Monthly Archives: September 2014

Today’s word of the day is “sapphophobia”

Sapphophobia describes the intersection of biphobia and misogyny. It is named after the poet Sappho, who, despite what you might have heard, was actually bisexual.

Sapphophobia is when bi women are seen as indecisive, because all women are seen to lack a strong mind. Sapphophobia is when bi women are seen as deceptive, because all women are seen as liars. Sapphophobia is when bi women are seen as making it up for attention, because all women are seen as attention-seeking minxes. Sapphophobia is where bi women are seen as greedy, because all women are seen to be out for all they can get. Sapphophobia is when bi women are seen as sluts, because all women in control of their sexuality are seen as pathological.

It’s impossible to separate sapphophobia from misogyny, just as it is impossible to separate it from broader biphobia. It’s telling that it’s usually men who repeat this trope, although as I painfully learned last year, women can do it too and that’s rooted in internalised misogyny as well as a heterosexual hatred of queer women.

So today, I send love to my bi sisters, my pansexual sisters, my queer sisters. You are beautiful, and fuck the world. Literally, if that’s what you want.


Things I read, like, this month that I found interesting

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these round-up posts. Call it a combination of being busy and also having depression. The good news for you is this means it’s a bumper link round-up! I read some things. Perhaps you’ll find them interesting too.

Say What?: On Speechlessness, Racism and Respectability in #Ferguson (Crunk Feminist Collective)- A beautiful reaction to recent events.

What Black Parents Tell Their Sons About the Police (Jazmine Hughes)- This is fucking heartbreaking.

Rotherham’s Institutionalised Political Correctness is a despicable myth (JustinTheLibSoc)- Pretty much everything you need to read about Rotherham and racism.

Butch Please: Butch With A Side Of Misogyny (Kate)- Calling out misogyny in the butch community.

Selfcare as Warfare (feministkilljoys)- Just read this.

Prejudice at Pride (anonymous)- Comic outlining biphobia and racism at Pride events.

Don’t like the word ‘cis’? Good* (CN Lester)- CN explains the purpose of the word in some shit that shouldn’t need saying.

The New Racism (Jamelle Bouie)- Unpacking a common trope in anti-Black racism.

Suppressed again? (SWOU)- A prominent feminist conference is speaking over sex workers again. Here’s why it’s wrong.

Some thoughts about ‘recovery’ in theory and practice (zedkat)- On what “recovery” in mental health means under capitalism.

But WHAT CAN BE DONE: Dos and Don’ts To Combat Online Sexism (Leigh Alexander)- Some tips for men.

Fear of a Black Victim– Comic detailing racist media tropes.

What I’ve Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings (D. Brian Burghart)- On inadequate record-keeping and how that may well be on purpose.

30 Bisexual Women Discuss Their Long-Term Relationships With Men (Ashley C Ford)- In short: there’s a lot of bullshit.

Ten Truly Terrible Pieces of Advice Offered To and About Bisexuals (Rachel)- In short: there’s a lot of bullshit.

America Is Not For Black People (Greg Howard)- On the current state of play in the US.

breaking it down- Plan C and the Vampire Castle. (itisiwhowillit)- Calling out misogyny on the hipster left.

Sexy Loki, Queer Tricksters, And The Problem With LGBT Villains (Andrew Wheeler)- On issues with making the villains queer.

We need to talk about Richard.. (Transfabulous)- The case for no-platforming Dawkins.

This Is What I Mean When I Say “White Feminism” (NinjaCate)- A short PSA for white feminists.

Why the hell do TV producers think inside every white woman is a fierce black diva? (Reni Eddo-Lodge)- Reni challenges a popular stereotype on TV.

How to know that you hate women (Mychal Denzel Smith)- A very simple test.

Date Rape Nail Polish and Crossing The Road (Alien She)- On the nonsensicality of the “crossing the road” metaphor for rape prevention.

Why We’re Winning: Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War (Penny Red)- A positive take on what gamer manbabies throwing their dummies out of the pram means.

5 Things I Learned as the Internet’s Most Hated Person (Zoe Quinn)- Zoe speaks out about her experience.

Black women’s sexuality has always been overpoliced (Bim Adewunmi)- The historical context of Danièle Watts’s arrest.

And finally, some jokes about male novelists which are very funny.


Murder by mistake is just as terrifying

Content note: this post discusses violence against women and murder.

Oscar Pistorius has been found not guilty of the killing of Reeva Steenkamp. Apparently, he could not reasonably expect that shooting several times through a door might kill someone.

Let’s pretend for a minute that Pistorius’s line–that he’d thought there was a black man in his house so he blindly shot through a door to protect himself and Reeva–was true. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe it was.

And that in itself is perhaps more chilling than the idea of a murder driven by hate, and anger and abuse. That suggests that Reeva died due to carelessness, indifference. That suggests that Reeva Steenkamp was collateral damage in a racist system.

It suggests that the lives of women are not valued at all, that nobody cares if we live or die, and it’s as easy to kill us by mistake as it is to accidentally tread on a snail on a rainy day. Nobody cares enough to keep us alive.

Hatred of women, I can understand and deal with. But where can one even begin when it comes to just carelessness?

The fact that this is an accepted legal defence and formed the verdict lays bare a structure that protects white men while casually ignoring everyone else.

Reeva Steenkamp died in a world that just doesn’t care. Her name will be forgotten, just as it is for all the others. Her fate will blur into all the others, because whether this indifference is true and real, or an excuse set up to protect men who hate women, it’s there.

Her name was Reeva Steenkamp, and she should still be here with us.


Fragile precious manfeels

Over the couple of weeks, #GamerGate has been raging. As far as I can discern–from the men trying to mansplain in to me–it involves men feeling sad that games they liked got bad reviews due to some sort of Evil Feminist Conspiracy, and also sometimes women who write about games have sex and somehow this is bad. It’s possible there’s an actual real point to be made about the cosy relationship between games journalism and the gaming industry (as there is with any marketing of consumer goods), but these chumps aren’t making it because they’re a little bit overexcited about getting all misogynistic to respond to complaints about misogyny.

Evidence has emerged that this “movement” is a hell of a lot less organic than it purports to be, with 4chan steering away behind the scenes, although of course those involved deny this. And maybe it’s true. Maybe some of them really have been played, and they truly believe in a shadowy feminist illuminati coming to take away their toys. Whether there’s anybody who truly believes this to be legit or not is beyond the point, though. What #GamerGate shows is something a lot of us have known for a while:

Men are pathetic, fragile creatures who massively overreact to the tiniest things.

Men are pretty fond of saying that women have “hysterical overreactions” to things, but ultimately, look at how these men are behaving when video games are critiqued. They swarmed to try and smear the women who did this, they tried and tried to make it into a political cause on a par with Ferguson (yes, seriously), they screamed and shouted and stamped their feet… all because a lot of people were mean about their favourite computer games.

I remember once upon a time, when I was innocent, and I used to get bees in my bonnet over trivial shit. Like, once I wrote a fanfic where Tonks got it on with the entire Holyhead Harpies Quidditch team because she was so clearly a massive slutty lesbian despite what JK Rowling would have us believe. However, even in my disproportionate reactions to things which are ultimately pretty petty days, I didn’t behave in the way men do when they have things they liked challenged. There was far less of the RAGE, far less of the OH MY GOD WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.

Let me be clear on this: pop culture isn’t completely irrelevant: it means something, and it’s a reflection of the society that created it. That absolutely means that we as fans should be critical of it, to want it to be better. And that is the exact opposite of what #GamerGate and similar outcries are about: those are men wanting to keep things as they think they’ve always been.

People who face oppression have to grow a thick skin. We need to, to keep ourselves safe. We need to, to keep ourselves alive. It helps us deflect the daily blows that are dealt to us. The demographic to whom the gamer identity is sold, the ones who proudly wear that mantle and flip a shit every time something looks like it might change, they don’t have this armour, because they never needed to develop it. They’re the ones who are playing life on “easy” mode, and still suck at the game. So I don’t doubt that to a lot of these men, this feels like an attack, because they’ve never been attacked before.

They’ve thrown their dummies out of the pram because their precious little manfeels have been hurt.

I am anticipating a lot of whiny comments from men on this post, so I’m going to say right now that I won’t be approving them, because this is another special snowflake feeling men get. They feel like their tedious, limited opinions are important and that therefore everybody should listen to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just the same old boring thing, again and again, and each one of them thinks he’s a free thinker when he’s just parroting the same old shit society spoonfed him without any critical thought at all.

So, instead of commenting, why not maybe play some of those computer games you claim to love so much? Instead of moaning about generalisations, why not spend a bit of time trying not to be the sort of guy this pertains to? Instead of stagnating, why not learn and live a little?