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’.

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24 thoughts on “Jan Moir is a heterosexist

  1. David Gregory

    I rather hope there might be further implications for the PCC too. Their automated response when you complain (reproduced below) seems to imply racism or homophobia in newspapers can only be complained about by those directly affected. For everyone else the PCC won’t both saying anything.

    Oh and the irony of The Daily Mail being the victim of a hysterical campaign for a change…

    Automated PCC response below

    “Thank you for sending us your complaint about the Daily Mail article on the subject of the death of Stephen Gately. We have received numerous complaints about this matter.
    I should first make clear that the Commission generally requires the involvement of directly affected parties before it can begin an investigation into an article. On this occasion, it may be a matter for the family of Mr Gately to raise a complaint about how his death has been treated by the Daily Mail. I can inform you that we have made ourselves available to the family and Mr Gately’s bandmates, in order that they can use our services if they wish.
    We require the direct involvement of affected parties because the PCC process can have a public outcome and it would be discourteous for the Commission to publish information relating to individuals without their knowledge or consent. Indeed, doing so might unwittingly add to any intrusion. Additionally, one of the PCC’s roles is dispute resolution, and we would need contact with the affected party in order to determine what would be an acceptable means of settling a complaint.
    On initial examination, it would appear that you are, therefore, a third party to the complaint, and wemay not be able to pursue your concerns further. However, if you feel that your complaint touches on claims that do not relate directly to Mr Gately or his family, please let us know, making clear how they raise a breach of the Code of Practice. If you feel that the Commission should waive its third party rules, please make clear why you believe this.

    Press Complaints Commission”

    Reply
  2. James Nicholson

    All complaints against this obnoxious article by Jan Moir should not just go to the PCC – whose reply is “it doesn’t matter, you are not part of the family”, you should direct all compaints to the Daily Mail’s owner DMG Group, who also own the free morning hand-out paper “Metro”. As of Monday morning, all commuters should refuse to take the “Metro”, and should alert its advertisers too.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: To quote Stephen Fry “I gather a repulsive nobody writing in a paper no one of any decency would be seen dead with has written something loathesome and inhumane.” « 梅雨眠中

  4. Fenris

    Okay… So I read the article and I really can’t see what the fuss is about. Seems to me just people over reacting to someone writing a Daily Mail styled article on a celebrity in a celebrity relating column in the Daily Mail. Those complaining are just as ignorant as she is in my book. It reminds me when of a time when I saw two youths slagging off Daily Mail readers on a train due to them judging all immigrants without knowing them…. Hypocrisy anyone?

    Are people not making presumptions about what this woman is, based on an article suggesting a celebrity has a decadent lifestyle? Are the complainers seriously suggesting that because this man was gay, you can’t possibly suggest he was involved in sleazy acts? Are they suggesting that if he had picked up a Bulgarian woman at a night club, Moir would have seen everything as alright and above board.

    Sure the article was insensitive and ill advised and certainly reeked of Daily Mail negativity (not that other papers don’t play up the negative too mind). But homophobic? Actively encouraging others to be homophobic? I think not. But some people always see what they want to see. The Daily Mail does and so do those that are behind the responses.

    When people realize that it’s about changing what people think rather then punishing them for thinking, the world may truly become a better place.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: To quote Stephen Fry “I gather a repulsive nobody writing in a paper no one of any decency would be seen dead with has written something loathesome and inhumane.” « 梅雨眠中

  6. Jo McKenna-Aspell

    In response to the PCC statement detailing the fact we cannot complain unless we are directly involved – Jan Moir’s comments do directly involve anyone who is in a civil partnership: “Another real sadness about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.” No inference skills are needed to understand this blunt statement.

    In response to Fenris: her comments about the celebrity in question were distasteful. Agreed. Her comments about civil partnerships were undeniably discriminatory. Presenting such comments to a readership is encouraging an anti-gay mentality as she is making a sweeping, biased generalisation. My complaint to the PCC is not based on what I think she is (I hadn’t heard of her before today)… they are based on textual evidence. Whilst some of her comments were implicit, others were explicit.

    Reply
  7. Paul McMichael

    Fenris. You read a different article obviously. Every phrase dripped with insinuation namely that being gay, he got his just desserts.

    I don’t care who she or her motivation.

    Only that to print such bile without a shred of evidence (and official evidence to the contrary) was awful at any time but the day before the funeral – shame on her. Things may change somewhat once toxicology results come out if they show some substance brought on the fatal event. Otherwise, I don’t see what company he kept is her business or anything to do with a death. there is a relentless negative tone and sly homophobia in every aspect of her piece.

    That’s the problem with homophobia. People like you just don’t get it, or how much her article gives succour to those of like mind or how much it hurts young gay people to read this kind of thing.

    Reply
  8. Helen Wilkinson

    This morning Brighton’s Nikki Bayley (@nikkib on Twitter) made one of the first complaints in the country about the Daily Mail’s vile columnist Jan Moir and here cowardly homophobic attack on Stephen Gately. Here’s the Press Complaints Commission’s response http://tiny.cc/aPipa

    Reply
  9. Louise Baldock

    Is it a waste of time complaining to the PCC, given that their chair is one Paul Dacre, who happens to be the Editor of the ermm… Daily Mail?

    Reply
  10. Matt Noble

    Louise, no he’s not chair of the PCC, he is chair of the Code Committee of the PCC. This means that whatever the outcome of this, the rules will stay the same.

    Fenris, “Are people not making presumptions about what this woman is, based on an article suggesting a celebrity has a decadent lifestyle? Are the complainers seriously suggesting that because this man was gay, you can’t possibly suggest he was involved in sleazy acts? Are they suggesting that if he had picked up a Bulgarian woman at a night club, Moir would have seen everything as alright and above board. ”

    No, I think people are suggesting that his sexuality is totally effing redundant here. He was a person, he might have been involved in sleazy acts, but whether he is gay or straight is irrelevant, so don’t bring it up. Either way, as Paul says, it’s really quite insensitive given that the boy’s funeral hasn’t even taken place yet.

    Reply
  11. Sam

    It’s not because the fans think he was pure as the driven snow.

    It’s because someone can have traces of weed in their system without being a drug-addled hedonist. It’s because sometimes people spend the night at other’s houses for no particular reason. Being gay doesn’t change these things.

    It’s because if a coroner says someone died naturally, those of us who are unqualified should at least give that coroner some credit, otherwise we may as well have anarchy.

    More than anything, it’s because it’s pretty rude and ignorant to slag off anyone on the day of their funeral.

    Reply
  12. Pingback: *flail* « the careless gene.

  13. Eric Kennord

    Surely the PCC cannot sell people on this “family only” rubbish. There are three clauses of the Code of conduct breached here: 1 (accuracy), 5 (intrusion into grief or shock) and 12 (discrimination). The issue of (1) inaccurate articles in the paper has an effect on anyone who reads it, and likewise, (3) discrimination has an effect on all those who are discriminated against. It is fair to say that (2) those most intruded upon are indeed the family and friends of Stephen Gately in this case. But all of us who read this article were lied to, and all gay people were discriminated against in this article. So this article is much further reaching than just upsetting the family.

    Reply
  14. Andi

    ‘Another real sadness about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.’

    Jan Moir has a valid point as we all know: heterosexual relationships never end in divorce
    heterosexual partners never cheat on their wives or husbands
    heterosexual partners never have ‘threesomes’
    heterosexual partners are never subject to domestic abuse
    heterosexuals never take drugs

    In fact heterosexual relationships are just pink and fluffy

    That’s all I have to say

    Reply
  15. Metrodeco

    This morning Brighton’s Nikki Bayley (@nikkib on Twitter) made one of the first complaints in the country about the Daily Mail’s vile columnist Jan Moir and here cowardly homophobic attack on Stephen Gately. Here’s the Press Complaints Commission’s response http://tiny.cc/aPipa

    Reply
  16. Metrodeco

    Yesterday morning Brighton’s Nikki Bayley (@nikkib on Twitter) made one of the first complaints in the country about the Daily Mail’s vile columnist Jan Moir and here cowardly homophobic attack on Stephen Gately. Here’s the Press Complaints Commission’s response http://tiny.cc/aPipa

    Reply
  17. MosesO

    Whilst Jan Moir’s article was homophobic in the extreme, it was not uniquely hateful. This week, the Ugandan MP David Bahati recently launched an Anti-Homosexuality Bill – yes, it’s actually called that – even though homosexuality is already illegal in the state. The bill:

    1. Mandates the death penalty for HIV-positive people who engage in sex with people of the same gender;
    2. Calls for Uganda to withdraw from all international treaties and conventions which support the rights of lesbians, gays and bisexuals;
    3. Introduces extradition arrangements for Ugandan citizens who perform ‘homosexual acts’ abroad
    4. Includes legal penalties for people who fail to report alleged homosexual acts or individuals and institutions that promote homosexuality or same-sex marriage to the authorities.

    The tabling of the bill has been accompanied by threats against any Ugandan media organisation that allows LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Ugandans to air their views or publish press statements.

    Full details can be seen here: http://bit.ly/9FFF4. The article also speculates about the motives for the bill, and is an excellent read. Please do have a look, when you have a moment.

    Reply
  18. Will Peach

    You highlight the youtube video and encourage us to watch it and then are complicit in judging Jan Moir by “what she is”, rather “than what she said”.

    “I don’t think Jan Moir is about fear, she’s about superiority. I think this because that’s what she wrote”.

    I’m not defending her and loved your post, but I’m still unsure as to how to gauge the general response.

    Reply
  19. paul canning

    Will

    I take your point (I toyed over this with the headline). What I was talking about was the tactics used to confront her. What I think about her is another matter.

    There are lots of people who’ve read it and ‘don’t see the problem’ (ie my dad). So this means explaining how what she wrote was heterosexist. Quite a few writers have done this. Just calling her ‘homophobic’ without explaining is the issue. Substitute ‘racist’ and maybe it’s clearer?

    Reply
  20. Brendan

    If you don’t like Jan Moir’s article, drop her a line directly. Her email address is:

    jan.moir@dailymail.co.uk

    In fact, send more than one email, you’ll feel so much better when you tell her *exactly* how you feel. I did! ];-)

    Reply
  21. Patrick O'Byrne

    It’s interesting that Ms Moir’s article did not appear in The Daily Mail (Irish edition)- they wouldn’t have dared have such an offensive piece of homophobia about an Irish icon available on the streets of Dublin. Nevertheless, does anyone of any intelligence or decency buy this rag?

    Reply
  22. Pingback: Petition the government to make the Press Complaints Commission a public body | The Spicy Cauldron

  23. Ariane

    Eric Kennord is right.

    The initial email response from the PCC must have put off so many people as I am sure was its intention. It is actually not true at all to say that only directly affected parties can complain and I find it disingenuous in the extreme to suggest this in the way this mail did. This really only refers, in this case, to intrusion into grief. Anyone can complain about the inaccuracy in the article.

    I replied in email at first, then realised that this was not likely to be dealt with properly and complained again, this time as an affected third party and NOT to the special link for Jan Moir complaints, which is probably a dev/null location 😉 but via the normal channel.

    I didn’t receive a response from them again, either to my renewed complaint or to my email, which I find a trifle worrying now I think of it.

    Reply

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