(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Two Thousand Pounds Per Square Inch

In case you missed the sheer abundance of posts to your social networks about HIV/AIDS, December 1st was World AIDS Day. Obama pledged up to $5 billions dollars to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS the next (business) day. Memorial services were held around the world.

All of which leads me to... the real story, about The Real Story Safe Sex Project, or rather, my review of a story that is part of the the RSSSP.

As you may recall, Geography Club was a slightly contested YA novel released in 2003 that got banned by a local school in the author's home town in 2005 when a parent complained. It went on to win or be-nominated for the kind of coming-of-age teen novel type of awards that these books get nominated for. Even though nobody except teachers, librarians and the people being nominated followed those awards closely. It was the kind of book that would have caught the eye of any gay male student in middle school or high school walking through the bookstore or library.

Intentionally or not, they saw the the interesting name with it's bright green handwriting on poster-white, and they picked it up. They flipped it over and came face-to-face with something that set their teenage hearts aflutter: Eyes staring at them through glass.. The eyes that were just as bored and tired and locked up by school as they felt their life to be, but also, like them in other ways. *ching went the gaydar* And they looked around to see if anyone else noticed the shock and adrenaline running through their system as they very calmly, very nonchalantly lifted the cover in their hand.

But it was too good to be true.

Russel Middlebrook is convinced he’s the only gay kid at Robert L. Goodkind High School. Then his online gay-chat buddy turns out to be none other than Kevin, the popular but closeted star of the school’s baseball team. Soon Russel meets other gay students too...
 For those of us gay male millenials that were readers, this was how we found Geography Club. Just before or just after we came out ourselves.

This was how we were introduced to Seattle native Brent Hartinger.

Two Thousand Pounds Per Square Inch by Hartinger continues the story of Geography Club's Russel Middlebrook right where we left off when we forgot about the sequel and prolific side-project. While we've been away, Russell has been growing up with us.

He's been having other adventures and other perspectives that we might have missed while starting our own gay (and sometimes eventually queer) lives at college.

And in this brief short story, released free on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and otherwise available. we we find him in the same, predictably and embarrassingly uncomfortable situations that we hoped never to be caught in. It's wonderfully NSFW, and appeals to our new-found sense of irony that it reads like a PSA with all the details and facts of every comprehensive sex education pamplet we read when we volunteerer in our community. After all, we were the bookish-type who read everything we could about sex before we ever had it.

It's embarrassing. It's titillating. And in many cases when we remember the news stories and remember our younger siblings trailing just behind Russell, the oblivious would-could-maybe-already-are statistics we were working to ensure would be the last to grow up with the same abstinence only ignorance we experienced. We think about them and it's probably making us feel a little guilty when we think about practicing what we preach. And that's how TTPPSI surprises us: by still addressing us.

The disclaimer at the end reminds us we've read the same news articles that both gave us hope and made us lax when deep down we know every we just read is true. We've just been lectured at by "Brent" not to be confused with Brent even though we know his all-too-obvious stand-in nature means that it really is Brent lecturing us because he knows we'll smile sheepishly before spreading it like wildfire.

Because he also knows we'll know he wants us to, so those could-be statistics will get this sooner and take one more step with Russell before taking our place.

On another note, it's also great timing because it was released for free as part of The Real Life Story Safe Sex Project's first wave of stories right in time for Geography Club's movie (IMDB) was being released for limited runs in theaters.

And it got some good reviews, so hopefully it'll get wide enough distribution so we can relive Russell's drama again.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

This is a riot? More like a call to action.

If by some chance you haven't heard about the "riot" that occurred last night, here's a video and news article.

Small warning: the video can get kind of intense. Watch with care.

I've seen a lot of Facebook posts by friends saying that they are ashamed that Western students would act this way, that rioting for the sake of rioting is a disgrace, or that inciting a riot because your party got broken up is little better than a temper tantrum of idiotic proportions, that this is an example of privileged kids (because let's not give them the dignity of calling them adults) harming our community.

And I agree with most of these.

The way people are acting in this video is completely irrational and disproportional to the instigating events, and for those of us who have been continually civically engaged, organizing and/or marching in protests or lobbying down in Olympia for actual causes, I can see how this is upsetting. Where is this anger when we're fighting for something bigger than ourselves? Where is this collective mentality to fight the power when the power is actually taking something away from us? What concerns me most about the events last night is how it will affect relations between BPD and legitimate protests. Will events like Take Back the Night, a march and rally against violence in the streets, be possible if the irresponsible actions shown disrupted relations between the university and the police?

But stepping off the soapbox for a moment, I think that what transpired last night is symptomatic of something larger. In the last few years with the rise and fall of the Occupy movement and Kony 2012 and the Arab Spring and everything that happened in Texas this summer and the results of the Zimmerman trial, we live in a time of protest, where protests and riots have become a media-covered norm in the background radiation of our lives.

Additionally, with rising cost of tuition across the country and across the state, the demographics at Western are changing as well. I've heard many a comment about "how much broier" my school has gotten as it has increasingly become one of the only viable schools available to students graduating from high school in a poor economy and face with the supposed necessity of a college degree. This makes Western increasingly white and privileged which would support a culture and mentality that encourages such "riots" without cause.

Most of us are dissatisfied with the status quo. We were promised change and while much has happened, it often feels like we've taken two steps forward and three steps back.

With each passing day the feeling that we are volatile and waiting for the right (or wrong) trigger to set us off increases ever so slightly. So while I disagree with what happened and think it's irresponsible, it's a harbinger of potential things to come.

Which leads me to my final point, a call to action among my peers. If the events last night upset you, if they make you ashamed to be a Viking, if they make you concerned about the Bellingham community we know and love, do something about it.

If it is in your ability to do so, harness this energy, this anger. Rather than railing against the apathy of your fellow students, push them to do better. Let them know about the opportunities to be involved, to serve our community and make it better. Organize legitimate protests and invite these cause-less rioters to march with you. Tell everyone you know to vote in the local elections. In short, keep doing all the awesome activist heArtwork we've been doing.

If you work for the Associated Students, hold events that address topics of oppression. If you run a club, make that club relevant to current events in whatever tiny ways seem applicable. Start an educational campaign to teach people ways to get involved. Ask your professors if they can make community service a requirement of a class.

I know it's frustrating. I know it's hard. And statistically, numbers aren't on our side. Outreach to populations that have no strong attachments can feel like pulling teeth, it's drawn out and painful, but in the end it's for their own good.

So keep doing what you're doing, keep leading by example, and maybe these so-called rioters will find something useful to do.

[edit] Here's another perspective from my friend Robert.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A rant regarding the self-styled "People's Chemist" and his views on vaccines

I saw this "article" posted on Facebook, tried reading it just to give it a chance and got irrationally angry. Now that I've calmed down a bit, I'm going to try to rationally pick it apart point by point. For my sanity's sake, I'm going to ignore appeals to emotion that instantly make this article polarizing and try to focus on factual inaccuracies or misinformation.

Makes reference to research disproving herd immunity without quoting, referencing or linking to said research. Also, if vaccination works and if "herd immunity serves as a human shield – a type of immunity – for “at-risk” individuals" then by advocating non-vaccination you are effectively reducing the size of that human shield around those at-risk individuals. However, that's a lot of "if"s on my part so moving along.

"At best, vaccines boost our defenses only temporarily." That's what booster shots are for because you almost never have permanent immunity to any disease. If you don't come into contact with a pathogen often enough, as a matter of biological efficiency there's no point for your body to continue trying to fight it. It's a waste of your body's resources, so course vaccines only boost our defenses temporarily.

"That’s because your immune system is programmed to recognize and attack invaders that come through the biological “front door.” That would be your nose, mouth and eyes." This only applies to certain kinds of immune responses, namely mucous membranes, tears, cilia along the soft inner lining. Those immune responses are programmed capture and expel "invaders." Other immune responses like the lymphocytes: t-cells, B-cells and natural killer cells (among others) are active in your blood stream and do things like sending out antigens that attach themselves to pathogens so that other immune cells can recognize them as a threat. Ruptures to the surface of the skin (a natural barrier between the outside world and your body), like punctures from a needle, can activate these immune cells and bring them to the site of injury. That is literally the entire idea behind vaccinations. If your body only recognized "attacks" through the "front door" well our bodies would be a very poorly guarded home.

Quoting the World Health Organization “Children under two years of age do not consistently develop immunity following vaccination.” I need to get to the library to double check with medical encyclopedias since I'm having a hard time slogging through the very specific journal articles that came up when I did a search of online journals, but I'm pretty sure part of this inconsistency could be a direct result of the fact that children under two years of age do not have fully developed immune systems. The WHO article in question would seem to support this because it also lists "persons suffering from various states of immunodeficiency, for example HIV infection" as being unable to form immunity after vaccination.

[RELATED: Nature's Immune Booster is Potent Antibiotic. See the facts here.] The fuck are you trying to sell me pills for?

In a 2007 article, entitled “Nigeria Fights Rare Vaccine-Derived Polio Outbreak,” Reutersshowed how the vaccine itself ignited outbreaks of polio in Nigeria, Chad and Angola. The article in question points out that the 69 children infected in the outbreak were not vaccinated and that such outbreaks occur because aid workers are not able to reach enough of the at-risk population. Also, because this article is addressing people in the United States with access to resources and proper sanitation procedures and these outbreaks are occurring in developing countries, the situations of these outbreaks are not comparable at all. The only reason to bring this article up is as a scare tactic.

Reason #2 Vaccines Expose Kids to Toxins
I don't know enough biochemistry to try to debate this except to say most of us expose ourselves to more toxins in the bath daily and foods than we receive via vaccination in our lifetime. I will say check out the CDC's Vaccine Ingredient Fact List for yourself, most of the concerning additives have actually helped save people's lives by reducing chances of contamination from other foreign material. Be cautious, and do you research, sure, but most of these "toxins" are there for a reason because they contribute something to the final product.

On a semi-related note, many vaccine producers have started making multi-disease vaccines so you're getting fewer shots which means you're being exposed to fewer of these toxins overall, so even if this is your concern, it's getting better.

If parents need further proof of toxicity, they can read vaccine package inserts. Okay, if you're going to bring up the warning labels on vaccines, where essentially the companies producing them list every possible side-effect to cover their own asses should something go wrong, let me point you to the same warnings for ibuprofen, viagra, the sleep aid Lunesta. Almost anything produced by/for the pharmacological complex has really scary side effects listed on the packaging. Most of them are really rare otherwise these products wouldn't make it onto shelves.  

Reason #3 Kids Can Build Immunity Naturally
I'm going to stop right here and say that immunity is only achieved through exposure to disease. Therefore. according to the Mayo Clinic to be immune to all of these disease you would have to be infected with the disease (which would risk death).

Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann discovered that we are hard-wired with special receptors that recognize foreign invaders and activate our immune response. Ralph Steinman then found that special cells of the immune system possess the unique capacity to activate the immune response, which clears biological nasties from the body. And all of this occurs without vaccination! 

Um... that's kind of the whole concept behind vaccination, only instead of introducing foreign invaders, ideally we're introducing a straw man corpse of the foreign invaders for our immune response to practice on. It's not perfect, but better than being caught off guard by the real thing that could cause real damage. 

If you're really trying to make an argument promoting the development of children's immune systems, why aren't you quoting any of the plethora of studies that have shown that having pets can lower a child's risk of developing allergies or asthma? Oh right, because that's not really the goal here, the goal is:

[RELATED: Nature's Immune Booster is Potent Antibiotic. See the facts here.] 

STOP FUCKING TRYING TO SELL ME THINGS! I DON'T WANT YOUR BOOK AND I DON'T WANT YOUR DAMN PILLS. I want accurate, science based information that tells me the concrete risks of vaccines if you're going to convince me of anything.

So to be clear, I don't care whether or not you choose to vaccinate your children. That's your decision. Make it an informed one. Just don't believe everything you read from idiots like Shane Ellison, "the People's Chemist."

I actually agree with a friend who said that the corporate vaccination industry is a "scam business meant to produce profit." If they cared about the developing world as much as they claim to by providing all kinds of vaccines to fight disease there, they would put a whole lot more money into building infrastructure and increasing access to clean, running water. 

But that's a completely different discussion about the pharmaceutical industry rather than the science of vaccines. 

The scientists are do this work because they're genuinely trying to help people. You don't have to trust them by getting vaccinations because they are not infallible, but at least make sure your decision is one you can back up.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Long Division

I remember in the fourth grade I was learning division.

We were just starting long division after having mastered our multiplication tables and timed tests the year prior. This was the year they decided to stop giving us perfectly divisible numbers. 

Gone were the days of 72 ÷ 8 = 9.
Oh no, this was the year things started to get messy.

This was the year they started giving us things like 86 ÷ 8.

But the things was, we didn't jump right into decimals. 

So we had to use remainders. (I apologize if the formatting doesn't work with my long division symbol, which interestingly doesn't have a name of its own.)


Where the r6 at the end meant remainder of 6 that is not divisible by 8.

And because I was a precocious, well-read little shit child at the age of 10, I remember being somewhat livid at having to use that little r. I knew numbers, I'd seen a variety of them in my reading adventures and not once had I come across something like 10r6. It didn't make sense to me.

So I used a decimal point. Because I was familiar with decimal points. We used them with money to mark the difference between dollars and cent. They were in the numbers on the spines of books at the library. In short, I'd seen them in actual numbers.

I was adamant, even defiant about my use of decimal points. Silently, but stubbornly.

I remember my teacher, Miss Krantz, a transplant from somewhere in the South who tried to teach us it was pronounced O-KAN-o-gan in social studies (it's more like oaken-AU-gen), was okay with my use of decimals for a while but when she finally insisted I use the r instead of my decimal points, never really gave me a satisfying explanation other than they were different. I don't remember anyone else questioning this the way I did, but then I remember that Miss Krantz had a habit of tossing and catching her whiteboard marker and that being in one of the new portables our class was one of the only ones to have whiteboards instead of chalkboards better than I remember this.

Then we actually learned long division.

     6 0
     4 6
        4 0
        4 0

Suddenly, the difference made sense. The remainder part of the r meant that it was what remained that wasn't neatly and perfectly divisible by the divisor. I had jumped the gun so to speak.

And that's what I remember about fourth grade math.

A really long discussion of patriarchy and feminism

A link to This Blog Post Deconstructing MRAs led to a very long discussion with someone who elsewhere has clearly identified themselves as anti-feminist. I don't understand that mindset, and am thankful that we remained civil throughout this exchange.

At the same time, I want to acknowledge that as a man working on feminist projects, with a history of involvement in anti-oppression work and education, I owe a lot of what I said in what follows to the women who have come before me. Part of the reasons I can respond as calmly as I did is because I am a man and so my experience is partially removed from the situation. That said, I'm still frustrated as hell and consider this particular thread dead to me.

Take the above as a trigger warning and read on with caution.


Skipping right to the conclusion, I wanted to point out this bit:
Ultimately, the existence of MRAs might make women more afraid of speaking out. I cannot emphasise how crucial this is. A lot of women are afraid of rocking the boat when it comes down to sexism, close their eyes to it or resign themselves to the fact that it’s just the way things are. The hateful messages of MRA movements only add a new layer of pressure to that. To men who are concerned with gender equality and who want to address issues with masculinity, MRAs have poisoned the debate.
Whether or not you’re well-meaning, the final effect of a movement that is a reaction to a group already reacting to the status quo is to reinforce the status quo. It often sets up an unnecessary binary that polarizes the issue.

As a man, it’s important to remember that patriarchy =/= men. Taking down the patriarchy is changing or eliminating ways of thinking that unreasonably favor men while either suppressing or ignoring women. Men might get hit with recoil because of socioeconomic status, race, or a variety of other factors, but most of the time when you zoom out and look at the bigger picture, there’s the same root cause hurting people from different angles.


Work on those causes from different perspectives, but let’s not make them competing works. And imagine, for a moment, you’re a person that doesn’t believe in the existence of the patriarchy… and suddenly *you* look like the person trying to maintain power via the status quo.

Because how it looks to me is that no matter what I do, unless I agree with *you* I’m wrong. That’s a fair point and a logical flaw that undermines the part where I talked about unnecessary binaries. I will acknowledge that.


However, trying to deny the existence of patriarchal mindsets is like trying to deny the existence of racist thought or homophobia or classicism. You’re technically correct that it doesn’t exist. It isn’t a thing that you can locate, but you are wrong if you think it doesn’t exist.

It is an intangible (and all too common) way of thinking that causes substantive inequality through personal behaviors, public policy and media representation. It’s rooted in the same kind of mindset that tells children “You can’t do that because you’re a boy/girl.” By denying its existence you are effectively maintaining a harmful status quo by denying the fact that most areas of the world believe in the inherent superiority of men either explicitly or implicitly.

If you can’t/won’t accept that such a belief exists as a basic fact supported by the experience of millions (if not billions) of people the world over, then we will never be able to agree because anything I say or do will always come back to that point that this inequality exists on multiple conscious and subconscious levels. If you’d like me to provide “proof” with a myriad of charts and statistics and articles, I can attempt to do so, but I’d rather not waste any more of either of our time trying to convince you.

Thank you for being civil and respectful.


Billions of people have also believed in the existence of Satan, or a similar font of evil. Historically speaking, based on your measure, there’s more proof of the Devil than there is of Patriarchy.

Patriarchy, on its best day is used as an answer in the same vein “God did it” is.

Even assuming there *is* a patriarchy… even if I completely agreed with you on that point the existence of a “patriarchy” raises questions itself in the same way that the existence of a deity does.

Notice how the argument/discussions always stop at “The Patriarchy” did it?

Is the patriarchy a way of thinking? is it a group of men? is it a style of living? I’ve heard it’s all three and none of the above. That’s way way WAY too open for me to accept.

The Patriarchy is whatever the asker wants it to be.


When you make the comparison to Satan, I think you misinterpret the point that I made (that billions of people experience inequality based on gender in their lives and this supports the existence of a [wrong] belief in the inherent superiority of men) as "billions of people believe in Patriarchy." This is not the same thing, I apologize if I was unclear.

And if the asker is competent, they will define for you how they use a term so you know exactly what it means when they say it. I have done so repeatedly, so to apply other definitions in the context of this discussion is counterproductive, confusing for readers and off topic (or derailing to use the language popular in anti-oppression work).

The discussion doesn't have to stop at "the patriarchy did it" if you provide concrete solutions to the problem. If (as I have done) you define patriarchy as system of thought, the solution is to change the way people think about situations. Take, for example my earlier point about the patriarchal thought processes being the same root cause of statements like "You can't do that because you're a boy/girl."

Both arise from an expectation of gendered behavior, that boys and girls behave differently and are not allowed to cross those boundaries because implicitly to do so would invalidate their gender. This is limiting to all parties involved and arises from a long history of gender stereotypes that boys are tough/strong and girls are weak/pretty or whatever. If we challenge these ideas, we are "challenging the patriarchy" because (as I have described it) patriarchy is the system of thought which reinforces those ideas. You can still do that without believing in a patriarchy, and I hope you would because it would mean you're treating the next generation as whole people who can experience a range of activities and without being limited by outdated stereotypes.

I would also like to point out that I've been very hesitant to use the term "patriarchy" because I think it's an unnecessarily broad term that doesn't completely encapsulate the actual problems at play, thus my repeated use of "patriarchal thinking" to emphasize that it is the ways of thinking that are problematic. Sometimes that thinking is on a larger cultural scale rather than an individual's thoughts (cultural narratives to borrow a term from theory) and to say that this kind of thinking doesn't exist is to say that there aren't people or systems who are sexist (i.e. causing or supporting inequality), which is fundamentally wrong, because again, you can find sexism everywhere.

To summarize my entire argument:

  • gender-based inequality exists, [and the experience of gender-based inequality is overwhelmingly one of sexism against women]
  • the fact that such inequality exists proves the existence of a way of thinking that (most often) favors men
  • by changing these ways of thinking and the institutional (legal/governmental/other regulatory bodies) structures (laws/norms/rules/representations) that support/reinforce them we can reduce inequality

Gender based inequality exists. That inequality exists does not defacto prove that it primarily benefits males. “Changing ways of thinking” often feels rather sinister to me. Presenting ones case is a far cry from “Changing how people think”. You mentioned overly broad terms… and that one sticks in my craw, yo.

I’m not saying inequality doesn’t exist, to the contrary. I take issue with the concept of patriarchy because it very intentionally narrows the discussion.

For example… people say “Patriarchy” and point to the majority of congress being male… and then conveniently and quietly forget that the majority of the voters are female (and have been for decades). Yet people will still describe this as a “Patriarchy”.


1. Fair point that the existence of inequality does not de facto imply a bias towards men, I should have backed that up better.

2. While in summarizing my argument I said “change how people think” which is a broad, general statement and you have every right to be uncomfortable with it because of that (normally I would be too); however, throughout this conversation I have repeatedly given concrete examples of very specific ways to change people’s way of thinking to address specific problems (don’t deny the existence of inequality because doing so perpetuates it; don’t reinforce and/or believe in stereotypes because they are harmful; don’t blindly accept an ideology that implicitly favors men because it’s sexist). Anyone who reads this entire exchange and still finds my final summary “sinister” has clearly missed the point.

3. With your congress example:
  • the implications of having an established man-dominated institution on the access to said institution by women is one of deterrence (it’s a lot harder to join a men’s only club when you aren’t a man even if it’s no longer a men’s only club).
  • When women voters are only presented with men to vote for, they can only vote for men, so who the voting demographic is means next to nothing (we can change this by encouraging women to join politics through multiple avenues like providing strong role models)
  • This example ignores the socialization of women to not be strong leaders in the political sense (as evidenced by characterizations of people like Hilary Clinton as cold, power-mad bitches, a demonization that can deter other women from wanting to pursue this as a career avenue)
  • Many women in power are not taken seriously unless they “act like men” because women are seen as weaker/incapable.
  • The previous two points can be addressed by thinking of women as complex human beings who are able to act in leadership capacities (something that many men seem unable or unwilling to accept because of, you guessed it, sexist, patriarchal ways of thinking that reinforce inequality against women)
  • The use of patriarchy here completely ignores my point about using conflicting definitions and thus is a complete derailment of the discussion at hand (especially since it is used very vaguely as simply “the patriarchy”). When it is not given specific meanings the way I have, patriarchy is an overly broad (vague) concept that can and has been abused in some feminist logic. I have worked very hard to not make that same mistake and would appreciate if you would stop insulting my intelligence by continuing to gloss over that fact. Yes, people make those kinds of arguments without offering concrete solutions the way I have above. Yes, that’s poor argumentation that delegitimizes the concept of patriarchal systems. Yes, you have every right to be skeptical of arguments that use partriarchy as the focal point because of that. No, that is not being done here, so please stop bringing it up because it isn’t adding anything new to the conversation.

I’ll address but one point… and I’d like you to think about it and the vast and far reaching implications of it.

If there is a field of ten men… and only men… the one that caters to a disproportionate number of females, even as he takes a proportional slice of the male vote… will win.

In other words it doesn’t *matter* what the gender of the person being elected is because that person knows who put them in office. In fact it’s incredibly bizarre to think that a man in office would automatically work in the interests of other men when history has proven universally that men in power almost never do that. Men in power help men in power.

And if the best way to stay in power is to vote for endless special benefits, programs, provisos and the like for women… that’s precisely what they’ll do. And that’s precisely what they *have* done.

acelessthan3: (this part didn't make it onto tumblr because I'd already publically stated I was done with this conversation on tumblr)

Your bolded statement is self-contradictory. If (as I understand it) you mean that a man in power would provide for his constituents (i.e. the women who voted him into office), I think the entire Texas State legislature's decisions on reproductive healthcare stand as a GLARING example to the contrary.

If by "special benefits, programs, provisos and the like for women" you mean things like welfare, reproductive rights, etc. As I understand it, most of those were never voted on, were instituted by men because they view women as weaker/incapable, and are currently being attacked across the country.

I don't see how any of this supports an argument against the existence of patriarchal thinking or even addresses it.


To all who made it this far. Thank you for bearing with me. I hope I did the conversation justice. Please don't take out any anger or frustration on  Mr-cappadocia and instead find healthy outlets to vent them.

Friday, August 9, 2013

SAT Six Years Later

I was reminded today of the SAT.

I took it very late in my college application process. Like May or June late. There were a host of reasons, one of which being a complete apathy toward any and all forms of standardized testing.

I was part of the Washington State class of 2008, which means I received the brunt of the scare treatment when they told us we would be the first graduating class to have to take the WASL and have it matter for graduation. I was also the kid who, in the fourth grade, did so well on the WASL exam that they decided to put me in a special pull-out program for advanced students.

So given the WASL and all the AP classes I took, to say that I gave no fucks about taking the SAT would be an understatement. I actually forgot I'd even registered for the test until the week prior.

Obviously, I didn't do very much SAT prep. In fact, I did none. Given my AP classes though, it was actually more of a struggle in taking the SAT to remember material I hadn't studied in 2-3 years. The highest level it went was HS Algebra II and I was taking Calculus. Trying to remember things like the quadratic formula and basic stuff like that was almost laughable to me.

Ironically, I feel like I lost the most points in the essay portion of the writing, a subject that as a journalism student and someone who had already taken the AP Composition test I was confident I would do well in. I think part of the reason I lost points was because I tried to be creative. I think my mindset was along the lines of: I'm supposed to write inside the box? Well I'm going to write around the box so that you can see the outline and know that it's there but that I'm actively defying it and doing a damn good job of it.

So given all this, I bet you're asking yourself how I did?

Honestly for all the wonders it did for me, I don't remember. I had to dig through my files and find a faded paper copy gathering what little dust can filter into a closed file folder.

But I did find it eventually.
So with no studying or prep of any kind, I got a 1950/2400, which according to the Wikipedia page is roughly in the 90th percentile.

I can't complain about this because there are probably people out there who would kill to get a score like that, but for me at least it seems like an apt analogy for my entire high school career.

It's this huge thing that's pretty much required and everyone makes it a big deal because when it comes down to it, in our culture, it is a big deal. But it wasn't a challenge. Academics didn't excite me the way everything else about school did.

I excelled in high school because I was/am fairly intelligent. I didn't get bored and give up the way I know a lot of today's youth do because I had something else keeping me engaged where my academics didn't. As a friend recently put it to me, "You did the work because it was easy, I didn't do the work because it was easy."

A huge part of that difference is because I got lucky. I was a journalism student working for the school paper. I was active in my high school's literary arts magazine. I had summer camp experiences that taught me how to express myself through art and gave me a sense of community. Looking back, I'm a little disappointed I never took the opportunity to try a sport or two. Because of these things, and with some encouragement from teachers who I now call friends and mentors, I saw myself as leader.

Something changes inside of you when you think of yourself as a leader. You set yourself up for an expectation of success. You know you have to try, you have to do well or at least do the minimum required to have the appearance of doing well or you'll disappoint yourself because to not would mean you'd disappoint the people who believe in you. And that means something, it means quite a lot actually.

So even though this post started with me bemoaning the state of standardized testing that is the SAT, I want to end it by saying thank you. Thank you to everyone who believed in me, who believed that I could do amazing things (most notably my mom).

To everyone else reading this, go out and show someone that you believe in them. You never know, it might make a huge difference in their life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sex advice with Danny Civilized

So the last few days I've received some sex questions via text message and while I'm in no way trying to encourage people to send me questions (seriously, I have enough trouble keeping track of my currently non-existent sex life, I'm perfectly happy not being involved in yours), it's not in my nature to not attempt to answer. And if I've already answered the question, why not share the wealth?

I am not a medical professional or certified sex educator, my answers are based on extensive reading, working as a peer sex educator, and when I genuinely don't know, deferring to professionals who do know.

Random question, but if I were to use an anal douche would I fill it with water?

Mixed feelings here. Generally I wouldn't recommend douching or enemas to begin with, but if you are going to I would probably recommend water unless you know what's in the enema fluid you buy. Some kits contain laxatives that induce shitting (because for real am I going to say defecation?) while others are for more gentle cleaning. As with anything, know what you're putting in your body before you put it in. The rectal lining is fairly permeable to chemicals and things since a huge part of the lower colon's function is reabsorbing water (this why being on the receiving end of unprotected anal sex is one of the riskiest behaviors for exposing yourself to STIs). 

The rectum also is not meant to have hard stuff up in there which is why during anal play you go slow and use lots of lube. For similar reasons enemas and anal douching aren't usually recommended for normal activity because they have the potential to cause micro-tears to the rectal lining. Most brands of enema kit or anal douches say to use their product at least 30 minutes prior to any activity in part to help with this, it's a similar concept to not brushing your teeth at least an hour prior to performing oral sex.

But at the same time, I recognize that for some people poo is ew and they don't want that as even a remote possibility. You can help things flow so to speak, by eating a well-balanced diet with lots of fiber and water. Usually a shit followed by thorough shower about an hour before anal play is enough. But if you use an anal douche or enema kit, make sure you follow the directions and definitely don't make it a daily habit.

On to the next question!

Sometimes after I masturbate my penis stings for a little while, like in the urethra. Eventually it goes away and I have tested negative for any diseases. It only happens sometimes. Does this ever happen to you? Do you know what I'm talking about? Should I see a doctor?

This is one of those questions where I repeat several times that if you aren't sure and are still concerned, go see a medical professional.

If you regularly test negative for a variety of STIs or UTI (urinary tract infections) or trauma, and the stinging feeling isn't an intense burning, you probably don't have anything to worry about. To help the sperm survive in the vagina, semen is slightly basic which can occasionally be an irritant to the soft mucous lining of the urethra. This usually manifests as a need to pee after ejaculation and most people with penises experience this to some degree after ejaculation. A variety of factors from diet to hydration to how many times you've jacked off in the past few days can have effects on this, similar to the things that can cause changes to consistency. If you have no weird discharges and have tested clean, it's probably nothing. 

In very rare instances men can be allergic to their own cum, but that usually shows up like a flu after they shoot. Definitely doesn't sound like the case here, but in the interest of comprehensive information I'm including it.

There, the most complete answers I can give to these questions. Don't make me regret posting this, and for the people who have asked me questions, sorry I used your anonymous questions without permission. If you found any of this post to be heteronormative or trans*exclusive, please let me know and I will try to correct it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shit, when did this become almost 1300 words?

So this blog post is partially inspired by this lovely list of questions posted by my friend Eli after attending a facilitators gathering, partially inspired by some of my own experiences, and partially inspired by some critical self-reflection.

And I want to preface this post by saying that as an able-bodied, mixed/white, queer man there are certain privileges that I have that allow me to think about and discuss issues of privilege and oppression work in such a way that I am not triggered because it does not personally affect my life. I am able to mentally or physically walk away from a given situation/conversation if I don't like it and the repercussions I will face will be having to deal with one upset person at a later time. This is a privilege I have because of my identities.

Which brings me to today's topic. I've been thinking about the nature of friendship and connection between myself and my communities. I'm what you call... well-networked. I'm highly extroverted and motivated to maintain relationships with people. I have a policy that if I think of someone more than twice in a day no matter how long it's been, I will reach out and contact them in some way.

My Strengths Quest profile shows that my top trait is Woo, which means that I excel at winning people over and making strangers like me, that in essence I'm the opposite of shy (quite the turnaround from the kindergartner who hid behind his mother and cried when she had to leave). It's a strength of my personality that I long ago learned to use to my advantage.

Which means I have a lot of friends, and even more acquaintances. Which can be draining for some people. People see that I have 1100+ Facebook friends and balk, and admittedly, I probably couldn't tell you who some of the quieter ones are. Does that mean I don't care? I don't think so. To me, it means that at some point I cared about you enough professionally, academically, personally, by extension of my relationship with someone we know in common, that I got to know you. So even if you stop me on the street and I have no idea who you are, you're still important enough to me that I will make the time to reconnect with you. You're worth that time. You will always be worth that time.

Now, as is often the case with someone as widely connected as I am, there are many people I know who I don't necessarily agree with politically, socially, either in base belief or way of approaching the world.

I believe strongly in an anti-oppression framework that seeks to dismantle the social structures (ideologies) that cause and support racial, gender and other inequalities. I'm not always super forward about this, but I make no attempts to hide it. Some of the people I know (and thankfully this group is fairly small) disagree outright. I consider these people ignorant to reality. Some of the people I know are the kinds of people who introduced me to this and continue to educate me through their words, actions, and experiences. I consider these people an inspiration. Some of the people I know don't know about any of this and are happy to live their lives within the status quo. I consider these people lucky to live in such ignorant bliss and it's beautifully painful for me every time I have to disturb that happy little bubble. Some of the people I know at base agree with the long term goals of anti-oppression work, but disagree with the language and the route such activism has taken. I often call these people problematic because while we agree on outcomes, the kinds of statements these people make can be extremely hurtful to the safe space of individuals and communities of marginalized identities. The way they express their views often comes across as polarizing to those doing the kind of anti-oppression work I'm involved in.

This often gets them labelled as racist or misogynistic or otherwise ostracizes them from the work towards equality that they do believe in. I've seen them on the internet labelled as such things like "liberal dude bros" and "fedoras" and "_______-apologists" because they usually fit under the demographic of college-educated, liberal, straight, cishet men.

I often find myself in positions where I can understand the logic that they're coming from. I don't agree with their points outright because while they may be true in the philosophical sense, they are often at odds with the lived experience being brought up. Which given the way that the discourse around marginalized identities values experience creates a fundamental ideological difference of opinion that no amount of explaining or argumentation can bridge beyond a surface intellectual level where you end the conversation by saying "I see where you're coming from, but I still disagree."

Because the difference is one of experience and you cannot teach experience, you can only ever teach ways of respecting the differences that those varied experiences create. And since my default is to side with marginalized identities, sometimes the way to respect those differences is to know when to shut up and leave. Is that always helpful? No. Will it prevent you from further alienating those whom, at base, you agree with? Yes.

And yes, I'm biased and I apologize if the description above fits the kind of interaction we've had together. This is post is not meant as an attack, merely an exploration of the ways I interact with people.

The point that I've been working toward this entire post is that sometimes I find myself asking (or being asked) how I can be friends with such people? If I find their way of interacting with issues and communities that I care about deeply intensely problematic, how do I call such people my friend?

I think part of it is that I always try to approach situations and people non-judgmentally. Quite frankly, it takes a lot to elicit a strong emotional reaction out of me. Usually you have to build up a history of fairly toxic interactions for me to dislike you. I have a very high tolerance for a lot of bullshit. Which is not the same as not recognizing it as bullshit.

But I also find myself separating people from their actions. I can dislike, even hate what you do. If you're flaky or rude or intentionally mean, then I dislike your behavior. Sometimes even enough where I feel it warrants removing myself from any and all situations where I will encounter such behavior from you. If that means removing myself from your life, so be it.

What I'm realizing in myself though is that if I actually stop and think about it, I can never actually dislike a person as a person who has selfhood and I think that's something important to recognize. It's not necessarily something to advocate for everyone; sometimes bad experiences or behaviors from someone are inseparable from them as a person and where I have a high enough tolerance that I have yet to be unable to distinguish a difference between the two, not everyone has that ability or can afford to have that ability and simultaneously ensure their own safety.

We may disagree on everything. I may hate your views for being poisonous to the communities of which I am a part. But I will never let that mean I hate you as a person.

I don't really know if I was going anywhere beyond this, but for now, the ideas are out there.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Why does my racial identity matter?

Or: What Being Multiracial Means to Me

TW: mild homophobia, trans*phobia and racism, mild language

Race isn't something I usually talk about on this blog. It's partly because I had a white suburban middle-class upbringing and identify primarily with (most) of our dominant white culture. In part because of this upbringing, I don't feel a strong tie to any one racial culture enough that I would identify as a person of color (or as having much of "a race" to begin with, which if I'm being honest, is a white privilege). That's a huge part of my experience.

At the same time, I'm often perceived as a person of color. I get the "What kind of asian are you?" questions (since it's well known that I'm a quarter Japanese) and the "I'm so jealous of your perma-tan" (because even at my palest in late-February, I'm still darker than most of my peers) and the "Look at you, little Filipino ladyboy" (because just because I'm kinda brown and gay and dabble in drag apparently means I fit into a whole subset of trans* identities). And, yes, technically by blood I'm mixed race. As my mother revealed to me the weekend after I graduated high school, the white man I grew up knowing as my father wasn't my biological father. My middle-namesake, some man in a grainy  2x2 photograph whom I'd never met or even knew existed until that moment was my father, and he most definitely wasn't white.

Does this mean I have an answer for what kind of not-white I am? No, it means that anything you arbitrarily decide to label me is a viable guess, but since those aspects of my race aren't something I have experienced, that I have lived my life completely divorced from, I literally cannot answer you because I don't know. And I know, that's troubling for some people. The only reason I'm not having some kind of racial identity crisis as I write this post is because I've created other spaces for myself and grounded my sense of identity in other intersections. I can afford to not worry about my race because I've already established my identity as a gay, atheist, queer, English major, artist/poet, runner, leader with a flair for making odd choices in outfit work (to give a few examples).

This is also a huge part of my experience.

When I see friends and activists stand on stage and talk about not belonging, of not being enough one or another, of forever existing between, they're telling part of my story. I see the need for the anti-racist projects in the United States and they're something I care about and am constantly thinking about how I can be a better ally and stand in solidarity with, but I also don't feel comfortable taking up active space in communities of color because the way I experience oppression is primarily as a gay male and not as a person of color. To use some of the language I've been gifted through academia (another privilege of my background, and an opportunity I'm grateful for), my racial being is situated in a liminal space that reifies me as both a POC and as not. Or if you prefer, I'm a bit of a walking , fucking contradiction.

I bring this up because I recently read a Jezebel article about this Cheerios commercial:

In my opinion, it's pretty innocuous and exactly what I'd expect from a Cheerios commercial. There's the innocent child who doesn't know anything about heard disease, but is highly concerned with it because our media does a poor job educating us about the realities of cardiac disease, and there's the parents who are there to explain things only to realize they themselves are the objects of their child's concern. Which, when you put it like that is kind of a bittersweet, fucked up narrative and points out a troubling reality of our culture. But of course, that's not what people are up in arms over. Apparently it's the whole bit about this being a biracial family.

Which is ridiculous because how does the representation of a family in a cereal commercial affect any of us other than potentially showing that there are a variety of valid family experiences? If you're afraid of or offended by that, get out from under your rock.

And I guess the question that it comes down to is: Why does this matter?

Why does my racial identity matter? Why does the racial identity of a fictional television family on a cereal commercial matter?

It matters because our race is part of our story. For many of us, it's integral and (in most cases) inseparable from our experience as a human being because as an American society, it's part of the underlying social narrative we create about people's lives. Even if I don't identify as brown in the majority of circumstances, the fact that other people read me as such means that it still has a concrete effect on my life.

Videos like this one that made the social networking rounds:

Shouldn't ring so painfully (and humorously) true.

I accept my place with the unique set of privileges and oppressions that come with being multiracial while socialized white, and do my best to use my autonomy as a human being to not let these preconceived conditions dictate who or what I will be.

For me, my racial identity will always be complicated. I have no history except those that I have adopted as my own and have adopted me in turn. That's part of what makes me so wonderfully (and problematically) American in the most Melting Pot of ways, and I will do my best to make sure that my experience doesn't impede on or co-opt (see appropriate) the identities and experiences of others.

And it matters because I've asked told you it matters. This, too, is part of my experience, and I am not alone. And if you respect me, or anyone like me who has had similar experiences (and trust me, we've all had similar experiences), as a human being, you will listen to what I say matters.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dear Anger

Dear Anger,

I am learning from you. We've had a tenuous relationship in the past, I know, but I'm finally starting to realize how much I need you in my life.

When I was younger, I thought you were all blind rage, that you would burn through me with the intensity of a sun. And all too often you did, because I let you. Fueled by adrenaline and the flood of hormones racing through a body that wasn't quite ready, you would scream through my mouth, releasing fire that would rival the breath of a dragon. I'm so sorry for that. It wasn't healthy for either of us.

And other times you've been cold and vengeful, an icy core stabbing into the pit of my stomach. Aided by a sick kind of malice, you plotted, petty and cruel, sowing rocks into a garden because we didn't feel like we could grow in our own. That wasn't healthy for us either.

But now that I'm starting to understand you. I need your righteous embrace. You've grown and changed with me over the years and you're no longer the hair trigger part of myself that I once feared. I've found Empathy who uses your fire to forge the sword of action.

Every time I dance, you express yourself through movement, enacting a kind of violence that creates something beautiful for anyone who watches. Your fire pushes me to fight, not recklessly but for the justice our world so desperately needs.

Every time I stand up for what I believe is right, you urge me to push past my discomfort. You see the need for change that I don't see on my own.

People often use that Star Wars quote:

 "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

And while that may be true in most cases, I am no longer afraid. I am no longer afraid of you and I am no longer afraid of myself, because you, Anger, stem from a place of Love. An all encompassing Love that has room even for the darkest souls because it knows they too deserve a chance at redemption.

Anger that there is wrong in the world. Love that seeks to remedy it.

So in a way, I want to say thank you. Thank you for staying with me and teaching me the lessons I've needed to learn. I will not hold onto you, but if we cross paths, I will embrace you and listen to the message you're trying to tell me.

Much love,


Monday, March 11, 2013

Responding to The Good Men Project and the Friend-Zone

I was recently reading a post by the Good Men Project that basically said the Friend Zone exists for both men and women and sucks to be on the receiving end.

Only somewhat respectfully, I disagree. The Friend Zone should not exist (though, as I'm about to explain, not for the reasons usually cited). Looks like, I'm on blogger now, and I'm still going to talk about this with fairly heteronormative language. I apologize, but it's also a far more prevalent problem in the straight community than the LGB and I'm mostly addressing men.

“The Friend Zone” creates an ontological state (way of being) that completely ignores the wants and needs of other person. “I am/have been Friend-zoned” vs. (as one of the top comments puts it) “He’s just not into you” or “He’s only using you for ______ (usually sex)” for the woman’s counterpart. I want to point out the imbalance in agency implied by this linguistic difference. In both instances, it’s about the man and his feelings, and I think this is a dangerous double standard for the socialization of youth (especially young men). The reason many feminists and those against the concept of a “Friend Zone” react so strongly is that it ignores and marginalizes (most often) what the woman involved wants. It’s not even an option to be talked about, and that’s a problem.

I also don’t like this article because it doesn't propose any kind of solution beyond an overly simplistic “give the friends a chance.” Why not teach young men how and why they should overcome their fear of rejection in talking to women? Why not teach young women to recognize when their friends are interested in them and make themselves abundantly clear that they aren't interested and have no interest in being pursued? Why not set an example by moving ourselves and our discourse to more productive line of thought? Like I’ve said in other posts, let’s use our influence as supposed adults to teach the next generation good communication rather than quibbling amongst ourselves over something that is clearly becoming damaging for both sides.

In other posts, I've talked about how the concept of the Friend Zone comes about because of a sense of entitlement caused by our societal impulse to tell men that if you work hard you can achieve anything. Apply that logic to objects of desire (women) who have autonomous desires that may not include you as the desirer, and we run into problems. If you apply yourself and pursue a friend with no success, it leaves you feeling weak and hurt and powerless and frustrated. Rather than letting this fester, we need to teach our youth to deal with that reality in healthy ways rather than continuing to project their desires on someone who is (at least currently) not interested. Respect that, especially when you interact with them. Or, and especially if they're using you, you need to get out of that situation.

I also don't like Friend Zone because it implicitly makes being a friend a bad thing. I understand that it doesn't feel like a good thing if it's not what you want, but to make it a bad thing devalues the meaning of friendship in general. This is unhealthy. 

Stop it with the Friend Zone shit already. And if you're so stuck on keeping the concept, at least redefine your language to be less damaging. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In Which Danny has Opinions on MRM, MRAs and the Feminist Reaction as such.

First off, I'm a gay man. Why is it important that I start with this? Because as a gay man my experience is different than that of a woman or even a straight man. It informs and flavors my opinions and how I interact with the world.

Secondly, I work on queer and feminist projects. I say feminist projects because my work is to question certain patriarchal systems and modes of thinking that I find problematic in the world (a common enough definition of feminism), but as a man, I don't think "I am a feminist" is a blanket term it is appropriate for me to claim. I also don't think Men's Rights Activism or the Men's Rights Movement is at a place where I can get behind it  Rather than working in the capacity of a reactive movement against a movement that itself is already a reactive movement, you should be addressing the cultural problems that are causing them to react and looking at why they are reacting the way they do to better address the root of the issue. Your goal is gender equality as you see it, therefore rather than being anti-feminist, be pro gender equality.

Now that that's out of the way, here's my response to a post on tumblr. My contributions are in bold and I've italicized the bits I'm responding to.

I don't think the below shirt should exist because it is inherently polarizing and serves little use except to make MRAs angry. It's poorly made and does not adequately articulate feminist goals of gender equality. This is counter productive to the overall goals of both movements.

Click Here
Text (would be legible on actual shirt):
1. You have no problem with the gender wage gap. But you hate having to pay for dates.
is no wage gap.

tl;dr  (in order) The wage gap is justified because women take more time off than men. The 77 cents per dollar statistic is inaccurate and based on faulty math. Women are paid less because they major/pursue careers in fields that pay less. Repeat. Same as previous with marriage and child-rearing.

In general I would normally disagree with linking to other tumblr posts (no matter how educated they may be) as source material, but the sources link to what would be considered academically qualified material. 

Okay, all of the above, fair points, now tell me why. Why is it a culturally accepted practice that women take more time off than men? Why do women choose "safer" job prospects? Perhaps this is because historically women have been told that they're weaker or that they're less capable in the work environment and have been socialized to accept this. Rather than being told you can be anything, they're told by the media and local cultural influences that they can be teachers and nurses and secretaries. The problem is still rooted in the culture and system that perpetuates this, just because you can use numbers to show that the wage gap as it is popularly portrayed doesn't exist does not mean there isn't still a problem in our society. 

2. You insist that it’s a scientifically proven fact that men are stronger than women. But you complain about society believing that it’s worse for a man to hit a woman than for a woman to hit a man.

Yeah, because there’s obviously no problem when violence in one direction is abhorrent to the general public but when it’s in the other direction, it’s acceptable…


Violence against anyone is wrong. Based on the premise that if it is more culturally acceptable for women to hit men then any discussion or statistics regarding sexual assault will be necessarily skewed to ignore men who are survivors because they would be socialized not to report. Rather than infighting about who it's more wrong to hit, work on ending the culture of violence that allows anyone to act violence on someone else.

The problem that both statements are addressing is the belief that men are stronger than women. Physically and (implicitly as a result) emotionally. If you address that culturally propagated belief along with anti-violence work, the secondary part will resolve itself.
3. You believe that the age of consent is unfair and that there’s nothing wrong with having sex with teenage girls. But when you find out that a teenage girl enjoys sex, you believe she’s the biggest slut in the world.

Mind showing an example of the first sentence? Honest request.

Honest request, honest answer: porn. Do a google search, the fact that porn advertised as "teen girls" and "barely legal" is a thing should be somewhat sickening in the way that it trains men to objectify younger women.

I'm not going to find specific examples of people believing/supporting the former statement, so I have no idea how widely held it is and would rather not search out those areas of the internet. I'm guessing that this statement is a reaction to memes like Pedobear. Which is supposed to be funny because it addresses issues that no right-minded person would act on. Personally, when it comes to rape and pedophilia I don't think it's ever okay to joke.

4. You hate when a woman automatically assumes that a man is a douchebag before getting to know him. But when you like a woman who likes another man, you assume he’s a douchebag just because he’s not you.

Maybe it’s jealousy and not thinking that someone’s a douchebag. There is a difference.

I agree with the commentary since I don't think the statement from the t-shirt adequately describes the double-standard they're trying to address: highlighting a personal dynamic that has been described as the "nice-guy syndrome" which in short is creating a sense of self-victimization because you are not the object of desire. This is an ego-centric behavior that happens on all sides of the gender spectrum. Jealousy can be a healthy feeling so long as it does not result in controlling behavior or language.

5. You believe that if women want equality, they should be drafted into the military. But you also believe that the military is not a place for women.

Again, requesting an example.

From the 2012 GOP Presidential Platform. All of the points could be summarized as "We're okay with women (and gays) in the military as long as they don't get in the way of what we try to do." Well why do you think women will get in the way? Because (again) it's assumed they're mentally or physically less capable? Ask a woman who has actually served and I think she'll show you how less capable they are.

I could also make parallels to the rational behind Don't Ask, Don't Tell, that gay men don't belong in the military because it will hinder the working capabilities of straight men in the military (the same core belief that leads to the idea that straight men should be afraid of gay men in the locker room). 

6. You hate when women assume that men are like wild animals. But you believe that a woman who doesn’t cover up and make herself invisible to men is just like someone wearing a meat suit around wild animals.

Those would be the more radical MRAs, who, like radfems, really don’t give a shit about the other sex.
This is like me saying that you’re a feminist if you’re a hairy lesbian who wants to kill all men.

Despite how troubling it is, women assume men are like wild animals (violent and only interested in sex) because the majority of women who experience violence experience it from men and when they report or act in retaliation to that violence, they're asked by the legal system (court and police) what they were wearing. Don't believe me? Go to a domestic violence shelter or Slutwalk event and ask that to thousands of women who have had to live that experience. What a woman wears should have no bearing on her potential to be raped. If you believe it does, you are assuming the former statement that men are monsters because the two concepts are inseparable.

7. You hate the fact that men are bullied for not conforming to their male gender roles. But when you find out that a man disagrees with your beliefs about women’s rights, your immediate response is to try to emasculate him by comparing him to a woman as an insult.

Here’s a little something on that type of language and how it’s not misogynistic. It’s not saying that it’s bad to be a woman. It’s saying that men (and women) who are called such are lesser men/women.

Go follow the link and read what it has to say.
I'm not a fan of any of these pejorative terms no matter who uses them. However specifically regarding the final statement that "Feminine men are not women, they’re lesser men" why is feminine language and words that have highly female connotations beside their negative ones used to describe such men? Why are there not more terms that call out these men for being "lesser"It's precisely because the negative connotations of female-pejoratives have more negative associations than their male equivalents (cunt being a dirtier word than dick for example) that make this language misogynistic. If comparing a man to be like a woman is a bad thing because he is not a woman, it creates the parallel that suggests being a woman is a bad thing. Insulting someone by questioning their gender identity is misogynistic because of the systematic assumption of the power of men. It places being a man over being a woman both culturally and linguistically.

Even if you don't think this type of language is misogynistic (and I'm sure very little I say will change your beliefs if that is the case),  but you fall in line with the commentary above, you still find such language problematic for other reasons and why in hell are you not working to get people to stop doing it?

8. You hate when women assume that there are no nice guys. But you call yourself a nice guy and act like it’s a rare quality that should cause women to be all over you.

Because it’s not as if there are women out there who claim to want someone who’s nice while simultaneously claiming that there aren’t any nice guys out there, and then, when confronted with a guy who’s being nice, don’t give him the time of day, and then continue going on about wanting someone who’s nice and that there aren’t any nice guys out there.

It’s not that it’s a rare quality. It’s just that there are women out there who don’t own up to their words.

There are bad apples on both sides who don't know what they fucking want and don't recognize when something good is in front of them. If they're too wrapped up in their own bullshit to realize how much of a catch you are, MOVE ON, it's clearly not a healthy relationship for you anyway. It's not easy, but it might be necessary.

The problem with the friendzone is the rhetoric used to self-describe it. Feeling disappointed is fine but current rhetoric used by a lot of Nice guys is what makes this disappointment a problem by expanding it into a retaliatory self-victimization. The social narrative of the friendzone favors women, because our culture privileges the view that women are weaker and subservient. They're expected to pine and whine and want after a man. At the risk of psychoanalyzing a fictional archetype, the narrative of the Nice guy in the friendzone emasculates him. It makes him (as we discussed above) less of a man, which can often lead to problematic language used to describe him and overcompensation with regard to the object of desire.

The video linked herein highlights to me the emphasis of good communication skills. If the narrative that society tells you works to get the girl (or guy) isn't working, why are you still using the narrative society tells you to? If you're disappointed and hurt by someone using you and your "friendship" you're entitled to that indignation, but is it necessary to resort to gender-based pejoratives? In the language of conflict reduction, use "I" statements to express how you feel.

9. You hate when women assume that men just want to get laid. But when you find out that a man is a feminist, you assume that he’s just doing it to get laid.

This one, I won’t try to argue with, because I’m sure it’s happened before. Also, there are male feminists out there who only do it to get women (I’ve actually seen advice floating around about going into women’s studies classes just to hook up).

I think I'm living proof that it's possible to be a man and femin-ist without looking to get laid. But I'm also gay so I'm an outlier in this specific context.

Women assume men only want sex. MRAs disagree with this assumption. MRAs assume all male feminists want sex. The problem I see here is hypocrisy inherent in the middle statement. Even if it's happened before (and I'm sure it's happened before and is even happening), shouldn't as someone fighting for gender equality your goal be to shame those men for setting a bad example and living up to the assumption you disagree with rather than propagating that assumption? You're not doing yourself any favors.

10. You hate when women make generalizations about all men. But when a woman calls you out for being sexist, you claim that all men think like you.

How the hell is this relevant to the MRM and not just the response of guys who don’t wanna consider that maybe they’re being sexist?

This one's going to take me a second to parse out what's actually being said by both sides.

If I understand the original point correctly, it says that members of the MRM don't like women making generalizations about all men and when women call out (highlight, point a stick at) sexism, these men say that all men think like them (itself a generalization about all men). It's pointing out hypocrisy. Whereas the response says that men making such generalizations are reacting to the loaded term "sexist" as a means to justify their actions and not necessarily a reflection of the MRM.

This is one instance where I think both could be right. It is hypocrisy if men from the MRM make those kind of generalizations and there is a good chance that it is a reaction to being called out on your sexism. The latter is true both inside and outside the MRM when it happens. I'm reminded of that illdoctrine video on speaking about being racist vs saying racist things and how the discourse of calling someone out has to focus on the latter in order to prevent this kind of reactionary bullshit.
11. You insist that women should be responsible for protecting themselves from being raped. But when they follow the one piece of advice that actually works, which is being aware of red flags, you complain about them assuming that all men are rapists.

There’s a whole world of difference between thinking that all men are rapists and being precautionary. There are women out there who keep an eye out for red flags, and then there are those who are automatically jumpy just because crap, a man’s around! No, those women aren’t keeping an eye out for red flags. They’re being paranoid and sexist.

Paranoia, while not necessarily rational, does not make the actions of such women sexist. For a woman who has been raped or experience domestic violence perpetuated by a man (a fact that you can't tell unless you know the person and even then it's fairly sketchy), being jumpy might actually be a precautionary measure and survival mechanism. And considering that PTSD is fairly common among rape survivors, I would even go so far as to say sometimes being that kind of jumpy should be expected.  Rather than complaining about how women react to violence or potential violence, why don't we work to make the world a less violent place? Instead of calling feminists sexist for being afraid, why not work to give them fewer reasons to be afraid.