The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Sharing the love

Things we liked, or didn’t like, from around the internet this week.

The Pervocracy on The Myth of the Boner Werewolf.

Men aren’t rollercoasters. They aren’t werewolves.  They aren’t walking penises.  They’re people.  They make decisions.  Let’s stop talking about “he couldn’t stop himself” and start talking about “he decided not to stop.”  Men deserve that dignity, and the responsibility that comes with it.

Alison McCulloch’s article in the Bay of Plenty Times about abortion: Our position on rape echoes US extremism.

In New Zealand, rape is not a legal ground for abortion – something right-wing US politicians would love to achieve.

And while there’s certainly a push going on in the US to crack down on abortion access, as things stand, the US has much more liberal abortion laws than New Zealand does.

Alison’s article is sobering throughout. I (Deb) recommend it.

As I’ve (Deb) mentioned a couple of times, there’s been a huge on-going stoush in the US atheist and skeptic blogospheres about the treatment of women within the movements. Women have been demanding that they be treated with minimal human decency and that there be things such as sexual harassment policies at conferences and no rape threats. Outrageous. And they’ve been told this is incredibly divisive and they are tearing the movements apart. Greta Christina has some thoughts on divisiveness.

For a solid year, far too many women in this community — and especially feminist women — have been relentlessly subjected to a torrent of hatred, harassment, and abuse… and to a torrent of people ignoring this behavior, rationalizing it, trivializing it, or getting angry at us for even talking about it.

So why is it that forming a subset of atheism that prioritizes the inclusion of women, over the inclusion of hateful, misogynist assholes, is what’s being seen as “divisive”?

And why is it that actions and words that demean women, objectify us, inappropriately sexualize us, violate our privacy, and literally threaten us and make us unsafe, are not being called “divisive”?

Bic designed some pens especially for women, in pretty sparkly colours. Read the reviews on Amazon: they’re superb. A sample:

I want to make sure other girls don’t fall for the misleading marketing like I did. If you use this pen, you STILL NEED TO HAVE A MAN CHECK YOUR WORK!

Two bits of happiness to end the week. First, Hillary Clinton in a fabulous sunshiny suit in the Cook Islands. This photo shamelessly stolen from F0TLG Megan’s Twitter stream. Because Megan took the photo. She is there too. The northernmost Lady Gardener (that would be Deb) is deeply envious.


And a gorgeous clip of two 11 month old girls dancing to their daddy’s guitar.

4 responses to “Sharing the love

  1. muerknz September 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    I read about the truly disgusting things said by some atheist men and I’m genuinely shocked but… do you think this is an American specific thing? I can’t imagine NZ atheist/skeptic communities being as misogynistic or sexist.

    • Moz September 4, 2012 at 10:38 am

      I think it’s partly an internet thing, and partly a US thing. But partly also just raw sexism. The worst fights seem to be taking place online with the usual problem that people with spit vitriol online that they wouldn’t say to anyone face to face.

      Part of it is cultural, to some extent kiwi women do grow up in a culture where women are expected to have opinions and express them. I think it’s significant (and I’ve said this before) that when I moved to Australia they were debating whether they were ready to have a woman lead a minor party… when NZ had five women leaders in government (PM, Opposition, GG, High Court, and something else. Oh, and the monarch, but Oz had her too). The US is well behind Australia from what I can see. I’m regularly shocked by things I read about or hear about in the USA. But then I see some things in Oz that surprise me because people do (or accept) stuff that makes me go WTF (sometimes quite loudly).

      There’s also the thing that you are not exactly a shrinking violet, so you’re not going to see some of the worst that gets doled out. The same way I “miss out” on some of the worst homo/bi-phobia just by projecting a “don’t give me that shit” aura.

      • muerknz September 4, 2012 at 11:30 am

        Yeah that makes sense, although perhaps it’s not being a shrinking violet in a society that takes that on board. I have no idea what my experience in America would be like and frankly I don’t think I want to find out.

        I also think you’re right about the virtual-nastiness thing, although I do wonder if people say things to themselves or only to a select group, like the sex stuff re: the 15 year old girl who showed the book, whereas they will publicly broadcast it on the net. Is the issue that they are being public or that they can think this stuff at all?

        • Moz September 4, 2012 at 11:42 am

          I suspect kiwi women in the US learn to pull their heads in. I remember one of our mutual friends having to be educated about correct (racist) behaviour when she arrived at MIT, for example.

          Whether people say awful stuff to their friends is an interesting question. It’s unfortunately in the “how would outsiders know” category, because (for example) people don’t say that shit to me. I suspect there’s a bit of sounding out happens early in a friendship and those sorts of people either avoid me or just don’t say it when I’m there. I know some of my more misogynist gay/crossdressing friends in Chch were never overtly so around me, for example. I was initially skeptical when told they were like that but a couple admitted it when asked. Which is also apparently common. Specifically, if you ask date rapists about their behaviour without saying rape explicitly apparently a lot of them will admit to it and even give tips. Similar results from surveys that say “have you been raped” then later ask the same thing using other words often find a big gap between the two numbers.

          That said I was stunned recently when a coworker actually said black New Zealanders are not as good as white ones in the context of who would be an acceptable immigrant to Australia. I was literally speechless. But I think the look on my face was revealing, because he turned away and ended the conversation immediately. He’s a white English immigrant doing his bit for the stereotypes.

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