Don't care if the woman is crazy, dishonest, abusive or whatever. It's still not OK to resort to misogynist slurs to describe her. Because misogyny as an issue is over-arching, spans other politics, is intersectional in the worst way.

Sometimes the only way to explain misogyny is in terms of racism, at least for some people who have figured out that racism is not OK but are still working on the misogyny part...

I personally don't have a lot of time for Condoleeza Rice or Clarence Thomas. I could make a number of criticisms of their behaviour and their positioning as allies (or tools) of a largely white supremacist Republican political machine. I could go on at length about the kind of person who has an oil tanker named after her, or the kind of man who harasses his female staff and subordinates, and why I think they should not hold powerful positions in government. But under no circumstances no matter how much I dislike them, is it appropriate for me to start throwing the N-word around or insinuate that their character flaws are somehow due to their race or colour; nor is it appropriate (as some folks did a while back) to "critique" Rice based on her height or facial features not being "womanly".

Fast forward to Giuliani's famous "witness" (Carone) who did not make a good impression in court; she did sound like she might be intoxicated, she was rude and interruptive, she did sound like a textbook fantasist and attention-seeker. But that is not sufficient grounds to call her "that drunken b*tch" or say she "looked like a sl*t" or was "too old and ugly for that outfit" and so on. Those slurs (which I've heard used live as well as online) are directed at her femaleness and not at her performance as a witness. And it's just not acceptable.

For a start it's lazy. To dismiss someone you don't like on grounds of their gender or race, rather than taking the time to sort out exactly why their behaviour has offended you, is sloppy and lazy. But more than that; it grants a special dispensation to indulge in bigotry by "saving it" for "people who deserve it" -- i.e. give the bigot a license to revel in a bit of hate speech and keep all their pet biases alive, while still pretending to be some kind of woke.

Gou may be an amoral egomaniac for all I know, but hammering on gender hate speech and weary sexist tropes does nothing to illuminate her character. It only demonstrates the persistence of misogyny in those trying to claim the moral high ground. And using misogyny or homophobia or racism to slam people you don't approve of (even for good reasons) simply loses the moral high ground.

Back in the schoolyard arguments used to degrade into generic hostilities like "you're ugly and your mama dresses you funny," and these uses of hate speech to express what should be political or ethical critique take us right back there. But we're grownups now, allegedly; and if we think someone's done wrong we can say so effectively and clearly, without doing wrong ourselves by reaching for cheap slurs that scratch that good ol' human hate-itch.

Retired; ex-software engineer. Paleo-feminist. Sailor. Arduino tinkerer. Enviro. Libertarian Socialist (Anarcho-Syndicalist, kinda). Writer. Altermondialiste.

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