Thursday, January 26, 2012

Internet Misogyny For The Day

This is such fun! I somehow got on a weird site,, and found this:
Remember that Saudi Chick Who Was Protesting The Fact It Was Illegal For Women To Drive. She Died. In a Car Accident.

The writer continues, after slurs aimed at Rosa Parks:
But Manal al-Sherif just haaaaaad to get behind the wheel. Just had to show the world that a set of tits doesn’t mean you’re a terrible driver. Wrong! I bet she was putting on makeup and eating PinkBerry and tailgating the other drivers too. Fucking chicks, can’t do anything. Am I right, guys? Am I right?! Someone give me a high five.
The link on that crummy site is to the UK Telegraph which tells us that women who drive can get into car accidents! Of course women who are passengers in cars can also get into car accidents.

Here's the hilarious bit! The woman in that accident is not the same Manal al-Sherif at all:
On Monday, a woman in Saudia Arabia, where women are banned from driving, died in a car accident and was mistakenly identified as a famous activist. The event was a tragedy for those involved, but for news sites around the world it was a chance for cheap, inaccurate irony.
The story appears to have started with an Agence France Presse story that was published on Monday with a slightly over-sold headline "Saudi Female Driver Defies Ban, Has Fatal Accident." No names were given for the victims, but something happened as other news sites rewrote the story and suddenly it was reported that Manal al-Sharif, the head of a Saudi female driving campaign, had died. Considering the international headlines her campaign for women's right to drive merited, that would be a huge news story. Except for one problem: Manal al-Sharif is alive and was not involved in any car accident. She revealed the little detail to The Guardian on Wednesday.
Cheap and inaccurate irony, indeed. It tells us a lot about how some news writers really think.
Added later: Information on accidents by gender of the driver and other related questions can be found here. This is one field where irrational prejudices tend to be very strong. And note the impact of the stereotype threat in the first linked article.