Bidisha Bashing Special

These are not nice words, in case you're a fucking numbskull who didn't realise that already

So I read quite an accidentally brilliant article in the G2 section of the Guardian the other day (here it is: www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/sep/03/sexist-language-bidisha) which I thought I’d dissect. Basically, in case you can’t be arsed to read all 1,069 words of lunacy yourself, it’s about a pyramid full of misogynistic words that they’ve put up on a website campaigning for sexual equality in the media (here: www.nameitchangeit.org/pages/name-it/), the purpose of which remains slightly unclear. All this misogyny works the writer up into a bit of a state, and by the end she is fantasising about some sort of glorious cleansing of the Earth from anyone who has ever uttered a single bad word about a woman ever, or even complimented her hair.

The writer, Bidisha, seems to have a bee in her bonnet (probably a phrase she objects to on a number of different levels) about all this misogyny, judging by the titles of the other articles she has written recently in the Guardian, which include, but are by no means limited to, ‘Women’s mass awakening’, ‘Why the Sex and the City 2 reviews were misogynistic’, ‘Bidisha: I’m tired of being the token woman’, and most hilariously of all, ‘Stand by your man? Hell no’, which sadly lacks an exclamation mark but I think you get the gist. Now, obviously sexism is bad, but I find myself questioning how she can seemingly make a career out of simply finding misogyny in everything that ever happened ever. Just what’s the point? Just giving endless examples of sexism isn’t raising awareness of it, it’s pointing out the obvious over and over again. Except that poor Bidisha’s gotten so fucking obsessed by it that she can’t seem to distinguish between actual sexism and an individual being insulted because of their own personal traits, as we shall soon see.

Where do I even begin with this mindfuck of an article? Well, I guess at the start. The introduction to the article reads “From slut to sweetheart to skank, sexist language is on the rise”. Is it? Or is this an absolutely fucking ludicrous statement to make – who’s measuring this apparent rise? Since when are any of those words new, and where’s this magic gauge that’s telling us how often they’re being used? Already this is fucking angering me and we haven’t even reached Bidisha’s nice hypocritical opener. So let’s go there now. After she explains what this whole pyramid thing is (but obviously not what the point of it is, since there clearly isn’t one), she goes on to say how all the misogynist phrases in it have made her,

“impressed by men’s creativity, tenacity, complexity, sincerity and commitment for the very first time”

Um, sorry Bidisha, really? Setting aside the fact that the double standards at play here are just ridonkulous, let’s just think about that for a minute. So, Plato’s creativity wasn’t enough to impress you then? Ok then, how about Einstein’s complexity? Nope? Hmm… How about the commitment of all those Allied soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy? No, still nothing? Martin Luther King Jr’s sincerity? Damn, you are a hard nut to crack! (And I don’t mean that with any fucking Freudian rapey fucking undertones either, though she would probably automatically assume I did and demand my execution for daring to utter such a phrase). Oh, what’s that Bidisha, an arbitrary list of insults is the first and, at your current rate, I’m assuming only, thing that has ever impressed you about men? Ok you fucking nutjob. (Wow, I’m going nut crazy here).

Next week, Bidisha brings us her unique feminist interpretation of ratemypoo.com

As if all this hypocrisy wasn’t enough, the article is peppered with this whole weird fecal undercurrent. I dunno if she gets off on this stuff or what, but my two-bit Freudian analysis says she’s still pretty got-damn fixated with the anal stage. Like the ‘reeking sewage system of sexist sideswipes’. Or her charming comparison between the Pyramid and ‘a square of shit-soaked toilet paper’ (because they’re both repositories for ‘so much nasty matter’, obviously). Just can’t wait til her article next week about the massive Cleveland Steamer that is unequal pay.

OK, insanity and hypocrisy over. Oh wait, no, it’s only just beginning. Because, thanks to her bordering-on-Aspergic inability to differentiate between sexism and personal slurs, she makes some pretty fucking ridiculous accusations. First of all, she claims that the words cold, difficult, and bossy are implicitly sexist. As is any comment on a woman’s appearance; even though, from my limited knowledge of women, I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to go fucking ape-shit if they make a load of effort getting dressed up and their boyfriend doesn’t compliment them. Though I do understand that Bidisha would probably rather women didn’t bother getting themselves all dolled up to please their oppressive patriarchal overlords or whatever.

"How my hair look, Mike?" - Even Snoop, who can only barely be described as female, makes damn sure she gets complimented*

Furthermore, apparently calling a woman selfish is nothing more than code for “shut up, woman”. Yes, the two are literally interchangeable. So fellas, next time “any woman… dares to get angry and, instead of letting the insults sink deep, asks the perpetrator what the hell they think they’re doing”, make sure you call them selfish, and they’ll know to shut up, according to the increasingly out-of-touch-with-reality Bidisha.

Bidisha gets papped on one of her infamous jogs

Anything else you find disproportionately insulting, Bidisha? Oh, of course, ‘the hisses (?) of… “That’s nice” whenever [you] go jogging”. Yeah, how fucking dare they! Those bastard MEN! Observing the rules of polite society and passing the world’s most harmless remark when you mention that you jog, what nerve! I’d apologise on behalf of my gender but you’d almost certainly find a way to take it as an insult, seeing as you clearly have such a fucking knack for it. Literally how can you say a single thing to her without being accused of sexism? I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive in writing this article for fear of being labelled a misogynist wanker, but then clearly everything I say in the course of my daily life is enough to have me shot by her ‘beams of feminist rage’, so in for a penny in for a pound I spose – what a slut!

Ah yes, and talking of these fem-beams, yeah, what the fuck is this final paragraph about? I mean we’ve pretty much proven you’re insane already but this really takes the cake. Let’s just see this badboy in its entirety quickly, shall we?

“I want a 3D glow-in-the-dark dodecahedron, a planet-sized Matrix of Misogyny, a Trillion-Faceted Dynamo of Jet Black Turbo Hate. Then I’d heave it aloft and hurl it into the sun, where it would set off a massive chain reaction and shoot out sky-scraping beams of feminist rage which kill anyone, male or female, who’s ever used those words, wiping out (I’d say) 90% of human society, but leaving the non-woman-haters behind. Then we could all relax and be happy.”

Holy fucking shit, just so much insanity in one little paragraph. Ok, first of all, you say 90% of society. But if these beams are killing anyone who has ever called a woman bossy, selfish, difficult, cold, told her it was nice that she went jogging, or complimented her hair is gonna get killed, i’m pretty sure 10% is a wild overstatement of how many people are going to be surviving this little femocide of hers. I’ve gotta be honest, I’m picturing nothing but a world of marauding toddlers who haven’t learned to speak yet. But maybe even that’s optimistic, I mean, aren’t these the same toddlers who literally drain the fluid from their poor brave mothers’ bosoms with their awful vampiric gums like little woman-hating bloodsuckers? Yeah, they’re probably for it too. Looks like Bidisha’s on her own I’m afraid.

But hold on a minute, we’ve ignored one quite crucial aspect of her fantasy here. Namely the total fucking batshit lunacy of it. I mean, is this not evidence of severe mental instability? It sounds eerily Final Solutiony for my liking. I mean, surely even really awful misogynists don’t deserve to be wiped out by giant sky-scraping beams of anger? Is anyone else a little scared by this fucking Columbine mentality she’s got going on here? So a few bellends call her names and she fantasises about literally having them all murdered? I think overreaction is her middle name. Or it would be if she actually had a fucking last name to sandwich it in. I mean, who does she think she is? Cher? Madonna? Because last time I checked they were not women to be idolised. Has she cut her surname in some sort of stand against female oppression because it was her father’s? We can only speculate, but after the two million other counts of total insanity evident in this article, I wouldn’t put it past her.

Also (yeah, there’s even more), what the fuck is her point, or the point of the pyramid? She seems to contradict herself a lot on this issue. Apparently, ‘The Pyramid is a symbol, a resource, a focal point, a concentration of their hate and anger’. First of all, isn’t a pyramid a pretty fucking phallic symbol for a bunch of feminists? No, but seriously, OK so it’s a symbol of misogyny, got it. Useful in any way? Not really, but fine. What about as a resource? Sorry, who’s using this as a resource exactly? Are there just hordes of women flocking to this pyramid to check whether or not they should construe something a male colleague has said to them as sexist? Because if a guy calls you a feminazi, I’m pretty sure that doesn’t need checking. And if you’re not sure whether or not they’re being sexist when they say something like, “You’re bossy”, then I can stop you right here. They’re not. You’re just being bossy.

Please don't eat me

By her own admission, she has ‘qualms‘ about all this ‘online activism’. She essentially realises it’s totally fucking pointless. Or, as she puts it, “while we feel better afterwards, we have not changed anything”. In fact, I’m a tiny bit concerned myself that it’s actually going further than doing nothing, it’s actually totally counterproductive. ‘Cos apparently it’s a focal point and a concentration of their hate and anger. But unfortunately she herself has highlighted the flaw here – “Misogynists… are not afraid of us. They enjoy the sight of our anger and frustration.” Kind of playing right into the sexists’ hands then, no? Of course, she is wrong about one thing – if I were a misogynist (an actual misogynist, not a misogynist by her insane criteria) I would be fucking terrified of Bidisha.

*Obligatory Wire Reference

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    • JB
    • September 6th, 2010

    What a shrill, bossy milf.

    My favourite bit is definitely the ‘Matrix of Misogyny’, which she describes in the rapid-fire excited tones of a toy advert. 3D Glow-in-the-dark dodecahedron! Jet Black Turbo Hate! Trillion-faceted dynamo!!!

    Although it’s going to confuse the kids a little – if it’s a dodecahedron it should only have 12 facets, surely. It’s jet black and yet it glows in the dark, which is weird. It’s a dynamo so I guess it generates electricity, which is cool, but is it necessary to describe an object as 3D? Aren’t they all? Anyway it still sounds great, I’ll get it as a Christmas present for one of my cousins

    • iamreallygreat
    • September 6th, 2010

    She sounds like a bitch.

    • hannah
    • September 7th, 2010

    um, isn’t bidisha being ironic in the last paragraph? Surely the whole point is her making a facetious comment to show how ingrained our tendencies in language are – like for example in romance languages where the masculine pronoun takes precedence – obviously it would be stupid to think everyone speaking those languages is just really misogynistic, but the trends themselves point to a long-held deeply entrenched view of male as norm and female as other. So she’s not bent on obliterating 90% of the world but rather lamenting the fact that patriarchal values have become so embedded in language that it’s virtually impossible to avoid them, no matter how liberal and evolved and in favour of equality etc we might be.

    see this comment on the guardian website:

    ‘I’m glad that in Bidisha’s final paragraph she acknowledges, hopefully jokingly, that to rid the world of any form of sex-specific language would rid the world of, well… most of the world.’

      • JB
      • September 10th, 2010

      I disagree. Her complaint is not directed at inbuilt linguistic prejudice, but rather at the words men use (and some traitorous women-hating women I suppose) to explicitly denigrate women. She’s not talking about anything ’embedded in language’, like masculine pronouns or words like ‘chairman’, she’s talking about slang, which is right on the surface. Her problem is with words which absolutely CAN be avoided – I could certainly cope without using adjectives like slut or bossy, despite my language’s ‘patriarchal values’.

      The last paragraph is not ironic, or deliberately facetious – it’s just hyperbolic, rather childish venting (oh those MEN make me SO MAD, I’m gonna KILL THEM!!), which that Guardian commenter realises. He’s saying that she gets worked up over language which is to a large extent trivial, and all she’s saying is that it really pisses her off.

        • JB
        • September 10th, 2010

        On another note, good work commenting because we need more of those.

    • hannah
    • September 11th, 2010

    I realise she isn’t riling against masculine pronouns and other such linguistic conventions in this article; I was using that purely as an illustration of the fact that the language is tendentious and not just a transparent vehicle for what we’re trying to say – and so regardless of how civilised and evolved and generally PC someone might seem to be, the words they use can perpetuate some really unpalatable views.

    Yeah, I get it, her issue is with slang, but think about generic terms like sweetheart, love, darling, doll – completely innocuous and unobjectionable on the surface. As much as you can say these terms are used in non gender specific ways a lot of time, there are so many situations in which they really are loaded terms. A bus driver saying thanks love to a girl getting on the bus, when he’d address a boy as mate – no matter how forward-thinking and women’s-lib-supporting this man might be, it’s difficult to shake off the impression that ‘mate’ is what you call an equal, and ‘love’ is, well, someone pretty and sweet and child-like.

    I feel like we’re discussing two different paragraphs here – I certainly didn’t detect any childish ‘Oh those naughty men!’ sentiment. And if you look at it, she does in fact refer to ‘anyone, male or female, who’s ever used those words’, and talks about wiping out ‘90% of human society.’ If you’re going to accuse her of anything, I think that’s got to be closer to a more general misanthropy than a straightforward case of man-hating.

    As for irony, I’ve got to say, reading that Bidisha is planning a ‘3D glow-in-the-dark dodecahedron, a planet-sized Matrix of Misogyny, a Trillion-Faceted Dynamo’, my first thought wasn’t ‘oh, yeah, THAT sounds like a serious plan of action, I’m sure she’s just nipped straight down to the Guardian stock cupboard where they keep them in the drawers next to the filing cabinet.’ But then maybe I’m missing something.

    You’re very welcome for the comment – are you trying to promote it to a wider audience then?

      • JB
      • September 12th, 2010

      I really don’t understand how the last paragraph is ironic. It continues to make the same point as the rest of the article (i.e. everyone is really sexist all the time and it pisses me off), only more so. It’s hyperbole. I don’t think she’s actually about to build a ‘misogyny matrix’, but it can’t be an ironic suggestion because that would imply she changed her mind and started parodying herself or something. The commenter on the Guardian website you approvingly quoted, someone called insomniac506, disagrees entirely with Bidisha. It’s a great comment actually, pretty much sums up my opinion of her article.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/7550045

      • JB
      • September 12th, 2010

      oh and yes, of couse we’d like it to have as wide an audience as possible. it’s nicer to look at an article with a stream of comments beneath it

    • hannah
    • September 12th, 2010

    i meant to say simply ‘that language is tendentious’ in the first sentence, don’t know how that ‘the’ slipped in

    • Alex James
    • July 6th, 2011

    I came across this article and am absolutely stunned by its contents. I am no feminist, and have never had any feminist inclination, but Bidisha’s article rang very true.
    She puts forward an extremely good argument and you, I’m afraid, are an absolute idiot for interpreting it as you did. It’s embarrassing!!

  1. Oh dear, what a shame. Who’d have thought that the bass player from Blur would be such a moron? Hilarious title by the way, keep it up Jerk Circle!

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