Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’

In our leading piece of *headdesk* news today is David Willetts’ remark that feminism ‘in its first-round effects’ was probably a key factor in a lack of social mobility. Firstly, what does that even mean? What the hell were feminism’s ‘first round effects’? Secondly, if ‘feminism trumped egalitarianism’, women must not be human. Because women becoming more equal advances egalitarianism, since women are definitely human. I’m not one, but you don’t have to be a woman to realise women are human. Here’s a clue, Mr Willetts – rich white cis men and sometimes women with Tory political beliefs trumped egalitarianism. People like you. Blaming feminism gets us absolutely nowhere, and establishes it beyond all doubt that you, and by extension the Government you work for, do not give a damn about roughly half of the population. And that’s not okay. Women still have a huge battle on their hands for equality – the kyriarchy is trying to bring them down with its most subtle psychological tactics as well as more blatant ones such as the discrediting of a movement that advanced the equality of women. It’s not beyond criticism – feminism has been guilty of failing many people – but bigoted, anti-woman criticism is contemptible.

In today’s eek news, THE UK HAS FULL-BODY SCANNERS IN AIRPORTS?!?! Apparently they came in in early 2010. I honestly had no idea. And in more eekiness, I’m flying from an airport with them fairly soon. What the fuck, UK. What the fuck. I can’t even. And apparently it’s a legal requirement to go through if you get called on. Here’s an article from the Times at the time about them and their effects on people. Oh crap…

And now in today’s WHAT THE SLIMERIDDEN SHITCANNON news, a whistleblower reveals that many jobcentres are unfairly stopping benefits due to targets. I refer to this old post for more commentary – it wasn’t written about this, but it’s applicable.

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TW – sexual harassment and non-consensual objectification.

Apparently it’s National Cleavage Day on Thursday. Created by Wonderbra and originating in South Africa, it is held at the end of March/beginning of April. Let’s hand over to Wikipedia for some illumation, hey? (Woman throughout this post stands for woman-identified person, and occasionally female-assigned person if said person is being taken for a woman by society at large and ‘people read as women’ is implicit in the context.)

‘According to Samantha Paterson, the brand manager for Wonderbra, the National Cleavage Day is started according to a design to solemnise women’s independence and power in all facets of life, from their careers to their relationships to their own destiny. Anita Meiring, public relations consultant for Wonderbra, explained the event. “It is a day for women to realise that their cleavage is something unique and that they should be proud of it.” Paterson explained “It gives women a chance to be beautiful and glow in the furtive, yet appreciative, glances their cleavage evokes from men”. She also explained “It gives men a legitimate reason to stare at boobs.”‘

So women’s independence and power in their careers, relationships and destiny should be celebrated with cleavage? OH YES I FORGOT IN THIS FUCKED UP SOCIETY WOMEN’S ONLY VALUE IS THEIR SEX APPEAL. Sure women can be proud of their cleavage – OR LACK OF IT – but we don’t need a capitalist, objectifying day devoted to it.

And it’s a while since I’ve done some quality debunking – actually it isn’t, but never mind – so let’s get going on those last two abominable sentences. Paterson explained “It gives women a chance to be beautiful and glow in the furtive, yet appreciative, glances their cleavage evokes from men”. IT’S CALLED HARASSMENT AND OBJECTIFICATION. Also, all women are beautiful, all the time. This is not the sole indicator of their worth. All women are also worthy, and human, all the time. AND ALL WOMEN DESERVE FREEDOM FROM SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND NON-CONSENSUAL OBJECTIFICATION. She also explained “It gives men a legitimate reason to stare at boobs.”‘ THERE IS NO LEGITIMATE REASON TO NON-CONSENSUALLY STARE AT BOOBS. AND NOT EVERY WOMAN WITH A CLEAVAGE WANTS THEIR BOOBS STARED AT. Talk about legitimating harassment! And heteronormativity! Not all men want to stare at boobs! Also, some heterosexual men are not assholes who HARASS WOMEN.

I’m also annoyed because it’s the SAME FUCKING DAY as Transgender Day of Visibility. GREAT. Because I just KNOW that any discourse will be taken up with cleavage, and there will be no thought given to non-cissexist, respectful discourse and education about trans folks anywhere in my vicinity unless I do it. Which I probably will at least to some extent, if I feel super-brave that day. Also pissed off because the people I found out about this from went off into the ‘At least it’s not Thailand – you wouldn’t know whose cleavage you were looking at!’ shpiel. Misoxeny and transhatred, woo! Fun!

Journey @The F-Word

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Internet, Personal
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I am incredibly honoured to have been accepted as a guest blogger at the F-Word for this month. My first post, Journey, is now up! My great thanks to everyone there.

As a result, posting may be a bit slow here for the month, although I won’t abandon this blog completely for the duration.

Holy shit. The NHS is totally failing the elderly. The anecdotal evidence for this can be found by speaking to many, many people (although it isn’t universal), but it’s now being officially recognised. I really don’t think that sporadic random-attack checks are quite cutting it, though, as a solution; yes, it’s better than nothing but it doesn’t really change the culture of care. ‘Care’ should mean exactly that. Any system claiming to look after people’s health needs to do so with compassion and respect, or they are working against their own purpose. I believe that socialised health care is a great good for all – as long as it actually lives up to the title of ‘health care.’

Oh woo. We get the chance to look at and comment on new legislation. Y’know, that would be a great thing if those comments were actually listened to. However, the Government hasn’t exactly shown itself to be very good at listening to criticism. Tell me, Coalition – just how many of us normal folks’ voices = the voice of one big-money conservative capitalist?

On tumblr, I’ve been seeing a frightening number of bills restricting the bodily autonomy of those with uteri (for example, H.R.358 ) coming from the USA. Dear American politicians – you’re being shitbags. You’re also failing at this ‘pro-life’ business since you’re quite prepared to authorise the killing of living, breathing, human beings, and don’t seem to care about people’s prospects once you’ve coerced their uterus-having parent to incubate them for nine months at all costs. And you know what could help reduce abortion rates? Sex education. Greater availability of contraceptives. Free health care. A functional welfare system. Know what doesn’t help reduce abortion rates? Restricting abortion. That just drives it underground and makes it utterly unsafe.

And I have been sadly deficient in saying this for quite a while; to everyone standing up for their freedoms, wherever you are in the world, I admire you and hope that your stand is successful.

Trigger warning for sexual harassment and apologism.

Just had the joy of listening to my mother rant for half an hour about today’s society and how we’ve all become ‘namby-pamby,’ because of the ‘nanny state.’ Oh, and sexual harassment. I hate these conversations. It started when I mentioned my earlier joy of sitting on a table with a bunch of peers in a ‘discussion’ of airbrushing, listening to the women saying, ‘I’d like to be airbrushed,’ and the men saying, ‘Doesn’t affect me, I’m not stupid.’ And then… my mother got onto her soapbox about the lack of robustness in today’s society, especially with regard to sexual harassment. So because I’m too passive-aggressive/anxious about our relationship/mindful of the cracks in it to say all this to her face, I’m going to deconstruct her arguments online.

‘I gave as good as I got.’ But why should you have got in the first place? Yes, it’s nice that you had a coping mechanism, but not everyone can do that – and why the hell should you have had to? You were in an environment where it was normal, so you learned to cope in a way you thought was normal. That doesn’t make the sexual harassment right.

‘These days, there’s no joking in workplaces and all the cameraderie is gone because people can’t take a joke!’ Erm – sexual harassment is a joke? WAIT NO. A JOKE IS FUNNY. SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS NEVER FUNNY. Sexual harassment promotes cameraderie? Well, this is a patriarchal kyriarchy, Mother, so yes – but that doesn’t make it right. And also, a lot of things have changed now. Consumer capitalism is a few stages further on. We’re all expendable servants of the machine, so that does tend to lower morale. Besides that, no joking? What, so it’s impossible to joke about things that aren’t sexual harassment? WAIT NO. There’s plenty of things that are ACTUALLY FUNNY and that don’t involve SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

‘There will always be creeps.’ There will always be creeps in a patriarchal kyriarchy. We don’t know about the post-kyriarchy because GUESS WHAT, people like you are ACTIVELY HINDERING the process of demolishing it.

‘There’s nothing wrong with a bit of joshing between consenting adults.’ Well, yeah. I agree with you. Personal autonomy, consent… yeah, if people want to say stuff like that to each other and make sure consent is enthusiastic and informed, fine. But do people go around saying, ‘Are you okay with me making comments and passes of a sexual nature that will be crude and possibly cruel?’ NO. They don’t. So it’s NOT between consenting adults because consent means KNOWING WHAT’S GOING ON AND SAYING ‘YES!’ TO IT. And consent would mean that it wouldn’t be harassment, either, because harassment is definitely not consensual. Someone being harassed may ‘josh’ back because that’s literally the only solution that doesn’t involve losing the job. Seriously, if you think that’s consent, that’s fucking terrifying.

Sometimes I really can’t stand my mother. I like her as long as we stay away from politics and social justice as topics of conversation, but if we start talking about that I get incoherent rage attack and just sit there digging my fingernails into my hands and wanting to leave. She’s sizeist, cissexist, binarist, classist, sexist and ableist at the least. This is why I can’t fucking talk to her about who I am. I’m just so glad I managed to escape those attitudes.

Trigger warning for discussion of rape and excessive, bigoted male privilege. Apologies for forgetting it.

Yes, of COURSE it’s (cis) men who’re getting the raw deal. And of COURSE I’m not being sarcastic at all. Why, don’t we know that the majority of rape victims aren’t female-assigned and/or identified? That female-assigned and/or identified people are generally believed as a matter of course in all court cases and never, ever silenced, all on account of them being FA/I people? That they earn more than male-assigned and/or identified people? That their appearances aren’t constantly policed and regarded as the most valuable thing about them? That their voices are mostly heard, listened to and respected? That their reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are rarely compromised?

Oh wait. I wrote ‘female assigned and/or identified’ where I should have written ‘male assigned and/or identified’. Yes, Mr Raab, we do indeed live in a patriarchy. So no, Mr Raab, feminists are not ‘bigoted.’ I think I can diagnose this as a classic case of displacement of one’s own faults. (during this post, ‘women’ stands for female-assigned and/or identified and ‘men’ for male-a a/o i)

Right. Let’s deconstruct your argument (most points are summarised). ‘Men work longer hours.’ Because in a patriarchy, the man is the provider and the woman is judged incapable of this role.

‘Men die earlier.’ Men are socialised to believe that masculinity=toughness. This means they’re less likely to go to a doctor for what seems like a minor complaint but could be the start of something serious. Also, they suffer more stress for several reasons, including the reason specified above and the fact that the man’s role is that of power and authority.

‘Men are discriminated against as regards paternity leave.’ The patriarchy believes that women are the only gender that can care for children, and forces them to do so. Therefore, because the patriarchy enforces a rigid binary, men cannot do these things. So yeah, you’re taking an aspect of women’s oppression and using it as an example of men’s oppression.

‘Men are generalised about.’ And women aren’t? Seriously, we live in a positive snake-pit of gender stereotypes. Women are all obsessed with their looks. Women are more emotional. Women are better carers. Women are weak. Women this, women that. Oh noes the menz are coming in for some of that. I’m sorry, Mr Raab, I really don’t think you’ve got anything to complain about.

‘Battle of the sexes/gender warfare.’ Grow up. That kind of thing is best left behind in primary school. And if you’d read anything more than one or two sentences of feminism, especially the more recent stuff, you’d know that your phrase is ridiculous. Feminists do not hate men. They hate patriarchy. It seems you do too. Now stop snivelling, ditch the Tories and do something about it.

Good! I found his actual stuff! More to deconstruct!

Mr Raab, you cherry-pick your data. You used women in their twenties as an example of your ‘non-existent pay gap’ for a reason; these are the women the patriarchy can tolerate. They’re young, attractive, often childless. After this point, the pay gap increases.

‘Boys are educationally disadvantaged.’ Yes – because the patriarchy tells them that the qualities needed to succeed educationally are ‘feminine’ and therefore off-limits!

‘Fathers lack access rights.’ Because the patriarchy believes that childcaring is ‘feminine’ and therefore doesn’t want men having any part of it, thinking that teh wimmenz are the only gender that can do the caring and that therefore THEY SHOULD, DAMMIT, THEY SHOULD.

‘Britain’s not perfect, and we will never eradicate all human prejudice. But, we have reached a stage where the differences between men and women in our society are less reflective of overt discrimination, and more their common challenge of trying to find the right way to earn a decent quality of life for their family, whilst sparing some time to enjoy it. That means taking a consistent approach to equality, ditching outdated gender warfare and finding practical solutions to the challenges couples go through together.’ This whole paragraph is you speaking through your cis male rose-tinted glasses. Talk to a couple of your female friends or relatives.

And ‘the double standard of sex morals’? You’re saying this goes against men? Holy crap! See my first paragraph. Also, slut/stud double standard, virgin/whore dichtonomy, privileging of masculinity, real/fake dichtonomy, androcentricism…

So yes, Mr Raab. Hopefully what you have taken away from this is that 1) your problem is with patriarchy. 2) women come off worse in a patriarchy. 3) feminists fight patriarchy (and if you’re going to criticise them, do it legitimately; criticise the transphobic, racist, kyriarchal history and current subsets of feminism rather than a strawman). 4) you need to educate yourself. However, I doubt that these points will ever reach you, and if they did I doubt you’d listen. *Sigh* Whyever did we vote in the Tories again?

Well isn’t JKBC a bloody stupid individual for voluntarily going through the entire archives of a radfem transphobic hate blog. I’m not going to dignify it with a link, but it is, like many other transphobic hate blogs, accessible on WordPress tags (which is how I found it). Normally I try to avoid these disgusting places, but… I arrived and then read on in fascinated horror.

I don’t understand, radical feminists. You are cis. You have cis privilege. You can’t talk about being trans. Being a butch woman is not being trans. To be a butch woman is to experience a certain amount of transphobia from people who don’t know you, but does not give you the experience of being non-cis. Whether or not people are reading you as trans, you are cis. Don’t criticise my walk without walking a mile in my shoes.

Our identity does not invalidate yours. We often have the same goals as you, because we recognise that being freed from gender inequality and oppressive norms is a good thing. Not just for us, but for everyone. But many of us won’t call ourselves feminists – because the small minority of feminists like you hate us, and make it an unsafe space for us.

Who are you to talk about body dissonance? You, who have lived all your life in a body that fits you – who are you to tell me/us that I/we should not change this strange, alien body to the one that feels right? Who are you to violate my/our bodily autonomy? Who are you to talk down to me/us? Who are you to invalidate my/our identity? Who are you to put your fingers in your ears and yell LALALA when we tell you we’re dying from your hate and from your and the patriarchal, kyriarchal mainstream’s refusal to grant us validity, when we are valid?

In this, you are collaborating with the patriarchy you profess to hate. You cannot fight one oppression while perpetuating another, because one, it makes your movement invalid, and two, it will come around to bite you in the arse. Feminism is the movement that brought me to consciousness and that allowed me to accept myself – but that is not your feminism. Your feminism is a hateful rhetoric that violates the very principles you hold dear. Your feminism is not my feminism. You work against your narrow definition of the patriarchy and actively support the wider patriarchy and the kyriarchy. That – that’s not feminism, actually. I don’t like being prescriptive, but you cannot support the patriarchy/kyriarchy and still claim the title feminist. FYI, that goes for all other oppressions as well. You can’t support those and still call yourself a feminist, either, because those oppressions oppress women, the people you profess to support.

Stop calling trans women male fetishists. Trans women are as woman as you are. Anyone who will stand up in this misogynist culture and say ‘I am a woman’ is a woman, and brave, and strong, and incredible. Also, you have never had to encounter transmisogyny – and you never will – and believe me, transmisogyny is a bad thing.

Stop calling trans men brainwashed women. Trans men are not women. They are men. They are not butch women brainwashed by the patriarchy’s narrow ideals of femininity. They are not mutilating their ‘beautiful female bodies’. They are making their bodies habitable for themselves. You know the idea of ‘my body, my choice’? Well, it applies to trans folks too. And frankly, unless you’ve experienced dissonance, STFU. Like you tell cis men, unless you can get pregnant, STFU.

I don’t even want to know what you’d all say about non-binary folks. For the female-assigned, I suppose you’d say that because of patriarchal brainwashing, female-assigned non-binary folks feel the need to create new genders rather than be non-normatively female. No idea what you’d say about the male-assigned. Fetishists who hate women too much to even do the fetishisation properly? It’s hateful enough.

Trans people are not a trend. We are people. We’ve existed since time immemorial, but now as the movement towards our liberation raises its head cautiously and more of us are able to acknowledge ourselves, you call us a trend. Don’t disparage us for finding the courage to come to terms with ourselves. You did it – remember how hard that was? Now try doing that underneath the millstone of transphobia, cissexism, binarism etc.

Don’t give us shit about the way we are. We can’t help our genders. The world has screwed us over forever, telling us that we can, that we must call ourselves words that aren’t right, that we must wear a body that doesn’t fit. You don’t get to tell us anything about our experiences. You don’t get to have a say in our bodies. You don’t know the gender that exists or not in our minds. You’re not us.

I’ve got a solution. Don’t like us? Don’t talk about us. It’s very simple. You have cis privilege – you can walk away. Do so, please. We really don’t need you around, and you evidently don’t need us around since you hate us so much.