Sexism, Bullying, And Patriachy

sex·ism
noun \ˈsek-ˌsi-zəm\
Definition of SEXISM
1: prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially :discrimination against women
2: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

sex·istadjective or noun

3bully
verb
bul·lied bul·ly·ing
Definition of BULLY
transitive verb
1: to treat abusively
2: to affect by means of force or coercion
intransitive verb
: to use browbeating language or behavior : bluster

pa·tri·ar·chy
noun \-ˌär-kē\
plural pa·tri·ar·chies
Definition of PATRIARCHY
1: social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line;broadly : control by men of a disproportionately large share of power
2: a society or institution organized according to the principles or practices of patriarchy

For a movement that exists primarily to remove the oppression and subjugation of a species who are not able to defend themselves, you could be forgiven for thinking that the vegan/animal rights movement itself was at the forefront of equality and respect for all.

Except, this is not the case, and in general, bullying, sexism, and a patriachial attitude is just as rife within the movement as there is in other sections of society. Sadly, a majority of the times it is overlooked or ignored. To make matter worse, most of these comments come from those who couldn’t possibly be sexist/bully/patriarchal.

And yet, when this behaviour is pointed out to those who perpetrate it, they claim they didn’t mean it the way that their comment was received. Then behaving as a bully and suppressing any discussion that focuses on their behaviour. Other ‘observers’ are either too scared to speak out, lest they become targets of the bully themselves, or believing that this person wouldn’t make sexist comments, refuse to ‘see’ the ‘problem’ in their statements.

One such example is a recent thread started by an individual in a vegan facebook group. The thread was allegedly supposed to highlight the difference between ‘strategic’ and ‘blatant’ promotion of veganism. Except that the creator decided to use an irrelevant analogy to promote this. His version of blatant was going to a nightclub and approaching females with the ‘blatant message’ of wanting to take them home for the night. He claimed that as this approach would have a 99% failure rate that it was proof that blatantly promoting veganism would also result in a similar failure rate.

Despite the obviously sexist and inappropriateness of this analogy, few people chose to call him out on the thread being inappropriate. I guess that the others either chose to ignore it, didn’t see how it was sexist, or were actually hesitant to do so incase they themselves became the target of this bully and his cohort.

Now speaking of his cohort, this is an individual who claims that everyone else, apart from himself ‘doing it’ for their own ego, whilst he is ‘doing it for the animals’. He likes to highlight his importance to veganism in this country and overseas by mentioning the groups he is an admin of, and that he has a number of international contacts. Yet as soon as he is questioned about his behaviour or the language that he uses he either shuts down the thread by saying that any further comment will result in being booted from the group, as happened to me, or he just ignores it. Then claiming that he doesn’t have time to have a look at every comment in every group on facebook. If this is the case, why start so many up in the first place? Mind you I have a feeling that it could be because those who do tend to challenge him are not members of Mensa, as as such possibly not deemed worthy enough to address such an important individual.

Now speaking of worthiness and important individuals, it brings me to two individuals who over estimate their own importance to the movement.

Gary Francione and Roger Yates.

Dear Dr Yates recently had a bit of a vicious rant about Tim Geir which you can read here, while it lasts. In Roger’s latest tirade against Tim and ARZone, any attempt to get a question answered by him is met with yet another venomous spray about Tim’s ability, something he said, or even something that Roger thinks Tim said. Sadly as Roger himself admitted, he doesn’t understand anything that Tim writes, so it baffles me as to why he would continually make a comment abut it, or that other people haven’t called him on it.

As I mentioned in a comment that I made to Roger, it appears Tim has to bear the brunt of his attacks because he has attained the lowly status of a Bachelor degree. Something that deems him worthy of ridicule when compared to someone who has a PhD. With poor little old me, who is only high school educated, left to be ignored once again.

Oh woe is me…

Now I would love to say I have saved the best for last, except this is not the case with the Professor himself, the esteemed Gary Francione.

It seems that Gary and his F Troop are having a jolly old time dismissing the latest piece by Dr Melanie Joy about the carnist ideology. As Gary’s minions will only regurgitate the stuff that has come from the ‘guru’ himself, they all seem to have missed the point of what Dr Joy’s work.

I will be the first to admit when I became aware of a discussion about the carnist ideology, I was more than a tad put back by it, believing that it w just something that non-vegans could use to justify their position. That was until I actually took the time to read up and find out more about it. Maybe that is one of the benefits of a high school education, I know that I don’t know it all. It could also point to something else too, that law professors should stick to commenting on law, and leave the sociology and psychology stuff to those who teach it.

Whilst I do have a bit to say about the professor, I believe that this post sums it up perfectly. Sexism in the Animal Rights Movement: Gary L. Fancione

Both Gary and Roger, whilst in their self-imposed position of power, are quick to remove any comments that are seen to be questioning their motives or even asking why they have a particular agenda. Any dissenting comments are quickly censored and the poster restricted from making an further comment.

[GARD]Now here’s the deal folks, as a movement, none of us can allow this sort of behaviour to remain hidden. The longer that people don’t talk about it, the more entrenched it becomes and the harder it will be to stamp out when the time does come.

And here is a question. How many readers were quick to dismiss me as sexist and whatever because of the post I wrote titled Strip Clubs, Veganism, and Baby Steps. without taking the time to read or understand what I was writing about?

5 thoughts on “Sexism, Bullying, And Patriachy”

  1. Hi Cam,

    As I think Dr. Joy has mentioned in one of her ARZone podcast interviews, vegans are humans too so it’s not at all surprising that the animal rights movement succumbs to sexism, bullying, adherence to dogma, anti-intellectualism and all the rest. We’re no more immune from what makes us human than are any other number of people, even if we think that being vegan makes us so. I do think that vegans open themselves to criticism on this score, more so than others do, because vegans love to go on about “moral imperatives”, “moral baselines”, and “cruelty-free” living. Setting oneself up as paragons of ethical behavior does make one an easy target when one’s obvious human frailties inevitably break through the facade…..

  2. I’d like to say that I think the best thing we can do is distance ourselves from these petty environments. Like the Facebook group you mention. We waste so much time there. Time that could better be spent campaigning or writing long-pieces like this, which are much more likely to be read entirely and critically, than pithy Facebook statuses that are usually hijacked by ignoramuses. On the other hand, we probably oughtn’t shut off entire channels where some of an impact is likely to be made.

  3. Thanks for raising this very serious subject, Cam. While the majority of those who claim to be part of the animal advocacy community continue to overlook the “flaws” and “oops, I didn’t mean to”s of those who perpetuate the oppression and bullying that we should be fighting against, nothing will change. While we continue to make excuses for those who deem it appropriate to manipulate and dominate others, in the pursuit of their own causes, we can’t expect to be taken seriously as a social justice movement opposed to the oppression, subjugation and dominance over others.

  4. “How many readers were quick to dismiss me as sexist and whatever because of the post I wrote titled Strip Clubs, Veganism, and Baby Steps. ”

    I found this an interesting article but I find the attitude of the author worrying at this point. Did readers make accusations of sexism because they didn’t read or understand the post or did they have genuine concerns about the nature of the analogy used? And why the flippant tone – ‘sexist and whatever’?

    While I don’t think the post was sexist, even though it contained sexism for illustrative purposes, I think it is important not to take such criticism lightly and not to ‘straw-person’ the opposition by suggesting they just didn’t understand.

    • Thank you for your comment Liz.

      Adding the ‘whatever’ in the question that I asked was not meant to be flippant in any way. It was used to ‘cover’ any other accusations that people may have had by thinking that I went to a strip club, and wrote about it.

      The more time that a person is involved in discussions on forums and Facebook groups, the quicker they discover that disturbingly there is a growing number of people who ‘have a quick skim’ of an article, and claim that they understand and ‘know’ what the author is saying, then proceed to misrepresent what they have read.

      I also referenced the previous post I wrote because I am sure there those who are not ‘fans’ of mine that would jump at the chance to ‘discredit’ me because of what I wrote. It is also possible that these same people would be likely to overlook the sexist analogy mentioned in the article by saying that “he isn’t like that” or “he didn’t mean it that way”.

What are your thoughts?

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