Jezebel reminds us that its absolutely HILARIOUS to publicly humiliate a distressed woman

I’ve been busy all week so I missed this truly spectacular piece of humanity in action. I’m not surprised people think this is funny; after all Bradley Wiggins thought it was oh-so-hilarious to suggest someone “suck me off” at a Barnado’s charity dinner. I’m hardly shocked some entitled fool on Twitter thought it was hysterically funny to harass an already distressed woman trapped with him on a plane. I’d like to say I’m shocked and surprised that Jezebel thought it was funny enough to link but I’m not. Participating in the public humiliation of women being an anti-feminist act has somehow passed them by completely. Jezebel has moments of absolute brilliance but they frequently resort to lazy stereotypes about women – and that’s without getting into the whole hiring the obviously abusive Hugo Schwyzer.

Jezebel supporting a man publicly humiliating and sexually harassing a woman who was upset is disgraceful.

What Elan Gale did was not funny and it wasn’t clever. It was the exact same manipulative and abusive behaviour women experience from men on a daily basis. Sending a woman alcohol when they are trapped on a plane with you isn’t a compliment at the best of times; sending a woman, who is in distress, alcohol to wind her up is shitty behaviour. Naming her, taking photos of her seat and then tweeting out a description of her is frightening behaviour. Telling a woman to “eat your dick” is sexual harassment. Frankly, if I were in this situation, I would assume the man was a sexual predator and I would be scared shitless on the plane. Gale’s “defence” of his behaviour, by suggesting it’s the woman’s fault for being annoying, is classic deflection and victim-blaming. It’s precisely the defence I would expect of a man with a history of violence against women.

It’s obvious the woman on the flight was upset and distressed at missing Thanksgiving. And, come on, we’ve all been there. We’ve all been distressed, angry or whatever and taken it out on someone who didn’t deserve. It’s not acceptable but it happens. And, yeah, as a teenage single mother, I’ve been in those dead-end jobs where people shout at you for things which are neither your fault nor something you have control over. I still remember being 15 and working in an in-store bakery in a huge grocery chain and a woman yelling at me for 20 minutes because our hot cross buns didn’t taste like her grandmothers. Did it make me feel like crap? Yup. Hell, if it didn’t, I probably wouldn’t remember it. It’s also the least abusive shit I’ve had to put up with at work (try being a teenage girl in a bakery for constant sexual harassment from customers who think they are the first person EVER to make a joke about buns and your ass).

A passenger on a plane being in distress and annoying the flight attendants (and other passengers) isn’t uncommon. It’s the number one reason why I believe alcohol should be prohibited on planes and trains. But, no matter how inappropriately someone behaves through distress, it is never acceptable to publicly humiliate, abuse and sexually harass them.

What Elan Gale did was clearly abusive. He targeted a women in distress and harassed her. Repeatedly. He made a threat of sexual violence and then he followed her off the plane to harass her further. The flight attendants were complicit in allowing him to further abuse this woman. She was a victim and the male flight attendant supported the abuser.

This isn’t funny. It’s male violence.

Shame on the flight attendants who colluded in helping a male passenger abuse a distressed woman.

Shame on Jezebel for claiming that the abuse of women is hilarious.

And, shame on Elan Gale for being an abusive asshole.

Comments: My policy on comments is here. If you get deleted for abusive or offensive comments, you lose the right to have any comments kept on this blog.

Pembroke College’s [Oxford] Rugby are still confused about sexual harassment.

Pembroke College’s rugby team made news last week with their “free pussy” social inviting players to bring two bottles of alcohol to be given to an “unsuspecting” woman. The team has now been banned from playing “first round of the season, and relegated them to the third division of the competition”. I suppose we should be excited that the Oxford rugby union has decided that threatening to spike the drinks of women is wrong, I’m just not entirely sure that members of the team understand the exact nature of the criminal acts they were advocating.

Granted, the team’s captain has stepped down and Woo Kim, the “social secretary” who sent the “free pussy” email has apologised. The problem is that Kim doesn’t seem to understand that the email itself was sexual harassment.  The Independent quotes this statement from Kim:

I want to clarify that the club had no intentions of sexual harassment,” he added. “We were not planning on spiking drinks.

Spiking women’s drinks is NOT sexual harassment. It’s assault. If they then touch the women, it is sexual assault or rape. But, the act of deliberately giving a woman a substance without her consent is assault. It is a violent crime in and of itself. 

The email constituted sexual harassment. 

Threatening to spike women’s drinks, even in ‘jest’, is sexual harassment.

Spiking women’s drinks is assault.

It’s unfortunate that Oxford Rugby Union doesn’t seem to understand this.

The 2nd Annual 16 Days of Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women Bloghop

November 25 is United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. I will be hosting my 2nd Annual bloghop to recognise women’s campaigning and activism to end violence against women.

You can link any posts on the subject of Violence against Women during the 16 days of activism. The posts do not need to be new but they do have to be written by women. You can also link as many pieces as you would like. They can be personal experiences of violence, theoretical discussion of the consequences of violence against women, activism, research, poetry, art or any other medium that you can link in a blog.

These are some of the amazing women who participated last year:

Ex London Call Girl
Exiled Stardust
Frothy Dragon and the Patriarchal Stone
Gloss watch
Hiding Under the Bed
Just Some Stuff About Us
Lexicon lane

Minja (Medecins San Frontiers Field Blog)
Progressive Women
Salt and Caramel
The Astell Project

Week Woman 

Zohra Moosa (F-Word)

Please join me during the 16 days of activism to eliminate violence against women:

Powered by Linky Tools*
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

*I’m working with a very old MacBook on Safari and Linky Tools does not like either, which is why you have click the link to open up the list of blogs which are part of the bloghop. Each is represented by an image. I will also add links to each of the associated blogs below.

Naming the Perpetrator: Male Violence against Women and Children by me
Paedophile: Misleading Language and Child Sexual Abuse by Everyday Victim Blaming
Lowering the Age of Consent by Everyday Victim Blaming
The Mitigation of Men’s Violence by Everyday Victim Blaming
Safety Advice and What it Means by Everyday Victim Blaming
Shame, Self-Blame and a Perception of Safety by Everyday Victim Blaming
Our Values and Internalised Victim blaming by Everyday Victim Blaming
F.E.A.R by Portia Smart
Silent No More by Portia Smart
A Letter to my Dad: Another ‘good father’ by Portia Smart
Project Unbreakable by Portia Smart
I am tired by Portia Smart
Stopping Violence against women by Rosa Brignone  
Counting Dead Women at One Woman’s Thoughts
While You Were Waiting at One Woman’s Thoughts
A Truth Comes at One Woman’s Thoughts
He Didn’t Just Snap at One Woman’s Thoughts
Laying the Blame at the Right Door at One Woman’s Thoughts
2013 by Karen Ingala Smith
Remembering the Women Killed Through Male Violence does not mean forgetting those who lived by Karen Ingala Smith
This thing about male victims by Karen Ingala Smith
The Signs of Controlling Behaviour: Red Flags and How to Spot Them at Salt and Caramel
Four Born Every Second: Saving Lives of Women and Children at Salt and Caramel
A Controlling Friendship: A Bully by Another Name at Jump Magazine
Sexual assault = bad but sexual relations with non-consenting women = ok? at Brighter than Before 
#IBelieveHer. And no menz, I DON’T believe you’ve been “falsely accused” by Frothy Dragon and the Patriarchal Stone 
#16days: Bryan McFadden and the mistake of thinking victims are “just as bad” by Frothy Dragon and the Patriarchal Stone
#IBelieveHer: What #Steubenville reminds us about rape culture by Frothy Dragon and the Patriarchal Stone
Domestic Violence victims still need to be “Perfect” to be deemed “Real” Victims by HerbsandHags

#DickheadDetox : Jeremy Clarkson for being his usual odious self

Jeremy Clarkson is a hideous, odious misogynist with the usual side order of racism,  homophobia, disablism, classism and the list goes on. This isn’t even a particularly egregious example of his misogyny. It’s just Clarkson blithering on about shit he knows nothing about. Why the fuck anyone listens to this pompous windbag and his environmentally destructive shite which passes for TV is beyond me. 

He’s on the #DickheadDetox just for existing.

#DickheadDetox : Eminem for a Career based on Violence against Women

Eminem is a misogynist. His hatred towards women is well-documented starting with rapping about killing his ex-wife. I was going to write one of my usual #DickheadDetox rants but in researching his violence I came across some brilliant takedowns of his misogyny.

The popularity of Eminem’s music is symptomatic of our culture which hates women. After all, if women were truly considered human would Eminem be anywhere but jail for threats of violence?

#DickheadDetox : James Franco for perpetuating rape culture

James Franco has been on my #DickheadDetox list for months. I just haven’t quite had the time to research all the shit he’s done over the years which are misogynistic.

Today,  I read a review Franco wrote of the movie 12 Years a Slave. The review includes this phrase:

“she is fully aware of the affair he carries with his slave, Patsy”

Franco might want to ask for a refund from his grossly over-priced Ivy League education since he is clearly too stupid to understand the difference between rape and an “affair”. At least, I’m going to pretend he’s too stupid since an intelligent, well-educated man who isn’t a rapist couldn’t possibly mistake rape for consensual sex.

Plus, there is that slight problem with racism in his review of the film but he’s a rich white dude so I’m sure that’s not really a problem or anything.

So, James France joins the #DickheadDetox for reinforcing rape culture.

Oh, Misogyny, How I have missed thee!

I genuinely don’t know how I get out of bed in the morning without you to control my thoughts and actions. Today, I learned that the only appropriate “revenge” against a husband for cheating on you is to win an Oscar for best actress and for writing! 

Had I not seen this amazing article in the Telegraph this morning about Kenneth Branagh’s inability to control where he puts his penis, I would have had no idea that it was déclassé for women to speak publicly about their hurt and anger at the man they married being a dickhead.

I would never have known that women expressing their own feelings constituted “revenge”. I would never have known that “revenge” was something only men get to do. That women were never ever entitled to speak publicly about their anger or hurt; that women aren’t allowed to feel angry or hurt at their husband being a dickhead.

So, thank you Telegraph for telling all women that the ONLY way to respond to your husband’s infidelity is to keep quiet about it for 20 years and win yourself 2 Oscars. 

Thank you, once again, for pointing out that men can do whatever they want without consequence, but a woman speaking about anything is evidence she’s a bitch.

Thank you for telling women that their feelings are irrelevant.

Thank you for telling men that it’s justifiable for them to kill their wife if she has an affair.

Thank you for telling women that they aren’t allowed to comment whatsoever on their husband’s affair because it’s mean and pathetic. Who knew that Jennifer Aniston and Jo Wood were just giant cry-babies for objecting to their husband’s affairs?

Misogyny, I don’t know how I manage to get through my life thinking that men are responsible for where they put their penises. 

After all, I don’t see the Telegraph suggesting that Branagh’s behaviour was at fault here.

If you think breastfeeding Nazis exist, you are a nincompoop.

There are no such thing as breastfeeding Nazis. At no point in history has there ever been women who breastfeed joining fascist parties for the sole purpose of committing the mass genocide of women who do not breastfeed.  Using the term “Nazi” to refer to anything but the actual Nazi government of Germany or any far-right fascist group makes you sound like an ahistorical buckethead with no understanding of genocide. 

Comparing women who are pro-breastfeeding (regardless of whether or not they are rude) is disgraceful. It makes a mockery of the murder of millions of innocent people. It’s an asinine hyperbole.

Am I pro-breasfeeding? Yup.

Do I have a problem with the government’s latest attempt to increase breastfeeding rates by offering new mothers up to £200 in shopping vouchers? Absolutely. 

It’s a ridiculous policy which does nothing to target the real reasons why women “fail” or chose not to breastfeed. It doesn’t target the phenomenal number of myths about breastfeeding peddled by formula manufacturers. It ignores the very practical realities which result in women choosing not to breastfeed [or the emotionally, abusive behaviour of partners which has resulted in a not insignificant number of women being unable to breastfeed]. It ignores the physiological reasons why women cannot breastfeed.

It ignores the chronic underfunding of NHS maternity services which have resulted in inadequate numbers of midwives available to support women. It ignores the lack of training midwives receive to support breastfeeding. It ignores the lack of qualified support workers to help women once they have left the hospital. It ignores the failure to diagnose tongue-tie which results in women being able to breastfeed. 

It ignores the myths propagated by the media that women’s breasts are only for sex and that breastfeeding ruins your body. Hell, it ignores media doctors like Christian Jessen who seem to actually believe that breastfeeding ruins your breast [here’s a hint: rapid weight gain in pregnancy fundamentally changes your body. It doesn’t “ruin” your body. It just changes your body].

This policy ignores the amount of advertising from formula manufacturers who are big fans of the “most women can’t breastfeed” myths because it increases their revenues. 

Increasing breastfeeding rates in this country requires the following:
  • a complete ban on formula advertising
  • more investment in midwives
  • more investment in breastfeeding support workers
  • prosecuting and fining formula companies for their aggressive [and frequently misleading] formula advertisements
  • it requires a fundamental cultural shift wherein breasts are no longer viewed as sex objects 
  • it requires a culture which understands the reasons why women chose not to or cannot breastfeed.
And, it requires women showing other women some kindness. We are all judged for the choices we make. It doesn’t matter if we breastfeed or formula feed, there will always be someone who judges us negatively for them. We need to learn to be more confident with the decisions we make. 

We also need to start understanding that analysing the conditions in which women make the “choice” to breastfeed or not is not a personal attack on an individual women but political analysis. A woman who “chooses” a different way isn’t doing so with the express purpose of hurting your feelings.

And, if someone is rude about the “choices” you have made, tell them so. Ask them if they meant to be that rude. Or, walk away. Using the behaviour or language of one person who is being rude to dismiss the “choices” of the entire group of people who made that “choice” is also ridiculous.

£200 worth of shopping vouchers won’t help anyone actually breastfeed. It won’t make up for poor maternity care, lack of support or an abusive partner who thinks breastfeeding is “gross”. We already know what will actually help women who choose to breastfeed to do so successfully without making women who choose not to feel like shit. How about we actually finance those programs?

And, if you do come across someone who is so pro-breastfeeding that they are rude to you, don’t call them the breastfeeding nazis or gestapo or mafia. That’s ahistorical nincompoopery.

#DickheadDetox : Terry Wogan for being a whiny-arse misogynist

There is a never ending parade of old, white dudes too stupid to understand their privilege. Terry Wogan is just one of a huge pile of dickheads who’ve got their arses shoved so far up their arse that they genuinely believe their own bullshit.
I could rant for hours on old, white dudes whining but Frances Ryan got there first. The following are from her great piece in the New Statesman:
There seems to be an epidemic in television of middle-aged to elderly men thinking that they have important thoughts on women on television and that those thoughts aren’t the rantings of a sexist berk. If it isn’t John Inverdale, it’s Alan Titchmarsh talking about women “whingeing” when their careers get cut short once they hit 40. Women, such moaners! They really should take being dumped because their skin isn’t tight as it used to be with more decorum. Anyway, as Wogan helpfully reminded us, they’re happy enough to use their looks to their advantage when they still have them.
I wonder though, according to men like Wogan, what exactly are women in television meant to do? If they stick their head in a paper bag during their twenties or make sure they look like they’ve been eating some pies, are they allowed to complain when they get pushed out at forty? It’s just the ones that looked attractive at the start of their career that can’t complain when they’re later dumped for no longer being attractive, right? Because they’ve “used” their looks to get them where they wanted to be.
Women in television, much like those out it, are in a no win situation. They have to be slim and glossy to get and stay in work. If they’re slim and glossy they’re accused of only getting work because of their looks – and find themselves signing up to and perpetuating the culture that’ll throw them out the door when it all starts to sag.
Wogan unwittingly says it all when he speaks of presenting Children in Need with his “lovelies” (a.k.a grown women Tess Daly and Fearn Cotton). TV is still content with a particular set-up: the aged man (generally over 70) and the pretty young co-presenter (half his age and painted into a distracting dress). As long as that culture exists, women who want to work will have to go along with it. And wait for elderly, still-successful men to tell them they brought their short careers on themselves.
Let’s be totally honest here: if men were held to the same standard of physical beauty as women, Wogan would never have made it as a DJ; never mind the jump to television. Wogan’s career is because he is a white dude who reinforces patriarchal norms in both his actions and words.
Daly and Cotton are surviving in a capitalist-patriarchy which hates women. I blame the men who perpetuate it; not the women trying to survive.

Dear BBC, Khloe Abrams was killed by her father.

Liam Culverhouse, of Northamptonshire, pled guilty in a Nottingham Crown Court to the charge of causing or allowing the death of his daughter.

Khloe Abrams died at the age of 19 months from a serious trauma following a brutal assault by her father Liam. Khloe died from her injuries 18 months after her father assaulted her. Khloe was an infant and her father caused her such serious trauma that she spent the last 18 months of her life in a hospice in Loughborough, Leicestershire.

This is the story of Khloe’s brutal murder at the hands of the one man who should have protected her but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the BBC’s coverage of the casehere

There are 333 words in the BBC article.

Exactly 37 words refer to Khloe.

Exactly 36 words refer to the criminal case and plea from Liam Culverhouse.

A further 34 words refer to the case refer to Khloe’s mother Clare Abrams.

In article of 333 words, only 107 words refer to the actual death of a baby at the hands of her father.

The BBC devoted the other 226 words to coverage of Liam Culverhouse’s career as a soldier in Afghanistan.

The death of a baby at the hands of her father isn’t considered as important as her father’s career as a soldier.

Liam Culverhouse survived an attack in Helmand province in 2009 that resulted in the death of 5 other soldiers. It is possible that the trauma Culverhouse suffered was directly linked to his violent behaviour which resulted in a brutal attack on his 7 week old daughter. But, this isn’t what the BBC wrote about. 

There is an actual discussion that needs to be had over the increased violence and self-harm perpetrated by returning soldiers who have PTSD. We all know soldiers are more likely to commit suicide, they have higher rates of violence against partners and children and they have higher rates of substance misuse. The failure to support returning troops and the subsequent impact on their families and friends is a disgrace to our nation. This is an important story to tell.

It is entirely possible that the violent assault on Khloe by her father was caused by PTSD. It is also possible that Culverhouse was simply a violent man.

The BBC doesn’t even bother to investigate these issues; instead it has written an entire article on the death of a baby by glorifying the military career of her killer.

We need to have a real conversation about PTSD in returning soldiers. We need to talk about self-harm and domestic violence. We need to talk about sexual violence. We need to talk about why our government still has no real programs in place to deal with PTSD and male violence within the Armed Forces.

We need to have these conversations honestly. Erasing the crime committed by a man who happened to experience a traumatic event is not an honest conversation. It is just another example of a man’s responsibility for violence being eradicated.

Khloe Abrams was brutally assaulted at the age of 7 weeks. Her death is the fault of her father. This is the story the BBC should have reported.

[Thank you to EVB_Now for bringing this case to my attention]