Another one cries out for attention

A woman I don’t know, called Lucy Wainwright*, just tweeted me a link to a blog post she wrote. Nothing else, no greeting or explanation, just the link. That always looks kind of Mabusy, from a stranger, or else more than kind of spammy. But anyway she sent it, so she must want me to draw attention it. Ok.

It’s titled Failing at Feminism: a how-to guide.

Right, can we get something straight here, do we think?

No one who insists that a woman should be protected from unpleasant messages, from invitations to coffee, or from criticism because she is a woman is any kind of feminist. [Read more…]

No freedom from religion allowed

The Texas Taliban says no to the FFRF.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation received word on Oct. 24 that Henderson County, Texas, is refusing to permit it to post an “equal time” display on courthouse grounds by the large Christian nativity display dominating an entire corner. The devotional display is lit at night.

…After Henderson County commissioners made public statements indicating there was a public forum, the county refused permission to FFRF or its local complainant to put up a winter solstice banner describing the freethought point of view.

The banner notes:

“At this Season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

Why doesn’t Chris Stedman go after the FFRF?

A complaint by FFRF last month over bible-banner-toting cheerleaders at public high school games in Kountze, Texas, has kicked off another heated controversy. Attorney General Greg Abbott, who offered comfort and support to Henderson County last year, attacking FFRF by name, held a press conference with Gov. Rick Perry on Oct. 17, again singling out FFRF by name, and, said Gaylor, creating a climate of hostility toward Texas nonbelievers.

They’ll be doing angry videos about them next.


The LSE Student Union, again

From the London School of Economics Student Union Atheist, Secularist, Humanist Society on Wednesday, requesting a name change.

The significant change is supplementary: we would like to include “ex-Muslim” in our name, resulting in our new name: The LSESU Atheist, Secularist, Humanist and Ex-Muslim Society (LSESU ASHES). We are very excited about this, since we believe it to be a highly positive change that has the potential to improve the lives of some of our peers in some small way, as we will explain below. [Read more…]

Misogyny or racism? Such a difficult choice

Ha! Soraya pointed this out to me, from the New Yorker: GOP split over whether to emphasize misogyny or racism.

NEW HAMPSHIRE (The Borowitz  Report)—With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, there is a deep  divide among Republican leaders over whether to emphasize misogyny or racism as  the campaign’s closing theme.

In one camp is the Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who says that  his view that God is sometimes O.K. with rape is “gaining real traction with a  key demographic: men who don’t like women very much.”

“I can’t tell you how many misogynists have come up to me at my rallies and  said, ‘Thank you for saying what you said,’ ” he told reporters today. “I  think they’re like, finally, someone’s taking a more nuanced position on  rape.”

Ahahahahahahaha – ain’t it the truth.

But in the other camp is the former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, who  worries that the Republican Party’s emphasis on misogyny is threatening to drown  out its “winning message of racism.”

“I understand the appeal of Mourdock’s anti-woman theme, but I worry that  it’s going to overshadow our core value of racism, which is still our best shot  at winning this thing,” he said. “In politics, you’ve got to dance with the one  who brung you.”

Don’t forget homophobia.

I found some very excellent misogyny on Twitter just now.

 That’s the drill, you know. That’s why we talk about the threats and harassment – they are an opportunity and we are exploiting them. For what? Money! Fame!! Blog hits!!!

No actually that’s not why. We talk about them because they’re there, and they’re continuing. We think they’re bad, and should stop. That’s a normal, understood, accepted reason to talk about bad things.


50 facts

Soraya Chemaly presents 50 facts about rape.

Republican Representative Richard Mourdock’s recen “misspeaking”  is unexceptional. Despite what he may have meant when he said “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that… is something God intended to happen,” he is unexceptional.  He’s not an outlier. Not a radical. In no substantive way different from his conservative peers in this regard (see below if you disagree).  Indeed, he and others, like Todd Akin and Paul Ryan, are part of an age-old tradition of men with power defining when women are raped.

Yes I see a lot of that, also men with or without power defining when women are threatened, when women are harassed, when women are cyberstalked…I see that a lot.

The 50 facts are interesting.

Some people are offended by frank conversation about violence, especially sexualized violence.  I’m offended by tolerance for these assaults, scientific denialism, entertainment at the expense of people’s safety and bodily integrity, and shame-infused legislation that hurts children and women and is based on the belief that all men are animals at heart.

The pledge is in court again

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has agreed to hear an appeal challenging a state law mandating the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.

The plaintiffs claim daily classroom affirmation that the nation is “under God” violates state constitutional prohibitions against religious discrimination.

Which it is. It absolutely is. It’s revolting. It not only shouldn’t be mandated, it shouldn’t be allowed. Forcing children to make a daily god-assertion in public schools is outrageously coercive. [Read more…]

Good news on Malala

Wow. I’ve been checking the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for updates on Malala every day, and the update has always said just that she continues to make progress. It now seems that they were understating it a little. She’s been able to talk since Wednesday, and they seem much more confident now that there’s no brain damage. All signs of infection are gone, she’s walking with very little help, and her short term memory is fine. Dr Dave Rosser talks to the press:

Her parents and brothers arrived in Birmingham today, and her father also talks to the press:

Defining misogyny

Comment is Free held a little discussion of “what is misogyny?” the other day.

An Australian dictionary has changed its definition of misogyny to reflect the fact that it is now used to mean ‘entrenched prejudice against women’, not just hatred of them. Six feminists tell us what the term means to them.

Ok wait a minute. Is “entrenched prejudice against” really all that different from hatred of? Isn’t entrenched prejudice against one way of saying “hatred”? It’s not clear to me that the two are completely different. [Read more…]

The power of ignorance

Shehrbano Taseer – daughter of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab who was shot to death by his own bodyguard because he supported a Christian woman accused of blasphemy – on Malala Yousafzai.

(By the way the daily update from the hospital says what it’s said every day for a week – she continues to make progress.)

For months a team of Taliban sharpshooters studied the daily route that Malala took to school, and, once the attack was done, the Tehrik-e-Taliban in Pakistan gleefully claimed responsibility, saying Malala was an American spy who idolized the “black devil Obama.” She had spoken against the Taliban, they falsely said, and vowed to shoot her again, should she survive. [Read more…]