Content Warning: The link featured in this story contains strong language and threats of violence.
Anita Sarkeesian once again found herself the victim of threatening tweets this week after she made comments on Twitter about the Marysville school shooting that happened on October 24. Sarkeesian posted: “We need to seriously address connections between violence, sexism and toxic ideas of manhood before boys and men commit more mass shootings…Not a coincidence it’s always men and boys committing mass shootings. The pattern is connected to ideas of toxic masculinity in our culture.”
It’s important to realize that “While it is not literally true that every single mass shooter in history has been male, we are talking about an almost exclusively male club: one recent attempt at crunching the numbers found that 97% of school shooters have been male…the notion that a crime so heavily associated with men might have something to do with our society’s notions of masculinity isn’t exactly a radical notion. Indeed, it seems rather obvious.”
Comments directed at Sarkeesian after her post included explicit and implicit threats of violence, sexual harassment, and strong language. Sarkeesian replied: “Our culture is deeply sick when simply asking questions about how toxic forms of masculinity may harm men leads to hours of hate on Twitter.”
Bad Judge Should Leave the Building
NBC’s Bad Judge is under fire by a female lawyers group who recently sent a letter to CEO Steve Burke asking that NBC take the show off the air. Deborah Baker, president of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, said in the letter: “A misogynist who believes that women in power cannot control their sexuality, their bodies and their professional or personal conduct would have their views endorsed by this show.” Bad Judge may not be on the air much longer thanks to its bad reviews and ratings, but the letter points out the difficulty women face in obtaining leadership positions: “In this country, (i) only four of the 112 Justices ever to serve on the Supreme Court have been women; (ii) less than 35% of the active judges sitting on the thirteen federal courts of appeal are women; (iii) only 32% of the active U.S. district court judges are women; and (iv) there are still nine federal district courts around the country where there has never been a female judge.” The show isn’t funny or fresh, and it’s not doing anything to bolster the image of women in leadership positions; if anything, it tears them down.
What GamerGate is Really About
GamerGate supporters continue to claim that the movement is all about ethics in journalism rather than harassing women in the gaming industry. Newsweek decided to dig a little deeper to find out what GamerGate is really about. “An analysis by Newsweek found that Twitter users tweeting the hashtag #GamerGate direct negative tweets at critics of the gaming world more than they do at the journalists whose coverage they supposedly want scrutinized…If the movement is about ethics in games journalism, logic says the majority of tweets on the #GamerGate hashtag should be directed at games journalists and their employers and not at game developers.” The data that Newsweek analyzed with the help of Brandwatch suggests that GamerGate is “less about ethics and more about harassing women.”
Mormons in the News
The following is a breakdown of a selection of stories from Mormon News Report. Be sure to check out more here.
The church released three new essays, all revolving around plural marriage. The first essay, titled “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” came sourced with 55 footnotes. The second, “Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah” was sourced with 25 footnotes. The final essay, “The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage” includes details concerning post-manifesto polygamy, and was sourced with 53 footnotes.
AP reporter Brady McCombs notes in many different outlets that “Mormon church founder Joseph Smith had a teenage bride and was married to other men’s wives during the early days of the faith when polygamy was practiced, a new church essay acknowledges.” McCombs does acknowledge that “The essay noted that while inappropriate by today’s standards, marriage among teen girls was legal and somewhat common during that time. The article acknowledges that many details about polygamy in early Mormonism are hazy because members were taught to keep their actions confidential. But, research has indicated that Smith’s marriage to the young girl might not have involved sex. Some plural marriages were designed to seal the man to the woman for eternity only, and not life and eternity as Mormons believe, the article says. Those types of marriages didn’t seem to involve sex.”
The Deseret News has been focused on the discussion of “liberals vs. conservatives.” Matthew King notes that extremes aren’t helpful to anyone: “When pushed to the extreme, liberalism can come into conflict with gospel principles. I would like to point out, however, that when extreme conservatism goes through the same scrutiny it fares no better than liberalism. I can’t begin to count the number of times conservative friends have told me the poor need no help, and, even if they did, the government has no role in assisting them, even in times of abundance. ‘They’re only poor because they are lazy,’ they assert.” King’s thoughts on the Mormon viewpoint of government? “To me, being a Mormon means wanting a government that is compassionate, one that provides a safety net for its poor, that considers family values in making immigration laws, and that keeps the country safe from danger, both from within and without.”
The Seattle North Stake sent an invitation sent directly to over 900 inactive Mormons, including a large contingency of the stake’s LGBT Mormons. The letter’s message was simple – “Please come back.” According to The Huffington Post, “This public move by the Seattle leadership is certainly meaningful to LGBT Mormons. But it’s also meaningful to literally tens-of-thousands of traditional Mormons who’ve begun to think differently about their LGBT brothers and sisters, and who enthusiastically support this kind of cultural change.” The comments found on social media after the event are very enlightening to see what the service meant to so many people.
ICYMI on YMF
October 30 – Mormon Studies Lecture
The University of Utah’s Tanner Humanities Center is proud to present the Fall 2014 McMurrin Lecture on Religion and Culture with David Campbell, Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and co-author of the recent book Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics. Campbell’s lecture, titled “Whither the Promised Land? Mormons’ Place in a Changing Religious Landscape,” will be held on Thursday, October 30 at 7:00 PM in the Salt Lake City Main Library auditorium, 210 E 400 S. This event is free and open to the public.
In his lecture, Campbell will explore how Mormons fit into a society where once-sharp religious distinctions have blurred and secularism is on the rise. With their high levels of religious devotion and solidarity, Mormons in America are increasingly “peculiar.” Does their peculiarity come at a price? Does that price include a “stained glass ceiling” in presidential politics? In other words, did Mormonism cost Mitt Romney the White House? And, how has Mitt Romney’s campaign affected popular perceptions of Mormonism?
Quote of the Week
Lindsey loves listening to indie rock, watching movies, reading comics, traveling, and designing geeky graphics. She is an alumnus of BYU-Idaho and Bond University in Australia, where she received her master’s degree in communication. She currently lives in Rexburg, Idaho.