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Thursday, January 17, 2019

On Toxicity and Gender

You know the advertisement I'm referencing. We've all seen it, we've all seen the reactions to it, we've all argued about it. I'm not going to say much about that ad. 

What I will do is talk, briefly, about the concept of "toxic masculinity". Because I realize tempers are high and patience is short, I will list my thoughts as bullet points:
  • Toxic masculinity does exist, although it's nowhere near as pervasive nor as powerful as people think. 
  • Toxic femininity also exists, and in greater concentrations than people are willing to admit. I'm prepared to argue this, just not here and now. 
  • The existence of toxic masculinity does not mean that all masculinity is toxic and all men are abusers unless they prove otherwise. 
  • The existence of toxic femininity does not mean that all femininity is toxic and all women are manipulative unless they prove otherwise. 
  • Masculinity and femininity are gender expressions which exist outside of biological sex. It's not only possible to for a man to be very feminine or a woman to be very masculine, I guarantee that you've met at least one of them in your lifetime. 
  • So basically, "People can be toxic -- which ought to come as no surprise to anyone -- and how they express their toxicity is part of their gender expression."
What I find interesting is that this particular commercial came hot on the heels of the recently* released Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men by the American Psychological Association. This guideline is causing all sorts of consternation -- and rightly so, because it makes such proclamations as “traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful” and "traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict, and negatively influence mental health and physical health."

In other words, the APA thinks that typical male behavior makes people sick.

I like to think that I have an unusual perspective on gender, since I have been on both sides of the equation. And speaking as someone who was raised male, and who tried and failed to fit in as a male, let me tell you: there's nothing inherently wrong with being male. I was miserable as a male, yes, but that's not the fault of masculinity any more than it would be the fault of my right shoe for hurting me when it's on my left foot. No, the problem is that my foot is in the wrong shoe and the solution is to move the shoe to the proper foot and not force the shoe to conform to my foot or force my foot to conform to the shoe. I moved the shoe to the proper foot by embracing my inner woman, and I'm happier now than I've been in decades.

Since I don't blame traditional gender expressions of maleness for my childhood unhappiness, I'm in total favor of allowing men to be as masculine as they like because I want people to be happy in their own skin instead of trying to be something they're not. 

Of course, I am also in total favor of allowing men to be as feminine as they like, too, for exactly the same reason. I am likewise in total favor of allowing women to be as masculine or as feminine as they like.

You see, when we as a society say "It's bad when a boy does X" or "Men should never do Y", when we focus on the sex of the actors instead of the actions themselves, we are allowing our fears and our prejudices to force people into gender-segregated roles. As a transwoman, I still struggle against people who believe that since I was born male, I should act male and who, given the opportunity, would gladly deprive me of my rights by having me declared mentally incompetent if I didn't go along with what they wanted.

I don't want that done to me, so I won't do it to others, and I will oppose those who attempt to force it upon others.

Remember: any law or social convention used against your opponents can be twisted to use against you when your ideology is no longer in power. 

Remember: always move towards greater freedom and away from greater regulation.

* More like "recently noticed". The APA manual came out in August 2018, but apparently it took social media four months to notice.

Monday, January 14, 2019

ACP Episode 038: .38 Masshole Special

In This Episode:
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss The Dumbness that is the Massachusetts License to Carry permit system; 
  • Weer'd interviews Jay Grazio of Shooting Illustrated about growing up as a gun nut in the gun-unfriendly state of Massachusetts; 
  • David continues his series on carry methods by talking about his favorite holsters; 
  • while it may be too late for Christmas, Oddball gives some knife recommendations that might help you to spend your holiday gift money; 
  • and the ACP House Dick tells a story about how easy a GPS retrieval can go...and how hard it can be. 

Listen to the episode here.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Main Topic
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers
Oddball’s Corner Pocket

    Monday, January 7, 2019

    ACP Episode 037: Our Headspace on the Bumpstock Ban

    In This Episode:
    • Erin and Weer’d discuss the recent Bumpstock ban;
    • Oddball explains why he hates the term "Sheepdog" to explain gun owners;
    • David continues his series on Holsters, this time with carry methods that don't utilize belts;
    • and the General Purpose Egghead returns, this time to explain headspacing of firearms.

    Listen to the episode here.

    Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

    Show Notes

    Main Topic
    Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

    Sunday, January 6, 2019

    The Mithril Duck

    Mithril Duck
    Wondrous Item

    Faint divination
    Caster Level: 1
    Slot: None (held)
    Price: 700 gp*
    Weight: 0.5 pounds

    This small statuette (no more than 6 cubic inches in volume) of a duck is much lighter than it looks, suggesting a hollow interior. Beautifully detailed with exquisite attention to detail, if skillfully painted it could easily be mistaken for an actual duck, especially if put in water (it floats).

    Effect: To use the duck, hold it in your hand and ask it a question. It will answer by quacking (as if a masterwork duck call) and cast the Guidance cantrip upon the questioner.

    Construction Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item; Guidance or Master Craftsman; Masterwork mithril duck (DC 20 to craft; 250 gp for 0.5 lbs mithril)

    * The Mithril Duck is a level 0 use-activated item.
    • Use-activation is Spell level x caster level x 2,000 gp x 2 (1 minute spell duration) x 2 (slotless magic item)
    • A 0-level spell is half the value of a 1st-level spell for determining price, so spell level x caster level = 0.5 x 1 = 0.5
    • So cost is calculated as 0.5 x 2000 x 2 x 2
    • The Mithril Duck ought to cost 4,000 gp
    • However, this is ridiculously over-priced for a magic item which casts a spell that any first-level caster can perform an unlimited amount of times per day, so I apply a GM fiat ruling of dividing it by 10.
    • I mean do you really want your players to be able to sell this for 2,000 gp? I think not. However, 350 gp seems about right. 
    • 400 gp + 250 gp for 1/2 pound of mithril + 50 gp masterwork artisan's fee = 700 gp.

    For those of you who don't get the joke: it's a magical fantasy version of rubber duck debugging.

    The Fine Print

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