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Friday 16 October 2009

Jan Moir is a heterosexist

Now anyone whose reads me knows I like video .. So watch this ...

N'kay. All done?

Jan Moir is a Daily Mail columnist whose printed words have today caused her to reach for her boss' PR agency (because of an Internet revolt that Twitter was at the heart of that blew up the Press Complaints Commission's website) in order to say she's not what you think she is.

That is significant. Today was significant. Social media made this happen - apparently the Mail doesn't usually respond within hours to outrage at its contents.

But listen to what Richard Yates, from black experience, is telling you - focus on what they said, not who you think they are.

And this is very relevant to this situation. The Mail, and others, publish Moir's sort of rant all the time. In the official 'process' it will be judged on what she said, not who she is accused of being.

If what we want is what she (and others) write banished from the mainstream, not to silence but to place them firmly on the fringes, then how is that achieved?

How do we define her words? I ask, is what she wrote heterosexist or is it homophobic?

Cue Wikipedia:
Heterosexism is a term that applies to negative attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships. It can include the presumption that everyone is heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the norm and therefore superior.
Homophobia (from Greek homós: one and the same; phóbos: fear, phobia) is defined as an "irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals", or individuals perceived to be homosexual; it is also defined as "unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality", "fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men", as well as "behavior based on such a feeling".
I don't think Jan Moir is about fear, she's about superiority. I think this because that's what she wrote.

Yates is laying out for us how, exactly, we undermine the sort of power which a Moir (there's a type) wields, especially including their power in claims of 'victim' or 'silencing'. Here's a template, from other minorities, which should be grasped in order to define her as 'fringe', 'extreme', someone who says she's superior.

Drop 'Moir is homophobic' for 'Moir is heterosexist'.

That's my contribution to the aftermath of today: Learn from others and be precise in attacking power.

Make them go look 'heterosexist' up and in the process completely change the coming debate over 'silencing free speech', the 'power of the mob' and the ubiquitous raising of that cop-out phrase 'PC'.

Thanks to Jamie Potter for inspiration.


  1. The issue is that people believe what the Daly Mail writes. They support Cameron and the Tories - do we want a world where it's okay to write the stuff Jan Moir does? No....

    God, or whatever, bless social media...

  2. Great post, I wasn't really aware of the idea of heterosexism so thank you for bringing it to my/our attention. There seemed to be a lot of people on twitter going for the jugular with Jan today, almost descending into near-vigilantism. Simply shouting the person down doesn't address the problem; a more reasoned, refined response is needed for that.

    (I was hoping to contribute a bit more, but my flu addled brain isn't playing ball!)

  3. I've always thought that homophobia isn't the best term - that the problem is so much broader than fear and that it is, in effect, a subcategory of sexism - it's all about seeing sex as binary, and the two sexes as fundamentally morally distinct; boys must do this, girls must do that. And the phobia bit is extremely provocative - being told you're afraid of the thing you hate is far more offensive than just having your hate called out.

    But the trouble is, as with racism, fear is most often the weapon of choice. Moir may write from a position of imagined superiority, but she is playing upon fear; the fear of gay men as promiscuous, drug-taking, Bulgarian-loving hedonists. The fear that the civil partnerships bill is in some mysterious way linked to the premature death of young men (as this is the Mail, it's a small miracle we've not yet seen the "Civil Partnerships cause Cancer" headline). And the fear - which she plays on both in the article and her response to ths fuss - that there's some kind of gay conspiracy which first sought to "sugar-coat" this poor lad's death and then yesterday, gang up on the poor innocent columnist.

    In other words, you're right, but I can quite understand why others call it a phobia.

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