Archive for Sexsh

Stuff We Forgot

Have you seen the BBC 4 three part documentary “Women”?
If you haven’t, you should. After all, it’s not everyday that we get to see feminism on the telly. And we should really make the most of it while it lasts.

The Guardian has published a critique of the programme’s third part, “Activists”, titled “Enough middle-class feminism” and written by a middle-class feminist. Her words seem to have struck a chord. Her intentions were probably good, as evidenced by this line:

“They have lots to say about the media objectification of women but, bizarrely, little to say about consumerism or capitalism.”

Unfortunately it goes downhill after that.

We’ve been here before, and I’m sure we will be here again. Every time feminists attack the sex industry somebody is compelled to butt in and tell us that “we are not dealing with what really matters”. My opinion on the subject hasn’t changed: the sex industry, especially in it’s everyday manifestation of pr0n, advertising, entertainment, media, et al, and it’s spilling over as the “beauty” industry, that’s fashion, dieting, looks, et al, is the only remaining ideological tool with which women are being oppressed in the realm of the superstructure. (And all this theory is way out of my league!). What on Earth am I trying to say? Simple. The message still is “women, stay in your place”, because women must, at all costs, stay in their place. But now they can’t come out and say it like that. The religious arguments don’t hold much water in rich, liberal democratic societies. The biological determinist idea that women are just not good at the “big stuff” has been reduced to shreds through decades of feminist theorizing, researching and probably Margaret Thatcher. The arrangement of woman as “mother and homemaker” can’t apply anymore, because now every adult human is needed in the labour market to keep productivity high and wages low. To recap. “Women are not as good as men because Christ wasn’t a woman”, crossed. “Women are just not as good as men, they are not rational, intelligent, whatever”, crossed. “A woman’s place is in the home”, crossed. What are we left with? “Women are just good for sh*gging”. Or pretty things to look at.

Back to the article, I have to say it does bring up something that crossed my mind when I was watching the documentary: sure, sure, the sex industry should be killed with fire, but… what about the other stuff? There’s not even a hint of a critique of capitalism. I can’t remember anyone acknowledging that not every human being, or every feminist for that matter, lives in London.

That said, I am getting increasingly tired of everyone and their dog using the “where are the working class women” card to attack feminism, of the second wave or the third one. Feminism doesn’t have monopoly rights over forgetting the working class. And it most certainly isn’t the only movement to forget working class women. To put it bluntly, feminism forgot about the working class just as the Left forgot about women. There’s enough guilt to spread around.
And if we’re going to be painfully honest, the Left has forgotten about the working class as well. Deprived of its core ideology, that is, the economy, it has been left rumbling about like an undead corpse, kept alive exclusively by debates over politically correct language and multiculturalism. Hardly conducive of revolutionary change. And if you ask uneducated, ignorant, old me, this is too similar to what feminism has been reduced to, that is, focus on the culture and the ideas, the “superstructure”, and leave the “base” intact.

What we have in our hands is the conflict of how to go about changing the root of the problem when all we can see is its effect on the surface. Feminists attack the discursive ideas of women as sex objects because that’s where we see misogyny and oppression taking place. In reality it stems from some place else, but what that is or where exactly it’s located, we have no clue.
The traditional Left, however, has known what it needs to do to revolutionize society for more than a century. What’s their (our) excuse?

I’m beginning to think that women’s oppression and worker’s oppression share a common root, and that both should be tackled at the same time. These ideas are too fresh in my mind, however, to write about them as of yet.

Before you go, take a look at this article on a seemingly entirely unrelated topic, “Yes, striking is a human right”. There’s this one word that got me thinking…

“The real question we should be asking is not why do people strike, but why they do not do so more often? To respond by saying that workers are all happy bunnies compared with their forebears would not be the right answer.”

Could the sex industry and capitalism have more in common than we previously thought?

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And THAT Is How It’s Done

Behold, fellow Feminists! Battles are being won before our very eyes! Or at least in Iceland.

“Iceland has passed a law that will result in every strip club in the country being shut down. And forget hiring a topless waitress in an attempt to get around the bar: the law, which was passed with no votes against and only two abstentions, will make it illegal for any business to profit from the nudity of its employees.”

Simple and to the point. Wasn’t so hard, now, was it?

Guðrún Jónsdóttir of Stígamót, an organisation based in Reykjavik that campaigns against sexual violence, (said):

“I guess the men of Iceland will just have to get used to the idea that women are not for sale.”

This feminist victories in Iceland remind me of the expansion of women’s rights in Spain in the last decade. And all it took was a government that was committed to equality and had the outrageous conviction that domestic violence was unacceptable.

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“Sex And Freedom”

Some years ago I found this magazine about to be chucked in the bin. I rescued it because the issue was about “Liberty”. I didn’t know the magazine at the time, though it turned out to be “The New Internationalist”, of November 1993. In it there was this article by Catherine Itzin, titled “Sex and Freedom” which goes through the basic arguments against pornography.

*WARNING* IT MAY BE TRIGGERING

To read the article:
1) click on the thumbnail; this will open the image in a new window.
2) place cursor over image and embiggen.

freedom-1

freedom-2

Sixteen odd years, my friends. Sixteen years and things have only gotten worse. That’s the thing about misogyny; it doesn’t stop itself.
Yesterday, Jessica Valenti over at Feministing was getting her knickers in a bunch over the release of a misogynist movie whose plot seems to revolve around a misogynistic “sexual” practise. (rape, more like). I felt like crying out, “why Jessica, dawlin’, where do you think this little gem comes from?”. I was too busy booking my plane ticket to Manchester (YAY!) to post such a comment, which probably saved me from high blood pressure and bloggy embarrassment. The comments that were posted pretty much agreed that the “knickers in a bunch reaction” was the appropriate one. Though as is always the case when this topic is brought up, it didn’t take long for the “anti-censorship” bunk to appear.
I advocate censorship. I advocate a LOT of censorship. Mind you, in this particular case, I’d go further and advocate sticking dynamite up the arsehole of whoever came up with this arseholishness. But I would understand it if anyone thought this might be going a bit too far.
There are laws against speech that incites racial hatred, and I don’t hear people going “eek, the censorshipz!” about them. If you dare to deny the Holocaust in Germany, you will most likely get kicked in the butt. Speech has limits. Speech SHOULD be limited. No one has a right to hurt others, or to incite hurting of others. And this is exactly what this is about.
I wouldn’t press on this issue so much if it wasn’t because I think this will be the biggest challenge the next generation of feminists will have to face. Otherwise misogyny will keep advancing and becoming more acceptable, eroding the (few) rights we have won.

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A Rather Evil Path

How wonderful. There’s a guy at liberal conspiracy who’s telling us what the “real” causes of women’s oppression are and aren’t and how worrying about meaningless little things like re classifying p0rn as actual p0rn won’t do anything to help us. (won’t link to him, it’s easy to find anyways)
First of all, Mr Dude, it’s not up to you, or any man, to decide what the causes of women’s oppression are. That’s something we women have to do, and you men have to put up with whatever decision we come up with.
Secondly, even if it were true that the causes of women’s oppression had nothing to do with lads mags, it is no less true that they do have an impact on women’s everyday lives. And even if they didn’t, their existence still pisses us off. That should be enough reason to get rid of them.
Thirdly, we cannot actually legislate against the real causes of women’s oppression. Because the only way to end with women’s oppression would be for men to stop oppressing women. That exceeds the power of the law. And we have to make do with what we currently have.

Now I’m not going to waste valuable space on my blog explaining things to yet another guy who doesn’t “get it”, who isn’t interested in “getting it” and who will never know I am here writing about his arrogant ignorance. Instead, I’ll focus on how the causes of women’s oppression are related to lads mags/p0rn.
You can visualize the oppression of women as a river with many paths, each one corresponding to a different aspect of life, extending over a huge surface that eventually covers the whole of society. In order to control women’s oppression and to eventually destroy it, the feminist movement has focused on blocking many of those paths that carry the oppression everywhere. It has had some success, of course. The path of the “public sphere” has been blocked to some extent, and now at least it’s not so acceptable to demand women get back in the kitchen.
But as with any river, when one path is blocked, the water has to find another way to get through. And there is one path that no one has been able to block so far. That’s the path of the “sexual sphere”. Never before has the sex industry been so big. Never before has so much misogyny been pouring into what we call “human sexuality”. And it’s terrifying. Women’s oppression is not “decreasing”. It’s merely going where no one can control it. That’s why I favour any measure to contain this constant, ever increasing flux of sexual misogyny. Because when oppression is contained, it becomes easier to destroy.

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Fake Boob Phenomenon

Let me share with you my last brainstorm. Earlier today I had an “AHA” moment. I discovered a missing link in the reason for the existence of what I’ll be calling the Fake Boob Phenomenon.

Fake Boob Phenomenon: The cultural and social representation of an artificial form of the female chest. Though present throughout western history, it has been markedly stronger with the advancement of the Malestream Media. The main consequences of the Fake Boob Phenomenon is the mismatch between what people, especially men, believe the female chest to look like and what it actually looks like.

(Brought to you by the Radical Feminist Pocket Book of “Super Secret Radical Feminist Code Words”)

In other words, the insistence of the graphic portion of the Malestream Media to depict boobs as ingravid, solid, in your face and of the size of a small planet. Through history boobs have been squeezed in, squeed up, squeezed out; anything but being left alone.
See, the respectable EvoPsychos have kindly explained to us that the Fake Boob Phenomenon responds to men’s natural, biological attraction to Fake Boobs. The reason is because those are preciely the boobs which belong to the youngest and, therefore, most fertile of females. Except, that the don’t. And I’m going to kindly explain to the EvoPsychos why.
In short, because supposedly “young” and supposedly “fertile” women don’t have ingravid, solid, in your face and of the size of a small planet boobs. It’s a myth created by those who don’t actually have boobs but like to look at them, which are usually men. And so the Fake Boob Phenomenon has no “natural” explanation.
I am quite sure that it must respond to some kind of fetishism that I don’t have the capacity to discover by myself (we’d probably need a feminist equivalent of Marx for that). What I have discovered is this: boobs are supposed to look like anything other than what they actually are. Because natural boobs are not “different enough” to what men have on their own chests. It takes very little for men’s chest to start resembling women’s (at least at some point of the boob developing stages), and most of them inevitably will, sooner or later. Which seems logical, since boobs are little more than men’s boobs with slightly more fat tissue in them. But this is not different enough. Which leads me to think that part of the attraction of men to women and of women to men lies in the “difference”. A difference that is very small in reality but is magnified by culture and society’s depictions and expectations of what women and men should look like. It’s the difference that is erotized, not the actual bodies. And since it’s women’s prerogative to attract men in a patriarchal society, it is women’s jobs to differentiate from men. That’s why women who haven’t done the patriarchal duty of beautifying themselves are said to resemble “men”. It’s because without artificial intervention, women DO resemble men.
Now, this is when you tell me, “Duh, Mary, there’s a hundred feminists who have been saying that for two hundred years”. And I responde, “Please, tell me where”. This “erotization of the difference” cannot be my “discovery”, but I cannot think of who has covered it before.

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Sex and the City, Pots And Kettles

I was thinking about writing a review of the new Sex and the City movie. That was until I read other people doing a much better job than I could. But still, if there is something I can add to the debate…

I didn’t find that much “glamour” or “fashion” in the movie, but that may be because I don’t register it. (The “fashionz-omgz” gene is missing in my genetic make up). One of the characters even poos her pants, literally. And for a “romantic comedy”, the movie was quite dark. Carrie spends most of the movie trying to put her life together, same as Miranda. And Samantha goes through a life crisis, despite it being presented in a “silly” kinda way.
The main reason why I liked the movie is because it delivered a good dose of that which I have always looked for when watching the serie: female friendship. For me, SATC is one big, shiny beacon of female friendship. I have never experienced that kind of relationships and I truly enjoy catching a glimpse of that world. It makes my heart warm and fuzzy and it fills me with hope to see friends being so close, loving, caring and suporting of each other. More so when thinks about the differences in character and beliefs between them. I do not know if the female friendship in SATC can correlate to the real world, but I like to believe it can.

So, for me this portrayal of female friendship is enough to balance out all the other questionable aspects in the feminist, leftist department.

THAT said. Has anyone had any doubt that anything remotely woman-oriented will be easy target for media misogyny? Exactly. Shakesville has done a great job in tackling this here, here, here and here.

I’m gonna focus on one aspect: frivolous and shallow, two terms I’ve heard being used to describe the characters and therefore, the movie. In the privacy of my own mind, my response to these comments are “shut up, you narrow-minded cock sock-puppet!!!”. But I cannot leave it at that in my blog, can I?
What an annoying example of the double standard used for men and women. It’s the pot calling the kettle black. (note: kettles are female). When was the last time anyone ever heard of a male character described as frivolous or shallow? And it’s not because of a lack of examples in the movie industry. From Superbad and Knocked Up all the way to Superman, Spiderman, Batman and every single “something”-man ever created. And those out of the mill movies with gangsters, mafias, spies and the lot, always the same, always men killing and blowing stuff up? Are any of these movies examples of the epitome of human achievement? The pinacle of grace and art? An invitation to analysis and debate? Of course not. They are exactly what 99% of today’s movies are supposed to be: a quick buck. Even those movies which are held up for their “wonderfulness” by (male) movie critics, the ones who get awards and “hoos” and “haas” consist of a strong combination of mindless, pointless violence and/or sex-a-plenty. The public is so apathic and numb that the only way to get his attention is to throw a good dose of violence and sex down his nervous system. The reason for the violence and sex is irrelevant; in fact it may not even be there. Quantum Tarantela has made his entire career out of this. Violence for the sake of violence, no one ever questioning the motives behind it. I don’t know you, but I would call that SHALLOW. This is the worse kind of shallow. It’s shallow that stands one step away from actual condining of violence.
To say nothing of the sex depicted in these movies. Always misogynistic, always predatory, always for the pleasure of the man, always… how could I call it? Oh yes, SHALLOW.

I’ve tried to explain this fenomenon before: you can focus on anything you want, as long as you don’t upset the peoples in power. So in reality, you cannot focus on anything.

As for frivolous, we already know how that works, don’t we? If it’s men’s it’s important stuff, if it’s women’s it’s irrelevant. Even if men’s stuff is composed of football, motorbikes and videogames. All of which I would rate at the same level of importance as shoes and handbags.

Is the SATC movie shallow? Sure. But show me a movie made in the past 50 years that isn’t.
If men want to use the terms “shallow and frivolous” to describe movies aimed at women, they should start with the movies aimed at them, a good 98% of the industry’s gross production.

I, personally, will choose female-friendship based “shallow” over “violent shallow” any time.

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Celebs In Trouble – The Thoughts Behind It

Last week I posted a half-arsed comic featuring three female celebrities. I’ve been criticised for this on several accounts and since I haven’t given any words on the post itself, here’s are my thoughts on the whole subject.

Let’s start off with what I am actually laughing at on the images.
a) The tables in society are suddenly turned and Madonna has to respond to the new people in power, The Feminists, and explain the reasons for her anti-feminism. I like this one the most and so this is the one I am more eager to defend.
b) Beyonce, in a continuing effort to appear smiling at all times, has pulled out a funny face. I make fun of the fact that she doesn’t seem to want to be seen non smiling, so much so that a funny smiling face which reeks of a pose is better for her than no smile at all.
c) Scarlett’s pose is, frankly, ridiculous. Her eyes are vacuous and her is mouth opened for no good reason in a good impersonation of “The Fuck Me Look”, her hair is floating and her bag is up in the air. Sheer nonsense in any normal life situation.

Now onto the wider topic of why I think it’s OK to laugh at and criticise female celebrities. In short words: because they hurt us all.
Let’s start with a quote I already quoted in what later became this blog’s most popular post for entirely un-feministy reasons.
It’s by Gail Dines, and I’m just gonna include the last bit:

“(…) When Madonna goes out, and talks about women and puts out the message that women are exactly as men thought they are (pornographic men), it’s all right for Madonna to say that, cuz’ you know what, she travels with beefy guys who protect her. It’s you and I walking in that fucking parking lot at night that have to deal with the guys who believe this. So that’s the problem when women talk about their choices is that every single one of us suffers in some level.”

I don’t think I can improve on what she’s said, but I’ll try.
First, I shoudl perhaps add that I have left out a small piece of Dines’ speech, seeing as she didn’t go on through that path. But her exact words were “when Madonna, in her “feminist” way, goes out …”. That detail is important to understand why I consider Madonna te be one of the greatest anti-feminist woman of our time: precisely because she dresses up her anti-feminism as feminism. But let’s go on.

This story is very old. People from oppressed minorities and groups sideline with the oppressor to obtain personal advantages at the expense of their own group. It’s a tactic that feminists understand very well. And it’s precisely the reason why feminists feel they can criticize blatant anti-feminist women like the worm who wrote that vile stuffed column about how women are really REALLY sucky. They have betrayed us, and the loyalty we reserve for each other is, thus, gone. And, I think, rightly so.

Now, why do I think that female celebrities, for the most part, have “sidelined with the oppressor to obtain personal advantages”? Well, because their entire “celebritiy” status, the basis of their career, is precisely that of “being there for the menz”. If you magically removed menz from the equation, this women’s status would fall to pieces. They are embracing and encouraging patriarchal attitudes which have and continue to hurt women everywhere. Namely that we, women, are a sexual tool for men’s fantasies, that we are all “gagging for it”, that the sole purpose of our existence is to have men come and take us. What I call “making men’s balls jingle”.
Madonna has based her entire career on it. Well, that and creating pointless controversy, but let’s leave that aside for the moment. She didn’t have a “point” when she started and she doesn’t have it now. Her goal wasn’t for women to be sexually confidence, or for sex to be less taboo. Because she continues to carry on with the same poisonous attitude today. Without her talent to make men’s balls jingle, she would have never gotten anywhere.
Beyonce and Scarlett are just smaller examples of the same thing. One is a porno-pop-star, the other is a porno-pop-actress. What do I mean by that? That their success is based mainly in their ability to sell “sex”. Like porn-actresses, though less explicit, their goal is the same: making men’s balls jingle. Without that, they wouldn’t have gotten far either.

All of this has many effects. The main one is to condone the prevalent idea that women are here for men’s visual pleasure. This, in turn, affects the conditions of women everywhere. From sexual assault to campaigning for president, the whole perception of what women are is shaped constantly by the depictions of women like these. And they are complicit, there’s no way around it.
Another effect is to literally boycott the careers of talented women who refuse to play into this game. See, making men’s balls jingle might bring you fame and fortune, but it doesn’t get you silly little things like respect from your fellow women, recognition for your hard work and the always undervalued sense that you are doing something worth doing. If I may be allowed a moment of boldness, Billy Holiday and Aretha Franklin didn’t work as hard as they did so that Beyonce could become famous for her legs and arse.
Yet another effect is to make mere mortal women feel like shite. They present themselves as an impossible ideal, the underlying assumption being if THEY can be like this, then surely everyone can. One could say that this is not the celebrities’ fault; that this is all the doing of big corporations selling junk. But lo and behold, celebs do profit from this inmensely. They lend their faces to the big corporations so they can sell the junk. In this they are complicit. And we also have to consider how celebrities themselves are made up to look like something they are not through entirely artifical means. From make up and lighting to photoshop and surgery. We rarely hear them complaining about all this. What we DO hear is their blatant denial that they’ve had anything “done”. Way to go.

One last thing. I believe that this siding with the oppressor happens in all areas of life and is perhaps the main reason preventing women from marching as a whole to improve their situation. Which is why I am not willing to give any woman, celebrity or not, a pass just because they are women who suffer under patriarchy. We all suffer under patriarchy. And some of us pay an incredibly high price when we refuse to side with men.

People may say that criticizing female celebrities is not very useful. And I give you that. It does have the unwanted effect of removing men from the equation. I wish I could be a more positive person and use my abilities to help advance the feminist cause by bringing the spotlight to the people who are causing the real damage. I am aware of this, and, for what is worth, you have my word that I will try my best to change this aspect of myself.

I hope all of this has made my position somewhat clearer. You can disagree and that’s fine. I think the only thing we should restraing from is shutting up.

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