Archive | November, 2010

Droppin’ Stats, Changin’ Convos

26 Nov

[Trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence.]

I had a Thanksgiving dinner with a some of my relatives last night. One of the topics of conversation that my mother and grandmother found it necessary to discuss is how I have a class that gets out after dark this term. *EEP GASP* Well, doncha know, when your class gets out after dark and you have to walk two whole blocks in the darky darkness to get to your car, well… you know what can happen.

I pointed out that it’s one day a week that I have this class (response: “Well, once a week is enough”… whatever the hell that means). I gave a visual of how many blocks I have to walk from the bus stop by using my fingers to draw out a little map on the table. I clarified this invisible map again. I repeated how it’s just one class and there’s still plenty of folks out and about or inside their homes at 6:30 pm.

This also wasn’t the first time my class schedule and darkness had been brought up recently. About a week ago when my mother found out that I walk! two blocks! in the dark! once a week, she and her boyfriend immediately turned to talk of weaponry. Do I carry that pepper spray my mom got me for Christmas a few years ago? A suggestion that I purchase a knife. (I’ll be sure to add this knife to my Christmas list this year.)

A few things piss me off about these conversations. It seems they think if they don’t tell me about Vague Bad Things That Happen In the Dark To College Girls that that very Bad Thing will happen to me (and that if I know about it, I can somehow prevent it). Also, there’s this notion that I don’t already freak the fuck out walking around at night by myself. That second conversation happened about half an hour after I almost cried walking to my car because I was so scared after seeing someone standing out in the middle of a park that I had to go by. Also, last year I didn’t sign up for a class because it got out in the evening. Finally, this thing I’m supposed to be afraid of is never actually articulated directly, yet they both are trying to spook me with it.

When this particular dinner conversation still wasn’t over after goodness knows how many minutes, I finally took the opportunity to break through the opaque language and fear-mongering.

“Well, 70 percent of sexual assaults are by someone the victim knows… so…” *sassy head tilt*

Never have I seen a topic so quickly changed. On a dime, I tell you. I looked over at my partner who was doing the restrained version of this and smiling a little. Meanwhile I was trying not to burst out in laughter because BAM, I just did that.

Next topic? A man who got shot nearby that bus stop I get off at. My family needs to stop watching the local news.

“What Are We Really Giving Thanks For?”

25 Nov

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. As Shakesville has done today as well, I’d like to link to a guest post that Renee of Womanist Musings wrote a couple years ago called “What Are We Really Giving Thanks For?” I recommend printing it and giving it to any conservative relatives you may be dining with later today.

Furthermore… num.

Action Item: Ending Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners

22 Nov

For USian readers. . .

Urge Attorney General Holder to Improve Conditions of Confinement for Pregnant and Parenting Women

It’s time to start addressing the unique needs of pregnant and parenting mothers behind bars.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has shown a desire to end the inhumane practice of shackling women giving birth, but that’s not the only issue that mothers behind bars face. Women are often denied pre-natal care and the opportunity to bond with their babies after birth and as they grow.

Thank Attorney General Holder for his attention to shackling, while urging him to continue to address the needs of mothers behind bars and ensure that they have healthy pregnancies, deliveries, and opportunities to enter family-based drug treatments.

For more information on shackling of incarcerated pregnant women, this RH Reality Check article is quite comprehensive.

Links: November 21, 2010

21 Nov

Echidne of the Snakes: “Visiting the Boys at Youtube” [TW for almost parodic levels of objectification] . . . looking at Youtube comments on videos of female athletes.

“A Lesbian-Feminist Critique of The Vagina Monologues”, originally published in Rain & Thunder.

Bruce Schneier, a wonderful critic of bullshit security theatre, has compiled a huge list of links regarding the TSA’s new rules regarding the x-ray/nude-o-scope machines and “enhanced” pat downs. Shakesville has also had several great posts on TSA things this week.

Womanist Musings: “9 Inch Heels: The Hobbling of Women or Just a Fashion Trend?”. Yes, a 9 inch heel. Yes, I blame the patriarchy (and so does Renee).

This is an incredible find. . . a whole bunch of original documents from the late 60s/early 70s on how to lead consciousness-raising groups. More files like this can be found via the radical feminism tag on the site.

Finally, check out The Magazine Project. Valerie M of We Won’t Submit has an article up right now that is wonderful.

Links: November 14, 2010

14 Nov

Womanist Musings: “‘African’ Inspired Clothing” & [TW for sexual violence] “Dan Savage Attacks A Rape Survivor While Pretending to Give Advice”

Tim Wise: “An Open Letter to the White Right on the Occasion of Your Recent, Successful Temper Tantrum”

Reclusive Leftist: “Feminism is no longer about sexism at all”; check out the great, ongoing discussions in the comments as well.

[TW for sexual violence, TW x2 for the comment section] “Sexpo and the Death of Sex”

[TW for sexual violence] RMott62: Asking “Freedom of Speech for Who”?

Amazon.com & the Tip of the Rape Product Iceburg

10 Nov

[Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault and sexual abuse of children.]

There’s a news item going around about how Amazon.com is selling an e-book called, “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct.” It’s a guide to raping children and how to get away with it. Amazon isn’t taking down the book and said in a statement that Amazon thinks taking down the book would be “censorship”. It’s a great feat of mental acrobatics to believe that a private business doesn’t have the right to sell what it wants, so I’m guessing that something else is behind this.

It’s been pointed out elsewhere that Amazon sells plenty of products designed to fit all your rape culture needs. I think one of the reasons Amazon is claiming some bullshit “first amendment” argument here is because, if they listen to people’s concerns about this item and decide to pull it from their site, they’d probably have to stop selling a really freakin’ huge number of other rape-related products.

As was done in the Shakesville post I just linked to above, I too decided to look up “rape” on Amazon. Unsurprisingly, there’s plenty of material, particularly movies.

Now, Amazon doesn’t sell (what they consider to be) pornography. However, just because they don’t sell anything released by Vivid doesn’t mean they don’t have things closely resembling pornography.

On the search results page, I find “Breaking Her Will”. The main reviewer complaint is that it was too tame. The film is about the abduction and rape of a female hitchhiker. Reviewers of these kinds of films tend to voice this dissatisfaction about the violence and degradation not being ‘intense’ enough. As reviewer S. Klepper of Texas (using his real name) says,

when it arrived and I looked at the cover, I was thinking “5 stars”, when I started watching it, I was like “holy sh**!”, after watching it all…weeeellll…. the bottom line is this, B&D, lots of female nudity (cool), BUT! NO penetration (not so cool).

Perhaps this would-be rapist would prefer one of the movies in the “Forced Entry” series or “Victims” or “Forgive Me For Raping You”. Maybe he could watch the films while wearing this shirt that Amazon also sells.

Amazon knows that they have customers seeking products that facilatate their rapist desires, and they likely aren’t going to take this pedophilic ‘guide’ down. Money over women’s lives, like always.

Dudebro: “There’s Some Women… Which One Should I Fuck?”

10 Nov

I watched The Colbert Report tonight and the guest was Cee Lo Green, who performed his very popular “Fuck You” song. I noticed that all the people in the band were women people, much to my happy surprise. Keyboardist, bass, guitar, drums… women! Way unexpected and cool to see for once.

Then, I went online to look up more about the band. Third result: “Which one in Cee Lo’s all female band would you bang?” I presume ‘one’ means ‘woman’ and is not referring to and instrument or another object.

Are there no limits to men’s ability to to sexually objectify any and all women they see? I saw these women and thought, “Oh, that’s pretty cool… good for them,” and this dude and plenty of others thought, “Oh, they’re hot… which one of them should I fuck?” And, of course, dudes, I’m sure those women totally want to have sex with you too. They aren’t there because they want to play their instruments and make some music; they’re there because they wanted some random internet guy to contemplate and discuss, with other guys, which one of them is the most ‘fuckable’.

Also related to the performance tonight, how fucking sad is it that I questioned whether or not the band members were really playing the instruments? It was a very brief questioning, but still… that the presence of conventionally-attractive women playing instruments looked artificial and just a mimicry of a “real” (mostly male) band? I guess that’s why I have the tag ‘the misogynist within’ on here.

Links: November 5, 2010

5 Nov

A Radical Profeminist: “Where’s Andrea Dworkin When We Need Her?”

The Period Blog: “Dictionary Definitions of Genitalia part 1″, a telling analysis of definitions given to female and male genitalia

[TW for sexual assault] Women’s Rights (Change.org): “14-Year-Old Girl Raped After Being Used as ‘Bait’”

The teacher coerced 14-year-old B.H.J., an African-American student who had reported being repeatedly sexually harassed, into meeting her tormentor in a bathroom, assuring her that they would “catch him.” But nobody followed B.H.J. into the bathroom, and nobody stopped her from being raped; the teacher simply went back to her classroom and waited. B.H.J. is reported as being severely traumatized and in an almost completely non-communicative state.

[TW for violence/sexual assault] Women in Prison: “Interview with Brenda Myers”, formerly-prostituted woman discusses sex trafficking in the Chicago area, decriminalization, her experiences, and how she got out of the sex trade

My Husband Betty: “Jeez Louise This Whole Cisgender Thing”

New York Times: “High-Tech Answer to Harassment on Egypt’s Streets”, article about the Hollaback-style actions being taken by women in Egypt

Echidne of the Snakes: “Chains Beneath The Frivolity and Flounces”, on RuPaul’s new tv show that has drag queens instruct women on how to be better women

[TW for descriptions of violent porn] The Globe and Mail: “More Men are Speaking Out Against Pornography”, article quoting both Gail Dines and Robert Jensen, as well as some young anti-porn men

Small as their numbers might be now, hot-blooded, heterosexual men of all ages are becoming more vocal about swearing off pornography. Rather than opposing it on religious or conservative grounds, the new wave of men against porn is concerned about how the pervasiveness and extreme forms of pornography are affecting not only women, but their own attitudes and sex lives as well.

The article also mentions The AntiPorn Men Project, which I have recently added to by blogroll. Check it out.

What Feminism Is Not: Anti-Feminism

2 Nov

First, I have a little coming out to do: I’m a women’s studies major. Alright.

Today, in a class of mine that is mostly other seniors who are women’s studies majors, we did some small group work to discuss future employment with our degrees. One of the women brought up a friend of hers who just moved somewhere and is having a lot of trouble finding a job. This friend apparently took a good number of women’s studies classes as well. While talking on the phone, her friend said, “What do you think the women’s studies department would think of me being a Budweiser girl?”

One would hope that my classmate told her something like, “It sucks if that’s your only opportunity for income right now,” and try to help her find something else or what have you. Well, no, she didn’t say that. Instead, my classmate said something about how “feminism is all about not doing what is expected of you, and, you know, if you like wearing low-cut shirts and stuff, do it”. My classmate also told us how her idea of feminism has changed and that she now thinks you don’t have to do everything that feminism approves of (which appears to mean “what those hairy man-haters approve of”… strange since I’m pretty sure she calls herself a feminist too).

Now let’s take a moment to deconstruct the hell out of that: “Feminism is all about not doing what is expected of you”. Who is expecting you do something? What kind of power do they have to impose expectations upon you? What are these expectations? To my classmate, the problem is feminism imposing the expectation that one should not sexually objectify themselves. To me, the problem is patriarchy expecting that women should be sexually objectified (and happy about it) as a service to men .

Let’s do a super cool feminism 101 exercise. Shout out the answer when you know it. Who has more power to impose behavioral expectations upon women… is it feminism or patriarchy? That’s right… patriarchy! Good job! You win a free trip to Hagsville! You also get 100 ladypoints if you just actually shouted “patriarchy!” out loud.

Clearly though, my classmate seems to have a different understanding of things (i.e. reality). To her, it’s those feminists with all that political clout (ha!) telling her friend that it’s bad to wear low-cut shirts, therefore, her friend should rebel against feminists and their supposed expectations. Because that’s what feminism is all about… rebelling against feminism. Got it.

Actually, feminism is about ending male supremacy. Got it?

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