A refutation to a silly meme that implies women’s worth is measured by their attractiveness to men

Since I still have another 26 days of my Facebook ban to go, I can’t write my usual commentary and shares there… which means, if I want to refute idiotic memes, I need to do so elsewhere. Why not here?

So yesterday I saw this dumb meme which went something like this:

Attention women: No man notices how long your eyelashes are.
So why bother?

Of course such a meme turned out to be rather divisive, with several women commenting (paraphrased), “It’s not for you; It’s for us”, and several people disagreeing… And one woman who even went so far as to disagree with all the other women to say that long eyelashes are indeed there to be attractive to men.

But I have seen this kind of argument used many times before, in religious apologetics of all places, so I’d like to address what the meme is really saying, in the form of a logical syllogism:

  1. Premise 1: Women’s worth is measured by their attractiveness to men. (Assumed.)
  2. Premise 2: Men don’t even notice women’s eyelash extensions.
  3. Conclusion: Women cannot increase their worth, which we conclude is based on their attractiveness to men.

But why did I write it like that? Well, because that’s what it’s really saying. It’s just like religious apologetics arguments, which almost always assume god exists, then have one or two premises, and conclude what we are not supposed to notice was actually assumed upfront. And just like with the poor arguments in apologetics, people responding don’t notice the upfront assumption, but respond to the premises without addressing that the conclusion was assumed upfront, which leaves them with the impression that it could indeed be true.

So let’s nip this in the bud, shall we? Such arguments are always fallacious because you can’t start with your conclusion (because it is begging the question, AKA circular reasoning). Even though it is only implied, it is treated as if it must be true. Yet nothing in the argument states any logical reason that women’s worth is measured by their attractiveness to men, just like nothing in the religious apologetics arguments give a reason the person assumes their god exists.

The meme is clever because it combines two very different things:

  • A “sort of” truth, in that men probably often don’t notice women’s eyelash extensions.
  • An assumption: That women’s value is measured by their attractiveness to men, which is absolute nonsense.

It’s clever in its attempt to trick you into conflating those two things. It’s also wrong.

Would you measure a man’s worth by how attractive he is to women?

You might think I’m reading too much into that statement, but I am not. It really is all about dismissing women in general as being silly because they do things like extend their eyelashes, while ignoring that any urge to do so may be for a number of reasons other than being attractive to men. It’s part of a broader problem where misogynistic views are widespread, and even women often propagate them, like some kind of internalized oppression.

In any case, men and women do notice long eyelashes, maybe not directly, but they do notice that something is different. I know this because I, a man, happen to have very long eyelashes. They annoy the fuck out of me when wearing glasses, because they often touch the lenses, which not only makes me uncomfortable, but also eventually damages the lenses, because years of lashes brushing against the glasses eventually scratches them. This is one of the reasons I prefer wearing contact lenses. And then people remark at how different I look. No glasses means you might actually notice my long eyelashes, and also, I can then “talk” with my eyes, by, for example, raising my eyebrows, narrowing my gaze, or widening my eyes, none of which people notice when I’m wearing glasses. You don’t see someone with (for example) long eyelashes and realize what you notice, but you do notice that there is something about them.

There’s a deplorable non profit organization called FORSA who are fighting for their right to discriminate against others, in the name of “freedom of religion”.

I kid you not. Taking the cue from deplorable white trash Americans like Kim Davis who became infamous for refusing to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples because of personal religious objections, these people, whose group stands for Freedom of Religion South Africa, are fighting for the same thing.

Here’s their Facebook page. Their main purpose seems to be opposing a civil union amendment bill which would not allow state employed civil servants to opt out of approving same sex unions. In other words, they believe that freedom of religion means that they can impose their homophobia, which they use religion to justify, on others. So they are fighting for the right to discriminate against others based on “religious” beliefs, exactly the opposite of what freedom of religion is actually about. And as such bigots always do, they are crying Christian persecution, playing the victim while they fight for the right to victimize others.

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Note the wording of their status above. They make it about themselves, as if their rights are being suppressed. (They aren’t.) Incidentally, I only managed two perfectly reasonable comments there before being blocked.

My second comment was a reply on my comment thread (My screenshot above was immediately after posting it and doesn’t show the reactions and replies), to clarify what this is, as I see it, to someone who claimed that asking them to approve such unions is the same as forcing a Muslim to serve bacon. (A false equivalence anyway. In reality, them refusing to do their jobs is more like Muslims and Jews forcing everyone not to eat bacon because their religions oppose it.)

Here’s the thing: Freedom of religion is about the freedom to practice your religion, and the same goes for all other religions or lack of religion. (Nobody is stopping these people from practicing Christianity.) It does not mean you can impose your beliefs on everyone else. Anyone refusing to do their job is committing a fireable offense. It is misconduct, and I know how I would handle such people. It’s quite simple: Final written warning the first time, and if they do it again, immediate termination of employment.

This is not new to South Africa. Under apartheid, I heard several Christians arguing that racial segregation was backed by the Bible. That’s what bigots do – they use their religion to justify their oppression, and they will find ways of reading their prejudices into their religious texts, regardless of which religion they practice.

There’s a bigger picture here… Emboldened by the openly fascist, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, tyrannical US president Donald Trump and the wave of white is right straight male evangelical Christian repugnance that he extolls, this flood of bigotry is spreading worldwide. Anti immigrant, anti feminist, anti black, anti LGBT… it’s everywhere.

My condolences to the USA.

There really isn’t much to say. Donald Trump has won the 2016 US presidential elections, and this says plenty about the whole world.

The US were world leaders… They put sanctions in place against this country, South Africa, in the era of apartheid. Now they have elected an obvious racist and misogynist (among other things) for president. The locals here who support Trump are the same people who believed in apartheid. Let that sink in.

How the fuck did this happen?

How is it that an email scandal could be falsely equated with the horror of Donald Trump? But I have seen this coming… Even in the atheist groups that I belong to, a wave of anti-immigrant hatred has been washing over everyone for a long time. This election result says more about the sentiments of the people who cast their votes than it does about the vile man they have elected.

Make no mistake though… America, you fucked up!

It’s OK to rape women? But not men because that would be gay and against God’s plan?

In this post, I will discuss homophobia and religion (and throw in a little misogyny too), as well as the moralistic fallacy.

Recently homophobia among religious conservatives has been especially popular, thanks to the law legalizing gay marriage in the US. But let’s look a little closer at the go-to Bible verse to justify hatred of LGBT people. Let’s examine the source:

Genesis 19:1-9

Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.” Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. “Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door.

So the crowd is gay because they want to rape the two male angels. But as for Lot, the righteous man who God saved, notice what he did? He offered the gay rapists his two virgin female daughters. (Yes, the word “female” is redundant here, but no more so than this ancient nonsense used to justify bigotry.)

So what is that nonsense actually saying? Don’t rape men (especially if they’re angels), rape girls, because women are inferior anyway. So it is OK to rape women, but raping men is a sin. Of course as a conservative Christian, you must totally ignore that Lot offered them women, because that messes with the whole gay hating agenda.

Later on, Lot’s wife looks back and is turned to a pillar of salt for opposing God’s will. So why did she turn back? Was she lusting for the gay rapists?

It should be pretty clear that to read this and come out with the idea that homosexuality is sinful, you have to ignore all the problems with the passage, some of which are:

  • Do gay male rapists like girls?
  • Women are inferior?
  • Rape of girls is OK?
  • Rape of men is not?
  • The “righteous” man offers his innocent daughters to be gang-raped, and no judgement is made on his morals?

In other words, to read that and conclude that homosexuality is wrong, you have to already believe it to be so. You read your preconceived idea that being gay should be condemned right into the passage and then use it to justify your prejudice, ignoring the glaring problems with the passage, even though they should be enough to conclude that the whole thing is bullshit. You don’t get your morals from your bible or your religion, you take the “morals” that you already have and impose them on your religion. This is the moralistic fallacy, the idea that morals come from God. If that were true, all religious cultures would have exactly the same morals. But they don’t.

In this case, the “morals” are quite despicable. You have to read those passages really selectively to use them to justify your homophobia. But the irony is that most Christians probably don’t read their own bible at all. They just accept that being gay is against God’s will. The best way to understand how nonsensical the bible is, is to read it.