I have determined that I’m $5 Canadian and a purple gel pen.
What’s your gender?
I have determined that I’m $5 Canadian and a purple gel pen.
What’s your gender?
So, I deliberately stayed out of PZ’s When humanists go bad thread. But y’know, I didn’t realize it had gone on quite this long. When I saw a spate of comments all directed to that thread, however, I had to check in again just to know what is keeping that thread alive.
The answer? Andy Lewis.
Science journalism is failing us in important ways. This post will be far shorter than I might like it to be, but I want it to be readable, and in any case I plan on following up soon with more information and also, I hope, a detailed action plan.
Here I simply want to point out a single article. In another post, I’ll also be discussing an article on the dismissal of Francisco Ayala from UC Irvine and the pattern of sexual harassment that led to that dismissal. But right now, let’s tackle an interesting article with a headline that is … terrible, in ways we will investigate later. The headline reads thus:
So many people are suddenly writing pieces about how overturning Planned Parenthood v Casey (which is, in fact, the controlling precedent on abortion now), queer marriage, and anti-discrimination laws are a losing strategy for the GOP to put a shiny, happy face on the transformation of SCOTUS.
NO. If you’re tempted to go with this reaction, stop it right the fuck now. We do not sit back and let the Republicans enact hostility and hatred. It’s not even that there’s no truth in the position. Yes, inevitably conservative families will see relatives die. Yes, the 80% of people that support the right to have an abortion in at least some cases do constitute a large majority. Yes, if the 33% who believe that abortion should be legal in most cases and the 24% who believe that it should be legal in at least some cases could truly hurt the GOP if they voted to repudiate the fuckers.
But the implied argument is this: Ireland voted in abortion restrictions with Amendment 8 in 1983, sure, but after 35 years, innumerable hardships, and an uncounted number of deaths Ireland got the sympathetic victim of its anti-abortion policies that allowed them to overturn the provisions in 2018. These things don’t last, they’re saying. We’ll have our Savita Halappanavar, they’re saying. That makes everything okay, they’re saying.
Jesus Fried Chicken, NO!
The fact that we will inevitably have our Savita Halappanavars is exactly what makes this NOT OKAY.
Yes, the GOP has been sowing the seeds of its own destruction for decades now.
Yes, the GOP enjoyed the freedom to vote for abortion restrictions that would never be enforceable, and thus used abortion bills to rally its base while the democratic base remained unenthused because democrats never bothered to stand up and fight, relying on the courts to do their work instead.
Yes, that means that individual GOP members of state legislatures are going to have to make more consequential decisions than they have in the past, they’re going to have to face a higher likelihood of accountability than they have in the past.
THAT DOESN’T MAKE THE LIVES OF WOMEN THE GOP WILL END INTO ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICES.
IT DOESN’T MAKE THE LIVES OF TRANS FOLK WHOM THE GOP MIGHT KILL INTO ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICES.*1
NONE OF THIS IS OKAY.
THERE IS NO SILVER LINING.
*1: I’m well aware that people of other genders may very well die too, but given the total numbers of deaths expected, I don’t feel as comfortable saying that people of other genders are guaranteed to die, whereas demographically the deaths of women are guaranteed.
First, law school requires a lot of effort, and so does building a family, so there were a few years when I legitimately didn’t have time to go around reading much on the internet. What turned up on Pharyngula constituted a large percentage of that. But more importantly, I spent years addressing this stuff back when the world was less connected and there were fewer noted cis supremacists who bothered writing about trans* people. Seriously, as far as critiques of written work or audio/video appearances went, I spent a decade speaking mostly about Janice Raymond, Mary Daly, and Germaine Greer. I’ve read so. fucking. much.
So some folks in my off-line life have asked me if I’ve watched Jasmine Saavedra’s BRAVE HERO video. I have not. And I’m asking you not to watch it either.
If you’re not aware of this, Saavedra was at a Denny’s, just eating it seems, when someone she decided was trans needed to use the WC. RawStory picks things up from there:
she walked up to the bathroom and claimed that she couldn’t use the ladies room because it was occupied.
“So, that guy is violating my right to use the ladies room here, and he’s saying he’s a lady! Stupid guy,” she said.
Entering the bathroom and filming the scene with her cell phone using a selfie-stick, Saavedra screamed at the woman occupying a stall with the door closed, telling her, “You’re invading my privacy.”
This is terrible behavior. But worse is yet to come:
As the transgender woman walked out the bathroom Saavedra pointed the camera in her face. “Next time use the men’s rooms or nobody rooms,” Saavedra said.
Is that terrible? Yes it is. You know what’s worse? Posting that video on the internet to humiliate an innocent trans person who happens to metabolize food and excrete various biological waste products.
But it gets WORSE.
Saavedra is a primary candidate for the Republican nomination for the US House of Representatives, and this video is intended to humiliate a trans person in order to show off the Brave Heroism of Saavedra to get fucking votes. That’s right, this trans person is being unwillingly used as a campaign prop by Saavedra.
I am all for exposing this completely shitty behavior by Saavedra, but this STILL gets worse. RawStory, who one might think would know better as they tend to lean left, titled their story on this:
WATCH: California GOP candidate stalks and harasses trans woman attempting to use Denny’s ladies’ room
and then included the full video embedded at the bottom of their story.
NO. If a non-public figure is being humiliated publicly by a video, the one thing you don’t do is share the video further. You’re a journalist and have to watch the video in order to do your job writing an accurate story, maybe. Just maybe. Do you really trust yourself to represent that humiliated trans person well? Does the trans community trust you? If the answer to either is no, then writing this story isn’t your job, and don’t bother watching the video. But there will be a few for whom it really is required. I get that. This isn’t directed at you.
For everyone else, including RawStory, when someone doesn’t want to be a public spectacle and someone else selfishly tries to turn that person into one, the barest minimum you can do is NOT WATCH THE FUCKING VIDEO. My friends can’t unwatch the video, but maybe some of you can stop yourselves, and think twice about watching anything similar.
There have been many articles and classes and books and lectures that have attempted to productively address toxic masculinity. And, though this may surprise many of you, there have been blog posts as well. PZ has his own up right now, which is itself responding to another (and thoroughly incompetent) attempt to address toxic masculinity in a blog post.
Nothing PZ says is wrong, but it reminds me that I am ever surprised at how often 2 of the most important points to remember about TM are left unstated. It’s not that people aren’t aware of them, at some level, but I think we get much farther much faster if we make them explicit.
PZ has an excellent post up, which I hope you’ve seen already, regarding the hatred of the Catholic bishops. I want to call out a small piece of that larger statement here:
Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can “change” their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults.
If you read this as the bishops obviously intend you to read it, this portion of their statement says:
You can’t actually change your sex, so telling this to children is bad. Also, it’s even worse when you change the sex of another human being, particularly a child.
The CBC’s The Current had a story on #metoo and sexual violence/harassment prevention this morning. One guest was carefully talking about the tradeoffs between eradication strategies and harm reduction strategies. The other was firmly ensconced within the loving, anti-feminist embrace of Chill Girl tradition, raging against the demonization of men, portraying all women as fragile victims, and the conflation of bosses non-consensually massaging their employees and strangers kidnapping women to rape and kill them in an isolated farmhouse. Predictably, CG denigrated the tone of the people speaking out on #metoo and the public presence of actual outrage.
Now, I could critique the segment in general. The Feminist Guest certainly made a couple statements with which I could quibble (though in general I thought FG was very good), but the Chill Girl delivered so much wrong it would be easy to make another Crip Dyke-Patented, Lengthy, Ranting Post™ dissecting the conversation and especially CG’s contributions. But this isn’t that post.