Thursday, February 09, 2006

Pseudo-Scientific Hate Propaganda and "Women Drivers"

Warning: Contains Rant

Today a coworker sent me an email with funny pictures of bad drivers (like this one), entitled "Women Driver Olympics". I was quite astounded at this sort of mysogynistic "humour". Maybe I've been insulated by my enlightened urban surroundings. I had no idea that this was a common perspective.

I did a Google search for "women drivers" and found a few simply disgusting sites. There was a BBC article, about how women are worse drivers than men because they had less testosterone in the womb (which could be measured by the length of the ring finger.) What Century are we in that there is actual scientific funding going into this kind of pseudo-science?

I kept reading... I came across a site too vile to even link to (I don't want to give them any more power in Google). Copy and paste this into your browser:

This is sickening. Someone who came across this page might be fooled by all the stats, and pretty graphs, and think that indeed drunk men are better drivers than sober women, as they claim.

To be clear, I absolutely agree that driving is dangerous. I am an environmentalist that believes cars do far more harm than good. But it is crazy to attribute driving danger to women and not to high-speed 3000-lb machines.

Against my better judgement, (I'm too curious sometimes), I read on... Scary neo-Nazi stuff masquerading as a "father's rights" group. The mission of The Christian Party includes trying to rescind the right of women to vote (so as to stop women from promoting things like divorce rights or protecting themselves against rape), and exiling blacks and Jewish people. Wow. It is so sad and disturbing to me. And some of the platform of social conservatives and fundamentalists is simply a more toned-down version this sort of thing. That is scariest of all - it's not the fringes of society espousing many of these views (like the inferiority of different religions or cultures, of women, and of people of colour). And they are using pseudo-scientific "expert" opinions and statistics to make their points.

Paul Cameron is another one of these whackjobs, oft-cited by mainstream media, right wing preachers, and anti-gay activists. He has learned:
The more sensational a falsehood is about homosexuals, the more it will be repeated, and the more it's repeated, the less it matters whether or not it's true.

Among the "facts" (which are not - they are another example of truthiness) he likes to claim:

  • "The average life expectancy for a homosexual in the United States of America is 43 years of age."
  • "Children raised by homosexuals disproportionately experience emotional disturbance and sexual victimization"
  • Homosexuals are "10 to 20 times more likely than heterosexuals to molest children"
  • "17 percent [of gay people] eat human feces"

None of these "facts" are even close to being true, yet they are quoted and believed.
I feel sick.

At least This Article made me smile today. Read it - it is like a clean glass of fresh water after the putrid taste of hate.

More: Women's Rights, Car-free Movement, Racism, Religion, Gay Rights


Zafrod said...

RJ, that is one of the most vile sites I've ever seen. I'm not sure whether to congratulate you or curse you for pointing me there. =)

Did you see their "poll?" It's funny in that frightening, Fox News kind of way.

Every time you think we might be evolving, the monkeys come swinging out of their hate trees, throwing their fecal disinformation at us. [sigh]

Red Jenny said...

The Internet is both liberating, and scary! Mostly, I find those sort of thing incredibly sad. I actually used to know a former neo-nazi well, and learned a lot about the mind-set. Many of these people realize that there is something very wrong with the world, but the it is easier to target a straw man than to understand the slippery complexities of our social end economic reality. With scapegoat in mind, they can then channel their rage, hate, disillusionment towards something external, visible. There's also this incredible sense of alienation and need to belong, especially among youth, and many neo-nazi groups are almost tribal, like family in some way: Us against Them.

That reminds me, if you want to read a fun and interesting book about extremists, check out Them by Jon Ronson.

Anonymous said...

I am getting a kick out of the 17 percent of gay people eat human feces.....seriously where do these individuals get these statistics? Normally I laugh this stuff off, but the times are strange enough to allow this shit to thrive.