George Takei presents us with an interesting poll:
I love this man more than words can explain, and this is just one of the many reasons why.
He isn’t afraid to stand up for people who don’t have a voice and he’s got intelligent ways of doing so.
So someone asked (not me, I should clarify, just in general) about the difference between bisexuality and pansexuality. And I’m in the middle of
writing seriously thinking aboutthinking about actually getting down to writing a seminar paper on the rhetoric that surrounds bisexuality and…
Hello I’m Micole, and I’m beginning a research project, and hopefully also turn it into a documentary, on the sex lives of queer women/female bodied genderqueer people of color. It’s a short 10 question survey, please give as much detail as possible. It explores both race and gender in relation to queer relationships and sex lives. I seems that this particular topic is rarely researched. There are works about lesbians of color, but with this I want to look as all those who identify anywhere under the umbrella term of queer. So please help me out I’d appreciate it! Thanks.
this should constantly be on my dash just every few days
“Wait I just…I can’t…fuck”…. I died.
A friend linked me to this article recently:
and asked for my thoughts.
The resulting response came in at nearly 3000 words. So, with that I shall start this blog, that I’ve intended to start for years, about feminism and egalitarianism and disability and sexuality and gender and race and social justice issues in general.
Okay, so some thoughts…
Firstly, I think sexism cuts both ways, it harms men and women. I don’t think I would yet agree that it harms both equally, and certainly don’t agree that it harms men more, but I don’t think it’s an absolute, men are always on top and women always on bottom, in every case, in every area.
I also prefer not to focus on blame, or trying to make men feel guilty for this situation - I don’t think it’s helpful, I think it alienates the people we need to get on board, and I don’t think it’s fair. No one man created the sexist culture we live in, and they were brought up steeped in it same as women were, and women propogate it as well. I do think everyone has a duty to try to improve upon the situation, to challenge the assumptions they were brought up with and identify whether they’re fair and right or not - well, I suppose really I wish everyone felt they had a duty to try to improve the situation, and I have very little respect for people who don’t feel that way. If we’re being absolutely precise I don’t think anyone has an inherent duty to do anything, but that’s a discussion for another day. I don’t think anyone should be expected to be perfect, or to change in massive ways overnight, but I think everyone should be trying, and we should all be trying to help everyone else try. Sometimes that’s with encouragement, sometimes it’s with anger and shaming, sometimes just by education, providing as much information as possible and letting people figure it out by themselves.
So, with that out of the way…
There’s a discussion that rages at large on the internet regarding whether or not women can be sexist towards men. The general feminist consensus on the sites I read (not universally, but it seems to be the majority view) is that women cannot be sexist towards men because women lack the institutional power that men have, and that sexism is defined as ‘both discrimination based on gender and the attitudes, stereotypes, and the cultural elements that promote this discrimination. Given the historical and continued imbalance of power, where men as a class are privileged over women as a class (see male privilege), an important, but often overlooked, part of the term is that sexism is prejudice plus power.’ (http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/)
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and I’m still conflicted. I disagree with this statement. I think women absolutely can be sexist towards men, but this is because I define sexism as prejudice, I do not require power to be a component. I feel this is how the term is most usually used colloquially, and as such when entering into dialogue outside of academic circles we should be using the term the way most people use it.
I do think the point they’re trying to make still stands with their definition, however. I do think men as a class wield power in a way that women do not, and as such on a cultural level sexism on the whole hurts women, and no matter the small areas of prejudice or imbalance, our culture is still sexist against women, in the same way that white people still wield power in a way that black people do not (in our culture), and so whilst a black person can be personally racist against a white person, racism as a whole is damaging to non-white people, and our culture is racist against non-white people.
To get to the actual article - my first reaction is weariness and some anger. It’s a provocative fluff piece. It’s all over the place, and basically the equivalent of a troll in a pub sounding off over their pint to try to get a discussion going and try to rile some people up. This isn’t to say all of her points are invalid, or that she doesn’t really believe what she’s saying, but it’s hardly a well-thought-out and examined look at the balance between male and female power structures in our culture, it’s a few things that bug her compiled into list form without actually placing it into context or examining why things are how they are, or how to improve them.
With regard to the points she does put -
I wouldn’t disagree that there are ways in which women are freer to discuss their sexuality than men are. Men are allowed to express their sexuality within certain very well defined restrictions - they are allowed to express that they want sex, lots of it, with lots of people, of the kind that involves them putting their cock in someone else (preferably a woman, but even gay men are approved of more, culturally speaking, if they want to put their cock in another dude than if they want a cock in them). Aspects of their sexuality that contravene any of these norms are deviant, and talking about any of these kinds of deviance is even more frowned upon, - there’s a lot of cultural enforcement to keep dudes in the ‘Act Like A Man Box’ (http://www.charlieglickman.com/2011/05/the-performance-of-masculinty/).
Women’s sexuality is also policed still - massively so - but they are definitely freer to talk about the ways they contravene norms. Men are not supposed to talk about their feelings n shit, whereas women are. However, there’s still a big difference between women being able to confess to their girlfriends that maybe they actually like sex, like, a LOT, more than their boyfriend even, and the culture at large accepting and normalising this, and reflecting it back to us.
So yes, both men and women are harmed by the boxes they’re being forced into. However, let’s examine what those boxes are, and what the harm that results is - men are forced into a box that expects them to pursue women, to be always be dominant sexually, expects them to want to ‘get’ sex out of women and try to do so. Women are forced into a box that expects them to be submissive and let the guy take the lead, to ‘allow’ men to have sex with them and links their self-worth with what ‘price’ they put on that permission and how hard it is to obtain, to put the guy’s pleasure before their own. I could be more comprehensive, but that’s a brief overview.
And the result of these boxes?
So on the whole, I find it hard to accept that men are being harmed more by this than women. I believe you will be able to findindividual cases of greater harm, a woman who has never been raped, who’s had supportive and sex-positive friends and family, who’s been able to develop a strong sense of her own sexuality and express it, a man who is so miserable and repressed in the act-like-a-man-box that they end up killing themselves because they can’t live like that any more. But on the whole, despite harm on both sides, I think it’s hard to argue that men have it worse in this area.
To adress some of her specific quotes, women saying they fancy a guy so much they’d rape him - firstly, MEN STILL DO THIS ABOUT WOMEN. This is not something that has just stopped. Reallyreally. I do think it is considered more culturally acceptable when women make jokes about raping men, and I do think that’s wrong and should be challenged. Whether jokes about rape are acceptable or not is a complicated subject that I had a very interesting long discussion with a friend about the other day - again, probably a post for another day if anyone wants to explore that. I don’t think it should be more acceptable for women to make them about men than for men to make about women. BUT these things aren’t happening in a gender neutral vacuum - women making jokes about raping men are happening in the context of a culture where women very very rarely rape men, and men rape women all the fucking time, in a situation where it is a lot easier for a guy to rape a woman than for a woman to rape a man. I am not saying it never happens, I absolutely agree that it does, and I think it needs greater visibility and education about it, and I think it’s fucking horrendous when it does happen. But I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s common, compared to man-on-woman rape. And you can’t ignore that context when you consider what’s being said - when women joke about raping men it’s with a shared understanding that this is ridiculously unlikely to happen, they’re unlikely to know a guy that’s been raped, most men around them never have to even consider that as a risk, and that it’s subverting the usual situation where guys rape women. And that’s very different from a dude making a comment about how he’d like to rape a woman, when one in four of the women he knows HAS BEEN RAPED BY A DUDE, and every woman he knows has had to shape the way they live around the risk that they might be raped, had to consider that and make their choices based on that knowledge on a regular day to day basis. I don’t think that makes it okay, but I also don’t think the two situations are equivalent.
NB I don’t think her claim that forty year old women ogling teenage boys is considered socially acceptable is really correct. See every reference to cougars ever.
2) Domestic assault
I think I’m going to end up repeating myself a lot here, aren’t I? Basically yes, woman on male domestic assault happens, more often than is commonly understood, and it is not taken as seriously as it should be. Absolutely agreed.
Again, you need to look at the context, that often the power imbalance is very fucking different and a woman hitting a dude is really not necessarily the same as a dude hitting a woman - if person a is physically far stronger than person b then person a hitting person b is never going to be exactly equivalent in terms of what the fuck is going on as vice versa. That doesn’t mean that it’s not assault if the person hitting you is smaller or weaker, of course that’s bullshit, and mental abuse can create the cage that stops you breaking out of physical abuse, even if you’re stronger. But in the majority of cases a guy whose girlfriend hits him is not scared that she’s going to beat him senseless, that she can overpower him and trap him and he can’t escape unless she lets him, whereas in the majority of cases when a girl’s boyfriend hits him that is exactly the case, and that’s also the common narrative that will be running through her head, whether it’s what’s likely to happen or not, because that is what DOES happen so fucking often. A woman hitting a dude is much more likely to be an attempt to show that he’s crossed the line, to communicate when words just aren’t getting through. It’s a symbol that says TOO FUCKING FAR, that can’t be ignored. It’s not about hurting them, or controlling them, or making them scared. Usually if a woman hits her boyfriend it’s in the full knowledge that he could beat the shit out of her if he chose to, and it’s understand that the slap is not about her trying to physically hurt him and scare him, it’s breaking their shared idea of acceptable behaviour to demonstrate that he has already done so. I DO NOT THINK THIS MAKES IT OKAY. I would really really like that made clear. As a general rule, people should not hit other people. I’m also not claiming that this is what is always happening when a woman hits a dude - sometimes it absolutely is full-on abuse, it IS about hurting them or scaring them or controlling them, and that is absolutely as bad as a man hitting a woman abusively.
My point is basically again that whilst in personal cases women can hurt men and our sexist culture can be more harmful to the dude (by refusing to allow the narrative where women can be physically abusive to men, and thus refusing to react appropriately when it happens), on the whole women are still far far more often to be domestic abuse victims, and the context in which female-on-male violence happens is very significantly different from that in which male-on-female violence happens, in terms of what usually happens, what could happen, what is expected to happen, and that means that a single slap either way is not generally equivalent.
This is the one that makes me most angry on behalf of men. I do think the way custody works at the moment is deeply fucked up, and I think men are right to be angry about this, and it needs fixing.
I also think the reason the situation is how it is is inextricably linked to sexist culture that harms women, that assumes women will be the caregiver, that punishes women who do not wish to the caregiver far far more than it does men, that does not prioritize parenthood the same way it does careers because women do it, that penalizes women when they do want careers because it is assumed they will want to be a mother at some point and need time out, and so on.
This pretty much covers 4) as well.
None of this is simple, men have it all super-great and shiny and awesome and women live in the gutter. It’s all mixed up, the things that hurt men and women all intertwined, and pretty much nothing is universally good for one gender and bad for the other.
And as to 5)
Yes, female bloggers have it so fucking easy.
There’s a lot more out there if you follow links, but this is getting long, and if I stop to research more links I’ll probably never finish it.
Again and again and again on all the feminist blogs I know the subject of the hatemail comes up. Female bloggers don’t just get told they’re wrong, they get told they’re ugly and fat and they should be raped, and they’re going to find them and rape them and kill them. This is not unusual, worst case scenarios. They gets these kinds of comments regularly, and it shuts a lot of people down. Violet Blue had to change where she put her blog out because of it, Lena Chen has had to tell people not to comment, or to be very careful if they do, because she not only has people sending her fucked up threats and tracking down her real life details they also track down and harass all her commenters, and she’s basically stopped talking about sex entirely because people tried to destroy her life and came pretty fucking close to it from the sounds of it, because of what she wrote in her blog. Sady Doyle just got really fucking angry. AND THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT KEEP GOING. These are the people who don’t let themselves be silenced.
And yeah, I know inflammatory male bloggers get nasty comments too.
But I’ve yet to see a male blogger put a post up about how hard it is to deal with all the death threats and rape threats and perpetual comments on their appearance, I’ve yet to see a male blogger talk about having to go to the police because another person’s sent them an e-mail with their address and a death threat enclosed. Male bloggers get the general ‘wah you deserve to go to hell, you’re wrong you’re wrong you’re wrong you stupid cunt’ type abuse. Not ‘You should be raped to death.’ or ‘I’m going to rape you to death’. There’s a subtle difference.
And yes, to take her point that men commenting on female articles often get jumped on. I agree. Sometimes - often - I think it’s justified, because they’re usually being fucking leotards. But it does happen more than I’d like unfairly. Men who are making the same point as a woman get jumped on because they’re men, and that’s fucked up. I believe in judging people by their words alone for the most part - I’m not saying you can’t take people’s experiences into account when considering those words and where they come from - but discounting everything someone says purely because they’re male? Nuh uh. That’s wrong.
I don’t think it’s quite as wrong as threatening to rape someone to death, though