RELEVANT CRITICISM

Two quick anecdotes:

1. One of my friends has been highly visible in the local news coverage of the Texas abortion bill protests. Predictably, this has resulted in strangers sending her messages ranging from supportive to…less supportive. Here's one she shared with her friends:

I support the bill. The only time I support abortion is in case if incest, rape or the mother's life is in danger. For those women who goes out have sex knowing that there's a possibility that they might end of pregnant, they should not be allowed to have an abortion, period. If possible, could you please stay off television? Being fat, you are really nauseating to look at.

Priscilla Reyes
West El Paso, TX

Can't really criticize an unknown woman on the internet without making some sort of crack about her appearance, right? That happens to all of the fat, jowly men that find their way onto the news too, right?

2. Or if that's too hard you can always just call her a whore!

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34 Responses to “RELEVANT CRITICISM”

  1. J. Dryden Says:

    (Puts on College Professor uniform–it's mostly tweed and khakis–gets out red pen, and offers editorial comments.)

    Ms. Reyes–

    While I've (sadly) no doubt as to the sincerity of your convictions, your indictment of the individual with whom you disagree is unacceptable for consideration as a serious expression of personal ideals in a public forum.

    While your initial caveat lends a much-appreciated sense of moderation to an otherwise polemic attitude, your follow-up scenario of women "going out knowing" of the risk of pregnancy simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny. You are attempting, clearly, to link sexual promiscuity with unwanted pregnancy, but I regret to inform you that such pregnancies occur within stable marriages and relationships, and that, thanks to the abysmal education young women receive as to the function of their own bodies (and the equally abysmal education young men receive as to the function of theirs), your assumption of foreknowledge on the part of either party is quite simply unsubstantiated and must be discounted as a convenient hypothetical.

    As to your request that the addressee limit her appearances due to her weight, let me add my support for my colleague's recommendation that you consider the appearances of those with whom you agree, and whether you are applying the same standard to them. Let me further ask whether you, at any point in your life, have been made to feel as if your opinion was worth less because of your appearance, and whether or not you might be engaging in hypocrisy in ignoring the pain you felt at that time.

    Also, if ever there were a place in which the subtext of "You are overweight, therefore your opinion is invalid," is the epitome of cutting one's nose off to spite one's face, surely it is contemporary Texas.

    Finally, if you are going to be ad hominem in your attempted take-downs, please be sure to proof-read your slurs; misspellings give the appearance of ignorance, which you do not want to indicate is the source of your opinions.

    As it stands, this is not passing-level work. Please revise substantially, assuming you wish to be taken seriously. If not, enjoy being a ugly-souled assclown.

    Please do not see me in office hours.

  2. Quaestor Says:

    Hey! At least she used "there's" correctly.

  3. Quaestor Says:

    Heck, at least she used "there's" correctly.

  4. Dr. Mac Says:

    When I was little, my mother would get drunk and scream "I should have had an abortion!" Obviously, this undermined my confidence as a young man. I later moved to Connecticut where I ……..

  5. xynzee Says:

    I'm impressed that she put her name to that.

  6. Elle Says:

    I must have read those words ten thousand times, but it just struck me this morning how weird it is to have an incest exception.

    Obviously, being knocked up by your father/brother as a teenager will fall square under the rubric of rape most of the time, so what it is for? Is it for those cases where you're separated at birth and then fall in love with your long-lost brother and move to Akron so no one can uncover your shame?

    Is it for those women who are freshly emerged from an Austrian basement? Surely being chained to a wall slides your experience back over to rape in that case too?

    Rape and incest exceptions are entirely bogus in any case, but I'd love to know what the thinking is.

  7. Arslan Says:

    This clearly demonstrates why anti-abortion attitudes are not necessarily linked to religious beliefs, but rather the resentment which fuels American politics. People like to assume that abortion is linked to promiscuity, and that pregnancy should be the proper "punishment" for those "other people" having fun while everyone else is supposedly working hard.

  8. Sarah Says:

    Women get called whores, cunts, bitches et cetera on the Internet regularly. In addition to this they get rape and death threats for having the temerity to say things like, dudes should maybe refrain from propositioning women on elevators at 4 AM. And women will also get nasty, hateful comments regarding their appearance as well (to be precise, men do too, but not to the degree that women experience this). At least one woman who blogs on misogyny has pointed out that to be a woman on the Internet is to be subject to this kind of treatment.

  9. Cuffman Says:

    Not condoning anyone calling another woman, or teen girl in this case, a whore. But she admitted she tried to come up with a sign to get people's attention. She shouldn't be surprised to get the attention of folks who would call her that name. Not saying she asked for it, or that she deserved it, but she shouldn't be surprised, either. Not with 'Jesus', 'dick' and 'vagina' in the wording. They're trying to get her attention.

  10. Anonymouse Says:

    So, Cuffman, you're actually condoning strangers calling a teenage girl a whore for holding up a sign. Nice.

  11. Anonymouse Says:

    @J Dryden; excellent comment, as usual. Of course any woman who has sex–even in a committed marriage, even against her will–is a Slutty McSlut-Slut and must be PUNISHED!!!! PUNISHED!!!! Being forced to have a baby that she didn't want, possibly can't take care of and/or afford, and/or would be a constant reminder of her violent assault is just desserts for being a Slutty McSlut-Slut, of course. Isn't it obvious?!?

  12. c u n d gulag Says:

    "For those women who goes out have sex knowing that there's a possibility that they might end of pregnant, they should not be allowed to have an abortion, period."

    Uhm…
    What about men?
    What should THEY not be allowed to have if they 'go out have sex,' if there's a possibility the woman they're with, "might end of pregnant?"
    Well?
    Or is it always the woman's fault?
    It takes two to do the reproductive horizontal lambada – or, whatever position or angle.

    Oh, and one last thing, Priscilla Reyes, of West El Paso, TX:
    Ed's friend can always lose weight.
    You, on the other hand, will always be an ignorant, stupid, and un-empathetic slug.
    Fat comes and goes – stupid is forever.

  13. Arslan Says:

    Sarah, the best way to fight back against asshole men on the internet is one word: creepy.

    This word really hits them right in the feels, especially if you follow it up with neckbeard. I'm not even kidding here, they get REALLY angry if you call them creep or creepy. Even I use it and I'm most pleased with the results.

  14. Freeportguy Says:

    Funny how people allegedly caring for the babies are actually treating them as a PUNITION, as a payback time consequence for those women having "gone out and had sex"…in many cases condemning said unwanted babies to a life of misery…

  15. OldBean Says:

    Could it be any more obvious that these people just straight up hate women?

  16. sluggo Says:

    @ Arslan

    Yes!!!! Creepy! The Word of the Day! I want to use it in a sentence:

    An adult who picks on 14 year old girls is creepy.

  17. Hazy Davy Says:

    I so admire those of you who can intellectually respond to Ms. Reyes.

    I immediately moved toward juvenile and Internetty, and my first thought was: "If possible, could you please stay out out of both print and legislature. Being passionate about remaining ignorant is nauseating and harmful."

    I wasn't clear whether Ed's friend is the 14-yo girl who made the sign. Objectively and medically, I am skeptical that either of them are even overweight, which makes the criticism that much more misogynistic. Not only does Priscilla want to repress women, but she wants to do it by assigning value to a physical trait, and will criticize someone with that trait, even if it's not applicable.

  18. Sarah Says:

    @Arslan: I've heard that! As a matter of fact there was a blog post on it over at Manboobz, and at least one MRA has whined about the use of the word "creepy" as an exercise of "female privilege."

  19. Anubis Bard Says:

    I grew up around my share of angry, misogynistic assholes, but they usually understood that they couldn't wear that loudly and publicly as a badge of honor – except among their shrinking circle of asshole friends or at home if they came to specialize in particularly downtrodden girlfriends and wives. The internet, the radical GOP, and the spread of hate-churches seem to have expanded the scope of public assholery to such an extent that these people now never learn they should be ashamed of themselves. Outside of The South at least, they are even serving to embarrass all the more discrete assholes that make up this great country.

  20. Anubis Bard Says:

    I'll test Arslan's theory:

    I grew up around my share of angry, misogynistic creeps, but they usually understood that they couldn't wear that loudly and publicly as a badge of honor – except among their shrinking circle of creep friends or at home if they came to specialize in particularly downtrodden girlfriends and wives. The internet, the radical Creepy Old Party, and the spread of creep-churches seem to have expanded the scope of public creepishness to such an extent that these people now never learn they should be ashamed of themselves. Outside of The South at least, they are even serving to embarrass all the more discrete creeps that make up this great country.

    Improvement?

  21. ladiesbane Says:

    @Elle: I agree that the rape/incest exception is bogus, but I feel that I understand it.

    As I see it, both the rape/incest exception and the vocal disapproval of partial-birth abortions are for people who haven't thoughtfully explored their own feelings on abortion (much less the facts). They have a bunch of unschooled emotions and garbled thoughts about pregnancy, sex, abortion, etc., and need to put a boundary at each extreme. Making the boundaries of their woolly thinking into topical issues keeps them from having to do the hard thinking about everything from body ownership to fetal viability.

    Most of this crowd also think that whatever they figure out in terms of their own moral comfort level should be applied as universal law. They wear me out as much as the folks who don't know the difference between a heavy period and an infant. They think that their weak-minded exceptions make them reasoned and balanced. It's appalling.

  22. Mo Says:

    Most of this crowd also think that whatever they figure out in terms of their own moral comfort level should be applied as universal law. … They think that their weak-minded exceptions make them reasoned and balanced.

    Thinking of printing this out on biz cards to distribute to the next gaggle of Catholic geese picketing our local Planned Parenthood clinic.

    They all think they're good people who will go to heaven. They're "saving" other people from the error of non-believing ways.

    And then there's that medieval Thomistic philosophy ready to hand to make them feel smart and rational.

    Validation and self-righteousness. I really wish neurobiologists would get cracking on the antidote drug.

  23. Andrew Says:

    @Anonymous: Pointing out that someone should not be surprised to be called a whore is not the same as condoning calling her a whore.

  24. Andrew Says:

    @Elle: I don't think it's reasonable to assume that all incidences of incest are non-consensual. I'm sure people consent to it every day.

    An incest exception makes sense if you don't want the gene pool polluted by mutants. A rape exception makes sense if you believe that a woman shouldn't be punished with an unwanted baby if the sex wasn't "her fault." Neither makes sense if you're convinced of the sanctity of human life.

    A "life of the mother" exception should be unnecessary, because killing something that's about to kill you is called self-defense.

    That being said, I think abortion should be available free, on demand, and without apology. Punishing anyone for the consequences of a natural act that most people happily engage in makes no sense.

  25. Anonymouse Says:

    @Andrew; wow, what a creepy thing to say. Why should a 14-year-old girl expect to be called a whore for participating in free speech by holding up a sign? Why do you think she should be called a whore? Please explain; this should be fascinating.

  26. mothra Says:

    @Anonymous: Pointing out that someone should not be surprised to be called a whore is not the same as condoning calling her a whore.

    Hmmm. So by this logic, pointing out that a woman who wears a short skirt/tank top/tight clothes should not be surprised to be raped is not condoning rape, but just pointing out what should be considered inevitable. Do I have that right?

  27. Major Kong Says:

    Heck, I'd never call a woman a whore even if that was her actual profession.

    That's a nasty thing to call somebody.

  28. Scott Supak Says:

    Do you mean this Priscilla Reyes?

    Dr. Priscilla Reyes, MD, Emergency Medicine
    4801 Alberta Ave Suite B3200
    El Paso, TX 79905
    (915) 545-7333 (Office)

    If that's her, then she's an MD. So, if there's some problem where the baby's life is in danger, or there could be serious health risks that wouldn't lead to the mother's death, don't go to that Emergency Room, I guess.

    Also, as an MD, I think she probably knows that no birth control is perfect. I wonder if she makes an exception for birth control failure?

  29. KMTBerry Says:

    I would hate to think that an MD would write a letter that illiterate. There is probably more than one Priscilla Reyes in El Paso!

  30. Nick Says:

    Andrew, I don't really think a 14-year-old girl should have to expect to be called a whore for a political opinion. If you do, I think you might be the unreasonable one in this conversation.

  31. Scott Supak Says:

    KMTBerry, I sure hope you're right.

  32. Matt Says:

    Ms. Reyes sums up the undercurrent of most "pro-life" campaigners, the camouflaged heart of their argument that explains why people who want to reduce abortions would simultaneously *oppose* birth control: not a concern for the zygote, but a firm belief that pregnancy, etc are a DIVINE PUNISHMENT for slooty sloots who have sex more times than the number of children they want to have.

  33. Bernard Says:

    one thing is for sure, the Right will never stop the hatred towards "women" who put out. that's a given. lol

    the Right to Life/Right in general view sex as evil and only for making babies, which have more rights to life than their mothers. such weird non thinking, but this is the way these Fundies are.

    you can't reason with a pig, so why even try. and these people are worse than pigs, in that they want to enforce their "morality" on others. the post up above about enforcing morality on others was a true statement by that poster, wanting to enforce their "version" of morality on others. This obvious hypocrite can't write this without doing unto others they accuse of other. that's the Right in a nutshell.

    i just don't think there is any point in "talking with, at or to" these Holy Rollers. they are lost in their own perdition/Hell,so to speak. and they want to force their Hell on others.

    i sometimes think banning abortion and turning into a Sharia Christian State, like Texas, NC, the South in particular, is the only cure for such hatred towards the "Other". of course, poor whites and blacks would die, but that is their intent. and sexual diseases would run rampant, also their intent.

    to make others suffer is their aim, under the guise of HOLINESS and other BS.

    i mean, after all these years of cramming down their Religious BS down our throats, i see no capacity to compromise with such ignorant, uneducated and intolerant morans. oh and after all this time, i do believe they are morans. I love that word after seeing that sign held by the guy in the Tea Party.

    i've jus come to the conclusion that these people will never allow a different point of view. so why be nice to people who want to fuck you over?

    the Republican way is" "I've got mine, go Fuck yourself." maybe it is time for mirror behavior from the other side. The Right doesn't give a damn what the "left" says anyway. a dose of their own medicine.

    otherwise, this hatred from teh Right will just continue on as it has for the last 40 years. since Roe. America is really a Puritanical nation, at least the White Folks are.

  34. witless chum Says:

    @Oldbean
    Yeah, but also I truly think that people like this Reyes dimwit hate men too, they just feel more secure openly attacking women because of patriarchy defining them as of lower status. If we ended up living in some kind of MRA-fever dream gynocracy, they'd oppress me every bit as zealously.

    Reading an Atlantic article about Finland recently, it struck me how rare it is that Americans actually are just us. (Whether Finns are really as convival as described is another question.) Conservatives especially have always got an us and a them, it seems, hence freaking out about abortions, welfare queens and scary dark-skinned gentlemen of every type. It's not just them, either. I tend to be pretty antagonistic about politics, I just have different enemies (investment bankers, preachers, the military industrial complex). We haven't ever had that kind of social contract in this country that really could make us all us. And many people show no signs at all of wanting one.