“How dare you besmirch the good name of misogyny?!”

Amanda Marcotte takes a jaundiced look at the contorted defenses of misogyny people are being driven to by the inconvenient actions of Elliot Rodger.

I call it the “How dare you besmirch the good name of misogyny?!” gambit. The idea is to deny and deny and deny that Rodger was motivated by misogyny. Which is weird. Since 95-99% of misogynists deny they are misogynists, what’s it to them to admit that he was motivated by misogyny? The only reason I can think to deny he’s a misogynist is that you secretly know damn well you are a misogynist, and you want to deny that your misogynist ideology played any role in the killings.

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She talks sense faster than most of us can think, says Dawkins

Oy, not another one.

Someone called Jaclyn Glenn, who I’m told is hugely popular among Teh Atheists, did a manic YouTube video echoing the much-echoed complaint about those filthy feminists exploiting that nice Elliot Rodger tragedy for their own filthy selfish self-centered how dare they ends. I could watch only a short bit of it because she’s so annoying. By way of refreshment I found her on Twitter, and lo, only five or six tweets down, who should appear but –

daw [Read more…]

Guest post by Leo Igwe: Stopping Witch Burning in Kenya?

Last Sunday, a 45 year old woman, Christine Jemeli Koech, was accused of witchcraft. A neighbour claimed that Koech, a mother of six, had been responsible for her child’s illness. A local mob stormed Koech’s house early in the morning while she was asleep. They murdered her and burnt her body. This gruesome practice of lynching continues in the East African country of Kenya.

According to media reports, the neighbour has been arrested but the people who carried out the killing are still at large. Witch burning is common in Kenya and in other parts of the region. Men and women accused of bewitching people are executed by a lynch mob. Some years ago, a graphic video of ‘witches’ being burnt in Kenya was circulated on the internet. It attracted international outrage and condemnation. [Read more…]

Guest post by Maureen on the comic book definition of madness

Originally a comment on Venn explains.

We may be edging towards something useful here.

We have already dismissed those who just want to say that Rodger was mentally ill therefore we need think about it no more.

What we need to do – and it is going to be difficult with the subject of the discussion dead – is pick apart the important question of whether Elliot Rodger was both mentally ill and also mentally ill in a way which rendered him insane and thus not in control of his actions or with any insight into their effect. This, I understand, is what M’naghten was about but I don’t know enough to say more than that.

There are vast numbers of people who have made the odd visit with a psychiatrist, who have had the odd couple of weeks on diazepam and could sometimes have used the support of a mental health worker – who are more often social workers than medical people. We are the people all around you who have manageable levels of SAD or bi-polar, who have the odd panic attack , who don’t and never will present a threat. [Read more…]

The exercise in narcissism

At The Federalist Society, Mollie Hemingway lets us know how much she hates #YesAllWomen. It’s the Federalist Society, so you know what to expect.

Elliot Rodger did what he did.

Social media responded by accepting the murderer’s hate-filled screed as a legitimate point of discourse and the starting point for a massive act of hashtag activism: #YesAllWomen. Traditional media followed suit: the narrative was found. Eleventy billion tweets describing how all women were victims of men spread throughout the U.S. and Europe and the media breathlessly covered the exercise in narcissism. They all agreed it was “powerful.”

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Guest post by latsot on the Princess and pursuit

Originally a comment on We are protagonists.

Prince Charming pursues The Princess(*). It is assumed that she wants this – regardless of her words or actions – and will eventually submit. Cinderella runs off at midnight but the prince decides to hunt her down like an animal declaring – without ever asking her – that he’ll marry the woman the slipper fits. If the prince wakes the princess with a kiss, it’s perfectly clear that she should be grateful to the point of *ahem* ‘marriage’. Then there’s the princess who only qualifies for marriage to the prince if she can pee through a dozen mattresses or something (**). He’s always the one setting the conditions and at the same time always assuming that the princess has no say in the matter. The reader is supposed to share that assumption. [Read more…]

Today she received the following threat

Pamela Gay is being given a hard time again, a worse time than ever in fact.

She frames it as a mistake she made, a mistake in keeping quiet.

On Wednesday, I learned that there are at least two audio recordings of a meeting at a non-profit. In this meeting my mistake was discussed and now there is the chance that audio could go public.

And at this point, if it did, I’d support it because it would mean I could speak the truth frankly without fear of being sued for libel or slander by people with more resources than I have. It might mean that every few months, I wouldn’t have to deal with someone going, “there is this rumor” or getting out of the blue emails saying, “you know…”.

My mistake was not reporting that a drunken man in a prominent role tried to grab my breasts.

I’m writing this blog post to try and get out the truth, to get my story out before the internet gets ahold of this truth and of me, and before I am judged by the court of the blogosphere.

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Behold the false dichotomy

JT Eberhard sees a mistake and comes to the rescue:

Elliot Rodger was mentally ill. That conversation needs to take place.

Huh. One, how does JT know that? Two, that conversation already is taking place, to put it mildly.

Ok so let’s read beyond the title.

There is a debate going on as to whether or not Elliot Rodger, the man who recently went on a killing spree in California, was mentally ill or if he was sane and driven by sexism.

No. That’s not the debate that’s going on. Hardly anyone is framing it as “either mentally ill or misogynist.” Also, the issue is not “driven by sexism” but “driven by misogyny” – intense, enraged hatred of women. What we see in Elliot Rodger along with far too many other men is beyond mere everyday sexism, which seems almost cozy in comparison, but inflamed rabid loathing of women as women.

When this all went down, it struck me that Elliot Rodger was probably suffering from some form of mental illness.

Whoa, how shrewd and percipient! Except that it struck everyone else in the population too, including people who know better than to take such snap judgments seriously. It’s not really worth mentioning that one’s first thought on hearing the news was “wo that dude was cray.” It’s certainly not worth treating it as a wise insight that should be followed up on.

Then JT tells us of his good fortune in having a friend who has a friend who wrote an article in Time minimizing the role of misogyny. Yes indeed, what a piece of luck. This two-degrees-of-separation friend is one Chris Ferguson – probably no relation to my friend Craig Ferguson, who is my friend because I watch his Late Late Show occasionally. Chris Ferguson hits the right patronizingly dismissive note:

Misogyny, in all forms, remains a significant problem for society. Women still don’t enjoy pay equity with men, and are underrepresented in core positions of power in business and politics. Violence toward women has thankfully dropped over the previous two decades, but remains intolerably high. The last election cycle brought us odd comments about “legitimate rape” and fights over women’s rights to contraception medical coverage. It’s not difficult to understand why women would perceive the deck being culturally stacked against them. That misogyny can, and certain does, spill over into violence in the case of (one hopes) a small percentage of men whose anger toward women is beyond control.

Linking cultural misogyny to a specific mass shooting is more difficult, however.

And so on. Take-away: don’t worry about it, laydeez. JT echoes the take-away.

Like Jaclyn said, this does not mean that sexism is not bad and that it should not be discussed.  Anybody saying that is wrong.  But by treating Rodger as sane so we can attribute the fullness of his rampage to our ideological enemies, we are missing the chance to get at the root cause of the mass murder (according to the psychological experts on mass murder).

Ahh yes, “our ideological enemies”; that’s what this is about. It’s about the same old shit – stop “dividing” the atheist “movement” laydeez, with your complaints about misogyny and harassment. Think of The Cause and shut up about it. We are all in this together and your concerns about misogyny and harassment don’t matter.


Why nine?

This is unusual – the BBC did a story on child (girl) marriage in Niger, and for once it actually said that religion backs the practice.

Niger also has one of the world’s highest rates of child marriage.

About 24% of girls will be married by the time they are 15. That rises to nearly 80% by the age of 18. It is a social phenomenon that affects all significant ethnic groups in Niger, including the majority Hausa community.

Hard-pressed families receive a “bride price” in return for their daughter’s hand in marriage. A girl married off is also one less mouth to feed.

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