A mothers view of Fat and the indoctrinated beauty standard

This blog entry came to me just as I was about to go to sleep last night. I sat bolt upright, grabbed a pad and began scribbling. I’m aware that my blog entries often sound like the kind of speeches you get at rallies, so forgive me if it’s a bit ‘POWER TO THE PEOPLE’ sounding 😉

Fat.

Oh my gosh fat is a dangerous and loaded word.

Three little letters, that’s all it is. F-A-T. Fat, a word that is used to control and shame a large portion of the female population.

With a few exceptions, fat is generally a word that inspires fear in most women. Nearly every woman you meet will dread this word. None of them want to be told that they are fat.

To be fat is to be slovenly, slothful, greedy – at least that’s the connotation in this culture anyway. We are surrounded by mixed push/pull messages. We are sold horrendously unhealthy junk foods by the medium of intense advertising and then dismissed as unattractive if we dare to indulge in them and become fat. To be fat is to not fit into the beauty mould.

To be fat is to show that we are people. Being fat reminds men that we are not dolls. Being fat shows that we are not suppressing our natural urges as we should. We are not supposed to be fat, we are not supposed to be horny. If you dare to commit the double sin of being fat and having a sex drive, you can expect to be an object of ridicule and disgust to many men..

Our thunder thighs, our cankles, our bootylicious cans, our jelly bellies, our spare tyres, we are hated by men for these because when we allow the extra flab to cushion our bodies we are denying male control.

It has been quite obvious to me since I was a youngling – I was raised by a fat mother who was always dieting, ALWAYS – that fat isn’t the simple descriptor it should be. It’s a frame of mind, it’s an abject horror.

Of course, women come in all shapes and sizes, many are naturally thin and I’m not denying that. There are precious few women that I know however, that accept their natural shape. Most of the women that I know are either fat women trying to become thin or thin women who think they are fat. So warped is our self perception that we constantly aspire to thinness and then rarely recognise it when we achieve it.

To be thin against your will, against your natural urge is to be controlled. Patriarchal society wants to keep this issue at the forefront of our minds because it keeps us servile. As long as we are constantly worried about our fat, we continue to be corporate whores, to be media slaves. When we are consumed with worrying about our fat, we don’t notice half the things going on around us. We don’t call out the misogynists on the things they should be called out on.

Hollywood is a great example of this fact. A lot of female actors in Hollywood are considered by the industry and indeed some of the public, to be little more than highly paid, well dressed prostitutes. More often that not they are treated as trophies, arm candy for their less attractive male counterparts. If female actors want to make money and succeed in their career field, the most important thing they have to do (besides scotch tape their flimsy dresses to their breasts and simulate sex on camera) is TO BE THIN. When female actors ‘let themselves go’ – in other words become fat – they become a joke. They don’t get work. As the recessions hits many areas of the Western World this ideal becomes more marked and apparent. As the amount of film roles goes down and the amount of competing female actors goes up, the average size of the female actors goes down. The more you need work, the thinner you need to be, to the point of looking emaciated and ill.

What this shows us is that in this society, if you are not a thin beautiful woman, you have nothing to offer. At first glance we’re quite fucked because you KNOW, you just know, that saying ‘fuck you, I’ll eat what I want and let myself get fat’ isn’t going to effect massive changes overnight. Being fat and not bothering with the beauty faff won’t make men suddenly take us seriously or treat us as people. If we are not thin, we have no worth to men, we will simply disappear off the radar. If men don’t consider us attractive enough to want to have sex with, we cease to be noticed by them.

The most insidious thing about the fat phobic society in which we live is that it is self perpetuated. Women know that if they are not thin and beautiful, they will simply be dismissed and ignored by men. Ergo, women become this way on PURPOSE to get male attention, just so they can get by. Being in a patriarchal society doesn’t just mean we are almost constantly surrounded by misogynistic assholes. It means that every aspect of our lives are controlled by men. Therefore to do something that completely removes you from the equation can really make it difficult to survive in any real sense. If you are female and fat, a few men will take you seriously.

It’s not women that are the problem though, you can’t blame men. Most of the time, we are victims of circumstance, of the shitty lot we have thrust upon us. I won’t attack women for exposing their breasts for a living, it takes advantage of a fundamental male weakness and capitulates on their disgust for us and their need to keep us under the thumb. To do all that and earn money seems like a good days work to me. I strongly believe that the women who do this job are unfortunately seldom doing it for that exact reason – but that’s a WHOLE OTHER rant.

My basic approach to the injustice of beauty and fat fear that I see evidence of daily, is threefold.

Firstly, I think we should radically alter the way we are socialising our children from birth. How many times have you heard somebody exclaim over a bassinet/crib/stroller/pram ‘AWW ISN’T HE/SHE SO CUTE!’ This aggravates me intensely and sets my teeth on edge. I think most people deeper than a shallow puddle understand and agree that with adults, it’s generally not a good idea to rate people solely based on their attractiveness. So why is it acceptable to do it to our children? Many progressive thinkers and feminists find it abhorrent to treat women this way, but when we do it to children, both male and female, we are ensuring the cycle continues.

We are teaching them from birth that our physical attractiveness is thing that gets us noticed, the most important thing. We are, in a nutshell, teaching them to only value their bodies and ensuring that our daughters end up struggling in the same way that we do. I don’t think that in decades time, we really want our daughters to be putting up with sizeist men. Ironically enough we often consider fatness in our babies to make them attractive. I wonder what it is that so radically changes as a child ages? What suddenly makes us so afraid of the fat?

My incredibly simplistic suggestion is this: STOP IT. I want to praise children when they smile and giggle and burp and walk and talk. I don’t want my children to be indoctrinated into the cult of beauty. I don’t want to punish male children by inadvertently forcing them to uphold this standard. I tell my son regularly (daily, constantly) how wonderful I think he is, how intelligent, how funny, how sociable. I think he’s gorgeous (probably because I carried him in my body for 42 weeks and birthed him) but I certainly don’t act like this is the only thing about him that is important. I don’t want him to be programmed from infancy to hate being fat or only want his female consorts to be slim.

Secondly, start using the word fat for what it is. Not a sin, not a crime, a descriptor. Words like curvy and voluptuous might seem more flattering, but they just don’t cut it. If you’re fat, you’re fat. It’s just an adjective. Meditate for a while and ponder the question, independently of other people, of whether you are even fat at all. Locate the bits of you that are fat and learn to love them.

You know how we stand in the mirror, sucking in our stomachs and cheeks, poking our midriffs, and plotting ways to be less fat? Do we really want our children to be doing that in the years to come?

If you’re thin because you’ve dieted, LET YOURSELF GO. Radically evaluate why you are the way you are. Do you want to be happy or slim? Can you be both? Is it possible to be fat and happy? (It is – I’m happy to say that I am.)

Lastly, activism. Read Joy’s Nashs fat rants (dear Goddess she is gorgeous). Join websites/fora such as fatshionista. Let women and men know that lots of different types of people are attractive, including the fat ones. You can be fat, happy and gorgeous.

Fat is just a word. It’s subjective. It will mean whatever you let it mean.

I hope one day we learn to live with our fat and love it, not only for us and the sake of our physical and mental health. Also for our children and my desperate hope for a better, happier, healthier more equal future.

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A rad fem rant about prostitution, amongst other things

A very short conversation with a radfem friend of mine today got me thinking about prostitution and sexual assault.

The conversation began about TV, then moved on to serial killers, then prostitution. The case of Aileen Wuornos sprang to mind.

It gave me something very interesting to think about on the way home. It certainly was better than being plugged into the same old boring iTunes playlist.

When pondering this issue, several things are important to define. First, what is sexual assault? There are several schools of thought on this subject, but I’m only going to explore my own.

That being that any unwanted sexual contact is assault. The best way to negotiate this hurdle is to a: know the person you are going to be intimate with and b: make sure you’re clear on what is acceptable before any bedroom type situations occur.

Clearly there are a few situations that would preclude this from happening. One night stands and the selling of sex would be two prime examples of this.

Obviously a prostitute can make it clear before any giving of services, just what she will and will not do. This is a prudent step but by no means a guarantee that anyone buying services from her will pay any attention to what she said.

The principal issue here is the differentiation between a legal standpoint and a moral one. In a utopian society, laws would be based on ethical/moral standpoints. Or better still there would be no need for prohibitive laws, as people would be taught philosophy and critical thinking and would develop generally an attitude that would stop them from screwing people over.

That obviously hasn’t happened yet. What we have is the dichotomy of moral and legal (patriachy at one it’s highest forms) thinking.

Legally, prostitution seems to negate a womans right to protection. Where I live in the U.K, solicitation of sex is illegal and kerb crawling for prostitutes is also. Prostitution (being paid for sex) is itself not illegal.

With the exception of the Ipswich murders, there has been little evidence of the legal system benefiting women who work in the sex industry. The media obsession with the aforementioned case speak volumes more about the public obsession with murderers and death than it does about it does about any effort to protect women working on the streets of cities in a desperate attempt to earn money.

Women in general are not taken very seriously by the legal system, the police specifically. A man once exposed himself to myself and a female relative when we were walking. We weren’t sure whether to report it or not, as we knew almost instantly that indecent exposure, despite being a form of sexual assault in this case, was not likely to be taken seriously. As a stance more than any actual expectation of outcome, we reported it anyway. We were greeted by laughter and barely concealed mocking contempt. Needless to say, we received the lowest level of care possible without us being able to say they disregarded their duties. All we received in due course of our report was a brusque letter saying (to paraphrase) that nothing was going to be done about it.

Despite being demanded to be sexual objects through media brainwashing such as adverts and magazines, women that control their own sexual destiny are feared. The independent control over any aspect of your life as a woman is a fearful thing to a man, and when you throw sex into the mix, that makes a very formidable character. And someone like that must be quashed at all costs because SHE IS A THREAT. The more women get control of their lives, the better an example they can lead, and the less men will be able to control our destinies. We may not be their slaves in the kitchen anymore (at least not to the same degree as in previous decades) but we’re still their slaves in the bedroom, in the workplace and in the reproductive sense. And women choose sex more often than not for what I believe is two principal reasons. One; women are taught from puberty or maybe even birth to only value themselves sexually. Secondly, it’s an area where women have the opportunity and talent to exploit male weakness. Maybe it’s a tit for tat mentality? Maybe women are so sick of being exploited for their weaknesses that they are trying to get their own back? Or maybe women sense that this incredible flaw (the obsession with the phallus) is one that can give women the upper hand if tactics are correctly applied?

Forgive me for being too general, but women don’t seem to be ruled by their libido in the same way that men are. We seek out intimacy, conversation, lovemaking, common interests and companionship. Sure there are women who do the casual sex thing. I’ve done it and found it to be quite liberating. However through my extensive conversations with a large group of diverse women, casual, promiscuous damaging sex never seems to be done as constantly and pathologically as men do it.

So maybe prostitution seems like a golden opportunity? Money, sexual liberation, control over the penis instead of it controlling you?

When you reveal the flip side of the sex industry though, you’re revealing a dark cavern which people seldom dare to venture into.

The truth is, despite the surface appearance, prostitution is just another way of exploiting women. It exploits our fundamental weaknesses, it manipulates us through our brainwashed conditioning, it lets us THINK WE ARE IN CONTROL whilst they carry on controlling us.

With less sexism/more equality, teaching of women to see themselves as valid people, less encouraging us to force ourselves into maternal roles, there would be no need for us to prostitute ourselves in this fashion. We would not have to take the penises of men often have no attraction or even respect for into our vaginae. Without drug dealers targeting vulnerable women, prostitution would go down. If women weren’t forced, for a whole kaleidoscope of reasons (the umbrella term being male incompetence), to raise families by themselves with only paltry sham offerings of help, there would be less worn down women around for the pimps to force into prostitution. If women were taught to value their intelligence AND their bodies as much men do, there would be less women vainly seeking self esteem by letting strangers take perverse liberties with their bodies. If women didn’t see their sexuality, their bodies as the only tool they have at their disposal, we would see a marked reduction in prostitution rates.

Basically, the only impetus to not harm prostitutes is moral/ethical. When you factor in that a large majority of men are unyieldingly incapable of moral thinking when it concerns their penis AND add to that the common and SOCIALLY ENFORCED concept that prostitutes are whores, are subhuman…well it really doesn’t bode well does it?

To think of prostitution as simply the exchange of money for sexual services makes us realise that in some ways, we are ALL PROSTITUTES. When you dress sexy in a little short skirt and low lying blouse for a job interview you are prostituting yourself. You are getting money for giving your interviewer a boner. So when you think about the despicable treatment of prostitutes and then realise that you ARE a prostitute, that sorts of puts a different slant on things doesn’t?

I loathe expression ‘sex positive’ I am very sex positive, I adore sex. I strongly do not believe that pornography, prostitution and other forms of sex work are not a type of sex that I should feel positive about. If that makes me sex negative, then so be it.

Some might say that when I say PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF THE GODDESS DO NOT PROSTITUTE YOURSELVES, that I’m removing female autonomy and privilege. You can call the ability to prostitute yourself autonomy and privilege if you want, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. If you think prostitution is a privilege, you need to open your eyes and take a LONG HARD look around you and realise, to start off with, that we don’t live in a fucking bubble. You may be happy to do it, but as long as there are women HAPPY TO DO IT, we are betraying to ones who suffer through it. For every prostitute who loves her job, there are probably twenty, fifty, a hundred or maybe more who would give EVERYTHING they have to escape it.

My suggested solution is this: all women need to stop whoring themselves out and start living their lives under their own redefined terms.

Sexual assault of prostitutes won’t be stopped overnight. It’ll only reduce when we do a few simple things.

1. Exercise whenever possible our right to deny sex to men.

2. Competently, concertedly, actively and consistently take issue with the objectification of women. We are not sex dolls, we are people.

3. Dress comfortably, burp, fart, swear, kick people, be ambitious, bossy, be caring, be ourselves and not our masks. Be anything to achieve at least a vague lingering concept that our sex/gender does not make us less valuable and try to bring about the realisation that we deserve respect.

4. Stop bitching and criticising the whores out there. What you’re really thinking, unless you’ve made a detailed and concerted effort, is thank god it’s not me. Thank god I don’t have to do that. Prostitutes are a victim of male misogyny and patriachy, and you are a victim too. You’re no better than them. Deny it all you want but it’s true. Start making the effort, living your life as YOURSELF, call out male bullshit, stop accepting the sex industry as a valuable form of work and kick the arse out of the people who make their living out of exploiting women.

5. Complain when you see a rape/assault scene in a fiction. Don’t let prostitution and pimp culture work their way into the mainstream.

6. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that a heavily regulated prostitution industry will stop the harm of these groups of women, don’t be dumb enought to think that these regulatory bodies aren’t exploiting women as well.

7. Next time you wake up, don’t straighten or curl or lacquer or hairspray or mousse or gel or blow dry your hair. Hell, if you can run a comb through it, you’re doing well honey. Put on a comfortable pair of pants and socks, none of that tights/pantyhose/thongs/stockings bullshit. Wear comfortable shoes, no bra and a sweatshirt. If you go to work in an office, wear a trouser suit. Don’t let men stare at your breasts. Find out how much the men you work with get paid and create havoc if you get paid less. Shop in local female run business. Punch a guy on the street if he wolf whistles at you. You might love it but for every woman like you there’s probably a hundred more…can you sense where this is going? Enjoy your first day not being a corporate whore/prostitute.

Most prostitutes are women.

Most women are prostitutes in some form, whether they give head to their boss or give blow jobs to punters in back alleys. Whether they have sex so they can a big house and jewels or whether they have sex so they can buy drugs.

Prostitutes issues are our issues. Realise this and and just maybe, some time before I die, my friend and I can finally stop having this conversation.

Do women really believe this?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/india_knight/article4837668.ece

If I had any hair to tear out, I’d be doing it right now.  As it is, I’m banging my head repeatedly on the desk.  An article that manages to be both ineducated, ignorant, subjective, WRONG, insulting to men and insulting to women should just be burned.  This kind of crap is not journalism, it’s just CRAP.

More to come later when I have time 😛

Amusing interactions with men…

Maybe I’m in too much of a good mood today, maybe I’m a bit sick or twisted.  But I don’t find anything more amusing that a man trying to defend himself.  And it’s always the same unimaginative bullshit, <quote>Men may usually be like that, but I’m not, honest!</quote>

I wrote a heavily ranty blog entry in my LiveJournal yesterday, mostly because I was tired and in a terifically bad mood.  Also because for shits and giggles I wanted to see the response that I got.  Mostly though, because I was feeling a bit ‘at the end of my tether’ with a couple of things and I wanted to make them clear to people reading my LiveJournal.  Over the past couple of years I’ve discovered that despite dearly loving a good argument discussion, most people don’t know how to argue effectively and safely, especially men.  It’s the typical knee jerk offensive reaction of trying to put the blame away from themselves for being inherently flawed.  So I typed a post that would air the dirtiest of my dirty rad fem view, and gauge the reaction.  It also has the nice bonus of getting rid of any third wavers that I’m too hardcore, and men who cannot cope with the reality of their failings.

LiveJournal is blocked on the library computer (I’m waiting for my home PC to be fixed – bah), so I decided to type what I’ve got to say in response to a mans comment (the only man that had the guts to reply and risk my wrath thus far).  Incidentally, I’m fairly certain that the main problem said man had with my journal entry is that I listed a list of a handful of men who I don’t find to be complete WANKERS, and he wasn’t on said list, for VERY GOOD REASONS.  Primarily because he’s screwed over pretty much every woman in my life by having sex with them and never calling them again.  With every intention of sounding big headed and egotistical, I’m convinced part of the reason for his annoyance is the fact that it has become plainly obvious his dumbstick will not be coming anywhere near close to my sacred space 😛  Anyway, I’m going to write here what I think in response to his comment (I’m hoping to tear him off a piece) and then post it to LJ when I get to use a proper computer, probably at Anji’s house.  For reference, here is my original post, minus some ranting about an ex girlfriend of mine who I’m pretty angry at.

Having my first new really rewarding platonic friendship for several years with [info]ghostlove has actually really made me realise what I’m missing out on. Having someone who I know I can completely be myself around, with my rabid rad fem views and hairyness and man hatingness and emo and drama, who still makes me feel happy and loved in a really good way has made me lots less willing to accept poorer substitutes.

I’m no longer worried about appearing nice and losing friends because I’m not tolerant and gentle all the time. Damn it, I need friends who I can say ‘oh shut up you moany bitch’ to and not worry I’ll make them cry. I need friends who I can sulk around and be intolerant because of my mood swings.

I just don’t ever see a friendship with [info]prolificdiarist working out. I’m done. I’ve put so much effort into it and just NO MATTER WHAT I DO, it always comes back to bite me on the arse.

To clarify something: I’m a bitch. I’m moody and argumentative and prissy and like making a pain out of myself. I’m also loving, generous, sensual and giving. The good come with the bad. Some days you might be in for a METRIC FUCKTON of the bad, and other times you’ll get many days of the good Jenny, you never know because a: I have an unpredictable personality disorder and mental illness and b: it depends what I feel like. I try to be happy and confident and sociable and loving and giving when I can, but if I need to be a bitch, I need to be a bitch. If you want to be my friend, I need to know that if I’m having a bad day, I can be myself around you. I will not accept friends I can only see when I’m in a good mood who never see the other side of me, I wouldn’t even call that a friendship. If I ultimately end up with less friends because of this, so be it. I’d actually rather be alone that spend the rest of my life shaping myself to fit other people. People either love/like me for who I am, or they fuck off. Simple as that.

With regards to the man hating thing: my philosophy is simple. I hate men. As a group, I think they’re scummy, repellent, contemptible people. I have found certain men that have proven themselves worthy of my love. Yes I say worthy in a big headed way because I am an awesome person and most men aren’t worthy of having me in their lives. The men that have proven themselves to separate from the general throng of Scum are the men who I can talk to, the ones who aren’t misogynistic chauvinistic twats, the ones who respect me as a person, the ones who ACCEPT ME AS I AM. There are handful of these at best. In most other respects, I think men are vile. I feel disrespected, hated, objectified and violated by pretty much most of the men in my life. I’ve had my good humour, my love, my life, my heart SHAT ON BY MEN. Is it any wonder I don’t trust them? It’s been coming for a long time BITCHES. I can name off the top of my head the men that I don’t find vile:

1. Ginge.
2. Fred.
3. Leo.
4. [info]bobquasit
5. [info]johnny5
6. [info]nyecamden
7. [info]astras_brian
8. [info] flamma_lupus

Every other man I know personally has made me feel horrified or upset or disgusted or hurt at some point in my life, including my dad and my brother who I should be able to trust. But genetics doesn’t put you apart from the inherent fail that is men.

If I have any other men on my f-list who I haven’t listed, don’t feel offended, I wouldn’t have you on here if I thought you were terrible.

I hate men because they are everything about human nature that I despise. If you can’t deal with that, (I’m not saying you have to agree, I’m saying you have to DEAL) then I think my journal isn’t the best place for you and I’d like you to stop reading it.

I hate men. It’s not up for discussion, it’s the way it is and it’s not going to change. End Of.

*Sexism/racism = it is my personal belief that an opressed class hating the opressing class does not constitute bigotry. In my mind, it’s perfectly reasonable for people of other races/ethnicities to hate white, I don’t think it’s racism. Nor do I think it’s sexist to hate men.

You can call me bigoted. You can call me a sexist whore. You can say I’m being misandrist. It’s the way I FEEL. I don’t want it to change because I see no reason, no reedeeming value of men, nothing that will be added to my life in any way if I am chummy with men. I am perfectly content in the company of my sisters and that is how it will stay.

Bear in mind, two of the men on the list aren’t bio males and therefore act qualitatively different in my mind, they’ve EXPERIENCED the fuckton of misogynistic wank we have to deal with on a daily basis.  The top three men on the list are Anji’s very close friend, Anji’s boyfriend, and my current sweetie.  Until recently, I was strongly inclined to believe that finding men like these men would be a purely impossible and time wasted task.  Anji, I have you to thank for that.

His amusing reply, which had me giggling very girly chipmunk like laughs in the library, was as follows.  It was the defensive, the oh so predictable condescending tone, it just reminded me of the bad ol’ days when I didn’t stick up for myself, and made me oh so happy that I am not like that any more.

Sorry to break it to you, but men don’t oppress women on a large scale, and haven’t done effectively in this country since before you were born. I’d say that one fact blows your reasoning quite heftily out of the water.

Now, quite frankly, I’ve got no problem with you disliking any subdivision of society you choose. Hell, I’ve got a whole boatload of irrational dislikes myself. That being said, I’ve got the sense to try and keep mine to myself, and I’m a decent enough person to try and avoid letting my prejudices influence my interactions with people.

Trust me: This is the biting-my-tongue version of things. I don’t take kindly to people rubbishing my entire sex based on interaction with less than a fraction of a tenth of one percent of it, but I suppose it’s easier to pretend we’re all scum than admitting that you just seem to have known a lot of bastards.

As a parting thought: It’s been statistically inferred that spousal abuse against men by women is far more prevalent than the other way around. But not only is it far less reported, but women are far more likely to use improvised weapons, such as irons or frying pans.

Can a man ever have an effective argument without first having to rubbish the position of the person he is arguing with?  In my conversations with Anji, I often end up thinking that she’s making a very good point and understanding her theories, even if I don’t understand myself.  Never once has she felt the need to slap me down to make her point stand out by default.  It’s a deplorable tactic.  In my conversations with feminists it has NEVER EVER been used.  In my conversations with women in general, it’s rarely been used.  Are women wired differently?  I often think that women love to learn and educate themselves, men seem determined to obliterate everything that isn’t their own narrow minded phallocentric viewpoint.

For the sake oif ease, I am going to type the response like I am talking to him.  I am cackling evily and cracking my knuckles in a very unladylike way as I compose this response in my head.  When you see strikes, you are likely seeing my thought process and my attempt to resist the temptation to lower myself to his level and resort to petty name calling/talking down.  But then he is a man (and an amazingly PENIS FOCUSED ONE at that), so a certain degree of intellectual dumbing down may have to take place.  *grins*  It’s also worth mentioning that as I type this, my Inbox has slowly been filling with replies to his comment and his responses to them, which slightly resemble a small animal backed into a corner by a horde of stampeding lions.  Ho ho ho.

Don’t be sorry assface honey loser , it’s a typical knee jerk response, one I’ve heard/seen many times before, played out in all sorts of contexts, usually with very similar wording to your own.  Please excuse me if I’m not really feeling the sorry vibes wafting out of your defensive lamentable comment.

You may consider it good sense to keep your opinions to yourself, I consider it good sense to seek a community of people who I can share my opinions with and further my thought processes.  I also don’t feel that I’ve become an indecent person for wanting to write my bottom line behaviour out and express a need to have friends that will cope with said behaviour.  It’s rather amusing that you think it would be possible for me to avoid my interactions being coloured by my prejudice.  I very much doubt it is possible, and even if it was, I wouldn’t want it to.  I’ve got a good enough network of female friends and lovers without having to worry about wasting energy on trying to find the needle in the haystack (a good man under all the bastards).  Another point I would also like to make is that my definition of ‘decent’ is obviously clearly different to yours.  I feel that you are sticking to a definition defined by patriachy, by men, by Judo-Christian ideals.  As a women, I shouldn’t (and don’t) feel a need to make myself appear decent in the eyes of men. I suspect your discomfort is centred around the fact that you are uncomfortable with women that you cannot objectify, and what I know of your personal life supports this theory.

You needn’t hold yourself back from your full version, there is no need to bite your tongue with me.  You may be desperately clinging on to the ideal that you are a ‘nice’ man and ‘different’ from all these other poor men that I’ve criticised in my post, but I don’t for one second believe you, so it’s an act really lost on me.  You may also be surrounded by weak willed, gentle women who run away at the first sign of conflict, but I stand my ground, so bombard me how you will and expect to get the same in return.

I find your reply deeply amusing because it is so very typical of the response I would expect from a man, the usual defensiveness and disquiet about a woman daring to say what other women generally are afraid to say.

I also personally don’t give a fuck what you ‘take kindly’ to at all.  I didn’t right the post specifically to you, although I expected a reply along these lines from you, because you’re probably the man on my friends list I have the least respect for.  You’re right in a sense, I have met mostly bastards.  However, I don’t feel it an unreasonable conclusion from my interactions with men, my mothers interactions with men, my sisters interactions with men, my female friends interactions with men and what I have heard of all of those things, to conclude that men are bastards.  I have no doubt that some men are an exception to this blanket rule (although I expect the number is very small), mostly because I have men in my life.  Yes, my hatred for men will colour my reactions with them.  Yes men will have to work bloody hard to prove to me that they are worth being in my life.  This may mean I end up with next to no men in my life, which I think proves my point that men are not worth any more than 1p.  Yes, it’s arrogant, but I know I am a fucking awesome person and yes I think men should have to work fucking hard to be in my life.  I think arrogance seems to be one of the few traits we have in common.

This comment also speaks volumes of your need to separate yourself from the throngs of bastard men.  When you’d probably do a lot better if you accepted the truth and worked on your failings, instead of desperately trying to pretend otherwise.  I have a feeling that your poor feelings are hurt because you aren’t on my list, and you weren’t on the list for very good reasons.  I suspect you’ll reply to that with a sarcastic ‘boo hoo/poor me’ comment, but I very much doubt that I’m far from the truth.  I’m sorry you feel misaligned by the fact that I conclude you’re a bastard because you’re male.  If it helps at all, I conclude that you’re a bastard because I’ve met you and spoken to women that you have engaged with, none of which discouraged me from thinking that you’re a bastard.

Your parting point is also CRAP,  being that in no way did I ever pretend that female on male abuse doesn’t exist.  But it’s existence doesn’t make it anywhere near as commonplace as male on female abuse, nor does it state the reasons why.  I believe if you care to research, you’ll find that a large majority of women who do abuse their male partners do it because of abuse they have received themselves in the past.  I also believe that women are far more inclined to improvise with household implements as far more men carry weapons and knives than women, and therefore women need to defend themselves with whatever is handy to defend themselves with.  Women are passionate people, and women are often exploited by their male partners.  And whilst it’s true that in a small number of circumstances some women attack their male partners, I strongly believe it’s due to emotional abuse in a great majority of cases.  So yes, I do apply different criteria in this case, and I defend women down to the ground.  So your parting shot really doesn’t affect me, I hope you don’t cry now.

Also, feel free to remove me from your friends list, I’ve been considering doing so for some time now, and your condescending comment has pretty much convinced me.

A friend of mine who I know from the queer community posted this response in reply to this mans original comment.

          Um. No.

Men do oppress women on a large scale, both in this country and in others.

It is also emphatically true that men abuse women physically and sexually far more frequently than the reverse.

Sorry, you’re just plain wrong.

He responded again with:

Prove it. I was born when both the monarch and Prime Minister were female, grew up with a female speaker in the house of commons, spent most of my career working under women and had pretty much equal representation amongst senior staff (as in senior manager or higher) in nearly every organisation I’ve worked for. Where’s the oppression there exactly? Unless you make some vague argument about rates of pay, which is difficult to prove one way or another (and against government legislation nowadays), I really can’t see it.

I’m not saying domestic violence against women doesn’t happen, but I’m sticking to my guns – it’s just as prevalent against men, most of whom are much less likely to speak out about it, and have much less support. I’m not even going to mention alleged levels of spousal abuse amongst lesbians.

Her response:

I can see this is a futile discussion with you. I don’t feel the need to continue with it.

So mote it to be that sister!

I seem to have a lot more argumentative energy than her today, so my response to his comment probably would have been:

Women are still grossly outnumbered by men in parliament.  The era that you grew up in is irrelevant, we made very little progress in womens civil rights, and we also now have a male speaker in parliamnent.  The area that you work in is also isolated in it’s equal representation of the genders.  If you did you research, you’d find that in most professions, men outnumber women, mostly due to gender biased coscial conditioning regarding education, careers and promotion.  Certainly my own personal anecdotal experiences point to your workplace being rare.  The fact that men are less likely to report spousal abuse is really supporting my rant against patriachy, it is just as entrapping to men as it is to women.  Society expects us to be all so trapped in our masculine and feminine roles.  Men feel emasculated by reporting spousal abuse?  That’s just as damning of our society as the female spousal abuse rate.

I think the reason you are not mentioning lesbian partner abuse is because you know you are desperately trying to prove a point and losing.  Lesbian partner abuse does exist, but in a minimal number of cases.

According to my abuse research, the statistics on gender prevalence is as follows:

1. Male on female violence.

2. Male on male violence.

3. Female on male violence.

4. Female on female violence.

So SUCK IT.

I must disappear off somewhat hastily now as I need to pick up my son from school in 15 minutes.  I am interested in hearing what others have to say about this exchange.

Don’t let them finegle their way into your life…

Today has mostly been an reminder of why I don’t like men. What a surprise! Usually I get at least one reminder a day of why I don’t like them, but for the last few days I’ve been surprisingly bastard free.

Not yesterday or today though. Firstly, yesterday night I had the delighful experience of sitting with my brother whilst he was trying to decide what to watch on TV. I don’t watch TV for the exact reason that it is full of violent, disgusting, offensive, repulsive patriachal crap. I have a Freeview box which remains firmly fixed on CBeebies, except when I am out and my dad is watching TV.

The first thing he wanted to watch was a film containing a young beautiful blonde Christina Ricci being viciously beaten by a man. She had black eyes, was bruised all over, and was wearing a tube top in the scene I had the misfortune to watch. I objected. I was on shaky ground here, this not being my house and all. But probably to make sure I didn’t get in one of my ‘moods’, he turned it over. What was the next thing he chose? Booze Britain. Now this show literally does make me want to barf. It is literally cameras following around young inebriated people as they go about filling their bodies with alcohol to dangerous limits and making themselves vomit. It often shows a lot of the fights and legal transgressions which are a direct result of said inebriated state. I can only hope that the show was originally created to highlight the problems with binge drinking and encourage people to stop. What is more realistic is that TV big wigs thought it would be cool and fun to stick some young drunk people on TV making themselves look like utter wankers. Is there some kind of special pride that men feel at watching themselves piss in the street and vomit on police officers? And what makes me even more mad is watching the women trying to copy the men. Never in my radical feminist circle of friends have ever felt the need to get so drunk I piss on the pavement, shit my pants or vomit in a kebab shop. It worries me that there are some women out there who feel they need to get acceptance by emulating some of the most repulsive and contemptible behaviours of the faulty gender.

Result: me pissed off at the media and one of the few men in my life who I don’t often end up wanting to scream ARSEHOLE at very loudly.

It reminded me of something that I find myself having to remind myself a lot: whether they’re your friends, your lovers, your family, men will always be men. There won’t often be exceptions. Generally, they will always find something despicable and just plain WRONG to do, which will remind me of why I’m a dirty man hating feminist to begin with.

I must adjourn now as my library computer time is drawing to a close. Expect more rantings tomorrow, I have a lot on my mind.

Response from the BBC…

Remember my ranty complaint letter which I sent to the BBC (I think you have to be on my feminist filter to read it)? I sent it ages ago and ticked the box asking for a response, but I wasn’t really expecting one.

It turned up today. On the whole it had a conciliatory tone and they did agree to make some changes – I have a feeling they had quite a few complaints about this.

Dear Ms ****

Thanks for your e-mail regarding ‘The Tudors’ broadcast on the 5 September.

I understand you felt the programme was offensive and inappropriate. I note
that this episode put you off watching the series.

‘The Tudors’ is a modern and exciting take on the story of Henry VIII and
his reign, dealing with the monarch’s younger and wilder years, and
deliberately takes a different approach to previous conventional historical
dramas.

We were careful from the outset to forewarn viewers to the adult content
and the general tone of this lavish series, and scheduled it after the
watershed, with trailer campaigns and appropriate pre-transmission
announcements which highlighted the series’ sexual content.

We’re sorry that you were offended by the scene of rape in the programme,
and on reflection we agree that the content is not best described as
“scenes of a sexual nature”, and we’ll amend the pre-transmission
announcement for its future showings to reflect the scene of sexual
violence.

I’d like to assure you that we’ve registered your comments on our audience
log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile
daily for the programme makers and also their senior management. It ensures
that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and
considered across the BBC.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

Regards

***** ********
BBC Complaints

A few points I want to make:

  • I noted the way they used the word lavish – like they wanted me to know that they spent lots of money on this series, like somehow that will change my opinion
  • I am mildly irritated that they called it a ‘modern’ take and that for some reason in their eyes modern = rape scenes
  • I’m also really angry that despite my complaint, they still continually refer to the scenes I objected to as ‘sexual content’ – when it’s obvious I don’t agree, it’s like they just read it as a complaint and didn’t bother to note the specifics of the actual wording
  • However, I am REALLY glad that they will be amending the pre transmission announcements, I’m surprised they’ve listened to me at all – but I’m annoyed that they didn’t actually tell me what they are amending it to

Backdated rant about the BBC…

This was originally posted in a feminist filter in my Live Journal.  But as the content is relevant to what I’m hoping to achieve with this blog, I thought I’d post it here.

I am actually sick with rage at the moment. I like watching period dramas and historical dramas. My dad has been raving about The Tudors, which is being shown on BBC 2 atm.

I was about halfway through an episode when it shows Henry VIII raping his wife.

It may only have been the 90’s when rape within marriage became legally punishable, but I don’t give a rats ass. If a woman says no when you try to have sex with her, it is RAPE, regardless of who she is.

I am disgusted at the sensationalism of the BBC and their need to try and put ‘edgier’ scenes into their programs. Rape SHOULD NOT ever be seen in fictional programs of any kind. I had this conversation with [info]ghostlove recently. I find it totally and utterly unacceptable for fictional films to have rape scenes in them, it serves absolutely no purpose. It irks me in the same way that people misuse the word rape in colloquial speech. ‘He totally raped me at x game’ or ‘my pay cheque was totally raped by tax this month’. This is utter CRAP. It should never become acceptable to have rape work it’s way into our every day speech. Rape is an awful, horrible, disgusting thing. The more we become desensitised to it, the less it will shock us, and that is a VERY BAD way for us to start heading. Rape SHOULD ALWAYS BE SHOCKING. People should never find it okay to watch a rape scene, in any context.

The warning at the start of the program said simply ‘Contains scenes of a sexual nature’. *fumes* Firstly, rape IS NOT SEX. Just because the same organs are used, that doesn’t make it sex. You wank with the same hands that you eat with. This does not make eating equal wanking ffs! Secondly, a much much stronger label should have been used. ‘Contains graphic violent scenes which may offend some viewers’ would have been more appropriate.

I’m e-mailing the BBC with a complaint the second I finish this entry.

How dare they put the rape of a woman into an historical drama? Can I not watch stories about the Tudors with watching the oppression and demoralization of women? I am just so ANGRY.

I am never watching The Tudors again, and I’m even tempted to never watch BBC 2 again, I am that angry. I wish I could get rid of the damn TV so I don’t have to put up with this shit. Cursed CBeebies!

This is what I typed:

I am an avid fan of historical dramas, especially involving The Tudors.

However, I found myself thoroughly disgusted by tonights episode, and will not be watching this program again.

My issues are with the scene during which a woman is subjected to a violent sexual assault/rape by her husband on her wedding day.

As a woman and a feminist, I find this scene completely unacceptable. It was offensive and distressing. To see the woman struggling and repeatedly saying no and still be subjected to this was truly awful.

I feel that this scene was put into this program to make it more appealing and sensationalist. As a female viewer, I find it upsetting and offensive that the violent sexual assault of women is included into programs in this way. I believe morally reprenhensible and oppressive behaviour should not be used as part of a storyline in any context.

I am aware that it was only in 1991 that spousal rape become a criminally punishable offence. So if this had been a true story, then I would have still been offended but less likely to complain. As it is, this program is an historical drama. I am very disappointed that the BBC chose to endorse a program which contains this content. I believe that if the rape scene was integral to the storyline, the point about the sex and violence could have been made in a less direct and less obviously degrading way.

The warning at the start of this program simply stated that it contained scenes of a sexual nature. Rape is a gross abuse of power and a tool to oppress women, it is no way remotely sexual. For that reason alone, describing a rape scene as ‘sexual content’ is inaccurate. I did not watch the rest of this program, I got up and walked away, so I have no idea if there was other sexual content in this program.

As a woman and licence fee paying customer, I feel I should be able to watch programs with content that interest me without having to watch the degradation and foul behaviour that women are subjected to daily around the world. I was revulsed by seeing this scene in this program. I think a much stronger warning should have been applied at the start of this program. Even something simple like ‘Contains violent sexual scenes that some viewers made find upsetting/offensive’ would have made me realise that I would not want to watch this episode.

I will not be watching this program again. As a women, a feminist and a survivor of sexual assault, I am angry that the fees the BBC receives was used to create a program which I find so thoroughly repugnant.

I know I’ll come across as an angry prissy feminist, I don’t care. Any comments saying that I overreacted or suggesting I don’t complain will be deleted. As a woman and a survivor of sexual assault, as well as a licence fee paying customer, I deserve the right to watch TV without watching rape scenes and I reserve the right to complain when I do.

I am sex positive. Anyone who knows me or has been in my bed will know that I am sex positive.

BUT SEX IS NOT RAPE. RAPE HAS NEVER BEEN SEX AND NEVER WILL BE.

As a woman, a sexual assault survivor and a PAYING CUSTOMER I deserve programs that are interesting, without having to chose between interest and watching the oppression of my sisters. I reserve the right to complain when it shown.

I loathe the society that forces women to make their living (or makes them think it is the best way to earn their living) out of reenacting/simulating emotionally invasive, devastating and repulsive sexual crimes.

It is utterly beyond me that a woman would ever do this without feeling extreme/guilt anger. I wouldn’t do it at all, and I couldn’t. But as much as I don’t understand it, I don’t hate the women for it. I hate society that reinforces time and time again that women are better off allowing themselves to be oppressed.

This is yet again another example of why I do not want to listen to men or their opinion.  I do not have any women in my circle of friends (thank the Goddess) who would watch such a program with rape scenes in and suggest it to me as something good to watch.

I love my father very much, he’s one of the less than handful of men I will say this about.  But I will say this is yet another example of where men make me feel sadly let down.