All entries by this author

It is the mindset of gender inequality

Nov 3rd, 2015 9:01 am | By

I’ve written before about Leslee Udwin’s interviews with the men who raped Jyoti Singh and pulled her intestines out on that Delhi bus in 2012. But here’s another sample, from NPR:

They play a clip from Udwin’s film, then the interviewer asks Udwin about it:

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A lady are more precious than a gem, than a diamond. It is up to you how you want to keep that diamond in your hand. If you put your diamond on the street, certainly the dog will take it out. You can’t stop.

MARTIN: So what is he saying?

UDWIN: Well, essentially, he is giving expression to patriarchy. He is saying that men hold this diamond – this precious gem of

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Oops, there goes the baby

Nov 2nd, 2015 3:52 pm | By

Again with this. This time at Feminist Philosophers, in a post about two posts discussing Germaine Greer.

There’s a lot wrong with it, but this one claim is especially infuriating (as well as all too familiar):

‘But I don’t get why gender identity is such a big deal’ – Sometimes, lurking in the background of these kind of criticisms of trans feminism is the suggesti[on] that we probably shouldn’t make such a fuss over gender identity. For [those] who have a relatively limited sense of or feelings toward their own gender identity, it can sometimes be hard to understand why some people think it’s so important. (Insert obligatory grumbling about ‘identity politics gone mad’.) As trans people have argued,

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Girlish and boyish

Nov 2nd, 2015 10:54 am | By

I hate to use the Daily Mail as a source, but every now and then I do. This story on Saturday reports that an organization called Gendered Intelligence runs workshops in a few primary schools in the UK. Very few – the Mail says “up to 20” schools a year get the workshops. Well 20 is a tiny number. Minuscule. The issue I have isn’t with the quantity but with the content.

In one class, Year Six boys at Hotspur Primary in Newcastle are asked to describe the ‘girlish’ things they like to do, while the girls say what ‘boyish’ pursuits they enjoy.

Gendered Intelligence’s founder Jay Stewart, who is giving the class, asks the pupils if they think ‘life

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Selfies with a mutilated corpse

Nov 2nd, 2015 9:32 am | By

Just fucking unbelievable. The Jack the Ripper “museum” was promoting the opportunity to take selfies with “Jack” and the facsimile corpse of one of the murdered mutilated women. Selfies with the corpse of a slashed woman. What is wrong with everyone?

The museum was promising Halloween selfies with models of his victims and the founder of the museum, who was dressed as Jack the Ripper.

“Dressed as Jack the Ripper” doesn’t mean anything, because no one knows who the murderer was. “Perp the mutilator” would be a better name for him. (Yes, I doubt the perp was a woman.)

On their website, they posted: “How about a picture with Jack in Mitre Square together with the body of Catherine

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The revolutionaries

Nov 1st, 2015 4:16 pm | By

I find it hard to believe this isn’t satire, but people tell me it’s not. Ok then – meet The five young revolutionary feminists you need to listen to.

Just because you lop off your dick doesn’t make you a fucking woman

This is just one regressive comment recently shit out by Germaine Greer – Australian second-wave “feminist”, writer and author of The Female Eunuch.

Her shitty statements have incited a rally of essays rightfully calling out her attempt to pitch transgender women as imposters, claiming they don’t “look like, sound like or behave like women.”

Essentially, her violent comments attempt to erase, undermine and deny the identity of transgender people, many of whom fall victim

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Nov 1st, 2015 3:27 pm | By

Take heed:

A poster with the message:





Despite what you may have been told, your sudden newfound support of feminism will do absolutely nothing to get you laid. Indeed, feminism has a long, bloody history of despising feminist men. They find them sexless, unarousing, and boring. BUT THEY WON’T TELL YOU THAT. They want your help, not YOU.

I love the “long, bloody history” part. It’s bloody to say no to sex?… Read the rest

The list includes writers, poets, intellectuals, editors, reporters and actors

Nov 1st, 2015 3:07 pm | By

AQ in India says it did it. Big surprise there.

The claim of responsibility by the division, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, was made in statements posted on Twitter on Saturday. One of them said the two men were “worse than the writers of such books, as they helped propagate these books and paid the blasphemers handsome amounts of money for writing them.” A second statement, titled “Who’s Next,” describes categories of people as “our next targets.” The list includes writers, poets, intellectuals, newspaper or magazine editors, reporters and actors.

It always does. That’s always who’s on the list – the people who influence thought and ideas.

As “hit lists” of secular writers circulate on the Internet, many

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Nov 1st, 2015 2:11 pm | By

Well this is hilarious.

A friend pointed out a comment on a thread at Pharyngula discussing feminism.

It’s one thing to criticize an artist for racism or transphobia. It’s quite another for who knows how many people to create over 3 dozen blogs and use social media to target an individual without social, economic, or political power. That’s disproportionate to any offense she caused. This isn’t a case of thousands of people taking to Twitter to mock and excoriate someone like Pharmabro Martin Shrkeli. He is a public figure in a position of power with a lot of privilege and a distinct lack of empathy who’s actions could impact a great many people. Zamii is nothing like him. She doesn’t

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The idea of innate gender is the foundation of patriarchy

Nov 1st, 2015 11:28 am | By

The comments on that post by Glosswitch are gold.

Like this one by Glosswitch:

You’re not listening. I’m saying I don’t identify with my assigned gender but this is not the same as identifying with another gender. Why is that so hard to understand? I’d have thought it was pretty fucking obvious. I have been forced into a gender I don’t identify with. So have most women who get dismissed as cis. It doesn’t mean we’re not women. If you’re fine with the cis definition – if you identify with the construct of inferiority bestowed on you at birth – then guess what? You’re really privileged, despite what you might feel about how you look. So as a privileged

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We are human, something which gender itself does not recognise

Nov 1st, 2015 9:40 am | By

In a post from April 2014, Glosswitch says most women hate their bodies. I think that’s probably putting it too strongly…but Glosswitch likes the hyperbolic vein, and I do too, so I read her point as being that this self-hatred gets underestimated. (On the other hand, where would marketing be without it?)

When women like me shrink away, no one finds it strange. When we have our thighs sucked off, our breasts inflated, our cunts trimmed, we might find it an oddity – just about – but it will be positioned as personal choice. We don’t think of it as oppression. It is privilege and narcissism that makes us do it, a silly desire to be just like the

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Celebrate the murder of women

Oct 31st, 2015 5:15 pm | By

Kate Smurthwaite at the Jack the Ripper “museum” protest today:

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At Warwick

Oct 31st, 2015 4:59 pm | By

Maryam gave her talk at Warwick on Wednesday. The Student Rights blog reports:

Namazie’s visit to Warwick first gained media attention last month when the Student Union attempted to bar her from speaking on campus.

Thanks to a vocal campaign by Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists (WASH), which saw widespread media coverage, the ban was overturned.

The president of WASH, Benjamin Davids, welcomed a packed lecture hall to the event on Wednesday, before Namazie spoke about the need to challenge Islamist groups – stressing that too often these movements are wrongly conflated with Islam and Muslims.

I have friends in and around Coventry. They were probably there.

Student Rights also spoke to Davids, who said that:

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Feminism’s focus on women

Oct 31st, 2015 4:04 pm | By

Laurie Penny explains about feminism to a wondering world.

First of all there’s the subhead, which is probably not her doing, but it does rather set the tone.

Feminism’s focus on women can be alienating to queer people and anyone questioning the gender binary. But it doesn’t have to be.

“Feminism’s focus on women” – pause to savor that. How dare feminism focus on women? Other people have problems too ya know! And yet would BuzzFeed remark that anti-racism’s focus on people of color can be alienating? Would it fret that the labor movement focuses on labor?

I don’t think so. It’s only feminism that the libertarian left is so relentlessly eager to ostracize. It’s as if feminism has somehow … Read the rest

What appears to be a coordinated attack

Oct 31st, 2015 11:47 am | By

The IHEU has more details.

In what now appears to be a coordinated attack, at least one person has been killed and three people have been injured, in two attacks on publishing houses in Dhaka, Bangladesh this afternoon.

First, three men, all secular bloggers, one also a publisher and another also a poet, were attacked at Shuddho-Shor, a publishing house for progressive and secular books in the Lalmatia neighborhood of Dhaka. The attackers were armed with machetes and firearms, and it is likely the publisher Ahmed Rashid Tutul, who had received direct death threats from Islamists unhappy with output, was the primary target. The six or so attackers appear to have tricked their way in representing themselves as book-buyers.

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Oh no no no no

Oct 31st, 2015 11:17 am | By

The BBC reports terrible news from Bangladesh:

A Bangladeshi publisher of secular books has been hacked to death in the capital Dhaka in the second attack of its kind on Saturday, police say.

Faisal Arefin Dipon, 43, was killed at his office in the city centre, hours after another publisher and two secular writers were injured in an attack.

They are the latest victims in a series of deadly attacks on secularists since blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death by suspected Islamists in February.

Both publishers published Roy’s work.

I can only swear and swear and swear.

Earlier on Saturday, armed men burst into the offices of publisher Ahmedur Rashid Tutul.

They stabbed Mr Tutul and two writers

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Would you rather be the author or one of the characters?

Oct 31st, 2015 11:10 am | By

Here’s my column for the Freethinker for this month. It’s another wallop at that idea that religion alone can give people [a sense of] meaning.

The most obvious flaw is that it’s not at all clear how God does a better job of providing “meaning” than anything else does. How is that even supposed to work? How exactly is it more meaningful to be a character in a story someone else creates rather than the protagonist of the story you create? How, that is, is that more meaningful to us, as opposed to the people who administer the story?

It’s easy to see why priests and mullahs find that story rich with meaning: it makes them important characters, who shape

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Boys get blocks, girls get jewelry

Oct 30th, 2015 4:50 pm | By

Happy gendered Halloween, girls and boys. (Did you see what I did there? I put girls first. That’s very rebellious of me. Girls are supposed to come second. It’s boys and girls, not girls and boys. Isn’t that funny?)

The New York Times has such a fun scary story about how gendered everything is in kidworld, and how badly it fucks everything up. All that work we did, undone by marketers. Oh well – I guess we’ll just have to do it all over again! Or you will, because I’ll be dead by then, and your grandchildren will, if the glaciers haven’t all melted yet.

A web search for Halloween costumes of scientists produces only boys wearing lab coats and

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Oct 30th, 2015 4:06 pm | By

There’s this:

And there’s this:

Notice anything?

The male figure is standing straight, hands in fists.

The female figure is at an angle, head tilted, one foot partly off the floor, one knee bent, palms outward.

Now this – a photo of women scientists who are spending eight days in an experimental capsule at Russia’s Institute of Biomedical Problems,

the latest in a lengthy series of tests carried out by institute specialists studying the effects on human physiology and emotions during life among the stars.

Well no, not among the stars. Outside earth’s atmosphere, but still 93 million miles from the nearest star. Anyway, the photo:

What on earth? They’re adult scientists, not teenage cheerleaders. Why are they bending their … Read the rest

Women are bearing the brunt

Oct 30th, 2015 3:11 pm | By

Eaves Charity is closing down as of today.

Eaves has been a member of the End Violence Against Women campaign – an unprecedented coalition of individuals and organisations set up in 2005 who are calling on the government, public bodies and others to take concerted action to end violence against women.

But Eaves has been operational since 1977 and is particularly known for its specialist services for helping and supporting women victims of violence.

These include the Poppy project, the London Exiting Advocacy and the Alice project.

The Poppy project has supported some 2000 women victims of trafficking since its inception and helped 45 women bring their traffickers to justice, obtaining combined sentence of 423 years.

The London Exiting Advocacy

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We see girls who are bleeding heavily

Oct 30th, 2015 10:50 am | By

From the Independent: IS is shutting down gynecology clinics in Raqqa, clinics which are more than ever needed because IS is also raping little girls. A one-two punch.

Isis is believed to have ordered the closure of all women’s clinics supervised by male doctors in its Syrian heartlands in its latest assault on the rights of women.

A culture of rape, forced marriages for child brides, the persecution of doctors and the exclusive use of medicines for militants have resulted in a crisis for women’s health under Isis’s brutal regime.

According to activists, Isis has drastically restricted the work of male gynaecologists in accordance with its leaders’ belief that men and women should be kept apart at all costs.

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