Man Haron Monis wasn’t a risk to the public because women don’t count

Man Haron Monis was placed on a two-year “good behaviour bond” in 2013 after writing a series of offensive letters to families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. He was then charged as an accessory in the murder of his ex-wife Noleen Hayson. Monis was released on bail. Since then, he has appeared twice in court on 40 sexual assault offences. The magistrate, who originally granted Monis bail, said he did not represent a threat to the public. He was not deemed a threat at subsequent hearings. Now, two more people are dead following Monis’ siege of a café.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is asking if the hostage taking could have been prevented. The answer to this question is yes, but not for the reasons Abbott is suggesting. Had Monis’ clear history of multiple counts of sexual violence been taken seriously, he would not have been granted bail. Monis was not considered a risk to the public because we still define public to mean men.

Monis was charged with 40 separate sexual offences and was still not deemed a threat to the general public. This is the reality of rape culture: systemic violence against women is simply not considered a problem. We need to start using the term terrorism to define male violence and we need to start recognising that women are human too. Until we do, men like Monis will continue to perpetrate these crimes, which are not ‘isolated incidents’ but systemic, state-sanctioned terrorism against women and girls.

Foyles think women are thick as pig shit

Apparently, Foyles think women are too stupid to read books. Because nothing says we respect our customers like this piece of sexist drivel:

Don’t be discouraged if your mothers uses the book you gave her to press flowers. Any reason to open a book is a good one.

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You do have to wonder who is in charge of their advertising since it’s widely recognised that women buy the majority of books – for themselves and for presents for other people. It isn’t really the  best advertising tactic to insult the intelligence of your largest customer base. At least, I wouldn’t have thought so. But, what do I know: I’m only a mother and clearly too dim to have opinions and shit.

<thanks to Julia Hilliard for flagging this up!>

Feminist Books for Kids for Christmas Gifts!

jhp50b341cece7de         Greta and Boris: A Daring Rescue: by Sian Norris

Greta’s best friend is her cat Boris. However, little does she realise her bewhiskered buddy is actually the Prince of the Kingdom of Cats. So when he is kidnapped by the Rat King, a young warrior cat named Kyrie Mi-ke is sent to find Greta, and together they face a mystical and magical adventure to bring Boris home again.
Greta must face the challenge of the staircase of the autumn leaves; cross Cloud Top Land and the Milky Sea; end the war between the two tribes of mice and face the truth of the Millpond; before facing the Rat King himself.

Small gives it 2 paws up.

Jump!Mag, a non-gendered magazine for girls that focuses heavily on history and science, has expanded into publishing e-books

Lucy Evans, The InstaExplorer:

Lucy Evans, InstaExplorerLucy Evans, the InstaExplorer series will follow our adventurous young heroine around the world, as she visits friends and family in far-flung destinations. Armed with her wits, and her trusty smartphone, Lucy solves mysteries, gets into scrapes and has a lot of fun… all the while sending messages back to her Instagram followers!

More from the fabulous Millie Slavidou here on Jump! Mag and coming soon – a free eBook with tales of a Greek Xmas!

 

 

12 Science Words That Don’t Mean What You Think They Do:

12 Science Words

 

You might use the words ‘proof’ or ‘theory’ in everyday life, but do you know what they mean in the world of science? Science writer Sam Gouldson takes a closer look at science vocabulary and explains how the meaning of words differ when used in the context of science writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More suggestions for feminist friendly kid books here.

Je Me Souviens

Geneviève Bergeron

Hélène Colgan

Nathalie Croteau

Barbara Daigneault

Anne-Marie Edward

Maud Haviernick

Maryse Laganière

Maryse Leclair

Anne-Marie Lemay

Sonia Pelletier

Michèle Richard

Annie St-Arneault

Annie Turcotte

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz

Why is sexism still acceptable when racism isn’t?

I’ve seen this sentence used numerous times in the past few weeks in feminist blogs and online discussions and it horrifies me. The idea that racism is no longer acceptable comes from such a place of privilege that I struggle to understand how someone could genuinely believe this. UKIP have increased their membership and won a local election. They dominate the media. The Tories anti-immigration policies are inherently racist and are getting stronger because they are appealing to racist voters. This is with discussing the lack of representation of Black* people in the media and the higher echelons of business and industry. To claim that racism is no longer acceptable is to perpetuate white supremacist culture. It completely erases the experiences of Black people and actively implies they are making shit up when they point out racism. It is an asinine statement to make and those making it need to do some self-reflection on their own racist behaviour.

Setting up racism and sexism as a dichotomy also completely erases the lives of women of colour. It assumes that the experiences of white women with sexism are qualitatively worse than Black men with racism. It ignores the fact that Black women experience both racism and sexism and these cannot be separated. It also completely negates any discussion of class – both within and outwith racism and sexism.

Feminists need to stop using the phrase “why is sexism still acceptable when racism isn’t” and start reflecting on their own participation and privilege within white supremacy culture. We need to challenge women who believe this and we need to start acknowledging that racism and sexism are not separate entities: that they work together and that all white women have privilege over Black women and that poverty does not erase this privilege. An analysis of women as a class requires understanding how classism, racism, misogyny, and lesbophobia work together to oppress all women but that those oppressions are experienced very differently for individual women. Misogyny was the first form of oppression but that does not mean it exists outwith other forms of oppression now – or that there is a hierarchy of oppression.

The theory of intersectionality is important and it needs to be reclaimed from those who have not bothered to read Kimberle Crenshaw’s work.

 

*I’m using Black as a political category with the understanding that racism is experienced differentially within/ outwith specific communities.

To Combat Drug Violence and Corruption, Mexican Police Detain Student Activists…..

This post was written by Cath Andrews (@Andrews_Cath) and was first published on her blog.

This afternoon, unidentified police officers snatched a student activist from the street in Mexico City. The student, Sandino Bucio Dovalí, studies Philosophy at Mexico’s National Autonomous University and has been active in the recent protests in Mexico City against the kidnapping of 43 student teachers and the murder of three others in from a rural teaching college in Ayozinapa in the southern state of Guerrero. The 43 student teachers were detained two months ago in confrontation with municipal police from Iguala and Cocula. According to Mexico´s Federal government, they were later handed over to a drug gang. It is believed they were murdered and burnt in a rubbish dump.

Armed agents from Mexico’s Special Investigative Police Department for Organized Crime (Subprocuraduría Especializada en Investigación de Delincuencia Organizada or SEIDO), detained Bucio Dovalí as he left a busy metro station near the Autonomous University. This detention was captured on video. In the recording, it is clear that the agents –who were not wearing uniform- used excessive force and violence. When on-lookers tried to intervene to prevent what appeared to be a kidnap attempt, police agents threatened them with heavy duty rifles. SEIDO later confirmed the detention of Bucio Dovalí.

Bucio Dovali is not the first student activist to be arrested in the wake of the large demonstrations in Mexico City and a number of other towns and cities in Mexico. Last week, ununiformed elements of Mexico’s Federal Police attempted to arrest Bryan Reyes and Jaqueline Santana as they walked on the street. This attempt was thwarted by uniformed police officers who responded to the students’ cries for help. Federal police have accused Reyes and Santana of stealing 500 pesos (25 UK pounds or 45 US dollars) from its agents. Both students are now in prison awaiting charges.

These detentions appear designed to intimidate students from protesting against the disappearance and murder of the Ayotzinapa student teachers. The news of this event has provoked protests around the world and has severely affected the image of Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto. In the two months since the student teachers vanished, there have been on-going protests throughout Mexico. Demonstrators want the Mexican government find the missing students and undertake actions that would put an end to the drug cartel’s violence. There is abundant evidence of collusion between Mexico’s politicians and the cartels, most obviously from the events of Ayotzinapa. As a result, the legitimacy of Peña Nieto’s government is being questioned daily in the press.

Moreover, in recent weeks, President Peña Nieto and his wife, Ángelica Rivera have also been facing allegations of corruption concerning a house built for Rivera by the building contractor who has undertaken many lucrative building projects for the Federal Government during Peña Nieto’s presidency.

In a speech delivered a few days ago, Peña Nieto threatened to use Mexico’s security forces against demonstrators. The detention of Bucio Duvalí and others in the past week suggest that he has resolved to fulfil his promise. Moreover, it appears that these arrests are only the start, as reports indicate that arrest warrants have been issued for many other student activists.

Instead of directing his energies to combatting the murders, kidnapping and people trafficking undertaken by the drug cartels, it appears Peña Nieto has decided to target students who are protesting against his handling of the disappearance of the student teachers from Ayotzinapa. In this context, the fact that the students arrested during last week’s demonstrations have been charged with inciting terrorism and participation in organised crime is chillingly ominous.

What is feminist activism: Jessica Valenti, Julie Bindel and the loss of criticial analysis

Jessica Valenti’s latest article in the Guardian made me roll my eyes. It’s yet another in a long line of dreary “who gets to be a feminist” that doesn’t actually discuss what it means to be a feminist, so much as taking out 10 minutes to trash the reputation of other women who call themselves feminists. Interestingly, it’s precisely what Valenti suggests Bindel does in Bindel’s latest Guardian article.

There is a very necessary discussion of the definition of feminism to be had – both in law and praxis. Valenti’s definition rests on gender equality. My definition is the liberation of women, as a class, from male violence and that our liberation requires the abolition of gender. It recognises that capitalism is intertwined with patriarchy and that both are predicated on inequality in law and culture. Women can never be “equal” to men when capitalism requires many to live in poverty in order to allow a small group access to wealth. Gender equality means nothing when we have laws that grant women equal pay in existence for more than forty years and women are still consistently paid less than men and this is without acknowledging the fact that women of colour are paid less than white women. I believe pornography, prostitution, and all other forms of the sex industry constitute violence against women and girls.

Jessica Valenti and I have very different definitions of feminism. I think her feminism actively harms women and I’m sure she would feel the same about my definition. The difference is I don’t doubt Valenti’s commitment to feminism and to supporting women. I fundamentally disagree with her political stance but not her activism.

This is why I am quite disgusted with her article in the Guardian likening Julie Bindel to Sarah Palin. It demonstrates a complete failure to fact check Julie Bindel’s 30 years of feminist activism and erase it based on one article that Bindel wrote over ten years ago. Feminism needs critical analysis. We need to read the research, the personal testimonies, and then make judgements based on fact. Basing the entire career of one woman on one article from 10 years ago isn’t critical engagement. It ignores Bindel’s work with Justice for Women and supporting the Emma Humphreys Prize for Ending Violence against Women. It ignores Bindel’s work on the harm of pornography and prostitution – you don’t have to agree with her position but erasing her work is patriarchy in action.

Julie Bindel is a gender abolitionist – this doesn’t mean she “oppose(s) the very existence of trans individuals” as Valenti claims. It means she is a gender abolitionist who campaigns to eradicate the hierarchical oppression of gender. Bindel is extremely critical of the behaviour of a small group of transactivists, not all of who are transgender, but Bindel is very clear this is a small group who engage in abusive harassment. She is very consistent in stating that the behaviour of this small group is not representative of transgender people as a whole. This is the exact same argument that liberal feminists use when discussing “not all men”.

Critical analysis is essential to a healthy feminist movement. I have seen far too many feminists claim that Julie Bindel is ‘transphobic’ because they read that fact on the Internet. They know nothing else but that Bindel is transphobic and the NUS no-platformed her for being “vile” (the fact that the NUS engages with all sorts of violent dictators and men whose financial wealth is predicated on human rights abuses of their employees goes unremarked).

Being a feminist isn’t just about a label or recognising “gender equality”. It’s a political theory that requires critical thought. This doesn’t mean that all feminists agree with one another on issues but it does mean that we are required to come to our own political stance ourselves – and not because some dude on the internet thinks a woman is a vile because she wrote an article 10 years ago and has since retracted it. Accepting what we are told without thought is patriarchy in action – not feminism.

 

Some reservations about the coverage of Bill Cosby

I’ve seen speculation about the possibility of Bill Cosby abusing one/ some of the children who appeared on the Cosby Show. I’m very concerned about this speculation because it is extremely harmful to survivors and non- survivors. No one has the right to speculate publicly about whether or not a woman has experienced rape. No one has the right to identify rape victims publicly without consent.

It is clear Bill Cosby is a serial rapist who has been allowed to continue perpetrating rape due to his position in society. Women have spoken publicly about their experiences. We cannot allow other women be forced into speaking publicly about rape, regardless of whether or not they experienced it.

Women have the right to privacy. We don’t need to name other women. We already know he’s a serial rapist.

#IMD2014 : Manhood Rites of Passage

It goes without saying that I believe International Men’s Day is the ultimate example of whiny-arsed men having tantrums about the entirety of the female population of the planet lining up to suck their cock. This year’s tagline is:

The ability to sacrifice your needs on behalf of others is fundamental to manhood, as is honour. Manhood rites of passage the world over recognise the importance of sacrifice in the development of Manhood.

Men make sacrifices everyday in their place of work, in their role as husbands and fathers, for their families, for their friends, for their communities and for their nation. International Men’s Day is an opportunity for people everywhere of goodwill to appreciate and celebrate the men in their lives and the contribution they make to society for the greater good of all.

You know who also makes sacrifices every single fucking day: women. It’s women who do the vast majority of caring in our  world: for their children, extending family members and their communities. It is women that do the “volunteer” work needed  to maintain libraries, hospitals, and youth facilities. How many men do you see running parent councils at schools? Running fundraising for playgroups and nurseries? Which parent shows up at school to help with reading? This isn’t because women “don’t work”. Women do all of this on top of working full time (whether in paid employment or not). If women went on strike tomorrow and refused to do any care work, volunteer work or paid employment, the economy would collapse. And, this  is without acknowledging women’s reproductive labour through pregnancy. If men went on strike tomorrow, women would step in and pick up the pieces.

How the fuck is being a grown up a “passage to manhood”. Seriously, this is even bigger claptrap than the appalling shite they ran last year on role models.

How many men do you know who can do the following:

  • name the school crossing guards
  • take the day off work when their kids are sick
  • name the teacher/ dentist/ GP
  • know how to operate the washing machine
  • even know where the washing machine is located in the house
  • spend their evenings sewing costumes for World Book Day
  • stand in a queue for 5 hours to get their kids a ticket to see Mr Tumble
  • do 50 % of the childcare and housework

Because I don’t know any. I know a lot of women whose partners think cooking dinner constitutes helping out at Christmas and have no problem whatsoever in taking 3 days off work when they have a sniffle but don’t lift a finger when their wives have the flu.

I also don’t see a whole lot of men working to end violence against women and girls. When we live in a world where:

  • men choose to kill 2 female current or former partners a week
  • one in three women experience domestic violence
  • more than 30 specialist refuges for women have been closed due to funding cuts
  • more people are upset about Ched Evans being denied the right to play football than they are about him committing rape
  • where the BBC can write articles confusing child sexual exploitation and grooming with affairs
  • where the majority of children living in poverty due so because their “fathers” refuse to pay child maintenance

I don’t see men “sacrificing” their salaries to ensure that their children are properly clothed and fed. I don’t see men “sacrificing” their hobbies to care for their children or vulnerable relatives. I don’t see men running fundraising projects for their kids school or their mother’s residential centre. I don’t see men fighting for laws that would protect vulnerable people from sexual and economic exploitation. I see a whole lot of men benefiting from these laws though.

The real difference between International Men’s Day and International Women’s Day is that men are whinging about behaving like adults and women are campaigning to stop rape, domestic violence and fatal male violence against women and girls. This is just another example of Margaret Atwood’s famous quote: “men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them”. These aren’t equally valid campaigns. International Men’s Day is a joke and men who think they “sacrifice” requires cookies and a special day are the kind of men who need to be kicked off the planet.

We need to stop using the word paedophile

Ugandan girls giving up education in hope of being provided for – by paedophiles

This is the headline to a recent article in the Independent, which clearly demonstrates the serious failures of understanding in the differences between child rape and paedophilia. The article is actually about the sexual exploitation, grooming, and rape of teenage girls in Uganda. These girls are removed from school and then abandoned when they become pregnant or develop sexually transmitted diseases or simply no longer exploitable.

Using the word paedophilia does nothing to assist in clarifying the abuse which is happening; rather it serves only to insist on a narrative of othering perpetrators. Using the term child rape or sexual exploitation and rape of teenage girls would make the situation equally clear and would not conflate the psychological disorder of paedophilia (which is a sexual attraction to prepubescent girls and those with the disorder may not act on it) and the men, without psychological disorders, who choose to abuse, sexually exploit and rape children and teenagers.

Let us be clear, it is normal men who commit this abuse because they feel entitled to sexual access to teenage girls and who have no problem whatsoever in abandoning these girls. This is child sexual exploitation and grooming. They are denied an education and many are then isolated from their communities. It doesn’t need to be conflated with paedophilia to be considered serious. It is a serious crime in and of itself.

Liz Kelly’s Weasel Words which is published in Trouble & Strife is a must read on this topic:

Immediately the word paedophile appears we have moved away from recognition of abusers as ‘ordinary men’—fathers, brothers, uncles, colleagues—and are returned to the more comfortable view of them as ‘other’, a small minority who are fundamentally different from most men. The fact that they have lives, kinship links and jobs disappears from view in the desire to focus on their difference. Attention shifts immediately from the centrality of power and control to notions of sexual deviance, obsession and ‘addiction’. Paedophilia returns us to the medical and individualised explana­tions which we have spent so much time and energy attempting to deconstruct and challenge. Rather than sexual abuse demanding that we look critically at the social construction of masculinity, male sexuality and the family, the safer terrain of ‘abnormality’ beckons.