Antisocial Injustice

Two Sneetches-Taunt -Trans

But the straight, white, middle-class, cisgender sneetch had no stars at all.

Prompted by the unjustified hate and nastiness of the trans community towards @giagia

Write what you know they say.

Here’s what I know.

‘Despite’ being a white, straight and male and growing up in rural England I have man aged to achieve adulthood without any of the egregious prejudices that I’m supposed to have.

I didn’t encounter anyone of any other race who wasn’t on the television until, I think, a Sikh door-to-door salesman when I was maybe eight or nine years old. He was alright, but otherwise my formative encounters with practically any minority you care to mention – sexuality, disability, unconventional gender identity – have been negative. Still, I didn’t come out the other end of that with any real prejudices.

Sure, I’ve made mistakes now and then. Some genuine, some what people happen to consider mistakes, upon which I disagree.

I was raised ‘right’. I was raised to be as polite as possible, to treat people fairly and equally and to give them a fair crack of the whip whatever my first impression. To ‘judge people by the content of their character’, if you will.

If my friends exhibit racism, sexism or other prejudices, they get my disapproval and often a stern word. Yet, I find myself unaccountably tolerating the exact same prejudices in people who are of a minority or subjectively oppressed group.

Why?

I learned my lessons well. That treating anyone differently on the basis of race, gender etc was wrong. Surely these people – activists even – who have been on the receiving end of prejudice themselves should know this better than anyone, shouldn’t they?

If someone wants their feelings and problems taken seriously then they should extend the same to others, you would think. Yet that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.”

Instead I find that people who claim to be activists, who claim to be fighting for equality and fairness are amongst the worst bigots I have ever encountered and the most dismissive of anyone else’s point of view.

If I am against racism, and I am, how am I supposed to react to someone who broad-brushes all white people or dismisses anything I might say simply for my relative lack of melanin?

If I am against sexism, and I am, how am I supposed to react to someone who regularly insults men as a gender, laughs off misandry as not existing and undermines genuine men’s issues?

If I am against the persecution of LGBT people, and I am, how am I supposed to react to someone who derisively refers to heterosexuals as ‘breeders’ or ‘cis’ in a sneering tone?

If I don’t think people should be judged for being poor, and I am, how am I suppose to react to someone who dismisses me (wrongly) for being affluent middle class?

Yet I find myself, more often than not, letting these things pass. Not because I don’t find them as objectionable as I do in other contexts, but because of the hypocrisy, the vitriol, the denial, the insults, the swarming pack tactics, the lies and misrepresentations are incredibly stressful and hurtful and aggravating.

And disappointing.

Here are the people who should be on the same page as me, succumbing to and excusing their own bigotry. Redefining *ism from prejudice to prejudice plus power to try and tell you people literally can’t be racist against whites, men, or heterosexuals. Something that is patently untrue.

Here are the people who want you to take their feelings and concerns seriously, no matter what any facts might be, but who will write off anything you say as ‘white tears’, ‘manfeels’ or some similarly dismissive variation thereof.

A person’s colour, gender, sexuality, gender identity etc has absolutely no bearing on the value of their ideas. Nor does being offended by something. I am offended by ‘cis’, ‘privilege’ and many other items of social justice terminology and ideology. Should you stop using them simply because I’m offended?

No.

You should stop using them because they’re useless bullshit that add nothing to discussions and instead anger, alienate and are used as ad hominems and to poison the well before a discussion even gets off the ground.

So what to do?

Being even handed, applying the same call-out culture rules will get one rapidly labelled a bigot, even if you oppose genuine bigots just as vociferously. A blog like this will doubtless attract some sarcasm and the very behaviour I’m talking about. Do I value friends and acquaintances over and above their attitudes? Then why not for the more typical bigoted views, rather than the less typical bigoted views of the activists? Why should activist bigots get a free pass from me that they don’t even give each other? (See the trans/TERF war).

It feels like an insoluble problem.

Here I am, white, straight guy, brought up to treat people equally finding the largest groups I know that don’t do this are the people supposedly campaigning for it. Further, before they know anything about me, they’re already ignoring and prejudging me on the basis of my sex, race, assumed social status and sexuality. I refuse to be held accountable for the actions of my ancestors or for people who aren’t me. I refuse to be tagged with some bizarre new version of ‘original sin’. I want to hold people to the same standards, after all…

If it’s wrong, it’s wrong.

Right?

Intersectioned Femislam

burqa-as-prisonWhat is it about Islam that sends otherwise intelligent, articulate and devoted activists for atheism, equality and feminism into a mental spin?

In some cases we know that it’s fear. Islamic people haven’t exactly been shy when it comes to death threats, murders, protests, property damage and so on. There’s also the more concerning fear of being incorrectly labelled a racist for going after a religion, mostly because – ironically – people associate it with brown people and thus confuse it with race.

There’s another reason though. An uneasiness about criticising awful behaviour and beliefs simply because someone is a member of a group that is perceived to be oppressed in some way. This is how groups like the New Black Panther Party get their racism excused – because it is directed at whites and they’re considered to be part of an oppressed demographic. It’s more egalitarian feminists rarely dare to speak up against the less egalitarian cohort, even when they do execrable things.

All well and good when fighting with idiots on the internet but when it turns up in an article in a major newspaper it’s harder to ignore.

So, going through the article…

As a person who writes about women’s issues, I am constantly being told that Islam is the greatest threat to gender equality in this or any other country – mostly by white men, who always know best.

When you’re writing an article about sexism and racism it’s generally not a good idea – in my humble opinion – to open with a racist and sexist statement. This, however, calls back to what was mentioned earlier. Because whites and men are seen as ‘oppressor classes’ it is apparently perfectly excusable to express prejudice towards them. The fallacy here is obvious. Just because a person is white, or a man, or in a ‘privileged position’ of any kind, doesn’t mean that they are wrong.

The recent blanket coverage of the “gender segregation on campus” story was a textbook case. This month Student Rights, a pressure group not run by students, released a report vastly exaggerating a suggestion by Universities UK that male and female students might be asked to sit separately in some lectures led by Islamic guest speakers.

And this did happen, and further, was allowed to happen. Then guidelines came out excusing and allowing for it before the public and media fuss caused a reversal. Surely this should be taken as a victory for equality and a coming together of the popular will in support of feminist ideals.

Apparently not.

Even the prime minister stepped into the debate, saying the proposed guidelines, which have since been withdrawn, were “not the right approach”. The elite all-male Oxford club of which both he and the chancellor were members was presumably the perfect approach.

And now we all have a stick to beat him with over that, don’t we? In this instance he leant his support to this cause and helped it get carried through. That doesn’t mean there aren’t problems still or that he isn’t a hypocrite, but he’s been a useful hypocrite and exposed a flank for further change. What about the ‘women only spaces’ or the ‘women born women’ only spaces? Since we’re mentioning hypocrisy.

I have spent weary weeks being asked to condemn this “policy of gender segregation” by “Islamic extremists”, despite the fact that no such policy exists. Of course, I condemn all sexism within the academy. I condemn segregated drinking societies and the under-representation of women at the top levels of academia. I condemn rape culture on campus, traditions like “seal clubbing” and “slut dropping” where male students are encouraged to sexually humiliate their female classmates. If I’ve enough breath left, I’ll condemn the suggestion that guest lecturers be allowed a segregated audience for religious reasons.

So why the grudging reticence to condemn an actual, out and out, self-admitted patriarchal culture and genuine rape culture? Why does that come after the much more complicated and nuanced issues of generational social change, what amounts to – at best – as ‘rape subcultures’? Why is it only after these things that you have the breath left to condemn Islam which is an open and overt oppressor of women? Does that make sense? It’s not to say that these other things aren’t also bad, but surely there must be some kind of rationale behind prioritisation, no?

It’s the dishonesty that angers me most. It’s the hypocrisy of men claiming to stand for women’s rights while appropriating our language of liberation to serve their own small-minded agenda. Far-right groups like the English Defence League and the British National party rush to condemn crimes against women committed by Muslim men, while fielding candidates who make claims like “women are like gongs – they need to be struck regularly“.

If they’re on the equality bandwagon then they’re ‘useful idiots’, as Dawkins called them. If they’re wrong on race that doesn’t mean that they’re wrong on Islam and equally, just because they’re right about Islam doesn’t mean they’re right about race. If they’re condemning misogynistic acts then good. All the more impetus behind opposing it. People don’t need to agree on everything (or indeed anything past the common issue) to work together.

Cromer believed the Egyptians were morally and culturally inferior in their treatment of women and that they should be “persuaded or forced” to become “civilised” by disposing of the veil.

And what argument is there to preserve it? To carry on with the idea that covering up women can somehow be empowering? If it’s a choice it could, perhaps, be argued but if ever there were a genuine case of false consciousness, as proposed by Marxists and Feminists, indoctrination since childhood would be it. Does this not go 180 degrees opposite to the points of slut walks and ‘teach him not to rape’, putting the onus back on the woman to hide herself because men are uncontrollable lust-beasts? It smacks of more hypocrisy to the observer.

Colonial patriarchs like Cromer … wanted merely to replace eastern misogyny with western misogyny.” More than a century later, the same logic is used to imply that misogyny only matters when it isn’t being done by white men.

Again I think there’s the matter of degree to take into consideration here. Is the western gender difference even of Victorian times worse than the misogyny of Islamic nations at the time, or even today? Absolutely not. Even stepping outside the Islamic bubble for a moment, consider the improvement to the plight of Indian women during British rule of India by bringing an end to the barbaric cultural practice of suttee.

We are the fools, if we believe that accepting aggressive distinctions between nice, safe western sexism and scary, heathen Muslim sexism is going to serve the interests of women. The people making these arguments don’t care about women. They care about stoking controversy, attacking Muslims and shouting down feminists of all stripes.

What confuses critics is the willingnesss of people who otherwise seem to fight very hard indeed over pointless frippery like the ten bob note, page 3 and lads mags showing such reluctance to tackle Islamic cultural and structural gender issues. They’re overt, they’re over here, they’re not arguable in the way claims of western ‘rape culture’ are, nor as difficult and nuanced to untangle from other social issues as the pay gap etc are. Here is a clear and obvious target, an unalloyed evil with no excuse, no confusion, a professed and even proud misogyny of growing social influence and yet because its a religion, because its wrongly associated with racism, you seem unwilling – or at least reticent – to touch it.

For decades, western men have hijacked the language of women’s liberation to justify their Islamophobia. If we care about the future of feminism, we cannot let them set the agenda.

Alternatively, they see a clear and unambiguous case of misogyny that they genuinely find disgusting and want to oppose – and you’re trying to push them away and minimise it. I don’t think that’s helpful.

False Hope

410-These-are-delicious-THANK-YOU-missionaries-starving-children-bible-not-helpingIt’s disappointing enough when you run into the usual excuses from the religious, when you run into them from someone who should know better it can almost heartbreaking. Chris Arnade, writing in The Guardian.

He spends a bit of time establishing his atheist credentials, the bad attitudes he’s uncovered in others by revealing he’s an atheist, getting swept up in the New Atheism and then emerging out of youth with a PHD and a brain capable (it would seem) of thinking.

Where Chris seems to have gotten knocked off the rails is in expecting the poor, the destitute, the hopeless and addicts to have come through life with a cynicism towards religion and a lack of faith similar to his own. Never mind that religiosity is strongly correlated with poverty, lack of education, lack of intelligence and other issues but a bad run in life is a piss-poor reason to be an atheist. That kind of reasoning smacks of the common accusation that an atheist must have ‘had something bad happen to them’ or that they are just ‘angry with god’. The good reason for not believing is being skeptical, using reason or not having been indoctrinated with the stupid idea in the first place.

We really shouldn’t be surprised that religion is so much more prevalent amongst the poor and the desperate. Religions heavily predate upon people in dire straits and if you’re homeless you’ll often have to sit through or profess religion in order to get a hot meal or somewhere to sleep for the night. It also offers (false) hope, which is great for keeping people in their place and preventing them getting the genuine help they need. It can also – in the case of the Abrahamic religions – feed heavily

I’m not suggesting religion is a deliberate conspiracy to keep people down, but that is what it does.

“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” – Attributed to Napoleon

What Chris doesn’t seem to understand, when he’s talking about how these societal victims are treated and regarded as dregs is just how much the dominant religious paradigm, especially in the United States, is an integral part of the society that judges them. They are sinners, god is judging them and treating them badly in this life and then – to add insult to injurty – they often have to turn to churches for assistance because welfare has been gutted. People who think we can rely on charities and philanthropy rather than state aid need to read Charles Dickens.

Chris’ problem seems to come in from the way these people draw comfort from their faith. Their god doesn’t judge them (irony) and it gives them hope.

Well sure, but that says nothing about whether the belief is true or rational now does it?

Further, I would argue that overall faith causes harm. It feeds into the judgement of these people in the first place. Keeps them in their place with false hope (much as it did in times of slavery). It also contributes to the reluctance of society as a whole to deal with these problems by other, more effective, means.

Is giving someone false hope a kindness? I don’t think it is, in part due to the numbing effect it has on their will to change things, in part because it simply isn’t fair to string people along like that.

Chris is handwringing unnecessarily. I suggest he read Breaking the Spell by Dan Dennett and particularly his comments on ‘belief in belief‘.

This kind of attitude, that only the wealthy and educated can get use out of atheism or are owed the truth is horribly patronising. Faith as something for the little people, like a comforting blankie for a toddler to keep them quiet. Sooner or later you have to wean a child off the tit or it becomes sinister and more about what you want than what’s best for them.

Mo Plus, Mo Problems

x0dvjr.jpgNot wanting to obsess, but not wanting to slacken off on the pushback that currently seems to be happening with reference to Atheismplus, here’s some more on the issues with it. Some of this is grounds I’ve covered before so I’m not going to be too wordy. I’m going to try and keep things relatively short and sweet.

There’s a couple of posts over on the Atheismplus forums that have been referenced to me and these posts constitute the establishment of a dogma.

This one contains canned responses to typical objections. Not responses that address the objections or concerns but rather, like linking to Derailing for Dummies or Feminism101 (or in the case of creationists endless Youtube videos) seems intended to keep you busy and dismiss you.

This one contains links to a glossary of terms used by Atheismplus, some of which are fine, some of which are deeply problematic. Communication is only possible where meaning is agreed upon and merely insisting that a term must carry a particular meaning in a debate isn’t especially helpful.

I’m referencing these as I talk

Naming Conventions

The problem with the name ‘atheismplus’ is that the kind of people who are part of atheismplus are exactly the kind of extremists that critics of atheism often claim we all are. They lend meat to the bones of the lie that we’re all whacked out hippies. It is vital to differentiate atheism and its causes and interests from other issues. This confuses, divides, reduces the number of people who feel able to participate etc. A+ gives atheism a bad name and provides aid to its enemies.

Privilege as Original Sin

The objection to this observation is hollow. The concept of privilege is akin to original sin, save perhaps worse, since it isn’t seemingly presumed to apply to everyone. ‘Heaven’ help you if you should be white, straight and/or male. You’re the ‘oppressor’ whether you do anything to oppress or not. ‘Check your privilege’ is a dismissal such as would not be tolerated in the other direction. It devalues a person, denies their empathy and ignores – without bothering to check – any instances of oppression they might have had in their life. It also dismisses the possibility that someone both HAS checked it and STILL disagrees with you. It doesn’t give you greater opportunity to help others, it puts you off even trying to help people who are judgemental arseholes.

Never Seen it, It Doesn’t Happen

It is not skeptical to believe a thing without evidence for a thing. If A+ people are going to claim a thing, they need evidence for that thing. Just as we would demand of theists. Insisting someone is blind if you present poor evidence that is rejected is, again, similar to theism. “The fool says in his heart there is no Patriarchy.”

I don’t think X is a Problem

X may or may not be a problem. That I don’t find it to be one doesn’t mean it isn’t, that you find it is a problem doesn’t mean it is. Again, we need evidence. If someone has a phobia of spiders and freaks out upon seeing a perfectly harmless house spider then there isn’t really a problem with spiders. Their reaction is irrational. Spiders don’t suddenly become a major issue for everyone because you’re phobic of them.

Discrimination is Illegal, so there’s no discrimination

Legally there isn’t. There may be on a personal level but that generally takes at least a generation to change. It can’t hurt you anywhere the law can protect you and it doesn’t really help to be impatient about it. The fight is won, the peace is being negotiated.

Everyone is Oppressed in their own way

Yes, they are. To different extents in different situations in different ways. The death-camp for gay people thing is more than a bit disingenuous but to take a different example gender and race do get oppressed by others in different contexts and situations. That some outlier advocates something loopy doesn’t make that go away. That X is worse than Y doesn’t make Y OK. (Dear Muslima…)

What About teh Menz?

If feminism were about equality it might be called egalitarianism. It’s not. It’s concerned with areas in which women are behind men. It is not concerned with areas in which women are ahead of men or in which men are behind women. There are no feminist campaigns about unequal sentencing in courts, for example. There are no feminist campaigns trying to push for higher male custody in divorce proceedings. Men and women have different problems, yes, absolutely, but that’s why feminism is unsuited to tackle them and is disinterested in them.

‘Patriarchy hurts men too’ is not only paradoxical (if it hurts men, how can it be patriarchy?) but insulting and demeaning. Implying that men deliberately set up a society to hurt themselves while simultaneously oppressing women. That would be a frighteningly incompetent state of affairs.

This is further compounded by the vicious and virulent hatred shown towards men’s groups that do try to address mens issues. Feminists don’t seem to want to even allow men’s issues to be addressed.

Schroedinger’s Rapist

Why the problem with this cannot be seen I don’t know. This concept is prejudice pure and simple. It is akin to expecting any black man you meet on the street to be a potential mugger. Framed that way hopefully nobody would see such prejudice as acceptable, even though a vague attempt at a rational argument for it could be made based on statistics (though that would ignore court/police prejudice and socioeconomic data). Further, this seems to be expecting to force a change in behaviour on men, men who are the victims of this prejudice. This is victim blaming. For groups that fight so hard for women not to be judged and to allow them the freedom to exist without modifying their behaviour (slutwalk, Don’t Be That Guy etc) this is base hypocrisy.

Meaning of ‘Man’

Given the misunderstanding of this as a gender pronoun I don’t think more’s needed here.

Mean Jokes

Humour often relies on a ‘shock’ payload. If you think it is always genuinely reflective of a person’s real views and is intended to be (or is) hateful or hurtful then you’re likely experiencing a sense of humour failure. For everyone of hypersensitivity there is someone else who can take a joke or engages in self-deprecating humour of this type. Humour is too valuable to discard.

A+ is Divisive

It is. At least we were all unified in our atheism before, the thing that mattered universally to all of us. A+ splits that unity. It also discards skepticism. It seems to me that A+ puts the cart before the horse. Its members seem to have been atheist not because of logic, reason, evidence and skepticism but rather because atheism aligned with their pre-existing other values such as opposing restrictions on abortions (religious basis), secularism, resisting religious oppression of LGBT people etc.

Us Vs Them

The problem in this section is the presumption that the only people who could possibly disagree are a) theists or b) bigots. It is possible to disagree with Atheismplus without being a bigot, just as it is possible to disagree with Josef Stalin while still being a Communist. or President Obama while still being a democrat. This illustrates very much the Us Vs Them that so concerns a lot of people. Many atheists are broadly on board with what are CLAIMED to be the A+ goals, just not with A+ itself due to its dogma, lack of skepticism etc.

Free Speech

A+ advocates, and other SJ extremists, narrowly define censorship as government censorship. Not everyone agrees with so narrow a definition and as such A+ in many of its actions and policies trips that ‘trigger’ for a lot of people.

First World Problems

Dear Muslima was both right and wrong. There are other priorities but that doesn’t mean other things aren’t also bad. Of course, we’re talking about Elevatorgate which was NOTHING AT ALL so anything whatsoever is a bigger problem than no problem. Still, given the dismissal of mens issues, prejudice towards supposed privileged groups etc this – again – smacks of hypocrisy.

The Dictionary

I’ll get to that in a moment. As mentioned before though, clear communication is important. A+ engages in many redefinition fallacies in order to try and avoid criticism. Redefining Free Speech (see above) is only one example.

Educate Me

Two problems with this. 1) Presuming people need educating. We may well be aware of your claimed issues etc and reject them. 2) Not doing so when asked.

When confronted with a creationist spouting BS about evolution we will, generally, make the effort to show them what is wrong with what they’re saying. Point out the misrepresentations etc. We do this because we want to change their mind and give them accurate information. We want to actually affect some sort of change in their behaviour.

Not wanting to inform people or change their behaviour suggests an addiction to the power and privilege of victim status, rather than actually wanting to fix the problem.

Glossary Issues

*ism – A+ and SJW types narrowly define *ism in the context of institutional oppression. Most people do not. The plus-power designation excuses SJW bigotry against ‘oppressor’ groups while ignoring equally outrageous prejudice on the part of the putative ‘oppressed’. We don’t reject your version without reason.

Benevolent *ism – This is ironic given that special treatment is often what is called for by SJ types. Equality is being treated as badly as everyone else.

Colourblind Racism – This makes no sense. The end goal, is it not, is to treat people as people isn’t it? For the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin? Colourblindness in the context of race, then, would seem to be the goal. Not perpetuating stereotypes, even if they’re different stereotypes to the usual.

Condesplaining – Use that instead of the *ist terms like ‘mansplaining’ etc which only make you seem like hypocrites.

Confirmation Bias – Glass houses and stones spring to mind for some reason.

Feminism – If you think modern feminism is about equality, you’re not paying attention. Be egalitarian.

Gender Essentialism – It seems rather foolish to presume that there aren’t differences. There are. Equal treatment and opportunity is not the same thing as homogeneity. You need to do more than just dismiss science just because you don’t like the implications. This is also true with ev psych. See confirmation bias above.

Kyriarchy – It was my understanding that this was a better term than patriarchy since it acknowledged that everyone was pressured in different ways by society and thus it made more sense. Calling it an extension of patriarchy undermines that progress.

Misandry – Well done for acknowledging its existence. Poorly done for thinking its not institutional.

Misogyny – This means hatred of women. Hatred of women is, at least not in the west, institutionally enforced. The term seems overused and to be used in instances where women are actually being placed on pedestals, given special privilege or treated with benevolent sexism. These may be patronising, but they’re not hate.

Prejudice – This definition again confuses the *ism point. *ism IS prejudice.

Reverse Racism – Of course reverse racism doesn’t exist. It’s just racism and it can be inflicted on whites as much as anyone else.

Safe Space – Translation: Echo chamber. Doubtless there is a need for safe spaces but these should probably be within a movement, rather than the movement itself. Ideas NEED questioning and examination.

Tone Argument – Another hypocrisy since it is used to excuse slurs, aggression and lack of backing on the part of SJ types: “Shut the fuck up dudebro!” while also being used to shut down, ignore or block people on the other side of the argument who should equally have the right to lose their temper.

Trigger Warnings – Pointless, useless ‘headers’ to posts that do nothing to protect anyone but show off how ‘right on’ and concerned you are. If people were that sensitive, the warning would trigger them.

Woo – …like patriarchy.

Shut Up & Listen When I tell you about ‘Check Your Privilege’.

0Xo8hfvI want you to ‘check your privilege’ about the phrase, ‘check your privilege’.

If someone is arguing with you, you should address their points, their reasoning, what they’re saying. When you tell someone to ‘check your privilege’ you are, essentially, engaging in an ‘ad hominem‘ fallacy, an ‘argument to the person’. For example:

“I don’t think that statement qualifies as sexist.”
“That’s because you’re a man, check your privilege.”

Simply because one is male (or white, or rich, or whatever else) doesn’t render one’s arguments invalid, it doesn’t mean you lack empathy, sympathy or imagination, it doesn’t even mean you haven’t experienced racism, sexism or whatever else yourself.

I’m sure in some ideal world ‘check your privilege’ is meant to mean ‘I say old chap, have you considered that your socioeconomic, racial and other statuses might affect your point of view?’ In practice however it means ‘Shut up you white male oppressor, you don’t know shit’ which is – in and of itself – quite startlingly sexist and racist.

I’m hardly the only person to note this.

Add to this things like ‘mansplaining’ (another horrifically sexist term) and the fact that some people think they can’t be *ist simply because they’re members of a self-identified oppressed group (riddle me this Batman, is the Nation of Islam racist against whites or not?) and its not hard to see why the perceived hypocrisy on display costs feminism and other activists a lot of support from people who should be natural allies – such as myself. The problems between the sceptic/atheist movement and skepchick/Atheismplus provide ample example of the problem here.

If your task is to communicate with people outside echo-chamber activist groups and their unquestioning hangers on then you have to listen to the experience and perception of the people you’re talking to. You also CANNOT presume that simply because a person agrees with you on one topic (say, atheism) that they must agree with you on another topic (feminism).

Questioning and challenging are vital to scientific enquiry and rational thought, challenging your claims about X,Y,Z doesn’t make the person challenging them *ist, it means they’re looking for evidence, testing your ideas to see if they’re robust and accurate. When you write these people off you’re harming yourself and your cause which would be much stronger if it did stand up to scrutiny and came out the other side unscathed.

We have all become very sensitised to sexism. I suffered a huge amount of unwarranted abuse over written works making fun of sexism and over a blog article defending what Neil Gaiman would call ‘icky speech‘. That has hyper-sensitised me to much of the hypocrisy I see in the ‘social justice’ movements, many of whom – to me – seem to have become the very things they hate.

In my experience many of these groups and their members are amongst the most obnoxious, bigoted and horrible human beings it has ever been my misfortune to come across – ironically as blind to their own bigotry as they claim others are to their own privilege.

If you’re a feminist and you’re calling out what you consider to be misogyny or sexism you want to be taken seriously and not dismissed, yet all too often this is exactly what happens if a man calls a woman out on misandry or sexism. Rather than acknowledging that men can suffer from sexism – or whites from racism – or anybody else from another other form of prejudice, this is dismissed, mocked, derided in exactly the same way as would not be considered acceptable the other way around.

This is a missed opportunity. We have a whole generation that is now very aware of unfairness on these sorts of bases but rather than going ‘You know what? You’re right, lets fight all forms of sexism together!’ it instead becomes a fight over who is more oppressed than who.

You don’t need to think the discrimination and prejudice is even or equal[1] to acknowledge that its bad and wrong and worthy of opposition.

Prejudice on the basis of sex/race/class/whatever is wrong, whichever direction it passes. Don’t be a hypocrite about it, it’ll cost you.

***

While I’m here I also want to pass comment on another thing that’s been going on lately.

Between the death of April Jones and ill-informed policy makers knee-jerking and Facebook drawing ire over ‘hate groups‘ along with policy signal shifts in the UK and the US the free internet is once again being chipped away at. I’m not saying that these rape joke or bad taste groups aren’t awful, but they are also legal and there’s nothing to suggest they actually harm anyone. After all, a picture of a person isn’t actually a person, its a picture and shock humour gets its ‘sting’ from being shocking, not being acceptable and beneath comment/reaction.

Of particular irony is the objection that these should be removed being on the basis of offence, often by the same people who were up in arms about images of breastfeeding being censored (also on the grounds of people being offended[2]). Personally, my opinion is that as long as it’s legal and age/membership restricted anything should go.

I am particularly worried about the ‘hate group’ reaction ending up being applied to kink/bdsm groups which given previous overreactions is nigh certain.

[1] – While I consider Watson’s ‘Elevatorgate’ fuss to be ‘a huge fuss about nothing’ I also consider this to be on occasion where Dawkins was wrong. That there are greater evils than lesser ones doesn’t mean the lesser ones aren’t also evil – and worth fighting.

[2] – And over-sensitive algorithms. 

Nice Guys & Schroedinger’s Bitch

The whole nice-guy thing has flared up again recently and the introverted, nice-guy nerd takes yet another beating and is, apparently, supposed to take it on the chin with a smile. All kinds of aspersions are cast as to the motivation of the nice guy, his views on women and his emotional experiences and damage are written off and belittled in a way that would never be accepted if the gender direction were reversed.

This makes me very angry, to the point of near incoherence. It’s not just the hypocrisy, it’s the presumptions and the way that emotionally hurtful experiences are written off by the very same people who expect their own irrational, hurtful experiences to be catered to and treated seriously.

I’ve been the nice guy pretty much all my life. The shoulder to cry on, the safe male friend. Not as part of some sort of ‘game’ to try and get women. Not with any sort of expectation but simply because that was who I was. The nice guy hears his female friends problems, sees them fall for bad guys over and over again. He hears what they say they want and pretty often that’s ‘Why can’t he be more like you?’

You want a guy like me?

I’m a guy like me!

Many successful relationships come from friendships and little wonder that through the intimacy of a strong friendship so also romantic affection can spring. This isn’t sinister, or creepy. Its not planned. It doesn’t indicate that the nice guy thinks of the woman as an object or that sex is his due for being a nice guy any more than the lounge lizard necessarily thinks he’s going to get anywhere with his cheesy lines.

Where does the resentment come from? It might be different these days, now that rampant nerdery has a certain cachet, but back in the day that was far from the case. As an introverted nerd with strange hobbies and interests you were a target for scorn and intelligence and humour didn’t get you very far either. Even if you weren’t that bad looking everything else counted against you so much that it didn’t help.

Friendship? Maybe. Anything more? Not on your life.

Again, you don’t necessarily expect it but when you buy into the whole ‘New Man’ thing because it seems to fit you. When you’re taken advantage of. When you’re told over and over again that the qualities you have are desirable but that never turns out to be true. When you do pick up the bravery to make a romantic move and get turned down again and again, banished to the Friend Zone despite all that talk, the hypocrisy and lies understandably get to you.

A broken heart leaves scars.

Apparently though, the nice guy – now once bitten, twice shy – isn’t allowed to dwell on this or to become wary of women, particularly pretty women. He is, instead, blamed for becoming bitter and disenchanted. It’s his fault he was manipulated and disappointed. He should never have been attracted to someone ‘out of his league’. Somehow he’s as much of a  problem as the sexually aggressive swine. Despite having the qualities that many women say they want.

Bollocks.

As men we’re supposed to simply accept that we’re going to be treated as potentially dangerous rapists. Schroedinger’s Rapist is completely irrational and nonsensical and yet we’re supposed to just suck it up and to understand that women are irrationally afraid of us and let it go at that.

What about Schroedinger’s Bitch? Isn’t that just as (in)valid? Maybe we have our ownemotional reasons from bitter, past experience for being wary of women. Especially pretty women. Maybe we’ve been brushed off, lied to, treated like crap, exploited or dumped for the kind of guys you said you didn’t want too many times. How about some respect and understanding for OUR irrational fears eh?

Don’t guess at the nice guy’s motives and them damn him based on you own, insulting presumptions. Somehow, it seems, victim blaming is just fine so long as the guy’s the victim.