Elementary Politics: An Open Letter to “Feminist” Taylor Swift

Taylor, Taylor, Taylor. Look, I like your music. I’m going to continue liking your music for a very long time, I have no doubt. However, you are not impressing me with this new facet of your personality. You know, the one where you have decided to embrace this shallow modern “feminism” that your friends Lena Dunham and Emma Watson have impressed upon you.

You’ve bought their rhetoric, you believe that feminism is about equality. Okay, I can let you have that point. You want to care about equality for women? That’s great.

Only Lena Dunham and Emma Watson, from all the evidence I can see, have a very narrow and shallow view of what the most urgent issues of equality are and where we need to address them.

I think you can do better.

- Read More

An open letter to Taylor Swift (and any other feminist listening) on how they could improve the world and do something useful with feminism.

Or We Could, Y’know, Actually Talk To Our Partners About Sex

sexI got sucked into an episode of Sex and the City on Saturday.

I was sick, I was feeling masochistic, it was like watching a train wreck. I don’t want to talk about it.

Except that I actually do want to talk about it.

The plot of the episode was that the main character (Carrie? Something with a C?) had met a really great guy who she got along with perfectly. They had wonderful conversations, liked all the same things, but the sex was apparently less than amazing.

Neither Carrie nor her friends dealt with this in an adult manner. Her friends seemed intent on getting her to dump the guy (who made her happy in every other way) because he was bad in bed and Carrie just carried on sexing up the guy, hoping the sex would get better.

The problem? Never once did Carrie sit him down and talk to him about the sex. Never once during sex did she encourage him to try something different or even subtly guide him toward something more pleasurable. She just kept doing the same thing over and over (the definition of insanity) hoping he would magically get better. Even worse, her friends told her not to talk to him about it.

I got news for you Carrie Bradshaw, men are not mind readers.

Neither are women for that matter.

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New On Elementary Politics: Things Feminists Hate: Women Protecting Themselves


This seems counter to any logic that I can conceive of. Even the most backwards of the modern feminists should believe in women being proactive about their safety. I mean, what could be more demeaning than expecting women to sit back and wait for the patriarchy to straighten up and act right?

Nonetheless, it’s true.

- Read More At Elementary Politics

Grow The F*ck Up: The Professor Probation Remix

1276866247674The saddest thing about this installment of this series is that it isn’t an immature college student freaking out about politics or religion, it’s a grown adult with a job (well she had a job…) and responsibilities and influence over the previously mentioned immature college students.

This installment of Grow The Fuck Up is brought to you by Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young of the Feminist Studies Department of UC Santa Barbara.

Actually the previous two installments of this series make a lot of sense when you realize that people like this are allowed to teach college students.

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Shake It Off: Learning to Live a Life Less Controlled by Others

Picture by nosound-withoutsilence, via tumblr

Picture by nosound-withoutsilence, via tumblr

Taylor Swift and I are about the same age and, as a result, I’ve watched her and her music change as I grew up too. So maybe it’s not odd that I can look at her music and see myself in it so clearly.

Some of her early songs about haters, like Mean, were mostly about reacting to the hate and using it to motivate you. The song is really down on the singer just as much as the ‘mean’ person is.

“You have pointed out my flaws again/As if I don’t already see them/I walk with my head down/Trying to block you out ’cause I’ll never impress you.”

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Grow The F*ck Up: The UCLA Remix

Seems like someone needs to teach this class at UCLA.

Seems like someone needs to teach this class at UCLA.

It’s not the first, nor will it be the last, time that I’ve brought up and condemned the childish, illegal, and unethical tactics of the left, but the “Grow The F*ck” series is beginning to be a favorite of mine. Mostly because it gives me an excuse to tear up the childish temper tantrums of liberal college students.

So here was go again.

This time it’s campus preachers, again, that are being targeted. Last time it was a preacher at one of my local universities and this week we are moving from Phoenix, Arizona to UCLA in Los Angeles, California.

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Sorry Richard, Fairy Tales Are Important

(This post got away from me a bit, but I was super annoyed…so enjoy the rant.)

Richard Dawkins kinda annoys me.

No wait, let me honest here.

I might find it really difficult to not punch him right in the face if I met him in person. I wouldn’t do it, but boy would I be tempted.

Especially after this.

Fairy tales and believing in Father Christmas could cause children harm.

This is according to controversial biologist Richard Dawkins who warned an audience at the Cheltenham Science Festival about the dangers of make-believe.

In typically incendiary style, Dawkins suggested it was ‘pernicious to instil in a child the view that the world is shaped by supernaturalism.’

The 73-year-old acknowledged that the appeal of fairytales lay in their magic but believes they may be causing more harm than we think.

He also questioned whether we should let children believe in the myth of Father Christmas at all.

‘Is it a good thing to go along with the fantasy of childhood?,’ he said. ‘Or should we be fostering a spirit of scepticism?.’

- Daily Mail


I honestly do not know what I would have done with my childhood without fairytales and fantasy novels feeding my imagination. In fact I don’t know where I would be today in my personal or professional life without these things.

I read voraciously as a child and a teenager, most of it fantasy and fairy tale based. I was never hugely interested in science or mathematics, but English and history classes, anything where the story of an event was the most important part, I excelled in. This was what kept me going to school and turned me into someone who loved learning, rather than someone who cut class and flunked out.

My love of fiction, fantasy and fairy tales especially, also taught me a great deal about right and wrong, ethics and morality, peer pressure, hope, and loyalty.

The fact that my parents read to me when I was a child and took me to the library as often as I wanted (where I devoured fantastical stories about fairies and knights and dragons) gave me a love of reading and writing that has made me a better student and a better person.

The point of fairy tales and fiction is not to lie to our children. The point is to expose them to ideas and other cultures, abstract ideas that a child is simply not equipped to deal with in reality until they are older, virtues that will help them grow into strong adults, and lessons that teach our children, early on, how to avoid the pitfalls of adulthood by showing them that actions have consequences.

You can claim fairy tales are old fashioned, sexist, or too “supernatural” all you want, but takes a very narrow minded view of what the themes and ideas of these stories are, not to mention a really low opinion of children’s intelligence. I have yet to meet an adult whose mind was so addled by fairy tales as a child that they could not differentiate between fantasy and reality as an adult. 
There is nothing wrong with fostering imagination and fanciful thought in a child.
There is no reason why we must spend every second a child’s formative years smashing their wonder and imagination and telling them they aren’t allowed to believe in fairy godmothers or women with hair long enough to climb because it doesn’t foster a spirit of skepticism. 
Where does this even end?
If fairy tales are bad for fostering an acceptance of magic, then what of A Mid-Summer’s Nights Dream or A Christmas Carol, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings? What of the dozens of pieces of classic literature, hailing from your country and the histories of a half dozen other empires? Are they not appropriate for children either? 
Childhood ends soon enough (and children who love reading, whether they love Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales or A Brief History of Time, fair better than children who do not) and it takes a very sad person to want to end the magic of childhood early.

Look, Dick, I get it. You had a really screwed up childhood. I’ve read the stories about how a teacher molested you and how your prep school years were full of being bullied. Your childhood sucked and, even though it appears you can’t see the damage it did, it did leave scars. I feel bad for you, all feelings of wishing to punch you right in the nose aside, I really do wish your childhood had been better.

No child deserves to have things like that happen to them.

But that doesn’t give you the right to stomp all the joy out of other children’s lives and try to smash every bit of wonder and imagination out of the world, because you think fairy tales are “pernicious lies”.

I think maybe you don’t have the frame of reference necessary to decide what is or is not harmful for childhood development. Perhaps, if you stopped thinking you are better and smarter than everyone else for a second and consulted a child psychologist or the parent of a child (or, better still, an actual child) on the importance of fairy tales, you might find you don’t know everything and you might just be wrong about something.