Here is the title and first line of his blog:
Malala's Incredible Contribution
From time to time one discovers a person so good at her role that it is almost impossible to imagine her doing anything else.
Perhaps you can see the dreadful sexist faux-pas Sam committed there?
Ok, well I told you a little white lie (cheeky me)! Sam actually has written a new blog post but it is actually about a guy called Dan Carlin, who has impressed Sam so much with his history podacast that Sam felt compelled to blog about it.
Here is the title and first line:
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History*
From time to time one discovers a person so good at his job that it is almost impossible to imagine him doing anything else.
Now you see the blatant sexism?......... Of course you do! (?!?!?!)
The sexism is so awful that Ophelia Benson was compelled to call him out on it. This is what Ophelia wrote:
So, if we ignore that Ophelia is indulging in the very behaviour she regards as harassment when done to her (trawling her blogs for things to criticise); if we ignore the fact that Sam had a man in mind when he was making that statement; if we further ignore that Ophelia cynically fails to point out to her readers that Sam's piece was minded of a specific male individual and that this had already been mentioned in in the title - then we are left with whether Sam's language was, indeed, sexist and whether it was really something worth pointing out.
I will allow you to decide that one for yourself. Perhaps also to decide whether Ophelia would have been equally motivated to write her blog had Sam's really been about Malala and he had used the word "her" instead.
What I wonder, instead, is what Ophelia means when she talks about feminists?
Does the feminism she refers to mean:
1) An interest in opposing inequalities only when it is women who are the ones suffering as a result of that inequality. A feminism that is solely about women's issues and not about men's issues (except on the odd occasion they inadvertantly end up being addressed as some byproduct of addressing a women's issue)?
2) Or a philosophy that champions equality for both sexes(/all genders) and seeks to address inequalities that men and women face whenever and wherever they face them?
What I DO know is that an inordinate number of people keep telling me that feminism is about the latter: that feminism is about addressing inequalities for women and men alike. In fact, YouTuber AronRa seems to get quite shirty with anyone who challenges this idea that feminism is about the rights of everyone.
A little background:My job is to fight fires. In years gone by only men performed the job and they were called "firemen". Once the decision was rightly made to allow women to apply and work alongside the chaps the role was changed to "firefighter" to reflect that this was now a job for women as well as men. This was the right change to make.
True enough, some argued that the name "fireman" should remain on grounds of tradition, or origin, or because, in the main, those who did the job were male.
So I ask Ophelia what her feminism is about? What is the feminism of those to who she refers? If it is about the rights of all then perhaps it is she, rather than Sam Harris, that needs to consider the gendered language she uses.
Of course, perhaps, like those dinosaur firefighters (most of whom retired a decade or more ago) she will fall back on talk of tradition, or the origins of the term, or that feminism is (out of necessity) more often about women's issues than men's, to justify the continued usage of gendered language for a gender neutral term. Perhaps she too, like those firemen of old, has become a dinosaur?
What do you think? Is Harris the worst offender here, or has Ophelia failed to see the log in her own eye?
Thanks for reading
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PS: This is aimed at Ophelia but she won't get to read this (she blocks me in every way she can) but if you found it a useful insight into the way she (mis)represents people, or perhaps you find it a shocking example of Sam Harris' sexism instead - either way pass this on :)
*porn fans may find this somewhat of a disappointment