a factor).

                • Mom’s from the Pacific Northwest. Her salmon loaf is awesome!

                • I just use chicken/turkey as filler.

                  • My best recipe has beef, turkey, and pork, uses oatmeal instead of the usual bread crumbs, and includes lots of other good stuff, including large amounts of garlic. It’s been pronounced awesome by multitudes.

                    I’ve also had good luck making it in muffin “tins” (my favorites are silicone these days) instead of the loaf-tray-thingee, though the recipe works in either.

                    Contrast this with my Mom’s meatloaf, which was universally grey. All they way through. I’ve been a serious meatatarian my whole life, and Mom’s was basically an “eh…” for me. WHen I eventually started making it myself and hit this recipe, I was gobsmacked because it was so much better than what I had growing up.

                • I prefer ground turkey, or any of several forms of venison. If you don’t harvest your own, a lot of states have laws that require the deer to be processed; people hunting for trophies just never come back for it and a lot of the time you can just “pay the processing fee” and claim the meat. I used to do that quite a bit in AL.

                • That would make a major difference.

            • The Other Sean

              Not meatloaf, but with meatballs, if you are making them Italian-style and add a lot of parmesan or romano cheese, the meatballs may end looking a little pale.

              • That was culturally enforced paleness on Italian immigrants who had to doctor their native foods in order to appeal to WASPs to be admitted to whiteness.

              • Panade (sp?) — a milk soaked bread which is added to meatloaf and meat balls; this helps keep the meat moist when cooked and serves to stretch it out a bit.

            • I like my meatloaf recipe from my bachelor days. It’s self cooking. Burger meat, onions, garlic, tomato paste and 7 habanero peppers ground up and mixed in. Put in the fridge overnight, and it’s almost cooked by morning……..

          • like that. I use TURKEY as filler 😉

        • Reality Observer

          (Draws sword.) You demean my meatloaf?

          Food of the Gods, it is! (Even though never the same thing twice.)

          • If it’s that great, why aren’t you happy there’s more of it for you?

            • Reality Observer

              More for me? Whazzat? I have a family that is very loving – of anything that they didn’t have to cook…

              I have learned, though, to get my plate just as soon as it comes out of the oven and before I let any of them know it’s dinnertime.

          • Mine is never the same thing twice, either. 😀

            • Recipes are only themes, after all. They exist for the improvisation that artists bring to them.

            • Reality Observer

              Yep. Meat, and then whatever else is in the fridge, and not moving on its own yet…

              Reminds me, though, I should run up a batch of baked beans sometime from Mom’s recipe. Same as meatloaf, except you start with beans.

        • I was talking about meatloaf the other day with one of my kids. Maybe Cedar could do an “Eat this while you read that” with your meatloaf recipe. It’s not something my Dad would eat so Mom never made it and I never learned how.

          • They make a meatloaf seasoning packet, like the taco seasoning ones. My dad swears by it.

          • Reality Observer

            Could have sworn she did have one, but a quick check says not…

            Alton Brown has a pretty good one, if on the spicy side:

            Thing about meatloaf is that everyone has their own recipe, and some are like me and clean the fridge out for something different every time. The basics are: 1) a good lean ground meat – chicken, turkey, lean beef, I know one person that grinds his own venison up; 2) crumbs that will soak up most of any remaining fats; and 3) something, usually eggs, that serve as a binder. After that…

            I usually use a mix of 80/20 and 93/7 ground beef, then whatever dried bread ends there are get turned into crumbs (Russian rye, white, even pumpernickel I have used), and eggs. Then – some slightly not so crisp spinach leaves in the drawer? Chop and add. Left over pasta sauce? Goes in. Bits of cheese? Yep. Three sweet peppers that won’t make anything else? Uh-huh. Dregs of ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, sweet relish…

        • Meatloaf, now there is a subject I can get into.

      • I married my wife in no small part because of her meatloaf.

        I mean, her good looks are a nice benny but when we’re talking quality meatloaf…

        • Precisely, and as I age and my looks desert me, I know Dan will stay with me for two things: meatloaf and stories. He has personal relationships with some of my characters 😀

        • Looks are ephemeral; meatloaf is forever.

          Although, once you stop looking at the packaging and focus on perceiving the contents, looks can be pretty long-lasting. What’s that phrase: beauty is only skin-deep but ugly goes clean to the bone?

          • meatloaf is forever.

            I thought Twinkies and fruitcake were the only foodstuffs without expiration dates?

            • And spray-cheeze. Don’t forget the spray-cheeze. 😉

              • Please, sliced velveeta or other solid cheese food and boiled eggs in the middle (still training my wife on the latter).

                • Digression to a peeve:
                  “cheese food” is a category made to cover everything from the untouched wheel of a classic cheese through things like cream cheese with onion bits, the wine-cheese balls or those fancy feta and herb sprinkle thingies.

                  It tends to be used, especially by those selling more expensive cheeses, as a synonym for “imitation cheese,” or “cheese flavored food.”

                  Most recent example I know of is a publicity stunt by Tillamook Cheese, to try to boost the sales of their incredibly over-priced pre-sliced cheese. Spoiler: slicing good cheddar and packing it like it’s American cheese does not turn out well; American cheese was developed to store in pre-sliced form without getting that nasty rind on the slices, to melt wonderfully, and to generally be consistent and a mild ingredient in whatever it’s in.
                  Tillamook Cheddar slices discolor, crack, stick to the wax, melt in lumps, doesn’t do that lovely classic stretch thing in a grilled cheese and infact tends to dribble out the side if you get it melted enough to NOT be clumpy.
                  Rather than smack their marketing guys up the side of the head, they started a petition to strip the name “American cheese” from the product it belongs to.

                  I don’t even like american cheese any more than I can stand bree, and Tillamook or Bannon cheddar is a literal staple in our house. If they’d bothered to do a little research, they would have found out that you can pre-slice a good cheddar block and avoid the issues I mentioned above– you slice it, and then line it back up. There’s a tiny bit of rind around the edges, but it comes apart much more easily than if it’s got wax paper between the chunks, and you could do it for a fraction of the price that goes into the mechanical slicing, separating and stacking process. Anybody who does cheese and cracker packed lunches knows that, and American cheese uses it in such obscure areas as Lunchables. -.-

                  • “cheese food” Also known as Petroleum Based Cheese Product (PBCP)… used widely in Texas high school sports concession stands to make frito pie….

                    • AKA, “the stuff sometimes used to make it orange is sometimes a petroleum product.” You get a bigger dose of plastic from the packaging around normal cheese.

                      From memory, part of the fight is because cheddar isn’t orange; for the American market, they were coloring it, which means that even the most fancy high quality cheddar has had things added (the “natural” option is carrot juice these days, I think) so they did NOT want any laws that coloring made it a “cheese product.”

                    • I thought annato, another natural colorant, was used.

                    • Might be; my first hand interaction is with folks who’d look at that name and freak out because it’s not natural sounding enough. (their customers are the “ban Dihydrogen monoxide” sort)

                    • Sigh, the refusal to educate oneself knows no bounds

                    • As you maybe can guess, I’ve got a lot of relatives who loooove to sneer about “plastic cheese” as a literal description, rather than a description of the texture/taste.
                      I may also be that person who loses her temper and informs them she’ll eat the plastic before she’ll eat their moldy Styrofoam cheese.

                    • We call it ‘plastic cheese’ around our house…but that doesn’t stop us from liking it in plenty of things! (Like on top of the meatloaf.) Velveeta…well, I’ve just not found anything that makes as creamy a mac-and-cheese as a block of velveeta. 😀

                  • In college, towards the end of the semester, grilled processed food slice sandwiches were a core component of my diet. The word “cheese” did not appear on the packaging in any form.

                    • That would be a “cheese flavored product,” IIRC— sort of like the occasional blowup over “chocolate FLAVORED (xyz)” shows up.

                      I’m a big fan of going off of the virtues of the product itself, rather than cheaters like “natural” or “organic.”

                    • I’m a BIG fan of “natural” —

                      albeit in certain very specific usages.

                  • Tillamook or Bannon cheddar is a literal staple …

                    You staple stuff with cheese!!?!? I mean, sure, who hasn’t used Deviled Ham as a quick bonding agent …

                    • “Melted cheese” is the glue that holds civilization about half of our meals together.

                    • Seriously, though, I’d forego olive oil before I’d skip cheese. GARLIC would be about on par.

                    • Words of Wisdom from Mary Cooper (Sheldon’s mother on Big Bang Theory):

                      You take notes, darlin’. The real way to get a man is with melted cheese and cream of mushroom soup. He’ll die at 50 but his love will be true.
                      Penny: Oh my God, this is the best cobbler I’ve ever had.

                      Mrs Cooper: It was always Sheldon’s favorite. You know what the secret ingredient is?

                      Penny: Love?

                      Mrs Cooper: Lard.
                      Mrs Cooper: The trick to pancakes is bacon grease. I cook everything in it.

                      Leonard: Everything? Aren’t you worried about your health?

                      Mrs Cooper: Oh, doctors are always changing their mind. One week bacon grease is bad for you. The next week we’re not getting enough of it.

            • There’s a popular belief that there are only a certain small number of fruitcakes, which get swapped around as gifts mostly at office parties and from maiden aunts. They just get passed on to the next recipient, like a Hobbit kula chain.

              • Oops. We (Red family) ate our fruitcake(s) this year. They were very good.

                • Fruitcakes are delicious. The one year my mother thought not to make it was the year she mentioned that some was still left over in November — but that was because it had migrated to the back to the frig. As soon as she drew it to our attention, it did not last 24 hours.

                  (Yes, they are very durable. I’ve heard of a tradition where a couple gets two wedding cakes. The one which is eaten at the reception, and the fruitcake for their first anniversary.)

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    Well, I would think they would be very durable. There’s enough alcohol in a properly-made one that if you put it in a sealed container, it should last decades.

              • There might be a shortage then, because fruitcakes that reach my house end up eaten.

              • SheSellsSeashells

                I believed this too. Then I had a locally hand-made fruitcake and Oh. My. Lord. There was brown sugar and rum and pineapple and rum and brown sugar and cherries and rum…

                I was impressed. Also broke, because I bought three and did not give a single one away.

        • Now, if you must marry, take care she is old —
          A troop-sergeant’s widow’s the nicest I’m told,
          For beauty won’t help if your rations is cold,
          Nor love ain’t enough for a soldier.
          ‘Nough, ‘nough, ‘nough for a soldier . . .


        • Mom Red discovered that the local custom meat place makes meatloaf as well as sausage. No more home-made meatloaf. *looks around for witnesses, whispers* Which was fine by me.

          • I like my mom’s meatloaf, but I didn’t like when she made stuffed bell peppers with it. The peppers didn’t cook enough, and tasted weird. But her meatloaf was always the best for making sandwiches the next day.

            MY meatloaf always seems to come out too loose, and has to be taken out with a spoon.

    • Patrick Chester

      “i’m not…”

  2. Has anyone forgotten the all-woman Nebulas — about giving prizes to women

    This bothers me on so many levels; giving prizes to people simply for showing up (or having a particular characteristic). I’m old-fashioned in believing that prizes should be given based on merit … how can any of these women (or other special groups) take pride in their work since they’ve only competed in a very small pond. What about competing with all entrants in the field, and not having bonus points for being a special snowflake? Competing on that level makes those awards meaningful and valid.

    • Aw, c’mon – you know Heinlein, Asimov, Zelazny, Niven and all the rest only won those awards because they were stehpinklers. Thus it is only fair to reverse for a period and award stizpinklers.

    • And being so shameless that they exploded on Twitter with glee at the winners’ sex, without so much as a mention of their work.

      • THIS. That was the most vile spectacle in our field, ever.

      • What is the point of a literary prize that ignores literary merit?

      • If it wasn’t for decades of chasing down all the Brackett, Moore, and Norton I could find as well as a healthy dose of reading Lee, McCaffery, and Cherryh as the books came out that set of Nebulas and the reaction would have told me how little seriousness to accord women in the field.

        • I probably only have 140 Norton SF/F novels.

          • Yeah, Norton probably wrote more quality fiction in any random year from 1955 to 1980 than the Nebula Dollies will in their entire careers combined.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              For that matter, I’d bet on any of Norton’s female characters against the Nebula Dollies’ characters (male or female). [Very Big Grin]

            • The first real book I ever read was Norton’s “Galactic Derelict.” The school librarian argued that it was “too advanced” for a second grader and didn’t want to let me have it.

              Tomorrow I’m having lunch with a friend whose first real book was Norton’s “Sargasso of Space.” We’re both fans of her earlier, mostly-SF stuff, before she went off into mostly-fantasy.

              I liked Norton’s books, and many of Leigh Brackett’s, for that matter. And I didn’t find out they were women until decades later. And when I did, I didn’t care. I judged them by their work, not their reproductive organs.

              • I can’t remember when I learned they were both women but I’m pretty sure I always knew with Brackett. I think so with Norton as well because my real entre to her, Witch World, were considered “chick books” (which I really don’t get based on the series namer and its first two direct sequels).

                Weird aside, apparently Robert Adams got a huge wave of female Horseclans fans from the book Cat of a Silvery Hue because a lot of women saw a fantasy novel with “cat” in the title and bought it only getting something very different than expected (for those not in the know they are barbarian horseman post apocalypse novels and the cat of the title is a military medal). I think it is a testament both to the openness of the readers and the quality of Adams’s stories that he kept them to the end of the book and into the rest of the series.

                • I first learned of Norton from the book reviews in Astounding; so, I always knew she was female. Same with Brackett and Moore. I can see how someone coming on those by-linea directly might assume male, but I bet nobody made that mistake with other 1950s authors like Katherine MacLean or Marguerite St. Clair! (Both of whom had cover stories in major stf mags in the early 1950s.)

                  • Margaret St. Clair was also Idris Seabright. She has two stories in a Hitchcock anthology, and the Seabright is CR to St Clair. Brackett was young Bradbury’s mentor. And a great screenwriter, last work “The Empire Strikes Back.” Legendary stories of her and William Faulkner trying to figure out “The Big Sleep” by heavy drinker Raymond Chandler.

                • I’m one of them. Saw it in the library, read it, went “whoa, this is different,” and kept reading. Along with Doc Savage. I was probably a little young for the books, and a lot of the sexual stuff sailed over my head (just as well).

                  • ?!!?!!?? There was sexual stuff in Doc Savage???? man, it sailed right over my young head!

                    Although I admit I sorta suspected something funny about the “friend”ship between Ham & Monk. There seemed a distinct undercurrent in there.

                    There’s a great anime series waiting to be made there.

                    • I thought she meant sexual stuff in the Horseclans books.

                      I keep hoping indie will bring me something that scratches that Horseclans itch.

                • SheSellsSeashells

                  I first read Horseclans at an age that would’ve horrified my mother had she known I was reading them (ditto Stasheff’s “Warlock”s, Heinlein’s non-juveniles, and Mercedes Lackey’s everything). I think I was about 10. I adored them uncritically – mounted archers *plus* telepathic horses and bigass cats? what’s not to like for a preteen girl? – and promptly added “post-apocalyptic American plains” to my list of Approved Destinations for Unscheduled Mental Jaunts. Lord, the fanfic I wrote…

              • I always knew Andre Norton was a female; for the longest time, I thought Andre was a girl’s name!

                I didn’t get into Andre Norton’s works too much. I remember trying to read a couple in the 6th Grade, but I think it was a little advanced for my reading ability at the time…or maybe the two stories just didn’t strike my fancy…but in any case, for some time, I’ve been meaning to raid my Father’s book collection and try Norton out again.

                • In no particular order:

                  The Crossroads of Time
                  Sargasso of Space
                  Star Guard
                  The X Factor
                  The Zero Stone
                  The Beast Master

                • I had a great uncle named ‘Amy’. I just figured it was a French thing. At first I wondered about Andre, but I certainly was not bothered by it. I don’t remember her first book that I read, but I obviously liked it and bought a whole lot more.

                • ” for the longest time, I thought Andre was a girl’s name!”

                  Mid teens when I figured it out myself.

              • My sister was a huge Andre Norton fan. So I got to read lots of Andre Norton books, because it was free! 🙂

        • I don’t dispute the scorn for the reaction. But despite her attitude on the subject of awards, I thought Ursula Vernon’s story was good.

          • I don’t recollect her having been part of the frenzy. . . .

            One of the evils of such frenzies is that they sweep up the innocent.

            • And, of course we Huns do not scorn her. Over here in the goodreads group:
              you can see that we are reading Castle Hangnail next month.

            • I disagree.

              One of the evils of such frenzies is that they disallow the innocent. If you are not part of the pack, in their eyes you are prey.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Mary’s comment doesn’t exclude your comment from being true as well.

                Mary is talking about an innocent being “tainted” by support from the frenzy.

                You’re talking about innocents being attacked by the frenzy.

                IMO both can happen.

                • Squares and rectangles are both four sided regular enclosed spaces comprised of four right-angled corners.

                  My argument is that by refusing to recognize innocent bystanders they preclude the existence of such bystanders. All are forced to become pack or prey, there is no third option. They are not “tainted” – they are absorbed, as by the Borg, or they are eradicated.

              • walks around, pokes with a ten-foot pole, gives up


                What of what you said precludes what I said? That the frenzied can deny the possibility of innocence does not preclude that someone innocent is tarred by association with them.

                • Once tarred they are either pack or prey; innocence, like Schrodinger’s cat, is an unstable state in such a world as they would make.

                  • I fear we are neither in the height of The Terror or the Inquisition yet …

                    It is still reasonable to hope that such can be avoided.

          • SheSellsSeashells

            I read her livejournal religiously, and while she’s cheerfully swallowed the koolaid, she is on the non-frenzied side of things. I will happily read her until/unless she starts doing the “let’s smirk in sly asides at people who Aren’t Like Us” thing, which thankfully is fairly unlikely.

            Though it’s probably never gonna be finished, it is well worth anybody’s time to look up “Elf vs. Orc” by Ursula Vernon, which was lying about haphazardly on DeviantArt the last time I looked. Cool worldbuilding, cliches gleefully juggled, and writing that made me giggle hysterically.

      • It is a consequence of their post hoc ergo propter hoc delusions. They think the awards mean the works have merit rather than the merit of the works give the awards their legitimacy. Gresham’s Law applies to awards, too.

    • I competed in chess tournaments as a kid. They all had a prize level called “Best Girl”. It was exactly what it sounded like, a ribbon for the highest placing girl in the tournament, but if a girl actually placed 1st – 3rd you got the real prize ribbon instead.

      Once I realized what it meant my goal was always to take at least third place. I didn’t usually win the tournaments, but I could usually take third and not getting the pity-ribbon was a good motivator to try hard.

      • Reality Observer

        Third was where I placed in the State tourney for 6th grade. Really wanted to play in the 8th grade ranks – because the kid that placed 2nd there was from my school too, and I knew I could beat him hands down any random day of the week. Grumbled about that age bracketing all the rest of the year.

        (Eventually realized that the next Bobby Fischer… I wasn’t. Might have made it one more move in one of those exhibitions with him blindfolded against fifty people, though…)

    • I’m old-fashioned in believing that prizes should be given based on merit …

      Didn’t you get the memo? Giving out awards based on “merit” promotes inequality.

      Seriously. I wish I was making this stuff up. This nonsense is sweeping through the open-source movement right now.

      • Umm . . . isn’t that the point?

      • This nonsense is sweeping through the open-source movement right now.

        If I wanted Windows, I know where to find it already. Don’t want it.

      • Sweeping through? I don’t see it. Frankly, it’s a self-extinguishing meme: if your work isn’t good enough to stand on its own, no one will use it or accept it into your code base. And if it isn’t, it won’t get awards. Giving awards for software based on feelz would only make the awards meaningless (and obviously so). And real open-source geeks are about as merit-based as anyone you’ll find. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 7 foot tall, green, lesbian vegetable, if you are a great coder you’re accepted.

        • $HOUSEMATE was maintainer of an open source project for a few years. Rejected ONE submission. Partly for poor coding – which could have been fixed – but mainly for the license-incompatible condition the submitter wanted to prevent Israel from using it. Color, gender, orientation, blood type, whatever didn’t matter. That it was crap code with a crappier ‘poison pill’ condition mattered.

        • Anonymous Coward

          This crap (a legitimate engineering term, trust me) is being pushed in the form of ‘Codes of Conduct’ for open-source projects. Several non-participants join an OS software project. A week or so later they claim they are not ‘feeling the love’ or ‘loving the feels’ or whatever, and suggest that a CoC would fix all the badness. Lo and behold, they just happen to have a draft of a CoC in their back pocket, which all Right Thinking People should have no problem signing up to.

          • Problem is just how much of these CoCs are pliable and up to the interpreter. For instance had one where because a person was getting threatened by others at a conference for not being PC he was bounced and expelled for two years.

            • I wonder how many of the projects that let themselves be bullied into accepting these CoCs ever came up with anything useful/usable afterwards?

              • As much as inertia will let them. That is part of the issue. The aggressive build up a working product then the parasites come in and infest. Same for any company today as well.

                • We’ve got ’em too. Mostly in the HR department. Useless parasites

                  • It’s not just the obvious ones. Any side of bureaucracy can do it, whether its business people wanting more time spent on meetings and updates than actual work or IT refusing to give up their fiefdom of worthless software that I could recode and replace in a weekend.

                    • Anonymous Coward

                      All organizations seem to have a natural tendency to want to turn a task into a career, and a project into an empire. I always insisted that any software project I worked on have a scheduled end or a finite list of deliverables; upon completion, manpower would be shifted to attack some new problem. Even if you don’t hit the original schedule, being forthright about moving on to something new often helps fight the bureaucratic tendencies.

                    • Ya. I know. My lead lost work and funding for being on schedule to one of our empires

                  • HR department. Useless parasites.

                    But you repeat yourself.

                    • My first Business Management professor; “Personnel Departments are a cancer that should be cut to the bone every 10 years and will still regrow from the cancerous remains.”
                      I always liked the older name because at least they had to acknowledge you as a person, now, like coal, iron ore and electricity, you are simply a resource.

              • I suspect that once a CoC is implemented, coming up with anything useful/usable ceases to be a goal.

              • Just hearing from The Housemate myself, they’re very quietly resisting such CoCs. “Either your code works, or it doesn’t.”

                An old story Housemate related to me recently – he gave his typically colorful negative description to describe how bad a particular code submission was, and the person submitting it immediately responded with “How do you expect to get a girlfriend if you’re so horrible?”

                No prizes for guessing that the rejected code was submitted by a woman, but on and off he would hear about her through the OSS grapevine and she consistently submitted shitty code, and would fly into rages if it was rejected, claiming it was because ‘she’s a woman’ – ignoring that there were other women submitting perfectly acceptable code.

            • Anonymous Coward

              The folks initiating CoCs (1) do not seem to be actual participants but rather interlopers (2) seem to be interested in control rather than inclusion (or the project itself, or that matter). I would argue that the actual content of the CoCs are not particularly relevant. I think that Vox Day has the right of it: don’t argue about fiddly bits of a CoC, simply eject the SJWs posthaste. ‘Defenestrate’ – a verb we need to use more often.

              • If I could trust that the ‘Don’t be a Dick’ style codes were actually held evenly I’d be a possible supporter. But the way they are run already it criminalizes thought while not requiring code. But in open source it’s a lot like blogging. There’s always somewhere else to go. Plus IRL you gotta deal with the donkeys as well as the nice ones. And often the reason the donkeys are there is because they knew what they were doing at least at one point.

          • And the projects let themselves be bullied into this? The projects I’ve been involved in over the years would have said, “Yeah, thanks, but no. Just because you (so far a non-contributor) are unhappy doesn’t mean we have to fundamentally change things to make you smile.”

            • The Blog That Shall Not Be Named, run by the most hated man in SF, has done a bunch of documenting it.

            • It’s called the Contributor Covenant, and if you look down at the bottom, you’ll see a VERY large number of high-profile projects have adopted it, mostly because they don’t see the trap.

              Now go to the “English (text version)” or “English (HTML version)” link and read the actual text of the document, paying particular attention to the final two paragraphs:

              Instances of abusive, harassing, or otherwise unacceptable behavior may be reported by contacting the project team at [INSERT EMAIL ADDRESS]. All complaints will be reviewed and investigated and will result in a response that is deemed necessary and appropriate to the circumstances. The project team is obligated to maintain confidentiality with regard to the reporter of an incident. Further details of specific enforcement policies may be posted separately.

              Project maintainers who do not follow or enforce the Code of Conduct in good faith may face temporary or permanent repercussions as determined by other members of the project’s leadership.

              (Emphasis mine). Can you think of any possible way that the sentence I’ve bolded could possibly be abused? Because these project maintainers haven’t thought of that.

          • And if that isn’t enough, they usually have various SJW orgs on speed dial. Not to mention federal bureaucrats at EEOC, DoE, etc.

        • ” if your work isn’t good enough to stand on its own, no one will use it or accept it into your code base. ”

          Unless you can get the government to intervene in the name of Holy Diversity. And they will. Or you’re a corporation that doesn’t want to be swarmed by SJW harpies for “not giving ‘victim group’ a chance.”

          They don’t care what the coders think; they’re after the management.

      • ESR posted a blog entry about why hackers must reject the SJWs. Coraline Ada Ehmke, originator of the odious Contributor’s Covenant, wrote a reply saying that open source is a political movement, and that hackers must embrace SJWism. That drew a reply from me explaining where she went wrong and refuting her arguments.

        The open source world is beginning to push back against rampant SJWism, and that’s a good thing. Stallmanite soi-disant “free software” groups, OTOH, are embracing it, to go with their neo-Communnist worldview.

      • *chokes at geekfeminism entry*

        Seriously? Meritocracies are bad because…women aren’t “encouraged” to be outspoken about their talents, and therefore always get overlooked?

        In that case, sweeties, if you can’t muster up the spine to self-promote, then you don’t deserve *anything.*

        And the sad thing is, the people who write that kind of stupidity are also the kind of people who have the “Famous women were rarely well behvaed” or whatever quote it is on their bumpers. Apparently, they missed taking it to heart…

        • Well-behaved women rarely make History.

          1. Correlation is not causation; you ain’t likely to make History, regardless of your behaviour.

          2. If Elizabeth Bathory, Typhoid Mary or the like is your role model …

          3. Maggie Thatcher, Queen Victoria, Queen(s) Elizabeth were not notably ill-behaved.

          4. There is a distinction between well-behaved and ill-mannered that I think you are missing.

          5. On a percentage of populace basis, well-behaved men rarely make History; do you wish to encourage more men behaving badly?

          Yes, I do spend an inordinate amount of time rebutting bumper stickers. I am under the impression that the Law does not accept the display of idiotic bumper stickers as justification for ramming other vehicles (not even on Leap Year Day, dagnabbit.)

        • I’m amazed that any woman can look at the work and STEM environment in the last 20-30 years and believe that women haven’t been encouraged…. to the point many believe they are far better than they actually are since they’ve not undergone sufficient criticism.

          If you CAN be discouraged from being an engineer, you SHOULD be.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            If you CAN be discouraged from being an engineer, you SHOULD be.

            I don’t agree with that. There are almost certainly people who would be very good engineers, but are easily discouraged, and that’s a loss to engineering.

            • Don’t read too much into it. Should people with talent and skill be encouraged? Yes.

              But if someone is posting that being critiqued for their code/design decisions and being asked to justify the design tradeoffs or consider their answer is not… optimal… is discouraging them from being an engineer – good riddance.

              A sub doesn’t care about how the designer felt about being critiqued for the seals on the seawater cutoff valves – and neither does the ocean when they fail.

            • Same with writing, about which the same is said. Self confidence is not a measure of competence which is why ego-bolstering education produces incompetents who think they’re brilliant.

          • … many believe they are far better than they actually are since they’ve not undergone sufficient criticism.

            Frickin’ BINGO. I just had my annual performance review yesterday. My supervisor told me, “Your skills as a software developer are pretty good, but here are the areas where you’re below average and need to improve.” I was grateful, because most of those areas were ones where I didn’t know I wasn’t doing that well. (One of them I knew about.) If he hadn’t given me that negative feedback, I would have stayed mediocre because I didn’t know I needed to work on those skills more.

            Getting criticized is a GOOD thing for your development, as long as you’re not a person of micron-thick skin who screams at the slightest suggestion that you’re not perfect.

    • The Ladies Auxiliary Nebulas?

      In any other situation in the History of the World the existence of a Ladies Auxiliary would be understood as a bone thrown to the girls to keep them busy and entertained while the men do Important Things.

      I’m not entirely opposed to the concept of special awards for this or that group, women or unpublished authors or authors who are left handed, but whatever boost they give you, you’re not competing in the Big Leagues until you’re competing with the entire field.

    • I would say that you cannot write with the two parts that define you as male or female (Technically the brain is one but these are same people that say that men and women are just different shells but same people) but I know one of these people would break me of that. It makes as much sense as the ‘vote with your woman parts’ in 2012.

    • This isn’t new. And it is pervasive.

      In 2014, the chief organizer of our local SF annual convention made a major announcement that all of the honorees for the 2015 convention would be women. They were the Guest of Honor, the Toastmaster, and the Guest Artist. He pointed out that it was the first time that all honorees would be women and how wonderful it was and how long overdue such recognition was and what a statement was being made.

      I have no issue with a full slate of women. I did have an issue with their gender being gushingly celebrated…without a mention of their writing, their public speaking, or their art. I observed that, upon the announcement, a wave of estrogen washed over the audience, shouts of approval were launched, hugging occurred, high-fiving was rampant, and ecstatic smiles were everywhere. In general, these displays were more evident in women of baby boomer age, in the wide eyed and intense women who peopled the panels and who found misogynistic offense in every aspect of the genre. I also observed that many men were oblivious. Others became stone faced. Like me.

      I did not attend in 2015 — the first time in over a decade. My absence was noted. Upon questioning, I replied that I did not attend sexist events. There was honest confusion — since how could a 100% female list of honorees be considered sexist.

      It isn’t new.

      Nearly 20 years ago, my younger son graduated from a swank private high school. Well, swank by our definition. When the honors and award presentations were made, all but one award went to a young woman. The lesbian corner, a significant fraction of the administration and faculty, stood and literally hooted and cheered, with lots of rushing up to hug the winners. When one young woman stood to walk up and receiver her diploma, she removed her graduation gown and stood revealed in her traditional Navajo dress. The reaction from the female staff was nearly orgasmic. Afterwards, the young graduate was surrounded by older women who prattled and cooed about how brave she was and what a groundbreaking moment it had been.

      Oh, BTW, what was the only recognition awarded to a male student? Best male athlete.

  3. Has anyone forgotten the all-woman Nebulas — about giving prizes to women, about women only now breaking into science fiction (an insult to all the women who came before) about the Importance of Recognizing Women.

    There were no women in SF until recently, as Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg have learned. There were ladies, class acts who served with distinction. But apparently those ladies were not women, and the women currently determining the “nice prizes for good little girls” certainly are not ladies.

    • One is reminded, in this distinction, of Ben Butler and his apocryphal orders in New Orleans regarding how female persons who insulted Union soldiers were to be treated.

      • Nothing apocryphal about Butler’s orders to treat women insulting Union soldiers as prostitutes.'s_general_order_no._28

        I don’t find anything objectionable about treating a woman who empties a chamberpot on your head (and this was a frequent occurrence) as a prostitute or other common criminal, but it ought to be possible to simply refuse to interact with people you dislike without being treated as a prostitute. The order drew no distinction between women who insulted Union solders like prostitutes and women who insulted Union soldiers like ladies. That said, war is hell, occupation is war, and by the point Butler issued this order he and every other Union solder in New Orleans was thoroughly fed up with the local women abusing the Union soldiers’ reluctance to treat women harshly.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      What, you said “ladies?” Don’t you know that word is doubleplus ungood?

  4. And this exposes the lie that is Women’s Rights: they claim they want a level playing field, but they want it tilted in their favor. They want the pendulum to travel further in one direction than the other, and fail to recognize that it will eventually break out of the case. Equality, to them, is achieved with parts lying all over the floor.

    • Every oppressed minority starts out claiming that what they want is equality, that level playing field of which everyone speaks in such glowing terms. But once you delve past the rhetoric and investigate their true wishes and desires you inevitably find with only the rarest of exceptions that what they really want is a reversal of roles, themselves in the cat bird seat while their former masters become the subservient class.

      • That has always been my issue with a lot of the equality movements. It becomes more showboating and retribution than anything else much of the time. For every nine people that just want to be left alone the tenth has to flaunt it and try and pull down their enemies (And that is how they see them). For instance the lawsuits over accommodations and efforts to force compliance thru lawfare and mob rule. I do not intend to go to MAC2 even though close because I can tell I am unwelcome. Same with another separate convention in NV. Same reason I stepped away from twitter for the weekend as people were doing their dance on Scalia’s still warm body.

        The Red/Blue divide in SF is similar imo where they feel that because there were fewer of their message stories before they went thru their long march now there shall be nothing but. And there is active and passive resistance to authors on the other side of the divide.

  5. The pendulum analogy even bugged me as a kind. Have they watched a pendulum? It doesn’t swing one way, then the other, then rest at bottom dead center. It oscillates – and that means half the time it will be going the way they (pick your ‘they’) don’t like.

    • They don’t see it as a pendulum. They only see a virtue pointer that must be aimed in the right, er left direction. What the don’t understand is that gravity is real and if they lose their grip,the pointer swings to the opposite extreme, just like a pendulum. But then someone grabs hold and points it somewhere else. I like the direction that Scalia wanted to go.

      • Exactly. It’s not a pendulum, it’s a ratchet. Of course, being merely women, they don’t understand tool analogies very well… 😉 (Hey, if they’re going to mischaracterize us anyway, why not play to their skewed perceptions while we laught at them?)

        • Of course, being merely women, they don’t understand tool analogies very well

          And another thing (ire is not directed to drloss) … those, those, those stupid girly tools and tool boxes!!! I do not want or need a pink toolbox! I do not need a “special” hammer — I’m perfectly capable of going to Home Depot, finding the hammer display, and finding one that suits me & the job at hand. *grr*

          • Sigh. A friend gave me a pink toolbox with pink tools, to prevent the boys from stealing them. A valid idea, but it didn’t work. My men are remarkably liberated from stereotypes, too. For a while I bought pink socks in the misguided idea the boys wouldn’t steal them. didn’t work. Younger son wore pink socks to gym and would announce “Stole them from mom” (I imagine to high fives.)
            Fortunately their feet grew prodigiously and now they could only wear my socks on their toes.

            • There was one instance the pink made sense, but it wasn’t clothing. It was large construction equipment. It’s a lot harder to pass off a hot pink bulldozer, etc. as your own (when someone else’s has gone missing) than the usual yellow.

              • Pink is just more noticable. Especially hot pink.

                All my tools are the standard sort, and I’ll tell you, picking the right wooden handle out of the jumble on the wood floor . . . what’s that? Put them away? What makes you think I didn’t? It’s the y chromasome crew who never puts stuff away around here! And they borrow without permission. And when I find out who did it this time . . .

                • Ah, “every mess/pile in its place” organization. This I understand. It’s the interfering with the arrangement that leads to unrest. This is not to be confused with the decorating scheme of Early Postnuclear, though to the unfamiliar they can seem to have significant overlap.

                  • “every mess/pile in its place” organization…

                    Now, how do I explain that to my wife? (Her “organizing fits” only come on once in a while, but now I have to sort through n-boxes in m-rooms to find the last critical bits to fix our bedroom door latch. So we can close the door now and again.) I *knew* exactly where all the parts were.

                    • That I do not know. I just recall the line from ‘She Blinded Me With Science’: “She’s tidied up and I can’t find anything!”

                    • Reality Observer

                      The only things I ever have to search for are those which have been “put away.” Sigh.

                      Not my screwdrivers, though. Holly, it might work for hammers, too – the girls wondered one day why I was digging through their nail polishes – I have the handles color-coded with different stripes (a cross for the Phillips heads and a straight line for the flats; a “V” maybe for ones with claws, circle for ballpeens, etc.?) As they were teens at the time, I have a rather riotous toolbox…

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  “The female is the most dangerous of the species”. [Shudder]

              • That explains some of the machines I’ve seen over the years. Before I started carrying a camera everywhere, unfortunately.

              • I eventually figured out that that was what was going on with the pink construction vehicle I saw in Thailand. (Not hot pink; this pink was more like a light purple). I later saw other colors, like pale green. I’m pretty sure the equipment-rental companies painted all their equipment one particular color, so that if someone wasn’t returning the equipment on time, they could just drive down to the job site and easily identify which bulldozer was theirs. (Kind of hard to hide a bulldozer, after all).

                • Just north of Weed, California, there’s a dump truck rental company (actual dump trucks, not garbage trucks) that has their equipment painted in lovely primary-school-rainbow shades, one each.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Hey, I use my pink sewing machine in a very manly manner.

            • Heh. Like the idea of pink handcuffs being more emasculating than steel. Couple cops out here carry them, partly just for s&g’s

            • It’d work if they weren’t geeks. I kept my Polaroid from being stolen by covering it with the most garish Lisa Frank stickers I could find– big eyed kittens in neon rainbow colors, IIRC.

          • Well, for some of us the best thing about women’s lib was the ability to wear pink as a man so I’m all for those stupid girly tools 🙂

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Actually, I know some women who like those pink tools and tool boxes (as long as they are quality, and not just a curiosity), and are certainly not the frilly, “girly” types one would think of using such things.

            • I marked my tools with pink nail polish to separate them from the guys’. Less likely to have them go home in someone else’s tool box.

            • Frilly girly types like…?

              • I have always loved that particular AR15…

              • Wayne Blackburn

                I should have worked in the term, “stereotypically” in that somewhere, because I certainly don’t want some of the women I know upset with me. Even if they don’t have their own backhoes and large yards, they have friends who do.

              • I got a heck of a deal on a matched pair of Walther P22 pistols in bright pink at an estate auction. Marvelous bits of German engineering. Kept one for myself. The other is in the keeping of younger son with the understanding that it reverts to my grand daughter the day that the state of Illinois says she’s allowed to own it.

            • My mom does a full home repairs tool kit for new brides; she use to have to mix the plastic dip herself to get it pink, now she can buy floral patterned sets.

              Although she’d never be rude enough to say it, having a “lady’s set” of tools means that they don’t get borrowed by the husband and left in the shop. Most of the folks she gives them to already have lots of tools, which does danged-all of good when you just need ONE without digging through the piles in his shop or nagging him to fix the thing you can do yourself if you just had an freaking hammer.

              • My mom always gives fully stocked first aid kits as wedding gifts. But the tool kit is a good idea as well.

                • I’ve heard of a couple marrying while in grad school. One friend gave them a large case of toilet paper.

          • Eh, I gave my fiancee one for chanukkah a couple of years back. It was a pink flowery hammer whose handle could be removed to become various screwdrivers and such.

            She thought it was awesome and it’s her go-to for small tools.

            • I *made* my mom a hammer in Machine Shop 😀 It didn’t have flowers or pink, but it was properly shaped on the lathe and had a knurled grip and everything. She said it was exactly the right size to take to art shows for setup. REAL girls MAKE hammers!

              Pleh to mandatory pink! stupid marketers….

              • Are there more like you and can you walk me through machining the head? I get how to make the knurled grip shaft but milling the head (I am assuming typical claw hammer) is pretty nice. Do you just machine down a casting you made or was that straight from a raw block of steel?

                • 😀 It’s been a while, but yes, I machined the head from block steel. This was part of a graduate-level machine shop class at Berkeley, run by this hard-ass Russian who really knew his stuff (if you passed, they gave you your own key to the student shop). One of the best classes I ever took.

                  We also had to cut thread as part of the hammer assembly. I had done plenty of thread *drafting* but had never cut any before. Man, is that tedious! Even with the auto gear…

                  • In submarine machine tool operator school (just enough to get you through making an “oh sh*t that failed” temporary thought we had to do a ton of threads. Our main project was a value whose bonnet threaded into the body, The seat was held onto the shaft by a nut (we made both), the packing nut threaded into the bonnet, and the stem had threads that went through the bonnet so we cut tons of interior and exterior threads. We didn’t do very complex milling though.

                    This made sense given the most common thing to the parts we’d be likely to have to make had simple milling, mostly finished surfaces for mating, but nearly always needed threads.

                    Sounds like a very awesome class.

                  • Yale should hire him. Young lady grad student got herself killed using a lathe a while back.

                • If you’re thinking of a claw hammer, the heads for those start as castings. The checkering on the face might be cut with a milling cutter or cast right in. The bright finish is done with abrasive belts.

                  Shop-made hammers usually have heads cut from round stock and chamfered on the ends with a lathe. You could make a ball pein hammer that way, except I’ve never found a use for the ball end of one… cabinet-builder hammers sometimes have square heads, again for no reason I’ve ever seen explained.

                  [this is a case where, no, I’m *not* going to hit the web to see if there’s an explanation, because I have things to do this morning and I don’t have two or three hours to go haring off on “history of hammers”… sometimes you have to say “Whoa!” to the Information Superhighway]

                  • “cabinet-builder hammers sometimes have square heads, again for no reason I’ve ever seen explained.”

                    Hammering in corners. When that’s something you do a lot of, you customize the tool rather than making do.

                  • Back in my SCA days I made use of the round end for dishing metal.

          • Thank you!

            I saw the pink Craftsmen tools and toolboxes in Sears and about had a fit. My sister had to practically drag me out of the tool section. *cough* I think I was getting a bit loud.

            If want a tool box, then I want a good one, I don’t give a flying fig about the color. (well, okay, maybe I’d prefer a red one, but that has to do with the fact that most of the rolling/cabinet tool boxes I saw growing up were red) I do NOT need a bloody pink tool or toolbox just because I am female.

            • Years ago, when the daughters were in third and fourth grades, I made them their own lunchboxes.

              One hot pink, the other raspberry.

              They were steel .30-caliber ammo boxes, granted, but colored so that nobody might mistake them as belonging to anyone else. (Their baby brother was four at the time, and wanted his own, so he got one in royal blue.)

            • My primary concerns are a) the screwdriver bits not shred in use b) handles are congenial to my hands, an issue that grows as I age c) the tools otherwise function according to purpose (the wrench ought wrench, the hammer ought ham) d) not the color.

              • Reality Observer

                a) is getting so hard to find these days that I would take them if they were rainbows. Doesn’t seem to matter where I get them, or how much I pay.

                (Of course, the screw tends to either snap or shred its slot(s) before the tool has a chance to wear out these days, too.)

            • If you want a tool box, and your husband wants a toolbox, and you don’t share absolutely identical ideas about where tools go, when they go there, and finish all the jobs at the same time– you want a tool set that won’t get mixed up with his.

              That’s generally pink.

              • Okay, that I can accept. (still think I’d find a way to make them blue or Volunteer Orange)

                • That works if you’re starting from scratch, but blue is used by Cobalt and orange is… K something, can’t remember. The colors fade so the specific shades are kinda a problem after any use– the school bus yellow looks the same as the hunter orange.

                  It also works if you get the gripping plastic dip and color your own, but that’s also a lot less money than selling whole sets of perfectly matched tools for suckers loving family who want to make sure the darling wife has her own tools.

                  There’s also the issue that if you don’t offer stuff in “girly” colors, they’ll attack you for not catering to women. If you do, then you’re a horrible evil sexist who thinks women have to have stuff in pink to like it.
                  (I have really had conversations like this. “They don’t make anything for women!” “What do you mean? I like all that stuff.” “Well… there’s nothing there for girls.” “… You mean there’s not a pink one, don’t you.”)

                  I kind of suspect that someone figured out having hot pink tool sets got a lot of attention, too. 😀

                  • And then these same people go and complain where the pink one that sells 1/4 as much is 10% more expensive. Anything but impact tools a bit of ceracote or even rattlecan will do.

                  • Personally, I like having my own tools (and since there are three of us who are likely to use such in the house) color coordination is a good idea. Nail polish marking doesn’t last forever =/

                  • But tools (and toolboxes) should be the special snowflakes dream come true – they do not come with genders. You get to identify them how ever you want. -weg-

                • And now I need to go organize the tools again. >.< We have about four sets from my folks…but they're not sets, they're all the spares. And you can NEVER find the one you need, because the kids usually grabbed it.

          • I had a lavender set when I was doing merchandising because it was easy to see in the aisle, obviously mine and wouldn’t look weird if it had nail polish splashed on it. I’m considering a hot pink one when I replace it because I like it and hot pink is easier to see in the back of my car than the pale pink.

          • Hey. I like pink!

        • Hey, some of us understand tools — and use them — we were just cured of using tool analogies by having two sons. Do you know what happens when you say the word “tool” at a table with three men, two of them teens. Yeah.

  6. Christopher M. Chupik

    “about women only now breaking into science fiction (an insult to all the women who came before)”

    I’ll have some more to say on this soon in a future ATH guest post. Stay tuned.

  7. Liberated? They’re just doing what is expected of them, like any Victorian housewife.

    Wow. Knockout.

    • …meanwhile they scatter Prozac and Ritalin about like the candyman, trying to make all the boys into good little girls too.

      • If they are trying to make boys into good little girls they are doing it wrong. I know some people who are good at it and they go about it very differently 🙂

        • There’s a difference between consenting adults and institutionalizing something.

          I escaped the public school system just in time. What they do to kids now steps over the line from “abusive” to “criminal”. But they get to redefine both terms to their own requirements, of course.

          • I know; I know…still, if that’s their goal they should start with required classroom viewing of What Not to Wear (US version after first season…you have to have you inner mean girl on to appreciate the original British version with the original hostesses).

            • I saw the humor, it’s just that I just discovered a hot button I didn’t know I had.

              I *really* don’t like the American public school system.

              • Speaking as a product of that system, I would point out here that talking about the “American” public school system is something of an inherent overgeneralization.
                I mean, get down to it, talking about state public school systems is inherently overgeneralizing.

                • I went to school in four states. The only differences were that two states allowed them to beat you with a stick and two didn’t.

                  The details of funding, school boards, and whatever were invisible at the classroom level, and I expect they still are.

                • Thanks to the bold pedagogical efforts of such visionaries as Bill Ayers it is probably more apt to refer to the UnAmerica public school system or even the AntiAmerica public school system.

              • Yeah…and I can see it because they do treat boys as defective girls and much of the media and advice aimed at 20 something singles does the same: men are defective women (at best…evil incarnate at worst).

                Which is odd given we’re supposed to support women who act masculine because equality but why act masculine whe it is defective? Is it not defective when done by a woman? If so why is certain female masculinity still broke like those we’ll file as tomboys or butches but not when it is careerist pansuit wearing Hillary wannabes?

                You know, I hear all this about how technology has made gender roles obsolete yet the people trumpeting that most seem to just want to resort the hierarchy of gender roles (or what they perceive as having been a hierarchy) instead of actually embracing them. It seems those truly rejecting or blending the roles are less acceptable to them than to a lot of my “leave me alone” conservative and libertarian friends.

                For example, a friend got disowned by the Brown university lesbians when she dated a (male) friend of mine. However, that male friend was, as he put it (quite accurately) a bigger “gender f**k than all those generidykes combined”.

                • Herb: abandon all logic, ye who enter there. Logic is a tool of Oppression used by the Patriarchy to deny Womyn (hear them roar) their rightful place in the Cosmos-or-whatever-the-heck-it is-this-week.

                  • I’d rather abandon those idiots and hang out with my 6’3″ friend with his shaved head, eyeshadow, silver sequined sheath dress, and Doc Martins than all those “we stand for diversity” photocopies.

                    He and his friends (male, female, and to this day I have no clue) were actually fun to be around.

                    I mean, really, if you’re going to rebel f’ing rebel not become the man with worse manners and less class.

                    I think I’m either ranting or on the verge so I’ll sign off 🙂

                • It’s the same as the “You’re not gay? That just means you haven’t been converted yet” quips you can hear in some communities with higher than average non hetero populations. Or the actual misogyny that some gay men can display (ok…so maybe at the level of ‘girls are icky’ but more than most examples of it). And some groups get it from both sides in that they are not normal but they don’t flaunt (You’re scared of who you are…or self-hating, or etc) or are bisexual (as your friend may have been).

                  The people that use their gender or sexual preferences to identify them can often sorta fall deeper into an us/them with those preferences and not recognize that there are other preferences out there.

                  • That is very true and very destructive. I worry about how many people are going to express the same thoughts Danielle Bunten Berry did late in life ten years from now. If we really cared about diversity we’d encourage people to find how to express what they are/feel instead of forcing them to pick the best “box” on our pre-filled out diversity sheet. The old way of socially appropriate and socially inappropriate roles respected diversity more in that it saw the spectrum and just favored regions on it. “Diversity” is a prison of pre-defined boxes.

            • Patrick Chester

              Maybe something like Glamour Assault?

              (Stuffing the hidden camera into places it shouldn’t go is not forbidden, in fact with some reality show hosts I’d say it should be encouraged.)

  8. Silly me — way back when, I thought that being a feminist meant that women ought to have the same opportunities for education and employment as men did, and who did the cooking and housework was something to be sorted out as best suited the people doing it.
    I didn’t realize that it meant you had to be a man-hating loony-toon yammering about microagressions and the patriarchy.

    • Yeah, same here, Celia.

    • And how those are keeping one from being able to do things, as opposed to the toxic personality that the people standing around screeching about these things seem to have. That would never stop them from getting $job.

      • That is a good chunk of it. You can apply for any job but there are requirements and statistics do recognize differences between the average man and woman (Yes, they don’t exist but they are averages for a reason). Thus many jobs will have lopsided outcomes one way or another (never mind you will have those that spoil the bunch by causing issues and poisoning the well for others of their group).

    • You don’t have “to be a man-hating loony-toon yammering about microagressions and the patriarchy.” But it helps.

      It is a dismaying fact of revolutionary movements that they eventually become co-opted by their most virulent elements — those most committed to investing the time and energy to attend (and eventually organize) the meetings, rallies and recruitment which determine the group’s agenda. Sane people tend to stop showing up and the insane grip power more firmly.

      Those advocating we “burn it all down” need to keep this in mind; while burning down barns indubitably rids them of mice, the mice tend to return more readily than the valuables previously kept therein.

      • Never forget that Stalin was “Comrade Card-Index” under Lenin- a funny party joke right up until Lenin died.

    • Actually, based on the path of feminist hero Hillary it is:

      1. Hitch yourself to a man going up
      2. Stand by him while he screws everyone but you
      3. Destroy any of his toys who demand to be treated like people
      4. Be hailed a feminist hero and expect to be given high office.

      That whole working and achieving is for erstaz women like Sarah Palin or Carly Fiorina.

    • Yeah well, Ms Hayes, how about you get out of the kitchen and write the next Luna City story? The fight against the patriarchy demands it. Or something like that

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      When I was younger, I thought my objection to rape aligned me with the feminists.

      I became disenchanted with them after discovering that they were moderates who accepted half measures because they had other priorities.

    • I remember Mom Red having a tee-shirt in the late 1970s that showed the capitol dome and read “A woman’s place is in the House . . . . and in the Senate.” Nothing about not working hard to get into either of those places.

      • Yo\u gotta remind me of all those drawings I did of a bicycle for a fish, don’tcha?

        • scott2harrison

          A couple of years ago, around Halloween, I saw a young girl in a fish costume coming out of a bike shop pushing her brand new bike. I lost it. Her parents looked at me funny.

    • You didn’t know they were Leftists, then. They were in hiding.

  9. CombatMissionary

    I just finished Darkship Renegades, Sarah. You’re right. You don’t need any special favors; you hold your own!

  10. Recognizing women? I’ve been recognizing women all my life…oh look, there’s another one! Wait, you mean paying special attention to them based only on their gender? Sorry, nope.

    • The Other Sean

      I always found that paying special attention to women made it easier to get dates. 😉

    • I pay lots of attention to women based on their sex…especially their secondary sexual attributes (something even our hostess is proud to have) 🙂

      • One can get into trouble doing that.
        Perhaps the implied offer to spread udder balm might have been just a bit too forward. Species-ism or just slow ox judgment? Or maybe just… not right… audience.

        • Ox…Usually human women do not like being called cows…

        • Anonymous Coward

          Ah .. I remember the fun when some reporters discovered that local women were using udder balm as a skin creme and equine ‘Mane n Tail’ shampoo for their hair. Too bad this preceded the rise of the SJWs – we could have had picket lines around the local feed stores.

          • Free-range Oyster

            Bag balm works great for chafed baby butts. I’d actually prefer to throw out the diaper rash cream and go back to using just bag balm, but the Oyster Wife shot that plan down (I think it was a cost thing).

            • Udderly Smooth brand is great for serious cold weather cracked hands. When I worked in Other Flat State, the grocery store and the co-op both stocked it, just in different sections. 🙂

              • Anonymous Coward

                Yep – works great in the winter or when I am working on cars (using lots of degreasers that remove the natural skin oils). My reliable local supplier is a fabric/sewing supply store.

              • I think most grocery stores around here stock both Bag Balm and Mane & Tail in the Pharmacy section. Of course, I live in a border area between city and country.

            • Free Range, have you heard of or tried Boudreau’s Butt Paste (for babies)?

          • I have used Mane n Tail. I understand even some dragons might use it, which is bewildering. Wasn’t expecting that. Not sure what I was expecting. Turtle Wax perhaps?

          • My aunt praised the udder balm she used, as the best skin creme ever, back in the 60’s and 70’s, kept buying it for that purpose even after the last cows were sold and she retired, and no longer needed to milk (did it by hand, the farm had usually only four to five milk cows at most at the same time). 🙂 I tried it a couple of times, it did work very well as a hand creme at least.

          • My husband brought home some milk-based cream to help me deal with breasts that had been chewed and bitten too hard by a vengeful infant (HOW DARE YOU HAND ME OFF TO THE PRICKLY FACED MAN WHO SIRED ME?! *MUNCH!*) and I was quite amused that the theme of the things were ‘udders’ and ‘moo’ and such. The cream was edible too; as it’d have to be.

            • SheSellsSeashells

              When I was frantically reading before the advent of my daughter, the advice for “when your kid grows teeth and bites” was “Try to make a loud, startled noise.” My first (second and third, too) thought was “You have to TRY??”

              My poor husband eventually got used to the tranquil sound of purring cat, nursing baby and turning pages, punctuated by “DAMMIT, KID!!!”

              • Bwahahahahahahaha, my sympathies. When he was still in the special care unit, and still quite tiny, I was talking to the nursing consultant while Brandon was nursing contentedly. I thought his head had settled into a somewhat uncomfortable angle and shifted my arm to accommodate his poor little neck.

                His eyes flew open, bright black and alarmed! His little feet kicked to brace himself against my other arm, and his tiny little mouth went for the slightly dislodged nipple and the source of all his contentment, like a miniature great white’s jaws snapping for his prey! As his thin little gums captured the tender flesh, as his mother yelped! two little fists came down to cling to his mother’s breast to ensure that this little puppy’s milk supply didn’t get away again as he suckled with desperate intensity and intent, to ENSURE Mummy knew that Brandon is not yet done feeding!

                Nursing consultant: *blink* did he really just do that deliberately?

                Me: *whimper* Yes. *tap him on his tiny nose* Oi, that hurt, boyo. You’ve thin little jaws and they hurt.

                Brandon: *ignore, still going sucksucksucksucksuck*

                • SheSellsSeashells

                  Ha! Yeah, for some time my child was known on the Internet as the Babycuda, due to an Incident in which I was setting her up to nurse, cooed “Are you hungry?” and she lunged with a hollow and disturbingly loud *clop!* as her bitty baby jaws closed on thin air. “…I’ll take that as a yes.”

                  • One of the more memorable moments I had with Brandon involved him slowly looking up at me while he was nursing, and raising his head. He lifted his head and stared at me as if he were rather bemused by the fact that there was a face above him, attached to the breast from which he fed. He stared at me for several minutes with this initially surprised but curious expression, and I watched him absorb my presence, accept it, then still with little round eyes fixed on me, slowly lower his head back down to the nipple and start nursing again.

              • Mine find yelps hilarious.

                Flicking at their ear seems to work, though– practice on your own ear until you get a sort of funky “woof” sound from the finger flicking. It’s strange, and in conjunction with “NO!” seems to work OK.

            • Ouuuch! I had some soreness for a while but so far mine doesn’t bite.

              …Plant feet and apparently try to launch off the side of my lap, yes.

              • Robert got teeth at four months old. Too young to be discouraged from chewing, even by screams. I have the scars. He was Masai baby, drinking milk with blood. I nursed him to a year and a half. YES I DO WANT A BLOODY MEDAL.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Whose blood do you want on it? I assume you figure you’ve lost enough of your own. 🙂

                • Eeeeep.

                  I am told I got teeth then too but didn’t really bite. I reeeeeeaaaaaally hope that’s the model mine goes by instead, as she is also threatening early teething.

              • haha see the story I told SheSellsSeashells. Mine bit, and he didn’t have teeth yet.

                • ….Wow.

                  Perhaps I shouldn’t worry about whether she’s proactive enough, when she cries and waits for me to put it back in instead!

                  • Mine was a vengeful little bundle of grumbles, who would LET YOU KNOW how he felt with scowls, glares, and frowns. He learned that taking a huuuuuuge breath and then letting out a long, enraged scream only earned him a dizzy spell and not him getting what he wanted at all (which is, back to Mummy) and his father laughing while Uncle Aff remarked at how impressive his tiny lungs were at holding so much air.

                    You know how babies have this expression of curiosity or wary staring when they see someone? no, my Brandon had this face of “Who the fuck are you, and why are you holding me and why is my mother over there not where she’s supposed to be?”

                    He was starting to experiment with the more tragic versions of ‘sad face’ later on.

                    • My pictures as a baby had this judgy “I am downgrading you for this” expression. I was glary baby, apparently. 🙂

                    • Oh man. I couldn’t wait to hear what Brandon’s complaints would’ve been like, had he had the chance to speak. Rhys admitted that he kinda liked hearing Brandon cry because it wasn’t like the usual ‘I’m hungry/wet feed me/change my nappy’ cry, but ‘THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE AND I AM LETTING YOU ALL KNOW IT IS AND I HOPE YOU ARE PAYING ATTENTION!’ in tone.

                      There was this one afternoon where he was crying, and I ran through the checklist of ‘hungry;wet; then bath’ I got to the last and Brandon, once he was submerged in his lukewarm water, turned and offered me his expression that very clearly said: “Why did it take you so long to figure that out, woman?” I actually told him “Well, I had to check the other two on the list first, you know! You learn to talk and I’ll get it faster!”

                      He actually looked away as if to say “I shall consider this suggestion.”

            • Mom said she just swatted us if we bit. She did have seven children so we can’t have been that bad.

              • The first baby, ah, no problems. Second one, a boy, it hurt every time he started nursing, and Rhys remembers fondly how I’d have my face screwed up in pain, my free hand punching nearby pillow, other arm cradling our son. Third child, stillborn; but fourth child, Brandon, used his tiny, sharp thin gums to ensure his prey would not GET AWAY. also, to punish Mummy for handing him to Daddy and his painful collarbone and prickly stubbly cheeks, which Brandon would bump his head and cheeks against and go ‘Ngggh’ *glare at this uncomfortable person*.

                Rhys recently related how Brandon once reacted to being fed a bottle of warmed up breast milk. There were begrudging sucks at the rubber nipple, whilst Brandon fixed his big, black eyes at his father, and gave Rhys this stare that communicated:
                “I’m drinking this. Igh. This does not taste the way it’s supposed to. This is not a pleasant meal. *suck* I’m barely tolerating this miserable experience that is supposed to qualify as milk. In the same way I am tolerating my having been handed to you because Mum needs rest and a bath. This is slightly more tolerable because at least I am not up against those prickly things that grow out of your face and sting if my face happens to bump against yours. I hope you realize how this whole situation is not acceptable and this whole moment would be immensely improved if you returned me to my proper place in Mummy’s arms right this moment! *begrudging suck* This really is terrible, you know.”

                Brandon didn’t know how to talk, but damn, that boy knew how to complain. He had the most disapproving, most disgusted, most annoyed expressions we had ever seen on anyone, ever.

                Unfortunately for him, Mummy, Daddy and Uncle Aff found his varied expressions of displeasure funny because they really, really would not have looked out of place on Dr. House with no Vicodin, or Winston Churchill sans cigar.

                • SheSellsSeashells

                  One of my favorite Dr. Who moments is definitely the one about “I speak Baby”, and said baby’s division of the world. “Mum, Not Mum, Also Not Mum, and Peasants.”

                  • That was great, although the previews with “Stormageddon, Dark Lord if All” had me thinking that someone was possessing the baby.

                  • AHAHAHAHAHA! That would describe Brandon’s general relation of the world and it’s inhabitants. I have a photo of him and his two elder siblings. Elder sister and brother have brilliant smiles. Brandon? “Ugh, fine, hurry up and take the photo already, I’m about done tolerating this.”

                    It’s like we had a little grumpy old man, not an infant.

                    • I think Brandon considered himself well over a hundred years old, despite being only 2months 3 weeks then. I’d have given him a sign for his bed saying ‘An old crab lives here…’

                    • I mean, we still crack up laughing, because Robert has been trying to raise us since he was born. Our first Halloween together, we dressed as kids and him as our dad. It was more accurate than I would like to admit. Raising Marshall who was OUR child, instead of trying to be our parent was … a head trip after three years.

                    • Pre-school, they told him they were going to have crackers and cheese. He was all excited. Dan and I were puzzled. He came back home in a snit “Those barbarians and philistines” I SWEAR “had goldfish and cheese food spread. I told Mrs. Miller tomorrow I’d bring waterford crakers and some lovely brie, to show them what cheese and crackers really is.” … he was five. FOR YEARS “Barbarians and philistines” would be Dan’s and my laugh line. And if Robert heard us he would glare at us.

                    • *cracks up laughing!* Okay, that gives me an idea of what Brandon would’ve been like.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      I snorted through my nose at that, trying to keep from laughing out loud. Really glad I am (slowly) learning not to drink anything while reading here.

                    • I believe my son was about the same age when he got into a little fight with his sister, and came up griping to us because she “despised” him. The fact that we immediately burst out laughing didn’t improve his mood any.

                    • Yep. At four Marsh stopped talking to his pre-school teacher. When we asked for an explanation he said “She patronizes me.” Instant laughter.

  11. The history does not support the narrative? Well then let us change the history so that it does. So sorry to Andre Norton, Anne McCaffery and all those other ladies who inspired child after child, it turns out you didn’t exist.

  12. Sarah said: “I was never a good little girl. It wasn’t that I was bad, exactly, or at least I never had evil intent. But I was never very good at obeying, or at doing what I was expected to do, expressed or assumed.”

    I was another one. My problem as a kid was not understanding what was expected. I’d have cheerfully done what anybody wanted me to do, I just didn’t get what it was. It’s the old “Don’t step on that tile!” thing, where all the tiles look the same, and they move.

    Having lived through a whole lot of life, I’ve come to the conclusion that an awful lot of people out there are frustrated assholes looking for somebody to take their spleen out on. The blind kid who can’t see the tile makes a good target. The blind huge grizzled scarred old bastard who says “You mean -this- tile mo-fo?” and then stands right on it, he is a less-good target.

    Sad Puppies is me making black heel marks on the forbidden tile with my steel toed boots. Make me stop, you cowards.

    • So much “Don’t you know…” social stuff. If only there had been a book on that sort of thing – and NOT one as “Good Manners” or such because one tends to believe they have that down and going further gets into “and a fork for eating pickled bass” level nonsense. I think it’s too late for me to write one myself, due to temporal distance and perhaps a change of situation of that age. Sakes, I still find it weird people are willing to talk loudly on their phones in public. Never mind that hoop earrings have me wondering UHF channel they are resonant for.

      • -snicker- My usual reaction to certain piercings is to envision alligator clips and batteries. Ah, yeah, the feline is not only demented, but also uncivilized.

        • You too? I also wondered about guys in those loosely stitched sweaters that were very popular a few years ago. Which hurts worse – untangling the snag, or ruining a $$$ sweater?

        • I suspect a lot of people with said piercings think that is a good usage.

        • Piercings. OMG.

          I just think about the pain it must have caused sticking a darning needle in that particular spot… or getting it caught on something, like a fence…


        • Oh good, it’s not just me who does that.

          • I confess to not being a fan of any sort of body art, especially piercing, but even tattoos. I have never seen a work of art which inspired me to say: “I want that on my living room wall for the next forty years” much less “I want that on my backside.” Nope, not even Frazetta (although that may be more a confession if frugality or concern over those visitors who might like it.)

            I view such body work as an artistic choice and try to imagine what artistic choice the wearer is trying to convey. Sadly, for most of them all i can come up with is a paraphrase of Harlan Ellison, “I have no taste and I must scream.”

          • It would be a rejection of your Drow heritage if you didn’t….. 😎

            • *grin*

              Mythbusters happened to be playing on the TV when Rhys got home yesterday. We watched Adam gleefully, happily, braiding a whip. I admitted that it looked like fun. Rhys thinks I’d probably make one for fun too, and he knows how to do those braids because he had to learn for part of his work.

          • warped minds think alike? -eg-

            • There are some piercings I don’t mind (besides the ear) but I’ve seen people who have multiple face piercings that are huge and heavy looking.

              Tattoos are also a very common thing here. I’d pondered a few times about getting one but at the same time I think ‘nah.’ Henna tattoos might satisfy that, or other forms of such.

      • Orvan, I grew up reading books of manners from the 1950s-60s. I can tell you when to wear gloves and when to remove them, what kind of hat is too much for which social occasion, when a lady does or does not stand when introduced, and how to introduce people, and where to sit when dining out (the lady sits so she can see the room and be seen.) And the proper cards and notes to send for a number of occasions between birth and death. How to deal with modern two-x-chromosome boors? No clue. Proper manners for deciding who pays how much when dining with a metrosexual or feminist man? No idea, but I probably won’t be in that situation so it’s not that important.

        OTOH I won’t fuss if a gent opens the door for me (unless he then lets go because he’s oogling the gal in the Lt. Uhuru costume.)

      • It would have to be a newspaper or blog. The ‘proper’ goodthink is too variant right now. So I simply go with the old three p’s method. Be polite, professional, and prepared to defend your self wherever you are (Up to and including inflicting grievous bodily harm).

      • My mother was a sickly child and lived through books when young. Not enough social interaction. I heard my aunt say Connie can’t play things by ear because she’s tone deaf. Then when I was in high school Mom discovered the pop psychology book ‘Body Language’. Suddenly I was having deep conversations with Mom about sub-context. She had known the term and the dictionary definition but she had never understood.

        It is amazing seeing the changes that can come over people who have been struck upside the head with a clue bat.

        • My sibling (who went to kindergarten and has taught kindergarten for years) says that I was the one who should have gone to kindergarten. I also missed a lot of first grade (36 days I think I read on my report card years later) with walking pneumonia. Since my mom teaches, she kept me caught up academically. Then again, ADD probably would have meant that I would have been socially clueless anyway.

    • “Manners” was a set of rules to avoid that kind of petty power-tripping, or the demands for mind-reading.

      A shared set of assumptions.

      I don’t think it’s happenstance that the autistic spectrum being a problem started up after a deliberate destruction of those shared assumptions as being too restrictive.

      Manners is a formula for day-to-day interaction that signals “I am willing to change my behavior in minor ways and play along for you, total stranger, so you can have a basic idea of what I will do even though you don’t know me well enough to judge accurately.” (I figured this out after listening to folks whose kids had success by studying old manners books. Sure, now folks think that the kids are ‘stiff’– but the kids are a lot more comfortable because they know what to do without having to have the sort of intimate connection required to judge accurately.)

      Playing it by ear didn’t work, and “manners” is outdated, so they’ve got to make up junk about microaggressions. (if you try rephrasing it, wouldn’t that be “slights” in the offenses area?)

      • I don’t think it’s happenstance that the autistic spectrum being a problem started up after a deliberate destruction of those shared assumptions as being too restrictive.

        Interesting idea…I never thought about that.

        So are you thinking manners provides a framework to learn social interaction that when removed makes it harder for a large part of the population to master or that manners masked earlier autism?

        • You know how networking in computers requires a shared format? And how if you have any kind of computer, as long as they can used the right signals, they can communicate across that network?

          Like that.

          Two windows 10 computers can “talk” to each other without the stuff in the way, but you can’t talk to systems that are too different.

          You can work around the lack of a shared standard by writing a communication protocol for each and every interaction…but that’s a lot of work, and oh by the way you might BREAK something in the “does this work?” stage. (Metaphor cracked, there.)

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Back in the day I decided that the OSI network layer model might be a good metaphor for how human social behavior works.

            For those that don’t know, this was a way to break down the communication into modules with the hard drive format on one end, and the wire format on the other. Segregating and standardizing that way allows for updating systems and can permit different technologies to work together.

            It’d make sense if manners are a part of the human stack implemented at a level that I hadn’t considered. Considering the problems autistics can have socially, it makes sense of stress from language and cultural differences.

          • That’s how I explained protocol to someone else. They’re higher level of basic manners, that are taught to people who interact internationally, bridging cultural differences and providing a common ‘culture’ for communication that they only use when communicating to someone else. How someone uses protocol or refuses to use it can reveal a lot about them; which is why Obama doesn’t surprise me in his priorities or focuses.

            • I find that you used the word protocol. It is a huge word in the leather world and a huge attraction for some people. I think a lot of current interest in that life is due to it having a rules and order that make it easier to meet and interact. There is a genuine need for social order and I think if it is removed people seek it out.

              Then again, I also observed at least 50% of classes aimed at s-types are home economics so that’s probably another thing we aren’t teaching.

        • Actually is interesting. The majority of discomfort I have with a lot of people today is that they won’t bend. If you look like a guy and someone calls you sir, don’t verbally castrate them. If someone has a moral objection to homosexual marriage, go elsewhere. But today we have people who assume that they are to be treated as royalty and cannot have empathy. And then call those that disagree evil, bigoted, and everything else because we see them as acting like a dick.

        • Example: my grandmother was a good person, but definitely “odd;” she was frequently complemented on her beautiful manners.

          Manners give you something to do, a way to show you care, when you don’t know the person well enough to KNOW what they want.

          • Manners is a form of Cultural Imperialism. That is why it has been tossed out (and replaced with a mystical randomly changing code under which the first to call a foul wins.)

          • I rather think that is an acute insight – that manners provide a structure, and one which the socially clumsy, inept and insecure need absolutely, if they have to function well in it.

            My parents sent my brother and I to cotillion, when we were about junior high school aged – it was more than just learning how to dance, it was about learning how to function at a formal social dance. Ages later, when I was a Brownie troop leader, there was going to be a dance at the base Youth Center for the pre-teen set – and all of my troop were panicked about what to expect. I cancelled the curriculum for the meeting that I had expected to have … and spent the rest of it, passing on a distilled version of what I had been taught at cotillion.

            • Back when my local paper carried Judith Martin’s marvelous Miss Manners (and back when I still read my local paper) she regularly had to explain that the purpose of etiquette was to create a structure within which people could relax.

              “One of the major mistakes people make is that they think manners are only the expression of happy ideas. There’s a whole range of behavior that can be expressed in a mannerly way. That’s what civilization is all about — doing it in a mannerly and not an antagonistic way. One of the places we went wrong was the naturalistic, Rousseauean movement of the Sixties in which people said, ”Why can’t you just say what’s on your mind?” In civilization there have to be some restraints. If we followed every impulse, we’d be killing one another.”

              “The rationale that etiquette should be eschewed because it fosters inequality does not ring true in a society that openly admits to a feverish interest in the comparative status-conveying qualities of sneakers. Manners are available to all, for free.”

              “We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society.”

              “One reason that the task of inventing manners is so difficult is that etiquette is folk custom, and people have emotional ties to the forms of their youth. That is why there is such hostility between generations in times of rapid change; their manners being different, each feels affronted by the other, taking even the most surface choices for challenges.”

            • The base Youth Center? Are you a brat?

              If you are, you’ll know what I mean and won’t take offense.

        • Anonymous Coward

          There’s some truth in this. While autism is a set of gene copying defects, the social environment is critical. In raising an autistic kid, I noticed a couple of things. (1) Kids used to get after-school social interaction in their neighborhoods, but this has been replaced with Mom-as-chauffeur driving kids to/from organized events with fewer opportunities for learning social skills. (2) Public school teachers are forced to tolerate a lot of anti-social behavior, and are often not allowed to enforce basic classroom decorum (ie: manners). This plays havoc with trying to teach social skills to autistic children.

          • Speaking for myself as someone who grew up in that milleau, the peer environment was somewhat toxic in that it is a Lord of the Flies environment but then the special snowflakes also got protected. Personally I found adults more interesting to talk with vs students. But I’m weird…

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Weird??? Adults were always more interesting to talk with than my so-called peers.

            • Anonymous Coward

              Dealing with disagreements, antagonism, hurt feelings, name calling, and .. well .. childish behavior is EXACTLY what a child (normal but even more so for autistic) needs to learn. Being surrounded by adults who make allowances 100% of the time does not prepare kids for adulthood. It’s not as if bad behavior ends with adulthood, and dealing with it gracefully (what we used to call manners) is a learned skill. As evidence, we are now seeing the first generation of Special Snowflake larvae in their ‘mature’ form (Occupy Whatever, SJWs, Whatever Lives Matter, etc) – what Iowahawk accurately calls ‘screaming campus garbage babies’.

              • I was lucky. I was expected to comport myself as an adult vs the standard childish insults. Fail to learn that and you get passive aggressive assholes

        • So are you thinking manners provides a framework to learn social interaction that when removed makes it harder for a large part of the population to master or that manners masked earlier autism?

          Well, clearly I’m not the person you’re asking, but I’m going to drop in my two cents:

          I don’t see that as an either/or proposition. The same framework for social interaction could quite easily have masked the milder forms of autism. Persons with autism or Aspberger’s need more structure in their lives than the average person, and the symptoms of their disorders can be magnified by not receiving enough of said structure, while the manners of yesteryear would tend to minimize them. Likewise, many “ordinary” people need more structure than they receive in today’s general society, because either they don’t read others well, or they simply aren’t smart enough to figure out how to deal with each individual they come across, or even because they have been fed the notion that everyone else should make allowances for them, while never being told that they should, in turn, make allowances for others.

      • Well… you just explained something I’d always wondered about from my childhood. Now I have to wonder just how far back my mother had me tested…

  13. Liberated? They’re just doing what is expected of them, like any Victorian housewife.

    Self-sufficient women who think for themselves don’t get these pats on the back.

    It’s sicker than that– the people who think for themselves, and do things that happen to be currently popular, get the pats– and it breaks their trust, because they’ll also get the same cuffs as those drawing different conclusions.

    You either fight, or your ignore them.

    And both pay the same price for principle that others pay for convenience that isn’t in fashion.

  14. It strikes me that there is a cycle where Women’s Movements get hijacked from seeking goals that lots of women want (The Vote, Equal Rights) to seeking goals that a small, vociferous, and slightly mad (think Carry Nation) minority thinks they SHOULD want (Prohibition, Socialism).

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Nit, Prohibition was supported by enough people that the Amendment was added to the Constitution.

      Of course, enough people realized later that it was a mistake so that Amendment was repealed. 😉

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Point of order: Those saloons were not licensed to operate by the state of Kansas. Carrie Nation was no crazier than Rorschach, the Punisher, Mack Bolan or Deadpool busting up a crackhouse.

      • Carrie Nation came to Cincinnati and gave it up as a lost cause.

        Carrie Nation in Cincinnati
        In 1887 there were an amazing 1,837 saloons for a population of 225,000. In 1890 it dropped to only 1,810 for a population of 297,000.

        This meant since only adult males used saloons there was, in 1890,

        In 1890 there were 34 saloons on Court St., 41 on Liberty St., 55 on both Walnut andMain Street. Central Ave. had 100 saloons, but the all-time high was Vine St. with 136. Between 12th & 13th Streets there were 23 saloons. On Fifth St. between Main & Sycamore, for one block, 20 saloons flourished.
        The person that is most well known for her hatred of saloons was Carrie Nation.

        She arrived in Cincinnati in 1901 with her famous hatchet to wage battle with demon alcohol. Most tavern owners knowing Carrie’s propensity for taking her ax to glass windows, ordered new glass ahead of her visit.

        Carrie was asked later why she had not broken any windows was heard to say: “My goodness, child, if I had undertaken to break all the windows of all the saloons on your Vine Street I would have dropped from exhaustion before I had gone a block”.

        Before leaving the Atlantic Garden, a woman lush laid her head on Carrie’s shoulder and cried. She then left promising the temperance leader she would mend her ways and lead a better life. Ten minutes later Carrie noticed that her earrings were missing.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Okay, obviously I’m not fully informed about all of Nation’s activities.

          I saw one reference to a town or towns of 500 with multiple saloons.

          That 37 number may be low. a) Lotta folks subscribed to the view that old enough to work was old enough to drink. It is not clear to me how they defined adult for that calculation or that said definition was enforced by all saloon keepers. b) It was a very competitive environment, and some of those saloons would be running prostitutes to bring in customers.

          Also, the saloon would have been selling out of one of two barrels of beer. Each saloon retailed a single brewer. The barrels would go bad faster once tapped; I am unsure how long this would have taken, or how big the barrels were. That would also be significant in assessing how supply capacity matched the size of the market.

  15. Patrick Chester

    …and the title reminds me of an old Doctor Who episode:
    7th Doctor: I don’t suppose you’ve completely ignored my instructions and secretly prepared any nitro nine, have you?
    Ace: What if I had?
    7th Doctor: Naturally, you wouldn’t do anything so insanely dangerous as to carry it around with you, would you?
    Ace: Of course not! I’m a good girl, I do what I’m told.
    7th Doctor: Excellent. Blow up that vehicle.
    Ace: *delighted grin*

  16. Increasingly it seems to me that today’s feminism is hell-bent (word not chosen lightly) on ending the human race by forever poisoning relations between the sexes. I don’t know how else to explain much of it.

    • An alien couldn’t have come up with a better way to stop us reproducing.

      • So, you’ve noticed the correlation between the ZPG movement and rise in Femininsanity?

      • The leftist reaction to the Zika tragedy in Brazil is hideous. It seems mostly to be, “hey, everybody take contraceptives, abort anyone who gets pregnant, no babies. What’s the problem?”

        • yep. That. And the anti-pope is cool with it. Or they could you know, kill mosquitoes. Turns out DDT doesn’t’ do any of the horrible things they thought it did.

          • The Other Sean

            I think I heard somewhere that DDT isn’t effective on the breeds that carry Zika, but I could have misheard/misunderstood. DDT is still approved for limited use as a disease control vector, but not for widespread use. Widespread use of DDT tends to rapidly (within a decade) select for vastly increased mosquito resistance to DDT. Still, it does seem like some sort of drainage improvements and controlled use of insecticide would reduce the mosquitoes.

            • There are other insecticides that would work, but they’re being given the EXACT SAME treatment as DDT, including saying they cause microcephalia. (Not above background noise.)

        • Let’s not forget their refusal to allow DDT, and the wailing about using genetically sterile mosquitoes to wipe out the species that carries it.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          “Don’t care about spots on my apples/leave me the birds and the bees, please!”

          Sometimes I wonder how much damage that damn song has done.

    • Evolution is in overdrive. Large sections of the population are being selected against.

      You can make most leftists have vapors by pointing out that the future will look like the fertile.

  17. Catticus Finch

    Another wonderful post, as usual. I love coming here for the insane level of sanity (or is it the sane level of insanity? I’m not sure, actually).

    As a girl who was shoe-horned into the good little girl role, it’s a discussion that’s near and dear to me. I was saved because my grandfather – who essentially raised me for the first several years of my life – figured things would work out best if I were allowed to be me. Unfortunately, my parents had a hell of a time taming me (they never really did figure it out). To this day, I’m an embarrassment to my parents, but I married my best friend and he’s happy with me being as untamed as I want to be.

    I consider myself in support of women’s rights, not feminism (there’s a big difference) because I believe in equality, not in the superiority of one gender over the other. Today in one of my classes, I got to witness everything I find reprehensible about feminism as one of my classmates turned everything into a diatribe against men for oppressing women throughout history, but then argued for the creation of a matriarchy. I could just be a lesser-brained person, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t equality.

    Watching women be elevated over men simply because vagina is as revolting to me as watching men be elevated over women simply because penis.

  18. Christopher M. Chupik

    What’s really appalling to me is how feminism has gone in a few short years from Girl Power to this joyless, Puritan, dystopian philosophy of endless misery and “rape culture”.

  19. I don’t have anything of substance to add, but I will mention that the story of you in pretty dresses reminded me of the David Weber quote about little girls who were able to teleport dirt into otherwise sterile environments.

  20. There is a dirty little secret here. Those people who give out the “Nice Prizes for Good Little Girls” are the real sexists. Let me illustrate.

    When I read a book from a new author (or at least new to me), I don’t bother to find out the gender of the author (or race, religion, sexual proclivities, or political persuasion for that matter). Those things don’t matter to me. What matters to me is if I like the story; if I am entertained. Sometimes, those other things become (sometimes painfully) obvious while I am reading, but as long as it doesn’t screw up the story, that’s fine. Am I going to put down and enjoyable story because some outside factor? Nope! In the end, if I like the book enough, I figure out who the author is so that I can go out and find more books by that same author and probably enjoy them too. I suppose if I didn’t like the book I probably should figure out who the author is so that I can avoid that author in the future, but I rarely bother. Who knows, perhaps that author will grow and the next one will be better (Yes, I have struggled through crap books by a previously disliked author because of this, but whatever). If I really REALLY like a book (or more likely books plural), I practically become a stalker and do creepy things like Google the author to find out if he (or she… or… it…) has a blog that I might make inane comments on (Sarah, aren’t you SO glad you won THAT dubious distinction*. LOL).

    Opposite this, are the people who look at a book from a new author (or at least new to them), and before they even read the book, they scrutinize the author. Is the author a woman? Is the author a this? Is the author a that? Is the author a waffle ball bat? Is the author one of THOSE!?!? They use these facts to pre-judge what they think of the book. If enough of the right “check marks” are checked, they consider if they might want to nominate the author/book for an award. After all… such-and-suches should get more awards. Right?

    The undercurrent of that last bit is that they believe that those “such-and-suches” won’t those awards based upon the value of their work alone, so they need help. If they didn’t think that way, they would argue that “X” should get an award because AWESOME rather than “X” should get an award because “woman(plus political views)”, or “minority (plus political views)”, or “gender… whatever (plus political views)”. But you see, they don’t. The “woman” or “minority” or “whatever” is always there, and the political views subtext, while not always spoken out loud is also always there (just out one of their chosen award winners as something they don’t like, and see how quick they get dropped). I like to refer to this as the “PAT PAT”.

    You ever pat your dog on the head and tell him what a good boy he is? Just cause he’s a dog? PAT PAT. Frankly, it’s condescending, but who gives a crap he’s just a dog, he don’t care. He LOVES getting a PAT PAT along with nice-sounding words (hell you can cuss at him and tell him what a POS he is as long as you used the same tone of voice, he’s dumb, he don’t understand, he don’t care). On the other hand, give someone an award because “woman” (PAT PAT), or because “minority” (PAT PAT), or because “gender identity” (PAT PAT). This is ALSO condescending because it says “your work doesn’t stand up, you wouldn’t get this on your own” (with a little bit of “you OWE us” thrown in for spice). Frankly, I don’t know how some of these award winners can look at themselves in the mirror. Perhaps, like Mr. Dog, they have come to ENJOY the “PAT PAT”.


    *Actually, the truth is even funnier. I found this blog because it was linked to from another blog that I read, and came back because I liked what I read here. Then it was like “She writes books TOO?” I’ve read the Darkship books (and LOVED them), but I’m a little scared of the others. No offence intended of course, they just don’t look to be anywhere near my wheelhouse. Yet, I’m all about stretching my perspective, so I’ll probably read some of them eventually.

    • +1000 for the beastie boys ref.

    • This. Precisely THIS. You might like the Musketeer mysteries. Weirdly more men like the shifter books (they’re not like OTHER urban fantasy) than the Darkships. But hey, the darkships are my favorite, and I’m doing more of them (and other science fiction too!)

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Perhaps, like Mr. Dog, they have come to ENJOY the “PAT PAT”.

      That’s it, in a nutshell. They’ve been conditioned to press certain levers in order to get their “PAT PAT”, so that’s all they know how to do. If anyone tells them about how bad their sentence construction is, it frightens and confuses them the same way it would the dog if someone he was expecting a pat on the head from decided to smack him on the nose instead. Except that they have also been conditioned to attack the person who does this, as if he was trying to take away their treat.

  21. How many good little girls do i have to provide in order to get a nice prize?

    For that matter, how good do they have to be, what are the upper limits of weight & height to qualify as little and what is the operational definition of nice?

    Let’s not even get into the whole issue of what constitutes a girl for purpose of being awarded these so-called nice prizes.

  22. Sarah, I was holding off on this, in the hopes that someone else would clarify it, but isn’t it just a little wierd for a white Mormon male to be playing with little girl dolls?

  23. On the other hand, bad little girls can go far…

  24. And Meat Loaf wrote the song….