A note to Al »« Greta’s father

A hit, a palpable hit

In a comment by adriana at Stephanie’s.

One interesting fact about this whole affair of rejection of feminism or the word feminism, is that a bunch of atheists (I don’t know how many, but they sure are vocal) think Western women, and especially atheist women in secular democracies, have nothing to complain about. Equality has been reached, according to those people, and misogyny eradicated. Therefore, any complaints of unequal treatment or misogyny are signs of bitchiness, basically.

I hadn’t thought of that before. That’s illuminating.

It certainly seems to fit well with “Dear Muslima” and all the subseqent bullshit that has amounted to amplification of  “Dear Muslima” – so much amplification that we all feel a bit deaf.

Yeah, we’re just being bitchy when we object to being called bitches and cunts. We’re being bitchy, because hey, Nancy Pelosi, and SUVs, and Real Housewives of New Jersey, and bikini waxes, and slate countertops, and Sex and the City, and Greek yogurt, and contraception. What more do we want?

Biatches.

Comments

  1. says

    It is a weird sort of “Muslim women, demand equality from your Muslim men; Western women, be grateful you’re not Muslim women and STFU” isn’t it?

    Of course, it isn’t really about “really” oppressed women versus “not too badly” oppressed women. That type is also happy to point out relatively minor ways that women are mistreated, as long as the mistreatment comes from a weaker group that they can beat up on. The professional philosophers and academics and that entire upper-class educated type can even recognize harassment of women when it comes from working class white men in Western cities on the street or at the pub.

    It is almost NEVER about women, it is almost ALWAYS about kicking someone else lower in social status and then feeling superior. The anger comes when the attention gets turned towards everyone, and their wealth and education and various and sundry privilege can’t protect their own behavior anymore.

  2. jhendrix says

    Ophelia, all this talk about feminism doesn’t affect me, in fact it makes me uncomfortable. Couldn’t you please just stop it and get back to talking about how there’s no god or the debate or something?

  3. says

    Forgive me if I’m just missing sarcasm, but I thought this was one of those ‘odd but obvious’ things.

    There was even a comment on one of your threads (here) said as much pretty explicitly a little while back.

    Can’t remember where, but someone was mulling also that perhaps this was Dawkins’ issue: that he has this idée fixe that secular nations and/or organizations mostly get this right, anyway, so if you’ve issues, they can’t possibly be that serious, ya whiner…

    (/Not necessarily committed to that later bit myself; just saying it’s been around.)

  4. briane says

    To be honest, I thought it was a given. On tv I hear people say ‘who listens to Germaine Greer these days? She’s got nothing useful to say’ or Our anti-FTP friends will dismiss people as ideological. That’s why I understood the need to talk about privilege, or frame the discussion as about privilege. Because, technically a woman can do anything in society like run a top company, or be a political leader. The problem is the structural inequality, that makes it so much harder for a woman versus a man who’s similarly qualified, or a non-Caucasian versus …

  5. callistacat says

    I’ve been accused by atheist men of not caring about Muslim women when talking about a completely unrelated subject, it’s happened so many times I’ve lost count. I’ve been told all feminists are selfish bitches and support Muslim women wearing burqas and don’t ever talk about FGM. Christopher Hitchens once wrote that “the silence is deafening” from Western feminists regarding the plight of Muslim women. (American feminists protested his pal GW Bush when as President he entertained members of the Taliban in the White House, but I guess Hitchens conveniently didn’t notice). A.C. Grayling wrote that it’s up to Western women to “strain every sinew” to liberate Muslim women, as if Western men aren’t obligated to do a damn thing.

    It’s a way for them to justify hating or dismissing feminism and feeling righteous about it, too. As if we have the power to end their oppression but for some reason we’re holding out.

  6. Emily Isalwaysright says

    One thing I find odd about “Dear Muslima” is that it is kind of hypocritical, in the sense that movement atheists often get told “but there is war and people starving, you are fighting the wrong / less important battle and distracting from what is really important.” Dawkins doesn’t get to dictate what is worth fighting for: we all get to follow our passions, just as he did.

  7. mildlymagnificent says

    movement atheists often get told “but there is war and people starving, you are fighting the wrong / less important battle and distracting from what is really important.”

    I said it somewhere else, but … This is far too much like parents telling kids they have to eat the horrible stuff on their plate because starving children in some remote place would be glad to eat it.

    What’s really important is how people treat the people they’re dealing with here and now. The fact that unknown people on the other side of the world treat some other unseen people in unacceptable, unforgivable ways is not relevant. It may be relevant in the larger scheme of things, but it doesn’t trump local or personal concerns all day every day.

  8. emily isalwaysright says

    I wouldn’t even try and make some kind of “importance hierarchy.” I think there are LOTS of worthwhile causes, which is why people need to follow their passion / interest. Just because disease x is more lethal than disease y doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be people researching disease x and only people researching disease y.

    And if we really want, we can go meta and say “why do you think your cause of telling people not to worry about their cause is more important than their cause?”

  9. emily isalwaysright says

    Oops. That should have read:

    Just because disease x is more lethal than disease y doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be people researching disease y and only people researching disease x.

  10. ismenia says

    A lot of “what about teh menz” arguments stem from this. Things are equal now so you have to talk violence against men of you are talking about violence against women. It’s not fair to have an event for women in business because you couldn’t have one for men.

    You see similar arguments around race, why is there a black police association when there’s not a white one? and so forth.

    Many men have little idea of women’s experience. I recall Dawkins responding to criticism of Dear Muslima by saying that the elevator guy did nothing wrong. If you recount the incident to women they often cringe at the mention of a proposition in an elevator, never mind what followed. Men aren’t used to fearing sexual assault so they think less of it.

  11. Pteryxx says

    It’s a way for them to justify hating or dismissing feminism and feeling righteous about it, too. As if we have the power to end their oppression but for some reason we’re holding out.

    Seems that women get accused of “holding out” on a lot of things…

  12. Hunt says

    Things are equal now so you have to talk violence against men of you are talking about violence against women. It’s not fair to have an event for women in business because you couldn’t have one for men.

    That particular argument would be wrong because it starts from a false premise, but the argument that you should address violence against men, even though we live in a male privileged environment (and especially because men are more likely victims of violence) is not wrong. This is something I attempted to broach in the Watson post. If you rule out ranking grievances, you can’t turn around and then rank grievance. You will be rightly ridiculed if you do so.

  13. Randomfactor says

    The thing about discrimination that’s unfair to those on top is that the oppressors don’t GET to decide when things are equal. They don’t get to decide, for example, when affirmative action has done its job and can be dispensed with.

    Because they’ve shown poor judgement in the past about what is and isn’t fair to all. The only way to get to “fair” is to go a little ways past it for a while, and then correct.

  14. Lyanna says

    Yeah, pretty much. Part of the motive behind this is sheer ignorance of the actual situation of Western women, and sheer dismissiveness of exactly how awful harassment and other “first world problems” can be.

    Another part, though, is fear: if Western women experience sexism, that probably means Western men need to change their behavior, because the sexism must come at least in part from men’s behavior.

    And they don’t want to change their personal behavior. They don’t want to stop harassing, do more housework, compete with women on equal terms in the workplace, etc.

  15. Pteryxx says

    Maybe they could just write checks to “End Harassment in the US Now!” and go back to their lives?

    … “Our World Problems”.

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