Catherine Deveny Is Not Our Ally

A lot of Australian feminists, atheists and social justice people seem to think that Catherine Deveney is our ally. Somehow she has convinced them that she cares about social justice, and is in some way passionate about changing sexist cultural narratives around women and minorities. Well, she’s not. Frankly I have no idea what her motivations are or how she really feels about anything. But anyone who really cared about altering cultural narratives around women would never post this tweet:

I think I’m going to vomit. I see the quotation marks, so perhaps Catherine didn’t say this herself, but rather overheard it…and thought it so witty, so relevant, so erudite, that it just had to be shared with the people of twitter. That’s right, the whole “woman as semen receptacle” trope is apparently something Catherine Deveny finds worth repeating. If one were especially charitable one might hope that she was tweeting this comment to “call it out”…alas that she didn’t, you know, call it out. She appears to endorse it or think it’s funny or who knows what.

But, just in case you still thought Catherine Deveny might be your ally, check this out:

Nobody – let alone someone who appears to believe themselves a feminist – makes a goddamn rape joke on my watch without getting called the fuck out. Oh did you think this rape joke was okay because it references a MAN getting raped? Well it’s not fucking okay. The rape of men in prison is a serious issue, not the punchline in a joke.

Let me say this again, since it bears repeating: It’s never okay to make a rape joke. I don’t care who you think you are. I don’t care if you’re Gloria goddamn Steinem, anyone who makes a rape joke and appears unbothered by subsequent complaints about it is not our ally. In the social justice community, we do not take other people’s horrific experiences and turn them into one-liners for our own amusement. That’s what the other guys do. We stand against those who co-opt of the pain of marginalised groups, such as the victims of sexual assault and rape, for cheap laughs. Remember? Remember that, everyone?

Did I mention that Catherine Deveny is extremely sizeist and perpetuates negative, inaccurate and harmful stereotypes about fat people? Well she is and she does! Here’s an old tweet from April:

Shall we play fat hatred bingo with this? I think so. Let’s see now: Ignorant and incorrect assumptions about a person’s eating habits based on their body size? Check! Dismissing a person’s opinion because of their body size? Check! Treating fat people as the butt of a joke rather than actual human beings? Check! Pure, unprovoked, needless mean-spiritedness against a socioculturally marginalised group? BINGO.

This is bullying. Oh yes, pseudo-intellectual lefty atheists, I know you hate to think of yourselves as bullies. But if you pull shit like this, you’re a fucking bully and you know it. If this is your idea of a funny joke, you don’t have your sense of humor correctly installed. “Jokes” like this hurt real people – I’m one of the people this tweet hurt (in fact I am in recovery for an ED and when I saw this tweet I freaked out) and there are likely countless others. Jokes that ridicule marginalised groups and reinforce stigma-laden stereotypes and assumptions are tools of oppression. Furthermore, if you don’t understand the intersectionality between misogyny and fat hatred, you have some homework to do.

Catherine Deveny is actively dragging the social justice community down.  Heck, she could be the poster girl for how to pay lip service to feminism while actually undermining the damn movement. She needs to be called out for her behaviour. It’s already starting to happen on twitter, and not a moment too soon. We can’t let her get away with pretending to speak for us any longer.

Catherine Deveny is not our ally.

Fauxgress Watch: @InjusticeFacts

After the various Twitter accounts all claiming to “respect” women, the worst Twitter accounts are by far the ones vomiting wildly inaccurate and unresearched bullshit onto the internet, claiming to support social progress and justice through misinformation.

I can’t even begin to describe the utter crap InjusticeFacts tweets about. On top of spewing flat-out bullshit, it’s also misogynistfatphobic, sex worker shaming, offensively Western-centric, and that’s not even getting into the complex discussions about the causes of homelessness or how (and whether) to dispense foreign aid and charity to developing countries. Condense issues that people in the field have written long research papers and theses about into 140 characters? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

And who is the person behind the account; who is this collector and collator of “facts”? Why it’s you, of course! Well, not you, but any ignorant douchewad or conspiracy theorist or privileged fuckface who has an email address! Citations? Research? Evidence? Nonsense! Just write your “fact” in this WordPress moderated comment!

Y’all, I could get better and more accurate information on 4Chan.

But it’s not really InjusticeFacts that I’m angry at. I can find extreme amounts of bullshit on the internet in under 5 seconds if I wanted to look. Oh no, it’s the 67,000+ 81,000+ followers who retweet this shit.

I’m not saying that everything InjusticeFacts tweets is wrong, and probably some socially minded people submitted real statistics at one time. Some of their statistics on racial profiling by the criminal justice system even looks correct! What I am saying that a Twitter account that relies on practically anonymous submissions isn’t exactly the epitome of a reliable source. I did make up a submission that “80% of Americans cannot afford to buy milk” (I made that up on the spot by the way and it sadly goes unpublished thus far) in an attempt to prove they’ll publish anything, but turns out I really didn’t have to:

When Rupert Murdoch was a boy, he spied on his own mother by leaving recording devices in her room, today, he spies on everyone.

While in college Rupert Murdoch was a communist, then he developed a spying fetish and started a media empire to satisfy his fetish.

To be fair, Rupert and I aren’t best buds so I can’t be 100% sure the above tweets aren’t true. And yet I do question why these “facts” were never reported anywhere else, even on Wikileaks (who obviously stand for Truth and Freedom and are Completely Transparent All The Time).

The point I am make is that when a source of information is so consistently wrong in it’s statistical data or factual analysis, you should discount that source altogether. Clearly there is a credibility issue! Clearly when someone has expressed 100 illogical and wrong statements, then supported your opinion in 1 statement you haven’t verified, that should be treated with a horrified “Get the fuck off my side!” rather than a congratulatory “Even X believes this!” Because the supporting statement is probably wrong too.

I want people to support the social justice cause, but I don’t want them to support the cause on the basis of misinformation, especially misinformation that’s aimed at making clueless privileged people feel guilty. There’s plenty of actual facts clueless privileged people could feel guilty about, and then they wouldn’t be basing their opinions on misinformation that’s probably more likely to harm marginalised communities than help. Retweeting InjusticeFacts is a “activism” in the same way that “raising awareness” is activism (pat yourself on the back for attending a concert, you’ve done your part now!). Except it’s even worse because you’re raising awareness based what’s likely to be completely falsified data. Actual injustices in the world is not enough, you have to make shit up!

Every time I see someone retweet InjusticeFacts seriously on Twitter, I am instinctively repelled by anything they have to say afterwards. If you are so uncritical as to believe InjusticeFacts, then I don’t know how much of your opinion relies on COMPLETE FABRICATIONS. If your opinion is based on real evidence, then go find a study or a paper and link me to it. Hey, even an eloquently argued blog post would do! I am open to discussion, I just don’t think it’s likely that the USA has imprisoned the most people in all of history.

Don’t even get me started on holier-than-thou, privileged, back-patting accounts like ActivismTips and _Capitalism_ who rely purely on emotionally charged language to oversimplify complex matters, and seem to revel in their own ignorance.

None of you are helping, SO GET THE FUCK OFF MY SIDE.