Tag Archives: dehumanization

Links: October 22, 2011

22 Oct

Photo by Caroline Schiff (click photo for Flickr page)

See? Occupy Wall Street doesn’t have leaders! There just happens to be a bunch of white men standing above everyone else and saying things.

Feministe: “Steven Greenstreet proves he’s definitely not a misogynist by making rape jokes.” . . . one of men who made the “Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street” video is a total creep in several other ways! Like making rape jokes, stating that “an erection legitimizes everything”, and tracking down photos of a feminist blogger to make pervy comments about her. (Warning for the comments section. They’re letting in ‘dissenters’.)

Pandagon also has some interesting information to share about Mr. Greenstreet.

Ball Buster: “#occupybaltimore discourages police involvement in sexual assault cases”

The Crawdad Hole: “Dudebro Occupation”. . . more on Occupy Baltimore’s literature discouraging sexual assault victims from reporting it to the police.

I Blame the Patriarchy: “Storytime Korner”. . . very good comment thread with lots of other women commiserating about how male-focused Occupy is.

RadFemCrafts: “#OCCUPYHARRISBURG #BRO”

Echidne of the Snakes: from Suzie, “Occupying public space”. . .

How revolutionary it would be for feminists to occupy a public space day after day.

Scum-O-Rama: a new graphic, “we are occupy wall street. join us, bitches!”

I’ve already linked to FCM’s OWS post on Rad Fem Hub a couple of times, but to make this a more complete link roundup, here it is again: “Anarchist Politics Inform Occupy Wall Street”. The comment section is still very active!

From complex-brown on Tumblr, “BLACK OUT! At Occupy Philadelphia”:

We had a Black Out! at Occupy Philadelphia. Why?

Saturday,  two sisters were called Niggers by two of the volunteers at Occupy Philadelphia at the cell-phone charging stations.  They were also told to go back to Africa, and that each white man should own a slave. When the sista’s called security, security asked them to leave the premises [. . .]

Many of the people there to support Occupy Philadelphia came to us to tell us that all of us are people and that race is behind us! They told us that we were being divisive. Bullshit.

When we circled up to come up with a constructive way to address the people, we were constantly interrupted by white people who could not respect our safe space. These people said that it was a public space, and we couldn’t have a group that excuded them. [. . .]

As the sister was talking about her experience, there were some members in support, and there were even members who came up to us afterwards to show support. But many of the people were asking us to hurry up, calm down and finish.

From an article in Shakesville’s OWS link roundup:

Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. “The drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out,” said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group.

… “They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music,” said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. “The GA decided to do it … they suppressed people’s opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn’t.

Rad Fem Hub has the final version of the OWS pamphlet up as well, in both pdf form and doc format. And again, here is a link to the FeminismNowOWS website with the text from their flier.

Also, if you are on the Twitter, post links to these posts (and mine) with the hashtag #OccupyWallStreet. Adbusters has a live feed coming from the tag on their main page. Spread the word!

Please drop any other similar links in the comments that I missed!

Updated to add:

Here’s a comic from Hoax Zine, based on actual events at Occupy Baltimore, regarding how un-seriously sexual harassment is taken.

[This links list was cross-posted to Rad Fem Hub along with more specific ideas for activism. . . and a new flier I made!]

WE ARE THE 51%

15 Oct

If it was not yet clear how entirely male-centric the Occupy Wall Street movement is, let this be the straw bale of hay that breaks the camel’s back. Two men have put together a video called “Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street”, featuring interviews with young women at the event in New York. Not just interviews, but lingering, slow-motion shots of their hair, faces, and bodies. The women in it probably thought they were just being interviewed about why they are there, why it is important to them, etc. Well, surprise! You are now being used as “hot chick” bait for attracting more skeezy “male allies” to Zuccotti Park.

Also, the music gives off an aire of “look at these wondrous woodland creatures we just discovered”. Watch at your own risk.

Naturally, these dudes have also created a Tumblr under same name as the video featuring photos of women at the demonstration, many of whom clearly don’t know they are even being photographed. Those who knew they were being photographed almost certainly didn’t know that their image would be presented in an explicitly sexualized context.

The makers of the video have attempted a weak explanation of their little project, with the most plainly problematic parts put in bold by me:

A lot of fantastic media has been created about the “Occupy” movement. I was watching one video in particular and commented to a friend, “Wow, seeing all those super smart hot chicks at the protest makes me want to be there.” He replied, “Hmmm… Yeah, let’s go with that.”

We instantly went to Tumblr and made hotchicksofoccupywallstreet.tumblr.com. Our original ideas were admittedly sophomoric: Pics of hot chicks being all protesty, videos of hot chicks beating drums in slow-mo, etc. But when we arrived at Zuccotti Park in New York City, it evolved into something more.

There was a vibrant energy in the air, a warmth of community and family, and the voices we heard were so hopeful and passionate. Pretty faces were making signs, giving speeches, organizing crowds, handing out food, singing, dancing, debating, hugging and marching.

It made me want to pack my bags and pitch a tent on Wall Street. And it’s in the light that we created this video.

And we hope it makes you want to be there too.

Amazingly, the fact that these men are eager to “pitch tents” because females are in their presence does not make me want to take part in their political movement! Like, at all! Rather, I am horrified and not flattered in the least. And “pretty faces” weren’t giving speeches, debating, and organizing. These are actual human beings using their widdle lady brains to think hard stuff and get shit done.

Luckily, other women have been calling bullshit on this one, which has prompted the video makers to add this addendum. Again, I have placed the stupidest parts in bold:

EDIT: Apparently a lot of controversy has erupted online from people passionately opining (among many things) that this is sexist, offensive, and dangerously objectifies women. It was not my intent to do that and I think the spirit of the video, and the voices within, are honorable and inspiring.

However, if you disagree with me, I encourage you to use that as an excuse to create constructive discussions about the issues you have. Because, to be honest, any excuse is a good excuse to bring up the topic of women’s rights.

Woops, the whole thing is dumb! Who knew that a video reducing politically active women to “hot chicks” would cause a ruckus? Those “passionately opining” (read: “harping”) women just don’t *get* what the delicate artistes were trying to accomplish. And wait a second. . . let’s re-read that last sentence, shall we:

Because, to be honest, any excuse is a good excuse to bring up the topic of women’s rights.

The “excuse” is that you produced a video which turns your political peers into sexual objects simply because they are female. The “excuse” is a problem that you have created. You made a 4-minute contribution to rape culture. Congrats for creating a problem for us to fix.

There’s something else about this comment that just drips with… jeez, what would you call that? (Maleness? Ha.) “The topic of women’s rights” just totally sounds like something that a dude who dropped out of a women’s studies class after a week would say. It lacks any real historical knowledge or background in feminism. He’s trying to sound like he gives a shit, when he clearly doesn’t. It’s disingenuous to the extreme, and precisely what women involved in male-led movements have to combat at every turn.

And as was recently written about on the Rad Fem HUB, the “Occupy” movement is no friend to women for a number reasons. Whenever women organize with men, these are the kinds of problems we’re going to have. Our concerns will be minimized or ignored, we’ll be treated like their personal fuck objects and eye candy, and the group’s goals will end up entirely serving them, not us.

This is, sadly, another occasion in which Robin Morgan’s words from 1970 are still far too relevant in the present:

And that’s what I wanted to write about—the friends, brothers, lovers in the counterfeit male-dominated Left. The good guys who think they know what Women’s Lib, as they so chummily call it, is all about—who then proceed to degrade and destroy women by almost everything they say and do: The cover on the last issue of Rat (front and back). The token pussy power orclit militancy articles. The snide descriptions of women staffers on the masthead. The little jokes, the personal ads, the smile, the snarl. No more, brothers. No more well-meaning ignorance, no more cooptation, no more assuming that this thing we’re all fighting for is the same; one revolution under man, with liberty and justice for all. No more.

Let’s run it down. White males are most responsible for the destruction of human life and environment on the planet today. Yet who is controlling the supposed revolution to change all that? White males (yes, yes, even with their pasty fingers back in black and brown pies again). It could just make one a bit uneasy. It seems obvious that a legitimate revolution must be led by, made by those who have been most oppressed: black, brown, yellow, red, and white women—with men relating to that the best they can. A genuine Left doesn’t consider anyone’s suffering irrelevant or titillating; nor does it function as a microcosm of capitalist economy, with men competing for power and status at the top, and women doing all the work at the bottom (and functioning as objectified prizes or coin as well). Goodbye to all that.

Run it all the way down.

[Update 10/27/11: Sady Doyle has written an article addressing the “Hot Chicks” video, as well as how a ‘leaderless’ movement allows for sexism to go even more unchecked.]

Awareness… Yeah, That’s the Ticket!

22 Jun

There is a new “cancer awareness” campaign targeting women’s pubic hair. Cancer of the pubes? Nope. Your cervix! You know, cuz lady bits are all just one big amalgamation to be pornified.

This is not, of course, the first time women’s body parts have been turned into objects under the guise of ‘awareness’. There has been the ubiquitous pink merchandise that declares “I ❤ boobies”, for example. (Fun side story. . . before I knew these bracelets and so forth were for “breast cancer awareness” I legitimately thought it was some overtly misogynistic crap designed to sexually harass women. Why? Because I only saw men with the bracelets and stickers, and particularly dudebro-y men at that.)

There’s campaigns to “save the boobies” and “save the ta-tas”, emphasizing the preservation of fatty masses over the life of an actual female human being.

There are “dance for the cure” parties for women. And the dancing? Around a pole, natch.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation had an ad showing a woman with a shirt that reads, “Punch it, strangle it, kick it, spit on it, choke it, and pummel it until its good and dead.” Hahaha! You thought we were talking about murdering a woman! Funny jokes!

There was Boobie-thon, which urges women to send in photos of their breasts, covered or uncovered.

I think you get the idea. This newest sexy-cancer campaign is supposedly mirrored after Movember in which males grow out mustaches or other facial hair to bring awareness to general “men’s health issues”, including male-specific cancers. Creating a similarly awkward portmanteau of ‘vagina’ and ‘July’, this newest cervical cancer awareness-raiser is called Julyna. (I’m strangely reminded of that episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry can’t remember the name of a woman and only knows that it rhymes with a female body part.)

And so, Julyna kicks off with not only a hilarious name, but an inaccurate one. Vaginas and cervixes: not the same thing, actually! The campaign further removes itself from the actual subject with its promotion of sculpting pubic hair, something the founders chose to create ‘media buzz’. It seems if you’re not showing pictures of breasts or shaving your pubes, no one much cares about ‘awareness’.

The parallels with Movember pretty much end with its involvement of hair in some way. Other than that, it is actually a reversal. Men keep their facial hair, women remove their pubes. As the last linked article says, the website for Julyna “has sample design ideas and suggestions on how to execute shapes with the least amount of discomfort.” There will be discomfort (ingrown hairs, itchies, etc) but just not as much as there could be. Got it.

Not only is the campaign Not Helpful in the way that it promotes sexualization of female bodies for some bullshit ‘awareness’, but the awareness it is raising is over something rather dubious. Cervical cancer is believed to be caused by HPV, a virus which is transmitted to the cervix almost solely through penis-in-vagina contact. While I don’t expect a soon-to-be-popular movement to include a critique of PIV, that should be a part of any campaign that is truly trying to reduce the cases of cervical cancer.

As with any mainstream awareness movement dealing with cervical cancer, Julyna hypes the importance of very frequent Pap tests. As I have written about before, cervical cancer screening (particularly in the U.S.) is used far too often, is unreliable, and is part of a broader system of medical surveillance of female bodies as a means of control. The constant urging of women to ‘test early and test often’ serves to make women afraid of their own bodies and shame women as irrational and immature for deciding against the test. With the sexy-cancer angle, the concurrent pressure to get Pap tests is similarly unacceptable and harmful to women.

Now, in an attempt to balance the scales, I have a proposal. I ask everyone to join me in supporting my new personal cancer awareness-raising cause: testicular cancer. To increase knowledge about it, I ask that all men bleach their assholes. It’ll be a great attention-getter!

(Thanks to Jilla for bringing this campaign to my attention.)

 

No Immunity in Death for Sexual Objectification

27 Jan

[Trigger warning for violence and dehumanization, particularly involving pornography.]

Two news items involving the death or murder of women have caught my attention.

The first story involves murder charges against Rodney Alcala, a man with a history of violence towards women and girls. He is already a convicted rapist, kidnapper, and murderer, having killed at least 7 and up to 100 women.

In the New York Times story linked above, the author attempts to end on a “happy” note, it appears. With what? A description of how beautiful one of the murdered women was.

[Bruce Ditnes, who dated Ellen Hoover,] said she had long black hair down to her waist and “gorgeous brown eyes.” He said he was not surprised that she had caught Mr. Alcala’s eye.

“Ellen would literally cause traffic accidents,” he said. “We would walk into restaurants, and people would spill things on themselves.”

She was just so gorgeous that a man killed her.

She caught Rodney Alcala’s gynecidal eye, the lucky lady.

*

The second story is that of Carolin Wosnitza. She was a woman. She was a woman who was featured in pornography, and she died while undergoing her sixth breast augmentation last week. Basically every mainstream headline about her death involves the words ‘porn star’ or ‘sexy’, and few use her non-porn-industry name. A couple examples: “‘Sexy Cora’ Dead: Porn Star Dies After Sixth Breast Operation” . . . “Porn Star Dead After Breast Surgery”. (See this post at I Blame the Patriarchy for more on the media portrayal of her death).

Her non-porn name doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, but “Sexy Cora” does. On her page, “medical issues and death” is the first section. Besides the complications from surgery, there is another note:

Cora was hospitalized in 2009 after trying to break the world record for the number of fellatios performed in one day. She was trying for 200 men but was unable to pass 75.

In fact checking this story — yes, it is true — I came across a forum for dudes who like to fight each other where one man decided to eulogize “Sexy Cora”. Another man commented on the post, which deserves an additional trigger warning of its own. I am posting it because I think it gives a peek into how little regard men who “love women” through viewing pornography actually care about the women they watch. The comment is exceptional in it’s ability to make me hate the world, so I have put it below the fold. Continue reading

When the Porn Runs Out…

24 Dec

[Trigger warning for sexual violence.]

I just finished emotionally trudging through reading the new post over at Aileen’s place on something called Fucked Toys. Trigger warning applies to that post too, which includes some photos further down the page.

You know how Gail Dines says that the pornographers she interviews say that they’re running out of things [to do to women]? That they’re trying to find the next ‘extreme’ thing? Yeah. God dammit if this isn’t just another new thing with which to degrade women’s bodies.

It’s not like this violent stuff doesn’t exist in porn already. It certainly does. But for a man to be able to buy ‘toys’ like this will only further ingrain misogynistic desires for these types of things. A sex toy that vomits on your penis. A sex toy resembling a prolapsed anus. No really.

It’s one thing to watch it, it’s another to act out on a ‘toy’ what you have watched… and what’s next after that gets old? Who’s next? Your girlfriend? Your wife? Your daughter? That tipsy girl at a party? That woman walking back home from the bus stop at night?

If you seriously think that what you consume through media has no effect on how you figure yourself in the world, how you think about other people, what you come to value… well, you really need some media studies 101. If you think that sticking your dick into a synthetic tube meant to mimic a woman’s mouth and using the ‘vomit-like lubricant’ the ‘toy’ came with isn’t going to mentally connect that pleasure with that degradation… you’re also wrong. If you think that once that act isn’t extreme enough for the man because he wants it to be ‘more real’ that he won’t try finding a willing woman to reenact it? And if he fails, that he won’t try coercing a woman into it? That he won’t just outright assault a woman? Wrong. He will. Because it’s the violence that makes it ‘more real’. What he sees in porn is a man (himself) shoving his dick down a woman’s throat until she gags and throws up. Then comes the toy that will do that ‘in real life’, because a toy can’t say no. But flesh-and-blood women can. And when they do say no? Or when they finally just say ‘get it over with’ after repeated pressuring from a man? Then what will he do? He wants it, he’ll have it.

Male entitlement plus desires for extremely violent ‘sex’ will inevitably lead to rape in some cases. When you can’t just rewatch the video of it, when the hole you’re fucking isn’t just a rubber tube in your hand… then what?

Does My Ass Look Good in These Shoes?

23 Dec

The current trend of shoes that “shape up” your legs and butt has resulted in a number of awful ads recently. This is the newest addition.

Transcript

Brooke Burke: This year for the holidays, I’m giving my mom better legs. I’m giving my brother a tighter core. My cousin. . . better posture. And my sister, a cuter butt. And now, my man. . . this year, he’s getting a sexier me. I’m getting everybody Sketcher’s Shape-ups. Why? Because they really work. Step into your new body, with Sketcher’s Shape-ups.

The most disturbing part is what she gives “her man”. His gift is her body.

Your relationship: now with prostitution!