Well, today’s XKCD was enough to make you go “eeeek”. But they’re generally awesome. I just love it when people get it.
I’m not a fan of Anita Sarkeesian. I mean, obviously I was on her side when her discussion of sexist stereotypes in computer games resulted in people sending her rape threats. It’s crazy that even talking about feminist issues can still be so dangerous, and in the grand scheme of things I’m on her team. But she calls sex workers ‘prostituted women’, a degrading term used by radical feminists to deny their agency. And as far as I know she has not yet responded to the many sex workers who have let her know that term is offensive and hurtful, which is such a crappy but typical thing to do for radfems.. Talk about sex workers, claim you want to help them, but do everything you can to ignore them and not give a damn about their wishes. Meh.
Anyway, her latest video is about butts. I thought it was good.
It’s ‘SEX WORKER’, Anita! Get with the program so I can be your fangirl!
As soon as I heard about the term ‘feminism’ I understood I was a feminist. I believe men and women should have the same rights and opportunities, and I think fighting for women’s rights is a necessary part of reaching gender equality, so it seemed like a no-brainer to me I should identify as feminist. But in recent years reality has forced me to step away from that ideological position and consider a more rational, fact-based one: modern feminism in practice is not a cool thing. Mainstream feminism is at its core a sexist, oppressive philosophy that fights against individual freedoms in favour of the ‘protection’ (for their own good!) of women against the aggression of men as a group. Mainstream feminism desires to punish men, silence women and put the state in a position of ultimate power. We see this happening in Sweden where men are punished for having consensual sex with adult women, we see it happen in the US where women are incarcerated when they don’t admit to being victims, we see it happen in the UK where sex workers are told to shut up so feminists can speak for them in a lecture they’ve ironically called Suppressed Voices, we see it happening in campuses where the lives of men are destroyed because they had consensual sex with women who weren’t constantly enthusiastically cheerleading during intercourse. Feminism degrades men by telling them not to rape while ignoring or even celebrating and laughing about the violence of women against men. Feminism is the cause of thoroughly sexist laws and legislation that dictate we treat men and women differently, such as the Violence Against Women Act or the laws in Sweden that call for heavier punishments if the perpetrator is a man and the victim a woman. Confronted with all these facts I had to come to the conclusion that mainstream feminism is such a threat to individual freedom and gender equality that I simply could not support it any longer.
After I published an article in the Dutch paper The Post Online on the dangers of modern feminism I got the same reactions so many writers get when they criticise feminism: not all feminists are like that. The gender-egalitarian feminists argue that mainstream feminism has got it wrong, that they don’t represent real feminism, that those are the ‘bad feminists’ and I shouldn’t confuse them with the ‘good feminists’. Real feminism is about women’s right, after all! But the important fact to consider here is that those ‘good feminists’ are the minority, the outliers. They hold virtually no political power, are not brought in as experts by governments, do not run Women’s Departments and are rarely visible in mainstream media. ‘Bad feminism’, the feminism of women as victims, men as perpetrators and the state as our saviour through incarceration is the mainstream feminism, the feminism we are dealing with, the feminism that is attacking our freedoms.
I am not at all unaware of the existence of good feminists. There’s actually a whole community of sex-positive queer-identified lgbtq-aware kink-friendly consent-minded buttplug-testing Feminist Porn Awards-attending gender-equality aiming feminists that have their own totally ‘radical’ workshops and lectures and orgies and porn movies. Although I share Furry Girl’s frustration with the privileged “omg I’m so political with my expensive dildo!” feminish-ism, I don’t necessarily think this sex-positive community is useless. A lot of communities that are loosely connected to sex-positive porn-loving feminism, such as the BDSM scene or polyamorous folk, do get influenced by their ideas and ideals and I think the good stuff might spread from there. But we have to be honest, these few ‘good’ feminists aren’t really political or influential. There’s nothing wrong with Porn Awards and expensive high quality sex toys, but it’s a hobby. And again, nothing wrong with hobbies, but watching my favourite tv series isn’t an activist, radical activity either.
Mainstream feminism, modern feminism, is a highly organised, highly influential movement with large NGO’s, great political power and they are getting shit done. This feminism is attacking our freedoms, killing our fellow humans, destroying lives and gaining power. I have nothing against your queer porn or sensible articles, totally love your radical ideas and hope to see you at a cool kinky event, but feminism is hurting us and we need to stop it. If you want to continue calling yourself feminist or want to fight to reclaim the word, well, that’s your decision to make. But please don’t put your energy in “omg not all feminists” when you decide to share an identity-label with our biggest current threat to gender equality and personal freedoms. Feminism is scary and it’s hurting us.
Domestic abuse is always horrible, and I’m so glad we’re startng to create more awareness and understanding, and providing more resources for victims. But thanks to deeply sexist views on the differences between men and women, male victims of abuse don’t always get the support they need.
I noticed him looking at my legs. There weren’t many people in the train that evening, he was sitting across from me and I watched as his gaze went over my ankles, up to my knees, and further to my thighs and hips. Shameless, I thought. Then he looked me in the eye, a bit startled, smiled apologetically and quickly looked out the window. He blushed a bit, looked at me again and I grinned. We both looked away and I comfortably listened to my mp3 player until I reached my destination. I felt flattered.
Almost every woman experiences street harassment, but men often find it hard not to get defensive when women discuss this problem. “What, is it a crime to look at a woman now?” they’ll ask, “if you’re dressed in a sexy manner, aren’t you asking for the attention?”. They’ll tell us “but it’s a compliment!” and advice us not to be so sensitive. “We just find women pleasing to look at”.
But I don’t think that’s it. Street harassment isn’t just a man finding a woman attractive and expressing that. A compliment is intended to make the other person feel good, if you really want to compliment someone and they express discomfort you back off. Street harassment is a man believing he has the right to look at a woman and talk to her whether she consents and feels comfortable or not. Often, street harassment is bullying, the intention is to make a woman feel unsafe or scared. It’s not a compliment.
It’s a dark, empty parking lot. A guy walks up to me. “Five euro’s if I can wet my fingers on your cunt!”. I pretend I heard nothing and walk faster.
“You look pretty”. I force a strained smile and look away. “Hey, I complimented you! You’re really pretty. What’s your name?”. I mumble a ‘sorry’ and start walking away. There aren’t many people around and I feel uncomfortable. “Why are you walking away? Hey! I complimented you! Come back here!”. I keep walking.
He catch him looking at my legs. He continues staring for so long it’s becoming rude. I try to make eye contact, but when he finally looks at me he gives me a “how you doin'” smile and says “hey”. I look away. He makes himself comfortable and examines my legs some more. I try to cover myself with my coat.
The guy in the first example acknowledged me as a person, was sensitive to my emotional response and didn’t feel entitled to my attention. It was a compliment, something he gave for free without expecting anything in return. The second guy intended to scare me, the third guy felt I owed him something and the third guy didn’t give a damn how I felt and just used me for his enjoyment. That’s not flattering. It’s intimidating, it made me feel unsafe and disrespected.
Don’t tell me to take it as a compliment.