When I was speaking at the University of Chicago last week — awesome event, btw, thanks to everyone who put it together! — the event organizer showed me a publicity poster for the event, which had been graffittied. Next to my photo and under my name, someone had hand-written the words, “the ugliest of all atheists!”
Because that’s the important thing, isn’t it? When determining the worth of a writer or speaker or other public figure, the most important issue is whether said figure is nice-looking or ugly. It doesn’t matter if we’re stupid or smart, accurate or off-base, innovative or entrenched, boring or inspiring. What matters is whether random strangers find us sexually attractive.
If we’re women, anyway.
I’m reminded of something Tina Fey said in the New Yorker about show business. “I know older men in comedy who can barely feed and clean themselves, and they still work. The women though, they’re all crazy. I have a suspicion — and hear me out, because this is a rough one — that the definition of crazy in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.”
It’s not just show business. The definition of crazy is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore. Or, indeed, a woman who keeps talking even if the person she’s addressing doesn’t want to fuck her. A woman who keeps talking even if the person reading the poster advertising the talk doesn’t want to fuck her.
Oh, btw, I’ve said this before when the #thing that #menhavecalled me is “ugly,” and I’ll say it again here: Please, unless you’re a personal friend or someone I’m having sex with, don’t try to make me feel better by saying that I’m not ugly. If I write about fashion or post the hot pic of myself in the Skepticon calendar, you can say nice things about how I look… but please don’t do it here. I’m not calling this out to garner reassurance about my appearance. I’m calling this out to show people the kind of shit women routinely deal with. I have a thick skin, and I don’t get my feelings hurt by sexist jackasses calling me names. That isn’t the point.
The point isn’t that I’m not ugly. The point is that it shouldn’t matter.