Notes and Comment Blog

If you don’t want to be treated like one…

Mar 17th, 2013 5:51 pm | By

Raw Story offers the top five rape apologist responses to the Steubenville verdict, so you don’t have to go looking for them and evaluating them.

1. CNN: “Those poor boys’ lives are ruined”

CNN correspondent Candy Crowley responded to the verdict by bemoaning the sad future of two rapists who traumatized one young girl for life but would never get to live out their football dreams.

3. Author/blogger Michael Crooke: “It’s just buyer’s remorse”
Author/blogger Michael Crook, who additionally claims that “rape doesn’t exist,” won the race for most-likely-to-be-poorly-executed satire, at least until he took to his Twitter feed to demand that the survivor be “held accountable”, tell women that “skimpy clothing is pretty much implied consent” and encourage every woman to not “dress like a whore if you don’t want to be treated like one.”

Those are my top two from Raw Story’s top five. Not at all, don’t mention it.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Mitch McConnell slays them in Vegas

Mar 17th, 2013 5:45 pm | By

Gee, is Mitch McConnell a fan of the slime pit?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) got in a few yucks during his 2013 CPAC speech Friday morning, telling a crowd that he thinks the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential field is looking like “a rerun of ‘The Golden Girls.’”

“Don’t tell me the Democrats are the party of the future when their presidential ticket in 2016 is shaping up to look like a rerun of ‘The Golden Girls,’” he said. The crowd erupted with laughter.

Ahahahahaha – that’s so funny. Old; geddit? Women who are old. Hilarious, right? Stupid bitches – they should just die instead of hanging around getting old.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Jumping up to get a better view

Mar 17th, 2013 4:15 pm | By

A guy got beaten up by shouty racist bully-boys on a Manchester tram packed with football fans, and nobody helped, instead everybody just watched, as if it were an entertainment.

Prakash Patel, 56, from New Moston, was on a tram with his daughter Devyani  at Trafford Bar when he suffered a tirade of racist abuse followed by a sustained vicious assault. He was punched in the face and head more than 18 times and suffered two black eyes and concussion.

He tells what happened.

WE had been to the Fulham match at Old Trafford. We go as often as we can because we are big fans, we’ve been going for 25 years and never had any trouble. There were more than 200 people just in our carriage, it was so packed you couldn’t move. About six men or seven men came on to the tram and started making indecent racist comments.

Myself and my daughter felt distressed and very uncomfortable about this so I said ‘just behave’.  I said it again ‘please behave’ and that’s when it started. There was one in front of me and one behind me both punching me in my face and on the back of the head. They were hitting me in the face, the eyes, the head.

And no one helped. No one helped. All those people, and no one helped.

Both of them are horribly upset by that. It is upsetting.

Devyani Patel, 21, is an estate agent who lives with her parents in New Moston.

Reliving their ordeal, she said: “I was screaming at them to stop. They were punching him over people’s heads, but nobody did anything or said anything. I was trying to pull them off my dad and shouting at them to get off my dad.

“The one facing me was just staring at me with these cold evil eyes. I am tiny and I’m a woman. I don’t understand why nobody did anything. I was just being his daughter.

“That’s what hurts the most – that nobody did anything, nobody said anything. I have lost my faith in society.

“Later at the police station, they showed us the CCTV footage. You can’t see the men but you can see all those passengers watching – it sent a shiver down my spine when I saw that. Some of them were actually jumping up to get a better view.”




(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The dog is ok

Mar 17th, 2013 2:54 pm | By

Keep the title in mind.

It’s a beautiful spring afternoon here, one of the first we’ve had, and I went out into it, and not ten minutes along I saw a dog get hit by a car.

I probably could have prevented it, and I failed to.

There’s this scenic walk a couple of minutes from where I live, overlooking Puget Sound and the mountains. Where the street curves from south to east, there’s a little open park overlooking the view and diagonally across the street a little closed park that used to be a private garden. It’s a busy spot on days like today. I was approaching the curve and the open park when a boxer came racing out of the enclosed park, across the street, and into the open one. Uh oh, I thought; uh oh, uh oh; danger danger; cars. I heard a child’s voice calling, “Freddy! Treats!” Then I heard a car approaching behind me. I turned to look, and thought I should signal it to stop until someone got Freddy under control – but I didn’t. The car kept going and the boxer changed direction and raced right smack into it.

I said shit really loudly – involuntarily – and turned away for a few seconds.

But the dog was still racing around, and ended up going back to the closed park where two little boys were waiting for him. A guy in the overlook park shouted rather angrily “you should have it on a leash!” I stood and quivered for a bit, and watched as the driver parked and got out and went into the closed park. Then I went there too, to tell the little boys they had to take the dog to the vet. I told them that, and there was a woman just ahead of me who told them the same thing. “I’m a vet tech,” she told me, and I felt oddly reassured.

The boys gathered up Freddy’s leash (which was now connected to his collar) and headed for home.

I think Freddy’s ok. It was the meaty part of his shoulder that took the hit.

Still. I’ll be watching for a boxer out for a walk for awhile, hoping to get a chance to make sure.

I wish I had signaled that car though. I didn’t have any real reason not to, I think it was just accidental passivity. But if I had – she might have stopped, and then seen Freddy race into the street without getting hit, and everybody would have been glad she’d stopped. Sigh.

It was horrid. An awful crunch-thump as the car punched Freddy’s shoulder.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Not as tidy as Physioproffe’s

Mar 17th, 2013 12:17 pm | By

Physioproffe said let’s for fun post pictures of our bookshelves so I said ok so here’s my picture.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

They didn’t realize?

Mar 17th, 2013 11:06 am | By

Metametameta coverage – reactions to the Steubenville verdict, reactions to reactions to the Steubenville verdict, [continue the series].

Too much sympathy in court being shown for these disgusting little rapists. It is not a tragedy when a rapist is found guilty.#Steubenville

— Radical Feminist (@RadicalFeminist) March 17, 2013

Is there? I looked for coverage and haven’t found it yet but did find commentary on the tears and sobs of the rapists themselves. The anchor (a woman) in the studio asked the commentator (a man) outside the courthouse about how gut-wrenching it all was, and he said the boys “didn’t realize that what they did was so serious.”

They didn’t?

Well why the fuck not?

Did they think it’s just ok and normal and no biggy to shove your fingers up a nonconsenting girl?

If so, why would they think that? Why would anyone ever think that?

Why would anyone ever think it’s ok to shove your fingers up a nonconsenting girl while other people watched and took pictures and video?

I would really like to know.

I wonder how much of it, if any, has to do with being called a girl by their coach during football practice. I wonder if their coach did that; I wonder if it’s universal among football coaches; I wonder if anybody even talks about it, in schools, where it counts. I wonder if all or most football players learn contempt for women, even loathing of them, in the very act of playing and training for football.

Anyway. I would really like to know how teenage boys can fail to realize that sexual assault is serious.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Steubenville: Richmond and Mays found guilty

Mar 17th, 2013 9:24 am | By

Both were found guilty of rape; Mays was also found guilty of disseminating a naked photo of a minor.

Richmond’s father told CNN that his son was doing OK.

“I told Ma’lik to put all his trust in God. God will see him through this,” Nate Richmond said. “I told him that I love him, basically. And to be strong.”

I wonder if Richmond’s father told him anything about not raping.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

QED panel on god belief

Mar 17th, 2013 9:05 am | By

QED has released the video of the panel “A Question of God” from last March. The panel is moderated by Paula Kirby and has Maryam Namazie, DJ Grothe, and me. Ironic, isn’t it.

It’s as I remembered it – fun, congenial, entertaining, interesting. That’s why I was so surprised when a few months later Paula Kirby called me a Feminazi and Femistasi. Watching that panel, she doesn’t seem like that kind of person.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

God demands that password

Mar 16th, 2013 3:57 pm | By

How…quirky. Brazil’s House of Representatives elected a racist homophobe as the new chair of its Commission for Human Rights and Minorities. Kind of defeats the purpose.

Marcos Feliciano is known for his homophobic and racist declarations:  “Africans descend from an ancestor cursed by Noah. This is a fact,” he wrote. “Noah’s curse on his grandson, Canaan, lingers in Africa,  therefore leading to all the hunger, diseases, ethnic wars.”

This is a fact? What would a fiction look like then? If an old story in an old book is “a fact” then what criteria do you use to detect a fiction?

Marcos  Feliciano’s image has been further tarnished by the exposure of his  behavior during his fund-raising sermons at the ‘Resurrection  Cathedral’ (Catedral do Avivamento) for his church ‘The Assembly of God’  in Riberão Preto, in São Paulo state. Feliciano accepts donations in  cash, check, credit cards. Even motorbikes can be used to pay for  ‘divine rewards’, he announces.

In this video (not  subtitled), Feliciano says: “This is the last time I’ll say it. Samuel  de Sousa has donated using his credit card, but hasn’t provided the  password. This is not fair. Then he is going to ask God for a miracle,  and if God doesn’t reply he’s going to say God is evil.”

Even more quirky. Racist, confused about what a “fact” is, and venal to the point of embarrassment.

Today people dressed up as ghosts to protest.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Surely that’s a legitimate difference of opinion

Mar 16th, 2013 3:10 pm | By

Bjarte’s stick figure has discovered “civility.”

Embedded image permalink

1. So you think you should not be treated like a public toilet and I disagree. [butterfly, flower, smiley]

2.Surely that’s a legitimate difference of opinion over which we can have a polite conversation. [birdie, musical note]

3. *@! no, because:




4. #FTBullies blabla “*@!” blablabla uncivil blablabla uncharitable blabla tone blablabla rather than engage in civil dialogue!

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

At the Fountainhead Gallery

Mar 16th, 2013 1:40 pm | By

There’s a gallery in a little neighborhood shopping area about half a mile from where I live, not the main top of the hill shopping area, but a smaller one, with a miniature grocery store, and the dentist I go to, and a great bakery-coffee shop called Macrina, and a taco place, and an orthodontist with witty signs (“if you have more tattoos than teeth, come see us”), among other things – quite a humming little spot really.

The gallery is the Fountainhead Gallery. I went past it yesterday and looked in the windows as I always do, and then looked some more and then went inside. They’re having an exhibit called Frontline Heroines, by Judith Larsen. The heroines are journalists killed on the job.

For instance -

NEDA Neda Agha Soltar was an Iranian student demonstrator who was gunned down during the 2009 student protest. She has since become an icon and martyr for democracy in Iran.

ANNA Anna Politkovskaya, born in the USA, was a Russian newspaper editor, journalist, human rights activist and an award-winning author who was shot to death near her Moscow apartment, allegedly for her coverage of the Chechen conflict and her investigative articles.

MARGARET Margaret Moth, CNN photo journalist, was shot and critically wounded while covering the Bosnian War. She died later from related health issues.

SHAIME Shaime Rezayee, host of an Afghan MTV show, was executed for her role in that program.

An important subject.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

How to move on and rise above and ignore

Mar 16th, 2013 11:42 am | By

How do you demonstrate that you are too wise and grown up and sensible to feed internet drama? By ignoring it bringing it up out of the blue for no apparent reason when no one was talking about it.


Miranda Celeste Hale‏@mirandachale

@saramayhew @desertyard Has you-know-you stopped blogging about you& the pineapple yet? The last time I checked she’d done ~4352 posts on it

Sara E. Mayhew‏ @saramayhew

@mirandachale @desertyard It’s okay, Hermione, you can say the name: Ophelia Benson! Oppressed Pineapple!

Miranda Celeste Hale‏@mirandachale

@saramayhew desertyard Heh! :) I just died of lulz. I’ll be resurrected in 3 days’ time.


saramayhew How many blog posts did she do about the pineapple thing? like 5 or 6? @mirandachale

Sara E. Mayhew‏@saramayhew

@desertyard@mirandachale one was too many…


@saramayhew so much for ignoring you, huh? @mirandachale

Like that. Rise above it and ignore it by dragging it into a conversation for no reason apart from obsession.

A couple of points. One, I did a search. It wasn’t ~4352 posts, it was 4. Two, it wasn’t my idea, it was Mayhew’s idea. It was Mayhew who tweeted random out-of-nowhere malice about my way of blogging. My posts were in reply to Mayhew’s continued sniping. Miranda Hale is being dishonest in implying that I’m the one who picks these fights.

I could move on and rise above it and ignore it, but sometimes I choose not to because I think it’s worth showing the endless sniping and obsession.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Facebook tells a whopper

Mar 16th, 2013 10:49 am | By

The CBC doesn’t seem to consider internet harassment just “drama” or “playing the victim card” or similar. The CBC takes it seriously enough to report on it, at least.

An Alberta man found out just how ugly an online debate can become when someone hijacked his identity and went on a crude Facebook rampage.

He joined a Facebook page about preserving an Edmonton airport – whoa, controversial, right?! – and things got heated.

One of the users started harassing him, using profane language, so Ken blocked him.

This only angered the man and he recreated Ken’s Facebook profile, stealing his real profile pictures, his name and even where he worked.

The man then started posting racist, homophobic and exceptionally crude things under Ken’s name. One status claimed Ken was a rapist.

I thought everybody was allowed to do that. I thought that was “humor” – “parody” – “satire” – “lighthearted joking.” No?

Ken said he repeatedly reported the problem to Facebook. He asked dozens of Facebook friends to report the fake profile, but claims the company did nothing.

That’s Facebook. Facebook – unlike CBS – Doesn’t Care.

Steph Guthrie, who makes her living as an online activist but specializes in outing internet trolls who harass behind the cloak of anonymity, said she sees situations like Ken’s all too often.

“Harassment is unfortunately extremely common on the internet,” she said.

“The identity thefts side of things is maybe less common, but it’s definitely one of those key tools in an internet harasser’s arsenal.”

She said stealing someone’s identity is illegal, but Facebook rarely bothers to act.

Guthrie said police tend to prioritize investigations with financial or physical threat, so people just suffer in harassment cases, which can harm their well-being and reputation.

Yes but you see that’s their problem because they are out in public. If they weren’t out in public, the harassers wouldn’t know about them, so obviously it’s their own fault that they’re being harassed.

Facebook finally shut down the fake page today after being contacted by CBC News.

Ah well done Facebook! Do nothing for two years – and react only when the CBC taps you on the shoulder. You lying shits.

Account co-ordinator Claire LaRocca said the social media company takes the privacy of their users’ information very seriously.

“It is a violation of our policies to use a fake name or operate under a false identity, and we provide resources for both users and non-users to report false accounts through our Help Centre,” she said.

That is a shameless lie. Just ask my friend EllenBeth Wachs.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Harmonious households

Mar 16th, 2013 9:55 am | By

Legal reform is not enough to end violence against women, Katherine Brickell observes.

Despite what Unifem (the UN agency for gender equity) claims have been 20 years of “unprecedented progress” on the issue – including an increase in the number of laws – many women around the world still have no knowledge of their rights and even fewer of how to lay claim to them.

Brickell leads a research team in Cambodia, which has a law (passed in 2005) on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Protection of the Victims.

The law starts by defining its dual purpose as protecting victims of violence, and “preserving the harmony within the households in line with the nation’s good custom and tradition”. While the international development community has been largely successful in shifting violence against women from a private to a societal concern, in Cambodia this message has become distorted. Its societal significance is linked in law to the symbolic value of harmonious households, rather than to women’s wellbeing. Our research shows that this rhetoric is practically difficult for women to manage: they are repeatedly told to reconcile their relationships and not pursue punishment by law. This problem is compounded by persistent ideas in villages that violence against women is a private matter – in Cambodian customary rules, a “fire” – which women have a responsibility not to spread beyond the home.

There it is again. If you prioritize harmony, or unity, or consensus, or “peace” over equality or rights or the wellbeing of a subset of the group or community or movement, then that’s what you get – an arrangement in which the rights of some are sacrificed to the unity of all. Sometimes you have to do that. If there’s a tiger running toward the group, the group needs to unite to deal with the tiger. If there’s an earthquake or tsunami or hurricane, the group needs to work together on rescue and repair. But when there’s not a pressing emergency (and there will always be disagreement about which emergencies are pressing) then unity should not be valued over the rights of everyone. The few should not be expected to ditch their rights for the sake of unity or “harmonious households” forever.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Dehumanized prey

Mar 15th, 2013 4:52 pm | By

Soraya Chemaly has some trenchant thoughts on the Steubenville rape case and the culture that enables such cases.

While teaching people about consent isn’t going to change the behavior of predatory serial rapists, it will cultivate a culture that encourages effective bystander intervention and teaches both women and men how to reduce risk.  What we have now and by default are subtle and overt messages that teach children, like the two Steubenville boys and the kids who watched them, to treat other human beings — disproportionately female ones — as dehumanized prey instead of as people for whom they should feel compassion.

Seriously, what is that? Why did everyone else just let it happen? Why didn’t anyone stop it? How horrible that is. Imagine you’re at a gathering with a lot of adults and one person – a woman – becomes ill, and gets so groggy and dizzy that she can’t respond properly. What happens? A couple of men proceed to pull some of her clothes off, and stick their fingers up her, and text their friends about it, and drag her around the room, while everyone else stands around and laughs?

Well, no, at least I hope the people you know aren’t like that. No, people help, and suggest going to the ER, or lying down for a minute, or whatever seems appropriate.

So what the hell is this? What’s wrong with everyone? I know teenagers don’t have a complete prefrontal cortex yet, but that doesn’t mean they’re grizzly bears.

In the meantime, kids in Steubenville will pay a high price. The thing is, the boys probably are basically “good.” Although I think they are clearly at fault for violating this girl’s body and human rights, I do not think it’s their fault that they were born into a culture where “nice guys” rape all the time and get away with it.  We could avoid an awful lot of hardship and wasted lives if we disregarded the repugnant antics of those who are aggressively opposed to a fairer distribution of rights and confronted these issues head on.

As I recently said when participating in a Women Under Siege forum on victim-blaming, explaining context and shifting the focus from individual people to the systems that produce them isn’t a mentality of victimization, it’s a critique of the deeply entrenched, destructive attitudes at the heart of violence and oppression, and the first steps toward dismantling them. That is a matter of personal responsibility.

Tame the grizzly bears.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

What to do when somebody hands you a woman’s body

Mar 15th, 2013 4:10 pm | By

What we’re learning from the Steubenville rape trial.

We’re learning that there were text messages. Lots of text messages.

A state forensics investigator, Joann Gibb, methodically quoted from text messages that she said came from the phone of one of the defendants, Trent Mays, 17, and from the phones of friends and classmates. The messages described the inebriated girl as “dead” or as a “dead body” and stated that Mr. Mays acknowledged penetrating the girl with his fingers.

Because that’s what you do. If there’s a girl at a party who passes out from drinking too much, you stick your fingers up her.

The texts read from the witness stand by Ms. Gibb suggested that Mr. Mays and his friends grew concerned about how many pictures were being shared on social media, how the episode would affect his role on the football team, what the reaction would be from the girl’s father and, ultimately, that if charges were ever pressed, whether the authorities would examine Mr. Mays’s cellphone messages.

One text sent from Mr. Mays’s phone to an acquaintance stated that “if they press charges, they are going to look at all my texts,” according to the testimony of Ms. Gibb.

“Delete them,” the acquaintance responded.

Interesting what they grew concerned about. Not the possibility that they’d done a shitty thing to the girl, and a whole series of new shitty things by texting about it; not the possibility that the girl had been harmed; but the possibility that their doing a shitty thing and then bragging about it might turn out to be detrimental to them.

They sound like really great kids. I hope their football team is proud.

On the witness stand, Ms. Gibb also described text messages suggesting that the 16-year-old girl did not know what had happened to her that night, and that she grew angry and vulnerable as she learned more.

“I wasn’t being a slut. They were taking advantage of me,” stated one text message sent from the girl’s phone, according to Ms. Gibb’s testimony.

To a friend of Mr. Mays, the girl wrote in another text message: “Who was there who did that to me?” She added, “You couldn’t have told them to stop or anything?”

“I hate my life,” the girl also texted, stating at another point: “Oh my God, please tell me this isn’t” true.

Yes but she’s not on the football team, so who cares about her.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Little room

Mar 15th, 2013 3:40 pm | By

The new idea about the Neanderthals is that they had very big eyes, so they had a lot of visual processing equipment which means they had little room for higher order thinking. It’s like eagles. Eagles have enormous eyes and most of their headspace is devoted to visual processing. They can see like demons but they’re lousy conversationalists.

It was dark up north in Europe, see.

The research team explored the idea that the ancestor of Neanderthals left Africa and had to adapt to the longer, darker nights and murkier days of Europe. The result was that Neanderthals evolved larger eyes and a much larger visual processing area at the backs of their brains.

The humans that stayed in Africa, on the other hand, continued to enjoy bright and beautiful days and so had no need for such an adaption. Instead, these people, our ancestors, evolved their frontal lobes, associated with higher-level thinking, before they spread across the globe.

And now we get music, and the internet, and the Mars Rover.

Don’t start dissing the Neanderthals again though.

Oxford University’s Prof Robin Dunbar, who supervised the study, said that the team wanted to avoid restoring the stereotypical image of Neanderthals.

“They were very, very smart, but not quite in the same league as Homo sapiens,” he told BBC News.

“That difference might have been enough to tip the balance when things were beginning to get tough at the end of the last ice age,” he said.

They weren’t really like eagles. Just not up to putting a rover on Mars.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Venomous swish of skirt

Mar 15th, 2013 3:14 pm | By

Huh. Even North Korea goes in for sexist insults. Who knew?

When North Korea blamed President Park Geun-hye’s “venomous swish of skirt” this week for tensions on the Korean Peninsula, it brought up an issue that had been mainly unremarked upon in South Korea: Would their leader’s gender color the latest confrontation between the Koreas?

The North Koreans, masters of outrageous propaganda, no doubt picked their phrase carefully for the South’s first female president. “Swish of skirt” was long an insult in Korean culture, directed at women deemed too aggressive, far from the traditional ideal of docile and coy.

The old damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Either you’re too aggressive and undocile, or you’re a feeble little nothing. So sorry, those are your only choices.

For many in South Korea, Ms. Park’s gender has long been a secondary concern, even as vestiges of the country’s patriarchal past remain. She was elected in good part because she is the daughter of a dictator who is rated South Korea’s most popular former president.

Oh, well that’s different. If she’s there because she’s an important man’s relative, then she’ll be exempt from the usual rules. Until she’s not, of course.

Several analysts said that the North Koreans — who have held on to their patriarchal traditions even as the South has rapidly become more egalitarian — are aware of Ms. Park’s reputation. The North got a direct glimpse of her in 2002, when she traveled to meet Kim Jong-il.

“I don’t think her gender is a disadvantage,” said Yoo Ho-yeol, a North Korea specialist at Korea University. “The North Koreans know that she is not an easy woman, or an easy female leader, to deal with.”

But Andrei Lankov, a North Korea scholar at Kookmin University in Seoul, is less convinced. He called the North “a deeply patriarchal culture where women are believed to be generally unsuitable for any position of power and influence.”

“Hence,” he said, “they might assume that President Park is weak and irrational.”

Or too aggressive, far from the traditional ideal of docile and coy. Or both.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Good enough to be an acolyte

Mar 15th, 2013 12:08 pm | By

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville has her experience of being both an atheist and a woman.

The religious community in which I’d been raised did not allow female ministers, did not allow female presidents of the congregation, did not allow female elders, and did not, for most of my childhood, even allow female lectors to read the selected Bible readings during the service each week.  Women were for teaching children—and for cleaning: Communionware, the kitchen, maybe a vestment.

I started asking questions about this disparity at age 7, possibly earlier.  I got the usual bullshit answers that are used to justify these things.  I was good enough to be an acolyte (especially since there were precious few teenage boys willing to do it) and scrub the toilets—both of which I did countless times—but not good enough to be ordained.  I was less than.

Further, my objections to being told, on the one hand, that we are all equal in the eyes of god, and, on the other, that my gender nonetheless rendered me incapable of serving god in every capacity available to men, were greeted with contempt—and sometimes outright hostility.  One minister told my mother that I needed to stop asking questions.  Another told me I was “divisive,” at an age that required my looking up “divisive” in the dictionary when I got home from church to understand his meaning.

She disliked all that, a lot, and she got out of it before she got out of theism.

Then she found movement atheism – and found the same inequality all over again.

There were precious few visible atheist leaders: The most prominent male atheists were very enamored with one another, and not particularly inclined to offer the same support to women, via recommended links and highlighted quotes and inclusion in digital salons about Important Ideas.  They wondered aloud where all the female atheists are, and women would pipe up—”Here! Here we are! We’re right here!”—only to then go back to the status quo, with explicit or implicit messaging that women just weren’t working as hard as they are, just aren’t as smart as they are, or else they’d be leaders, too.

That’s a very good point. I’d noticed the phenomenon, but hadn’t quite managed to see it in those terms. You know what it reminds me of? I’ll tell you. It reminds me of the all-male mutual admiration society that was the group consisting of Martin Amis and Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie and Christopher Hitchens. They were very enamored with one another, and not particularly inclined to offer the same support to women.

That business of wondering where all the female atheists are, and women saying right here, god damn it, and being ignored – that’s one reason I found the Cara Santa Maria-Michael Shermer exchange so irritating: the gabbling about “why so few” when we’re not so few and at this stage of the game both of them should know perfectly well that we’re not so few. And then from “why so few” it’s such an easy hop to “it’s more of a guy thing” – i.e. we’re just not working as hard as they are, we’re just not as smart as they are, or we’d be on that panel too.

There was the exclusion from conferences, the sexist posts, the sexual harassment, the appropriation of religious and irreligious women’s lived experiences to Score Points and the obdurate not listening to those women when they protested.

In fact, female atheists’ protests were greeted much the same way with which my protests had been met in my patriarchal church.  Silencing.  Demeaning.  Threats.

All of this felt terribly familiar.  A bunch of straight, white, male gatekeepers pretending there’s no gate.

And it’s still going on, while we’re still pushing back, and on and on and on.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Lying for Mo

Mar 15th, 2013 11:18 am | By

The Guardian had a bit more yesterday on UCL’s decision not to be besties with iERA any more. Most of it we already know, in fact some of it could have come from here, but it tells us some new things.

Saleem Chagtai, head of PR at iERA, expressed disappointment at the ban and denied that the group had tried to enforce segregation at the event.

The group has put a time-lapse video of the audience taking their seats before the event on YouTube. But as there is no sound, it does not reveal whether or not men and women were asked to sit separately when they came into the lecture theatre.

It is also unclear whether the video ends when the whole audience had arrived and taken their seats.

The time-lapse video is totally unhelpful, and it’s laughable that they pointed to that to back up their claim of no enforced segregation. Mostly what the video shows is that there were very few women visible.

Chagtai claimed that the group had offered audience members separate seating, with mixed-sex seating at the front of the lecture theatre with rows only for men and women who wished to adhere to their religious beliefs further back.

He said: “I would classify segregation as people saying, ‘you’re a man you sit there, you’re a woman you sit there’. We understood that we could not enforce separate seating but we could facilitate it.”

Uh huh. Try that with other terms.

Chagtai claimed that the group had offered audience members separate seating, with mixed-race seating at the front of the lecture theatre with rows only for whites and blacks who wished to adhere to their religious beliefs further back.

He said: “I would classify segregation as people saying, ‘you’re a white you sit there, you’re a black you sit there’. We understood that we could not enforce separate seating but we could facilitate it.”

It’s not a thing that should be “facilitated.” The world doesn’t need people “facilitating” inequality and domination/subordination.

UCL spokesman Dominique Fourniol said representatives of iERA met the university’s senior administrative officer, vice provost Rex Knight, and a diversity officer on Tuesday when the issue of segregation was thoroughly examined. He added that the event was not originally booked by iERA but an individual.

Oh yes? That grad student in the chemistry department perhaps? That sounds like more trickery and deception and bait-and-switch.

Speaking of trickery…Christopher Roche – the guy the iERA tried to eject from the debate for sitting in the “women’s” section, you remember – told me about this piece in the Standard and especially the comments on it.


Salahuddinlives20 hours ago

This debacle is unbelievable. UCL would not exist as an academic university without the Muslims. In fact UCL should apologise to the the Muslims and be thankful to them. WHY? Because the institution that we know today as university a centre of academic excellence only came into existence because of Islam. The Oldest University in the world University of Al-Karaouine: Located in Fes, Morocco, this university originally was a mosque founded in 859 by Fatima al-Fihri, A WOMAN. It developed into one of the leading universities for natural sciences.

ChrisRoche1 day ago

In fairness, we only made a complaint against the fact that they didn’t let us sit between the women. Why should anyone be offended if I sit besides them??

MichelleSuzu1 day ago

Because you are a PERVERT Chris. We CHOSE to sit separately from the men, but you FORCED yourself on us.

That “ChrisRoche” who commented? That’s not Christopher Roche. The deceptive trickster shits impersonated him.

Notice “Salahuddinlives” – perhaps the same commenter who commented here as both “Adam Stanford” and “Salahuddin” on Monday. And I doubt that “MichelleSuzu” is a woman at all – the same person probably did all three comments.

What sleazy people they are, these people who want to take away our rights.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)