05 April 2012

'Funny' Things That Are Not Funny

Every now and again, I come across a picture/meme on the internet that people have posted because they think it is funny. They might even admit that the picture is a bit sexist, or discriminatory, but in a harmless way. I don't think there is really such a thing as 'harmless discrimination'. Everything we see makes a small impact on how we perceive the world. I'm going to break down a few of them (on several different targets) to get you started, but I think that everyone should try and think about what a picture says about their worldview before they post memes like these. There are plenty of genuinely funny memes to love and share; I'll even post a few examples at the end.

This is not funny. It is insulting to women. Aside from the glaring generalizations and derogatory terms, it implies that the only 'girl' worth dating is hot, smart and nice, and that if she isn't all three of those things, she is defective in some way. The 'only dates assholes' part is either using a different definition of smart than I am familiar with, or is written by a guy who thinks all other guys are assholes because women won't date him (see  'nice guys' who aren't nice). In this view, any woman who isn't 'hot' is ugly, which cuts out a large number of very pleasant looking women. In this view, women are either smart or idiots, nice or annoying, with no middle ground that accounts for an actual human personality. Whoever drew this up and whoever thinks it's true obviously sees women as nearly two dimensional objects created only for their own gratification. Not funny.

03 April 2012

When Religious Freedom Isn't, part II

The last  post I wrote on the topic of some people's egocentric views on religious freedom focused mostly on how women's rights are being stripped away by religious nutbars in America. I feel it is time to address the concept of religious freedom in a wider context. Although I do not hold any religious beliefs myself, I support people's rights to believe in whatever they want; it's called freedom for a reason. What I do not, and cannot, support, is the idea that believing in a religion should afford you the right to impose your beliefs, religious morality or dogmatic rules on others. I think that using the notion of religious freedom as a 'get out of jail free' card for persecuting others is not only reprehensible and illegal, it is the worst form of hypocrisy. Religious freedom means that you and everybody else on the planet get to believe, or not believe, in anything they want, as long as they don't push it on others or break the law. Period. Everybody.

I'm not sure why this is such a hard concept to grasp, but apparently some people are stupid. Some people like these religious extremists in Kansas, who are trying to pass a bill which actively supports people's rights to discriminate, if it comes from a 'religious belief'. It is summed up nicely by this phrase:
"According to this bill, not only would municipalities be inhibited from protecting against anti-LGBT discrimination, but those who do discriminate would become protected and entitled to do so."
This is so wrong, I don't even know where to begin. A) Discrimination should not be 'allowable' under any circumstance. B) Discrimination should not be condoned, let alone supported by a government, especially one that claims everyone is equal. C) This is in no way, shape or form classifiable as 'religious freedom'; it is theocratic oppression, plain and simple. Let's move on.

Other stupid people include this radical religious group filmed in Luton, U.K., who seem to believe that several things are violating their religious rights, and don't seem to notice, care, or acknowledge that what they want would violate other people's rights. Participants in the 'protest' are universally unwilling to open up a