A guest post by Robert Fendt. Please address comments appropriately. 🙂
(Note: this text deals with harassment, sexism, misogyny, racism and transphobia. Readers’ discretion is advised.)
Dear reader: are you male? White? Heterosexual? Cisgender? Healthy? Congratulations: this text is for you. It also means you are among us lucky ones who get to play the game called ‘life’ on the easiest setting there is. Don’t believe it? Read on.
Disclaimer: I’m also a white male cisgender heterosexual person. And for a long time, I would have said about me having it particularly easy in life: don’t be ridiculous. But I do have friends and colleagues who are not male, who are not white, who are not heterosexual, who are not cisgender, some of whom have to deal with disability or illness, and listening to them has changed and reshaped my perspective. It’s time it changed the perspectives of us all.
In the ‘western’ countries, freedom of opinion and speech are fundamental rights, designed to protect minorities from persecution. So how ironic is it that nowadays ‘free speech’ also functions as a smoke screen for the harassment of women and minorities?
Imagine being a woman walking down the street. Now try to guess how common cat calls and whistles are, and how many unsolicited comments about your body and looks you get. Try to guess how common it is that strangers come uncomfortably close or even touch you without your consent. If you guessed “rarely”, then guess again. Being a woman in public means being scrutinised and ogled and commented upon, at the very least. And now do me a favor: honestly try to imagine being in that position. Imagine dealing with stuff like that. For every. Single. Fucking. Day. Continue reading “(Guest Post) Words of mass destruction: the weaponization of 'free speech'”→
Remember the “I’ve got a crush on Obama” meme that happened in 2008? The one that arguably helped win a bit of the youth vote? There’s evidently a new variation on that meme for the 2012 election cycle: a guy who has a similar “crush” on Obama.
Considering the very legitimate grievances gays have with Obama’s wishy-washy and states-rights-y stance on gay marriage, regardless of the fact that it is an incremental improvement over previous slavering homophobes in office, I can see this being very ill received by the gay community. It also doesn’t help that the guy doing the singing is apparently straight, and thinks this comportment he’s acting (what with the butt-jiggling and all) is representative of the gay experience. I suppose it MIGHT be, for some individual gay person, but I’m betting someone’s going to take issue with this representation.
I don’t know. I’m seeing this from the hetero-privileged perspective, and I don’t think it’s in any way affiliated with the official campaign in the same sense that the Obama Girl video wasn’t, so I think it might win a few votes and might tweak the noses of the aforementioned slavering homophobe party, but I can see this backfiring otherwise and in a very big and real way by earning outrage and LOSING more votes than was gained. What do you folks think?
Ho hum, yet another religiously-inspired bigot who thinks being disallowed from their bigotry is something akin to a cultural Holocaust. These people aren’t getting any cleverer.
The icing on the cake, I think, is when he says that gays can’t reproduce, so they must “recruit”. Like being a minority and trying to get equality is a numbers game — that they’re fighting for rights to marry one another (and have all the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples), just so that they can more effectively form two-person recruitment cells or something. The very presence of a pair of gay men in your neighborhood will cause further gayness! Maybe they’ll go door-to-door asking “have you heard the good news about buttsex?” Or something.
I can’t even try to argue this seriously. There’s no “there” there.
Another hit and run before I hit the hay for another overnight tonight. Gods damn but my work schedule is playing havoc with my head and I can’t brain out the thinky things. Sorry.
Via ItsPronouncedMetrosexual.com, this chart will help you sort out orientation, identity, sex, and expression. You know, if you’re having issues with it, like this guy was. Note that this isn’t the “genderbread man”, even though “man isn’t gendered” or whatever the hell.
I don’t know if you realized it when it happened, but last time around here in Canada, when bill C-389 amending the standing 1977 Canadian Human Rights Act to include transsexual and transgender rights was about to pass in the last parliament, it became a victim of the 2011 election when the government was dissolved before it could become law.
The process, which had taken almost a year, fell apart before its proponents’ eyes. Transsexual and transgender persons came within a hair’s breadth of being protected under our Charter, but became an accidental casualty instead of Harper’s bid for more power. They truly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
If you have a memory that stretches all the way back to 2011, you’ll remember the common media narrative and pushback against this bill was that it was the “Bathroom Bill” — a bid to allow “perverts” to use a woman’s bathroom despite having a penis, and possibly prey on unsuspecting little girls. Suddenly, public bathrooms would go from safe havens to molestation central.
You know, because homosexuality and transsexuality are all about molesting little kids. Or something.
Natalie Reed is a transgender activist and an atheist, and possibly more importantly, a fantastic writer. She wrote an insightful post (like she does) regarding a meme spreading amongst the transgender community that “God loves trans people”, wherein she vehemently disagreed with the statement, because there is no evidence for the existence of this corporeal entity that people claim loves them. She also lays out the fact that religion, historically, has been aggressively anti-gay and anti-trans and, well, extraordinarily xenophobic with regard to anything and anyone that does not fit into the “traditional” (e.g., “DEFINED BY GOD!”) gender roles. These facts are well in evidence around these parts, so I won’t rehash them.
Be Scofield is a Divinity School pantheist and a pro-theism activist, and probably more importantly, terrible at both reading for comprehension (as Chris Hallquist covers), and at writing persuasively. He rebutted Natalie in a most repetitive and anti-Gnu-Atheism manner that she is wrong because she believes supporting religious delusion also supports the more extremist of the religiously deluded. Maybe not in exactly those words, but that’s the gist of his argument, which, while he demands sociological evidence for Natalie’s assertions, he supports his own via argumentum ad nauseum. He also makes several assumptions about Natalie’s line of thinking, about her method of argumentation, her reasons for making the arguments she does, and about her general psychology.
Before I start on this post, nothing I say here is intended to be a slight on people fighting for equality from the perspective of other genders or sexes. I intend this as an acknowledgement of the many ways that men are disadvantaged by the same societal mores that disadvantage women in other, additionally serious (and in many instances more serious) ways. I am a feminist as well as an egalitarian, and I approach these issues with those ideals as my starting point. This is in no way an attempt at drawing a false equivalency between the issues the various genders and sexes encounter.
The patriarchal society we find ourselves in today is a significantly eroded one, where the patriarchy finds itself under attack from almost every angle, but it remains a patriarchy still. Thanks to the monumental efforts of the feminist and civil rights movements, not to mention the recent secular pushback against religious authoritarianism and its adherents’ less than progressive ideals about women’s role in society, what was once a society that prided itself on its white male hegemony is now a more pluralistic one, though far from egalitarian. This patriarchy still exists, and societal pressure for men and women to conform to specific gender roles still has the very inertial effect on forestalling progressive change.
And while these gender roles have many powerful side-effects with regards to women and their sexual self-determination, men are not wholly insulated from the splash damage. In fact, I strongly believe that these gender roles are largely responsible for all of the gender related issues that all sexes and genders experience today. Continue reading “The Disadvantages of Being a Man”→