Maybe someone can help me understand the logic in this: P.Z. Myers disagrees with the message conveyed by a stupid meme on Reddit, and instead of ignoring or down-voting the post — or whatever it is people do on Reddit — he brings attention to it and even publishes the offending picture.
If you are offended by something posted on the Internet, why not just move on? Rather, Myers has effectively ensured that this piece of Internet trash will be further proliferated and cached online for years to come from his own site. That’s what I call a good feminist hard at work.
To save people who may come here from Myers’ site or elsewhere the trouble of wading through the comments below, let me clarify a few points. This particular post was a clusterfuck of unintended inconsistencies. I’ve already admitted that, and hell, if I had a do-over, I would have approached it differently. When you blog five years with no filter but your own mind, you might whiff a time or two, and I think it’s important when people call me out if something I write is beyond the pale in some way.
First, let me say that I appreciated Myers’ tone and the way he handled his response to this. Obviously, I routinely publish content with which I disagree for the expressed purpose of outlining what I feel is wrong with it. The intention of the post was, from my perspective as someone who does not adopt the feminist label, to highlight the fact that here was a feminist, Myers, dredging up an image that is probably best left in the bowels of Reddit. He could have just linked to it as I did or simply described it without the link.
The only thing that I question about what he said in response was the distinction he made between something that he views as merely “wrong” versus an offensive image. This, it seems to me, is splitting hairs. If he didn’t find that viewing the image caused a certain amount of displeasure, which is the definition of “offensive,” presumably he wouldn’t have written about it and used it as an example of how Reddit’s reputation is falling “deeper in the slime.” Folks often like to avoid the word “offensive,” claiming that they have thick skin and that little truly offends them, and while that may sound good on paper, that’s not always the case, even if we don’t like to admit it. I’m willing to concede that perhaps all this was erroneous thinking on my part in hindsight — and many of you have made your case — but this is why I bothered to mention Myers’ post in the first place. The delivery, as I’ve said before, left something to be desired.
As for my views on equal rights and feminism in general, I’ve written about this at length, and it most closely resembles John Stuart Mill (Read “The Subjection of Women“), and more recently, Noel Plum 99, although if Mill was alive today, I have my doubts that he would adopt the modern manifestation of feminism because it seems to embrace women’s rights, which is all well and good, but it often does so at the expense of the other half of the population, whereas Mill called for “perfect equality” with no favoritism one way or the other. Noel Plum described a view that I think is perfectly reasonable, that we should be working toward, not necessarily “equality of outcome,” but “equality of opportunity” between the sexes, wherein everyone has the same chance at success in life and everyone is treated as individuals.