This Week in Misogyny

There was a ton of great writing about Bill Cosby this week, and because there needs to be balance in the universe or some shit, a corresponding amount of truly heinous commentary. Let’s dive on in. (As usual, trigger warnings for pretty much everything apply.)

On Bill Cosby

I can’t possibly round up everything that was written about Bill Cosby’s rape allegations, but if I missed anything particularly awesome/heinous, share it in the comments.

  • Model Janice Dickinson revealed that Cosby drugged and raped her in 1982.
  • Cosby refused to answer questions about the allegations during an NPR interview on Saturday.
  • On Monday, one of his lawyers issued a statement that the “discredited allegations” were untrue and that he and his team had no further comment. However, his legal team has made several contradictory statements over the years.
  • NBC, Netflix, and TV Land have all cancelled or indefinitely postponed planned projects with Cosby.
  • Here’s his 1969 comedy routine about wanting to get his hands on some Spanish Fly to slip in girls’ drinks, both as a 13-year-old and as an adult.
  • Ta-Nahesi Coates reflects on his decision to gloss over the allegations when he did a profile on Cosby’s “morality” back in 2008, because though he believed the allegations were true, he didn’t feel like he had enough proof as a journalist to make it part of his article.
  • Roxane Gay talks about how The Cosby Show was important to her when she was a kid, but that we can’t let our fondness for his work cloud our judgement of what he did.
  • In case you need a reminder, here are some of the other scumbags in Hollywood.
  • Bill Cosby’s defenders include Rush Limbaugh and Howard Kurtz from Fox News, which is always a pretty clear sign that you’re very very wrong.
  • CNN’s Don Lemon actually asked Joan Tarshis why she didn’t just bite Cosby’s penis when he forced her to perform oral sex on him, and said, “you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it.” Fuck you, dude. At least Twitter had some fun mocking his “reporting” style.

An update to #shirtstorm: Matt Taylor apologized for his stupid decision to wear a shirt with nearly-naked ladies on it for the landing of the Philae probe on a comet. And because people are terrible, some of the women who pointed out that his shirt is reflective of the atmosphere that can make women feel unwelcome in STEM workplaces wound up getting death threats on Twitter, and people are freaking out about a “feminist lynch mob.” Which is a totally proportional response to telling him his shirt was stupid and that it was kinda fucked that nobody he worked with suggested that he change clothes. And it’s also telling that the people who are so upset that he got criticized would never speak up for a woman whose appearance was criticized.

Taylor Lianne Chandler, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps’ (alleged) girlfriend, revealed this week on Facebook that she was born intersex and that while her parents gave her a male name at birth, she’d always felt like a girl and adopted a female name when she was a teenager. After undergoing corrective surgery, she changed her name again so she could start over without being associated with some pretty awful shit she’d gone through. Unfortunately, most of the headlines about her revelation look a hell of a lot like this:

Which is fucked up because she specifically said, “I was never a man, never lived as a man” in her post and because talking about it isn’t an “admission” like it’s something she should feel guilty about.

Terrible People of the Week

  • Indonesia’s police force, which requires women who want to become police to undergo a “virginity test” that doesn’t actually prove whether they’ve had sex and is probably more to discourage women from signing up. (Along with being a virgin, female cops have to be unmarried and age 22 or younger. Some recruitment drive.)
  • House Republicans, for giving 20 of 21 committee chairs for the upcoming congressional session to men (and the one they gave to Rep. Candice Miller is the Committee on House Administration, which basically just keeps the House running smoothly and by one account is the second-least lucrative committee). And 19 of those men are white (Rep. Devin Nunes is Portuguese).
  • House Democrats, who are refusing to let Rep. Tammy Duckworth vote by proxy for the House Democratic Caucus leadership positions, because if they make an exception for her, everyone else will want accommodations too and they don’t want to deal with the hassle. Know why she can’t vote in person? She’s eight months pregnant and her doctor ordered her not to travel. Way to be the party that cares about working women, y’all.
  • Texas State Sen. Donna Campbell, for reintroducing a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ employees and customers (a nearly identical bill she sponsored in 2013 managed to freak out politicians on both sides of the aisle once they realized that broadly allowing anything in the guise of “religious liberty” could backfire spectacularly because different people have different religious beliefs).
  • Uber, for threatening a female journalist who criticized them.
  • The Uber driver who told a cancer patient she deserved to be sick, just because she’d cancelled a ride request one minute after making it because she realized she needed to run back into the hospital to grab her scarf.
  • Paul Elam (of A Voice for Men) and Tom Golden, the MRA douchebags who complained that women destroy workplaces because they come in with their vaginas and make men change the way they’ve always done things. Though their argument does raise some questions. Is the man-destroying power solely stored in the vagina? What about transwomen; are they more or less dangerous? And what about transmen’s vaginas; are they dangerous too?
  • Dean Esmay, another Voice for Men idiot, who said that no one wants to work for female bosses because they’re bitches, but it isn’t sexist to say so because women (supposedly) don’t want to work for women either.
  • Libertarians, for willfully denying that rape culture exists.
  • Nick Conrad, a BBC radio host, who said that men get so “whipped up into a bit of a storm” at the prospect of sex that it’s hard for them to stop if a woman tells them to, therefore women are partly to blame for rape.
  • Paul Chappell, a California pastor who compared women who have sex before marriage to “filthy dishrag[s].”
  • The Chicago hospital that accidentally miscoded the rape exam of one of their own sexual assault forensic nurses (which should have been covered by insurance or a state program for assault victims) and then kept sending her bills and threatened to report her to a collections agency and ruin her credit score.
  • The Los Angeles Unified School District, for arguing in court that a girl who was statutorily raped by a teacher several years ago when she was only 13 or 14 was mature enough to consent and that she was only suing the district for negligence because she wanted money.
  • Blue Cross, for refusing to cover the nearly $1 million hospital bill of one of their policyholders who unexpectedly gave birth more than three months prematurely while visiting Hawaii from Canada; they claim the mother had a pre-existing condition.
  • The Florida Dillard’s that put up a sign reading, “Dear Santa, This year please give me a big fat bank account and a slim body. Please don’t mix those two up like you did last year. Thanks.” in the girls’ department.
  • Cleuci de Oliveira and Jezebel, for saying Saartjie Baartman was “the original booty queen” and then going on to hideously misrepresent her story in a whole lot of racist ways.

Hahahahaha, after getting kicked out of Australia last week, Julien Blanc was denied entrance to the UK this week. Sucks to suck, broseph. And the timing was pretty much perfect.

BAMFs of the Week

  • Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, for trolling GamerGaters by asking them to write up a non-biased account of the movement that would actually meet Wikipedia’s site standards.
  • The Manhattan DA’s office, for pledging $35 million to the Joyful Heart Foundation’s End the Backlog program to process untested rape kits around the country.
  • Misty Copeland is playing the leads in Swan Lake with the Washington Ballet in April!!

A tip of the hat to Karl Stepanovic, the Australian morning show host who wore the same cheap suit almost every day for a year to see if anyone would notice and criticize him the way his female cohost got criticized over what she wore. (No one noticed.)

The MTA will launch a campaign in January to tell men to stop taking up extra seats for their balls while riding NYC’s subways.

Study Break

  • Half of the teenagers who commit suicide in El Salvador are pregnant at the time of their death. The nation has a total ban on abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest, two-thirds of reported rape victims are under the age of 18, pregnant teens are frequently ostracized, 11% of illegal abortions prove to be fatal, and those who survive face jail time if authorities find out (and even sometimes if they have miscarriages).
  • An unexpected side effect of Ebola fears in Sierra Leone is an anecdotal rise in teen pregnancies, either because there’s nothing else to do with schools closed or because they’re engaging in “transactional sex” for food or other favors.
  • The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network surveyed junior high and high school students in 29 states to see how they ranked so far as LGBT students experiencing harassment and assault. Alabama ranked worst for verbal harassment, with 87% of respondents saying they’d been taunted for their sexuality, but even in the best-rated state, Massachusetts, the number was 58%. Physical harassment rates were lower, but several states reached nearly 50%. Rates of physical assault ranged from 5% (Connecticut) to 28% (Alabama).
  • A study of Harvard Business School graduates found that it wasn’t necessarily having kids that held women back from advancing in their careers, but their husbands’ expectations that their careers were more important than their wives’.
  • A small survey of ten police officers in one police force uncovered that officers frequently assumed rape accusations were fake and tried to undermine the credibility of the victim if they thought they were unlikely to prove their case.
  • Very cool — how spaceflight affects men’s and women’s bodies differently.

Recommended Reading

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[E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

4 thoughts on “This Week in Misogyny”

  1. Bill Cosby is FINALLY getting his just reward after decades of his rape victims seeing him on talk shows, stand up routines, Cosby reruns, and generally adored by the viewing public. And the only reason this is news again is because a male stand up comedian brought it up. His behavior was common knowledge but nobody cared to stop it at any point over the last 30 years and I’m glad the right thing is finally being done, but I am so angry that it took so long.

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