Today, however, it is politically effective, and socially acceptable, to deny scientific fact. Narrowly defined, “creationism” was a minor current in American thinking for much of the 20th century. But in the years since I was a student, a well-funded effort has skillfully rebranded that ideology as “creation science” and pushed it into classrooms across the country. Though transparently unscientific, denying evolution has become a litmus test for some conservative politicians, even at the highest levels.
Meanwhile, climate deniers, taking pages from the creationists’ PR playbook, have manufactured doubt about fundamental issues in climate science that were decided scientifically decades ago. And anti-vaccine campaigners brandish a few long-discredited studies to make unproven claims about links between autism and vaccination.
[…]What do I tell my students? From one end of their educational trajectory to the other, our society told these kids science was important. How confusing is it for them now, when scientists receive death threats for simply doing honest research on our planet’s climate history?
Remember how everyone’s favorite part of Heath Ledger’s performance in Brokeback Mountain was his almost painful physical repression, his reluctance to express any emotion that wasn’t punching or SHUTTING DOWN? His voice was closed in on itself in a raspy burr — he fell to the ground rather than shed tears — his face was hooded and dark and full of twitching cheek muscles. Kristen Stewart is Heath Ledger, I assure you. She has the same handsome face, the same winsome, masculine smile, the same reluctance to make direct eye contact.
For years, everyone in the world has misunderstood Kristen Stewart’s compressed emotional range. They thought it meant she was a limited actress; it means nothing of the kind. She is John Wayne being forced to play the Maureen O’Hara character. Give her a rail to lean against during a sunset, a military jacket, a toothpick to chew on, and something to squint her eyes against lazily in the distance, and her guardedness will be transformed from unsuccessful femininity to The Great American Male.
Kristen Stewart is a goddamn cowboy.
THIS PUTS INTO WORD THE INTENSE LOVE I HAVE FOR KSTEW BUT IN A SENSIBLE ANALYTICAL MANNER RATHER THAN ME FLAILING AROUND PATHETICALLY
There’s a reason why the public tends to revel in hacked or stolen nude pictures. It’s because they were taken without consent. Because the women in them (and it’s almost always women who are humiliated this way) did not want those shots to be shared.
If Jennifer Lawrence was to pose naked on the cover of Playboy, for example, I’m sure it would be a best-selling issue. But it wouldn’t have the same scandalous, viral appeal as private images stolen from her phone. Because if she shared nude images consensually, then people wouldn’t get to revel in her humiliation. And that’s really the point, isn’t it? To take a female celebrity down a notch? (We have a term for when this is done to non-celebrity women: “revenge porn.”)
I frequently fuck this up myself, but this is important in adult sex education. (Or really, any age sex education.) If you go “LOL holy shit you don’t know that about your own body?!?” to someone’s question about their body, you are not encouraging them to learn more. You are strongly encouraging them to never ask you a question again.
If someone believes that they can’t get pregnant during their period or that it’s abnormal that they have a lot of hair around their genitals, the correct answers are “it’s less likely, but you can still get pregnant” and “nope, it’s totally normal.” The correct answer is not rolling your eyes and going “OH MY GAWD LOOK AT THE STATE OF SEX ED IN THIS COUNTRY.”
I’m all for rolling your eyes at the sex ed system, but when you do it directly after someone asks a question, that’s not just a political observation, that’s an insult. And very few people want to ask delicate questions about their genitalia to someone who might insult them for it.
(image source: xkcd)