Dog’s elevenses

Laurie Penny amended her article slightly in response to the comments she got on Twitter.

Her second paragraph as she first wrote it:

The recent blanket coverage of the “gender segregation on campus” story was a textbook case. This month Student Rights, a pressure group not run by students, released a report vastly exaggerating a suggestion by Universities UK that male and female students might be asked to sit separately in some lectures led by Islamic guest speakers. The tabloids went bananas. Extremists were taking over the academy.

The amended version:

The recent blanket coverage of the “gender segregation on campus” story was a textbook case. This month Student Rights, a pressure group not run by students, released a report vastly exaggerating a suggestion by Universities UK that male and female students might be asked to sit separately in some lectures led by Islamic guest speakers. Many Asian women’s groups and individual Muslim feminists joined the subsequent protests, sometimes taking personal risks to do so. Unfortunately, rightwing commentators and tabloids seized upon the issue to imply that Islamic extremists are taking over the British academy.

That’s really not much of an improvement. As @CEMB_forum just pointed out on Twitter, it paints the “Asian women’s groups and individual Muslim feminists” as useful idiots, which is all the more galling since it still relies on grossly mistaken factual claims. To repeat: the Student Rights report on gender segregation was released last May, not this month, and the protest had nothing to do with Student Rights. Dog’s breakfast, dog’s dinner, dog’s midnight snack.

Also, Maryam for example did not “join” the protest, she fucking organized it. Also…Penny just can’t figure out the right way to label people. “Asian” is useless; there are non-Asians involved (who yet are not “white,” to use Penny’s catch-all word). “Muslim” is worse than useless because there are ex-Muslims and non-Muslims from Muslim-majority areas involved. Penny is too much in a hurry to label and docket everyone to take the time to grasp the fact that the protest was internationalist in nature. It wasn’t “white” and it wasn’t “black” either; it wasn’t “Asian” nor was it “European” (to use an equally meaningless label). It wasn’t “Muslim” nor was it atheist. It was based in solidarity, not in warring identities.

There’s an editorial note at the end:

This article was amended to draw attention to the fact that many Muslim and Asian women were involved in the “gender segregation” protests

Sigh. Point missed again.