[email protected]: No one said you endorsed rape, what you did was grade rape and that is appalling!

Watching the downward spiral of Richard Dawkins from a respected scientist and atheist to a cringeworthy tweeter commentator is indeed Richard-Dawkinssaddening.

The latest embarrassing and thoughtless tweets of the Professor has generated yet another media storm and a lot of criticism and not forgetting the usual dose of worship from the “Richard Dawkins can do no wrong” worshippers. What I find amusing and of course saddening is how he refuses to acknowledge the constructive criticisms levelled at his tweets but chose instead to spew bigotry and disdain from his high pedestal at his critiques. To boot, he tries to make himself out as a victim of witch hunts!

The Professor and his apologists are going to ridiculous length to ‘clarify’ the intentions behind his tweets. Richard Dawkins wanted us to know he was not endorsing rape, but who the heck said he was endorsing rape? It is like the man wants to direct our attention away from the major blunder he committed by using an obvious defence, only that no one attacked him with that tool, so using that particular defence is basically pointless. We are no children that can be tempted away from the main issues just because he flashed a candy at us.

Below are the Richard Dawkins’ tweets in question, one can see how the tweets spiralled out of the control of Richard Dawkins.  RD even went on a tantrum when he couldn’t believe that people were even more stupid than he thought. Sighs.

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins · Jul 29

X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of X, go away and don’t come back until you’ve learned how to think logically.

Richard Dawkins

Well, as far as I know, no rational person has problem with this easy to grasp premise.

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins · Jul 29

Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think.

RICHARD Dawkins 8

I can’t believe the Professor is still ranking child abuse, didn’t he apologised for this same thinking some time ago? Or was his apology just an effort to control the damage his ill-thought out tweet was causing his reputation? In that case, one would be right to conclude that his apology was insincere.

Well, the professor followed this disturbing tweet with yet another thoughtless syllogism

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins · Jul 29

Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.

RICHARD Dawkins

Actually Richard Dawkins, you are the one who really need to go away and think. You are actually not as smart as you think and definitely not as smart as many thought you were. Your tweets are a constant reminder of your shortcomings in the ‘smart’ department.

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins · Jul 29

If you prefer to think date rape is worse than knifepoint, simply reverse my syllogism. To say Y is worse than X is not an endorsement of Y.

RICHARD Dawkins

Again Professor, no one said you were endorsing rape, stop shying away from the criticisms levelled at you, which BTW is GRADING RAPE not ENDORSING RAPE.

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins · Jul 29

Yes yes, you rank X and Y differently. Fine. Whichever you rank as worse, it is still illogical to interpret that as approval of the other.

RICHARD Dawkins

Oh RD , still ranting about your imaginary attack?

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins · Jul 29

Whether X or Y is worse is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of LOGIC that to express that opinion doesn’t mean you approve of either.

Richard dawkins

Oh we know, we know, don’t get your knickers in a twist over this. No rational person is attacking you with this, it is all in your head.

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins · Jul 29

“Stealing £1 is bad. Stealing an old lady’s life savings is worse.” How DARE you rank them? Stealing is stealing. You’re vile, appalling.

RICHARD Dawkins 12

Oh Richard Dawkins, you just don’t get it, do you? What are you gonna do next, compare rape to your jar of honey that was taken away from you? Oh, you already did something similar, after all taking away your jar of honey at the airport was a terrorist win!

Richard Dawkins knows he is wrong again, he even attempted to ‘clarify’ his tweet but ended up not apologising for it and coming across, again,as a bigoted asshole.

There is nothing ‘logical’ about Richard Dawkins attempt to rank Rape or Paedophilia. Even if we were to use facts, his personal opinion or experience of child abuse does not make him an authority to rank how victims should rate their own personal experience.

The professor in his clarification statement, stated:

 I wasn’t even saying it is RIGHT to rank one kind of rape as worse than another

So Richard Dawkins, if you actually agreed that it is not right to rank one kind of rape as worse than the other, why are you still bent on calling those who called you out on your RANKING RAPE as illogical?

The professor tortuously further stated:

All I was saying is that IF you are one of those who is prepared to say that one kind of rape is worse than another (whichever particular kinds those might be), this doesn’t imply that you approve of the less bad one. It is still bad. Just not AS bad.

See Richard Dawkins, you are really losing it. You are constantly contradicting yourself.  Here is just one example. You stated

 IF you are one of those who is prepared to say that one kind of rape is worse than another

RD, are you implying that being “prepared to rank rape” is a brave act?

Does the person deserves a brave hero medal for being brave enough to rank rape?

Yet in the same paragraph you said you were not saying it is RIGHT to rank rape. And in this same breath, also said

It is still bad. Just not AS bad.

If this isn’t ranking rape, I wonder what is! Go home Richard Dawkins, you are drunk. Or better still, don’t use twitter until you clear your head of your many delusions. Seriously, this is a case of [email protected].

The professor also laboriously tried to pin the ‘condescending’ tag of ‘Emotionalism’ on his critiques in yet another post to clarify his tweets. -

 That, then, is why I chose rape and pedophilia for my hypothetical examples. I think rationalists should be free to discuss spectrums of nastiness, even if only to reject them. I had noticed indications that rape and pedophilia had moved out of the discussion zone into a no-go taboo area. I wanted to challenge the taboo, just as I want to challenge all taboos against free discussion.

Dear Richard Dawkins is now justifying his attempt to rank rape. Wait a minute, did he not say in his previous clarification statement that he was not saying it is right to rank rape? But now, hey, he just came up with another explanation as to WHY HE RANKED RAPE! See it was because he wanted to take us out of our comfort zone and make us jettison emotions so we can be fit enough to sit in his classroom and learn how to think and reason without emotions! Wow, what land is that? A planet of emotionless zombies. What language is he speaking, Klingon?

In his attempt to chastise us mere mortals for being emotional, he further stated:

Nothing should be off limits to discussion. No, let me amend that. If you think some things should be off limits, let’s sit down together and discuss that proposition itself. Let’s not just insult each other and cut off all discussion because we rationalists have somehow wandered into a land where emotion is king.

A land where emotion is King? Where is this land Richard Dawkins speaks of so assuredly? I do know of a land where there can be a reasonable balance of emotions and reason and it is not a bad thing. The attempt by Richard Dawkins to look down at mere mortals who make room for emotions in a debate has been well tackled by Stephanie Zvan in the post Yes, Richard Dawkins, I’m Emotional.  In fact, emotions is integral to our survival as humans. So, is the Professor trying to evolve or is it ‘devolve’ us into zombies with no emotions or zombies who scoffs and scorn at any show of emotions?

It is utterly deplorable that there are people, including in our atheist community, who suffer rape threats because of things they have said. And it is also deplorable that there are many people in the same atheist community who are literally afraid to think and speak freely, afraid to raise even hypothetical questions such as those I have mentioned in this article. They are afraid – and I promise you I am not exaggerating – of witch-hunts: hunts for latter day blasphemers by latter day Inquisitions and latter day incarnations of Orwell’s Thought Police.

Oh Richard Dawkins, stop hyperventilating before your hysteria gives you a heart attack!

People who are calling Richard Dawkins out for getting it wrong are not “just being emotional” , If anything Richard Dawkins is the one who is using his subjective emotions to define RAPE for every other person. This is not a logical act but simply emotion based. His emotional opinion neither constitute a fact nor make him an authority on the subject.

As Ashley Miller eloquently explained in her post  ‘Richard Dawkins on Date Rape vs Stranger Rape’

“In fact , studies abounds that shows that “Victims of acquaintance rape are as traumatized as victims of stranger rape. Specifically, they report equal (and high) levels of depression, anxiety, hostility, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms…” (http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1997-08362-004) and victims of acquaintance rape are more likely to be unable to reconcile what happened with their beliefs in the world and to blame themselves. (Researching Sexual Violence Against Women edited by Martin D. Schwartz)

 

Richard Dawkins is considered the public face of New Atheism and unfortunately the leader of Atheists. Which quite frankly is embarrassing to many of us. He is like that nutty grandpa who just wants to embarrass us all on Twitter!  Yes he is entitled to his opinion but he is the public face of atheism, and it is a reputation that has made him  loads of money and given him a lot of clout in the society. So yes, he is accountable for his opinions on social media, highly more so than less known persons or more accurately, less known atheists.

Couldn’t he have found some other non-grey area or non-aggravating syllogisms beside Rape or Paedophilia, especially knowing just how there are so many rape apologists out there? Damn, majority of women cannot even come out and publicly say that they have been raped by trusted friend, family member or their lover because the society won’t believe them. Stigma is another reason. Also the society always find a way to apportion a part of the blame to the victim or even fully blame the rape victim for the crime of the rapist. Ranking rape as bad, worse or worst would only make it difficult for victims to gain the confidence and support they need to seek redress.

We do not need this nutty professor further complicating the path to justice for rape victims.

Dawkins knew what he was saying, it was not by accident that he used the Rape comparison. He meant to grade rape or paedophilia based probably on his own experience of child abuse and he thrust it upon the public as a RATIONAL thing thereby grading his own reaction as the standard reaction ALL rape victims or child abuse victims should have. This is factually incorrect as people deal with trauma in different ways. Also, his example was illogical and, this is not the first time he has made such stupid, bigoted and irrational public blunders.

Rape is rape when looked at from every perspective. In court, it is either the rapist is found guilty of rape or not guilty of rape, there is no in-between. There is no Mild rape or half rape, A rapist can also be charged with other crimes like assault, battery or murder however, these are distinct crimes and can stand or fall on their own merits or demerits.These are stand-alone crimes, which does not make rape not rape simply because these were absent. Rape has its own jail term regardless of whether assault, battery or murder were involved. Assault, battery or Murder has its own jail term regardless of whether or not rape was involved. Rape is a crime on its own, it does not need to be graded before it qualifies as rape. And rape victims do not need to be told they could have had it worse!

Does a rapist gets a medal because he did not use a knife or because he first spiked her drink and made sure she was passed out before raping her?

Richard Dawkins should learn to communicate is intention in a better way. Intents aren’t magic, we can only comment on what he wrote not what is intentions were. We read his  words not his intentions. If his words were wrongly worded, it is his duty to take greater care in coming across just as he intended. The professor was wrong he knew this and no amount of disdain bigotry on his part could change this fact.

Yes, Richard Dawkins is entitled to his personal opinion. If Richard Dawkins said his personal experience of child abuse is less traumatic than the experience of another person, THAT WOULD BE HIS OPINION and he is very well entitled to that. However what the professor did was to use his own SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE to grade RAPE and PAEDOPHILIA for ALL VICTIMS and he tried to pass this blunder off as fact and termed people who don’t get it as illogical.  THIS is what we are against.

No matter who you are, you don’t use the perimeters of how you personally dealt with a trauma as a way to grade or tell others just how traumatic their experience is and how they should get over it. His syllogisms were wrong on many fronts and he made it worse by attempting to pass off a subjective experience as grading mark for rape or paedophilia.

I guess somewhere, right now, there is a rapist rationalising- “See, my action was not all that bad, after all I only raped a friend, she could have been raped by a stranger which would be a worse rape, or i could have raped a stranger instead of a friend which would have been a worse rape and Richard Dawkins agrees with me!”

 

Avoiding Ableist or Sexist Language Won’t Make Us Less Fun!

I found this amazing campaign on a website and decided to share on my facebook wall.  As stated on the website , “The following are images from the “You Don’t Say?” Campaign out of Duke University. The premise of the campaign is to encourage people to think before speaking as the words one delivers can have negative implications that were never intended in the first place, especially to those around us.

These phrases are often said with harmless intent. But how do we really make those around us feel? Perhaps it’s time for us to actually think before we speak?”

 The images show different persons holding different signs  -

1013980_443974869065096_1205095682_n

b619f9542c626472a7395fd3a4eb5664 376f354b3cee2df8ec5d800b6b7124cd

When I posted this wonderful piece as my FB status update, I added-

 And I don’t say “Don’t be a retard” because it is Ableist .

 As expected, some do not agree with the campaign or my statement. Not many of us are familiar with Ableism and how just like racism or sexism, it exposes some group of people to discrimination and derogatory treatment . I always wanted to write something about ableist language but felt there are already some good blog posts on the subject, so I just end up referring people to those posts. When attempting to respond to some of the comments on my FB wall, especially the comment below,  I realised my response was so long it is a blog post in itself, so I made it a blog post. Happy reading!

 Oh come on, that’s so stingy! There’s a reason why they are called “proverbs”, the word itself is only offensive if you don’t read it in context.

Also some words, like “Pussy” don’t refer to the female gender,the etymology derives from the Latin words “pusillus” and “animus” combining into “pusillanimous”, meaning “Very Small Spirit / No Courage”.

Also the term was used by many ethnic groups to describe Cats.

Now I’m with you for equality and against sexism, but I think there’s a line. If you take things all to serious, people will dismiss you as militant, a militant mindest can never create a common understanding. So what I’m trying to say is that you should have a bit of self-humour, I mean those proverbs derived over hundred of years, they are part of everyday culture and used all around the word, even by LGBT people who don’t think they’re offensive. If you really want to change the world, you can’t just deny everything, embrace it with all it’s faults and change it slowly over time. Forbidding someone to say words is the same as forbidding someone to be gay. People say those proverbs but they don’t mean them, they don’t project “Man up” with gay people or “pussy” being negative just because it’s female, we use them because they are proverbs, but we aren’t thinking the stuff that’s written on this image. When we say “Pussy” we don’t mean “Ohh you’re such a female, females are all weak, so you’re a coward”, no, we just mean “You’re a coward”.

It’s dangerous to interpret that everyone who’s saying these proverbs is a sexist or albeist, that’s just not trueYemisi, as much as I respect and honor your opinion, but I can’t be in on this one with you.

The sentiments expressed in the above comment are similar to the ones I have heard people express whenever the subject of sexism, ableism or even racism comes up. Therefore, I will try and respond to it as thoroughly as I can.

  • “Oh come on, that’s so stingy!”

There is nothing stingy about asking people to think about the impact their words would have on others before they speak. It does not matter whether your intent was to hurt or just be funny, what matters is the impact on the persons concern.

  •  “There’s a reason why they are called “proverbs”-

 I don’t know what your idea of ‘proverbs’ is but I can tell you that calling people “pussies”, “bitches”, “retarded” or  using the expression “This is so gay” to refer to something you think is stupid, have nothing to do to with proverbs. These are not proverbs; they are insults, derogatory insults.

  • “the word itself is only offensive if you don’t read it in context.”

These words are even more offensive when they are read in context. If I am called a “bitch” or “cunt” by a man or even another woman, I know this has to do with my gender and the stereotype of what a nasty, manipulative, ambitious or aggressive woman is. Fathoming the particular stereotype they are referring to would be apparent from the context of what led to them calling me a “bitch”, “pussy” or “cunt”. The context makes the insult and sexism much more apparent.

When a man is called a pussy by a fellow man or even a woman, the context makes it even more offensive. Studies and 422634_2822985968404_1512899802_nexperience have shown that one of the worst insults you can throw at a man is to call them a “Pussy” or a “Woman”. Call a man a pussy, he either punches you in the face or go all out to prove that he can ‘man up’. Tell a woman she acted like a man and she goes all grinning and even offer you a “thank you” because this is considered one of the highest compliments you can give a woman. This is sad.

Whenever people are called out on using the word pussy as a derogatory remark, the defense is always invariably aimed at an attempt to inform us about cats. This does not in any way take away from the fact that ‘pussy’ in the context used does not in any way refer to cats, but to vaginas and its supposed weakness and all other negative stereotypes typically associated with being a woman with a vagina.

  •  “Now I’m with you for equality and against sexism, but I think there’s a line”.

No. For me, there is no line to be drawn when calling out sexism, racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia or ableism. If it is bad, it is bad.

  • “If you take things all to serious, people will dismiss you as militant, a militant mindest can never create a common understanding”-

It does not matter what people take me as, what matters is what I take myself as. l do not allow people to define me, I define myself. Also, others acceptance or dismissal of me is not a validation of the rightness or wrongness of my cause.  Just saying, I do not seek validation from others before I act or continue to act on issues I care about.  Also, opinions are like assholes, we all have one. So I won’t lose sleep because my perceived ‘militancy’ would supposedly stop people from having a common understanding. The foundation of my activism is based on the fact that every human being is born free and equal in rights and dignity regardless of sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, circumstances of birth or any other status. If there is no common understanding around this basic fact, it still would not stop me from acting decisively to assert this fact.

  • “So what I’m trying to say is that you should have a bit of self-humour”76562_507127119315763_786930123_n

It is self-humour when I am laughing at myself, but it is no longer just self-humour when I am laughing at myself at the expense of another. For instance, if I say to myself “Oh, I am so retarded, how could I say that!” Well, it is not just laughing at myself but actually insulting those who are medically diagnosed with such condition. Deliberately laughing at myself while using insulting and derogatory language to describe the medical condition of another is no longer self-humour, It is downright irresponsible and mean.

  • “I mean those proverbs derived over hundred of years, they are part of everyday culture and used all around the word, even by LGBT people who don’t think they’re offensive.”

Again, these are not proverbs, not even close to it. Also, because something or a language is part of everyday culture or usage does not make it right or wrong. Culture is not a determinant of right or wrong.  Also, when a word is used, it becomes normalized. However, we must always remind ourselves that because something is considered normal does not mean it is always right. ‘Normal’ only means it is common, not that it is correct or right.

And most importantly because you do not find the word ‘pussy’, ‘bitch’ or ‘so gay’ offensive, does not mean everybody else should not find it offensive. And vice versa. The fact that some blacks call themselves niggas does not mean it is ok to call every black person a nigga. And the fact that a black person is comfortable calling himself a nigga does not mean he has the right to stand on a podium and call every other black person in the audience a nigga.

If a gay person is OK with the expression ‘so gay’, they should not get so defensive when others call them out on enabling a negative stereotype about a sexual orientation or gender identity.

A woman might be OK with calling herself a bitch, but it is not ok to go around calling other women she disagrees with, ‘bitches’. This only serves to enable, entrench and enforce the patriarchal, sexist and societal stereotype of women.

  • “If you really want to change the world, you can’t just deny everything, embrace it with all it’s faults and change it slowly over time .”

Sorry, this is definitely not my philosophy of life.  I am not intent on changing the world; I am concerned about making the world a 577637_10151010819121873_455428710_nbetter place, starting with myself and my interactions with others. This includes being conscious of how my words and actions impact on those around me. Also, this definitely includes how I make people around me feel through my actions and words.

And why “change it slowly over time”? The impacts of my words and actions can be immediate. Surely, I do not have to wait a decade before I am comfortable enough to tell people not to call me a “pussy”, a “bitch” or use the word “retarded” or “so gay” to describe people. I think it is a matter of urgent importance and I don’t have to take it slowly. I’d rather the world evolve quick enough to play catch up and understand that words can immediately hurt  and that the impact of these derogatory, sexist, ableist or racist words can take a lifetime to heal.

  • “Forbidding someone to say words is the same as forbidding someone to be gay.”

 No, this is definitely not true. You have the choice to say good things or bad things to people. You also have the choice to make people feel good or feel bad with your words and actions, but you do not have the choice to make people be gay or not gay. BTW, I can forbid someone from saying hateful things about me by going to court to enforce certain rights including invoking the laws against hate speech, but I cannot forbid anyone from being gay , lesbian, bisexual , intersex or transsexual or left handed.

  • “People say those proverbs but they don’t mean them, they don’t project “Man up” with gay people or “pussy” being negative just because it’s female, we use them because they are proverbs, but we aren’t thinking the stuff that’s written on this image. When we say “Pussy” we don’t mean “Ohh you’re such a female, females are all weak, so you’re a coward”, no, we just mean “You’re a coward”.”

 Oh, I can’t even begin to explain just how wrong this statement or sentiment is. When a man is scolded with the remark “Don’t be a pussy”, he is not being told “Don’t be a cat”  and it is surely not just telling him not to be a coward, it is more than that. It is generally meant to mean “Do not be that disgusting, weak vagina” and we all know this. Men do not get offended for being called a “pussy” because they were likened to a cat or a coward; they get offended because they were likened to a woman, more precisely, a vagina.

Also, when a man or even woman refers to a woman as a “bitch”, they are not conjuring up the image of a “dog”. The word “bitch” has come to be synonymous with negative attitudes attributed to women e.g Manipulative, Mean, Aggressive, Controlling etc. All attributes that are deem undesirable for a woman to exhibit in a patriarchal society. We can try to kid ourselves and pretend that those words just mean cats and dogs, but burying our head in the sand like the ostrich would only make us part of the problem not the solution.

As someone else admitted on the post thread “I call myself a bitch sometimes. Most times, others do the calling.” Yes, I alsoLOUDMOUTH BITCH used to call myself a bitch like a decade ego, and more recently I used it in an attempt to reclaim the word “bitch”. However, there is a very thin line between reclaiming a word and entrenching a stereotype.

When people call me “bitch”, I simply let them know if their definition of a bitch is an aggressive, assertive woman who won’t let anyone treat her like a doormat, then yeah, I am. But the thing is, I don’t have to redefine myself to suit stereotypes.

As someone also said on the post thread- “And true I usually mean “pussy” as just 2 things – a vagina or a pusillanimous individual – mean, petty and egotistical.”- The possibility that a person who uses the word ‘pussy’ to describe a man or a woman they disagree with is thinking of the latin word  ‘pusillanimous’  or even knows that such a word exist is almost  nil.  When they use the word pussy to describe a woman and when they use it to describe a man, you can add “weak” and/or “vain” to the meanings. The question is, why would we as women agree with anyone that our vagina is “petty” or  “egoistical”? Why would anyone who identifies as a feminist help entrench such sexist language? The only explanation I have for this is that it has become so normalized that we can’t even see it any more. As someone else rightly opined on the post thread:

“you have to know then that language influences thought as well as the other way round. if small children learn pussy to be an insult it has an influence on their view of the world. Sexism is subtle and it proves this through your outrage about this article. You wouldn’t call yourself sexist though you don’t see how sexism has itself already established in the language, you don’t even see it there anymore”

 I believe that we all are still learning and we owe it to ourselves to be better humans. Being conscious of how our words and actions affect others and impact on our society is part of our duty as human beings who want a better world. Every little helps to make the world a better place for all.

  • “It’s dangerous to interpret that everyone who’s saying these proverbs is a sexist or albeist, that’s just not true”

Yes, not everyone who says these words are intentionally sexist or ableist, but the onus falls on us to be better human beings. 481866_543604339002200_820756368_nIgnorance is not an excuse, especially when the issue has been brought to our attention, and we have the means to do our research. I once also carelessly used words  like lame, dumb, mad, psycho, retard and recently ‘religitard’ became the favourite word for believers who make stupid remarks, not because I was being willfully ableist but because I knew no better. But then , it came to my attention, I did my research and realized that it is not about how throwing such words makes me score cheap insulting points, but about how it makes those really affected feel and how my careless actions entrench ableism and support sexist stereotypes. I cannot after knowing this, in all good conscience continue to use these words.

There was a time I would happily scold homophobes, biphobes, transphobes or  religious fanatics who leave stupid comments on my wall to go take their pills or asked if they have just escaped from the psychiatric ward. These might feel like a good retort but now I understand that these kind of statements entrench the stereotypes of mental patients as ignorant, violent, disruptive people not fit for the ‘normal society’.

 Also, this kind of attitude stigmatizes mental health patients. It makes it even more difficult for people with mental health problems to come out and seek help.  The sad case of Clara Chime, the wife of the Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu state comes readily to mind. Even her family preferred to have her locked away in a room by her powerful husband rather than let her seek help and risked being publicly identified as someone with a mental health issue. The family would rather avoid the stigma than help their daughter seek the best professional help possible.

Supporting persons living with disabilities goes beyond demanding rights from government for them, we must also do our 558635_452575621435167_122256581133741_1696293_265476766_npersonal bit to make them feel wholly welcome in the society as human beings with all rights, respect and dignity intact. I was at a workshop specially for LGBTs with disabilities and I must say I learned a lot, and one of the important things I learned is that you must listen to those who are affected and ask them how they prefer to be addressed. Please let us get informed about the different words out there that further disrespect and stigmatise persons with disabilities and let us avoid using these words. This is not to say we will all agree on what words constitute ableism and which do not. For example, i use the word stupid but some are of the opinion that it is ableist. I certainly do not think persons with disabilities are automatically stupid because of their medical condition, therefore I do not consider the word stupid to be ableist. I guess we won’t always agree, but it is good to make an effort to minimise the pains our words or actions might cause others.

  •  “Yemisi, as much as I respect and honor your opinion, but I can’t be in on this one with you.”

Thank you for respecting my opinion. I do hope you will look beyond this being my opinion and take the time to do a little research and reflection of your own. It is not about being on this with me, it is about being a better person than we already are and making people around us feel the best they can and not the worst they can. Thank you.

Below are links to other enlightening posts on Ableism:

Don’t Call Me A MAN, It Is Not A Compliment. Happy International Women’s Day!

“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female – whenever she behaves as a human being318461_10150505434059409_883031157_n she is said to imitate the male.” Simone de Beauvoir.  As we celebrate International Women’s Day, the words of Simone de Beauvoir ring loud in my ears.

As someone who became fiercely politically active as a young woman in a very patriarchal society, I was often ‘showered’ with the words “You are a man!” It was considered the highest praise you could give a woman for her bravery and courage while referring to a man as a woman is considered a below the belt insult. If only I had a penny for every time I heard these words from my fellow comrades, colleagues and mentors who actually should know better.

Please understand that calling a woman “a man’ because of her achievements or courage is NOT A COMPLIMENT. Those words are nothing but an insult to the woman, her achievements and gender identity. You do not honour me by calling me “A Woman like a Man“, in fact with such words you deny my gender identity and degrade my biological sex. I am a Woman and Proudly so.

We are all HUMANS irrespective of what the various creation myths say. Women demands recognition and respect as human beings. Brave and courageous women achievers do not need to be called A MAN as a compliment. Being called “A MAN” does not elevate us to the level of human beings; we are already human beings irrespective of our sex or gender identity.58427_436067596481409_1920683597_n

Kindly recognise and respect my gender identity, this I believe is not too much to ask!

As we celebrate more than a decade of International Women’s Day, feminisation of poverty continues; Reproductive, Productive and Domestic roles still hold down the working woman from reaching her full potentials. The triple oppression of Racism, Classism and Sexism persistently  affect our unity. Let us continue to fight all the Isms and Schisms that jeopardise our strength.

The degree of emancipation of women is the natural measure of general emancipation. Every society’s greatness can be measured by the way it treats its most vulnerable members. Every human being is born equal in rights and dignity.

You do not have to be a woman to support woman’s rights.

You don’t have to be gay, bisexual or Trans to support LGBT rights.

You don’t have to be a sex worker to support sex workers’ right to organise, unionise and work in a safe environment.

You don’t have to be an animal to support animal rights.

And in case the aliens ever invaded, let’s hope you don’t have to be a human being to support human rights. We all could be in the minority sometime!1982_438044192955887_307874593_n

Stand up against oppression of women, stand up for equal rights, empower a woman today, emancipate yourself from mental slavery and DEMAND your inalienable human rights! No human being is born subordinate to another. No woman is born to satisfy a man, you are born to create and define your own ‘destiny’, even in the face of all odds. Your happiness is supreme.

Fellow sisters, assert your right and recognition as human Beings!

Happy International Women’s day to you all!

Sex Workers Need Rights Not Rescue!

imageDecember 17th is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. From a feminist and also a trade unionist perspective, I know supporting Sex Workers’ Rights is the logical thing to do.

As I wrote in my blog post ‘Organising Sex Workers Within Mainstream Labour Movement’,  the stigmatization and consequent exploitation of sex workers would be minimized if sex work is accorded its recognition as a bonafide job; a real job which has its challenges, rights and protections under the law like every other job. Criminalization of sex-work in many countries and jurisdictions makes it difficult to create a safe, enabling environment and workplace for sex workers.

The continued criminalization of sex-work, rather than serves as a deterrent has only succeeded in exposing sex workers to violence, intimidation, harassment and exploitation. [Read more...]

“Batty Man, Lesbians and dem Atheists cause bad weather”: Encountering Sexism, Homophobia and Religious delusion in one move!

It certainly was not one of those days when I looked forward to dealing with a sexist, homophobic bigot, not that I ever look forward to encountering any of that, but when ‘my dear one’ asked me to help supervise the van removal drivers that were to move her things to a new place, I wasn’t expecting to confront all that in a single move.

She reminded me to thoroughly check the inside of the van to make sure none of her things was (intentionally or not) left behind in the van. She then added “They are Jamos, so make sure you check”. ‘Jamos’ is Nigerian short term for Jamaicans. Needless to say, I was irritated at this.  I mean, what has their nationality got to do with how trustworthy they are? I know she would still have insisted I check the van if the van removal drivers were Nigerians, Americans or Britons. But I doubt if she would have added their Nationality for emphasis. Well, If they were fellow Nigerians, she probably would have added that, but if they were Britons, I doubt she would. Yes, I did call her out on this as I am not a fan of discrimination of any kind. [Read more...]

THEY SAY IT IS CULTURE, I SAY IT IS TORTURE!

They say it is culturetag3

I say it is torture

Born a woman, a reason to be oppressed

It is culture, a woman must be suppressed

I must never be too forward

They will only drag me backward

As a woman I must learn to be submissive

For a man has the power to be dismissive

To be accepted

I must be subjected!

 

Different meals I must prepare

That’s what makes me special

They say teas I must make [Read more...]

8 year old Yemeni girl died on wedding night and Of Nigerian Child-Brides Apologists

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It was reported that a young girl in Yemen had died after having sexual relations with a 40-year-old man who became her husband in an arranged marriage. The 8-year-old was identified as “Rawan” and died from torn genitals and severe bleeding in the northwest city of Hardh.

 Some media reported that the practice of marrying young girls is widespread in Yemen and has attracted the attention of international rights groups seeking to pressure the government to outlaw child marriages.

 Human Rights Watch reports that 14% of girls in Yemen are married before age 15, with 82% married before they are 18.

 It is said that Yemen’s gripping poverty plays a role in hindering efforts to stamp out the practice, as poor families find themselves unable to say no to ‘bride-prices’ that can be hundreds of dollars for their daughters.

 Tribal custom also plays a role, including the belief that a young bride can be shaped into an obedient wife, bear more children and be kept away from temptation. [Read more...]

50 Shades Of Abuse: Ese Walter, Pastor Fatoyinbo, Coza and God

The scandal rocking Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) has brought to light another shade of abuse that goes on everyday; the constant abuse of authority by influential men who prey on impressionable women.

It is sad that once again, a victim of abuse is being blamed for the crime of the abuser. Sexual abuse is not only about violent rape, it could ensue through getting consent via emotional blackmail, psychological manipulations and the abuse of authority. [Read more...]

Pope won’t judge gays who share something in common with him: The Lord and Expensive Fabrics!

557878_702713299754730_334537535_nWell, the man in the stylish cape, silly hat and all that expensive fabrics says he won’t judge gays. How so cute!

Pope Francis magnanimously announced that:

If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?

This news has been heartily welcomed in the LGBT community. Many now flash the statement like a sort of ‘divine’ approval of their sexual orientation and armor in their LGBT Equal Rights campaign.  Even I might just flash the quote at the next catholic who  rants about how gays, bisexuals and Trans are all going to hell, but isn’t that really the position of their Pope? [Read more...]

Senator Pedophile Sani Yerima, Bishop David Oyedepo and guilty Nigerians, She is a: #ChildNotBride, #ChildNotWitch, #ChildNotHouseGirl!

Nigerians have suddenly woken up to the ills of child abuse because of an obscure part of the constitution. While we are all getting self righteous and indignant about children’s rights, let us also look at ways we are guilty of perpetrating child abuse. After all Child abuse comes in different colours, shapes  and sizes.

Religion and child abuse: 

Rape is never funny and pedophilia is nothing to joke about. It sure baffles me how people who condemn rape, who would normally freak out at the thought of a 54 year old man raping a 9 year old girl, could still praise and worship a pedophile prophet who did exactly that!

It seems being a catholic priest or an Islam prophet is a shield from being scorned at as a rapist and pedophile. And now, you can add being a Nigerian Senator or diligent follower of the Islamic faith to the list.  Why the double standard?  Even when dead, pedophiles graves should be spit on not worshiped in holy pilgrimages! [Read more...]

On S29(4)b and the #ChildNotBride saga: Let’s get the facts right

It was one of those days when everything hits you at once. I was physically, intellectually, emotionally and politically tired.  I decided chldnotbrideto check my mails to take my mind off ‘issues’ but instead of some funny cat meme, the headline ‘Nigerian Senate Okays Child Marriage’ jumped at me. I screamed “Whaaatttt?” I clicked on the link to read the report and just out of nowhere I started laughing. Yeah, that was actually my first reaction, it was my first laugh of the day, actually my first laughter in days, I laughed so hard and it was very fulfilling. Now, you might wonder what was so funny about child marriage.  Honestly, nothing. Child marriage is simply child abuse and there is nothing funny about child abuse.  It was the report that gave me a lot to laugh at. Remember I said this was a day everything seemed out of my control and I was almost at a breaking point. I guess stress has a funny bone sometimes.

The news was about the dramatic proceedings in the Senate on Tuesday 16th July, 2013. The report stated:

The voting in the Senate, which lasted for about five hours, also witnessed the adoption of Section 9 of the draft bill of the amendment, which empowers the National Assembly to make an entirely new constitution for the country.

The senators also adopted Section 3A of the draft, which rejected the president’s assent to the amended constitution before taking effect.

Make new constitution for the country? Take away the power of the president to assent the constitution? I smell trouble here, the kinda trouble I would enjoy watching.  Power is hardly ever easily relinquished. Politicians will kick up a storm whenever their rivals propose to hack their powers. I eagerly await the drama that will definitely ensue.

The report further stated that the senators rejected autonomy for Local Governments, refused the proposal to make the office of the Attorney General of the Federation independent of the Minister of Justice and managed to end the day by  somehow ‘Okaying’ child marriage.

Hmm, my reaction was this laughter that went on uncontrollably for minutes. I was already picturing the president heaping abuses on the senators for daring to even suggest taking away his presidential power of assent. Also,picture the screaming Local government chairmen (well they are almost all men anyway and i am tired of complaining about the persistent use of ‘Chairman’ when it should have been changed to gender neutral ‘Chairperson’, even the few women ‘chairmen’ reject the ‘Chairperson’ tag, so much for girl power!) [Read more...]

Because I Am A Girl

Trembling she holds her tummytag3

Knowing this fourth baby coming

Will be her making or breaking

She moans, her world hanging

Groaning she strains

Not just from labour pains

With one more push, I came panting

With just a look, she screamed fainting

A reprieve from the moment of truth

Husband in-laws with new wife struts

Buckle up; it’s going to be a rough ride

Because I am a girl

 

In the kitchen I am taught to cook

While the boys read from the books [Read more...]

Stop telling black women what to do with their hair or skin!

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A woman’s body seems to be the one thing everyone wants to control. Country, religion or even gender is not a barrier, everyone wants to tell a woman what to do with her body and that include her fellow women.  No surprise there, even ‘gods’ seems obsessed with women, but really what is this growing trend amongst women who should know better, telling other women what to do with their hair and/or skin? Why are many black women focused on controlling other sisters’ bodies, hairs and skins? What is all this talk about black African women accusing other black sisters of not being African enough because of their choice of hair style or body cream?

Since the craze for Brazilian weaves, Chinese weaves and even human hair amongst black African women, with a large demand from Nigerian women, many African men and some women have come out to condemn this as a sign of inferiority complex. It is becoming mundane to come across yet another post from fellow women and some self-styled ‘Real Africans’, questioning the choice of black women who use chemicals on their hair or skin. [Read more...]

Rachel Jeantel is not on trial: Judging her accent is a show of your ignorance not hers.

What a sad society we live in with people valuing appearances more than content. Hypocrites who in their own actions and judgments are no less racist than Zimmerman who shot a black boy because he thought his black skin did not belong in his precious white neigbourhood. Now, those racists think Rachel Jeantel’s accent and mannerisms do not belong in their posh court.

Rachel Jeantel was herself in the courtroom when she bravely stood up to testify as a crucial witness in the court. Even though It was not a spotlight she wanted, it was not a scenario she hoped for, it was not even a publicity she embraced, yet she did her duty and stood up in that courtroom to ensure justice or at least the semblance of justice for a friend whose life was cut short by the bullet of someone who felt ‘threatened’ by his skin colour. Rachel Jeantel has every right to be herself in that courtroom. 171552081

And shame to all the self loathing blacks who says she gives a black woman a bad name. Her accent, her weight, her mannerisms, her skin or hair is not what is on trial; it is the murderer of her friend that is on trial.  You should be ashamed of yourself for being diverted by such trivial as her weight or accent which btw is none of your business.

Unfortunately some black people don’t get it too. The fact that she does not speak perfect English in a ‘polish’ accent does not make her a bad representation of Black American women. I have not watched her court testimony in full, but nothing, absolutely nothing justifies the terrible image many including some blacks are painting of her just because they think she exemplifies the stereotypical Black “hood rat”.

This 18 year old young woman should not be expected to suddenly transform into another person just because she is taking the witness stand to testify in the murder case of her 17 year old black friend Trayvon Martin, who was murdered by a racist. [Read more...]

I Am Reaching, Reaching For The Stars

reaching for the skiesI am reaching, reaching for the stars

Though I bear the brunt of the scars

I spread my wings for a flying spree

This cage I will break to set me free

Although the sky looks scary and vast

I will explore with bravery and a blast

So long my wings were clipped

Now I will fly even if I slipped

Bowed down by years of misery

Now tis time to show my mystery [Read more...]