Douchebag decree: a Winter Round-up!

Gather ‘round pardners! It’s time for a Douchebag round-up! This week we’re featuring three women unafraid to rain their misguided, bigoted, and douchey ways down on the world.

First up is Ruth Johnson, Oakland County clerk who called Michigan man Jordan Swan just ten minutes after Swan left the courthouse with his fiancée and his freshly signed marriage certificate. Swan was told he should come back and get a refund–his marriage wasn’t legal. The reason? He didn’t have a penis.

Although Swan, a trans man, presented a gender-reassignment certificate from his doctor (which in Michigan allows you to have your birth certificate changed), the fact that Swan had not had phalloplasty (a costly surgery, and one that many trans men do not get for a whole host of reasons, expense just being one of them), was enough to make it an illegal, same-sex wedding. And all Johnson can say about it is “I do not support allowing people to change their gender on their license as a result of surgery or lifestyle.” That’s after outing Swan in a courthouse, revoking Swan’s marriage license, requiring additional bureaucratic hoops for Swan and his fiancée to jump through, and ruining what’s supposed to be one of the happiest days of their lives. Worst of all, Johnson was elected to be Secretary of State–a position that overviews birth certificates–in November, and she’ll taken office in a few days. Awesome.
h/t Everett Maroon!

Up next is Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly who not only thinks it’s ridiculous that the Society of Professional Journalists’ Diversity Committee is vying to curb use of the term “illegal aliens” (a campaign Colorlines has been promoting for months now) for undocumented immigrants, but she compared the language to people calling “rapists” “non-consensual sex partners”. I tried to follow her logic and got all the brainfreeze with none of the ice cream.

Here’s the clip of Jehmu Greene, former president of the Women’s Media Center (speaking about how the language journalists use impact collective attitudes), Brad Blakeman (who says “more power to” the journalists who want to change their language….”But we do have a problem of illegal aliens being in this country”) and Kelly:

Kelly wraps up the segment bemoaning the fact that “we did a segment earlier in the year on how little people find the term ‘midget’ offensive–you can’t say that anymore!” WHEN WILL THIS LANGUAGE POLICING END? What bigoted words will I be denied next? “You’re left as a journalist saying, ‘What can I say?’” Oh I don’t know, journalist, maybe do your job and write and think creatively without trampling on people’s lived experiences.

And bringing up the rear in our douchebag triumvirate, is writer Katrin Bennhold, who wrote a New York Times Opinion piece “Is it Rape? Depends on who’s asking”, covering, you guessed it, the Julian Assange rape charges. Which is just great, because the internet shouldn’t be the only place for people to question whether Julian Assange having sex with an unconscious woman qualifies as rape, we should have veritable, mostly reliable news sources do it as well! Here’s what a panel of experts said about the Assange accusations when Bennhold asked them. No wait, they weren’t experts, they were her “girlfriends — all in their 30s, and most in steady, heterosexual relationships”:

“It cheapens rape,” one said.

“Why get the police into the bedroom over something like this? Grow up,” said another.

“He sounds really sleazy,” said a third, “but not exactly like a rapist.”

Ah, yes–it “cheapens rape”–that activity chock-full of moral fiber! And what, exactly, does a rapist sound like? Bennhold seems to want to scratch the surface of rape being too complex for most court systems to handle. But when statements like “In this world, as long as the woman is passive, she is consenting” don’t really come off tongue-in-cheek, it doesn’t work. Nor does it help when she continues to entertain rape apologist theories like “So in future we need a written contract every time before we close our bedroom doors?”, a comment from one of her “exasperated male journalist colleague[s].” Truly, rape was so less exhausting when it was a scary man on a dark alley! Now it’s utterly tiring to consider that rape can–and does–happen inside of those closed bedroom doors, spaces we thought were safe, with people we didn’t think we needed a contract with. Thankfully, Lindsay Beyerstein has responded to the article’s misgivings with an op-ed piece herself: “Shoving A Dick Into An Unconscious Person Is Rape. Any Questions?”

Read more:
Transgender man marries, has marriage revoked in the same day [The Michigan Messenger]
Megyn Kelly: Calling Aliens ‘Undocumented’ Like Calling Rape ‘Non-Consensual Sex’ [TPM Muckraker]
Is It Rape? It Depends on Who Is Asking [The New York Times]

by Kjerstin Johnson
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Kjerstin Johnson is a writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She is the former editor in chief of Bitch. She tweets at @kajerstin

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1 Comment Has Been Posted

Ya' know, if Megyn Kelly

Ya' know, if Megyn Kelly wanted to make her point she really should have compared it to calling Megyn Kelly a journalist.

And, as a journalism student (who keeps meaning to join SPJ but just can't seem to find time to go to the meetings), since when is it OK to quote your FRIENDS in an article unless your friends are in fact directly tied to the story or are experts in a field related to the story? I mean come on!

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