miss_s_b: (feminist heroes: DCI Gill Murray)
2016-01-25 02:27 pm
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Why I am against All Women Shortlists (again) - a brief post tossed off on my lunch break

Look, I've gone over this lots of times before. The post from 2013 I link there lists seven pretty strong reasons to be against AWS; both principle (they're objectively wrong) and practical (they make the situation they purport to cure worse) reasons. If the party adopts AWS, I will be leaving.

Yes, something must be done about sexism. Yes, it's embarrassing that all our MPs are white men. That's because we've only got 8 of them. We had lots of women in "winnable" seats; the electorate didn't vote for them. We're really good at selecting women (or BAME or LGBT - we had one of each of those in Calderdale) candidates. Not so good at getting folk to vote for them. Also, we're really crap with the ableism - but working on it. AWS will do nothing to even pretend to address ableism, of course.

Just because "something must be done" DOESN'T MEAN THIS IS IT.

Apart from anything else, increasing the number of rich white heterosexual upper-middle class women at the top of our party will only salve bruised egos and make us have lady faces to put on the news, it will not increase diversity of thought or deed in any meaningful sense, and I am BLISTERINGLY angry that this hasn't got into thick heads yet. Have you people not been WATCHING the Labour party since they adopted this? The siloing of women into AWS seats so that the boys can have a free run. The promotion of women against LGBT and BAME candidates because once you've got one "minority" (and women are actually a majority) you HAVE diversity and don't need to worry. The tickbox culture.

And don't even get me STARTED on what this does to nonbinary folks - and Willie Rennie's clumsily worded "oh, we'll treat them like women" does NOT make me any happier on this.

I'm a feminist. I want to see an end to sexism. That is why I am against all women shortlists - papering over the cracks with a superficial non-solution doesn't solve sexism, it perpetuates it. Fuck that.
miss_s_b: Captain Kathryn Janeway (Feminist Heroes: Janeway)
2015-11-10 10:54 am
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Quick Thought About Sexism in Star Trek

I read this tumblr post and the ensuing discussion with [personal profile] matgb was very interesting. Our conclusion boiled down to that the writers (especially in original Trek) were trying quite hard (but failing due to their own ingrained "benevolent" sexism) to envision a post-sexism society. And, you know, total blind spot for LGBT stuff, but that's a tangent for this post, as is the undoubted and well-documented actual sexism of the studio and production team.

Mat mentioned the oft-cited canard about Uhura:
all she did was answer the phone! She was just a receptionist, not anyone important!
and I'd like to unpack the sexism in just that statement for a moment.
  • All she did was be the receptionist - no she didn't. She gets left in charge in several episodes when the boys go on a redshirt-killing away team lark.

  • All she did was be the receptionist - you mean she was the signals officer? Because my brother is a signals officer in the British army, and let me tell you they are pretty well respected. The first thing any smart enemy tries to do is take down communications. Signals officer is both dangerous AND highly skilled.

  • All she did was be the receptionist - except for all those times she fixes the consoles, and goes on away teams (admittedly this is more common in animated and film eps, but still).
Even if all she did was be the receptionist was actually true, do you know why we sniffily dismiss the people who negotiate with external agencies on our behalf, answer queries, let people know what we're doing, make our appointments, arrange our diaries and generally sort out our shit? Because it's women's work. And that's the biggest indicator of sexism of all.

OK, I'm getting off my high horse now. Laters ;)
miss_s_b: (Politics: Post Feminism)
2014-06-20 01:23 pm

On Mike Fabricant and Freedom of Speech

So Mike Fabricant* tweeted a tweet expressing his dislike for Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in colourful and over the top terms. And Twitter exploded. And now he has reluctantly apologised, apparently under threat of having the whip withdrawn**.

I am very uncomfortable with this.

I quite regularly say that various people give me violent urges. I am - or was - under the impression that everybody knows I never actually would rip someone's head off and spit down their neck, or tear their arm off and beat them to death with the soggy end. Such "threats" are so clearly over the top and unlikely that it's obvious I am indulging in hyperbole, surely? We all remember the Twitter Joke Trial, right? We all thought it was dead obvious that Paul Chambers was only kidding. And I would say the same applies to Mr Fabricant's "threat" to punch Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the throat to save himself from brainsplosion. Mike Fabricant might be a total arsehole, but I think it's vanishingly unlikely that, were he booked to debate on TV with Yasmin, he would crush her windpipe in front of the cameras. If only for self preservation.

But even if he were likely to follow through on his "threat", I still don't think that's reason to stop him fom saying it. I would rather arseholes say arsehole-ish things so we can point and laugh at them*** and recognise them for the arseholes they are than that they silently think arsehole-ish things and we all think they are not really arseholes.

I am also deeply uncomfortable with him being forced to apologise under threat of being sacked. If he apologises of his own free will that shows he has learned that being an arsehole hurts people and hurting people is bad. If he is forced to apologise like a reluctant toddler, all that teaches him is that he can't express his views without suffering opprobrium, not that his views are the problem. If the Tory party think his tweet was unacceptable they should take some disciplinary action****, not threaten him with disciplinary action unless he makes an apology he clearly doesn't mean.

I am a big defender of freedom of speech because misogynists and racists and homophobes and transphobes are people I want to avoid*****, and to avoid them I need to know who they are. If we ban them from expressing their views then it makes them much harder to spot. I'd like misogynists and racists and homophobes and transphobes to feel perfectly free to spew as much bile as they like.

Of course I'd like it even more if society didn't reward them with airtime and newspaper columns and positions of power for being misogynists and racists and homophobes and transphobes, even while po-facedly shaking its head and making them fauxpologise, but I realise that's a pipe dream.

* you have NO idea how hard I have had to try to avoid childish purposeful misspelling of his name throughout this post
** according to Cathy Newman, anyway.
*** or shake our heads and tut disapprovingly, or whatever.
**** I am bang behind freedom of association, as well as freedom of speech, and if I were the Tory party I'd sack Fabricant for being an unrepentant arsehole, not make him pretend to repent like that makes everything OK.
***** Some days I have enough spoons to want to debate with them, but not today.
miss_s_b: (Default)
2013-09-10 10:00 am
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The Blood is The Life 10-09-2013