I’m not going to lie. I was disappointed by Brave. I liked Merida as proto-feminist heroine but the rest of the characters were really just tedious gendered stereotypes. The men, including the king, were all irresponsible and prone to violence. Merida’s younger brothers were incredibly badly behaved but rewarded for it. I find the “men are all stupid and violent and irresponsible” cliche tedious and dull. The maid was silly and prone to hysterics. The kingdom itself is held together by the Queen who suppresses her whole personality and needs into ensuring that the others don’t kill one another in an orgy of violence. Yep, that tired old “women have to be extra special good to compensate for the men being arseholes” trope so beloved in victim-blaming.
I really, really wanted to like Brave. As a heroine, she is one of the best Disney Princesses; possibly second only to Mulan but the rest of the film lets Merida down. And, that’s without getting into the way Merida saves her mother by learning to darn. I mean, seriously, what’s with that? Yeah, darning is an important skill to have and no doubt has saved many a soldier but when you’re trying to stop gendering fictional characters for children, a girl saving someone through darning isn’t a step in the right direction. Merida is a warrior queen. Warrior Queens do not save people by fixing tapestries. And, the end isn’t really a brilliant one for Merida. After all, she winds up weaving with her mother which isn’t what she wanted. It was an unnecessary compromise that should never have been required because Merida’s demands weren’t unreasonable. Everyone else needed to learn to compromise [and the father to actually act like one instead of being a drunken bore] but Merida herself should not have had to change.
Plus, the love story is still there. The last scene is of the “ugly” laird kissing her hand. The implication is that Merida ends up with him which isn’t really losing the princess marries the prince storyline so much as holding out for a sequel a la Tangled.
No, seriously. There hasn’t been enough misogyny in my life this week so I’m incredibly grateful to the Huffington Post for running no less than two misogynistic, women-blaming pieces of vileness yesterday. Without them, I might have become confused and forgotten we live in a Patriarchy. I’m so glad Ashley Hames was available to tell me that women spend too much time talking about their vaginas. Because men never ever talk about their penises. Nope, it’s only women boring men senseless by talking about a subject that men aren’t really interested in [unless they are sticking their cocks in one and even then we aren’t supposed to talk about it].
Hames is apparently bored rigid by feminists banging on about their vaginas. Weirdly, I’m not bored by men talking about their penises. I’m angry about men talking about their penises. I’m angry at the proliferation of pornography which prioritises the penis above all else. I’m angry about the rape and torture of women and children by men who think their right to orgasm is more important than women’s bodily integrity and health. I’m bored by men who think that any topic of conversation which does not revolve around them or their desires isn’t worth having. On the other hand, I do agree with this statement by Hames: “(b)ut this constant reinforcement of The Vagina smacks of insecurity”; except, I’d replace vagina with penis. Because that’s what Hames is really talking about: his own insecurity about his penis and it’s status in society. Why else would he claim to be “bored” by women having conversations without him? It’s not like he’s been kidnapped by a bunch of Feminists and locked in a cupboard whilst they recite the Vagina Monologues at him. Unlike women, who have to live everyday with snide remarks and pornographic images delineating the ‘woman as fucktoy’ trope.
And, an even bigger thank you goes to Kate Thompson for reiterating the woman are all hormonal, insane crackpots in desperate search for a penis to cure of us any attempts at independent thought in her ode to Bridezillas; which should have been called Bridezilla: Women-Shaming Wrapped Up in a Shiny Tiara. There really is no excuse for such women-blaming misogynistic nincompoopery. God forbid, we actually hold men accountable for the consequences of their behaviour; instead it’s always the fault of women who are just trying to survive in a Patriarchal society which devalues everything we do. It’s always the fault of women for wanting too much or, you know, actually wanting to get their basic needs met. It’s women’s faults that they are insecure or jealous or irrational because, hey, that’s what happens when you have a vagina. Men are never irrational. Possession of a penis prohibits irrationality.
What really fucks me off about the Huffington Post publishing such misogynistic shite is that they also published a searing critique of the abuse and violence directed at Kristen Stewart over an alleged affair she had with a married director. Rupert Sanders, of course, is completely unresponsible for the affair. It’s all Stewart’s fault. Nico Lang’s article is the antithesis of the misogyny perpetuated by Thompson and Hames and I’m so very glad it was published because the situation is appalling. But, it’s actually quite sad that Lang’s defence of Stewart sits along side such unmitigated twaddle. Does the Huffington Post have an editorial policy which requires two pieces of vacuous nincompoopery to combat any pro-women articles?
Oh, and if we’re going to play the “teams” debacle, I’m on Team Stewart because NO woman deserves the treatment she has received.
Took Small to see The Lorax this morning. It was actually pretty funny in places and less patronising than Ferngully with the whole destruction of the forest killing the planet story line. Thing is, The Lorax still felt obligated to go with two utterly stupid and dire tropes: the fat, stupid sidekick and the “it’s only okay to hit girls that aren’t pretty”. I know I complained about the trailer to The Lorax previously but it just annoyed me even more in the film. This is what I said about the trailer:
It was the same tired old joke about not threatening violence against women unless they don’t ‘look’ like women: that is too say fat. Because, it’s just totally okay for children’s films to reinforce the same tired old stereotypes about women only having value if they are skinny and pretty. Or, that women can only ‘look’ like women if they are skinny. Or something.
It would be nice if just one film directed at children didn’t include threats of violence and gender stereotyping. Is that really so much to ask? Is Hollywood so lacking in imagination that they can’t imagine a world where people don’t run about threatening to punch anyone who disagrees with them or denigrating those who don’t fit Patriarchal Constructions of Fuckability?
The normalising of male violence is harmful for everyone. It teaches boys that they are nothing but violent thugs incapable of self-control and tells girls they are responsible for the violence because they aren’t pretty enough or nag too much. And, this is without going into the whole basis of the plot which is that boys only do dangerous and stupid things to get the attention of girls. Because, boys are never, ever responsible for their own bad decisions. Always has to be the fault of a woman, [and its worth pointing out that the young boy is being raised by a single mother whilst the man who caused the tree crisis was being raised by an emotionally abusive mother reinforcing the “woman are responsible for male behaviour trope on several levels].
The fat, slow, and dim sidekick in The Lorax was a bear; one who just couldn’t keep up either intellectually or physically. It didn’t anything to the story. It wasn’t funny. It was just the same old pick on the fat kid shit which is everywhere. It was the same demeaning behaviour as evidenced in most Hollywood comedies which are anything but. Being overweight doesn’t make one stupid and it’s unbelievably tedious to see this trope used over and over again. The Lorax could have been a brilliant film; instead in went for crass jokes and offensive stereotypes. Plus ca change and all that.
I know it’s a totally weird position for a feminist to take but bear with me for a moment. [Or, bare with me. I haven’t decided which is a more appropriate term right now]. And, anyways it wasn’t my idea. Technically it was SaF’s idea on the Mumsnet webchat with Naomi Wolf and SaF suggested that women start walking about with them in permanently so we are having perpetual orgasms and don’t notice abusive men. I just think we should take it one step further and campaign to have them available on the NHS. That way no women would ever not be able to afford to walk around in a permanent state of bliss.
According to Wolf, lots of orgasms make women happier because of some freaky relationship between the vagina and the brain or some other totally stupid and scientifically asinine thing. I’m sure I could be clearer on this but that would require spending more time trying to work out what she was on about and I just can’t be arsed. Helpfully, the New Statesman has published a review by the blogger Neuroskeptic which lists the ways in which Wolf is just wrong about female anatomy [amongst many other things]. She’s also wrong about some pretty basic tenets of historical and archaeological research but, really, these major fallacies have never stopped Wolf spouting on about shit she doesn’t understand [see for instance: her stance on the Assange rape case].
But, back to the to the love eggs thing. It will save a fortune on treating domestic violence. After all, women being magicked into dopamine inspired delusions of happiness will make DV disappear. Or, we’ll be too stoned to care. Because this seems to be Wolf’s premise, if women stop being whiny, men won’t be obnoxious anymore. It’s women’s faults that men are shit lovers because we don’t wank enough. At least, I think that’s what she’s saying. I’m not sure Wolf really knows what she’s on about. The Mumsnet webchat was an embarrassing mixture of narcissism and self-delusion interspersed with moments of sheer brilliance on the part of Mumsnetters whose collective vaginas were a trifle confused by Wolf.
These are a sample of the questions that Wolf, for reasons best known to herself, didn’t really answer. Well, some of them were answered with psychobabble, twaddle and general nincompoopery. Someone definitely didn’t read Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender. And, it wasn’t me because I should be getting royalties for encouraging everyone I know to buy the book. Pretty much everything that Wolf has hypothesised about the magical connection between the brain and vagina is just, well, nincompoopery. The point is we simply don’t know enough about the brain to make the ridiculous claims that Wolf does and even if we did have the knowledge, defining science in such victim-blaming rhetoric is just offensive. Wolf has managed to write a book that blames women for not being happy. Thanks a fucking lot for that.
Do check the status of your pelvic floor before reading the following; just in case it’s not in harmony with your vagina.
How does a woman say ‘no’ if she’s asleep?
The short passages in Vagina that refer to the prehistoric ‘Venus’ figurines are, archaeologically, beyond parody. Is there some strange rule in the world of Pop Fem Bestsellers whereby writers such as youself and Camille Paglia are not allowed to read actual archaeological textbooks and analyses?
What does your book have to say to women who are lesbian, single (by choice or circumstance) or who just don’t see their sexual relationships with men as a primary part of their identity?
How do you think promoting rape myths and defending the right of men to penetrate women who are asleep and therefore cannot consent to sex, fits in with calling yourself a feminist? Also you appear like other Assange fans, to believe that if a woman consents to sex with a man, that means that she consents under any terms and doesn’t have the right to set conditions, like for example that he must wear a condom. Can you explain how that is a feminist position? Because it sounds to me very much closer to a rapey position.
And Mumsnet, how does having a woman who defends the right of men to penetrate women without their consent if they have had previous sexual intercourse with them on for a webchat, fit in with your “We Believe You” anti-rape campaign?
MNHQ, I’d also like to add my voice to those asking how this fits with the We Believe You Campaign.
I think the actual research into this focuses on the control of reproduction. It isn’t really about your vagina but rather who gets to dictate the contents of the uterus. Frankly, suggesting that mass rape is because of the vagina-brain relationship is so utterly offensive that I don’t even know where to begin. It’s certainly not what Gloria Steinem is arguing with the Women Under Siege institute.
If we accept your premise, that this prosecution is politically motivated, does that mean it shouldn’t go ahead even if those women in Sweden are claiming to be raped?
Should we ignore women who describe being raped in cases where we like the politics of the men accused of raping them?
I totally agree with you that in normal cases, rape victims are treated shamefully badly and rape allegations are not taken as seriously as they ought to be. But does this mean that because most rape allegations are not pursued with the vigour that they should be, it’s wrong for a state to pursue rape allegations in the case of men the state might not like and the rest of us might admire or agree with on other issues?
Because you do realise that if that is your position (and it is the position of may people on the left) then it’s not a feminist position, don’t you? It’s a position which says that although women’s rights are all fine and dandy, when it comes to the really important things in life, like fighting imperialism/ poverty/ racism/ insert worthy cause here, women’s human rights have to go to the back of the queue? You do understand that feminism does not accept the premise that women’s human rights come last, don’t you?
Do you think that the rights of Assange are more important than the rights of two women who accused him of serious sexual assault and rape?
And what does that signal to any woman raped by an important political figure?
Should DSK not have been investigated because of his political standing? Maybe that was a conspiracy too.
This is why it is important that these cases come to trial. Because it is not up to journalists or bloggers to decide, but a judge and jury.
How can you say that when that is EXACTLY what that Huff Post article was doing? If you have spent as much time supporting rape victims as you say you must be aware of the very widespread and damaging myth that women ‘cry rape’ when displeased with the behaviour of their male sexual partner. That was exactly what you were promulgating the idea of their having done in that piece.
Perhaps you should admit that on this case you did write a rape myth, and try harder not to do it again?
Does your book apply to transwomen with constructed vaginas?
Isn’t it transphobic to write a book which ignores transwomen’s experience of their ‘vaginas’ (or lack of them)?
I must say that I feel as sceptical and resistant to being told that the vagina is the seat (or a seat) of my self as I am to being told that my wandering womb has that role.
We live in an age of very great discovery about the roles of neurochemicals, neurotransmitters et al, but these have to be conceptualised very carefully indeed to avoid dodgy determinist theses and oversimplification.
So, just as to achieve equality in coupledom, men need to step up and assume their responsibilities for cleaning the loo and making the kids’ dental appointments, the sexual fulfillment of women requires men stepping up and responding to women appropriately?
And writing about the neuroscience behind the vagina is yet another way to put the onus on women?
My vagina is positively tying itself in knots trying to work it out.
I think the arse-mouth link is also an area worthy of further research. Just how do some people come to talk out of their bottoms?
So rape victims aren’t getting convictions because they’re not fighting back hard enough? And if we take away their anonymity they will be stop being ashamed, like the gay people, and their shame is the reason why they’re not getting convictions and when gay people stopped being ashamed it got better for them?
Do you see how victim-blaming and unkind your suggestion is?
That is such a disturbing echo that, especially coupled with a sexual culture in which women are demoted to body parts (and people are aggressively identified as “cunts”), I don’t think I could begin to look properly at her empirical claims without some preliminary discussion of how on earth so close a connection of a woman’s selfhood with her sexual organ could possibly avoid collapsing her into a mere fragment of herself at best (and an illusion at worst).
Added to that, as I think the Guardian review of her book makes salient, there is a pervasive tendency at the moment to react in an oversimplifying and overly determinist way to the numerous and complex relations between brain and self that are constantly being discovered and which are usually only partly understood. Phrases like “feminist neurotransmitter” and “feminist impulse in the brain” are an almost comically egregious example of mapping brain to self in a reductionist way, reminiscent of phrenology.
StewieGriffinsMomHow do you define “non-violent rape” because I have never ever heard a feminist use that term. Rape is, by definition, violence. It can be accompanied by other forms of physical violence but the act of rape is always violent.
The idea that there is a difference between violent rape and non-violent rape is a rape myth.
Or possibly this one:
FastidiaBlueberryIs the brain-penis connection as strong?
FastidiaBlueberryWhy do men need to read your book to learn how not to be arses and therefore get more sex?
I’d like to think this is a joke. That no one would be so utterly stupid as to think rape and murder are acceptable advertising campaigns but we all know that’s precisely the kind of shit that gets advertising execs all hot and horny. After all, MAC only pulled the Ciudad Juarez limited edition make-up line after customers complained. Apparently, no one at MAC quite understood that naming make-up after a Mexican border town imploding due to drug violence and the systemic mass murder of women might be considered, well, in poor taste. Probably they all failed kindergarten or never saw Sesame Street. Even Oscar the Grouch could have worked out that naming make up after systemic VAW was just a little bit rude.
A campaign for an App, of all the stupid shit possible, which includes the use of a date rape drug and ends with the a man sharpening a knife in a room full of unconscious [or already dead] tied up women really is scrapping the barrel of indecency. Jezebel has already called MyCheck on its misogyny; as has the Israeli Times but do we really need advertising campaigns to get to this point before they are pulled. Surely, someone in advertising somewhere gets that systemic VAW isn’t funny or clever.
This is “edited version” of the video. The article in Jezebel contains a link to the original video in its entirety:
I’m sure someone will be along soon to inform me that I can just not purchase the App but that really isn’t the point. I’d like the entire advertising industry to remove their collective brains from wherever they have stored them and just stop making this shit. Is that really too much to ask?
Naomi Wolf claims to regret this letter she wrote in the New Statesman concerning the Assange rape case. She said so on a webchat on Mumsnet yesterday. Of course, she also said: “I do not write or post rape myths. My concern is always to support rape victims and support prosecution and conviction of rapists.” I’m thinking she and I have very different definitions of what constitutes a rape myth because the letter, dated December 7th 2010, is basically one gigantic rape myth. But, heh, it’s Naomi Wolf and it’s not like she’s ever really worried about the truth. If she was, she would have fact-checked before writing this letter:
As a longtime feminist activist, I have been overjoyed to discover your new commitment to engaging in global manhunts to arrest and prosecute men who behave like narcissistic jerks to women they are dating.
I see that Julian Assange is accused of having consensual sex with two women, in one case using a condom that broke. I understand, from the alleged victims’ complaints to the media, that Assange is also accused of texting and tweeting in the taxi on the way to one of the women’s apartments while on a date, and, disgustingly enough, ‘reading stories about himself online’ in the cab.
Both alleged victims are also upset that he began dating a second woman while still being in a relationship with the first. (Of course, as a feminist, I am also pleased that the alleged victims are using feminist-inspired rhetoric and law to assuage what appears to be personal injured feelings. That’s what our brave suffragette foremothers intended!).
Thank you again, Interpol. I know you will now prioritize the global manhunt for 1.3 million guys I have heard similar complaints about personally in the US alone — there is an entire fraternity at the University of Texas you need to arrest immediately. I also have firsthand information that John Smith in Providence, Rhode Island, went to a stag party — with strippers! — that his girlfriend wanted him to skip, and that Mark Levinson in Corvallis, Oregon, did not notice that his girlfriend got a really cute new haircut — even though it was THREE INCHES SHORTER.
Terrorists. Go get ’em, Interpol!
Yours gratefully, Naomi Wolf
Now, I’m not really holding out much hope that Wolf will actually apologise properly for the rape myths in this letter. Hell, I’m not even sure if she will ever recognise the myths. The only thing she really regrets is getting the case wrong since this was never about consensual sex. Regretting writing something factually incorrect isn’t the same as apologising for deliberately and maliciously slandering the reputation of two women whose only crime was to report their rapes to the police.
The webchat on Mumsnet is a complete car crash. As ever, the women of Mumsnet prove to be brilliant, hilarious and, well, fucking awesome. Wolf comes across as an essentialist writing about several subjects that she knew very little about; particularly the section on neuroscience. I find it utterly depressing that the media continues to promote Wolf as a feminist when she is mostly a parody of herself. Her new book Vagina, the technical topic of the webchat, seems to be a mishmash of nincompoopery. I’ve only read snippets published online but even those were enough to make my toes curl in embarrassment for Wolf. However, Wolf needs to write back to the New Statesman and make a full and unreserved apology for the hurt she has caused and for continuing to perpetuate rape myths whilst claiming to support survivors. Frankly, she is the last women I would want supporting me after being raped.
As one does on Twitter. After penning a song by the same title. At least, I hear he’s penned a title by the same name. I’m not exactly a Kanye West fan; what with him being a misogynistic nincompoop. Not that I follow West on Twitter what with the whole following only women to combat cultural femicide policy that I have. It also has a positive effect on my blood pressure since I rarely ever have to come across West; in any way shape or form, unless I’m reading Jezebel. It was the lovely round-up on Jezebel that lead me to West’s utterly bizarre meanderings on Twitter.
Here’s a clue: if you have to ask if something is offensive, it probably is. Especially, when what you actually ask is this:
“To be more specific, is it acceptable for a man to call a woman a bitch even if it’s endearing? Even typing it in question form it’s still feels harsh?”
The word bitch has never been anything but offensive, with the possible exception of Meredith Brook’s song Bitch but, even then, I’m not terribly convinced. And, bitch has never been a term of endearment unless you’re a misogynistic arsewipe. You know, like Kanye West is. If your partner uses the word bitch as a term of endearment, you should be dumping his arse as fast as you can.
This should be classed under “stating the obvious” but apparently a lot of men are confused as to whether or not it constitutes rape when they stick their penis in a person who is asleep. I say a lot of men but really I mean rapists. After all, most men aren’t stupid and it doesn’t take a genius to get that a person who is asleep or high or severely intoxicated isn’t capable of consent. Turns out, according to Steve Brookstein, a man I had never heard of until he started tweeting rape myths, that stating the obvious makes one a Nazi. You know, because holding men accountable for rape is just like genocide.
Now, as a general rule of thumb, I’m against giving these kinds of aresholes any publicity but apparently Brookstein is some kind of “celebrity”. At least, he was a contestant on some sort of reality TV show. I had to google him to discover this and it served only to reinforce my belief that reality TV shows are evil. After all, this nincompoop would be stuck in the middle of nowhere talking to himself on twitter if it weren’t for whatever TV show he was on giving him publicity. Obviously there is a certain irony in me giving Brookstein publicity by blogging about him but the level of rape apologism over the past few weeks has made me reconsider my opinion on ignoring stupidity in the ignorant. Ignoring these men’s rants on social media platforms is allowing rape culture to flourish.
Brookstein has tweeted his support of Assange by stating that sex with an unconscious women isn’t rape. He has tweeted that Orla Vuss deserved to be raped by Ched Evans because she was a “drunken slag”. In Brookstein’s world women who respect themselves don’t get raped. And, anyone who disagrees with him is a Nazi. Invoking Godwin’s law isn’t exactly evidence of a rapier wit or any kind of basic intelligence but Brookstein seems to have a lot of supporters who agree with him. Course, I’m not entirely sure why anyone would want the support of rapists but we need to call out rape apologist or we are just as guilty of perpetuating rape culture.
For those MRA’s reading this, and I know you are, this is Vera Baird on the legal definition of rape which is sex without consent. It was originally published in the Huffington Post :
Wednesday’s piece by Brendan O’ Neill is wrong in citing the case of DPP v Morgan as if it were the law on rape.
That case was overturned almost a decade ago.
He says that feminist have wrongly said – about the Assange situation – “Sex without consent is rape”. Let us let pass by the fact that, on that version, George Galloway is a feminist, since he “clarified” his first wrong assertions saying exactly that.
The law of rape is available to all, including yesterday’s author, in the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
It says that it is rape if a man (A) has sex with either a woman or a man who does not consent and who A does not reasonably believe is consenting.
Whether a belief is reasonable has to be determined having regard to all the circumstances including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether s/he is consenting. (Section 1 ) However it also says that there is a presumption that there is no consent if the person was asleep or otherwise unconscious at the time of the relevant act. (Section 75)
On both bases, “Sex without consent is rape” as Galloway said, is a reasonable summary of the law when A’s companion is unconscious.
Sleeping people cannot consent and what reasonable person could think that they can?
What has been discussed is some presumption of ongoing consent from earlier consensual sex but that is untenable since nobody can tell from a sleeping person whether they do or do not want to repeat the experience.
None of this affects the consensual nature of the earlier sex.
A’s companion may be willing to have more sex but the only practical way to know his/her state of mind it to ascertain it at the time and that is certainly the lawful way to behave.
Feminists on twitter have been calling out Brookstein all week on his ignorant pro-rape rantings. It would be nice if more men stood up to be counted in the War on Women by telling Brookstein, and all his stupid supporters, precisely what real men think of rape apologists.