“Bad things happen – get over it”

That’s the message from this Rosie Millard piece [DNL url]: “Women get their bottoms pinched. It is part of life. Get over it”.

I don’t know much about the legal aspects, I don’t know whether we charge someone for a crime the victim says she’s over. I think those are complicated questions, deserving of fuller examination on a case-by-case basis. However, Millard goes from these concerns to outright telling people to “get over it”. That’s a separate discussion, but it’s woven in seamlessly into the discussion of prosecuting this guy called David Lee Travis. Just watch (emphasis mine):

The unnamed victim of the assault, who said she was paralysed with fear at the time, has spoken of her luck in being able to get on with the rest of her life after the event – the event being having your breasts squeezed for 15 seconds, backstage at The Mrs Merton Show. Hello? If such things really caused deep trauma, half the female population of the UK would be in long-term therapy. Women get their breasts squeezed. They get their bottoms pinched. Without asking for it. It is not particularly exciting, but it is part of life. Get over it.

But don’t worry, I guess, because it happens all the time in the media.

In the media, where the intoxicating combination of fame is customarily wafted about in what one might deem a bohemian atmosphere, this sort of behaviour is particularly apparent. Again, not something to be proud of, but it is simply part of the setup.

You know like how non-whites in apartheid had to use separate entrances? Yeah, it sucks, but you know: “It’s part of the setup”. I look forward to telling my dad the reason he couldn’t buy a house in another neighbourhood was that it was “part of the setup”; that he should’ve “got over it”. It’s part of life, you know? Geez.

this sort of thing happened all the time, so much so that it was almost funny.

Ah, well, if you think it was “almost funny” I guess no other person should have to worry.

I am not referring to or indeed excusing sexual assault. I am pointing out that there was, and probably always will be, a certain amount of irresponsible behaviour in the entertainment world, whether from Radio 1 DJs or anyone else, and women in particular have to negotiate it as they see fit.

They “negotiate it” by speaking out; they “negotiate” by pointing out who the creeps are.

Dear Rosie Millard: Women and marginalised people will speak out. Get over it. People who think an environment is too protective of powerful men will voice their disaproval. Get over it.

I am sick of people using their platforms to defend the status quo which they themselves acknowledge isn’t safe, secure, helpful. I’m sick of people blowing smoke in the face of awful behaviour because that’s “just” the environment – as if we’re powerless beings who are not fighting back by speaking out. And yet when we do speak out, we are told to “get over it”.

I have to keep asking: Why would you use your finite time, finite resources to yell at people wanting progress and improvement? If you also can acknowledge that things suck, why would you not want them changed? And if you say, I’m just pointing out reality, you’ve done nothing: We know the environments suck, we know women are mistreated. If we didn’t already know that, we wouldn’t be speaking out. Whereas activists are saying “This environment is awful therefore we should change it”, shruggers go “This environment is awful therefore that’s the way it is.” Who cares? We know that’s the way it is and we want it changed.

Environments are created by humans, we change them, improve them. They’re not magically entombed. These wizards from the school of the insultingly obvious seem so keen on taking on activists or those who want change. I can’t really understand why: if they annoy you, who cares? How are you affected except that – shock! – as a marginalised person, you might have a better, more safe environment? Otherwise, why do you want to stay in a creepy environment?

These people are confusing and are targeting the wrong people. I really want them to use their resources and finite time for better ends. We could use it – the creeps don’t fucking need defending. Society in many ways does that already.

I was Muslim: The reason I became an active atheist is now why I’m not one

Disclaimer: I didn’t want to write this. I am no one. An insignificant blogger, with no hard financial security, no listing on a best-seller list. I am about as much a threat to rich, older, white men as a mosquito is to a rock. I don’t do this for “hits” (the small amount I make from Freethought Blogs goes to charity. I don’t tell people that since that’s no one’s business, really, but feel it necessary to convey exactly what I’m setting up). There’s so little to be gained from doing this. But perhaps I should. (People who claim I’m doing this for clickbait are to be taken as seriously as those claiming men supporting gender equality do so solely for sexual favours.)

For the few who have followed my writing (hi, mom), you know how much I hate being biographical. When I do write biographical material, it is to add to the largely low volume of ex-Muslim people willing to speak out. They don’t speak out because of legitimate fears, because the culture of Islam, even in Western societies, still carries heavy burdens hard to convey, because unlike a white atheist, a brown one with a “Muslim” name is uncommon. To this day, I’m still being told I “look” Muslim, when I’m wearing jeans and a normal jacket. I can’t escape the weird identity I have and it’s this identity which makes me so angry at the leading figures – i.e. white men – of a movement that changed my life. But I’m more fucking angry at the sycophantic nature of a movement that was supposed to have abandoned sanctity for reason and evidence. [Read more...]

Gamers are angry and they need to grow up

After dealing with trolls for an entire day – thanks to a certain prominent atheist with a million followers Retweeted me on Anita Sarkeesian – I had my article on the same issue go live. I looked at what happened when Joss Whedon and Tim Schafer endorsed Sarkeesian, what men (and non-targeted people in general) can and must do – even if misogyny and sexism appears to be a dying animal. It’s cornered beast but still has claws.

Women are people – even when they’re walking in the street

I wrote about what men can do regarding street harassment of women. Spoiler alert: don’t be assholes.

To be honest, it’s actually a tough situation – on the one hand you want to stand up, in different kinds of ways for the rights of people not to be targeted for their race, gender, etc.; on the other hand, you don’t want to treat them like fragile princesses, undermine their own strength, and so on. It’s a difficult balance. However, from what I’ve read and what women have told me – and what I’ve long suspected – silence is often worse when harassment occurs.

Anyway, I expand further over at Women24.

Robin Williams’ daughter being chased off Twitter is a high-profile example of an everday occurence

and it must stop. I’m tired of tolerating an internet where people are unfairly targeted for their race, gender, sexuality, etc. In my latest for The Daily Beast, I didn’t want to target the “trolls”, but those who shrug this off, claiming it’s not a big deal, who say “That’s the Internet”.

Nope. That’s cover that allows this toxicity to continue. We can and must do better.

“So what if you’re offended”

You’ve seen this, no doubt.

If I never have to see this quote or picture again, I think the world would be a better place.

Now, it’s not because it’s false. It’s not because Fry isn’t spot on about this being a sometimes correct reaction to, say, wide-eyed religious conservatives who want to ban books, censor science, etc. Indeed, the context was in conversation with Christopher Hitchens about the pernicous way “offense” from religious people was seen as sufficient reason to censor – it was about the idiot notion of blasphemy as still regarded as legitimate in secular, civil society. (South Africa couldn’t distribute a book some years ago because it offended some members of the Muslim community. That mindset, years ago, is also why I heard about and wanted to read The Satanic Verses; and one-two-skip-a-few I’m now an ex-Muslim. Streisand Effect leading to atheism.) [Read more...]

One small thing normal folks do when talking about people they’re attracted to

#1: Not making bloody lists detailing what constitutes “attractive”.

I have a guest blogpost responding to an awful article detailing what makes women attractive – or rather what constitutes “attractive girls”. I genuinely get to use “not all men” properly a few times.

Male entitlement, why it’s a problem, why I (and you should) oppose it

Because, in 2014 (not, you know, 1814), a woman can be sent a document, from her husband, detailing when she said no to sex. Because a website can publish a list of traits “attractive girls” have that, I guess, “unattractive” girls don’t. Because a man who’s not exactly on good terms with women’s equality can make an entire album for his ex-wife about getting her back – and people think it’s cute, not incredibly invasive and creepy.

Because, perhaps worst of all, many responses to such stories express support for the men writing and conveying such worldviews; because people, especially women, who oppose such treatment  are threatened, harassed, abused. Women are owed to men, it seems. [Read more...]

Women, science and the machine of exclusion

In my latest for The Daily Beast, I respond to a piece about how “females” just can’t brain science as well as men – or rather, that “females as a whole” tend to find science boring. Apparently. According to some dodgy data.

Anyway, I had some amazing input from some brilliant scientists who have had experience with this. There is also plenty of data supporting the machine thesis, that of a culture that makes science into a man’s space, that is unwelcoming to women, then uses women’s absence and disinterest (after they’ve been taught to be) that women don’t like science.

Of course while writing it, I forced myself to watch that awful Science: It’s a Girl Thing video again. *Shiver*

Remember this BS?

Yeah. I totally wonder why women found this so horrible! /s