Well, my plans to blog some of the best of 2011 totally fell apart, and for that I apologize. I thought I would make it up to you by compiling a list of some of my favorite (or most disturbing) moments in sexual misinformation. These are some of the strangest, most dunderheaded, or most appalling falsehoods of the year, at least when it comes to doin' it. You'd think Americans in 2011 wouldn't be so dumb, but sadly, we have a long way to go before we start getting smarter about sex.
Most Jaw-Droppingly Audacious Lie
Yep, when Michele Bachmann tried to claim that a woman told her that her daughter got Gardasil and became mentally retarded. This lie was audacious on a number of levels. Obviously, the HPV vaccine has been demonstrated to be safe, and Bachmann's just trying to maximize the number of health problems and deaths that come to women who have sex, which she disapproves of. But what made this lie special was that she didn't even reference some of the prior, false accusations about the vaccine. It seems what she did here was half-remember claims about the MMR vaccine causing autism, translated "autism" into "retardation" in that special brain of hers, and coughed this one up. It's unlikely that there was a woman, and if there was, she probably didn't say what Bachmann is claiming. Even the most audacious anti-vaxxers know better than to insinuate a shot given at 12 years old causes some of the mental problems they falsely claim early childhood shots cause. Bachmann couldn't even get her bullshit straight.
Stupidest Response to Elevatorgate
There were many iterations of this claim, but to summarize: Many supposedly "skeptical" dudes repeatedly and apparently with a straight face claimed that there was no way for a fellow to get his dick wet if he couldn't cold-proposition women he had never met before at 4 in the morning in enclosed spaces with no means for her to escape. You would think that a skeptic, before making this bold claim, would gather some evidence first, by asking people how sex happens for them. Of course, they weren't going to do this, because they'd find that overall, straight people manage to hook it up without scaring the shit out of women most of the time, through processes like meeting someone, chatting, letting it develop into flirtation naturally, and developing a mutual attraction that eventually spills into fucking. Obviously, for sexist men, the problem with this process is it involves being nice to a woman for stretches of time, be it an hour or days or even months. So they falsely claimed it was cold propositions in scary circumstances or nothing, and women who expected men to behave in socially normal ways when they're physically attracted to women are out of their minds.
My favorite version of this lie was by James Onen:
Here is where the problem lies: a man generally cannot know until after attempting the proposition that it was unwanted. Not only that – it is, after all, also possible for a proposition to be unwanted at first but for the recipient of the proposition to change her mind after persuasion.
Setting aside the notion that it's acceptable to badger someone who has already turned you down for sex, let's consider the extraordinary nature of this claim, which is that a man literally cannot know if a woman is amendable to fucking him until he corners her in an enclosed space, and without any prior introduction, discourse, or flirting, asks her to his room for "coffee", a well-known euphemism for sex. For a skeptic, you'd think that such a claim could be tested, again, by asking people who have had successful sexual interactions, and asking what process got them from not knowing each other to touching naked bits. I bet you'd find that 0% of them said, "By getting perfect strangers into enclosed spaces and cold propositioning them." The notion that there's no way to know if someone likes you without asking them for sex without so much as a formal introduction? But James really believes this, and so he suggests that since sex can only happen under these dubious circumstances, we need to build an opt-out system for women who have peculiar ideas like, "A man should flirt with me a little to see if I'd be interested before he asks me to suck his cock".
The solution to such ambiguity is simple – as a way forward, women who attend atheist-skeptic conferences that are absolutely certain they don’t want to be hit on should wear a clearly visible “do not proposition me” sign on their backs. If not, maybe a colour-code can be designated for such women by the event organisers – let’s say, red – and then it could be announced that all women wearing red clothes should not be propositioned or approached by strangers.
Since the vast majority of women aren't amendable to being propositioned by perfect strangers in enclosed spaces, and the vast majority of men know better than to do that (and, I'll add, have no real interest in it, because a lot of men actually like women and enjoy the process of flirting and building up sexual tension so that the eventual sex is about more than crossing the daily ejaculation off the to-do list), this system seems unfair, because it puts the burden of monitoring the behavior of the slim minority of men who feel they're too good for flirting onto women. I offer a counter-solution that puts the burden on those who are too good for ordinary social interactions: men who feel they can't get laid without cold propositioning strangers. If you're one of those men, I suggest walking around with your cock out, to signal that you'd like a lady to do something about it without having to go through that tedious process of introducing yourself and having a conversation with her to gauge her interest. Since there are supposedly a lot of women down with cold propositions from strangers, I'm sure that these guys will find lots of takers!
Lie That Probably Has Its Root In Semantics
Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
My personal theory is that when Jon Kyle said that 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion, he felt that was accurate, because the word "abortion" is slowly becoming a catch-all phrase on the right to describe any health care that allows women to have happier, healthier sex lives. So, you or I, when we say "abortion", mean "terminating a pregnancy". But Kyle probably includes Pap smears and condoms in his list of things that are "abortion". Anything that allows sexually active women to avoid conceiving against their will, contracting an STD, or dying? The end game for anti-choicers is to get all that defined as "abortion". Kyle was just being a little over eager.
Weirdest Theory About Anal Sex
This may eclipse the B.S. right wing claims that gay men all spend their old age shitting themselves from all the anal (why that doesn't happen to straight women who take it up the butt is never explained), and strangely, this claim comes from an actual gay man:
Paul Angelo MHA, MBA, the Miami Gay Matchmaker who incorporates health, relationship and lifestyle coaching has again "gone wild" with the intention to save the gay community from poor self-esteem, lack of confidence and relationship confusion.
Angelo explains that receptive anal sex decreases self esteem by forcing the person to assume a submissive position during an act of pleasure. This confuses the brain to believe that a feminine-like behavior is appropriate for a man and in turn reduces the man's assertiveness, confidence and will power.
Angelo is an enthusiast of "neurolinguistic programming", which is an obsession usually only found amongst straight men who, coincidentally, find the process of meeting and flirting with women to be a tedious waste of precious man-hours and so spend a bunch of time reading "pick-up artist" materials to find a way to fast track from seeing an attractive lady you don't know and having your penis inside her. Angelo's interest in the incredibly iffy NLP practices may not be geared towards trying to get vagina while minimizing your interactions with the woman surrounding the organ, but he nonetheless seems to be a rabid misogynist. This suggests a link between finding NLP intriguing and rabid misogyny, though further study is needed on this question.
Right Wing "Always Be Breeding" Pressure Reaches A New Low
This video, described by Kyle at Right Wing Watch:
The discussion then moved on to how she has been able to use this healing power to cure all sorts of maladies, particularly barrenness, including one time when her prayers "completely replaced everything" for a woman who had had a full hysterectomy, resulting in her pregnancy.
In the past, religious wingnuts guilt-tripped women who had abortions, and then those who used contraception. Now they've added women who physically can't have children to the list of those they wish to shame. If you're not reproducing because your uterus has been removed from your body, well, I guess you're just not praying hard enough, you slattern.