#DickheadDetox: Richard Dawkins for Minimising Rape

These are just a few of the tweets written by Richard Dawkins this morning demonstrating further evidence of the fact that he’s a complete fucking dickhead.

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When he isn’t spouting racist drivel or trying to have himself declared the Messiah of the Atheist movement, Dawkins does an excellent sideshow in misogyny. Anyone who thinks sexual violence is an acceptable example of a syllogism is a dickhead. There are a thousand ways Dawkins could have discussed this. He chose rape because he clearly doesn’t give a shit about survivors. The fact that the man who thinks he’s the most intelligent person on the planet is actually too stupid to understand rape myths only adds to the hypocrisy of his post and his defenders.

He needs to learn to shut the fuck up.

GUIDO FAWKES DID NOT FORCE DAVID RUFFLEY TO STAND DOWN

Nothing makes me angrier than a man being given credit for women’s activism.

David Ruffley’s caution for common assault against his former partners is public knowledge due to the following:

It was women’s activism and women’s commitment to the safety of other women which made Ruffley’s caution public knowledge.

It is women who have been fighting for domestic violence to be recognised as a crime.

It is Ending Victimisation and Blame who have been fighting for all politicians to undertake specialist training in domestic and sexual violence and abuse.

It is Refuge fighting to end police immunity in negligence cases following the entirely preventable murder of Joanna Michael in 2009.

It is Women’s Aid, Paladin and the Sara Charlton Foundation fighting for a change in the law to recognise that domestic violence is a pattern of coercive control.

33 000 people had already signed the petition that Ending Victimisation and Blame before Guido Fawkes linked it on his website. It is utterly unacceptable and reprehensible for people to claim that Fawkes was responsible for Ruffley’s recent decision to stand down.

Guido Fawkes isn’t responsible for Ruffley standing down.

Feminists are.

 

David Ruffley Must Resign From Parliament.

Ending Victimisation and Blame (EVB) have started a petition asking David Ruffley to resign from parliament following his caution for domestic violence against a former partner. I have been sharing and tweeting this petition for two days because I truly believe it is unacceptable for a member of parliament to be allowed to vote on policies on violence against women and girls whilst they have committed those very crimes.  I also fully support EVB’s campaign to have all politicians, at local, county, national and international levels, undertake specialist training in domestic and sexual violence and abuse. Far too often, male violence is ignored, minimised and excused. If we truly want to end the cycle of male violence, we need to start holding our politicians accountable for the violence they commit themselves and for their choice to vote for policies which will actively harm women and children – such as cuts to the NHS, legal aid, housing benefit, tax credits, education etc.

We cannot end male violence against women and children if there are no support services in place to help those who have harmed.

We cannot end male violence against women and children if we allow elected politicians who commit domestic violence to remain in position.

David Ruffley’s position, as a number of other feminists have made clear, is completely untenable. Not only has he committed domestic violence, which he refers to as “inappropriate actions”, he has also taken the position that his action was not domestic violence. Domestic violence is not an “inappropriate action”. It is a pattern of coercive control involving emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse. The fact that the law does not recognise this and make domestic violence a crime in and of itself is, frankly, appalling.

Ruffley’s caution for common assault is one of the few ways in which the law acknowledges male violence against women. Assault is not an “inappropriate action” – it is always a crime, even when the victim is your current or former partner. Defining assault as an inappropriate action is a minimising tactic. It is a deflection of personal responsibility, as is the suggestion that it was an incident occurred between me and my former partner”.  Ruffley’s statement, released via his lawyers, blames his former partner for being a victim of assault. The only person responsible for assault is Ruffley. 

Unfortunately, not only does Ruffley not hold himself responsible for the crime he committed, Andrew Speers, the chairman of Ruffley’s Conservative Association refuses to acknowledge that Ruffley is guilty of domestic violence. This is the body of an email Speers wrote to two local county councillors, Joanna Spicer and Jenny Antill: 

“Reference your comments in press recently, can I just go on record as stating that we don’t condone domestic violence.

“As importantly, based on the information I have to hand I do not believe David’s incident qualifies in any way as domestic abuse.

“Only two people actually know of course what happened, which is why our statement released early July, has been appropriate to date.

“I understand why the opposition and minority feminist groups might try and make the link to DV but surprised others have.

“The past few weeks have, of course, been utterly frustrating and difficult, but we expect statements to be issued this week, and will resolve the situation at the Exec meeting next week.”

Ruffley accepted a caution for common assault, yet Speers claims this cannot be domestic violence, based on the evidence Speers has seen. Speers then suggests that only two people can know the truth. These two statements are antithetical and demonstrate the clear hypocrisy of Speer’s position. There is also a vein of classism and racism running through Speers’ statement: white, middle aged conservative party members simply can’t commit domestic violence, therefore the conservative party can claim to not condone since their members can’t commit it. Speers is surprised not by the assault but rather that people are labelling domestic violence domestic violence. The hypocrisy of his statement is truly breathtaking.

I don’t expect Ruffley to resign. Most men are never held accountable for the violence they commit. I signed and shared the petition because I believe we must make a clear signal to men that we will not tolerate domestic violence, regardless of whether or not that man is a powerful member of parliament. 100 000 people signing a petition demanding Ruffley be held accountable would be a powerful signal.

Please take two minutes to sign this petition and share it on twitter, Facebook, google etc:

David Ruffley, MP, admitted this week that he has been given a police caution for common assault on a former partner, yet he continues to serve as an MP.

Ruffley has made a formal statement, through his lawyers, concluding with the final sentence: “I wish to stress that I would never condone domestic violence under any circumstances.” Yet his statement refers to the events leading up to the police caution as an “inappropriate action”. This minimisation of domestic violence is simply not acceptable. Nor is domestic violence an “action”; it is a pattern of coercion and control that can involve physical and sexual violence.

My organisation, Ending Victimisation and Blame, was created to challenge victim blaming in domestic and sexual violence and abuse. Everyday we hear from women who have been the victims of domestic violence and who are fighting to be taken seriously. According to a recent EU study, 1 in 3 women experience domestic violence during their lifetime. Male perpetrators of domestic violence kill 2 women every week in the UK. 9 out of 10 cases of domestic violence are never prosecuted. Domestic violence costs the UK £5.5 billion every year. This is the reality of domestic violence.

MPs are there to fight for the rights of some of the most vulnerable in society. They must be held to a high standard. Even the Dean of David Ruffley’s local cathedral agrees and has written to say David Ruffley’s position in parliament is “untenable”.

His local Conservative Party are meeting in the next week to discuss the issue.They must take a stand to show that domestic violence is never acceptable.However, we don’t simply want the Conservative Party to remove the party whip from Ruffley or to deselect him. We want Ruffley to resign from Parliament.

We have been campaigning to have all politicians, at local, county, national and international levels, undergo specialist training in domestic and sexual violence and abuse.

We cannot have perpetrators of violence against women representing us in Parliament. If Ruffley truly understands the impact of domestic violence, then he must resign from Parliament.

PETITION

#WomenAgainstFeminism, Feminist Critique and the Replication of Patriarchal Abuse

These are a few of the tweets currently being posted on #WomenAgainstFeminism by women who genuinely believe that feminism is a serious problem:

bc feminists today are truly intolerant, incapable of debate & will attack anyone who challenges their agenda

because I don’t need to blame everything that happens on a man.

Feminism has hurt men, women, and children to serve the few at the top who couldn’t make it on their own.

And, this is what some feminists are tweeting in response:

Still can’t believe the hashtag is real… I honestly can’t believe the world has people that stupid.

pointing out the stupid people on the tag how fun

i like how every girl in the tag that’s actually against feminism looks like janet reno. pick your battles, uglies.

It is absolutely true that many of the women who are posting grievances on the #WomenAgainstFeminism tag are white, privileged women and there are some very valid criticisms to be had of the tag but calling people ugly isn’t activism and it won’t change the opinions of those you are insulting. Pointing out the privilege of those dismissing feminism, like in this tweet:

“I am so privileged that I wont take the time to understand a movement that is for helping women who aren’t as lucky”

is absolutely essential. Calling Janet Reno ugly is not.

Critiquing the tag doesn’t require insulting the appearance & intelligence of the women posting on it. It doesn’t require replicating misogynistic language or insults. It requires an evidence-based answer – such as those pointing out the battle for women’s suffrage, rape laws, equal pay acts, maternity rights, reproductive freedoms and the ability to have your own bank account. It is feminism that one these rights for women. Feminism didn’t achieve any of these goals by being obnoxious to other women.

Feminists should understand that systemic misogyny within the capitalist-patriarchy makes it very difficult for women to see the reality of our oppression. Even naming male violence as an oppression results in women being belittled, abused and harassed online and off. Our education system is designed to teach children to pass exams – not to question authority. Our media is owned and dominated by white men who have a vested interest in preventing women from accessing knowledge.

This isn’t to say that the women who started this tag aren’t causing harm to other women. Of course they are but we don’t need to replicate patriarchal patterns of silencing against women who are blinded by their privilege or too afraid to speak out. This is the true demonstration of the power of the capitalist-patriarchy: using women to silence and control other women. We can challenge these women with kindness or with anger. but we do not need to engage in abusive language.

Instead of insulting the women who started the hasthag, let’s start a real discussion as to why women see feminism as threatening. Let’s start questioning their belief systems and pointing out the reality of the lives of women who do not have similar privileges.

 Calling women ugly and stupid is exactly what men do to us every single day. We do not need to be doing this to other women – even if they are tweeting out messages which cause harm to other women. We don’t need to replicate the lowest common denominator.

And, if you do feel the need to be abusive, why not target some of the men posting on the tag:

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My boyfriend performed anal sex without asking rape?

This was a search term on my blog today. If you found my blog searching this term, I’m so very sorry.

Sex without consent is rape. Anal sex without consent is rape. Your boyfriend had no right to engage in any sexual activity without asking permission or consent. Rape within a relationship is also domestic abuse. I understand how difficult this is and how hard it was for you  to reach out.

I believe you.  x

 

You can find support here:

Rape Crisis England/ Wales: 0808 802 9999

Rape Crisis (Scotland) 08088 01 03 02

Ending Victimisation and Blame

Women’s Aid: 0808 2000 247 

And, Baby Bangs? Just Wtf?

All together Now:

Ugly Baby:

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Cute Baby:

 

dahliadrop 1

 

Ugly Baby & Cute Baby

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Ugly Baby & Cute Baby

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Ugly Baby & Cute Baby

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At least, I think this is what Baby Bangs is telling us with the production of fake hair for babies. Without fake hair, baby girls are UGLY.

And, seriously, who wants an ugly baby?

Not Baby Bangs, that’s for sure:

Our Philosophy
At Baby Bangs! we believe in the beauty of childhood. Our unique designs are sprinkled with MAGIC!~inspiring a world of whimsical wonder and mystical magical memorable moments for you and your baby girl to cherish Forever! For she is, and always will be, 
Your LiTTLe PRINCESS!

Babies can only live in a world of whimsical wonder and mystical magical memorable moments if they only look like girls. And, aren’t ugly.

Otherwise, their lives will suck.

Or, something.

 

<thank you to Sophia Greene for bringing this to my attention>

 

 

Girlie Glue: Because it’s never too early to be girly.

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I thought this was a late April Fool’s rocking up in my Twitter feed. But, no. It appears to be an actual product with an actual website so you can glue shit to your babies’ head so they don’t forget they are girls. Granted, I’ve always been under the impression that babies don’t actually know what “girl” is since they do precisely four things: eat, sleep, shit and cry. But, that’s totally irrelevant. Now, you can ensure that your baby and the world around them know you’ve bought into majorly damaging gendered stereotypes and glue ribbons and bows to your kid’s head. Just so no one destroys their identity by mistaking them for a boy.

Because that would fuck them up for life.

Gluing shit to your kids head, on the other hand, is totally normal.

And this does not fill me this confidence:

Girlie Glue is made with Agave nectar and other all natural Ingredients

It’s safe, 100% Honey-Free and washes away easily with water.

I don’t care that it washes out or that it’s “natural” (and let’s be totally realistic here, all sorts of shit you wouldn’t want near your kid are called natural). You are gluing shit to your babies head.

Actually gluing shit to your babies head.

So people know they are a girl.

I can’t even begin to describe how fucked up that is.

You have a baby. Not a dress-up dolly. It doesn’t matter if your baby is bald and someone in Tesco thinks they are a boy. It’s a baby. You need to cuddle them  - not dress them up like freaking Barbie.

Girls have their entire lives to be groomed into passing the patriarchal fuckability test. At least give them a few years before you start gluing shit to their heads. images 2 Unknown 1

 

High School Musical: Disney Goes Feminist

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Granted High School Musical 3 has a rather unnecessary number of shots of Sharpay Evans’ arse and there is a very clear evidence of bullying by the two main male leads: Troy Bolton and Chad Danforth who steal the clothes of two younger classmates and make them chase them through the school dressed only in towels. In HS-land this gets the bullied boys detention. In my-land, it gets the two bullies an in-school suspension and a ban from participation in after school activities because it constitutes sexual harassment. And, I can’t even begin to describe the horror which is the Tiki song in High School Musical 2: racism a go-go there.

There are also very few non-white actors in the films. The best friends of the two leads are both African-American but they both are stereotypes. Chad Danforth is basketball obsessed and a loyal friend. Taylor McKessie is bossy, demanding and over-organised. Her character is also incredibly intelligent and loyal to her best friend which is a departure from many portrayals of African-American characters in Disney films. But, they are still only supporting characters living stereotypes of what “good” African-American teenagers are interested in: boys do basketball and girls do smart & over-bossy. On the other hand, the main character Gabriella Montez is Hispanic-American, which is a major departure for mainstream Disney programs. Disney does feature non-white actors but only in supporting roles and frequently as crass stereotypes.

We can’t forget the issue of class as every single one of the characters lives in a huge house, including Gabriella Montez whose mother is a single parent. Poverty is never an issue. In fact, the characters can afford to just hop on planes and fly 1000 miles without so much blinking about the credit card charge. Obviously, abuse doesn’t exist and no one has any disabilities. It is the American Dream: a white heteronormative culture.

There are also serious problems with gender stereotyping. The mothers of all the teenagers are shown in kitchens only bringing in groceries, baking snacks, serving food, and interrupting private moments between teenagers. Fathers, on the other hand, are actively involved in coaching sports and being ‘cool’. The drama teacher is OTT in the ridiculous and Sharpay, well, Sharpay is a blond narcissistic ice queen who treats everyone like shit. Because, that is oh-so-original.

Yet, High School Musical is probably one of the most feminist films Disney has ever produced. The main character Gabriella is a “good” girl who wears virginal outfits. But, she’s also intelligent, loyal and prone to speeches on everyone working together. She changes everyone for the better by encouraging them to be true to themselves. She’s also true to herself valuing her education over her boyfriend. Gabriella isn’t mean and she doesn’t take shit from anyone. Yes, there is an unnecessary amount of twaddle about boyfriends and girlfriends and loving one another forever but Gabriella is an inspiring female character. The value placed on friendships between the teenage girls is so very, very different. With the exception of Sharpay, the girls support one another through their dreams, their hobbies and their lives.  They work together for each other and they talk about the importance of valuing yourself as an individual over any potential relationship.

It’s not a perfect feminist film but it’s a start. And, in a complete departure from normal Disney narratives, the boy follows the girl to university.

 

<this rant is brought to you by my daughters who’ve been watching the trilogy together>

 

A draft nomination for EVB for a National Diversity Award

National Diversity Award Nomination Form

This is my draft nomination for EVB. All criticism welcome (and needed). Do feel free to take this and change it to nominate EVB yourself!

Ending Victimisation and Blame are a campaign organisation which actively challenges victim blaming and myths about domestic and sexual violence and abuse in the media. Victim blaming and myths not only make it more difficult for women and children to report their abuse but it also results in the police, social workers, and criminal justice system from actually investigating the crimes of domestic and sexual violence and abuse to start with.

The media is a very powerful tool for transmitting myths and EVB’s work is essential in helping to change the discourse around domestic and sexual violence and abuse by demanding the media be held accountable for inaccurate reporting and misuse of legal terminology. EVB’s campaigning has resulted in numerous media outlets, from the Guardian to the BBCm changing headlines and rewriting articles.

EVB have also had success in campaigning to have the Attorney General review inappropriate sentencing of men convicted of sexual and domestic violence and abuse, including a case where a prosecutor labeled a 13 year old rape victim “predatory in all her actions” and therefore partially responsible for her own sexual assault.

Currently, 1 in 3 women experience sexual violence and 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence during their life time. A recent EU report suggests that these figures might be too positive and that many more women experience domestic and sexual violence and abuse. 2 women a week in the UK are murdered by their current or former partners. Domestic violence is on the increase in relationships among teenagers.

EVB is a small campaign which is only a year old but has already had a substantial impact on our culture. Their website hosts posts of personal experiences of victim blaming from survivors of domestic and sexual violence and abuse. For many, this is the first time they have been believed. That single act alone can change someone’s life.

Systemic victim blaming actively harms victims but so does media representation. We need the media to be held accountable for perpetuating damaging myths about domestic and sexual violence and abuse. We need victims to be able to report to the police knowing that they will be believed. We need to ensure that they can access support and medical attention without being treated as liars.

This is why EVB’s campaign is essential: no victim of domestic or sexual violence and abuse should ever think it is their fault. They should be able to access healthcare without being blamed. The police must be required to actively investigate every single incident of sexual violence reported to them and they must understand that domestic violence is a pattern of control and coercion not simply single incidents. Civil servants in front line services like housing, immigration, healthcare and education need to understand trauma so as to actively support victims and survivors. Teachers and social workers need mandatory training on victim awareness and trauma-informed practise.

EVB’s campaign demands a fundamental shift in our culture. They are a small campaign with big dreams and are already on the road to accomplishing them.

Banksy : Not a fan of feminism

To be fair, I’m not a fan of Banksy. I think his art is derivative and boring. It is classed as important because it doesn’t actually challenge anything. And, it was made by a dude with  a penis, which, in the art world, is more important than actually producing art.

I wasn’t exactly shocked when this image, taken from Banksy’s Facebook, rocked up in my twitter feed. Nor, was I shocked by the obscene amount of misogyny in the comments underneath this image. It’s just the kind of crap I’d expect from Banksy.

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(I can’t remember who tweeted this out. Give me a holler if it was you so I can credit you!)