Western feminists largely ignore gender-based violence (rape and mutilation) inflicted by Hamas on Israeli and foreign women

November 19, 2023 • 9:30 am
One of the great puzzles of activism among “progressive” American youth is the support from feminists and LGBTQ people for Muslim countries, including, in this moment, Palestine. Palestine will not tolerate gays (same sex-relations is a criminal act), and a common punishment is to heave gays to their deaths off of rooftops, behead them, or kill them in other ways.

As for women, even the United Nations has condemned the oppression of women in Palestine:

Women and girls in Palestine continue to experience various forms of violence due to the entrenched discriminatory social norms and traditions, and the prolonged Israeli occupation. The most common types of violence against women observed in Palestine include domestic violence, sexual harassment, early marriage and femicide, as well as public and private spheres including streets, workplaces, homes and high-density areas such as refugee camps, particularly in Gaza. The outdated and discriminatory laws in Palestine hinder survivors of violence from accessing gender-responsive services and obtaining justice. In addition, survivors of violence often face social stigma, and are blamed as responsible for the violence occurred to them.

Notice how they blame this partly on Israel, despite the fact that similar violence is seen in other Muslim countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, where it can’t be blamed on Israel. (Note that two of those links go to UN reports!) In general, women are second class citizens in Muslim society, and nobody with neurons doubts this.

Nevertheless, we see stuff like this, which can only be described as cognitive dissonance, or, less charitably, hypocrisy:

. . . and this:

Of course women become fifth-class citizens if they’re Israeli, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The decision of LGBTQ people and feminists to support Muslim societies—societies where they’d never want to live, for many of them would be killed because of their sexual orientation—is an example of MacPherson’s Law, confected by one of our readers. According to Diana, if progressives must choose between conflicting causes to support, and one of them is women’s rights, the women’s rights lose. (By “causes”, I mean “supporting a group deemed to be oppressed.”) I’ll add a corollary: if progressives have to choose between two conflicting causes, and one of them is LGBTQ rights, those rights also lose.

The article below from Unherd, by Nicole Lampert. shows how Western feminists have largely ignored not only the oppression of women in Muslim countries, but the sexual violence inflicted on women by Hamas on October 7. Click the headline to read.

I’ll give an excerpt:

After Hamas terrorists set about murdering, raping and abducting as many women as they could, one might have expected widespread condemnation from the West’s feminist groups. After all, Hamas had provided enough evidence of its crimes — within hours, they were posting footage of abducted young women in bloodied trousers being paraded around Gaza. Even beforehand, its feminist credentials were hardly glowing: it mandates the hijab, has made it illegal to travel without a male guardian, and refused to ban physical or sexual abuse within the family.

The response among the majority of groups committed to ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) was threefold: to keep quiet, to disbelieve the victims, or to insinuate they deserved their fate. In the words of 140 American “prominent feminist scholars”, to stand in solidarity with Israeli women is to give in to “colonial feminism”.

Here in the UK, this approach is perhaps best embodied in the work of Sisters Uncut, a charity that boasts its own “Feministo” committed to “taking direct action for domestic violence services”. Until this month, the activists’ work has generally taken the form of media-savvy stunts: dyeing the water of Trafalgar Square’s fountains red, setting off rape alarms outside police stations, occupying the roofs of council buildings. Yet all paled in comparison to the demonstration it organised earlier this month: a call for Israel to put down its weapons that ultimately shut down London’s Liverpool Street Station.

Afterwards, the charity issued a 600-word statement, filled with references to “apartheid”, “genocide” and disproved reports that the IDF had bombed Gaza’s Al-Ahli hospital. There was no mention, however, of the 239 abducted Israelis, roughly 100 of whom are believed to be women, or the sexual assaults that took place on October 7. When journalist Hadley Freeman pointed out this wasn’t terribly feminist of them, the group responded by claiming reports of Hamas’s sex attacks amounted to “the Islamophobic and racist weaponisation of sexual violence”. Towards the end of their rambling statement, they concluded: “no people would ever accept being murdered, humiliated, dispossessed, racially targeted, oppressed, cleansed, exiled and colonised without resisting.”

That’s reminiscent of how antisemites blame the Holocaust on the submission of Jews. “Why didn’t they resist?”, they ask.  “Had they fought back when the Nazis came to take them, there would have been no Holocaust.”

The article continues:

Other feminist groups fell into a similar victim-blaming step. Southall Black Sisters, another charity committed to ending violence against women, did at least mourn the loss of life on both sides, but blamed it on “the Israeli government’s declaration of war on Gaza”. Elsewhere, Women for Women UK, which specialises in helping “women survivors of war” and calls itself a “non-partisan organisation”, has decided to raise money only for Palestinian women. Even Women’s Place UK, once viewed as an outlier for its brave campaigning for women-only spaces, decided to call for an “immediate ceasefire” without mentioning sexual violence.

In a similar vein, Claire Waxman, London’s first Victims’ Commissioner, wrote to Reem Alsalem, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and Girls, to ask why the organisation has stayed silent. In response, Waxman tells me, Alsalem claimed the evidence was “not solid” enough to warrant a statement. An incredulous Waxman points out that November 25 is the UN’s International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls: “How can we talk about eliminating violence against women and girls if we are tacitly saying it’s acceptable to rape Jewish ones?”

Alsalem, of course, is willfully blind: the rapes and sexual violence against the victims of Hamas has been amply documented, even on film!  The fight against Hamas’s violence directed against women, then, has been largely led by Israeli groups:

To remedy this, Israeli feminists this week launched #MeToo_Unless_Ur_A_Jew, a campaign calling for the UN Women group to focus on the gender-based violence against Israeli women. “The UN Women is turning a blind eye to Hamas’s vicious war crimes by remaining silent,” they said.

But all this is nothing new, except that turning a blind eye to women who are raped and mutilated by Islamists now involves ignoring Israeli as well as Muslim women. And even the UN imputes some violence against women in Palestine to Israel. As you see above, “Women and girls in Palestine continue to experience various forms of violence due to the entrenched discriminatory social norms and traditions, and the prolonged Israeli occupation.”  There are control countries, you know. . . .

I’ve always thought that there’s no substitute for actually seeing violence if you want to absorb its horrors, and that’s why the IDF showed to journalists extended videos filmed by terrorists themselves on October 7. The reaction was universal: it sickened the viewers.

The next closest thing is hearing graphic descriptions of the violence, as in the video below. I suggest that the video, a panel discussion on “The unspeakable terror: gender-based violence on October 7”, sponsored by the Maimonedes Society, the Harvard Jewish Law Students Association, and the Harvard Business School Jewish Students Association, should be required viewing for feminists who support Muslim societies.

Here is the constitution of the group (I apologize for the low quality of the print, as this is taken from a screenshot):

And here is the panel discussion (95 minutes total), which describes the sexual brutality inflicted by Hamas, its legal ramifications (including war crimes), the trauma inflicted on survivors of  sexual violence, the treatment of survivors,  and how to draw global attention to the situation.

But today I want to call attention to just one 13-minute segment of the panel, that from 14:06 to 26:55. It’s presented by Dr. Cochav Elkayam-Levy, Chair of the Civil Commission on Oct 7th Crimes by Hamas against Women & Children. She is at Penn, where she’s described as “an expert on international law, human rights law, constitutional and administrative law, global governance, religion & state matters, global sustainable development and feminist theories.”

Here Elkayam-Levy simply describes what Hamas did to Israeli women—and some foreign women—on October 7. This is very strong stuff, and she can barely keep herself together as she describes it. So it’s mandatory for me to issue a TRIGGER WARNING here: if you can’t bear to hear graphic descriptions of sexual violence to women (those descriptions begin at 17:05), violence so strong that acts of rape broke women’s pelvises, then skip it.

This is nothing other than brutality enacted on women because they were women, not just Israelis.  And that comes from the tenets of Islam that have been incorporated in many Muslim societies. Remember too that both the live and dead women paraded around Gaza after the attack were cheered not just by Hamas, but by Palestinian citizens.  Then ask yourself if the Israeli military has enacted things like this, and calibrate your moral compass.

h/t: Jez

Oxfam demonizes J. K. Rowling, branding her as a “terf”

June 7, 2023 • 12:00 pm

I got an email from reader Jez Grove pointing out how Oxfam has (literally) demonized J. K. Rowling in a recent video discussed by the Sunday Times of London. The original Times article is here, but it’s paywalled for most of us. However, you can access an archived copy here or by clicking the screenshot below.

Oxfam is a consortium of charitable organizations devoted to alleviating poverty throughout the world. At least it was that way when I lived in England and Scotland, but it’s now taking on social justice at home as well.  Unfortunately, they’re being a bit hamhanded about it, as the article notes:

An excerpt:

Oxfam has been branded “utterly shocking” for releasing an anti-trans cartoon character apparently based on JK Rowling.

The charity’s animated #ProtectThePride video was issued to mark Pride month. It said it could not “ignore the cruel backdrop” against which LGBT people marked the celebration.

The strip included a woman resembling Rowling, who was wearing a badge saying “Terf” — which stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” and is used as a slur to describe those, like the Harry Potter writer, who believe people cannot change sex.

The woman, with blood-red eyes and face contorted in hate, was wearing a green dress – similar to one worn by Rowling at a film premiere – and was looking at the Pride flag. As she appeared on screen, a caption said that LGBT people were “preyed on by hate groups online and offline”.

Gender-critical campaigners attacked Oxfam, which later removed a link to the video.

Milli Hill, a feminist author, told The Times: “Oxfam’s caricature of an ‘ugly hag’ wearing a Terf badge is so typical of the attitudes displayed to feminists who stand up for women’s rights. We are evil old witches basically, and this is the same old misogyny we’ve been fighting for decades, repackaged as ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’.

Here’s the scene from the video, which, as Jez notes below, has now been eliminated. If that’s not supposed to be J. K. Rowling, complete with red hair and a TERF patch where her poppy is, I’ll eat my hat. This removed screenshot, found by Jez, is in The Daily Mail:

Apparently Oxfam has an animus against Rowling:

The charity has also been accused of hounding out a volunteer who defended Rowling. A former worker, calling herself Maria, said she was accused of transphobia after a colleague asked on an internal message board if Oxfam shops should ban the sale of Rowling’s books.

Maria “had come to the defence of Britain’s most popular living author, asking for evidence of Rowling’s supposed transphobia”, the website UnHerd said. It prompted a “gruelling internal investigation”, with Maria struggling to clear her name, having a nervous breakdown and leaving her job and the country, the website claimed.

She claimed constructive dismissal and belief discrimination and in July last year.

Following the claim, both parties agreed to settle, with Oxfam issuing a public apology for its handling of the process.

Maria told UnHerd: “My life has been torn apart. It drove me to a breakdown, I lost my confidence and, worst of all, I began to doubt myself.”

More from the article:

The video, shared with the charity’s millions of supporters, was made by the Bangalore-based Falana Films to highlight the “lack of safety” that LGBT people feel around the world.

Rowling later liked a tweet criticising the depiction of the cartoon character. Oxfam said: “We have listened to concerns and removed the post.”

Rowling has denied she is transphobic and says she is campaigning for women’s rights and female-only spaces.

It looks as if Oxfam is having some mission creep, just like the ACLU and the SPLC in the U.S.  Jez wrote more about the situation and sent me a link to the video, which you can watch below. Here’s what he said (name and quotes used with permission):

Oxfam has since re-released the video, but with the offending scene, which has also been branded as racist, deleted from the video. Hardly surprising, given that screenshot.

However, the new version has also been criticised, not least because it still seems to celebrate the double mastectomy of healthy breasts of gender non-conforming young women. Ironically, the person next to the woman with the mastectomy scars in the cartoon is wearing a “Protect Trans Kids” t-shirt:

Here’s the video (second tweet) and Oxfam’s apology (first tweet). Do watch the video.

And the photo of the biological woman with mastectomy scars next to someone wearing a “Protect Trans Kids” short, right at the beginning of the video:

The rest from Jez:

Oxfam is a humanitarian aid charity; its senior staff in Haiti were accused of hiring prostitutes and exploiting young female victims of the earthquake. The charity’s country lead in Haiti was also accused of using prostitutes during his previous post in Chad.

And an Oxfam employee recently brought an employment tribunal claim after she was given a final warning simply for asking for evidence on a staff forum that JK Rowling had been transphobic. The charity settled with her and apologised before the case was heard [see above as well].

Very shocking – I won’t be donating to Oxfam in a hurry.

Now there’s nothing wrong with the video except for its extolling double mastectomies of children as “protecting trans kids.” What sticks in my craw here—and in Jez’s—is the demonization of J. K. Rowling as a transphobe, looking Satanic, when she’s clearly not transphobic. One can also criticize this flubbed mission creep of Oxfam, whose record isn’t very good—including that previous incident in which the charity dissed Rowling.

Ideology stomps all over chemistry in a new paper

January 15, 2023 • 12:45 pm

There are two ways I can criticize the uber-woke paper below that was published in from The Journal of Chemical Education (an organ of the American Chemical Society). I could go through it in detail and point out the fallacies and undocumented claims, and note where “progressive” ideology simply overwhelms the science. I could highlight why it’s a bit of hyper-Left propaganda, designed to force students in a Chemistry, Feminism and STEM course to think in a certain way.

Or I could simply mock it as an example of politicized science that is so over the top that it could appear without change in The Onion.

Way #1 would waste a lot of my time, and I’ve gone through this kind of exegesis many times before. Way #2 would bring out the splenetic readers who say that I shouldn’t make fun of dumb papers like this but instead take them apart line by line—that mockery is not an effective weapon.  But it is. Why else would Stanford have remove its list if disapproved words and phrases had not the Wall Street Journal mocked the list? “Mockery makes you look bad,” these jokers would say, “and it’s unintellectual.”

I’m rejecting both ways today in favor of The Third Way: let the paper reveal its own ideology, postmodern craziness, and authoritarianism by just giving quotes. In other words, I’ll let it mock itself.

You can access the paper for free by clicking on the screenshot below, or see the pdf here.

The abstract gives an idea of the purpose of the course: to indoctrinate students in the authors’ brand of feminism, CRT, and other aspects of woke ideology.  It wants to rid chemistry of White Supremacy, for the unquestioned assumption is that chemistry education is riddled with white supremacy. If you read the authors seriously, you’d think that all chemistry teachers put on white robes and burned crosses after school:

ABSTRACT: This article presents an argument on the importance of teaching science with a feminist framework and defines it by acknowledging that all knowledge is historically situated and is influenced by social power and politics. This article presents a pedagogical model for implementing a special topic class on science and feminism for chemistry students at East Carolina University, a rural serving university in North Carolina. We provide the context of developing this class, a curricular model that is presently used (including reading lists, assignments, and student learning outcomes), and qualitative data analysis from online student surveys. The student survey data analysis shows curiosity about the applicability of feminism in science and the development of critical race and gender consciousness and their interaction with science. We present this work as an example of a transformative pedagogical model to dismantle White supremacy in Chemistry.

At the outset they get off on the wrong foot: by asserting that sex is not binary (all bolding is mine):

When scientifically established facts, such as the nonbinary nature of both sex and gender are seen by students of science as a belief, one might ask: Are we being true to scientific knowledge? We use this student comment as a reflection of the subjectivity of how the pedagogical decisions are made in teaching “true science” vs what existing scientific knowledge tells us. This has resulted in the propagation of scientific miseducation for generations.

Sadly, it’s the authors who are miseducated here. Whatever they think, biological sex in vertebrates is binary, and to teach otherwise is the real distortion of education.

They have a new term, too, though I don’t see how it differs from either systemic racism, unconscious bias, or deliberate racism. (The “King’ mentioned, by the way, is not Martin Luther King, Jr.):

King introduced a new term, dysconscious racism, defined as an acceptance of dominant White norms and privileges arising from the uncritical habit of the mind leading to the maintenance of the status quo. In contrast to unconscious bias which has been quoted as involuntary and used in the academy often, King’s idea of dysconcious racism demands a critical analysis of the history of systemic discrimination in the institutions and coming up with effective interventions.

Below is the authoritarianism, breathless in its arrogance. I used to think that it was an exaggeration to compare the radicalization of science with the Lysenko movement in Stalin’s Russia. Now I’m not so sure! We’ve put our feet on that path.  Is there any ideological buzzworda missing in the following paragraph?:

In this article we describe the development, implementation, and student experience from a special topic course in chemistry, Science and Feminism, as a disruptive tool to challenge the status quo in Chemistry. Using Critical Race Theory and intersectional feminism as the framework, this course aimed at creating an intellectual as well as physical space for STEM students at East Carolina University (ECU) where they could explore their identities and how these intersect with the knowledge base and the pedagogy of science by looking at these from historical, political, and feminist lens. The other aim was to shine light, through this process, how scientific epistemology and culture have strong links with capitalism, enslavement, colonization, and exploitation of female-bodied folks. We provide the historical context of teaching this class in our institution, development of the course syllabus, assignments, and evaluations adopted for this course over the past two years as a template for future course development. In the Discussion and Conclusion section, we also provide a short description from qualitative analysis of online student surveys to understand what students thought about the importance of such a STEM course. Finally, this course is intended to produce an affirming space that will allow minoritized students to enter a chemistry class without having to leave their identities at the metaphorical and physical door of STEM classes.

But you’re supposed to leave your identities at the door. Science is science and the pursuit of the truth, and what truths are apprehended, should be independent of the characteristics of the person who does science.

Below is the “all must have prizes” bit.  Sadly, given that there are more candidates for academic jobs than there are jobs, some people aren’t going to make it. Here’s a statement that East Carolina University, where most of the authors come from, put on their website after George Floyd was murdered:

That same year, the Chemistry Department posted an antiracism statement on its Web site, which stated: “…That means we, as a department, must continually self-reflect and ask hard questions of ourselves. Do our pedagogy, assignments, exams, and grading practices help everyone to succeed?”

This means, of course, that if some students don’t succeed, it’s the fault of the teachers. Ergo a new course in which everyone succeeds, and, I suppose, in which there is no ranking of merit.

Here are the four parts of the course, each accompanied by readings from the appropriate propaganda (note: there is NO dissent in the readings, which you can see in the article):

Unit 1 readings (Table 2) focused on introducing students to the history of American feminism and its contribution/effect as felt in STEM epistemology. This unit also comprised of readings that critically looked at the DEI work in the Academy and its connection complicatedness dysconcious racism. As experiential learning, this unit also invited students to think and talk about their individual relationship with the word feminism, STEM culture, and their own identities. The end of the unit assignments was writing a reflection from all the readings and participation in a debate with the topic: Science done by a feminist and feminist practice in science are the same thing.

Unit 2 included readings (Table 2) that exposed students to the historical context of pathologizing the pregnant womb and the construction of gynecology as a White male discipline while utilizing Black and Indigenous bodies as experimental subjects. We further explored the development of (Black, Indigenous, and Brown) races as inferior and pathological throughout the development of modern science. As experiential learning, students participated in discussions on their interaction with the medical system as immigrants, women, women of color, and LGBTQIA2S+ individuals. The end of the unit assignments was writing a reflection from all the readings and participation in a debate with the topic: Health care providers (doctors, dentists, nurses, PA, PT, and administrators) should be required to learn the history of medical racism, sexism, and homo/transphobia and their legacy as part of their licensing process, and it should be an ongoing training than a onetime one. Students were also suggested to watch the 2017 movie, The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks.

Unit 3 explored the development and interrelationship between quantum mechanics, Marxist materialism, Afro-futurism/pessimism, and postcolonial nationalism. To problematize time as a linear social construct, the Copenhagen interpretation of the collapse of wave-particle duality was utilized. The end of the unit assignments was writing a reflection from all the readings and participation in a debate with the topic: past is never dead, it is not even past. The students also had the option of watching the 2020 movie, Antebellum. However, the instructor was flexible on this assignment as some of the African American students did not want to watch it and be triggered. They wrote a reflection on a book on race and gender that they had read.

Unit 4 consisted of reading articles in STEM that used identity (racial/gender/sexuality) as empirical parameters and how that can further propagate the absoluteness of these categories rather than dismantling these constructed realities. The end of the unit assignments was writing a reflection from all the readings and participation. There was no debate for this unit as this was close to the semester end.

Besides the reading assignments, there are essays in which students are expected to parrot back the woke pabulum they’ve been fed:

The final assignment was a full paper with an intervention plan that might be implemented in their own institution/department which will enable students to create a STEM identity which acknowledges and respects their personal identity. For 2021 and 2022 classes, the intervention topics that students wrote about were as follows: the importance of all-gender bathrooms in STEM buildings, the importance of teaching how race, gender, sexuality, etc. are created and pathologized by STEM as a medical college course, how to increase accessibility of STEM as a discipline without erasing the lived experiences of URM students, and how the American STEM identity can incorporate the immigrant student/scholar experience.

At this point I wondered if this course had anything to do with science beyond using the “field” (excuse me) as an example of racism and white supremacy. I don’t think so. It’s ideological propaganda, pure and simple, and even worse than the forms dished out in “studies” courses. ‘

There’s a section on “Social Location of the Authors and Their Relation to This Course.” Here’s just a bit:

M.A.R. participated in the special topic chemistry class in Spring 2021 as a biology graduate student. She is a young adult Filipino cis woman who was raised in a middle-class rural town in North Carolina for most of her childhood by immigrant parents.D.M. consulted on the design and delivery of the course as well as the preparation of this manuscript. He is a middle-aged White cis-gendered man who was raised in a suburban Philadelphia family with a diverse set of adopted and foster siblings. He approaches this work largely trained in a Jesuit social ethics tradition and currently serves as a student affairs educator responsible for community engagement, leadership, and DEI experiential programming.

S.B. designed and taught this class as a special topic in chemistry class in Spring 2021 and then in Spring 2022. They are a middle-aged Indian immigrant working in the US higher education. They identify as gender nonconfirming and a brown-immigrant-queer. They were raised in an upper caste and middle-class, college educated family in an urban environment in India and experiences and understands this world from these complex vantage points. These social locations of S.B. also influenced the texts and topics discussed in this course which centered around the historical relationship of Black and Brown and colonized people with modern STEM discipline.

I’m not sure whether this is relevant for teaching propaganda, though it tells us why it’s being taught. It also help establish the authors’ “identity credibility”.

Finally, there’s the obligatory land acknowledgment at the end. It’s a long one!

The authors acknowledge that this article was conceived, researched, and written on Indigenous land and “We acknowledge the Tuscarora people, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live, and recognize their continuing connection to the land, water, and air that Greenville consumes. We pay respect to the eight state-recognized tribes of North Carolina; Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of Saponi, Sappony, and Waccamaw-Siouan, all Nations, and their elders past, present, and emerging”.

Does this help the indigenous Americans? I don’t see how. I’m sure the Native Americans would prefer getting the land back than this faux form of “respect.”

To end, I point out what I think is an error. You can correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there was a “Tuskegee airmen” case that falls under the “history of medical racism”. I believe the authors are referring here to the four-decade “Tuskegee syphilis study” ending in 1972. It truly was a dark episode in the history of medical ethics: an experiment in which black men infected with syphilis were left untreated so that the US Public Health Service could observe the effects of untreated disease. These men could have been treated, but weren’t; they weren’t told what they had; and they were promised medical treatment but lied to.  This could not happen today, but it was a horrible, horrible thing to do to these people, and was certainly motivated in part by racism. Below is the conflation of this study with another group associated with Tuskegee:

The syphilis study had nothing to do, as far as I know, with the Tuskegee airmen, a group of black pilots who fought gallantly during WWII, despite the military having been segregated. They were the first black military aviators, and received many plaudits and decorations for their bravery and work. But the group had, as far as I know, nothing to do with the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, except that both groups of men were associated in some way with the historically black Tuskegee Institute, which later became Tuskegee University. So much for checking the facts!

The Upshot: This is without doubt the most annoying, misguided, and misplaced paper on science education I’ve read in the last five years. The American Chemical Society should be ashamed of itself.

h/t: Anna

The rancor of the gender wars

September 27, 2022 • 11:15 am

The one ideological area in which I get the most pushback is that comprising transgender and transsexual issues. My concern with the topic has been twofold. First, I have been critical of the assertion of activists’ (and their adherents’) claim that sex is not bimodal in humans (or indeed, in anything), as well as the claim that there aren’t really any evolved differences in male and female behavior (again, not just in humans). To me, this flies in the face of all we know about biology.  But I’ve given reasons for my views and won’t reprise them here.

Second—and again I’ve discussed this at length, adducing evidence, I’ve been worried about and critical of activists’ claims—now echoed by the Biden administration—that transsexual females (born as biological males) should be allowed to compete in most sports against biological women. This is especially worrisome if there’s been no medical intervention (hormone therapy) and if the transitioning occurred after puberty. Others feel differently, and this is a discussable issue that involves biology as well as philosophy.

That’s about it. I’m happy to treat all transsexual people with respect, including accepting that they’re members of the sex they want to be, using the pronouns they want us to use, and, in almost every case, afford them exactly the same rights as non-transsexuals. I certainly don’t want to “erase” them. And yet transsexual activism is so vociferous that even questioning issues of sports, sex differences, or sex bimodality brands one as a “transphobe.” I deny that accusation, as I deny the accusation that J. K. Rowling is a transphobe. And I am appalled at the self-righteousness of those who make flat assertions and are deaf to criticism.

In a recent article in Times Higher Education, Laura Favoro, identified as “a researcher at City, University of London’s Gender & Sexualities Research Centre”, surveyed 50 gender studies academics (all self-identified as “feminists”), trying to suss out the source of the acrimony around gender and transsexuality. Her conclusion, which those of us who have followed the “gender wars” already know, is that discussion on the issue has been severely and deliberately chilled, to the extent that most feminists who disagree with “progressive” ideology keep their mouths shut out of fear. And that fear comes from the rancor heaped on dissenters by “progressives”, who no longer want to debate—or even see the point of debate.  This assuredness and willingness to silence dissidents is a recurring theme in the woke playbook.

The original is here but paywalled (you can read three articles for free), but I also found it archived here. Click below to see if you can access it; if not, go to the archive.

Of the 50 feminists interviewed by Favoro, 14 were “gender critical feminists”, comprising those who see a difference (as do I) between “sex” and “gender”. Favoro adduces a fact I didn’t know:

For them, there is a clear difference between “sex”, which refers to biological categories that are binary and immutable, and “gender”, which describes the roles, behaviours and attributes that a given culture deems appropriate for people by virtue of their sex. Recognising this difference is important because, as well as constraining both sexes, gender serves to justify the subordination of females. This group of academics also noted that their perspective was, until recently, largely shared across feminism, as well as within many academic disciplines.

I admit that I’ve been clueless enough not to know that emphasizing “gender” might lead to pressure on biological women to adopt classical female “gender roles”—something that modern feminists have opposed, or rather favor the right to reject traditional gender roles.

These “gender critical feminists” report significant harassment that has led to self-censorship:

It was clear that the “gender-critical” feminist academics I interviewed had faced negative repercussions for years for expressing their view (now protected in the UK under the Equality Act 2010 following last year’s tribunal ruling that a thinktank researcher, Maya Forstater, had been unlawfully dismissed for tweeting that women could not change their biological sex). Among other experiences, my interviewees described complaints to and by management, attempts to shut down events, no platforming, disinvitations, intimidation, smears and losing career progression opportunities, including being blocked from jobs.

Others spoke about being physically removed from events, alongside receiving torrents of abuse online that even included incitements to murder. One criminology scholar said her experience was “a continuum of hell”, while a law scholar claimed “the impact has been huge [and] is going to last a long time”. Aware of these potential consequences, and citing feelings of fear, isolation and despair, others had decided to “hide in the shadows”.

Those in the earlier stages of their careers said that “it would just be too terrifying” to make their views public due to the threat of being “ostracised…because so much within academia depends on personal connections”, while more experienced colleagues alluded to “self-preservation”. Feared by all was the “horrible backlash” online; one sociologist worried about death and rape threats seen elsewhere stated: “I have children – I’m frightened.”

Favaro also spoke to 20 “trans-inclusive feminists”, who differ from each other in their opinions, but as a group see no sharp line between sex and gender:

For some, “sex” is a construct of oppressive systems, notably Western colonialism. Others argue it is a biological spectrum that can – at least in part – change. For others still, it is both a social fiction and a biological reality. “Gender” is likewise understood in different ways: as socially or discursively constructed (performative model); as an inseparable combination of biological, psychological and social elements (biopsychosocial model); or, to a much lesser extent, as innate subjectivity, evoking notions of sexed brains (psychobiologist model). At times, “gender” is used as a synonym for “gender identity”, usually understood as an internal sense of self as a woman, a man, both, neither or something else, such as “non-binary” – which, among other possibilities, can be “plural” (“like having two or more alter egos or personas”) or “fluid” (changing “over years, months, or the course of the day”), as explained in the 2019 book Gender: A Graphic Guide.

Despite its conceptual diversity, genderism coheres around the push for gender (identity) to replace sex in most – if not all – contexts. Unlike feminism, its political subject is not female people but rather all those subjected to gender oppression – a concept that is redefined to emphasise lack of choice and affirmation relating to gender identity.

This is the viewpoint that I characterize as “progressive”, not because I think it’s connected with any real scientific or moral progress, but because its adherents see themselves as progressive, as being on the side of the angels. And, according to Favor (who’s going to get herself in trouble, even though she’s right), it’s this group that is the most censorious, the most eager to demonize their opponents as “TERFs” and transphobes. Some even reject the idea of debating:

On the issue of “no platforming”, some interviewees ridiculed the idea that gender-critical feminists were victims of it. . .

Others, however, openly embraced the “no debate” position on the basis that gender-critical feminism is “hate speech” or even “rhetorical violence [that] actually does have real-world aims”, equivalent to movements such as fascism and eugenics. One interviewee who identified as a trans woman described the current situation in academia as “a political battle over an institutional space”, clarifying that: “My political bottom line is – I don’t concede to people who are interested in the eradication of me and everyone like me in the world because I consider that a genocidal project.”

This view, together with the belief that “cis women have more power than trans people”, led genderist academics to refrain from forthrightly denouncing some transgender activists’ aggressive tactics towards feminists. These include threats and ideations of extreme violence, which, as well as being pervasive on social media, appear to be increasingly condoned at universities. For example, last year, a London School of Economics postgraduate student conference paper described a scene in which feminists critical of genderism “scream for mercy”. The paper then described the potential threat: “I hold a knife to your throat and spit my transness into your ear”, concluding: “Are you scared? I sure fucking hope so.”

Oy vey is mir! Yet some of these can’t even articulate their own beliefs: 

When asked to describe their arguments, however, she responded: “I don’t know if what I understand or what I think are the issues are the issues, I’ll be honest with you – I stay out of their way.” This remarkable coupling of condemnation and ignorance regarding gender-critical feminism was fairly common among genderist academics. Many readily admitted that they limit their academic engagements, including their reading, to their “echo chambers and bubbles” where, as one journal editor noted, “we all share basically the same perspectives”.

Many genderist academics struggled, or were discomfited, when asked to provide their own definitions of sex, gender and (particularly) gender identity, despite their research and teaching revolving around these very topics. Some acknowledged lack of sufficient reflection, while others explained this peculiar situation by citing concerns over “perpetuating harms” with their words to people who identify as transgender. For others still, the concern related to “sounding Terfy”, or was a reaction to the fact that “there is very little openness to debating certain subjects which are difficult other than being framed as transphobic”.

If you can’t define your terms, you can’t have a debate.  Among this group, Favoro interviewed 12 “genderist” feminists who were also editors of feminist, gender, and sexuality journals. Of course these journals all had the genderist perspective, but, further, all the editors they wouldn’t publish any gender-critical articles.

Finally, Favoro interviewed 16 feminist academics whose views she didn’t know. Many of them mentioned self-censorship because “we are all so afraid”. Others were in the “I’m not gender-critical, but. . . ” class, still raising issues that concern gender-critical feminists—issues like “affirmative care” for gender-dysphoric youth and the elimination of the term “sex.” Here’s a statement from one:

Are there things that I could write? Yes. Do I think that they could make a difference, that they could offer something? Yes. Will I write about it? No. Which tells you all you need to know about the current situation,” said a sociologist. “If I am scared to write about this…then I have no doubt that people who might be more easily classified as Terfs would feel afraid to speak, censored,” she added.

As you see, at least for the time being among this group—and, I think, much more widely—the trans-inclusive feminists have won, shutting down debate and chilling speech because people are afraid of being called TERFs or transphobes. (This resembles the debate about affirmative action and race-related matters, where the silencing adjective is “racist”.)

Favoro claims that she was objective in her approach, and I have no reason to doubt her, for if she had a history of being in one of the two main camps, people would know it and impugn her for producing biased journalism. Yet in the end, she herself becomes afraid for having conducted these interviews. Still, kudos toher for putting down her conclusions, as well as noting that almost all the heavy fire comes from the “progressive” side. But more than that. This side has achieved the dream of many progressives—silencing the other side:

Of course, I fear harms to my career and more for instigating, as interviewees repeatedly put it, “difficult conversations” – not least as an immigrant early career scholar with a family to support. But, at the same time, why would I want to work in academia if I cannot do academic work? Much more terrifying than being hated is being gagged.

A new book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on sexual violence in Europe

April 4, 2020 • 10:30 am

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has a new book, her fifth, and the fourth to have a one-word title (the others are The Caged Virgin, Nomad, Infidel, and Heretic, and I’ve read all but the first). The last one, Heretic, was subtitled Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, and was her manifesto not to destroy Islam (which many think is her agenda), but to reform it from within. I wrote about it previously, and thought that while the motivation was good, Muslims would never accept Hirsi Ali’s five suggestions for reforming the faith (example: “Muslims must not take the Qur’an literally”).

If Islam is to be defanged, making the extremist and violence-prone segments go away, it not only has to be from within, but there’s no good program for doing it—even from Hirsi Ali, who spent much of her life as an ardent believer.

And if the last book diminished Hirsi Ali’s reputation as an “Islamophobic” (it didn’t—the SPLC pronounced her, along with Maajid Nawaz, “an anti-Muslim activist” and then withdrew that characterization when sued by Nawaz), this book will restore it. For it’s about those immigrants—many of them Muslim—who commit sexual violence on and harassment of women in Europe. Click on the screenshot to go to the Amazon site, or see the HarperCollins publisher’s description here.

The sexual violence committed by immigrants to Europe, and its higher frequency among male Muslim immigrants, is an issue that, it seems, most European countries would rather keep under wraps, because it looks “Islamophobic” to both highlight it and, especially, to connect it with the misogyny endemic in much of Islam.  “Grooming gangs” of young Muslims are reported on in the British press, but the ethnic/religious connection has stalled both investigations of the crimes as well as their highlighting by journalists. Of course there are many rapists and harassers who aren’t Muslims, or are non-Muslims from East Asia, but it’s ridiculous to avoid discussing how religion (which is largely equivalent to “culture” for many Muslims) might feed into sexual violence. How can you deal with such crimes without understanding their source? But then, of course, there’s the hard problem of “what do we do with this understanding?”  That’s above my pay grade.

These are the issues that Hirsi Ali apparently deals with in Prey. Here’s HarperCollins‘s summary of the book, which I’ve excerpted (their emphasis):

Why are so few people talking about the eruption of sexual violence and harassment in Europe’s cities? Because almost no one in a position of power wants to admit that the problem is linked to the arrival of several million migrants—most of them young men—from Muslim-majority countries.

In Prey, the best-selling author of Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, presents startling statistics, criminal cases and personal testimony. She shows that, after a period when sexual violence in western Europe barely increased, after 2014 it surged. In Germany “offences against sexual self-determination” in 2018 were 36% above their 2014 level. Nearly two-fifths of the suspects were non-German. Asylum seekers were suspects in 11% of all reported rapes and sexual harassment cases in Austria in 2017, despite making up less than 1% of the total population.

This violence isn’t a figment of alt-right propaganda, Hirsi Ali insists, even if neo-Nazis exaggerate it. It’s a real problem that Europe—and the world—cannot continue to ignore.

Hirsi Ali explains why so many young Muslim men who arrive in Europe engage in sexual harassment and violence. She traces the roots of sexual violence in the Muslim world, from institutionalized polygamy to the lack of legal and religious protections for women.

A refugee herself, Hirsi Ali is not against immigration. . . Deeply researched and featuring fresh and often shocking revelations, Prey uncovers a sexual assault and harassment crisis in Europe which is turning the clock on women’s rights much further back than #MeToo has advanced it.

I’ll read it, as I’ve read most of her books, but be aware that this book is going to be excoriated for simply highlighting the problem, which everyone recognizes is a problem.  It’s ironic that the publisher mentions #MeToo here, for that underscores the double standards of liberal societies when dealing with feminism and Islam. Islamic doctrine is explicitly anti-feminist, and, in the thesis of this book, has devalued women to the extent that it leads to both sexual harassment and rape, just as it leads to the oppression of women in most Muslim counties. So we have a clash of underdogs—underdogs whose defense is a classic virtue of liberalism. In this case it’s Islam versus feminism. In America, the UK, and the rest of Europe, the Left seems to have decided that, as “people of color”, Muslims are more oppressed than women, and so, as Hirsi Ali insists, this has exacerbated the oppression of women in the West.

I’ll report on the book after I’ve read it.

h/t Enrico

Two pieces on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the new allegations against him

June 4, 2019 • 10:45 am

It is curious that the accusations of sexual misconduct committed by Martin Luther King, Jr., recently published in Standpoint by his biographer, the distinguished civil rights historian David Garrow, have largely been ignored by the mainstream press. I think it’s because the press doesn’t know how to respond to accusations of rape-enabling and abuse of women by someone as distinguished as Dr. King—someone who did more than anyone else to bring civil rights to African Americans in the last century. Given the cognitive dissonance among the Authoritarian Left when two of their values collide (another example is feminism vs. Islamic misogyny), I wondered if King would be given more of a pass than others because of his accomplishments. Although the accusations against King are still under legal seal until 2027, many have been deemed guilty by allegations as unsubstantiated as those against Dr. King.

My own take so far is to adopt a wait-and-see attitude, hoping I’m around when the evidence is unsealed, and to recognize that earlier evidence already showed King to be a serial philanderer. He was imperfect—maybe criminally so—but his legacy, his actions, and his writings still mark him as one of the most accomplished figures in American history. But so was Thomas Jefferson, who held slaves. Even now, at my alma mater The College of William and Mary, Jefferson’s statue is regularly being defaced. Lately we’ve seen the demonization of people like Dr. Seuss as well as Gandhi, whose statues have been taken down in South Africa. Somehow people haven’t yet come to terms with how we regard historical figures who have done bad things by modern lights. But clearly such judgments must balance good versus bad, recognize the complex nature of humans, and should have nothing to do with someone’s race.

The New York Times has finally come to grips with the accusations about King, but only in an op-ed by one person, Barbara Ransby. [Note added in proof: they just published another piece on King that I haven’t yet read.] Ransby is a professor of history, gender and women’s studies and African-American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the author of “Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement,” “Eslanda” and “Making All Black Lives Matter.” You can read her piece below:

The piece is not really a defense of King so much as an attack on those who accept, even tentatively, that King might have been a far worse sexual predator than we know. We can rule out many on the Right who seem to glorify in these revelations, as they really don’t like what King did. But Ransby, while properly pointing out that the evidence isn’t dispositive, attacks the FBI for its attempt to depose and terrorize King (true, but it’s still possible that the transcripts are right), and even Garrow for publishing unverified information. She gives more credibility to the testimony of Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford, as they were recounting their own stories rather than digging out someone else’s, as did Garrow.  And Garrow, who has impeccable credentials and no a priori animus against King, is criticized for wanting public attention,  for seeming to “want his own Me first spotlight by getting out in front of an unsubstantiated story” by telling the stories of women who can’t tell the stories themselves. That’s a bit unfair: many of the women are dead and even Garrow thinks that we need to wait before revising our judgment of King as a man (see below). Her subheading implies that Garrow is a “historical peeping Tom”.

Finally, Ransby brings in “resurgent white nationalism” to buttress King’s historical legacy, which stands untarnished to all rational people, and the racist way in which King’s “black sexuality” was described by the FBI. Probably true, but again irrelevant to the questions about his character. After all, it was King who talked about judging a man by “the content of his character.”

To be fair, Ransby does say, and I agree, that we need to wait until 2027 before we begin the painful process of evaluation:

If in 2027 when the full F.B.I. tapes are released there is credible and corroborated evidence that a sexual assault occurred and Dr. King was somehow involved, we will have to confront that relevant and reprehensible information head-on. But we are not there.

Indeed, but Ransby’s piece still looks a bit tendentious. King’s historical accomplishments are secure, though the man was imperfect and may have even been a malefactor, but neither she nor Garrow know the truth, and there’s no need to discredit Garrow and the FBI (which of course did do pretty awful things) in advance of the tapes’ release.

Politico has what I see as the most reasoned take about this whole issue, more so than Ransby’s piece (click on screenshot):

An excerpt of their piece (my emphasis):

The reports are full of erotic details and include revealing handwritten marginalia. But to the uninitiated, the written reports that Garrow cites are hard to interpret. They can’t be checked against the original surveillance tapes, which remain sealed, according to a judge’s order, until 2027. It’s hard to tell from a glance who precisely authored them, for what purpose they were drafted or what information they’re based on. It is Garrow’s decades of expertise in reviewing and analyzing FBI materials about King that gives these startling revelations their weight. Garrow has explained that while not all FBI claims are to be believed, these sorts of summaries of surveillance intercepts are unlikely to have been fabricated or manipulated.

And Garrow’s overall assessment is measured. Nowhere does he renounce the esteem for King that can be seen in his three important books on the minister’s life. Rather, he proposes that the possibility King tolerated or abetted a rape “poses so fundamental a challenge to his historical stature as to require the most complete and extensive historical review possible.” Garrow concludes with a call to preserve the recordings on which the FBI reports are based, so that we can learn more when they’re scheduled to be opened eight years from now.

. . .the Washington Post’s “Retropolis” blog, which declares Garrow’s article to be “irresponsible.” The thrust of the article is to insinuate that the FBI reports aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, and so Garrow shouldn’t have published them. But while the Post piece quotes some respected historians (including friends of mine) rightly noting that the FBI documents may not be entirely reliable—not least because of Hoover’s vendetta against King—it avoids the obvious, if painful, corollary that they may well be accurate to a significant degree. We should at least allow the possibility that the accusations are true.

That’s why it’s a mistake to discount Garrow’s article wholesale. Any historian who came across a new cache of documents related to a longstanding area of research would feel compelled to explore it—and, if those materials shed new light on the subject, to publish them.

. . .King’s greatness is such that he has weathered these disclosures. The rape charges are of course graver, but they don’t negate the historic achievements for which he has long been properly celebrated.

Even if the ugliest charges against King are bolstered by additional evidence, that doesn’t mean we should talk about renaming Martin Luther King Day, tearing down statues of him, or stripping him of his Nobel Prize. In recent years, we’ve had altogether too much wrecking-ball history—history that takes public or private flaws or failings as reason to cast extraordinary men and women out of our political or artistic pantheons. Historians know that even the most admirable figures from our past were flawed, mortal beings—bad parents or bad spouses, capable of violence or cruelty, beholden to sexist or racist ideas, venal or megalomaniac, dishonest or predatory. Awareness of these qualities doesn’t mean despising figures once held up as heroes. Rather, it gives us a more complete and nuanced picture of the people who shaped our world.

Garrow acted responsibly, I think. He put the tentative evidence out there, alerting historians to what he found and what needs to be examined in eight years. He is a reporter, neither an accuser nor a jury.

Until we know the real evidence, we should neither discount nor accept wholesale Garrow’s claims. And we should balance King’s private behavior against his accomplishments as a leader. But that standard should go for everyone, including Thomas Jefferson and Mahatma Gandhi.

h/t: cesar

Everyday Feminism promotes astrology

December 1, 2018 • 10:15 am

Is it mansplaining if I advise feminists to not link their movement to astrology? I don’t think so, as it’s good advice. Of course, the Everyday Feminism site is beyond the pale, and I really should stop looking at it because their extreme form of Authoritarian and Prescriptive Leftism makes me dyspeptic. (Sample articles on view include “6 signs that you might not really respect your transgender loved one,” “7 reasons why white people should not wear black hairstyles,” “Think it’s #NotAllMen? These 4 facts prove you’re just plain wrong”, and the perennial favorite “10 things every intersectional feminist should ask on a first date.”)  The site loves prescriptive listicles, especially those that make you feel bad about yourself for sexism, racism, ableism, and every -ism there is. Then, to cure you, they offer, for a fee, courses like “Healing from Internalized Whiteness“.

Now reader Su, who, being more masochistic than I, actually subscribes to their newsletter, sent me their latest appeal for money/defense of woo. It’s for an “astrology as healing” course (of course all the readers are wounded), and costs just $34. But that’s $34 down the drain, as well as your rationality if you take any advice based solely on your astrology sign. Below is the ad they sent in their newsletter.

It’s quite defensive, but note that it doesn’t address the strong evidence that astrology is bunk (see here, for instance). Rather, they say, “Astrology might not be for everybody”, even while admitting that it’s not a substitute for science-based healthcare. And note the victimology: “You’re not a terrible person for drawing meaning from astrology!” Well, true, but you’re an irrational person!

Here are some of the details from the course site, which clearly assert that you can be healed from astrology—especially if you concentrate on the Moon and Venus. Now I’m not denying that people might find solace in this stuff insofar as it uses psychological helping techniques. But that’s a misguided way to help—like religion. You could do the same thing without convincing people that their birth signs actually mean something.

(Emphases are theirs.)

Everyone takes care of themselves differently. Perhaps you feel secure in a hot tub, secluded and completely unplugged. Maybe singing union songs in a passionate crowd or feeding your friends and family is the thing you need to feel safe and connected to your community.

All of this is reflected in your birth chart. Digging into your natal horoscope (a two-dimensional map of the sky at the moment of your birth) can both affirm what you’ve always known about yourself and reveal aspects of your personality that remain a mystery.

In this workshop, we’ll take our understanding of the language of the stars to the next level while focusing on considering our safety, our joy, and our wellness. Because astrology is absolutely healing work!

The well of astrological study is deep and the ways in are infinite. There’s so much to learn, and it can be a lifelong pursuit.

So, in this course, we’ll be going over the basics while focusing on the moon and Venus — both are introverted and concerned with nurturing our inner selves.

Why is Everyday Feminism charging people for courses based on bunk? See below:


Iranian women arrested and imprisoned for removing hijab, posting pictures of dancing

July 17, 2018 • 11:00 am

Can we hope that Iran, now in turmoil over many things, will try to stabilize itself by allowing its women simple human decency? In the last few weeks, two women have been arrested for removing their headscarves (20 years in jail!) or for posting pictures on social media of themselves dancing.  These are religious offenses, and are deemed such because they inspire the lust of men. (Women, of course bear full responsibility for whatever men do when engorged with uncontrollable lust.)

The first detainee, Shaparak Shajarizadeh (click on screenshot below) was apparently sentenced to two decades in stir for removing the hijab in protest of its compulsory wearing, and for “waving a white flag of peace in the street.” (White Wednesdays, in which women wear clothing of that color, are part of women’s protest against Iranian oppression.) Note that the story was not verified by Iranian authorities.


And here’s a story from the Guardian (click on screenshot, also see story in the July 9 New York Times) about a woman being arrested for posting an Instagram video (see below) of herself dancing.

This innocuous video was deemed dangerous enough to warrant the arrest of Maedeh Hojabri:

From the story about Hojabri New York Times, which described on July 9 the kind of public morality shaming that women like Hojabri are subjected to.

Like many teenage girls, Maedeh Hojabri liked to dance in her bedroom, record it and post clips to Instagram.

But Ms. Hojabri lives in Iran, where women are not allowed to dance, at least not in public. The 19-year-old was quietly arrested in May and her page was taken down, leaving her 600,000 followers wondering where she had gone.

The answer came last Tuesday on state television, when some of her fans recognized a blurred image of Ms. Hojabri on a show called “Wrong Path.”There she sobbingly admitted that dancing is a crime and that her family had been unaware she had videos of herself dancing in her bedroom to Western songs like “Bonbon,” by Era Istrefi.

Whatever the authorities’ intent, the public shaming of Ms. Hojabri and the arrest of others who have not been identified have created a backlash in a society already seething over a bad economy, corruption and a lack of personal freedoms.]

But there are signs that not just Iranian women are supporting the freedom to dress without veiling and to dance in public, but Iranians in general. As the Times notes,

Last week the judiciary warned that Instagram, which has 24 million users in Iran, might be closed because of its “unwanted content.” Ms. Hojabri, and other internet celebrities like her are called “antlers” by hard-liners for the way they stand out on Instagram.

But the public seems squarely on the side of Ms. Hojabri. “Really what is the result of broadcasting such confessions?” one Twitter user, Mohsen Bayatzanjani, wrote, using special software to gain access to Twitter, which is also banned in Iran. “What kind of audience would be satisfied? For whom would it serve as a lesson, seriously?”

Western feminists shy away from these kinds of violations, so that hijabis are often viewed as heroes though many of them are unwilling victims of Islamic morality. This represents the victory of skin pigmentation (Muslims are perceived as “oppressed brown people”, though many are lighter than I am and they’re hardly oppressed in places like Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia) over feminism. The hierarchy of oppression is clear—skin color > sex—but why Muslim women in their own countries are seen as immune to oppression, or ignored by Western feminists, defies rational analysis. You won’t find a post like this one on most of the feminist websites.

In the meantime, however, Iranian women themselves know what’s going on, and are dancing in public in support of Hojabri. I am saddened but also heartened by this video of Iranian women dancing. If you want a running account of oppression, including both men and women, just go to #Iran.

A similar sentiment from the British gay activist Peter Tatchell: