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Category Archive: Sexism and feminism

Feb 22 2014

Chutney, pineapples and flying spaghetti: why atheism can never be inoffensive enough

This month, posters were snatched from an atheist group at South Bank University. ‘Looking for logic?’ they read, Flying Spaghetti Monster in God’s place on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. ‘Pastafarianism is a real religion.’ Not quite The Satanic Verses, but student union officials took them down in the society’s absence, afraid they’d trigger ‘religious offence’. (The …

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Feb 19 2014

Unsex me here! Gender, Julie Bindel and Gia Milinovich

Reference to all kinds of transphobia, be warned, ensues immediately. Overture ‘We are angry with ourselves’, Suzanne Moore of New Humanist and other zines wrote this time last year of women, ‘for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.’ The article, on …

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Jan 20 2014

A study in reset buttons: the trouble with ‘His Last Vow’ and Sherlock series three

Sherlock had a good first series and great second one. The recently aired third helping fell somewhere in between, but its final part, the glossily directed ‘His Last Vow’, was deeply flawed. (Spoilers to follow.) There was much to like, even to laud, about it. The story’s opening showed more promise than either of its predecessors’, …

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Jan 02 2014

The right propelled last year’s ‘segregated seats’ debate – and yes, it matters

‘I am very well aware that journalists, politicians and policymakers alike may have great interest in stories like mine, and may even attempt to use them solely to progress their own agendas, some of which have a distinctly Islamophobic taint to them. That does not mean those stories are not important.’ So writes Shaheen Hashmat (alias @TartanTantrum), one …

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Dec 28 2013

Gender segregation on campus: a timeline of opposition in UK media

There’s been a lot of friction lately over who the main opponents were of segregated seats for men and women at Islamic campus talks, endorsed till recently by higher education group Universities UK. Priyamvada Gopal, in a December 16 post at the Rationalist Association originally entitled ‘The Right may have hijacked the issue of gender …

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Dec 17 2013

In support of Priyamvada Gopal

A new coinage of mine is ‘Rorschach text’ – a body of writing read necessarily according to prior sympathies. Scripture is, of course, the best example, but secular texts are just as liable to work this way, and we’re all as guilty of partial interpretation as each other. Yesterday, the Rationalist Association published a piece …

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Dec 17 2013

Do Muslim international students want segregation? Polling on ISocs, religiosity and gender mixing

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You’ve no doubt read by now of the much-maligned support of Universities UK for gender-segregated seating at campus events like those of the so-called Islamic Education and Research Academy, an organisation banned from several universities in Britain whose leaders explicitly oppose feminism and endorse violence against women and whose website doctors out photographs of female speakers offered …

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Oct 30 2013

Godlessness in practice: help workshop KCL atheists’ code of conduct

King’s College London has an atheist society. Technically, an Atheist, Humanist and Secular Society. As is at times the case with student groups as leaders graduate and momentum dissipates, a new committee recently revived it following a dormant period. While I’ve never attended KCL, I worked peripherally with the group some time ago before activities …

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Oct 06 2013

Pragna Patel: the right to blaspheme is ‘a matter of life and death’

Pragna Patel, of Southall Black Sisters and Women Against Fundamentalism, is one of my favourite secularists. In the recent, ongoing rows at Britain’s universities over cartoons of Mohammad and tropical fruits named after him, I’ve been sharing her presentation from last year’s National Secular Society conference a lot. Reading’s and LSE’s student unions have both …

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Oct 05 2013

Lessons from Atheism Plus

A+ began just over a year ago. I’ve never been wedded to it personally, though I like the general concept; my interaction with it is limited, more or less, to being mildly critical in August 2012 and fending off some more ridiculous attacks this April. This expresses my broader feelings rather well. I’m supportive, in principle, …

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