Feminism comes last – again

Here is a very silly outmoded comment, written, unsurprisingly, by a right-wing religionist.

Pronouns: We avoid, as much as possible, the hideous “he or she” and we try never to use the atrocious “they” when speaking of a single unidentified, generic person. To a man ( 🙂 ) we find the gymnastics writers use to coddle the various grievance groups “out there” are execrable, and we strive to stay far away from them. If the subject being referred to is an unidentified person who could be of either sex, use “he.”

This is from the style guide for the Praetorian Writers Group, who to a person, seem to be a bunch of antediluvians (can that be used as a noun?) to me.

I had the he/she/it argument years ago. Firstly at work, and secondly, more recently, with a friend in the Royal Navy, who made the standard excuse that it refers to men and women. No it doesn’t, and by implication it assumes male preference and denies women’s presence. He later admitted perhaps it wasn’t inclusive. Readers of roughseas will note that ‘they’ has not only made it into the Oxford dictionary, it was on the shortlist for word of the year in 2015. That’s good. I was using it last century in public information leaflets and documents. Get over the grammar people. Words change.

So while the fossils in the Writers Group may refer to people of unknown sex as he, the rest of us have moved on somewhat. Of course one could equally use zie, but I suspect that would be even worse to those of anti-feminist persuasion. Or anti dismantling the gender binary persuasion.

*Explanatory note*
Dismantling the gender binary, ie getting rid of the distinctions between men and women, or traits regarded as being ‘male’ or ‘female’ tends to be associated with feminism, as women tend to suffer more under this classification.

Tildeb posted an interesting link over on Violet’s.

Now, while I don’t agree 100% with tildeb on everything (or with anyone else as far as that goes), I thought this was a very interesting post that shows the knots we tie ourselves up with. (Or up with which we tie ourselves 😉 )

Back in the days when I was on a radfem forum, people (ie American women) were discussing whether to support Clinton or Obama, and there was a lot of support for Obama. Every little thing Clinton had done wrong was criticised, everything Obama did was idealised. And this is on a feminist forum FCS.

So, why do feminists put other causes before their own? In the case of Obama, black man trumps white woman.

In the case cited above by tildeb, feminists decided to put Islam before feminism. Uh?

Speaker Maryam Namazie is Iranian born, has worked with refugees, is a human rights activist, and campaigns for women’s rights in Iran. She opposes Sharia law in the UK and denounces Western acceptance of women’s oppression and violation of human rights when we say it is part of ‘Islamic culture’. She thinks otherwise.

She was briefly banned from speaking at Warwick University, and in her talk this month at Goldsmiths, she was heckled, shouted at, whistled at, students walked out, and her projector was turned off. (Projector? Do people still use those?)

She, and another lecturer were issued with death threats.

[Source: Wiki]

In recent months, we now have two strong proponents of feminism who have been initially banned, and criticised for their feminist views. Greer offended transgender people, Namazie offended Muslims.

Why do women always get pushed to the bottom of the discriminatory heap? And by other feminist women too?

Race trumps feminism. Religion trumps feminism. Feminists are only allowed to speak if they don’t offend anyone.

And yet, it’s ok to offend women and feminists and disrupt a presentation? Would that have been allowed if the speaker was male? A Muslim? Black? A member of the university faculty? Well, anyone really, apart from an ex-Muslim woman?

Why do feminists feel the need to support other causes/movements that have stuff all in common with feminism? And to give those causes precedence? Female conditioning? Someone else is right/more important/more deserving?

One of the principles of feminism is that one doesn’t criticise women who subscribe to patriarchy. After all, they are mere pawns like the rest of us.

Women have a brain. If they buy into bullshit, play the little woman card, then they are making my job and that of every other serious feminist, that much harder. Whether that is wearing frilly clothes and high heels, supporting Islam above feminism, racial discrimination above feminism, or anything else above feminism, then yes, I will criticise other women. Oh, and that includes sex workers and women who work in pornography too.

So women, and those few seriously good feminist allies out there (I can think of three of you), don’t short-change feminism. It should NOT take second place to anything.

*ETA* I should have added Sarah Ditum to the list of feminist speakers who gave been no- platformed. In this case Bristol Feminist Society uninvited her on the grounds that someone, somewhere had called her transphobic.

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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180 Responses to Feminism comes last – again

  1. It’s a pickle, and one that writers need to consider, because ‘he’ is absolutely not feasible as a general for a population that has so many shes going on. Much like ‘mankind’ is realistically ‘humankind’.

    I’m curious about this – “proponents of feminism who have been initially banned, and criticised for their feminist views. Greer offended transgender people, ” – So are you saying her views are feminist, rather than just her own? I thought it was specifically her, (and presumably some other women’s), definition of feminism rather than a general…hmm…a rule that would be called “feminist views”. More ‘views of a feminst’.

    – s.u.t.Cloud

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    • Where is the pickle? In the lily? There are always alternatives. Mankind: humanity. Avoids clumsy humankind. Or, there are always alternatives should we choose to find them. A different pickle. Branston perhaps?

      I was under the impression Greer was an acknowledged feminist writer and academic. Unlike me, for example. Namazie similarly has internationally acknowledged credentials.

      Does each feminist have to define her particular style of feminism? Possibly so. In the face of nit-picking. Do any other minority groups get so critically examined, dismissed and ridiculed?

      Greer was not, as far as I know speaking at Cardiff about transgenderism. I understood she was speaking about feminism. But, she was initially withdrawn because of her views about transgenderism. Even though she wasn’t speaking about that. Jeez. This is why it is so hard. So, because I am feminist, and some of my views offend others, eg I disagree with buying pedigree animals when there are plenty of dogs in shelters, I can’t speak about something else? I might offend pedigree breeders? Who are hardly a minority group.

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      • A pickle for some people who have never considered these things perhaps. I don’t think changing ingrained ways of communication is easy. That’s what I meant. As to the rest, I was saying it as it read. Because that’s how it read to me.

        – sonmi sighing upon the Cloud

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        • It’s not about changing communication. It’s about changing ingrained ways of thinking.

          I’m not defending or supporting Greer’s individual views, rather what she broadly represents. It’s not even relevant. I don’t necessarily agree with her views, but accept she is an acknowledged feminist of many years. Maybe I’m misunderstanding you. Easily done. I suppose I should look up how many other speakers for minority groups have received such criticism and opposition.

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  2. Ruth says:

    I really like this article, but I do have a question: If I wear frilly clothes and high heels, I’m not a feminist? Not that I put that above feminism, but isn’t that part of what feminism is about? Having the free choice to wear, do, be who we choose to be – not who someone else thinks we ought to be?

    At any rate, I do get your overriding point. Women are getting pushed to the bottom of the heap. By feminists, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I read the article you linked to; the issue is a very disappointing one. I think that the feminist group just saw an anti-Islam speech and was quick to label it as Islamophobia without evaluating it. I agree that doing so undermines that group’s ability to promote feminism.

    That said, it’s also disturbing to see this issue getting dismissed like it’s a bunch of student groups who are simply being offended. Claiming offense is a red-herring, and it skips the ideas at issue. Basically, the feminist group there needs to have new management; they did the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. You’re going to get that every time someone acts without thinking.

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    • I never got involved in student politics, looking back, I’m glad I didn’t. How to absorb so much about social change plus study for a degree? Beyond me. Unless someone is actually studying a related degree. I don’t think students should be dismissed. But jumping on minority bandwagons without thought about the deeper implications is not clever.

      Goldsmiths is a respectable college, and both the students and the university seem to be at fault to me for the treatment Nazamie received. She was judged before she opened her mouth. Because she dared to speak out against the religion she was brought up with. Very dangerous. In simplistic terms, Sirius, that could be you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My biggest fear about all of this is that it’s highlighting a problem that people aren’t thinking about their positions. What if people are espousing liberal views simply because they’re wanting to be accepted by social groups? It would go far to explain what happened to Nazamie.

        The implications of this are pretty dark. People can embrace the idea of critical thinking without exercising it. Not only that, it’s an invisible barrier to feminism specifically. How many times have you had to put up with other feminists and allies who try to defend misogynistic statements?

        Could it be a product of this?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Good analytical point Sirius. I think for students to challenge authority is a good thing. Why not demonstrate against Vietnam for example? But here we have students challenging anti-establishment? Whoa.

          The feminist road is long, dark, and never-ending. For those of us who are radfem, it is longer and darker as we see the journey differently. It isn’t a pretty picture that is made ok with a few equal opportunity acts, or a token woman in a position of power, or, heaven forbid, being told that lap dancing, pornography and sex work are empowering.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. @RSiTM

    “don’t short-change feminism. It should NOT take second place to anything.”

    Are you saying that feminism should centre around the needs of females? What sort of heresy is this?

    “Women have a brain. If they buy into bullshit, play the little woman card, then they are making my job and that of every other serious feminist, that much harder. Whether that is wearing frilly clothes and high heels, supporting Islam above feminism, racial discrimination above feminism, or anything else above feminism, then yes, I will criticise other women. Oh, and that includes sex workers and women who work in pornography too.”

    Well stated and very high on the blame-scale. 🙂 Good show.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh and this bit too – “Why do feminists feel the need to support other causes/movements that have stuff all in common with feminism? ” – why shouldn’t they support groups that happen to have nothing to do with feminism? I can understand if that’s purely regarding why they choose to support causes and movements that clash with feminist ideals, but if they actually have nothing to do with feminism, why shouldn’t they support them? Animal rights have nothing to do with feminism, so far as I’m aware. I’m slow on painkillers today, so out of sink, so far as words sinking in goes.

    – s.u.t.Cloud

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    • When feminists support groups that actually set back feminism then I don’t understand it.

      What is the commonality between religious rights (Islam) and feminism? Surely any Abrahamic religious rights group is diametrically opposed to feminism?

      I don’t see the need for a recognised student body eg a feminist group to support every other minority group under the sun.

      Want to support animal rights? Sure. Join an animal rights group.

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      • Ruth says:

        Yeah, I think I’m understanding you to say, “why do feminists support other causes that are diametrically opposed to feminism?” There are loads of causes that have nothing in common with feminism one might support. But for the life of me I can’t understand a proclaimed feminist supporting the religious right. Not that they can’t be religious, even of the Abrahamic persuasion. There are many progressive/liberal Christians/Jews/Muslims who don’t go in for the patriarchal bs associated with the right wing tenets of those religions.

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        • I think when an activist group supports another one, it should normally be one with which they are vaguely allied. Eg, in the NUJ, a trade union, we supported other workers and unions internationally. We were, in essence, fighting for the same rights.

          How feminism and Islam can be remotely allied is beyond me.

          Yes, some feminists are religious (?), yes, not all religious people are anti-feminist. However, this specific case is just off the wall. It’s sheer victimisation if you’ve read her wiki entry.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. makagutu says:

    Here, I sit back and learn

    Like

  7. I should just skip over this blog-post and not even type a single letter in this comment box. Why? Because of my gender; because of my ignorance and lack of female life-experience, no matter how fumbly or cluelessly I might try to eagerly learn and become a better ally for this noble worthy cause… that should NEVER take a backseat anytime anywhere…

    …I too, like Makagutu, will shut-up, sit down, and listen/read like a dumb man-mute until told otherwise. (pouts) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Haha. Even you can understand that using ‘he’ as a catchall pronoun in this century is ridiculous, and, also trying to make a point about not accepting gender neutral language and inclusivity.

    The second point is about women, supposed feminists, who put their feminism secondary to that of another minority group, which does not support feminism at all. Where is the logic in that?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. tildeb says:

    “Or up with which we tie ourselves”? You did that just for me, didn’t you?

    But my favourite is “it assumes male preference and denies women’s presence.” Word use at its finest and exactly right. Recognizing the gender-bias assumption is difficult and without that, the problem of slipping in gender bias continues unabated.

    My issue with deplorable treatment of Maryam funnels back to the growing acceptability of GroupThink, that respecting group identity is somehow a way out of group bias and discrimination. The opposite seems all too true to me. I think the way out is to first come to understand that each individual as an individual like each of us really is is the source for respect and fair treatment. We have to import group attributes to affect this base understanding. I think It is the importation that introduces bias and discrimination and unfair treatment and so it seems reasonable to me to identify where and when I do this in my own thinking and so take personal responsibility for what I say and do in my relationships with others. I can drop any group affiliation others seem to expect me to bear and I can represent myself, my views, my opinions and beliefs, as my own. In this way, Maryam becomes real and her advocacy for equality I can then put into practice.

    Does that make me a feminist? Well, that’s a group label that I don’t think helps me do what Maryam wants me to establish in practice: treatment of others not based on gender.

    I think approaching and understanding issues like gender bias and discrimination as an individual makes me responsible for treating others with as little bias and prejudice as I am able, to stop importing some bizarre notion of group attributes that deflates individuals by association. And that’s all I can really do.

    I think if a lot more people did this, took on personal responsibility for their imported uses of bias and discrimination, then the idea of why ‘feminism’ is important would be far better served than creating some artificial scale of who is and is not higher or lower on some group standard concerned about women’s rights and then arguing about who really speaks for the movement (as if the ‘movement’ were a thing itself).

    Well, I think each of us does… some speak for, some against, a wide swath of us somewhere in the middle just muddling along and trying to avoid the pitfalls of taking a wrong step and insulting others without intent. And it is from this wide swath that I think comes the supposed support of the regressive Left movers and shakers – those who believe their groups are real things and for who assume to be a spokesperson… by arguing that all of us ‘must’ follow and support the implementation of simple rules for correct behaviour, correct language, correct opinions. This is the danger, in that such rules run roughshod over individual rights and freedoms in the name of protecting rights and freedoms for some group’s population.

    This is the hallmark activity I think we see in the linked article’s video: individuals running roughshod over Maryam’s right to be treated fairly and respectfully as a person in the name of respecting Islam’s right to be treated fairly and respectfully… as if the group called Islam represented its constituent population that deserved respect. In order to respect the those individuals who make up this group we are expected to view Islam correctly, meaning being respectful of those who would treat women as chattel because they support Islam!

    And this is where we run smack into the problem and incompatibility between either respecting individual rights or respecting group rights. I don’t think we can successfully do both, so people argue about where the boundaries are for this group or that, which ones deserve to be higher or lower on some concern or advocacy standard. And during this argument, we find a paralysis set in.

    This paralysis favours the previous condition to continue, favours the gender bias and discrimination to continue. This is the very tactic used by climate deniers, for example, to paralyze the identification of the problem… by sowing doubt. Who speaks for feminism? What is feminism’s goal? The same tactic works for using many of us in the West to speak up and paralyze those who wish to reform Islam.

    If we can’t identify the problem, then the solution will forever remain out of reach. As long as we’re busy arguing about what feminism is and who belongs to it and what its goals must be, then treating people without gender bias and discrimination isn’t going to happen. But it will happen one person at a time who decides to address the gender bias and discrimination they produce.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Honestly. Yes. I did 😀 it was irresistible.

      But my favourite is “it assumes male preference and denies women’s presence.” Word use at its finest and exactly right. Recognizing the gender-bias assumption is difficult and without that, the problem of slipping in gender bias continues unabated.

      Thank you. Words are a small start to reverse the gender bias trend but they are an important one. So, I will complain every single time I see someone say ‘he’ is adequate to describe all people. It isn’t.

      My issue with deplorable treatment of Maryam funnels back to the growing acceptability of GroupThink, that respecting group identity is somehow a way out of group bias and discrimination. The opposite seems all too true to me. I think the way out is to first come to understand that each individual as an individual like each of us really is is the source for respect and fair treatment. We have to import group attributes to affect this base understanding. I think It is the importation that introduces bias and discrimination and unfair treatment and so it seems reasonable to me to identify where and when I do this in my own thinking and so take personal responsibility for what I say and do in my relationships with others. I can drop any group affiliation others seem to expect me to bear and I can represent myself, my views, my opinions and beliefs, as my own. In this way, Maryam becomes real and her advocacy for equality I can then put into practice.

      I think we differ here. I’m not sure I agree with you on groupthink, and yet, I agree with you on individualistic thinking.

      Does that make me a feminist?

      No. Not at all. Remember, radfems don’t accept men as feminists anyway, allies yes.

      Well, that’s a group label that I don’t think helps me do what Maryam wants me to establish in practice: treatment of others not based on gender.

      Except that’s what feminists are aiming for. Well, some of us, qv, your comments below.

      I think approaching and understanding issues like gender bias and discrimination as an individual makes me responsible for treating others with as little bias and prejudice as I am able, to stop importing some bizarre notion of group attributes that deflates individuals by association. And that’s all I can really do.

      I think if a lot more people did this, took on personal responsibility for their imported uses of bias and discrimination, then the idea of why ‘feminism’ is important would be far better served than creating some artificial scale of who is and is not higher or lower on some group standard concerned about women’s rights and then arguing about who really speaks for the movement (as if the ‘movement’ were a thing itself).

      Your first par is totally valid. Then, Ah. The eternal battle. Who can speak for others? Dilemma dilemma. That woman who advocates for sex work can’t speak for me. She’s not a feminist. Etc

      Well, I think each of us does… some speak for, some against, a wide swath of us somewhere in the middle just muddling along and trying to avoid the pitfalls of taking a wrong step and insulting others without intent. And it is from this wide swath that I think comes the supposed support of the regressive Left movers and shakers – those who believe their groups are real things and for who assume to be a spokesperson… by arguing that all of us ‘must’ follow and support the implementation of simple rules for correct behaviour, correct language, correct opinions. This is the danger, in that such rules run roughshod over individual rights and freedoms in the name of protecting rights and freedoms for some group’s population.

      And this is the difficult ground. I totally agree that language should reflect the wishes of minority groups. Why not? Language is important.

      This is the hallmark activity I think we see in the linked article’s video: individuals running roughshod over Maryam’s right to be treated fairly and respectfully as a person in the name of respecting Islam’s right to be treated fairly and respectfully… as if the group called Islam represented its constituent population that deserved respect. In order to respect the those individuals who make up this group we are expected to view Islam correctly, meaning being respectful of those who would treat women as chattel because they support Islam!

      Here I think you are blurring two very different issues. Behaviour, language, and opinions, ie wanting to be respected as a minority group and seeing different language, are not the same as Maryam being abused for being an ex-Muslim. Sure, there are similarities. But one is about trying to climb up the ladder. The other is pushing someone off.

      And this is where we run smack into the problem and incompatibility between either respecting individual rights or respecting group rights. I don’t think we can successfully do both, so people argue about where the boundaries are for this group or that, which ones deserve to be higher or lower on some concern or advocacy standard. And during this argument, we find a paralysis set in.

      This paralysis favours the previous condition to continue, favours the gender bias and discrimination to continue. This is the very tactic used by climate deniers, for example, to paralyze the identification of the problem… by sewing doubt. Who speaks for feminism? What is feminism’s goal? The same tactic works for using many of us in the West to speak up and paralyze those who wish to reform Islam.

      If we can’t identify the problem, then the solution will forever remain out of reach. As long as we’re busy arguing about what feminism is and who belongs to it and what its goals must be, then treating people without gender bias and discrimination isn’t going to happen. But it will happen one person at a time who decides to address the gender bias and discrimination they produce.

      That’s a fair conclusion. My view of feminism isn’t everyone else’s. But, whilever I can make people think about any aspect of it, as you do, and others, then it’s a start. The very basics are bodily autonomy and the right to earn money and be independent. For which all women (wherever in the world) need health care and education. And the rest … comes later. Women have a long way to go, and sadly, we can’t do it on our own. We need men to fight our battle. Every time you argue for women is always appreciated.

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  10. Sonel says:

    “He – and if there is a God, I am convinced he is a he, because no woman could or would ever fuck things up this badly.”

    I remembered this quote by George Carlin and couldn’t resist. Apologies to those who are sensitive to my favourite word. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  11. disperser says:

    I was going to make jokes about women and brains, but I’m not sure how they would be received . . . see, right there I am changing my normal response to avoid potentially running afoul of someone’s sensitivities even though I firmly believe humor should run unfeathered through all human discourse.

    But, on to serious things. I’ve written before that I don’t like labels. I include feminist and feminism along with liberal, conservative, and pasta eater.

    Labels come with baggage. Your reference to the kind of feminism one ascribes to makes my point (I think). The point is that when one uses a label to self-identify, one then ascribes to everything related to that label. But wait! One might not like a particular facet or implication of the label. Often, another person claiming that same label purports to speak for all and then one has to refine/qualify said label. You see it in politics, religion, and casual conversation.

    You mention pronouns and in the comments you reference humankind as opposed to mankind . . . so, why not humanism instead of feminism? I ask because I think, in my limited male-centric and obviously flawed view of the world, I would be better off supporting humanism rather than concentrating on helping any one subset of humanity. I mean, there are so many – how does one prioritize?

    You see, all my life’s experiences have taught me some very useful (to me) lessons. One of them is that regardless of the group, regardless of all their stated intentions, regardless of what they hope to achieve, in the end their actions, their thinking, their focus, their entire reason for self-identifying as a group is to put their interests (warranted or not) ahead of everyone’s else’s interests. Always, and without fail.

    It’s why I don’t identify with any one group even when some of their stated interests/goals overlap mine.

    Ah, you say, but we’re already (enter preferred victim status here). Granted. But, why not concentrate on equal treatment for all as opposed to attempting to compensate for past inequalities?

    I imagine I can see smoke coming out of your ears and nostrils as you prepare to assail my limited thinking. OK, I’m willing to be educated . . . but, let me point out you’ll have to tackle the lessons from forty and some odd years where I saw first-hand pendulums swing one way and the other, where I saw unfair treatment of some because of what I thought as misguided attempts to “level the playing field”. I was never personally affected, but I saw the result. Rather than change attitudes, change perceptions, change how people thought about others, I saw the opposite. Resentment, an entrenching of attitudes and beliefs, and nothing essentially changing in the way people thought about one another.

    As an aside, Hillary is running again . . . little has changed from when she ran against Obama. She had a lot of baggage then, and she has even more baggage now. But, it galls me a bit that if I say I don’t like Obama (I don’t, now or back then) I’ll likely be labeled a racist. Likewise, if I say I don’t like Hillary (I don’t, now or then) it’ll likely be assumed I dislike or even hate women. It appears to me that the problem is not me. I already see both those people as assholes no different from other assholes, and it’s their individual groups or supporters who then insist on bringing racial or sexual differentiations into the discussion. Well, screw that! I’ll pay them heed when they truly are color and gender blind.

    As for the video, I watch a lot of videos dealing with discussions of religion and politics, and what I saw in the one you linked is nothing new. Most recently, you can see members of Black Lives Matter disrupt all sorts of meetings, irrespective of male or female speakers. I saw protesters interrupt and disrupt talks given by both males and females. Once, I even saw a man throw a shoe at the president of the United States.

    Whenever I see those videos, my thinking never wanders in the realm of assessing the status of the speaker relative to the disruptive assholes. I stop at saying “look at those assholes; why don’t they leave if they don’t like what they are hearing?” Sadly, that type of behavior is becoming more commonplace on most campuses as coddled wastes of human seeds and ova hear and learn from even bigger wastes of human ova and seeds that their rights supersede the rights of others.

    So . . . do we, as self-described members of a given group, become overly sensitive to something we care about and completely miss (or dismiss as not as egregious) the same treatment of others?

    For instance, even though I don’t identify with the NRA, I’m lumped in with them because I own guns. In the wake of a terrorist attack, I’m vilified as much as if I pulled the trigger myself. So then, my ears perk up whenever I hear remarks about how guns are the ultimate evil and how, if we could just eliminate guns, we’d be living in a virtual utopia (it would be virtual because from countless literary works we already know that real utopia is just another word for “we’re fucked and a ton of shit is about the hit the big fan”).

    . . . say! . . . perhaps you got something there with professing membership to a group . . . I should join the NRA and let them fight the fight I don’t have time for. If I’m to be smeared with the same brush, I might as well live the part. Thanks; this has been good for me to work through. I think if I join today I’ll even get a free backpack. “They” will like that.

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    • Can I reply to this in about five different comments? Possibly tomorrow?!

      Like

    • disperser says:

      You don’t have to reply at all . . . in keeping with current trends, I’m fine with just speaking my mind and letting it go at that.

      I mean, it’s not like I don’t give all these issues a lot of thought; these are not idle comments from a bored and privileged mouthbreather.

      Besides, I’ve come to value the simplicity of clear thought unencumbered by the views of others.

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      • Don’t worry. 1)

        I was going to make jokes about women and brains, but I’m not sure how they would be received . . . see, right there I am changing my normal response to avoid potentially running afoul of someone’s sensitivities even though I firmly believe humor should run unfeathered through all human discourse.

        Seriously? You even think that’s remotely funny? And don’t tell me that’s just an example d how people get annoyed. It’s nothing more than blatant sexism to suggest that women + brains = jokes. You have more intelligence than that, so use it.

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        • disperser says:

          Well, you don’t know what the joke would be, but I suppose I can’t stop you from assuming.

          Also, I see in one of the comments a joke about men’s brains . . . I assume that’s OK?

          Like

      • 2)

        But, on to serious things. I’ve written before that I don’t like labels. I include feminist and feminism along with liberal, conservative, and pasta eater.

        Labels come with baggage. Your reference to the kind of feminism one ascribes to makes my point (I think). The point is that when one uses a label to self-identify, one then ascribes to everything related to that label. But wait! One might not like a particular facet or implication of the label. Often, another person claiming that same label purports to speak for all and then one has to refine/qualify said label. You see it in politics, religion, and casual conversation.

        I agree labels are not good. And all labeled people don’t subscribe to the way the label is written. But, the label is still there, and still relevant. Oh, and the baggage? The baggage is a given. Or rather, given. Imposed.

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        • disperser says:

          Here we differ . . . baggage is always earned. Sometimes unfairly, I grant you that, but it is definitely earned.

          For instance, I’m a gun owner . . . that word has baggage that’s been earned on my behalf by everyone who identifies themselves as gun owners. Yes, some baggage is foisted from outside, but outright lies and insinuation are easily countered. The most damage is always done from within by people with extreme views and/or actions.

          Like

      • 3)

        You mention pronouns and in the comments you reference humankind as opposed to mankind . . . so, why not humanism instead of feminism? I ask because I think, in my limited male-centric and obviously flawed view of the world, I would be better off supporting humanism rather than concentrating on helping any one subset of humanity. I mean, there are so many – how does one prioritize?

        I think I mentioned humanity actually.

        You choose what you wish.

        Women have been and continue to be discriminated against since year dot. Not your issue. If you aren’t interested, no worries. Women happen to be half of the population of the world, but if you consider us to be a ‘subset’ again, that’s your choice.

        Like

        • disperser says:

          Again, it sounds like you are making assumptions about my interests.

          One of the problems with groups and labels . . . the mentality of “you’re either with us or against us.”

          And yes, I consider genders as subsets of humanity . . . what do you consider them? Also, you’re being a bit contentious, seemingly deliberately so. There are minorities comprised of both men and women who are subsets of humanity. Meaning, they self-identify as groups within the human population. I don’t think I’m way off when I use the word subset (a part of a larger group of related things). These other groups all also have grievances regarding their treatment and standing relative to the whole. Probably, within each group there are differentiations meriting individual consideration when speaking of rights, discrimination, equality, etc.

          . . . hence my propensity to just reference “humanity”. Your mention of humanity was, and obviously so, only with reference to pronouns. I suppose I could be wrong, but since you do label yourself a feminist, I don’t think I am. A related question would be “what your stronger concern? The development of advancements of human rights in general
          or specifically those relating to women?

          Like

      • 4)

        Just groan

        But, why not concentrate on equal treatment for all as opposed to attempting to compensate for past inequalities?

        No darling. Not PAST inequalities. They still exist. What part of sexual inequality do you not understand in your happyland?

        Liked by 1 person

        • disperser says:

          Hmm . . . this is getting tired . . . I’m not denying inequalities; never have, and never shied from fighting against them.

          If we are not recognizing that as a basis of conversation, there’s not much point in discussing anything.

          Liked by 1 person

      • 5)

        I imagine I can see smoke coming out of your ears and nostrils as you prepare to assail my limited thinking. OK, I’m willing to be educated . . . but, let me point out you’ll have to tackle the lessons from forty and some odd years where I saw first-hand pendulums swing one way and the other, where I saw unfair treatment of some because of what I thought as misguided attempts to “level the playing field”. I was never personally affected, but I saw the result. Rather than change attitudes, change perceptions, change how people thought about others, I saw the opposite. Resentment, an entrenching of attitudes and beliefs, and nothing essentially changing in the way people thought about one another.

        So, when in your 40+ years have you ever experienced sexual discrimination? Been physically attacked? Workplace discrimation? Harassment? Yawn blah blah? Are you suggesting that because women spoke out they dug their own grave because that’s what it sounds like.

        Like

      • 6)

        As for the video, I watch a lot of videos dealing with discussions of religion and politics, and what I saw in the one you linked is nothing new. Most recently, you can see members of Black Lives Matter disrupt all sorts of meetings, irrespective of male or female speakers. I saw protesters interrupt and disrupt talks given by both males and females. Once, I even saw a man throw a shoe at the president of the United States.

        Whenever I see those videos, my thinking never wanders in the realm of assessing the status of the speaker relative to the disruptive assholes. I stop at saying “look at those assholes; why don’t they leave if they don’t like what they are hearing?” Sadly, that type of behavior is becoming more commonplace on most campuses as coddled wastes of human seeds and ova hear and learn from even bigger wastes of human ova and seeds that their rights supersede the rights of others.

        So . . . do we, as self-described members of a given group, become overly sensitive to something we care about and completely miss (or dismiss as not as egregious) the same treatment of others?

        If you find that acceptable or commonplace that again, is your choice. I find it deplorable.

        Maybe it’s an American thing?

        I do agree though, why go if you don’t want to listen. But that isn’t the point is it?

        In this particular case we have a human rights advocate with a proven record being abused. Where is the justification for that?

        Like

      • 7) god wins ?

        Or rather Godwin’s Law, a new variation. American discussions always come back to guns.

        For instance, even though I don’t identify with the NRA, I’m lumped in with them because I own guns. In the wake of a terrorist attack, I’m vilified as much as if I pulled the trigger myself. So then, my ears perk up whenever I hear remarks about how guns are the ultimate evil and how, if we could just eliminate guns, we’d be living in a virtual utopia (it would be virtual because from countless literary works we already know that real utopia is just another word for “we’re fucked and a ton of shit is about the hit the big fan”).

        . . . say! . . . perhaps you got something there with professing membership to a group . . . I should join the NRA and let them fight the fight I don’t have time for. If I’m to be smeared with the same brush, I might as well live the part. Thanks; this has been good for me to work through. I think if I join today I’ll even get a free backpack.

        Why do the rest of us manage without guns? Oh! Wait! We don’t need them to join a militia. Jesus. What a feeble excuse for bearing arms. This is the 21st century. Not the 18th.

        Like

  12. pinkagendist says:

    I’ve always liked Germaine Greer.
    Movements have to be careful to not get their heads stuck up their own bottoms. I recently read a number of allegedly pro-trans articles decrying non-trans actors/actresses playing trans people on stage and screen. I find this disturbing considering that when Mike played Pericles for the RSC he wasn’t actually a (hairy?) Greek individual from the 490ish years BC. And he played Hitler without being German or even having a natural mini-mustache.
    The point of acting isn’t playing one’s self, it’s being able to step into another’s shoes.
    But let’s be generous and let each fly feast on its own little pile of manure 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never had a view about Greer. I was too young when she’d written The Female Eunuch, and my parents criticised her endlessly. My father was died-in-the-wool sexist and my mother wanted nothing more in life than looking after a husband and children, so had they even read TFE it would have been criticising everything they were.
      I agree with you about movements. Current society is obsessed with inclusivity and not offending every minority under the sun. I sound like tildeb now. But the impact this has is to dilute the fundamental message/goals of a group. So for a feminist group to ally with an Islamic one against a feminist speaker, a human rights activist, who was originally born in Tehran and is a former Muslim, strikes me as mattoid in the least. Surely the point would be to at least listen to what she had to say?
      Your comment about trans people MUST play the roles on screen reminds me of all the criticism in the past about Othello. Substitute trans for black. Same issues, different group. Incidentally we saw Michael Gambon play Othello at Ayckbourn’s Theatre in the Round. He was excellent.

      Liked by 2 people

    • @pinkagendist

      “I recently read a number of allegedly pro-trans articles decrying non-trans actors/actresses playing trans people on stage and screen.”

      Hollywood mostly white-washing/dude washing roles in media they produce?

      I am shocked I say, shocked.

      :/

      Liked by 1 person

      • pinkagendist says:

        Where the acting profession is involved the criticism is completely off the mark. (Good) Acting is in essence an exercise in the successful suspension of disbelief.
        The good ‘player’, as is said in French, is capable of transforming him or her self into whatever the role requires. If people on film or stage are just being themselves, there’s no skill involved. They’re not acting, they’re just being.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m totally with you on the language issue. I’m looking forward to seeing how pronouns evolve as the next generation or two ages up. I also agree that feminist issues are pushed to the bottom of the pile too often, but I’d add that almost every major issue today pertains to feminism on one level or another. Intersectionality is all over the place.

    I’m a bit bothered that your idea of feminism seems to disallow traditionally “girly” things and sex workers. To me, it isn’t just about eradicating traditional gender norms, it is about opening them up to all. I hope the language evolves to take the labels of masculinity and feminity out of it because heels and power tools should be for anyone who wants them. My eight-year-old calls herself a tomboy, which I hate. I tell her that she identifies as a girl, so whatever she does automatically qualifies as girly. She needs to be herself and worry less about labels. I think that will come with time, so I say my piece and let it be. My hope is that gender will one day be relegated to the unimportant, not as an erasure of women, but as a triumph of the individual. We need to see each other more complexly as gender does not help us do that.

    Sex work has been around for a long time and I don’t think it will ever go away. The burdens of unsafe sex work has largely fallen on women, but not completely. I think sexual equality means being competent, consenting adults. The economic exchange of sex is not inherently sexist, our society is. We need to change our thought process, not our desire.

    I don’t think these beliefs make me less of a feminist, perhaps you do. Feminism and social issues in general are in a major flux right now. I think when the dust settles we’ll all be better off.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I just looked up what Greer said about transgender people. I think what she said is abhorrent. Trans people should be accepted for who they are, case closed. Are there things transgender women will not understand about growing up identified as a female? Sure. Are there things that cisgender women will never understand about growing up as a transgender woman? Absolutely. Transgender women are women. Period. I’m not choosing a transgender issue over a feminist issue because transgender issues are a feminist issue.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Abhorrent. Absolutely. And I don’t find her view on that specific subject representative of any feminists I know, It is a view of of someone who is a famous feminist. And I’ll wear whatever I want, be it high heels and frilly clothes, as will my nephews should they choose to. Well said M.M.J.

        – e.u.t.c

        Liked by 2 people

      • pinkagendist says:

        What she said and the way she chose to say it were both entirely out of line- but I don’t think she meant it in simplistic terms. If you read through other things she’s written and said, it’s very plausible to presume she’s talking about the female experience; In that sense I would have to agree that a person born with x (x being any defining characteristic), has a unique perception of what having x means.
        A transgendered person has their own unique understanding of gender and sexuality, one that I couldn’t possibly claim to fully comprehend. A black person born in Kenya sees racial divides in a very different way to a black person born in Alabama. A woman who’s born physically female has most probably dealt with a wealth of issues that will have been somewhat different for the transgendered individual.

        Like

        • I’m not sure of the point you’re making. I don’t know what was going on in Greer’s mind, but what she chose to say out loud was divisive and transphobic. It completely discounted the multifaceted nature of human existence and is harmful to the trans community and feminism at large.

          Liked by 1 person

          • pinkagendist says:

            But doesn’t what you’re saying completely discount the completely multi-faceted nature of a human being and their career?
            I once said I thought gay people (I’m gay, btw) and single women shouldn’t have IVF. People pounced on me for it. The phrase that followed was, “before they consider the possibility of adoption because we have millions of abandoned children worldwide.”
            We are more than soundbytes. Greer has spent a lifetime fighting for the rights of minorities. I seriously doubt from everything she’s written that her intent was transphobic or that she’s a transphobic individual. That’s the point I’m making.

            Like

          • It seems to me that he [Caitlyn Jenner]- that what was going on there is that he- he/she- wanted the limelight that the other female members of the family were enjoying and has conquered it just like that.

            I call that transphobic.

            Like

          • pinkagendist says:

            It’s transphobic to a degree, but more than that it’s simplistic and entirely ridiculous. I imagine when someone says something like that they’re doing it for attention (to cause a stir) because obviously no great amount of thought has gone into the meaning of what was said.

            Like

          • Attempting to no-platform her was disrespectful and ridiculous. But for that, she would not have mentioned trans women, and most people at Prifysgol Caerdydd would have been unaware of her presence.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t believe that I am discounting Greer as a human being at all. She has said and done many valuable and important things. Do her comments about trans people undo all the good she has done? Of course not. But on this subject, she is wrong and she should be called out for it.

            It does stain her in my mind, but every human is stained. Regardless of her intent, her comments were transphobic. It is hard to imagine she can hold such views and not be transphobic.

            Liked by 2 people

          • pinkagendist says:

            Intent is a significant part of law 😉 What if her intent wasn’t transphobia?

            Like

          • I’m not taking her to court. 🙂
            Even if someone does not intend to cause harm, it does not stop the harm they cause.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Totally agree with that. It’s something I learned a long time ago. It is sooooo arrogant to say well, I didn’t intend to offend so therefore I didn’t. Just. Not. Acceptable.

            Liked by 1 person

          • pinkagendist says:

            Absolutely! I’m just trying to figure out what the best method could be to deal with these things. It seems to me that at the moment people who make outrageous comments get rewarded with a huge amount of attention- which is exactly what they want.

            Donald Trump knows all he has to do is say something anti-muslim and every news program on the planet will discuss it for days on end.Greer has also used this tactic at times.
            How do we take that away from them?

            Like

          • I don’t think we can. Perhaps we shouldn’t try. Let people talk, let them say abominable things so that we can know where they truly stand. For every awful thing, there are others willing to stand up and speak back. If the words are never spoken, action is never taken.

            Like

          • pinkagendist says:

            We shouldn’t try to figure it out? What if Fleming or the Curie’s said that? Or for that matter my grandfather when he was inventing the modern IUD?
            Take a deep breath and think again. We, the people, can and should be looking for solutions rather than sitting down in circles and singing kumbaya 😉

            Like

          • No, no. We should try to figure it out. We just shouldn’t try to stop them from speaking out. I’m for solutions and kumbaya. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    • On the one hand I think we’ve come some way with language usage, on the other, I groan every time I see/hear an automatic he, or policeman, fireman, postman etc, it’s extremely easy to reword everything, if an individual wishes to do so. The acceptance of they as a singular pronoun shows how much language can change to reflect societal advances. It’s just that not all of society moves at the same pace. As I said to Ruth, I’ll pick up on girly things, clothes at least, on a later post. Except to say power tools are useful, heels are not. Tomboy in itself is full of gender bias, is it not? I find the description of boy and girl activities odd, although Arb, Violet and I dabbled on that one in a previous post. Don’t all children play outside, make dens, climb trees and rooves, wear shorts/trousers to do so? They’re not exclusive activities for boys. Traditional gender roles don’t help anyone, and they do disadvantage women. Still.

      Of course sex work has been around a long time. So has patriarchy. The problem with sexism, feminism, society and patriarchy is that it is both inherently simple yet incredibly complex. Sure we can say sex work is an economic transaction between two consenting individuals. And when I read about female sex workers taking more coke than you can poke a stick at, then I’m concerned. Just as I was when I saw a corpse being carried out early one morning (heroin OD) from the brothel next door to the hostel I was staying at in Sydney. Or, as I think the phrase goes, if prostitution is such a great job, why aren’t there more men doing it? Biggest current slavery problem? Sex trafficking. It’s nice to think sex work could be rosy and consensual, with fair wages, good wages even, health checks, no unsafe sex, no drug reliance but that isn’t reality. Feminism might be based on ideals but it has to cope with the here and now, not hundreds of years time.

      There are many types of feminist. We each take out of feminism or support whatever approach we consider appropriate. If people consider lap/pole dancing, stripping, pornography and prostitution empower women, that’s their choice. In the past I would have agreed. But again, that’s a blog post in itself. I think I’ve touched on it before, but I’ll look back and do an update at some point.

      Liked by 2 people

    • @MMJ Gregory

      “I’m totally with you on the language issue.”

      And then this…

      Sex work has been around for a long time and I don’t think it will ever go away.

      Language *is* important. The exploitation and degradation of women should never be called “work”.

      Prostitution, harmful for the majority of women involved, is the term for this destructive practice.

      Like

      • Sex work is a difficult one. I’m all for people defining themselves. But, which is why I think it needs a separate post, to put it in the same category as a teacher, a doctor, a road sweeper when it is nothing, but nothing, more than objectification and use of, mostly, female bodies for male gratification is where I struggle.

        Sex pos feminism, so to speak, has seriously caused a problem.

        Liked by 1 person

        • @RSitM

          I find it a bit less of troublesome a concept.

          People can define themselves as they please, there is no contention there.

          However, they cannot make society agree with nice vision they have in their heads on how they expect to be treated. Normative societal values and judgements don’t work that way.

          I may very well identify as a saffron-purple unicorn with mystical powers, but should I be surprised/offended when others in society treat me as the non-unicorn entity that I am?

          “Sex pos feminism, so to speak, has seriously caused a problem.”

          I concur.

          The problem is, of course, is that it is dude-friendly, and thus dude-centric. There doesn’t seem to be much for women inside the idea of sex-pos feminism.

          It has a wafting odour much like the oft-touted sexual revolution of the 60/70’s, which was also dude-centric and thus toxic for women.

          Like

          • A saffron-purple unicorn sounds attractive. But I guess if you aren’t the right colours and have four legs and a sticky out bit (on your head), then yeah, it doesn’t hang together too well.

            The difference however, unless I am mistaken, is that you are not a variegated unicorn, whereas prostitutes are working and sell sex. Well, themselves. Their bodies. Whatever. Money change hands for some type of sex. So I don’t find it an inaccurate description. The issue really is, what does the encouragement of prostitution/sex work, do for women in terms of getting away from being viewed as sexual objects/chattels/something to be bought/blah blah. That’s just the ideological side. Before we even get into the conditions some of these women ‘work’ under. Let alone the control/trafficking/slavery. Sure. Sex work is good for women …

            Liked by 1 person

          • @RSitM

            *giggles* while pondering variegated unicorns.

            “So I don’t find it an inaccurate description.”

            My connotative preferences may stem from several encounters with individuals who seem to think that somehow being prostituted is empowering and full to the brim with choice and stuff, and things…

            While this may be true for a small minority of women, for the large majority, it is patently false.

            So when I see terms like ‘sex work’ it seems to me to be glossing over and attempting to sanitize the fetid conditions that those who are a part of the commercial rape trade are forced to endure.

            Thus, the reason for my somewhat calcified take on the language choice surrounding this issue. Well that, and it is a deep thorn in the side of many a sexpossy-fun-fem commentator.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Well yes. Do I need to say more? Except a photo of a saffron purple unicorn would be good.

            Like

      • I was not referring to the exploitation and degradation that is so commonly referred to as sex work. I was speaking of the sliver of situations in which sex work is actually work. That may not mean anything to you, but I have listened to enough women (and other genders) in that sliver to make the distinction.

        Like

        • @MMJ Gregory

          “I was not referring to the exploitation and degradation that is so commonly referred to as sex work.”

          Really? How is one to divine that from what you said? Let’s revisit what you said:

          #1.

          “The economic exchange of sex is not inherently sexist, our society is.”

          and this:

          #2.

          “We need to change our thought process, not our desire.”

          1. Please explain how the economic exchange of sex is not inherently sexist, given that commercial rape is almost exclusively perpetrated against against females?

          Female trafficking, female exploitation, and objectification all stem from this gleaming pile of patriarchal misogyny that is, rightly named, prostitution – and how this isn’t sexist?

          I eagerly await your explanation.

          #2. So what part of ‘changing the thought process’ is going to help woman enslaved in the commercial rape trade?

          Some radical feminists support the Nordic Model as a concrete set of actions that rightly focus on the problem – the men – while at the same time works to free women from the commercial rape death-spiral. With #2, what solutions are you proposing?

          “I was speaking of the sliver of situations in which sex work is actually work. That may not mean anything to you, but I have listened to enough women (and other genders) in that sliver to make the distinction.”

          Oh I see, well that explains quite a bit. But then the question that remains is this: How is your reader supposed to know that you are speaking about this admittedly minuscule sliver of women and not generalizing to women as whole and thus glossing over a feature of society that is a severe detriment to most women who participate in it?

          Because without this second comment it sure looks like you’re endorsing some of the fatuous positions sex-possy’s tend to take.

          [edited for quote clarity – ok Arb?]

          Like

          • @RSitM

            Of course. :>

            Liked by 1 person

          • I fully admit that I did not get detailed enough in my initial comment to make clear my position. I suppose that I have held it for so long that I take it for granted that I will be understood. I would never use ‘sex work’ to refer to the exploitative, sexist trafficking and prostitution that makes up the great majority of sex trade.

            I do believe there is a chance for sex work to not be inherently bad or sexist. That possibility is being proven by more and more people as time goes on.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Madalyn, thanks for that explanation. I agree it’s easy to think of our own view and not feel the need to, or want to, explain it every time. Given the different povs of my readership, I’ve started a post (simplistic) about basic feminism, which will at least, hopefully, give people to say what they agree/disagree with and why. Maybe it will also help some of my readers who aren’t very clued up on feminism and are willing to learn.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. Arkenaten says:

    You and I crossed (s)words over this a while back, and initially I could see no reason to budge on ”Marksman”.
    But language evolves, just like most everything else, and every writer has the power and the obligation to set the tone and set the right tone.
    So I went through the book, as I mentioned before and removed every word that could even remotely be deemed sexist.
    And it was not that difficult and from a learning perspective, quite enlightening.
    I probably would never have even considered it if you hadn’t had me strapped to that chair pulling my fingernails out until I acquiesced. Nothing like gentle persuasion, right? 😉

    And just to remind you, the word/s I used in place of Marksman – expert shot. Simple.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Crossed swords is a bit OTT. Knuckle bruising perhaps?
      One can write a Pourne book, or anything about sex, without being inherently sexist. And, without having seen it, I would guess that would actually make it stronger writing.

      I didn’t strap you to the chair. You escaped, and went off sulking. And clearly went back and sat there on your own 😉 Interestingly, you are one of a number of men who actually say, in public, that you have changed something because of what I have wrote (I know, terrible, M&W) about feminism and gender specific language. You join an illustrious and elite group. Now, I just have to sort the bloody women. Violet, Sonmi now Esmeralda, and MMJ insist on arguing with me. If it weren’t for women, feminism would be a cinch.

      I was thinking it was crack shot, but expert shot is good. Better than marksman. Hmm. Shouldn’t you be anti-gun in your novel?

      Like

      • Arkenaten says:

        Well I had to admit it in public, didn’t I? You know where I live for god’s sake!
        (Google is not always your friend)

        I am most certainly any a lot of naughty things in the book.
        Anti gun is part of it in a small way.

        Like

      • @RSitM

        “Now, I just have to sort the bloody women.”

        The empowerful is strong in those parts – lobe explosive material to be sure.

        *sigh*

        Like

        • It’s a big, big issue. 1) an assumption that if a woman says something she’s a spokesperson for all women/feminism 2) if a woman says she’s a feminist, she is.

          Liked by 1 person

          • @RSitM

            “It’s a big, big issue.”

            A large squirmy kettle of fish to be sure.

            A portion of the blame can probably be assigned to dudes for injecting the worm of neo-liberalism into feminist discourse. The refocusing on the individual and choices, as opposed to class analysis/action as a class has fragmented a good portion of discourse, recent theory, and activism.

            The atomization of the individual is the gold standard when it comes to the enforcement and maintenance of the status-quo. Individuals making choices for themselves do not change society.

            Another neat feature,which strangely coincides with the entry of women and minorities into academia, is the rise of post-modernism and thus a move away from tools that could be concretely activated to change the structures of our unjust societies. Hard to get shit done when everything can be defined as anything, depending on the observer and what not. (I really hate what po-mo has become :l )

            Speaking toward point two. Without a firm theoretical grounding to be able to evaluate what feminism is, makes point two endlessly problematic.

            Like

          • Point two first. It’s your unicorn analogy. And yes, without some understanding of the very complex nuances of feminism, saying I think women should have equal opportunities and equal pay does not make a feminist. At. All. Or maybe it does these days.

            Class and oppression has largely become out of favour. Old speak. Hence, no progress. Intersectionality is another biggie. It dilutes the essential message. So yes, in the western world, poor black women are more oppressed than middle-class white women. And in other countries women are still fighting for education, health care and against FGM. I don’t see what is difficult here. Women get the raw deal. Where’s the argument? And that’s what feminism should be focusing on.

            Liked by 1 person

          • @RSitM

            Agreed.
            —–

            Have you seen my kitteh woogling in the sun?

            A possible portmanteau/neologism/cat post all in one. 🙂

            Like

          • No. But right now I suspect I need to!

            Like

          • tildeb says:

            Sorry Arb, this comment really, really bothers me. That’s a lot… in Tildeb speak.

            The atomization of the individual is the gold standard when it comes to the enforcement and maintenance of the status-quo.

            I have no clue what this sentence might mean. Am I supposed to? Apparently, recognizing the autonomy of the individual is now a bad thing in that it causes the ‘enforcement and maintenance of the status-quo’.

            In passing consideration, we might be rather astute to remember before we head down this sociological rabbit hole that under enlightenment values all our common legal rights and recognized freedoms belong to the individual, which is then granted to authority in certain cases for what is presented to be the collective good. Our individual legal rights and freedoms are not bequeathed to us by some ‘higher’ power, by some judging entity, by some ‘sociological force’ you seem to think exists independently busy deciding what should and should not be permissible. My point here is that to demote the individual in pursuit of selling this sociological psycho-babble means you seem quite willing to equivalently demote our collective legal rights and freedoms to the judgement of some ethereal yet deterministic ‘society’.

            Well, sociologists the world over will spasm and quiver with orgasmic delight at this idea that each of us is really nothing but the product of mysterious sociological forces that, oh by the way and it just so happens that, only they can truly understand (especially when they introduce newly minted terms only they produce as what appears to me to be a mandatory component for the attainment of their Master’s designation) in order to elevate this field of pseudo-academic balderdashery… and, by coincidence, themselves along with it, of course. Sociologists are the experts on society, after all. It says so right there in their group identity header term so it must be true. Everything concerning humans then becomes ‘sociology’ using this metric and so the field returns to its origins as meaningless drivel without factual content…. factual content that is adequately addressed by other fields of academia… without any sociological experts along to guide and direct their relevant examination.

            Individuals making choices for themselves do not change society.

            You’re not going to have much of a society without individuals to constitute its population. Because individuals taken as a collective (but only so far as the sociological expert deems to be an essential identifier for that grouping) are the only component that defines what and who a society really is, then surely their cumulative choices do have some changing effect on any society as a whole. Admitting this point is enough to dismantle your brute claim from a ‘do not’ to (at best) a ‘may not’ under specific conditions and only where the effects cancel each other out.

            Liked by 1 person

          • @Tildeb

            I’m thinking that I may have set off your bs alarm, but the devil is going to be in the fine calibrations necessary to argue that I’m not saying what you postulate, but rather something much more simple.

            “Apparently, recognizing the autonomy of the individual is now a bad thing in that it causes the ‘enforcement and maintenance of the status-quo’. “

            The enemy in my sights is the fabled american libertarian strain – whose motto – “fuck you’ I’ve got mine” often rings out in threads about life, liberty and happiness and all that bunk.

            My claim is not to devalue the autonomy of the individual per-say, but rather, draw attention to the fact that those who wish to mold the contours of society are keenly aware of the threat an educated, mobilized, and engaged citizenry. It is in the best interests of the elite, forced to work within a democratic society, to keep this very real power of the commoners in line with their interests (as opposed to their own class interest).

            People who interact with each other care for each other and want what is best for them and their communities. Thus, solidarity and community are the natural enemies of our current neo-liberal regimes because in a democracy the people, when organized, have the power in the society and will use the force of numbers to better society for their class.

            Obviously, this sad state of affairs cannot be tolerated, hence we see the huge divide in what the public wants and what they actually get. Collective action is the only force in history that can change society – and thus encouraging the faux-empowerment of ‘making choices’ and ‘doing it your way’ encourages the atomization of population, encouraging them to think as themselves as consumers and makers of choices first, and citizens of a collective democratic society…last.

            “Everything concerning humans then becomes ‘sociology’ using this metric and so the field returns to its origins as meaningless drivel without factual content…. factual content that is adequately addressed by other fields of academia… without any sociological experts along to guide and direct their relevant examination. “

            I’m not sure which set of sociologists pissed in your cornflakes, but the ax you’re grinding isn’t related to what I was saying.

            “Because individuals taken as a collective (but only so far as the sociological expert deems to be an essential identifier for that grouping) are the only component that defines what and who a society really is, then surely their cumulative choices do have some changing effect on any society as a whole. “

            Granted. With the proviso that to get shit done you need more than individuals just making choices – because like it or not – those choices are proscribed by the fabric of society and said fabric of society necessarily delimits what choices are available to us.

            What feminism or any minority movement about is changing the base fabric of society and you don’t do that by being empowerful individuals and doing what you can by yourself. Do that and you get crushed by the status-quo. Every fucking time.

            No, what you do is you organize, You build community, you build resilience, you build a movement that can resist the normalizing forces of greater society to such an extent that you cannot be crushed or silenced and then you grab society by the throat and demand change.

            Then comes the repression, the police and army brutality, the murder at the hands of those who are sworn to protect you. It is here where you pay the price in blood and tears because the backlash is always inevitable and there is always a price to pay. Civil rights activists paid with their lives and feminists paid with their lives in order to change society. This shit doesn’t happen without solidarity and community, because individuals can be easily drowned out by the system.

            “Admitting this point is enough to dismantle your brute claim from a ‘do not’ to (at best) a ‘may not’ under specific conditions and only where the effects cancel each other out.”

            I don’t think that we’re talking about the same thing here, so I’m going to hold off for more clarification of where you’re coming from before negotiating the claim further.

            Like

          • tildeb says:

            @Arb

            Oh, I see what you’re saying. Thanks for the much needed clarification. I did not understand your use of the term ‘atomization of the individual’ to actually mean the libertarian sense that wishes to promote the rugged individual, to promote a ‘fuck you I’ve got mine’ kind of anti-social, anti-community, anti-collective sense of the term that is often and effectively used by business (and its political wing) to try to undermine any organizing against its own interests.

            Yes, this is a very real danger and using this vein of appealing to rugged individualism has been used to great and pernicious effect (see the Tea Party movement, for example) and it must be challenged. Now I get what you’re saying.

            Liked by 1 person

          • @Tildeb

            Good. 🙂

            I must apologize for poorly stating my argument in the first comment.

            I do enjoy a good dust up when we actually have something to argue about. 🙂

            To further the idea of how important language is to debate(mildly related to the OP) and understanding another angle would be, of course, the use of specialist language as purposeful barriers to entry into a field, and more importantly, understanding the content of said field.

            It takes me a bit but I can usually parse out dense academic stuff in the social sciences. Some of the less accessible highlights I can recall would be excerpts from Mary Daly’s Gynecology and most of what Dworkin has written.

            The excerpts from the above are quite accessible, but Daly experiments with words and Dworkin is in love with run on sentences.

            Like

          • Anything remotely linguistic is always welcome on here, and I’m certainly happy to learn.

            Somewhat tangential, did Daly jump or was she pushed … ?

            Like

          • @RSitM

            “did Daly jump or was she pushed … ?”

            I’m not sure how to parse this, but she was most certainly radical till the end.

            From her obit in the Guardian:

            “Daly could, however, be highly critical of those she considered sell-outs, and dismissed female academics working on postmodernist theory as “puppets of dead white males like Michel Foucault”. Never one to bow to convention, she would turn up to teach in hiking clothes rather than suits.

            The phrase that sums Daly up most succinctly is probably this, written by her in 1995: “There are and will be those who think I have gone overboard. Let them rest assured that this assessment is correct, probably beyond their wildest imagination, and that I will continue to do so.”

            She certainly seemed to go full ham whenever possible.

            Like

          • I was thinking specifically about her refusal to allow male students into some classes. I can see the pros and the cons there.

            I know she would offer private tuition which offered the learning to interested men, but I wonder what was missed by having an exchange in class? Who knows?

            Like

          • @RSitM

            “but I wonder what was missed by having an exchange in class? Who knows? “

            I would think that a respite from the prolix-y mansplaining and the insufferable dude-centric world view would be a good thing.

            I’m not sure what a man could bring to an advanced women studies course, other than discomfort and censure for the other female participants.

            Like

          • Well yes, that’s an obvious. But if they’d signed up for advance studies, maybe they might have heard some womansplaining. For once.

            Liked by 1 person

          • tildeb says:

            Is that Ronald Dworkin?

            Like

          • @Tildeb

            Andrea Dworkin – Right Wing Women, Women Hating, Pornography:Men Possessing Women, etc.

            When MRA’s and their ilk need to find someone scary in radical feminism, they usually start with Andrea Dworkin.

            I have Justice in Robes and Sovereign Virtue sitting on my shelf. They seem a little, hmm… dense, and I haven’t persuaded myself to read them, yet.

            Have you? Recommended reading?

            Like

          • tildeb says:

            In my earlier studies on equality in law, I had to read his Right Answer thesis and excerpts from Sovereign Virtue (which lead me to read Rawls and the veil of ignorance analogy) and it introduced me to the idea that the ‘right’ answers in legal terms aren’t always the ‘correct’ ones in democratic terms, and this tension in law is a real thorn to those who seek redress from legal inequalities by creating different legal inequalities. According to Dworkin, the judiciary has to keep in mind the principle in any ruling that for democracy to work the law must demonstrate that every individual is entitled to equal legal concern and respect. Dworkin explains that because the source of legal authority has been tacitly borrowed from each individual in a democracy, the shift to legal rulings about group respect and concern is an undermining influence to democracy itself by creating an unequal legal system where the individual is no longer primary. Rawls addresses this principle by analogy for judges to follow, I think, brilliantly in his veil of ignorance argument.

            He was a very strong critic of rulings that allowed business, for example, to be consider in some cases an individual – with the same rights and freedoms and legal respect and concern as any other individual – but in others a ‘class’ awarded a special exemption to be an entity created and dissolved by legal contract (again, the rulings based on the ‘right’ legal answers according to the ‘rules’ but that are not necessarily the ‘correct’ ones according to the reductionist effects they have on the individuals that constitute the democracy). He saw this shift as short sighted and unprincipled framing (usually justified by poor precedent alone) as a means for the few to use the law against the many… to create, maintain, and enforce inequality (specifically of resources, in Dworkin’s argument) at the direct and lasting expense of health of the democracy. And I think this is exactly what we’re seeing unfold with such pernicious effects today.

            That’s why I was a bit confused when you suggested Dworkin in the same sentence as Daly.

            Mononucleosis might be a good enough reason to tackle Dworkin’s writing but I can think of lots of good books to spend my time on… unless one is seriously thinking of becoming a judge, that is, in which case his writings are essential.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Have to say, I was curious when you mentioned Ronald, as in feminist context, Andrea was the only one who came to mind, so I had to look him up. Made for interesting reading. Though I would be reading A Dworkin before R Dworkin. Unless I was having problems falling asleep, which is my least problem.

            Like

          • tildeb says:

            He’s not that bad to read but it is thick in that his explanations are exponentially longer than my own and so it takes a certain amount of concentration to keep the thread alive in mind to reach comprehension for his conclusions. But some ideas are worth thinking long and hard about… ideas like what equality means and how that should be presented not just in law but in our everyday behaviour. Short sighted and -term ‘fair’ should not be the goal; it’s the long term health of the democratic society that matters… which is rarely apparent. Hence the danger so many do not see that individuals supporting the imposition of what seems to be fair by using the law unfairly leads to the destruction of the democratic society. That’s why I keep bringing up the historical model of fascism… reached one regressive step at a time by those seeking to improve society by dis-empowering concern and respect for the individual in law. It’s a real danger and not hyperbole.

            Like

          • Thanks for that. I find it really helpful to have these discussions where I learn something totally new from someone who shares their different knowledge. That’s the good side of blogging rather than us all shooting off our mouths in a vacuum.
            But, while the individual may end up being disrespected in law, and – possibly – one step away from fascism, and individual is powerless on their own. And that I think, was The Arb’s point. The law is irrelevant when it is arb(ha)itrarily changed.

            Liked by 1 person

          • tildeb says:

            I think one’s age may play a factor in understanding how the world underwent a major seizure from conflicting political ideologies and tens of millions of people died as a result. For most older Westerners, the question how a civilized and advanced nation like Germany could become a totalitarian death machine is quite important to understand and the answer something even more so, whereas the younger may not appreciate why and how this danger is just as omnipresent in our own as it was at the birth and development ‘over there’ a couple of generations ago. I think this has heavily influenced such thinkers as Ronald Dworkin who has applied the insights into his field of expertise, namely, the law.

            I am not a fan of trade or professional unions – self-serving and short sighted organizations that have deeply and adversely affected me – even though I am a fan of organized labour. I know that sounds incompatible in theory but it turns out it isn’t in fact. I celebrated the ‘win’ my spouse brought about that forced a provincial government to pony up more than $200 million dollars for unfair treatment, that had to alter the collective agreement, that had to be rectified by the professional college in its disciplinary dealings. Across the table was the government’s lawyers, the union’s lawyers, and the professional college’s lawyers working hand in glove to screw those they deemed screwable. They colluded and so they paid the price.

            So this idea that there’s some natural separation of objectives between unions and the businesses they work with is fiction. It’s not a binary situation but one of power and exercising legally. And that’s why legal equality in principle is of such fundamental importance that the shift towards groups is very dangerous and we should know better than to fall back into this self-defeating morass.

            Like

          • Or to put it more simply, as I was confused with the atomisation, trade unions would be a good example. Well, in the past they would. An individual worker has no power negotiating with a boss, but collectively, the workforce can take industrial action or strike to damage the essential capitalist structure of the business.

            Which, was so successful in the UK in the seventies that Thatcher made it a personal mission to demolish the union power bases.

            Is that a fair analogy?

            Liked by 2 people

          • @RSitM

            Absolutely.

            Divided we fall and together we stand and all that sort of idea.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m a died-in-the-wool trade unionist. After all, the NUJ did pay for me to go on a short TUC course at Ruskin: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruskin_College

            But, trade unionism isn’t dissimilar to feminism. If one enters negotiations with a conciliatory meek and humble approach, we get walked over. We’re always coming in from the disadvantaged position. We don’t have the power.

            Liked by 2 people

          • @RSitM

            Me too, although the teachers union here is a far cry from a militant, effective force. :/

            Like

          • That’s interesting. Back when, there were three militant extremely left wing unions: the NUM (miners), the NUJ (journalists and mine), and … the NUT (teachers).

            The NUM had power because of coal and the need for energy, the other two were intellectual militants. Our union branch meetings were classic smoke-filled rooms above the pub. I went to a weekend party hosted by another reporter in his parents’ holiday cottage.

            Another reporter strode out onto the impressive lawn on Sunday morning, and said: ‘Good morning comrades’. It was surreal, I tell you.

            Like

          • @RSitM

            “that Thatcher made it a personal mission to demolish the union power bases.”

            Just another part of the extreme backlash to the brief time where the common people had a hand on the tiller of society.

            Like

          • While I totally disagreed with her domestic policies, she was hellish clever at destroying the opposition. Two simple prongs. One, destroy unions. Two, offer people the opportunity to buy rented council houses and become homeowners. Very astute. It totally changed the mindset.

            The UK working class has never recovered from her government. One could add in other factors in later years, but she certainly started the rot in a decisive way.

            Liked by 1 person

  15. xPraetorius says:

    Thanks for your linkback, Clouds. I have just a few quibbles with the full post that ranges more widely than just your reaction to our very sensible style guidelines.

    You said:

    This is from the style guide for the Praetorian Writers Group, who to a person, seem to be a bunch of antediluvians (can that be used as a noun?) to me.

    Response:

    Not bad snark. I always appreciate good snark. What you — and all of feminism — have failed to show is why that’s a bad thing. Compared to today’s hyper-whiny, thoroughly feminized world, there are more than just a few people pining for the good ol’ days when women simply weren’t such simpering, snivelling wretches. Actually, I should correct myself: women aren’t simpering, snivelling wretches. Feminists are. 🙂

    – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

    You said:

    I had the he/she/it argument years ago. Firstly at work, and secondly, more recently, with a friend in the Royal Navy, who made the standard excuse that it refers to men and women. No it doesn’t, and by implication it assumes male preference and denies women’s presence. He later admitted perhaps it wasn’t inclusive. Readers of roughseas will note that ‘they’ has not only made it into the Oxford dictionary, it was on the shortlist for word of the year in 2015. That’s good. I was using it last century in public information leaflets and documents. Get over the grammar people. Words change.

    Response:

    Actually, no one has ever shown why “inclusivity” (is that a word?) has any positive linguistic value, which is all that really counts in a word. In fact it has none.

    In language, the only thing that has any value is precision in the service of more effective transmission of the speaker’s/writer’s thoughts. Period.

    If you wish to argue that your addition of a plethora of made up sillinesses, whose sole raison d’être is to protect the tender feelings of whiny crybabies, adds to precision and to the effectiveness of language as a tool for communications, then go ahead and make that case. I suspect, though, that all the thought that one has to expend on selecting the correct pronoun from the pile detracts from the speaker’s/writer’s ability to express himself effectively.

    – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

    You said:

    So while the fossils in the Writers Group may refer to people of unknown sex as he, the rest of us have moved on somewhat. Of course one could equally use zie, but I suspect that would be even worse to those of anti-feminist persuasion. Or anti dismantling the gender binary persuasion.

    *Explanatory note*
    Dismantling the gender binary, ie getting rid of the distinctions between men and women, or traits regarded as being ‘male’ or ‘female’ tends to be associated with feminism, as women tend to suffer more under this classification.

    Response:

    Lol! One of our colleagues, “FreeThinker,” is a twenty-something black woman. She was tickled that you refer to her as a fossil.

    Quick note: Thre hundred and fifty thousand brandy new babies will come into the world today, and tromorrow and the day after, and the day after… Until you “dismantle” the process by which that takes place, you will never be able to “dismantle the gender binary.” None of us “fossils” are trying to resist your silly efforts at this, because we know that it’s only a passing fad — as you prove further on in this particular essay.

    One more quick note: Your “*Explanatory Note*” is incoherent. If I’ve understood it correctly, you seem to think that women have “suffered” under various classification conventions associated with identifying certain traits as typically male or typically female. This is patently a load of codswallop.

    You simply have no way of making that comparison. Yes, you can say that things like “courage,” and “strength,” and “decisive” and the like are stereotypically “masculine” traits. But, so are “bullying,” “brutish,” “cruel,” etc. “Feminine” gets to have “compassionate,” and “caring,” “insightful,” “intuitive,” etc. Both share more or less equally things like “thoughtful,” “cerebral,” “academic.” Both sexes (<– the correct word) share more or less equally broad, general terms (nice, kind, empathetic, generous, mean, rude, stingy, honest, trustworthy). If you were to put together the entire "basket" of terms generally considered masculine or feminine, you would not be able remotely to conclude that women “suffer” whatsoever from classifications in “the gender binary.”

    You could say: you believe that woman suffer from “gender binary classifications,” but then you might have to defend your belief. The simple truth is: there is no possible way to state, as you do, that your highly dubious belief is a fact. All of feminism, in fact, is based on highly dubious beliefs, and irrelevant givens.

    Furthermore, it is simply an obvious truism: the twentieth and twenty-first century Western woman is the most coddled, pampered creature in the history of the world.

    – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

    You said:

    Speaker Maryam Namazie is Iranian born, has worked with refugees, is a human rights activist, and campaigns for women’s rights in Iran. She opposes Sharia law in the UK and denounces Western acceptance of women’s oppression and violation of human rights when we say it is part of ‘Islamic culture’. She thinks otherwise.

    She was briefly banned from speaking at Warwick University, and in her talk this month at Goldsmiths, she was heckled, shouted at, whistled at, students walked out, and her projector was turned off. (Projector? Do people still use those?)

    Response:

    Lol! First of all: welcome to my world! It’s a rare day when a Conservative speaker isn’t “heckled, shouted at, students walked out, and projectors turned off” When that doesn’t happen to us, we wonder whether the event was sufficiently publicized.

    Mariam Namazie sounds like a sensible intelligent woman. She simply fell afoul of the Oppression Olympics. In the scenario you described, were you counting on university administrators to back up Miss Namazie? Silly you! Right now the muslims are a lot louder and more in-your-face bullying than the feminists, so the feminists lost. That’s all. University administrators roll over before the loudest bully. That’s all.

    – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

    You said:

    Why do women always get pushed to the bottom of the discriminatory heap? And by other feminist women too?

    Race trumps feminism. Religion trumps feminism. Feminists are only allowed to speak if they don’t offend anyone.

    And yet, it’s ok to offend women and feminists and disrupt a presentation? Would that have been allowed if the speaker was male? A Muslim? Black? A member of the university faculty? Well, anyone really, apart from an ex-Muslim woman?

    Response:

    This is just you showing that you’ve long ago joined in the Oppression Olympics on the “Whining Feminist” team.

    Here’re the answers to your (incomplete) list of questions:

    Q: Would that have been allowed if the speaker was…

    male? Answer: Of course.
    a muslim? Answer: no
    black? Answer: no
    faculty member? Answer: maybe — depends on the other Oppression Olympics credentials — race, sex, his whine — of the faculty speaker. And there’s a hierarchy within even these credentials. For instance to attempt to shout down a black conservative make speaker would not only be encouraged, it would be seen as academically obligatory. His blackness would not protect him from the king of all university taboos: Conservative beliefs.
    politcally Conservative woman? Answer: yes, of course. Obligatory.
    politcally Conservative man? Answer: yes, of course. Obligatory.
    black Conservative woman? Answer: yes, of course. Obligatory.
    black Conservative man? Answer: yes, of course. Obligatory.

    Your question was so silly that it made me almost fall off my chair. Are you really so ignorant that you don’t know that every time one of my political persuasion goes to speak at a university cxampus, we’re greeted by a concerted effort to, as you say, “heckle us, shout us down, whistle at us, walk out, and turn our projector off”?

    – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

    You said:

    One of the principles of feminism is that one doesn’t criticise women who subscribe to patriarchy. After all, they are mere pawns like the rest of us.

    Response:

    This was funny too. By the nonsense phrase: “women who subscribe to patriarchy,” presumably you mean women of a Conservative political persuasion? If that’s so, those women come in for particularly vicious slander from feminists, because they are seen to have left the reservation. I’m not sure what “feminism” you’ve been observing, but far from considering Conservative women pawns of men (I mean, let’s face it the Western man has to be the easiest “oppressor” in history — all he’s done is roll over for all of feminism’s whiny demands) feminists brand them as “gender traitors.”

    – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

    You said:

    Women have a brain. If they buy into bull****, play the little woman card, then they are making my job and that of every other serious feminist, that much harder. Whether that is wearing frilly clothes and high heels, supporting Islam above feminism, racial discrimination above feminism, or anything else above feminism, then yes, I will criticise other women. Oh, and that includes sex workers and women who work in pornography too.

    So women, and those few seriously good feminist allies out there (I can think of three of you), don’t short-change feminism. It should NOT take second place to anything.

    *ETA* I should have added Sarah Ditum to the list of feminist speakers who gave been no- platformed. In this case Bristol Feminist Society uninvited her on the grounds that someone, somewhere had called her transphobic. [My Note: The Trans Grievance Industry is making itself heard here. The vast contradictions of the Western Grievance Industries do bump heads all the time… to hilariously comic effect. ]

    Response:

    Yawn. All-in-all, Clouds, just a typical salvo in the Oppression Olympics. You’ve seen that that horrible, evil, mean Western Heterosexual White Man has been doing nothing but turning over money, power and prestige to the loudest, whiniest group, and you’re a bit miffed that you feminists are not the loudest anymore. Oh, you’re still the whiniest, but you have to make yourselves heard, so you need to be louder. Hence, your post, above.

    – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

    Best,

    — x

    Like

    • Thank you for your lengthy comment. Mind if I take a while to reply?

      Like

    • You’ll appreciate I won’t be copying and pasting everything, so here’s a short, snappy selection.

      I have just a few quibbles with the full post that ranges more widely than just your reaction to our very sensible style guidelines.

      Sexist guidelines. Outdated, gender-specific, guidelines. You may think they are sensible. Your choice to set them. Mine to criticise them. Linguistically you are writing in the past.

      Not bad snark. I always appreciate good snark.

      Why thank you. I’ll treasure that.

      What you — and all of feminism — have failed to show is why that’s a bad thing.

      I have written about gender specific language and gender neutral language before. Some of my visitors read more than one post and I am not boring the pants off them by repeating myself for the benefit of some one-off fly-by. What part of ‘it assumes male preference and denies women’s presence’ did you miss? Personally I find denying women’s existence a bad thing. You may not.

      Compared to today’s hyper-whiny, thoroughly feminized world, there are more than just a few people pining for the good ol’ days when women simply weren’t such simpering, snivelling wretches. Actually, I should correct myself: women aren’t simpering, snivelling wretches. Feminists are. 🙂

      Really? Simpering, snivelling wretches? You would be hard pushed to find any readers of my blog who would describe me in those terms. Perhaps you should reserve judgement before shooting off your mouth.

      Actually, no one has ever shown why “inclusivity” (is that a word?) has any positive linguistic value, which is all that really counts in a word.
      In fact it has none. In language, the only thing that has any value is precision in the service of more effective transmission of the speaker’s/writer’s thoughts. Period.

      No. Just no.

      Lol! One of our colleagues, “FreeThinker,” is a twenty-something black woman. She was tickled that you refer to her as a fossil.

      Fossil refers to thinking age. Not lived years.

      Thre hundred and fifty thousand brandy new babies will come into the world today, and tromorrow and the day after, and the day after… Until you “dismantle” the process by which that takes place, you will never be able to “dismantle the gender binary.” None of us “fossils” are trying to resist your silly efforts at this, because we know that it’s only a passing fad — as you prove further on in this particular essay.

      That refers to biological and reproductive sex. Not the same thing. Of course, you will be aware of men now giving birth, I’m sure 🙂

      Lol! First of all: welcome to my world! It’s a rare day when a Conservative speaker isn’t “heckled, shouted at, students walked out, and projectors turned off” When that doesn’t happen to us, we wonder whether the event was sufficiently publicized.

      I can’t imagine attending a lecture by a religious conservative sexist, but in the unlikely event, I would at least show some courtesy and listen to the speaker. My fault for attending a presentation that I disagreed with.

      By the nonsense phrase: “women who subscribe to patriarchy,” presumably you mean women of a Conservative political persuasion? If that’s so, those women come in for particularly vicious slander from feminists, because they are seen to have left the reservation. I’m not sure what “feminism” you’ve been observing, but far from considering Conservative women pawns of men (I mean, let’s face it the Western man has to be the easiest “oppressor” in history — all he’s done is roll over for all of feminism’s whiny demands) feminists brand them as “gender traitors.”

      No. I didn’t mean or think about politics. Not relevant. Don’t make assumptions. Your generalisations are appalling. I personally have not mentioned Conservative women, Western men, or gender traitors. I don’t mean to be rude, but do you have any understanding of patriarchy?

      Yawn. All-in-all, Clouds, just a typical salvo in the Oppression Olympics. You’ve seen that that horrible, evil, mean Western Heterosexual White Man has been doing nothing but turning over money, power and prestige to the loudest, whiniest group, and you’re a bit miffed that you feminists are not the loudest anymore. Oh, you’re still the whiniest, but you have to make yourselves heard, so you need to be louder. Hence, your post, above.

      My post was about feminists who choose to ally with groups who share no commonality in their aims. And how feminists attack each other. Where did you learn to read? I would suggest you try another school.

      Liked by 2 people

      • xPraetorius says:

        Lol! Nice evasions, Clouds, but evasions all the same. Some quick remarks:

        [You said:] Sexist guidelines. Outdated, gender-specific, guidelines. You may think they are sensible. Your choice to set them. Mine to criticise them. Linguistically you are writing in the past. [I say:] I may be writing in the past, but you’re writing in the whiny irrelevant. 🙂

        [You said:] I have written about gender specific language and gender neutral language before. Some of my visitors read more than one post and I am not boring the pants off them by repeating myself for the benefit of some one-off fly-by. What part of ‘it assumes male preference and denies women’s presence’ did you miss? Personally I find denying women’s existence a bad thing. You may not. [I say:] I’d find “denying women’s existence” a bad thing indeed. Thank goodness it’s never happened. It’s kind of hard to deny their existence. After all, the feminists among them don’t shut up. And if you were to say just the teentsiest, weentsiest, misunderstood, trivial little thing that ticks off one such tender little flower, it can ruin your career. Nope. We men never have denied, and never do deny the existence of either women, or the cranky feminists who pretend to speak in their names.

        [You said:] Really? Simpering, sniveling wretches? You would be hard pushed to find any readers of my blog who would describe me in those terms. Perhaps you should reserve judgement before shooting off your mouth. [I say:] Hmmm…I think I called American feminists “whimpering, sniveling wretches.” Are you not a Brit? I reserved judgment for many years — too long, actually — as I studied the whimpering, sniveling wretchedness that comprises western feminism. 🙂

        [I said:] Actually, no one has ever shown why “inclusivity” (is that a word?) has any positive linguistic value, which is all that really counts in a word. In fact it has none. In language, the only thing that has any value is precision in the service of more effective transmission of the speaker’s/writer’s thoughts. Period.

        [You responded:] No. Just no. [I say:] I gather this is your acquiescence to my rather obviously correct point. Not surprising. What I said was pretty commonsensical. Language is, in the vast majority, a result of evolution driven by usage. Your paltry attempts to mold, form, bludgeon, hammer and hyper-fine tune it to respond to the tender egos of pouting grievance groups will last only as long as you don’t overburden people’s abilities to use words to communicate. Simple as that. And all your artificial nonsensicalities (is that a word?) will be forgotten in a generation. You are, after all, part of the most hyper-coddled, pampered group in human history: Western women.

        [You said:] Fossil refers to thinking age. Not lived years. [I say:] Then you’re just a sprout. A tadpole. Because your thinking is that of the red-faced, foot-stomping three-year old. 🙂 (You called me a “fossil,” after all.)

        [I said:] Three hundred and fifty thousand brandy new babies will come into the world today, and tomorrow and the day after, and the day after… Until you “dismantle” the process by which that takes place, you will never be able to “dismantle the gender binary.” None of us “fossils” are trying to resist your silly efforts at this, because we know that it’s only a passing fad — as you prove further on in this particular essay.

        [You responded:] That refers to biological and reproductive sex. Not the same thing. Of course, you will be aware of men now giving birth, I’m sure 🙂 [I say:] Only artificially. Trust me, this is not a development that woman want to get behind, as just a short examination will reveal. Simple truth: if it ever comes to a point, where women are not needed in order to ensure human reproduction, then there will be no need for women at all.

        [I said:] Lol! First of all: welcome to my world! It’s a rare day when a Conservative speaker isn’t “heckled, shouted at, students walked out, and projectors turned off” When that doesn’t happen to us, we wonder whether the event was sufficiently publicized.

        [You responded:] I can’t imagine attending a lecture by a religious conservative sexist, but in the unlikely event, I would at least show some courtesy and listen to the speaker. My fault for attending a presentation that I disagreed with. [I say:] Two quick things: (1) That you don’t allow opposing points of view into your worldview is typical of the America left too. (2) That you would listen courteously if you were mistakenly to allow yourself to be exposed to contrary points-of-view, doesn’t mean that what I described above doesn’t happen. All the time. Wake up, Clouds.

        [I said:] By the nonsense phrase: “women who subscribe to patriarchy,” presumably you mean women of a Conservative political persuasion? If that’s so, those women come in for particularly vicious slander from feminists, because they are seen to have left the reservation. I’m not sure what “feminism” you’ve been observing, but far from considering Conservative women pawns of men (I mean, let’s face it the Western man has to be the easiest “oppressor” in history — all he’s done is roll over for all of feminism’s whiny demands) feminists brand them as “gender traitors.”

        [You responded:] No. I didn’t mean or think about politics. Not relevant. Don’t make assumptions. [I say: Point taken] Your generalisations are appalling. [I say: But reasonable: The left — feminists are on the left for the most part — are a vast herd of group-think, ovines. To suggest that they support all the left’s current fads (environmentalism, trans-mania, gay-mania, islamo-philia, and, of course, feminism, and more, is generally correct. ‘Sides, I think it was Einstein who said something like, “To abandon generalization is to abandon knowledge.” Oops. A dude! Anyway, feminism is itself nothing more than a vast pile of generalizations anyway.) ] [You said:] I personally have not mentioned Conservative women, Western men, or gender traitors. I don’t mean to be rude, but do you have any understanding of patriarchy? [I say: ]Yep. I’m guessing, though, you don’t.

        [I said:] Yawn. All-in-all, Clouds, just a typical salvo in the Oppression Olympics. You’ve seen that that horrible, evil, mean Western Heterosexual White Man has been doing nothing but turning over money, power and prestige to the loudest, whiniest group, and you’re a bit miffed that you feminists are not the loudest anymore. Oh, you’re still the whiniest, but you have to make yourselves heard, so you need to be louder. Hence, your post, above.

        [You responded:] My post was about feminists who choose to ally with groups who share no commonality in their aims. And how feminists attack each other. Where did you learn to read? I would suggest you try another school.

        [I say:] Your post was nothing more nor less than: “Other groups are getting in front of mine in the line for the Free Stuff spigot, and I don’t like it! Waaahhhh!” To have called it “whiny” was charitable.

        Best,

        — x

        Like

    • I just saw this lengthy comment and had to say something about your remarks on inclusive modifications to English grammar.

      Making language more inclusive actually promotes clearer expression and more efficiency in English grammar. When one reads the phrase “he or she,” one knows that the speaker is referring to people generally. Contrast this with using just “he.” This could either mean a man or different people. One has to spend more time in context to ferret out meaning.

      As society changes, different words are going to be needed to describe different ideas. Some of these words are going to challenge the constructs of grammar that our forebears developed. Such is the nature of change. Grammar and word usage has come far over the past five centuries. I’m sure that in another five we’ll have people lamenting why they couldn’t go back to using the grammar of our times. They’ll be just as irrelevant as those voices trying to stop it today.

      For either of these reasons, it’s appropriate and desirable to modify grammar to suit the needs of 21st Century writers. Failure to adapt risks one’s ideas of being misinterpreted. Not only that, but it’s the epitome of hubris to think that one can simply wish for grammar to remain the same in the face of changing times.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for your comment here Sirius. I think one of the problems, as ever, is that people don’t know their own history. They was used as a gender neutral pronoun in the C14. Chair similarly, a few hundred years ago.
        The real issue here is, that word usage reflects societal changes. People who don’t want change, reject change in word usage. But the two should move together.
        The clever trick is that opponents to societal change have vilified linguistic change. Nice move.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m beginning to think that vilification isn’t always a bad thing in the long run. How many times have people been able to point to 19th Century defenses of slavery as a good reason to not condone slavery?

          Ironically, people who are opposing change provide the best reasons why the change is necessary. From the comments of the person above, that person is using ad hominem attacks in conjunction with non sequitur and petty bickering. How can one argue that one’s position is intellectual when one stoops to pluck such low-hanging fruit?

          Liked by 1 person

          • I suppose that’s why people leave up strange comments on their blogs. Nice deconstruction. I would skip that and incline to ‘what a load of tosh’ but, the rationale is the same. I assume people can work out the middle step, which, in many cases they can’t. That was ever my downfall. Not realising people couldn’t make the connections.

            I can live with ad hominem. I can’t bear lack of logic or sporadic thinking and erratical conclusions. Especially based on zilch knowledge. Just. Groan.

            Liked by 1 person

  16. xPraetorius says:

    @Arkenaten: I suspect you can let loose your most objectionable language in this forum. She doesn’t seem to exhibit much in the way of standards.

    Best,

    — x

    Like

    • Oh I don’t know. I’m considering warning you for this comment for being abusive and insulting, based on what, reading how many posts? At least when I commented on your blog I read around a bit first. Including your archaic sexist linguistically incorrect comment policy. But yeah, Ark is free to say what he wants. If I disagree I’ll let him know 🙂 If I find his comments offensive to me or others I’ll point that out too. Actually he doesn’t usually write anything offensive. Wonder why?

      Like

      • xPraetorius says:

        You never commented on my blog. You linked back to it, and then on your own blog proceeded to call my colleagues and me “antediluvians,” and “right-wing religionists,” (the term is: Christian) and “fossils.”

        You meant them as gratuitous insults. Okay… one standard of mine you don’t observe.

        Next, you allow the f-bomb, so there’s another standard you don’t observe.

        When I said that you appear to have very few standards, that would be like saying Shaquille O’Neal appears to be tall.

        I challenge you simply to prove me wrong.

        Go ahead and see whether Ark didn’t simply prove me right in the very next post. Then, we’ll see whether you have any real standards, or, like typical leftists, just those you apply to those who disagree with you.

        Best,

        — x

        Like

        • Arkenaten says:

          I don’t level insults. If I call someone a Dickhead – even if it includes an adjective – it is a character description.
          I always try to speak the truth, that way I do not have to remember what I said.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I read around, couldn’t remember if I’d commented, saw my avatar and thought I must have done. Old age! It was obv the link back. The point being, though, that I did read around.

          Actually right-wing religionists is a general term. In your case you are Christian. Others may be right wing and religious and not Christian. No, they weren’t insults. Just my POV, like you have yours. If you take them as insults, that’s up to you. Surely you pride yourself on being a relic from the past? Upholding standards?

          Qv, I allow people to say fuck on my blog. I mean, what is more crass than ‘the f-bomb’? Such a quaint Americanism. I don’t have to observe one single of your standards and neither do my commenters. You use gender specific pronouns to demean women, I allow people their choice of language. One does intrinsic damage, the other offends delicate whiny cry-baby American ears.

          Challenge away. I don’t give a shit. That I have no standards? Or that I don’t meet yours? Big difference.

          Liked by 1 person

          • xPraetorius says:

            Couple of quick remarks:
            • I never demean women. Not ever. Feminism demeans and abuses women by pretending that they’re these titans of courageous, indomitable strength and at the same time terrified, shrinking violets, ready at a moment’s notice to fall into fetal catatonia at the merest hint of an inappropriate glance, or careless word. Your tremulous whine about “pronouns” shows this clearly. A simple statement of obvious fact: If you’ve been concentrating on bloomin’ pronouns for more than 15 years, then your life hasn’t been all that tough.
            • I uphold standards of self-expression that are entirely inclusive. My blog can be read by anyone of any age. You, though, implement standards that exclude those who don’t wish to read degraded language.
            • Okay. You decline to take the challenge. You’re the worse for it.
            • I don’t “pride myself on anything.” I examine what is and was, and do my level best to extract from those things what is of value. You whine. At least in this post you did. Let’s see how your other posts are.

            Best,

            — x

            Like

          • Not yours to decide whether or not you demean women. Ours so to do.
            Intention v effect.
            My tremulous whine is upheld by many organisations. The only ones who are left behind in the linguistic stakes are um, sexist, right-wing Christians. Oh, and men of all persuasions who for some reason don’t think women are equal to their superior intellect.
            I concentrate on issues where I have some experience, expertise and knowledge and can make a difference. Use of language happens to be one of them. How many people have read your blog and say that you have changed their point of view? Not agreed with you. Actually made them think differently.
            My blog isn’t rated for all ages because I choose to allow swearing for adults who wish to do so. Although, such ‘standards’ are somewhat hypocritical given that most children know swear words from an early age. For example, I went home around age 7, and said, ‘Mummy what is shit?’
            I see no point in your challenge. I don’t even understand it. But you want me to justify myself to you? I. Think. Not.
            If I whine, which I totally deny, then you bluster 🙂

            Like

          • xPraetorius says:

            You said:

            Not yours to decide whether or not you demean women. Ours so to do.
            Intention v effect.

            Response:

            Incorrect. You do not, ever, get to decree what I’m thinking. Nor, do you get to decide you can understand better than I what I’m thinking, or believe. You get to ask me, and then you get to evaluate the validity of what I say, but when I say that I never demean women, you get to say nothing whatsoever regarding that conclusion. Your misinterpretation of what I’m thinking is your burden. My responsibiltiy is to express myself clearly, not to conform with what you think is my responsibility.

            Intent does matter. If a man drives his van into a crowd, the effect remains the same whether (1) he does it intententionally, or (2) because he has had a heart attack and lost consciousness. However, in the first case, he goes to jail forever, and in the second suffers no legal consequences whatsoever.

            That’s as far as the analogy goes, Clouds. No attempt to take it further to equate my thoughts and heart attacks. 🙂 Actually, in the vein of your “intention vs. effect” silliness, feminists should go to bed each night breathing prayers of gratitude that men appear to take offense at practically nothing! Can you imagine if a whiny “masculinist” movement were to spring up and start gathering momentum? Yikes!

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            My tremulous whine is upheld by many organisations.

            Response:

            Yes, you are, unintentionally I assume, correct here. 🙂 Your trremulous whine has been upheld, echoed, and repeated thousands and thousands and thousands of times everywhere. Your tremulous whine is, and has long been, official American domestic policy for generations. It has resulted in mountains of worthless, or worse: negative-worth legislation, rules, political correctness, and has contributed to the near ruination of a once fine university system. All while feminists have been bleating, and continue to bleat, about not being heard. If it were merely a novel, it would be panned as too improbable to be believable.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –
            You said:

            The only ones who are left behind in the linguistic stakes are um, sexist, right-wing Christians.

            Response:

            Lol! Not bad snark. We shall see on this, Clouds, we shall see… Enjoy your time in the sun. Your post has already shown the decline of your movement, as other Whine Groups shove still others aside at the spigot. The Oppression Olympics continues apace.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –
            You said:

            Oh, and men of all persuasions who for some reason don’t think women are equal to their superior intellect.

            Response:

            I’m guessing you’ve never met such a man. I certainly haven’t. I’m sure there are some of them out there, but this man you describe is a mostly mythical critter. You will, of course, deny it. Absent this imaginary critter, a large part of the bloated gas bag that is feminism, loses its wind.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –
            You said:

            I concentrate on issues where I have some experience, expertise and knowledge and can make a difference. Use of language happens to be one of them. How many people have read your blog and say that you have changed their point of view? Not agreed with you. Actually made them think differently.

            Response:

            In response to your question: many. However, my blog is not meant to preach to a Conservative echo chamber, as most left-wing blogs preach to theirs. ‘Sides, there’s no such thing as a “Conservative echo chamber,” but that is what feminism and the rest of the political left is. Nearly entirely. My blog has one simple prime goal… that it achieves frequently.

            Regarding language: the phrase “make a difference” is one of my pet peeves. Anyone can “make a difference.” There, I just made a difference. The real thing is to make an improvement — significantly more difficult, since you have to decide what is an improvement; something most leftists fail to do. “Make a difference” is typical of leftist linguistic sloppiness, that allows them to do all manner of things they haven’t thought through, and pretend they’re making things better.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            My blog isn’t rated for all ages because I choose to allow swearing for adults who wish to do so. Although, such ‘standards’ are somewhat hypocritical given that most children know swear words from an early age. For example, I went home around age 7, and said, ‘Mummy what is s***?’

            Response:

            How ironic, then, that the ones who most take you up on your permission thereby demonstrate their own immaturity, or lack of ability to express themselves. 🙂

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            I see no point in your challenge. I don’t even understand it. But you want me to justify myself to you? I. Think. Not.

            Response:

            My challenge was merely to suggest that you invite your commenters to elevate their standards of self-expression. Ask them to weed out foul language and gratuitous insults. When I do that, I allow those of more feeble abilities — those who are more dependent on such immature rhetorical crutches — to self-select out of a forum to which they are less well-equipped to contribute. I weed out a lot of dross that way, without censoring a single one of ’em!

            I would never ask you to justify yourself to me. Your point-of-view, though? Of course you should be expected to justify it! Lol!

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            You said:

            If I whine, which I totally deny, then you bluster

            Response:

            More good snark. However, I think you got the wrong word. My tones has been entirely measured, polite and courteous. Hardly things contained in the word “bluster.” I gently push back, and I’m not sure what single word best encompasses that.

            – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * –

            Best,

            — x

            Like

          • And you do not get to determine how your words are viewed. If I feel demeaned by your sexist patronising arrogant words, then I am. Regardless of your supercilious virtuous intent.

            You express yourself very clearly. No worries there.

            Whiny masculinity movement? MRA?

            the near ruination of a once fine university system..

            As far as I see, most people in America get their ‘degrees’ from universities that are religious, including some of my good friends.

            My challenge was merely to suggest that you invite your commenters to elevate their standards of self-expression. Ask them to weed out foul language and gratuitous insults.

            It’s my blog, and I want people to feel free to say what they want. It’s not American right-wing Christianity land. It’s Brit territory. I’ll call out insults if they are discriminatory to minority groups. I don’t think you fall into that category. If Ark, for example, wishes to call you a dickhead, I don’t give two hoots.

            I gently push back, and I’m not sure what single word best encompasses that.

            Mmmm. Do you really want me to reply to that one?

            Like

    • Arkenaten says:

      Rough seas has extremely high standards which is why a Fundamentalist Dickhead like you is allowed to make a complete arse of itself and all the visitors get to laugh at you.

      Seriously, though, you ought to learn the meaning of brevity – and apply it to your writing.; especially if you are trying to demonstrate a level of intellectual acumen and make a valid point.

      So far all you convey is that you have a chronic case of verbal diarrhea.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think my standards, whatever they are, in blogging terms at least, are fair. Opportunity of so-called free speech, a warning for insults that deride minority groups. Disagreement is fine, comments are not edited, repetitive arseholes get binned and banned. Pretty easy huh? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Arkenaten says:

          But with X-P you have to plow through so much dross; it seems like wading through a treatise on pig shit.
          And remember, he thinks snakes and donkeys could talk and dinosaurs were once vegetarian.

          You can’t prove a point with this type of individual. Just picture Bruce as you begin to type and see how far you get!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I figured the level of education was not high. But still, I’ve managed some sort of response. I think I need a walk round the block now though!

            Like

          • xPraetorius says:

            Wow! You stoop to speculate on a person’s level of education from a few blog posts?!?

            Not surprised. The left is awash in substanceless tactics that fail to address the topic, but go straight for the smear. Did you see how many times you and Ark and others attacked my character, intelligence, education level, integrity and more?

            Are you really that insecure in your beliefs that you have to stoop to such irrelevancies and nitwitery?

            I see my challenge is more urgently needed here than ever! I never attack the person, always the thoughts or ideas. You should try it sometime. You should challenge Ark and your contributors to try it as well.

            It’s why, when Ark comes to my blog, he’s reduced to a snuffling, chuffing, juvenile milksop. He has no firm convictions, so he can’t express them except to degrade, sneer and insult. What a shame that you seem to be just as classless.

            Best,

            — x

            Like

          • tildeb says:

            I never attack the person, always the thoughts or ideas. You should try it sometime. You should challenge Ark and your contributors to try it as well.

            Condescend much?

            Like

          • xPraetorius says:

            No, I never condescend. Never.

            Best,

            — x

            Like

      • xPraetorius says:

        As if to prove me right, Arkenaten unburdens himself of a typically sophomoric response. 🙂

        Best,

        — x

        Like

      • tildeb says:

        Brevity… a lesson I need to learn, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Among those calling Sarah Ditum transphobic is me. I try to use inclusive language.

    Like

    • @Clair Flourish

      “Among those calling Sarah Ditum transphobic is me.”

      Glad you have a forum to express your opinion.

      Some of what Sarah Ditum said:

      “These are, after all, disagreements about ideas, not personal attacks or acts of violence. The ability to debate competing viewpoints is one of the foundations of democratic society, and as dissent is elevated to the status of offence and then to hate speech, the consequences become alarming.”

      Her bigotry is appalling indeed…

      Funny how “burn the witch” changes flavours with each century.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The New Statesman is a better forum than WordPress. Safe space is never about stopping anyone speak.

        No-one would say that she has never said anything that wasn’t transphobic.

        (pause to check number of negatives- it’ll do for you.

        Like

  18. EllaDee says:

    Whoo… after all that I’m not sure if my thoughts are necessary but I’m curious. What if we could suspend words… he, she, they… labels, beliefs, and simply understand that we are all organisms; the same but different. It’s simply learned behaviour which therefore can be modified with sufficient motivation, and ego, otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do hope you didn’t wade through everything there! To a certain extent, some feminists would like to do that, hence discussions about ‘dismantling the gender binary’ which is basically what you describe. Hence we have (not commonly used) words like zie and hir instead of she/he and her/him.
      But that’s just in reference to gender and biological sexual differences. The wider implications of your suggestion, skin colour, nationality, religion – or lack of – would cause a huge social and economic shift that is difficult to grasp. No more tribalism? No more wars? No oppression? No discrimination? No preferential treatment for those in power? Oh no no no no!

      Like

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