Bill Maher’s guide on how to be a human trashfire

Image of one Bill Maher, douchebag extraordinaire, suffering from a self-inflicted case of White Male Entitlement Mentality.

Once upon a time, Bill Maher was cool in my book. I vaguely remember watching  a couple of episodes of his old show Politically Incorrect and while my memories are fuzzy,  I remember being quite entertained. Once he made the move to cable television, I started watching him more often. Hell, I used to dvr his show and watched it near religiously.   I used to appreciate the frankness with which he’d talk about religion, his support for legal marijuana, and his vocal opposition to all things conservative and Republican.  At that time, I knew of no one who was an unabashed critic of religion, so listening to Maher mock and criticize religious beliefs was refreshing, as was his no-holds-barred criticisms of Republicans.

But there was a side–several of them in fact–that I didn’t know about and/or weren’t woke enough to recognize. In 2017, however, I can see them plain as day. In fact, they’re so apparent that I’m not sure why he hasn’t written a ‘How to be a Human Trashfire’ guide. Such a guide would include examples from Maher’s various displays of bigotry over the years and include advice like:

  1. Learn to be a Pro. An ableism pro. One of the beginner steps to mastering ableism is to treat disabled kids with contempt like the time Maher equated developmentally disabled kids with dogs.  More advanced human trashfires know how to engage in multiple forms of bigotry simultaneously, as Maher did last year when he blew up at BLM activist Ashley Williams for crashing a HIllary Clinton fundraiser. And don’t forget–no self-respecting ableist bigot can claim that title if they don’t point to cognitive ability and say “POTUS45 is an asshole bc there is something wrong with his brain”.
  2. With boundless pride, you’ve got to share your sexism and misogyny with the world. Fly your “I hold women in contempt and think anything feminine is inferior to me” flag high. This can be done through an ancient male ritual called “I’m not sexist, but…”  or through the not-so-subtle derision of femininity,  or the use of gendered slurs (for someone who isn’t sexist, Maher has a long history of the word b*tch falling–I guess uncontrollably, since he says he’s not sexist–from his mouth when talking about women) or by “joking” about killing women for it doesn’t matter what the reason is   or if you combine your misogyny with ableism or…(yeah, the list goes on)
  3. Another trait often found in the modern Trashfire Bigot is transphobia. An excellent way to show the transgender community that you are the opposite of an ally–an enemy, for those uncertain–is to grant a platform to a White Supremacist Piece of Shit and not only let him speak his mind unchallenged, but indulge in a bit of transantagonism yourself (yes, I’m talking about that time Bill and Milo the douchebag bonded over their disgust of trans people).
  4. Of all the forms of bigotry he has displayed, one of Bill Maher’s favorites, one he can’t seem to go for too long without gushing over (as if his newborn child) is his anti-Muslim bigotry. From his completely unproven claim that millions of Muslims supported the attacks against Charlie Hebdo  to his smells-like-he-pulled-this-from-his-ass commentary about Muslim men, Maher loves him some Islamophobia. Of course, he doesn’t call it that, bc to him, he’s merely criticizing the religion when he condemns millions of Muslims for the actions of a relative few extremists**.

As with so many other bigots with racist beliefs, Bill Maher’s racism is not focused solely on Muslims. He also has room in his evaporated husk of a heart for some anti-black racism. Unlike his anti-Muslim bigotry, however, Maher’s anti-black racism has traditionally been more restrained. For example, on the face of it, his 2012 comment to Wayne Brady about the latter being a “non-threatening black man”, doesn’t appear racist. It is though, bc it  betrayed a view of black men as violent and dangerous. Such a view, which is ridiculously absurd*, is commonly held today and is one of the main biases at play when police officers shoot and injure/kill black people.  His supportive comments to Bill O’Reilly after the latter engaged in some casual racism regarding Representative Maxine Waters’ hair went a step further.  There’s also his comments about wanting President Obama to act like a “real Black man” by pulling up his shirt to reveal a gun tucked in his pants (the image of a black man with a gun hidden under his shirt and tucked into his pants is shorthand for criminal or thug). It’s one thing to have subconscious racial biases and prejudices. We all do (especially white people). It’s quite another to defend the racism of a virulently racist dirtbag like O’Reilly.And it’s something else to playfully allude to black people as criminals  Now, as if he were tired of hiding, Bill Maher has fully embraced his anti-black racism by doing the thing virtually every white person in this country knows is racist:

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Bill Maher’s guide on how to be a human trashfire
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Black Panther fans have reason to rejoice

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It is fairly common knowledge that Marvel Studios has a diversity problem. 11 movies in and not a single one has featured a woman or a Person of Color as the title character. While fans have been demanding a Black Widow movie for years now, Marvel Studios has yet to even announce one will be made (they keep saying they are open to the idea). Similarly, there has yet to be a MCU movie starring a Person of Color. On the smaller screen, things are slightly better, as two of the four Marvel Cinematic tv series are headlined by women (Jessica Jones and Agent Carter). All told though, between the big and small screen, Marvel isn’t deviating much from its white male leads. The sea of white faces are not the only problems facing the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Issues of whitewashing, racial stereotyping, and the erasure of Asian identity (I’m looking at you Dr. Strange, and you, Iron Fist) also plague the MCU. The company has a long way to go before it can claim to be truly diverse.

Now, I tend to harp on the problems in Hollywood and/or the comic book industry bc I care. I care about movies. I care about comic book characters. And I care about racial and gender diversity in both. I want things to be better. I want greater representation (not just of women and PoC, but also queer and disabled people, and more still; but that’s a subject for a different post). Not just for my benefit. Not just for the benefit of others whose opinions align with mine on this subject. I also want greater representation bc it is important for future generations, as cultural anthropologist Michael D. Baran explains:

It is critical that children see all sorts of people playing both the good and the bad roles in media. Otherwise, they may take those absences as meaningful and it may affect how they understand social categories. And it is certainly important for kids to be able to identify with heroes that they feel represent who they are as people.

For very young kids, this might or might not fall out along racial lines and we must be careful not to impose our reification of race onto their knowledge. But we might as well err on the good side, by having a diversity of heroes for people to relate to – not just racially, but also in terms of gender, religion, body type, etc.

While Marvel Studios has much work to do in diversifying its interconnected universe, there are some bright spots on the horizon, and I think there is cause to have some degree of optimism that things are getting better (even if getting to better is like swimming uphill in a tar pit).

I’m optimistic because the Netflix series Jessica Jones was an intense, well acted, rollercoaster of a series that I loved from start to finish. Jessica Jones was presented as a strong, flawed, and three-dimensional character. The widespread acclaim of the show led to the quick announcement of a second season (speaking of which, I need them to announce *when*). On the big screen, I’m optimistic because 2019 sees the release of Captain Marvel, which will mark the first feature length MCU film with a woman in the starring role. Based on the Marvel Comics superhero (formerly known as Ms. Marvel/Binary/Warbird), this movie has the potential to position Captain Marvel as the premier female superhero of Marvel (in a way comparable to Wonder Woman’s position at DC). Though no actress has been cast in the title role, I am hopeful that this movie and this character will receive the respect they both deserve. Back on television, all 13 episodes of the Mike Colter starring Netflix series Luke Cage (which has been likened to the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire) drop on September 30. In the last decade, I’ve gone from ambivalence toward Cage to a fan of the character (writer Brian Michael Bendis may do a lot of things I don’t like, but his treatment of Cage has been exemplary). And then there’s the Black Panther, Marvel’s first black superhero. Seeing what Marvel has planned for the King of Wakanda between the comics and the big screen ought to please a great many Panther fans. I know I’m excited.

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Black Panther fans have reason to rejoice

Monday’s Maddening Meme 4.4.16

(Yes, I know it is Tuesday, but I was indisposed much of yesterday and unable to finish this post)

Men are simple creatures with few needs, wants, and desires. It shouldn’t be hard for a woman to make a man happy.

Women, on the other hand are complex creatures who have a plethora of needs, wants, and desires. It is hard to make a woman happy because keeping track of everything they want, need, or desire is incredibly time-consuming.

Men- Simple. Easy to deal with.

Women- Complicated. Endlessly needy.

That’s what I’m getting from the above meme, which I stumbled across on Facebook. It reminds me of the 1992 book Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus by author and relationship counselor John Gray. In the book, Gray postulates that there are fundamental psychological differences between the sexes; differences so grand that men and women need instructions on how to understand and communicate with one another (apparently, those in the relationship should have an honest conversation about what they need and want is not sufficient advice; either that or it would be a one page book). And it just so happens that Gray has instructions. You just have to read his book, and you’ll find out all the secrets of the universe. Of course you also have BUY the book, so don’t think this guidance comes free of charge. Just be aware that the advice offered treats men and women as if they’re little more than walking stereotypes and erases the individuality of humanity. Needless to say, the book has faced quite a bit of criticism:

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Monday’s Maddening Meme 4.4.16

Argumentum ad dictionary, may you die a quick death

A friend on Facebook reposted this Tumblr meme today. As I read it, I nodded along, thinking “yup, pretty much”. Racism and sexism in the United States are systems of oppression that discriminate against and marginalize People of Color and women.  There’s nothing controversial there. A group of individuals holding prejudiced or bigoted beliefs who have the ability and resources to see their beliefs preserved in the cultural fabric, leading to the oppression of specific social groups at all levels of society-that’s what makes something a system of oppression. It is that system that makes racism and sexism so awful. A no-brainer, eh? To *some* of us it is. To others, all of that is highly controversial.

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Argumentum ad dictionary, may you die a quick death

Internalizing cultural messages

Over on Facebook, “Opinion Vlogger, Children’s Illustrator and Thrift Store Addict”  Kat Blaque, posed the following question:

So I need your opinion. I have mine, but I want yours:
Do you think people who actively say that they don't date members of their own race have issues with self hate?

Because I’m so well known for expressing myself succinctly, my response to Kat was a few concise sentences.

Ok, maybe it was a bit more than a few sentences. Ok, fine. It was a lot of sentences. Sue me. I’m still working on concise. Anyways, here’s the response I left:

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Internalizing cultural messages

Some methods of parenting should be criticized

As a gay man who has never had sex with a woman, I live a childfree existence. That means I lack the perspective parents have on raising kids. For a long time, I felt that my complete ignorance of raising children meant that I couldn’t weigh in on matters of child-rearing. After all, I thought, if I’ve never changed a diaper (and HELLO, I just now realized that I have never changed one; I’ll have to double check with my parents to be sure, as its possible I may have helped change my sisters diaper when she was a baby and I simply forgot), how can I weigh in on how much time a child should be able to use social media in a given week? How much can my opinion count when I’ve never had to deal with a child acting out in public? What the fuck do I know if I’ve never had to deal with a shoplifting teenager? But here’s the thing: my lack of experience as a parent does not preclude my commenting on the treatment of children. I’m not talking about offering my opinion on how many times a day a child should eat, or how many hours of television they should be able to watch per week, or even the appropriate age to talk to them about sex. I’m talking about discussing matters that can have negative physical, psychological, or emotional effects on children.

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Some methods of parenting should be criticized

Identifying ambivalent sexism

Reporter to female politician: “How do you juggle your work with being a mother?”

“Girls need to dress appropriately in school, so boys won’t be distracted.”

“A woman shouldn’t be POTUS because of her hormones.”

“It is in a woman’s nature to be a nurturing mother figure.”

“Women shouldn’t be on the front lines in the military.”

“Women are so much more emotional than men.”

“Teaching is a woman’s profession.”

“Pink is for girls, blue is for boys.”

“Stop crying like a little girl!”

“You punch like a girl!”

02

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Identifying ambivalent sexism

The streets belong to everyone

As a man, I haven’t been labeled a slut for having or enjoying sex.

As a man, I don’t have to worry about being viewed as sexually available based on my attire.

As a man, I’ve never had my masculinity called into question because I’m child-free.

As a man, I’ve never had to worry that I wouldn’t be promoted at a job due to my sex.

I haven’t had to deal with any of the above because I was born into a group for whom society has granted unearned benefits. To put it bluntly, there is a lot that I and other male-identified* people don’t have to deal with because we identify as men. That is the essence of Male Privilege. Many people-usually men, but sometimes women-have a difficult time understanding what Male Privilege is. Some folks think the term means that men haven’t faced difficulties in life. Others think the phrase is an insult meant to shame men for being men.

Neither is true.

Telling someone they have Male Privilege is not an insult and the use of the term does not mean that men live luxurious lives free from difficulties and obstacles**. It is an observation. An observation about the overall imbalance of power along sex or gender lines in society. That imbalance of power heavily favors men and disadvantages women, as the social phenomenon of street harassment illustrates.

The non-profit organization Stop Street Harassment (SSH) notes that at present, there is no standardized definition of street harassment. As of March 2015, their working definition is:

Gender-based street harassment is unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger in a public place without their consent and is directed at them because of their actual or perceived sex, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

Street harassment includes unwanted whistling, leering, sexist, homophobic or transphobic slurs, persistent requests for someone’s name, number or destination after they’ve said no, sexual names, comments and demands, following, flashing, public masturbation, groping, sexual assault, and rape.

Street harassment directed at people who identify as women perfectly illustrates how men benefit from Male Privilege***. Street harassment is not something men have to deal with because they are men, whereas it is something people who identify as women have to deal with. On an everyday basis. Many people dismiss street harassment, claiming it’s not a big problem. These people are wrong. It’s a problem because women have spoken up and said it’s a problem-one they are tired of having to endure. Those who identify as women have shared their stories. They’ve expressed their disgust, revulsion, and horror at the harassment they face simply for having the audacity to exist in public.

Street harassment is a display of power by men. It is one way that men attempt to maintain their social dominance over women. At the core of street harassment is the idea that men are deserving of the time and attention of women. Male entitlement, in other words. This entitlement leads men to think that they deserve a response from women when they comment on their appearance in public, or that women are obligated to stop and chat with them, or that they [men] have the right to sexually assault women.

Unfortunately, for all that women do not owe men their time, attention, or affection, street harassment is an ongoing problem-one not limited by geographic boundaries. In Mexico, for instance, street harassment is a massive problem. Last year, the online multi-media company Fusion partnered with artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh on a project to amplify the voices of women in Mexico City fighting against street harassment.

Fazlalizadeh is the creator of the street art project Stop Telling Women To Smile, which addresses gender based street harassment. Her street art project consists of a series of portraits of women whom the artist has spoken with about their experiences with street harassment.

Together with Fusion editor Anna Holmes, Fazlalizadeh interviewed many of the women who are fighting against a culture that turns a blind eye to harassment and violence against women:

Fazlalizadeh and Fusion editor Anna Holmes settled on Mexico City because they wanted to amplify the voices of Mexican women who are challenging the ways in which their communities turn a blind eye to harassment and violence against women. “I wanted to find out, what do women in Mexico City go through?” says the NYC-based Fazlalizadeh. “What are their experiences? What are their stories? How’s what they experience different from what I experience? How can I reflect those differences in these pieces?”

Street harassment, also known as “acoso en las calles,” is an enormous problem in Mexico City and the country as a whole, where rates of sexual violence against women are some of the highest in the world. In Mexico, as elsewhere, says Laura Martinez, director of the Association for the Integral Development of Raped Persons, female bodies are seen as objects, as “something a man can have access to, even if the woman doesn’t want”; a United Nations report in 2010 ranked Mexico number one globally in sexual violence against women, estimating that 44% of females have suffered some sort of sexual violence, from groping to rape. The situation is so bad that Mexico City offers female-only cars on the city’s subways and, in 2008, introduced female-only buses, painted the color pink.

The title of this interactive comes from commentary by Gabriela Duhart Herrera, Director of Atrévete DF, the Mexico City chapter of Hollaback!, an organization founded in 2005 to protest the verbal and sexual abuse of women in public spaces. The interactive tells both the story of Tatyana’s trip and the experiences of the dozens of Mexico City women – students, mothers, politicians, even a police officer – who shared their stories with her. There are also a number of male perspectives on display. (“Here, all the men do it,” said one young man about street harassment.)

Projects like this aim to raise public awareness about the problem of street harassment. No one who identifies as a woman should be forced to endure taunts, leering, stalking, harassment, whistles, slurs, or any other form of street harassment. Male-identified individuals must come to recognize that they do not own public spaces and are not entitled to attention from women, nor their time or affections. Those who identify as girls or women have the same right to participate in public life as men–without being made to endure street harassment. Sadly, many otherwise empathetic and compassionate men are ignorant of street harassment. I know I used to be. Like other men, I was blinded-by my privilege. Yes, thanks to Male Privilege, I’ve never had to worry about being harassed on the street because of my sex. Since I never had to worry about street harassment, I never had to acknowledge it was a problem. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind, so to speak. But once I had the wool pulled away from my eyes-once I acknowledged that I do have Male Privilege-I saw the crap women put up with. I realized I could no longer close my eyes to injustices like street harassment (nor would I even if I could). All people who identify as women are human beings, deserving of the same rights and freedoms as male-identified people. Hopefully more men will come to realize their privilege and work with social justice advocates to help build a better-a world with no male privilege, no street harassment, and no male entitlement. I’m not naive enough to think that’s going to happen in my lifetime or, really, anytime in the next few hundred years, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. What kind of Humanist would I be if I didn’t do my part in the fight to make the world a better place?  A better world-I think that’s a goal well worth fighting for, no matter how long it takes. Don’t you?


*My use of phrases like ‘male-identified’ or ‘people who identify as women’ (and the various permutations throughout this post) stems from a desire to ensure my language is inclusive of trans people.

**Indeed, men can and do face obstacles in life. For instance, bisexual men, atheist men, or African-American men are socially disadvantaged. This is where an understanding of the concept of intersectionality is helpful. Bisexual men are underprivileged because the balance of power in society favors heterosexual men. Similarly, atheist men or African-American men lack the unearned benefits society grants men who are religious or part of the dominant racial/ethnic group of a given country (in the U.S. white people are the dominant racial group). The disadvantages faced by men as a result of being bisexual, atheist, or African-American is due to their membership in those groups. It is not a result of them being men.

***It is important to remember that discussions of Male Privilege are not about individuals, but male-identified persons as a group. While some individuals who identify as men may experience street harassment because of their actual or perceived sex or gender, on the whole men are not the victims of gender-based street harassment.

The streets belong to everyone

I’m a man who gets offended

“‘That’s offensive!’ … said no great man, ever.”

“Never is the fall of masculinity more clearly on display than when grown, adult men pull out the ‘offended’ card.  Any man who goes about with the word ‘offensive’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding… or promptly have his man-card revoked, one of the two.

Why is it that we all inherently get that sense of disgust, that feeling of embarrassment for a man who wines about being ‘offended’ but not many of us can articulate as to the reason?  Just why are we so repulsed by men (usually liberal) who fervently take ‘offense’?”

“Today’s ‘offended’ men are seen as wimpy simply because they are.  Instead of harnessing whatever affront is facing them, instead of facing it head-on, dealing with the problem and coming out the other side a stronger man, the ‘modern’ male chooses to sulk, to whine, and inevitably call Gloria Steinem.”

The above gems are brought to you by one Steven Crowder.  Crowder is a blogger over at Louder With Crowder, a Tea Party News Network powered conservative website that I’m not going to link to (here’s a link to the Addicting Info article that brought Crowder to my attention. It has a link to his site). While reading his sexist tirade, I realized that he made no attempt to identify what things so-called “modern” men take offense to. Others can fisk his rant, but as one of those “modern” men he attacks, I thought I’d list some of the things I take offense to. The following is a comment I left over at Addicting Info:

Stop being offended.
That’s far easier said than done however. Many of us who are members of certain oppressed groups regularly get offended by crap that others say or do. And contrary to the rantings of the douchemaggott in the OP, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being offended.

As a gay man, I get offended that people like Pat Robertson or Scott Lively deny not just my humanity and my rights, but the rights of countless LGBT people around the world. Their incendiary rhetoric contributes to the climate of anti-LGBT bigotry.

As a black man, I get offended by the people who claim that racism is a thing of the past because it isn’t and to make that claim is to deny the experiences of people of color. It sends the message that what these people go through either isn’t real or doesn’t matter. For those of us who are affected by the very much existing racism, we don’t have the luxury of living in a fantasy world disconnected from reality. Many of us don’t appreciate being told that the crap we’ve gone through isn’t real.

As an atheist, I get offended by those who claim that atheists are as bad as rapists bc we don’t believe in any deities. It’s offensive on multiple levels. For one, not believing in a deity is nothing like violating the bodily autonomy of another person by forcing yourself on them. Rape is one of the most horrific violations of another human being possible. Not believing in a deity doesn’t affect anyone else. The two aren’t remotely comparable. Secondly, being an atheist doesn’t make one immoral (yes, there are atheists with questionable morals, just as there are theists with questionable morals). Morals deal with the distinction between good/bad or right/wrong behavior between human beings. There’s nothing immoral about being an atheist bc there’s no moral component to not believing in a deity. It’s as silly as saying someone is immoral bc they don’t believe in invisible teapots or rainbow farting unicorns. By itself the ‘atheists are immoral monsters no better than rapists’ meme might not be so bad IF it wasn’t part of a broader pattern of denigrating and discriminating against people who don’t worship a deity.

Adding to all that, while I’m not a woman I get offended when people make sexist or misogynistic comments or when lawmakers submit legislation to curtail women’s reproductive rights. I also get offended when people who don’t know a damn thing about gender dysphoria pontificate about human biology as if they know what they’re talking about. I’m neither a woman nor a trans person, but I get offended bc both groups are human beings who continue to see their rights trampled upon and I don’t like that one bit. I’d prefer to live in a world where people are respected rather than denigrated for being who they are. I’d prefer to live in a world where the diversity of the human experience is appreciated and lauded rather than lambasted.

Unfortunately, I (along with you and everyone else) do not live in such a world. We live in a world where marginalized and oppressed people like women, trans people, lesbians, gay people, bisexual people, atheists, black people, and so many other groups are routinely crapped on. To varying degrees, around the world, these groups are subjected to discrimination, verbal and sexual harassment, bullying, threats of and actual violence, sexual assault and rape, and of course murder. Such denial of the human rights of others OUGHT to cause offense. It OUGHT to anger people. It OUGHT to cause people to rise up and say “No More”.

And that’s what often happens after people get offended. They do something about it. Offense often leads to outrage which often leads to efforts to effect social, political, and economic change for the better.

So here’s the middle finger to Crowder. I’m glad that many men get offended.

If Crowder wants to adhere to rigid (and harmful) gender roles that dictate what men (and women) can or cannot do, fine. But he doesn’t get to shove anyone else in that box. Taking offense at things doesn’t make me less of a man, and fuck Crowder or anyone else who says otherwise.

In a supremely amusing bit of irony that just hit me, Crowder’s entire rant reads like he is offended by men who get offended. Of course he’s too much of a misogynistic, bigoted douchebag for that level of self-awareness.

I’m a man who gets offended

I'm a man who gets offended

“‘That’s offensive!’ … said no great man, ever.”

“Never is the fall of masculinity more clearly on display than when grown, adult men pull out the ‘offended’ card.  Any man who goes about with the word ‘offensive’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding… or promptly have his man-card revoked, one of the two.

Why is it that we all inherently get that sense of disgust, that feeling of embarrassment for a man who wines about being ‘offended’ but not many of us can articulate as to the reason?  Just why are we so repulsed by men (usually liberal) who fervently take ‘offense’?”

“Today’s ‘offended’ men are seen as wimpy simply because they are.  Instead of harnessing whatever affront is facing them, instead of facing it head-on, dealing with the problem and coming out the other side a stronger man, the ‘modern’ male chooses to sulk, to whine, and inevitably call Gloria Steinem.”

The above gems are brought to you by one Steven Crowder.  Crowder is a blogger over at Louder With Crowder, a Tea Party News Network powered conservative website that I’m not going to link to (here’s a link to the Addicting Info article that brought Crowder to my attention. It has a link to his site). While reading his sexist tirade, I realized that he made no attempt to identify what things so-called “modern” men take offense to. Others can fisk his rant, but as one of those “modern” men he attacks, I thought I’d list some of the things I take offense to. The following is a comment I left over at Addicting Info:

Stop being offended.
That’s far easier said than done however. Many of us who are members of certain oppressed groups regularly get offended by crap that others say or do. And contrary to the rantings of the douchemaggott in the OP, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being offended.

As a gay man, I get offended that people like Pat Robertson or Scott Lively deny not just my humanity and my rights, but the rights of countless LGBT people around the world. Their incendiary rhetoric contributes to the climate of anti-LGBT bigotry.

As a black man, I get offended by the people who claim that racism is a thing of the past because it isn’t and to make that claim is to deny the experiences of people of color. It sends the message that what these people go through either isn’t real or doesn’t matter. For those of us who are affected by the very much existing racism, we don’t have the luxury of living in a fantasy world disconnected from reality. Many of us don’t appreciate being told that the crap we’ve gone through isn’t real.

As an atheist, I get offended by those who claim that atheists are as bad as rapists bc we don’t believe in any deities. It’s offensive on multiple levels. For one, not believing in a deity is nothing like violating the bodily autonomy of another person by forcing yourself on them. Rape is one of the most horrific violations of another human being possible. Not believing in a deity doesn’t affect anyone else. The two aren’t remotely comparable. Secondly, being an atheist doesn’t make one immoral (yes, there are atheists with questionable morals, just as there are theists with questionable morals). Morals deal with the distinction between good/bad or right/wrong behavior between human beings. There’s nothing immoral about being an atheist bc there’s no moral component to not believing in a deity. It’s as silly as saying someone is immoral bc they don’t believe in invisible teapots or rainbow farting unicorns. By itself the ‘atheists are immoral monsters no better than rapists’ meme might not be so bad IF it wasn’t part of a broader pattern of denigrating and discriminating against people who don’t worship a deity.

Adding to all that, while I’m not a woman I get offended when people make sexist or misogynistic comments or when lawmakers submit legislation to curtail women’s reproductive rights. I also get offended when people who don’t know a damn thing about gender dysphoria pontificate about human biology as if they know what they’re talking about. I’m neither a woman nor a trans person, but I get offended bc both groups are human beings who continue to see their rights trampled upon and I don’t like that one bit. I’d prefer to live in a world where people are respected rather than denigrated for being who they are. I’d prefer to live in a world where the diversity of the human experience is appreciated and lauded rather than lambasted.

Unfortunately, I (along with you and everyone else) do not live in such a world. We live in a world where marginalized and oppressed people like women, trans people, lesbians, gay people, bisexual people, atheists, black people, and so many other groups are routinely crapped on. To varying degrees, around the world, these groups are subjected to discrimination, verbal and sexual harassment, bullying, threats of and actual violence, sexual assault and rape, and of course murder. Such denial of the human rights of others OUGHT to cause offense. It OUGHT to anger people. It OUGHT to cause people to rise up and say “No More”.

And that’s what often happens after people get offended. They do something about it. Offense often leads to outrage which often leads to efforts to effect social, political, and economic change for the better.

So here’s the middle finger to Crowder. I’m glad that many men get offended.

If Crowder wants to adhere to rigid (and harmful) gender roles that dictate what men (and women) can or cannot do, fine. But he doesn’t get to shove anyone else in that box. Taking offense at things doesn’t make me less of a man, and fuck Crowder or anyone else who says otherwise.

In a supremely amusing bit of irony that just hit me, Crowder’s entire rant reads like he is offended by men who get offended. Of course he’s too much of a misogynistic, bigoted douchebag for that level of self-awareness.

I'm a man who gets offended