Adam’s petition

Adam Lee has a petition to the Leaders of Atheist, Skeptical and Secular Groups: Support Feminism and Diversity in the Secular Community. Please, if you agree with it, take a minute to sign it and share it.

We, the undersigned, are atheists, skeptics and nonbelievers who value free speech and rational thought and who seek to build a strong, thriving movement that can advocate effectively for these values. We’ve chosen to put our names to this petition because we want to respond to a video created by a blogger calling himself Thunderfoot. In this video, Thunderfoot attacks named individuals who’ve been active in promoting diversity and fighting sexism and harassment in our movement. He describes these people as “whiners” and “ultra-PC professional victims” who are “dripp[ing] poison” into the secular community, and urges conference organizers to shun and ignore them. [Read more…]

Thunderfoot’s inflammatory video

Never enough time…

And then spending an hour walking on the beach with the dog first thing in the morning eats into the day something fierce. And yet – it’s walking on the beach first thing in the morning! And I’ve only just realized that it’s actually the best beach for the purpose on the peninsula. I tried to shake up our routine yesterday and go somewhere else for the sunset, but it wasn’t fun – too rocky, not enough beach, and too near the road. Gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but not right for dawn and sunset walks with a dog, or really even for long comfortable walks with or without a dog. This beach here is a strolly beach. Big, and strolly, and nowhere near a road.

So I’m reading Mick Nugent’s long reply to Thunderfoot. It’s a joy to read.

The part about Melody, for instance. [Read more…]

Bullied or cajoled

More anti-feminist rage, more pro-feminist pushback. No doubt you’re aware of Thunderfoot’s video, which (for my sins) I watched. That’s the rage. The pushback is…

Michael Nugent for instance.

Thunderf00t has published a video in which he includes me on a list of people who he claims have been “bullied or cajoled” into what he calls “a bullshit PC appeasement position” regarding feminism.

In my case he is referring to an article I wrote last August for Skepchick, without being either bullied or cajoled, as part of a series on speaking out against hate directed at women. [Read more…]

Women end up exacerbating tensions

Via Katha Pollitt on Twitter – an Italian priest explains things to women.

Italian media reported that parish priest Piero Corsi fixed a text to the bulletin board of his church in the northern village of San Terenzo di Lerici, which said women should engage in “healthy self criticism” over the issue of femicide, or men murdering women.

Healthy self-criticism! Good thinking. It is a just world, so if a women is murdered, it has to be because she did something so bad that it deserves murder. [Read more…]

“One individual has already been identified”

David Futrelle points out A Voice for Men campaigning to terrorize a young woman they dislike. These guys are scary. Seriously scary:

AVfM is conducting outreach and investigation into the identities of the persons involved in the violent protest against the rights of men and boys orchestrated and conducted by the University of Toronto Student Union and other antisocial elements within that institution.

To that end, one individual has already been identified, and you will be seeing a story on her here in the near future. [Read more…]

The gross crime against humanity of being born a woman

Via Mona Eltahawy on Twitter – Pakistan has its “Twitterati” – “the artists, the journalists, the designers, the political analysts, the bloggers, the activists.” I follow quite a few of them myself.

But guess what – there’s a penalty. Of course there is.

But with fame comes the inevitable trolling. And unfortunately, if you’re in Pakistan, and you committed the gross crime against humanity of being born a woman, you’re a prime target. Any female professional in Pakistan who is active on Twitter will find herself vilified and harassed online simply because she is a woman who works, and (as is the case with many professionals) supports women’s rights and is a feminist. What’s alarming is that this trolling is not at all harmless tomfoolery. It is dangerous, violent, and misogynist to boot. [Read more…]

How to tell the diff-er-ence

There’s a difference between saying “selfish cunts” as a misogynist epithet and saying it as a joke about people who are sekrit misogynists under a veneer of respectability.

I bet you knew that. Not everyone gets it though. Some people see the latter and think it’s a justification for the claim that “cunt” is not a misogynist epithet. Some people see Jon Stewart doing the latter and think it’s the same as doing the former and therefore it’s  a justification for the claim that “cunt” is not a misogynist epithet. Siiiiiiiiigh. [Read more…]

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…]

A dictionary fight

Here’s an interesting new development. Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary has expanded its definition of “misogyny” in response to Gillard’s speech on the subject last week.

The dictionary currently defines misogyny as “hatred of women”, but will now add a second definition to include “entrenched prejudice against women”, suggesting Abbott discriminated against women with his sexist views. [Read more…]

Carlin isn’t the issue

No, just saying “I can use any words I want to” doesn’t deal with the problem. No, it really doesn’t. Not even if you say it really loudly, or over and over again, or really loudly over and over again.

Another day, another Internet radio show, another transcript, another attempt to make the problem just a matter of swearing.

…there is nothing that is placed outside of purpose, especially words, and what words I use depend on what message I am trying to convey. This is why I have such a problem with censorship. I would just as soon see Vincent Van Gogh censored as I would any artist, and the same goes for any wordsmith.

It’s one of the reasons I admired George Carlin so much. Do you remember his shtick back in the 1970’s, the one where he listed seven words that you would never, ever hear on television? Well, here we are, thirty years later, and you still won’t hear the words “shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker or tits” on NBC, CBS or ABC.

One, we need to define what kind of censorship we’re talking about. But more important, two, notice what words are not in Carlin’s list. Nigger, kike, faggot, spic, wop, yid, wetback, greaser, chink, slope, gook, Polack – you get the idea.

Except for “tits” the words were and are all swear-words. Three of them are also epithets. That seems to confuse people. Swearing is one thing and epithets are another. The problem I mentioned is not a problem about swearing, it’s a problem about epithets.

What saddens me is that there is a movement within the freethought community to censor words, just for the sake of their existence – giving no thought to context. There are words that have been deemed simply too offensive to even utter, and that, as a wordsmith, I have a huge problem with, because it reminds me of a certain religion that has a prophet that depicting an image of is too offensive to even draw.

No, that’s wrong. We utter them all the time. The problem is not uttering them, the problem is using them as epithets to revile and degrade certain women. The problem is using them as epithets to whip up hatred of certain women. The problem is using them in that context. It’s not true that we give no thought to context! It’s the opposite of the truth. A man furiously screaming that a particular woman is “a fucking bitch” is one context, and we do think about it.

Don’t even get me started on phrases like, ‘the n-word’ or whatever word people want to describe in similar fashion. If I mean to say something, I am going to use the word, not a rendition of the word. It reminds of the Christian who says, “Well, Sally is such a b.” For fuck’s sake, if you think Sally is a bitch, then just call Sally a bitch, and move on. We know what you mean, and using a letter in place of a word does NOT make you a better person.

And yet and yet and yet! Notice that he still doesn’t say – despite having set himself up to say exactly that – “For fuck’s sake, if you think Sally is a nigger, then just call Sally a nigger, and move on.” It’s still just bitch. Bitch is ok; bitch is fine; just say it, and move on. But what about “nigger”? Is that fine?

I haven’t seen him say it’s fine. I think the fact that he hasn’t said that indicates that he wouldn’t say that. Good. But then why does he say it when it’s about women as opposed to non-white people? And why, to be blunt, is he so obtuse about it?

I am a wordsmith. An architect. I will use whatever words I choose to build with, and it is your choice to drive by and bitch about how ugly the building is, or drive around town to find other things I’ve built. Either way, your choice. Just know, in any given room you’ll likely find an old record player, with a scratchy recording of a familiar voice, saying, “shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits,” and sometimes even “fart, turd or twat.

But not, I take it, nigger, kike, faggot, spic, wop, yid, wetback, greaser, chink, slope, gook, Polack. Why is that, Al (for it is he)?