Woman of Steele

RIP Harris Savides

RIP Harris Savides

BBC Editorial asks: Does the sex debate exclude men?

On the BBC website, and on the radio, author Sarah Dunant asked, “Does the sex debate exclude men?”  While I recommend reading the whole article in order to fully engage with why I disagree with her, she makes a comment that, to me, negates her thesis, which I wouldn’t have agreed with anyway.  That said, I think there is room to talk about the roles of men in these discussions; men, and their opinions, are key allies in all genders gaining sexual equality.

The author states: “We accept that in the aftermath of feminism growing up male can be hard: but where are the big public conversations about men’s sexuality,” and that is the problem with her thesis.  We are not in the aftermath of feminism, nor in a post-feminist society.  Growing up male is hard because society has gender roles and gender norms that negatively affect men as well.  Feminism seeks to eradicate those gender norms.  I have little pity for men grappling with growing up in a society where women are beginning to have some of the same rights and power men have always had. 

Perhaps she meant “since the advent of,” but it’s hard to know, especially as “aftermath” is most often used, and most commonly defined as, describing events following a disaster.  I don’t mean to mince words, but in an article that wonders why there isn’t more debate from men, unclear language only hinders her argument.  But if I take the common uses of “aftermath,” her whole argument relies on the presumption that feminism succeeded.  I also don’t think, since raping women is no longer acceptable courtship, that we have ample cause to say “Look how far we’ve come!”  I think there’s reasons to be optimistic (it was hard for a woman to open a bank account in the 1950s without a husband) about the progress we’ve made, but there is so much left to do, especially as feminism has traditionally, and still does, overwhelmingly benefit white feminists.  Perhaps it’s different in the UK, but the language debate about rape in the US is terrifying and feels like we are at risk for losing progress because we are- many US states have been imposing stricter and draconian abortion laws.  These men are being shot down by women because their views are misogynistic, Galloway’s view that Assange practiced bad sexual etiquette for example, and I don’t believe ill informed, hateful, speech deserves to be given the equal consideration of thoughtful discourse.  Should I applaud Galloway for speaking up to defend rape culture?  How brave of him?  Do I believe in the possibility that having a conversation with Gallaway about why his views are harmful and perpetuate rape culture in the hopes his views will evolve is worthwhile?  Yes.  Does that mean his comments shouldn’t be bashed online.  No.

However, men do need to be talking about rape.  In high school, discussions about rape, date rape, and understating consent (anyone who doesn’t believe what Assange did is rape does not truly understand consent) could go a long way to combating rape culture and sexual violence.  That is the silence I am most considered about- all genders must fight sexual violence, whether it’s rape or laws limiting a women’s right to chose, the most harmful side effects of societies, that for all the sexual revolution did accomplish, still fear women’s sexuality and power.  Imagine debating 50 Shades of Grey in a society without sexual violence?  We could actually focus on the different facets of human sexuality and pleasure or on the bad writing!  If we believe feminism accomplished all it set out to do, our hope for progress and true sexual equality is dire.

Golden Girls on Marriage Equality.

Please study this testimony: “Born in a rancid, bat-infested cave at the base of the smoldering Sangay Volcano, I was raised by the half-bear demon princess Arcastia. At the age of four my training as a ninja shaman began when I was left naked and alone next to a stream of burning lava with only two safety pins, a package of dental floss, and a plastic bag full of Cheerios. My mission: to find my way to my spiritual home.” Now, Aries, I’d like you to compose your own version of this declaration: a playful, over-the-top myth about your origins that gives you a greater appreciation for the heroic journey you’ve been on all these years.
My Horoscope this week.
If this conversation about me is going to be had, I will do my part to insist that it is a feminist one, because it has been misogynistic from the start.
Ashley Judd in the Daily Beast responding to recent criticisms over her appearance.

Transgender activist Agnes Torres found dead in Puebla, Mexico. 
this is the sixth unsolved homicide of an LGBTQ individual in puebla this year. please sign this petition to demand the government there take hate crimes more seriously. click on agnes’ picture to read more about her story.
also, please reblog/repost to spread the word.


Transgender activist Agnes Torres found dead in Puebla, Mexico. 

this is the sixth unsolved homicide of an LGBTQ individual in puebla this year. please sign this petition to demand the government there take hate crimes more seriously. click on agnes’ picture to read more about her story.

also, please reblog/repost to spread the word.

Women, like everyone else, have been duped. We have been persuaded over the past 50 years to settle for a bland, neoliberal vision of what liberation should mean. Life may have become a little easier in that time for white women who can afford to hire a nanny, but the rest of us have settled for a cheap, knock-off version of gender revolution. Instead of equality at work and in the home, we settled for “choice”, “flexibility” and an exciting array of badly paid part-time work to fit around childcare and chores. Instead of sexual liberation and reproductive freedom, we settled for mitigated rights to abortion and contraception that are constantly under attack, and a deeply misogynist culture that shames us if we’re not sexually attractive, dismisses us if we are, and blames us if we are raped or assaulted, as one in five of us will be in our lifetime.

-Laurie Penny in The Independent.

(Thanks to Amy Klein for sending this to Permanent Wave listserve)

Le Tigre- FYR

"Feminists I’m calling you!"

It’s International Women’s Day, but I don’t feel all that celebratory.  FYR (Fifty Years of Ridicule) is about the backlash the follows women’s progress, and my goodness if we aren’t in the midst of an incredibly awful period of backlash right now.  And there’s no guarantee that the backlash loses.

Why I’m I a feminist? Because This is How my Friends’ Show was Written up by NYULocal.

from NYULocal’s showlistings:

Amy Klein and the Blue Star Band at the Hive

8:30 p.m., Free All Ages
Amy Klein, former member of the intense and beloved Titus Andronicus, will be playing some feminist benefit. Amy Klein is one of those people who can be all bra-burning and feminist, but not annoying about it. The show is technically free ($5-10 suggested donation) so there’s really no reason not go.

First of all, the show is not a benefit concert, but if it was (the band plays many), I’m glad you trivialize the idea of people giving back to their community by donating their time and art.  Secondly, sliding scale is not free, so you are wrong again. 

But most of all, that is an incredibly sexist description of an incredibly talented all female rock group.  What exactly is being all bra burning and feminist mean to you?  Are you referring to the time Amy organized a rally to protest the acquittal of Officers Franklin Mata and Kenneth Moreno? Or maybe last week when the band’s cello player Heidi organized a benefit concert for Sister Somalia, the only organization in that country helping survivors of sexual violence.  Or is it that keyboard player Kiri tirelessly works to book shows showcasing female musicians in an effort to create a space for woman that is supportive and not sexist, a space, unlike your column, where they be will taken seriously for their craft.  You are right.  These things are feminist, and they are important and necessary.

Does my standing up against your sexist, trite cliches annoy you?  If so, I’m not sorry.

PS. I’m not even wearing a bra today, so bwahahahahaha. (But if I was, I wouldn’t burn it.  That shits expensive!)

PPS. tweet @NYULocal if you don’t think sexist show listings are okay either.

Recognize that you are not the center of the universe.

Figure out how the idea of winning and losing fits into your relationships.

Recognize vulnerability and empathy as strengths.

Don’t allow the fact that other people have been assholes to you make you into a bitter and abusive person.

Commit to the revolution as a method of psychological and physical survival.

riot grrrl zine #2, 1991

(reprinted in Girls To the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus)