I see that Rhys also found it necessary to call The Amazing Atheist a "right cunt
Really, Rhys? That's the best you could do? Yes, you're right, TAA is an absolutely horrible person. No argument there. But when you were searching around in your skull for the one thing that would really put him in his place, that would really convey your true horror at his actions and his morals...you went with likening him to centuries of disgust at female genitalia?
You know, here I thought the problem with TAA and the people who drove Amanda Todd to suicide were the fact that they were viciously hostile to women and showed a shocking sense of satisfaction at seeing their fellow human beings hurt...all very substantive issues that aren't exactly communicated by "cunt."
And I know what you're going to say: "But I don't mean it like that!!" Yeah, sure, whatever. I know you just mean it to refer to the same type of bad people that your peers refer to with the word "cunt." In know that denigrating women simply for being women never consciously crossed your mind. I know that you think because something is normalized in your culture its previous connotations have disappeared. I know you think your use of the word is totally individual and not related to the cultural factors that make it such a potent insult. However, this is simply not the case. Your behavior incurs splash damage
, and part of being an ethical person is trying to avoid that. Many smart, funny, awesome women feel alienated when you use words like that. Many women feel that having to tamp down their disgust at that word and all the memories it dredges up is not a worthwhile price to pay to engage with someone. Many women don't want to have to do the mental calculation in thinking "Is he going to turn out to be one of the people who uses that word and means it?" Many people, just like you, are sure that they don't mean anything at all against women when they say "cunt," either...and yet these people continue to talk over women without realizing it, devalue women's personal space without realizing it or caring, distrust women, subconsciously undervalue the competence of women, judge women's sexuality, etc., etc. Now, I don't know if you do these things (and in most cases the people who do them generally don't either--that's what makes it so insidious!)...but this is the context in which you speak when you say the word "cunt." There are also people who insist that of course
they don't use "cunt" to denigrate women...but there are some women who are total cunts, amirite? There are people who will swear until they're blue in the face that they totally believe in equality, their hipster misogyny shouldn't be taken seriously, because it's just a joke, gaaawwd!, and it's just their "sexual preference" to hang out on r/creepshots. I know you can't stand those people, Rhys, but you don't always know who they are
, and they will see you modeling behavior like using "cunt" and that will validate their attitudes.
So, really, is it just too damn hard to say "shithead" or "douchebag" or "motherfucking misogynistic wankstain"? Maybe you could consider this a spur for further creativity in your profanity repertoire...
Somehow this is particularly instructive to me as to why Rhys seems to have what struck me as a rather irrational hostility to A+. Yes, he has very good instincts about what is right in most cases. Yes, he generally wants to be a good person with regard to sexism in the atheist movement and a lot of other battles. But when it comes right down to it, the standards advocated by A+ would necessitate his modifying at least some of his behavior, and apparently while his good instincts have gotten him very far in being a good person, there is a certain commitment to rigorous self-reflection that appears to be lacking, and good-old-fashioned defensiveness is rearing its head. It just kicked in a little later than it did for Dawkins.