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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 38,987

About Me

Whiteness is a scourge on humanity. Voting for Obama that one time is not a get out of being a racist card

Journal Archives

Will the awful power of the word 'slut' defeat feminists' efforts to reclaim it?

It’s been over twenty years since then-Bikini Kill frontwoman and Riot Grrrl icon Kathleen Hanna scrawled the word SLUT across her stomach. In the years since, there’s been a book called Slut!, countless feminist debates over the reclamation of the word “slut” and, in 2011, thousands of women took to streets across the globe in anti-rape marches called SlutWalks – a reference to how victims of sexual assault are often blamed for the violence done to them.

Like “cunt” and “bitch”, many feminists have long tried to wrest away from its original users the power and harm of the word “slut” and to give it new meaning. Increasingly, though, it’s seeming like we might not succeed any time soon.

Take Leora Tanenbaum: in 2000, she wrote Slut!: Growing up Female with a Bad Reputation chronicling girls’ and women’s experiences with the word. She herself was called a “slut” as a high school student in the 1980s – long before the term “sexual harassment” was coined – and told me “I had no vocabulary to understand what happened.”

Now, 15 years later, Tanenbaum is about to publish another book: I Am Not a Slut because, in part, the sheen of reclaiming “slut” seems to have worn off over the years. When she spoke to women who called themselves “sluts” with a “positive and defiant” spirit, all told her the decision had turned against them later – and all regretted it.


Outside Charlie Hebdo

Very interesting article, it changes the topic, and makes for richer thought. This site is very critical of the critics of Charlie Hebdo, so this is a particularly thoughtful piece when seen in that context.

I’m really appreciative to all the Francophones on various sites who have taken the time to put Charlie Hebdo’s work in a rich cultural context, opening up the magazine’s visual aesthetic and clarifying their editorial and political vantage point with more nuance than most of our mainstream Anglophone sources. These people’s willingness to do the tedious work of translating image after image, kindly and with probably strained patience, has elevated a very stark conversation into a vastly more nuanced one.

Here we have a convergence of so many issues that compel our culture to debate: free speech, extremism, faith and fascism, violence, humor, bullying, mockery, racism, sexism, and art. And yet so many opinions seem to fall broadly into one of just two camps – the ones that just outright call CH racist, and the ones that cloak it in the venerable mantle of satire.

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of a long discussion with me on the subject of satire knows that I really just, generally, don’t find any aesthetic pleasure and only very limited intellectual pleasure in satirical work. Even when it’s very well done, it is a mode of discourse that relies on a spectrum ranging from discomfort to derision, and my response is almost always to turn away on purely emotional grounds. I’ve been very open about this opinion; it’s not new this week. It’s made me feel very awkward about adopting the “Je Suis Charlie” hashtag, because I wouldn’t have said something like that before last Wednesday’s events. The hashtag makes the magazine a metonym for all the people killed – even the Muslim policeman. I respond strongly and decisively to those who were killed and wounded as people, with voices and rights and subjectivity. But I respond to the magazine and the cartoons with ambivalence – because even though I tend to agree with the politics, the aesthetics are beyond me.

Probably for that reason, my reactions are not substantially mitigated by actually understanding the satire, although it helps. The logic of Charlie Hebdo’s satire is certainly much clearer to me now that so many people have spoken patiently and eloquently to clarify it. In particular, the cover depicting the sex slaves of Boko Haram as welfare queens appears much smarter and more complex when interpreted as “why do you care so much about these threatened and disadvantaged girls, but not about the threatened and disadvantaged girls right on your doorstep?” I am convinced that much of the work is indeed more complicated — and certainly contextually rich – than appears at first glance to readers who do not inhabit the immediate cultural context. These are political cartoons, and politics is always contextual.

- See more at: http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2015/01/outside-charlie-hebdo/#.dpuf

The Most Feminist Moments Of The 2015 Golden Globes

If the 2015 Golden Globes taught us anything, it's that women's stories matter -- and girls truly do rule. This year's Globes gave us one badass feminist moment after another. (We are convinced that allowing people to eat and drink at an awards show makes everything better.)

There were some less-than-ideal parts of the show (i.e. Kevin Hart calling Salma Hayek "aggressive," Jeremy Renner's creepy joke about J.Lo's breasts, the entire North Korea bit), but overall it delivered serious lady power -- after all, four out of five of the shows nominated for Best Comedy have female showrunners -- and some deeply powerful acceptance speeches.

We rounded up the 11 most feminist moments of the night:

1. Tina Fey poked fun at the props given to male actors who undergo physical transformations for roles -- and simultaneously got in a jab at bullsh*t beauty standards.
"It took me three hours today to prepare for my role as a human woman," she quipped.

2. Patricia Arquette gave a beautiful shout-out to single mothers and all that they do.
"You placed in my hands the part of Olivia, an under-appreciated single mother," she said. "Thank you for shining a light on this woman and the millions of women like her and for allowing me to honor my own mother with this beautiful character."

3. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey threw some serious shade at Bill Cosby.
Our girls didn't hold back when alluding to the more than 20 women who have come forward with allegations against Cosby. When describing the plot "Into The Woods" Poehler joked, "Cinderella ran away from her prince, Rapunzel was thrown from a tower... and Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby." Fey then proceeded to impersonate Cosby, quipping: "I put the pills in the people! The people did not want the pills in them!” Zing.


Men’s Rightsers offer innovative new theory about rape and feminism.

Men’s Rightsers offer innovative new theory about rape and feminism. And by “innovative” I mean Horrifying

Paul Elam: “Dworkin’s problem wasn’t that she was raped. Her problem, and I mean all along, was that she wasn’t.”

There’s a post on the AgainstMensRights subreddit today highlighting a comment from a Men’s Rights Redditor that offers some, well, interesting theories about why feminists are “obsessed” with rape and abortion, even though he thinks they are very ugly.

Actually, in his mind, it’s because they are very ugly, and secretly wish someone would be attracted enough to them to rape them.

Sasha_ 3 points 1 day ago I can't help noticing that many of these women protesting so vehemently about rape seem to be...well I don't really know how to put it; but if they're rape victims then there must be some very odd rapists in the US; because some of those women are clearly about 15+ stone in weight and there're not what one would describe as 'traditionally attractive' - unless one's particularly attracted to scary she-beasts. It does make me wonder whether some of these women are motivated by sexuar frustration? A great many female feminists seem to be quite unhealthily obsessed with rape in a disturbingly-obsessed way. It goes right across the board really - feminists are always banging on about rape and abortion. It's as though half the time they're obsessed with being 'ravished' - and God knows half the books women read seem to be rape-fantasises like that 'Twilight' nonsense - and the rest of the time they obsessed with killing the results. The more I think about it, the more I think that feminist are really quite creepy.

I’m sure there are MRAs out there who would like to dismiss his posting as the ravings of a random Redditor. Sadly, it’s not. Despite the terribleness of his “explanation,” or perhaps because of it, it seems to be a common one amongst Manosphereians and Men’s Rightsers.

Indeed, in one notorious post a couple of years ago, A Voice for Men founder and all-around garbage human Paul Elam — probably the most important person in the Men’s Rights movement today — offered a much cruder version of this argument. [TRIGGER WARNING for some primo rape apologism. I have bolded the worst bits, and archived the post here in case Elam decides to take it down, as he has been doing with some of his more repellant posts].


Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary review – a radical Indian royal in the heart of empire

what do you do if you are the daughter of an estranged Indian royal family marooned in the heart of late-Victorian and Edwardian London? You join the ranks of the various revolutionaries and other assorted malcontents, while maintaining social proprieties to the very end.

The BBC broadcaster Anita Anand tells the beguiling story of Sophia Duleep Singh, from exile in the Suffolk country estate of Elveden to the suffragette battleground of Westminster, via various trips to her ancestors’ home. Anand vividly paints the picture of society girl turned revolutionary and her father, who spends most of his years fulminating against the British and wanly plotting against them.

Sophia takes the well-travelled route of private tutors and debs balls. “The timid girl who used to squirm before the camera was now an unabashed show-off. She would strike absurd poses for newspaper photographers, marrying her two greatest loves: high fashion and dog-breeding. On one voyage, back home to north-western India aboard the SS Barbarossa, a ship “designed to soothe and pamper even the tautest of travellers”, Sophia paid considerable attention to the etiquette of the captain’s banqueting table and avoiding the more vulgar guests.

So how did this spoilt princess, goddaughter of Queen Victoria, become a doughty fighter for women’s rights? Her turbulent family history influenced her greatly. Her feisty sister, Bamba, initially secured a place at Northwestern University, near Chicago, to study medicine. The arrival and ambitions of this exotic lady were a matter of fascination and consternation. “Although several universities were admitting women medical students, many Americans found the practice distasteful, believing like their British counterparts that women doctors were an affront to the natural order,” Anand writes. The offer was withdrawn and Bamba returned to the UK despondent, joining her similarly downcast elder sister Catherine.


The 6 biggest lies you’ve been told about vaginas

So that bullshit in porn is actually Pee. As I've said. It's worth taking the time to look at "squirting" in porn--you can see how unhinged porn can get.

One of the most fiery debates over female sexuality is whether female ejaculation, or “squirting,” is actually a thing. Last week, the Journal of Sexual Medicine released a study online attempting to settle this once and for all. The journal rounded up 7 women who reported “massive fluid emission during sexual stimulation” and analyzing the contents of said fluids. The study’s authors ultimately determined that “squirting is essentially the involuntary emission of urine during sexual activity,” or in layman’s terms: Squirting is probably pee.

Though the study was far from comprehensive, it did attempt to debunk one of the most prevalent myths of female sexuality out there: that of the ultra-orgasmic woman who effortlessly ejaculates.

Thanks to the lack of information surrounding the female anatomy, such myths dominate our understanding of the vagina to the point where even those who have one need a few hours with a hand mirror to figure out how to navigate the damn thing. The Daily Dot attempted to clear up some of these myths and misconceptions by debunking a few of our favorites.


Online and Offline Violence Towards Women

Long excellent Read

This is part one of a four-part series. Part Two, Part Three, Part Four.

Fixing this is going to require a lot of talking.

I try not to keep track of the threats. High profile women face hatred and threats online that can take your breath away. It has mine. I’ve been threatened with rape and being beaten to death and fucked to death with inanimate objects and more rape and put into slavery and more beating and then some more rape.

Sometimes the threats are sexual, sometimes just violent. I don’t know about all of them. I know Ryan Singel, my editor at Wired, often deleted them, along with comments about my looks, off the bottom of my articles before I could see them. I have a hard time remembering specific threats, because I have to block them out to function. Once, a man in Britain said he would send me a specific poisonous spider that would jump out of the box and kill me — points for creativity. A man in Australia told me that he fantasized about raping me then beating me to death. That stuck for the sheer vividness. Though when I think about his fantasy, it’s not really me he’s doing it to. It’s some kind of inanimate blow up doll of me.

I would fight, I think. I have a history of fighting back in real life. Sometimes it has worked, and sometimes it hasn’t.
For all the theories and fantasies about how we’d take down our attackers, it’s not so simple to decide if you should fight back. Some say you shouldn’t, because that’s how women get beaten badly or killed, and raped is better than dead, or eating through a tube for life. Or, if you win, you might go to jail for years. Raped is definitely better than going to jail for years, especially given the prevalence of rape in prison. There’s another benefit to not fighting back, which is this: if you know you can’t win, either because of physical or situational coercion, you can just leave your body. You just let it happen to the meat and send your mind somewhere a thousand miles away, where none of this is real. It works for rape, it works for beatings, it works whenever you are in terrible pain and no one is there to care for you. You make your body a stranger, you stop caring about it, sometimes you even hate it, and then it all happens to the stranger you care nothing for.

The problem is it can take years to come back to your body. It can be the hardest trip you will ever make. The stranger meat you’ve learned to hate takes all the abuse, and becoming one person again can be the task of a lifetime. Reuniting your mind and body is like trying to find your way in the dark, and every time someone says “Bitch you’d look better with my cock in your mouth,” you risk getting lost again.


What passes for humor on FB

Yes I let them have it. #whatrapeculture

Compassion, Men, and Me

I haven’t thought this through extensively. Normally I wouldn’t write about anything I haven’t thought through extensively, but I’ll explain that.

But I’ve read Scott Aaronson’s article and Laurie Penny’s article and Chana Messinger’s article and I’m still nowhere closer to having a conclusion about any of this. I do know this: pain is real no matter who feels it. I am a feminist and I sympathize with Aaronson. Does this make me that much of an anomaly? I doubt it, but who knows.

I also know this: the vast majority of the time that this particular shy nerdy guy pain has been shared with me, it has been shared in response to my attempts to discuss or advocate against sexual harassment and assault, or sexism in general. This makes it very difficult to continue being compassionate.

I don’t agree that “But I was sad because I could never get laid” necessarily always means “I am demanding that some woman sleep with me in order to make me feel better,” but I understand why many feminist women think that it does. We’re not sure what else we’re supposed to do with all this pain being handed to us. Aaronson may think he’s the only one, or one of the only ones, but many of us have been hearing this sort of thing for years. Some of us heard it from the guys we hopelessly crushed on in high school, who ignored us to fantasize about prettier, normal-er girls–because, guess what? Shy nerdy girls who can’t get laid exist, too.


10 Comics That Shut Down Terrible Internet Arguments

Not just for feminists!

1. The Terrible Argument: "You're violating my free speech!"

Some people are under the mistaken impression that free speech means that they can say anything they want without criticism or consequence. But this comic from Randall Munroe's xkcd reminds us exactly what free speech means:

2. The Terrible Argument: "Not all [insert group] are like that! I'm not like that!"

Sometimes, in response to complaints of harassment/bad actions by a particular group, a member of that group will respond with, "Not all of us are like that!" as if it is some sort of argument against the complaint.

To highlight the problem with that response (and doing nothing to solve the problem at hand), Dick Jarvis made the comic "Gull Factory" about a conversation between a seagull and rat. It doesn't go so well. Jarvis includes this note:

If you feel like this comic doesn't accurately represent you, and that you personally don't act like this, good. That means this comic isn't about you.

If you DO act like this, and are working on a counter argument about how not all _____ are ______ , well that's just disappointing.

More: http://io9.com/10-comics-that-shut-down-terrible-internet-arguments-1677109868
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