One in seven people believe it is acceptable in some circumstances for a man to hit his wife or girlfriend if she is dressed in “sexy or revealing clothes in public”, according to the findings of a survey released today. A similar number believed that it was all right for a man to slap his wife or girlfriend if she is “nagging or constantly moaning at him”. The findings of the poll, conducted for the Home Office, also disclosed about a quarter of people believe that wearing sexy or revealing clothing should lead to a woman being held partly responsible for being raped or sexually assaulted.
she reads a lot of web and passes a lot of remarks, so she does.
I always naively think that the British Times is above your common-level misogyny, but it seems I'm wrong again. A piece today on Sandra Bullock's legal battle to secure her husband's custody of his daughter is misogyny-laden from start to finish. You see, Bullock is 'America's Sweetheart'. The mother of said daughter is a porn star. Ergo, Bullock would be a good mother, and the porn star - the whore, the slut - must be a bad mother. Dammit, the Times author didn't even try to cover up his blatant bias. Observe:
America's sweetheart, the actress Sandra Bullock, is being dragged into an unpleasant legal battle to prove that she is a better parent than her husband’s former wife, the star of more than 100 pornographic movies.
His ex-wife Janine Lindemulder, 40, star of such video titles as Mrs Behavin’, Sleeping Booty and Dyke Diner, disagrees. She has just been released from a six-month prison sentence for tax evasion.
The tattooed blonde remains in a halfway house in Los Angeles until the end of this year when she can seek custody of her daughter.
Now, it has to be noted that the rest of the piece does not paint Bullock's husband in a favourable light, but none of what he has done previously (even leaving his seven-month pregnant wife) means that he could possibly be a bad parent. You see, boys will be boys! But women who enjoy sex, who have sex because it's their choice to do so, or who are involved in the sex industry are, de facto, bad people. You didn't hear it here first.
it’s a standard issue feminist-baiting piece—-basically, look at this feminist talking about how feminists are so stupid!—-but as usual, the only people looking stupid are the anti-feminists. In this case, Weldon is so stupid that she doesn’t even realize how directly she contradicts herself in her pandering.
When I started reading about nonmonogamy, I began to realize that a lot of the appeal for me came from how closely it fell in line with my feminist beliefs. Because I’ve been socialized to see monogamy as the default, even within the feminist circles I’ve been part of, this seemed to me counterintuitive at first. But after a while, I realized that this was based on misconceptions of nonmonogamy and everything clicked in my head. There are two things in particular that helped me make this connection.
) determined that “approximately one-fourth of women who would have Medicaid-funded abortions instead give birth when this funding is unavailable.”
Whatever the actual number of women who are essentially forced to give birth due to a lack of funding for abortion is, as a percentage it’s a gigantic and terrifying figure.
I don’t think there is one word I could add to this story to make its message any plainer or any more disturbing. These are the cruel realities of life in South Africa.
Some key statements:
- One in four South African men questioned in a survey said they had raped someone and nearly half admitted having attacked more than one victim.
- … practices such as gang rape were common because they were considered a form of male bonding.
- A recent trade union report said a child was being raped in South Africa every three minutes with the vast majority of those cases going unreported.
What?! How long has this been going on, and why has there been no outrage about this before? And why?!
The researcher suggested that:
"… it’s partly rooted in our incredibly disturbed past and the way that South African men over the centuries have been socialised into forms of masculinity that are predicated on the idea of being strong and tough and the use of force to assert dominance and control over women, as well as other men.
Really? Can this adequately be attributed to a patriarchal society and the on-going prevalence of negative attitudes towards women, or do these statistics require a phenomenon all of their own? I can certainly see her point, but this theory still doesn’t explain these staggering statistics when men all over the world have been socialised into those very same forms of masculinity. (And I question, by the way, what a ‘form of masculinity’ is in the first place.) No, there’s something much more sinister afoot here, and I wish I understood what it was. But more than that, and infinitely more importantly, I wish that somebody, somewhere was doing something about it. The responses in this piece indicate to me a complacency about these crimes and an acceptance that this is just how things are in South Africa. I cannot get my head around this at all. And I’m fucking disgusted.
Full piece behind the cut.
I always listen to Radio 4 in the mornings on my way to work. I'm in that demographic now, don't you know. I'm nearly always leaving as 'Thought for the Day' begins. For those of you unfamiliar with Thought for the Day it is, as the link says, 'reflections from a faith perspective on issues and people in the news'. I think it would be more accurately described as patronising and sanctimonious reflections from God-bothers full of their own self-importance, but anyway. I find it insufferable.
This morning the Reverend Doctor Middle Class and Vaguely Disgruntled was doing his piece. He started off by recounting a tale of how he tried to help a young lady with her suitcase onto the bus. She declined his offer, and brushed his hand away when he offered again. This reaction, he blamed, on women's constant quest for equality. If it wasn't for the equality gained so far, he implied, women wouldn't think twice about accepting help from a man. He tried to redeem himself, of course, by talking then about the disparities in earnings of men and women - and in doing so 'approved' of our pesky feminism - and then came back to the quandary of women not allowing men to help them when they clearly need it.
Seriously, Reverend Doctor Middle Class and Vaguely Disgruntled? Really? If I give you the benefit of the doubt for a moment, and believe that you genuinely thought that telling a story about a woman 'in need' would be a good introduction to a discussion about equal pay rights, I have to tell you that you're a little naive. I know a lot of women - and I'm one myself - and I'm pretty sure that most of us don't spend our time declining offers of help from men because we're obsessed with equality. If you really need to know, I rather think that we women feel that it's intrusive to be approached by strange men offering help (or anything else), that it can often be intimidating to be approached in such a manner, and that we decline because we feel uncomfortable and we would rather not have you near us or our suitcases. Is that unfortunate? Of course it is. In an ideal world, we would all be helping each other carry our butterflies and rainbows around; in a realistic world, we react as we do because we're conditioned to do so by what we see around us. It's got nothing to do with equality, or its lack.
But I'm not going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I think that for all your talk of equal pay for the sexes and of narrowing the employment gap, you think we women have got too much equality already. You gave your game away when you mentioned that ungrateful young woman twice in three minutes. You're thinking, I'm sure, that she should have been happy to take help from you, the Big Man, instead of trying to assert her independence when she was so clearly in need. But the world, thankfully, doesn't work your way any more. Perhaps the next time you pipe up on Thought for the Day, you'll remember that it's not all about you, and that women don't spend their waking moments trying to figure out how to get their equality points higher at the expense of people like you.
I struggle with my privilege, mostly because I know that I've got bucketfuls of it. I'm western, white, straight, middle-class, able-bodied, and educated. The only area I don't have privilege in is my gender (although I am cisgendered). But I'm not doing too badly, overall. I'm not ashamed of my privilege, but I am conscious of it. Most of my 'qualities' afford me a much easier life than others who do not have those 'qualities'. I suppose, if I'm honest, that makes me uncomfortable. I am aware of my privilege, and I do own it, but I'm not convinced that that's enough. I was born with this privilege, and I will have it forever. I don't want to contribute a system of inequality because of it, but I know I do. The privileged always do, whether they are aware of it or not. Simply by benefiting from privilege, we are contributing to a society which embraces it.
I really troubles me.
This blogger says it much better:
Hey you in the back row with the unacknowledged privilege, I am talking to you. That's right, I am pointing my long black finger at you. It is time to listen up and learn. Privilege is an extremely loaded word. Many will not acknowledge it, preferring instead to focus on their good deeds. Privilege can come in many forms, you can have race, class, gender, western, cis, ability, etc, and it is important to recognize each and every single one of them, they are a part of your being and can not be halted at will any more than you can stop breathing.
I am black, western, straight, middle class, educated, and able bodied, all of these factors combined create who I am and colour how I view the world. Had I been born elsewhere, and were illiterate and poor all of the comfort that I view as everyday occurrences would not exist in my life. If I am hungry I walk into my kitchen. I can kiss my unhusband in public and know that the stares we receive are because of our racial differences, and not because of our sexuality. My education ensures that I will have a good chance at achieving and maintaining good paying employment, and it further empowers me to discuss ideas, concepts and ideologies from a detached academic point of view. This is who I am, and I own all of it.
Owning privilege is not about feeling ashamed, it is about acknowledging the benefits that one receives without having to work for them. It is about realizing that people born to different circumstances will not receive these benefits as a consequence of our skewed understanding of worth and value. It is further about realizing that no matter how many good and charitable works I perform, my body will always exist with privilege. No matter how often I donate my time to food banks or homeless shelters, I cannot undo the class privilege into which I was born. No matter how valiantly I advocate for fair trade, and an end to things like the western fuelled wars in Africa, I cannot undue the damage that my government has done in my name. As sickened as I am about the systemic inequalities that plague humanity, I am privileged and I own it.
It is not acceptable to say, I am not racist, sexist, homophobic etc and therefore any accusation of privilege is misplaced. These privileges are encoded to the body before birth simply because of the society we are all born into. We do not live outside of socialization we are the product of it.
To become defensive and immediately stammer, oh no not me, is a clear indicator of denial. It is this very state of denial that allows privilege to maintain its insidious grip on society. One cannot actively fight against interlocking isms while continuing to deny the effect that they personally have on you. How are you to convince anyone that inequality is systemic, if you as an individual continue to benefit without acknowledgement? It is dishonest and begins ally work from a false groundwork. It's like saying I'm not racist because my best friend as a kid was black. People see that kind of commentary for exactly what it is.
Understanding and owning privilege does not mean that you must live a life of shame or guilt, it does however mean that you owe a debt that must be repaid. For each advantage that you are given, you must at some point attempt to mitigate some of your unearned privilege. This will never absolve you of said privilege but over time, if enough people equally dedicate themselves to mitigation it will lessen privilege through the changing of ideas of what it means to exist as a specific body.
We spend far too much time saying oh no not me, or feeling shame for things that are out of our control. A dear friend once told me that she felt ashamed and guilty because of slavery. I was actually dumbstruck for a moment before I responded, "you have never personally enslaved anyone, the issue is not history, the issue is how you continue to be advantaged because of history." This is central to the point that I am trying to make. No one individual can bear the sins of the world, but each individual continually recreates these sins by failure to acknowledge the degree to which we are socialized to accept that certain bodies are somehow less than. There is no righteous person, only righteous thoughts, deed and emotions.