I love this. It is ridiculously OTT but it’s a Mooncup Smackdown. Who doesn’t love a mooncup smackdown?
Roman Polanski pleaded guilty to the charge of drugging and raping a thirteen year old girl in 1977 but then skipped the country to avoid sentencing. He has not served any time in custody for his crime.Join us in showing the BFI our disgust at their decision to celebrate and finance the rapist Polanski by hosting a retrospective of his work.
We will demonstrate before and during the screening of ‘Tess’ on Saturday 2nd February to register our outrage and to show our solidarity for all survivors of rape who so often see their attackers go unpunished.
Tanya Gold has written a very good critique of Joanna Lumley’s recent foray into misogynistic, victim-blaming. Unfortunately, at the very last minute, Gold herself makes a statement which, at best, undermines part of her point. For those that missed the twitter storm earlier this week, this is Lumley’s advice on how not to get raped:
‘I promise you it is better to look after yourself properly, which means behave properly, be polite, be on time, dress properly – I don’t mean dully – but don’t be sick in the gutter at midnight in a silly dress with no money to get a taxi home, because somebody will take advantage of you, either they’ll rape you, or they’ll knock you on the head or they’ll rob you.
‘Don’t look like trash, don’t get drunk, don’t be sick down your front, don’t break your heels and stagger about in the wrong clothes at midnight. This is bad.
‘It’s not me being a snob about it. It’s not me being an old woman talking to young women, it’s just standard practice for how our species should behave. Don’t behave badly.’
And, then, I read the very last paragraph:
Lumley says she cares about these girls. Perhaps she thinks she does, even as she lays rape at their own doors. But if that were true, there are many things she could have said. She could have spoken of education, of inequality, of the pay gap, of gender segregation, of the under-representation of women in parliament, the professions, the City and the judiciary, and of all the ways in which women feel less important than they should. She could have said that rape is the only crime where the victim is routinely blamed and routinely disbelieved. She could have criticised a country where ambition – and seemingly, pleasure – is now, more than ever, for the wealthy and, to her eyes, tasteful. Instead she turned, with wrinkled nose, to the clothes – a fashion model still.
I agree with everything up to the phrase “a fashion model still”. It just feels wrong. Our culture routinely dismisses fashion models as stupid and incompetent; as walking boobs without brains. It just feels wrong to end an article about misogyny with a reference to Lumley’s one job in which her intelligence would have been routinely dismissed. Now, I’m not a huge fan of the fashion industry (massive understatement klaxon) but women who are fortunate enough to belong to that 5% who naturally pass the partriarchal fuckability test aren’t stupid; they are simply using something beyond their control in order to financially benefit in a society which punishes women who don’t conform.
So Gold’s last sentence seems to subvert much of what she was arguing. It reads as if she’s dismissing Lumley for being a former fashion model rather than critiquing Lumley’s privilege and her refusal to acknowledge the structural inequalities and misogyny which lead to blaming women for rape instead of men for raping.
I am pro-choice because I am pro-woman. I believe that male violence is the root of women’s oppression. I believe that women can never be free of male violence without complete reproductive freedom.
Complete reproductive freedom requires:
Free access to healthcare
Free access to contraception
Free 24 hour access to childcare
Free access to education
Free access to abortion on demand
Complete reproductive freedom requires a welfare state so that women can make the choice to have a child without worrying about not being able to feed that child. That is the hallmark of a humane society. Anyone who is anti-abortion and who also supports the current destruction of our welfare state is a hypocrite who should not be allowed to have PIV.
I believe that women are not only fully human but are also capable of making decisions for themselves.
I support unlimited access to abortion on demand. I believe women are more than capable of making decisions for their own bodies.
I believe that we need more sex education for children that their parents can not opt out on.
I trust women to make the decision to have an abortion or to continue with a pregnancy for themselves.
I trust women to make the decision without political interference.
I trust women.
Preventing access to abortion is just another form of Violence against Women.
It is just another front in the War on Women.
I am pro-choice because I believe women are human too.
I have to confess that I did like the original series of Criminal Minds before it got repetitive with one too many long and goofy story-arcs. This new series starring Forest Whittaker is appalling. I’ve only seen one episode with the most tedious dialogue which involved stating-the-bleeding-obvious whilst pontificating. It’s obviously written by a Committee of Mansplainers.
The episode I saw was called “The Girl in the Blue Mask”. It is the story of an violent abusive man with a long history of intimate partner violence who kidnaps his daughter. In a drunken rage years later, he deliberately burns his daughter’s face causing her physical disfigurement. The daughter is kept locked in a house with no access to the outside world and is psychologically tortured by her father who tells her over and over and over again how ugly she is. The episode focuses on the fathers’ attempt to harvest skin from other people to graft onto the face of his daughter.The subplot of the episode is a female FBI agent who has “Daddy issues”. Chunks of the episode are of this women with a good education and good job reinforcing her role as “Daddy’s Unwanted Girl”.
The final scene of the episode: female FBI agent telling abused girl that the reason her father tortured her was because he “loved her too much”.
You did read that right: a violent abusive man who repeatedly and severely abuses his spouse, then kidnaps and physically and emotionally abuses his child, and then murders 3 people does so because he loves his child too much.
It’s totally okay if your Daddy assaults your Mummy, burns your face, calls you ugly and then murders 3 people if he loves you. Not loving you would be wrong. But loving, well, probably he should get the Congressional Medal of Honour.
So, not only has a junior high science teacher in California been fired for appearing in a pornographic movie, a three-judge commission upheld her firing. She was fired because the internet means the porn films she starred in will *always* be available to students.
This is the point were I have to make my bias clear: I am anti-porn. I do not think it’s possible to create pornography which is unharmful in a culture which constructs women as a sex class. In a post-patriarchy world things might be completely different. But, we aren’t there yet and I do believe that porn, in its current incarnation, is inherently harmful due to its reductive construction of a racist heteronormative sexuality which privileges the male orgasm at the expense of women’s physical and emotional well-being.
Being anti-porn is political stance. It is a critique of the capitalist-patriarchal structures which harm us all (within and out with porn).
However, this article isn’t about questioning the role of porn in our culture. It’s about slut-shaming. It’s holding one woman responsible for the ignorance of her former colleagues and the fact that porn culture is so pervasive that students in the middle school where she taught found and watched some of the porn films she was in.
According to the district superintendent Jeff Chancer her decision to “engage in pornography was incompatible with her responsibilities as a role model for students,”. Stacie Halas did not participate in the porn industry whilst a teacher. She made several films during a 9 month period in 2005 – 2006 because of poverty. She was not showing porn films in her classroom. She was not sharing the porn films with her students. She was not flogging them to her students. She appeared in several movies 8 years ago. And, this is enough to have her fired.
I clearly missed the module in my education degree which said that only perfect people were allowed to be teachers.
There is little discussion here of how the students, in middle school, accessed the films. Or, why children were watching porn. Surely, the access children have to porn is far more problematic than one teacher appearing in a porn film. Yes, I get that once the children found out, it would have been harder for Halas to do her job. But, let’s be honest here, teenagers are just like adults. They can be equally cruel and a bunch of teenagers writing profanity on the teachers window is part of the job description. It happens even to perfect members of staff who never found themselves broke and taking a job in a porn film.
Really though, the reason Halas worked within the porn industry is irrelevant for this. It only impacted her job because her co-workers complained to the school administration about it. It only impacted her job because she was fired. Halas was forced out of her job by slut-shaming reactionaries.
I am anti-porn but I can not see how preventing a woman from working as a teacher will end the pornification of our society and the hyper-sexualisation of childhood. This has taught her students that porn actresses are all sluts who do not deserve respect or basic human dignity. It has taught her students that slut-shaming is a perfectly acceptable activity. It has taught her students that it is acceptable to mock those who make different decisions than ourselves. It has taught them that it is okay to humiliate those who have fewer choices than they do.
This is a horrible story. My sympathy is with Halas and not the slut-shaming, hypocritical arseholes who are preventing her from doing a job she was trained for. More importantly, I wouldn’t want my children to be taught by people lacking in both empathy and the critical skills necessary to engage constructively in our Capitalist-Patriarchy.
And, by the way Huff Post, those “student-teacher sex scandals” at the bottom are cases of child rape, possession of child pornography and other forms of sexual violence. Not “sex scandals”. They are also all women; women who are convicted sex offenders. They are not comparable to a woman who used to work in the porn industry. Working in porn is not a criminal offence; raping a 14 year old boy is a crime. Could you at least pretend to keep that straight?
You read that right: convicted rapist Mike Tyson has a guest appearance coming up on the American TV drama whose main subject matter is sexual violence and the criminal justice system. Granted, they already have Ice-T who is fairly problematic from a feminist perspective, well, really the whole concept of the show is problematic insofar as the use of VAW as entertainment helps to normalise it, but, come on, hiring Mike Tyson?
The hiring of convicted rapist, violent offender and perpetrator of domestic violence Mike Tyson is just taking the piss completely. FGS, the episode is being advertised as “Mike Tyson to Punch up Law & Order SVU”; although that article does helpfully point out that Tyson’s role as death row inmate “likely won’t be particularly challenging for Tyson, as he’s also spent time behind bars before, serving three years in prison for rape.” Good to know that pesky little rape charge has given Tyson the necessary experience to parlay his career in violence into a career in acting.
This, apparently, is the response by showrunner Warren Leight to the criticisms raised.
“We understand the casting of Mike Tyson seems inappropriate to some SVU fans. While in no way excusing his past actions, it’s worth noting MT was convicted over twenty years ago, and served his time. In recent years he has found sobriety, and started a foundation to meet the comprehensive needs of children from broken homes. The episode itself deals with many issues, including the ongoing effects of childhood abuse, the possibility of rehabilition, and the potential for disastrous results when individuals and/or the justice system pre-judge or fail to contextualize. Because of SVU’s subject matter, all of us have a profound sense of our responsibility. Our intent, as always, is to provoke discussion and awareness. We ask you to keep an open mind. Thanks.”
It is worth noting that Mike Tyson was convicted over 20 years ago. It’s also worth noting that he has never taken personal responsibility for the crime. In fact, as recently as last year, he was labelling Desiree Washington a liar. It was hard to miss that piece of information since Tyson said during his Broadway show directed by Spike Lee. Other noted parts of the show: jokes about physically assaulting ex-wife Robin Givens and that whole accidental-biting-off of Evander Holyfield’s ear. That sounds to me like a rapist whose accepted the fact that he’s innocent of rape. Or, was that supposed to be accept that he’s guilty of rape? Does Leight know the difference?
I’m keeping an open mind here. My open mind remembers this article by Soraya Chemaly on 50 Actual Facts about Rape. It recalls this piece by Lauren Wolfe on Why Steubenville is not Dehli. It remembers the fact that the rape victim of Ched Evans had to change her name and leave the country to get away from pro-rape bullies. It remembers Steven Pollock receiving a non-custodial sentence for raping an unconscious 13 year old. It remembers the massive cover-up of Jimmy Savile’s 40 year career of sexual violence. It remembers convicted child rapist Roman Polanski, who fled the jurisdiction to escape prison, getting a standing ovation at the Oscars. It remembers the new James Bond film Skyfall including a scene where Bond rapes an adult survivor of child sex trafficking.
Warren Leight, like Spike Lee, clearly doesn’t remember any of this. Or, he cares more about money than he does the millions of women and children across this world raped daily who don’t need to see another convicted rapist get to play the victim.
There is a petition here requesting that NBC consider recasting the role played by Mike Tyson.
Please sign and share.
Because, honestly, it was a gigantic pile of nincompoopery. It is safe to say that I am not a very big fan of Steve Biddulph to begin with. His normalisation of gendered stereotypes in order to sell books just pisses me off. There is very little scientific evidence to support the nonsense that boys and girls are somehow inherently different; just lots of people claiming they “observed” gendered behaviour. This ignores the very real evidence of the cultural and historical construction and contextualisation of gender. It also conflates biological sex with gender, as if there were somehow a hormone which decides what type of child likes playing with dinosaurs. It leads to Hannah Evans claiming, in the Guardian no less, that sticks are essential to the raising of boys. It’s possible Evans has never actually met a girl child, because I’ve got two and they most definitely play with sticks. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met a girl who didn’t understand the importance of sticks. It’s called imaginative play; something that Steve Biddulph should know about considering his work with Collective Shout.
I have a number of problems with Biddulph. The first is his apparent amazement that, after spending 25 years specialising in the raising of boys, he’s discovered, rather miraculously, that “its GIRLS who are in trouble“. Yep, as a man whose spent 25 years arguing that boys are “different”, he’s now discovered that girls are “different” too and in TROUBLE! This would be more convincing if I thought Biddulph had spent the last 25 years living in a cave because I genuinely can’t imagine how any intelligent, well-educated adult could have missed the fact that the Capitalist-Patriarchy is toxic for ALL children; unless, of course, they were planning on financially benefitting from stating the bleeding obvious. After all, it’s not like there’s ever been a single book published about the toxicity of childhood on young girls, raising girls, campaigns on the sexualisation and sexploitation of young girls, or the fact that feminsts have been saying this for years. We know that our culture is deeply destructive for girls and girls mental health is suffering because of it. We don’t need another “expert” jumping up to tell us. We’ve already figured it out.
The first odd thing about the MN webchat is that Biddulph tried to claim he was not an “expert”. Please credit us with a modicum of intelligence, he was clearly invited as an “expert”. His disavowal of that role in an attempts to “debate” rather than answer any of the real questions he was asked was, well, rather pathetic. After all, this was the introduction to the webchat:
We’re delighted that Steve is returning to talk to us about his latest book, Raising Girls. This was written as a response to the ‘sudden and universal deterioration in girls’ mental health, starting in primary school and devastating the teen years’. The book is both a call-to-arms for parents and a detailed guide through the five key stages of girlhood to help build strength and connectedness into your daughter from infancy onwards. Join the discussion and you will be entered into a draw to win one of five copies of Steve Biddulph’s Raising Girls.
There was NO reason for him to come on to a MN webchat if he wasn’t setting himself up as “expert”. The whole point of the Mumsnet chat boards is the sharing of information. Why would they have a paying guest on if the guest weren’t trying to flog something to us? In Biddulph’s case, this is both a new book called Raising Girls and the one day seminar he is running as part of the Mumsnet Academy. Mumsnet is a business. They have never pretended to be any different so why Biddulph is waffling about the issue is just perplexing.
Secondly, Biddulph didn’t seem to answer any of the questions. Several of the answers read as though they were written in advance without Biddulph reading any of the pre-chat questions. Also there is the pesky issue of one particular cheerleading poster on the thread who was rather upset at the criticism of Biddulph and who has only posted on that name on that thread. If I were to think charitably, I would suggest he fundamentally misunderstood how a MN webchat runs, which would be quite odd since he’s done previous webchats (and brought his wife along). His answers were vague, patronising, pretentious and, well, twaddle. He deliberately refused to answer one question which was asked repeatedly, first by MmeLindor:
In your book, ‘Raising Boys’ you state ‘At the age of four, for reasons nobody quite understands, boys receive a sudden surge of testosterone, doubling their previous levels. At this age, little Jamie may become much more interested in action, heroics, adventures and vigorous play… At five years of age, the testosterone level drops by half, and young Jamie calms down again, just in time for school’
I have often seen this used – both on Mumsnet and on other parenting websites and blogs – to explain why boys are aggressive at age 4 to 5 years.
Despite extensive searching I have yet to find a scientific research paper that supports this theory. Could you please link to the evidence of this. …
I am concerned that falsely interpreted statement in your book may lead to parents accepting the aggressive behaviour of their sons, to the detriment of their daughters.
It worries me because we are teaching our girls from a young age that the right way to react to aggression is to walk away, and we are teaching our boys that aggressive behaviour is in some way acceptable, and to be expected.
Could you please clarify your statement about this hormone surge.
I would have thought that anyone making such a claim would be capable of backing it up with links to peer-reviewed research. It’s ethically and scientifically unacceptable to make claims of this nature without any evidence. It’s an incredibly dangerous statement to make because it does imply that boys are predisposed to violence and, therefore, not responsible for their actions. Small boys are not inherently aggressive or violent. We live in a culture that expects men to be violent. We reward them for their violence; one only needs to look at the careers of Charlie Sheen and Mike Tyson for evidence. But, boys aren’t inherently violent. They aren’t born violent or aggressive. That is how our culture socialises them.
Next up on the list of things that annoyed me was this little speech:
Girls are usually much more wired for social awareness, and even as babies they focus more on faces and reactions. This is a strength except when they are very anxious and then friendship problems can tip them over. THEY NEED HELP WITH FRIENDSHIP because its the most complex thing we do.
It all begins in babyhood. The secure attachment of mother and baby (or dad and baby) lays the foundations for being trusting, available to love and closeness with others. If your daughter was close to you, she will know how to be close to others.
But its from 5 – 10 that friendship is the uppermost topic for girls, because this is their primary learning goal at this age. HOW TO GET ALONG WITH OTHERS.
There are seven core skills involved in being a friend.
1. Enjoying the company of others – lightening up and treating company as a chance for fun.
2. Learning to take turns and share -you have more fun if you play together, but you have to give a little to make that work.
3. Being able to empathize – imagining how you would feel in your friend’s shoes, and being happy for them when they “win” or “star” in the game. This is a more advanced skill, it doesn’t always come easily.
4. Being able to regulate aggression – not screaming or clobbering your friends when you disagree. Not storming off because you are losing the argument.
5.Apologizing when you are wrong, or have hurt a friend’s feelings.
6. Being able to read emotions. Seeing when someone is angry, sad or afraid and adjusting your behaviour accordingly. You can even teach this with drawings of smiley, frowny, teary and shakey faces, helping your daughter recognize them, and applying this to situations when her friends have been upset.
7.Learning when to trust or believe someone, and when not to. That people can be deceptive for reasons of their own. Your daughter will be shocked and hurt when a friend lies or deceives her. You will need to comfort her and explain that some people have not learned the value of being trustworthy. Don’t lose heart, just be a little careful.
Each of these will arise often in your daughter’s day to day life. When she comes to you hurt or bewildered, you can pinpoint which skill is called for, listen to her feelings, but then talk to her about how that skill can be done. It will take a few goes to get right, so follow up with her over a few days or weeks. Even we adults often don’t get these right, so have respect for the hugeness of what she is having to learn, and praise and affirm her for even small steps.
I hope this helps a bit. A just seven years of age, a lot of learning is going on, it takes years, and so calmly listening to her as she talks it through.
Ignoring the unbelievably patronising comment at the end, Biddulph has clearly not read his Cordelia Fine because this idea that baby girls are “wired for social awareness” is utter twaddle. And, if girls are really are “wired for social awareness”, then surely it should be boys who need help developing friendships? Or, are they so socially incompetent that they don’t know they are supposed to have friends? I can’t keep this crap straight. I mean, seriously, are we supposed to believe that boys don’t need help learning about human emotion or who to trust? Are they not affected by these issues to? Biddulph doesn’t even try to answer a question raised about “neuronal plasticity, experience and reinforcement as determinants of behaviour and observable trait” despite the fact that this research basically proves that these studies into “observable” gender differences are, at best, inconclusive and, at worst, inherently flawed making Biddulph’s gendering of children wrong.
And, honestly, I howled with laughter when I read this bit:
In babyhood – to feel loved and secureIn toddlerhood and pre-school age – to be exploring and curious and have an adventurous approach to the world – especially important in girls, to not be restricted (by attitudes, or fussy clothes) and for adults to show and teach enthusiasm about the world.In school – aged five to ten – to learn about friendship and getting along with others. In the early teens – 10-14 – to find your SOUL, your true self.In the late teens 14-18 – to practice for being an adult woman. And finally to step into adulthood, take responsibility for your life.
These are the stages of “girl”. Now, maybe it’s because I don’t have a son, but I’m pretty sure these stages correlate to the development of boys. I like to call this process “growing up”; as I mentioned in a comment Mumsnet deleted (which seems a tad OTT considering I said worse on the Naomi Wolf webchat).
All this webchat made me want to do is reread Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender as she brilliantly debunks all this twaddle whilst being incredibly funny and missing the whole patronising, mansplainin’ thing. Delusions of Gender is worth the price just for the Daddy Rat story. Honestly.
Do also read this piece by Glosswitch in the New Statesman and this post by SaltandCaramel.
But, don’t bother with Biddulph. If you feel you need support, ask the parents around you. After all, that line about it taking a village to raise a child is true. We just need to stop paying experts to spout shite and start taking advantage of our communities.
(This blog has been rewritten to reflect the comments raised below)
Edward Furlong has been arrested for domestic violence for the third time in as many months and has pled not guilty to the battery charge. He already had an outstanding warrant for his arrest stemming from a previous incident of domestic violence.
The Daily Mail have, once again, surpassed themselves with the coverage and suggested that the
“actor’s colourful personal life includes being sued by an ex-girlfriend, 14 years his senior, for ‘assault’, and ex-wife Rachael Bella filing for divorce before hitting him with a restraining order.”
Edward Furlong does NOT have a “colourful personal life”.
His history of drug and alcohol addiction is well-documented. He has multiple DUIs and numerous stints in rehab. He was also the victim of child sexual abuse at the age of 14 when, as Wikipedia so quaintly puts it, he “began a sexual relationship with his 29-year-old former tutor, Jacqueline Domac, who became his manager for several years.” They “separated” in 1999 and Domac sued Furlong for assault and 15% of his earnings. He was a damaged child who became a damaged adult.
However, his history of violence is also well-documented; neither his drug and alcohol abuse, nor his history of child sexual abuse, are excuses for the level of violence Furlong has perpetrated against women. He may be a damaged adult but that does not negate his personal responsibility for violence. We can pity the child whilst holding the adult accountable for his actions.
Furlong’s ex-wife has a restraining order against him for violence and stalking. He has recently been prohibited access with his son without supervision. His son, aged 6, had tested positive for cocaine whilst spending time alone with his father. He has two arrests for DUI and public intoxication. His recent arrests, on October 30 and again on November 21, were for domestic violence against his then girlfriend. He has now assaulted the same women, his ex-partner, for the third time. These are the actions of a violent man.
Apparently, Furlong has now been fired from two films for his violence; not because it was “bad” but because his legal problems are costing the filmmakers money. This is why we need a #dickheaddetox. Violent men should not be celebrated. Furlong should not have been hired for these films in the first place. Of course, this is an industry that allows the equally violent substance abuser that is Charlie Sheen to star in numerous television shows. And, has an audience willing to financially support a man with a serious history of VAW.
Edward Furlong is a violent drug addict who has been proved to be a danger to at least three previous partners. At what point is his propensity for violence going to be taken seriously?
Yep. That’s an image of Femen taken yesterday at their protest in the Vatican in support of gay rights. Because the best way to interact with a homophobic and misogynist patriarchal institution is to have young women bare their breasts and shout.
Who precisely were Femen addressing with this protest? This is my fundamental problem with their form of “protest”. I’m not sure who they are actually targeting. Or, what they are targeting. If they are protesting a homophobic march in Paris, why are they in the Vatican? If they are targeting the Catholic Church, well, let’s be honest here, the Vatican doesn’t actually give a shit what women think. They are highly unlikely to change the minds of those visiting the Vatican. Instead, they have put themselves in a situation where they could have been very badly hurt.
This really isn’t feminism. It is a mockery of it.