Archive for April, 2011

(There is a new drug available-that ‘blocks’ the onset of puberty, that is beeng piloted to use for trans ‘children’ to make transition more practicable and less traumatic)

You: Like all this kind of new technology it will produce new sexualities – and identities. Plenty of kids, trans or otherwise, would be drawn to the idea of forever postponing puberty. It’s like the ultimate form of edging

Me: I hated puberty but I don’t think I’d have tried to postpone it. i just postponed sex which probably wasn’t a terrible idea. Though I did it in quite a S/M way by tormenting my poor boyfriend at the time. I get annoyed with all those ‘sex-positive’ people saying ‘virginity’ should not be a thing, because sex is all number of things and it is sexist to assume a girl in particular has to ‘lose’ her virginity etc. But as a good puritan I got off on all that! If I hadn’t had my purity to lose, I might never have bothered at all.

Me: Sometimes talking to you is how I imagine it’d be talking to Foucault. But Foucault was so much more precious about how his own sexuality informed his ideas. You, whether it is intentional or not, imbue all your words with – what is the phrase- a visceral sense of your own response to them. Or to the idea that led to them. I find it very compelling. And I found Foucault compelling in the first place. I am an alien, who has the good fortune to receive these notes, as brief as they may be, that throb and pulsate with the blood and desire of a real human being. (The desire, as ‘desir’ is, obviously is not aimed at me or anyone in particular, but there it is, waiting…)

Of course, I rarely think what it must be like for you, interacting with me. Tiring? Er…  I just don’t know. On one or two occasions someone has remarked on my intelligence. As if it is something they wish I didn’t possess. Or if I must have it, could I just not leave it in its box sometimes. Instead of constantly bringing it out and haranguing others with it?

Can you have beautiful buff boy fatigue?

Beautiful, buff, hairless chest, pretty young white boy fatigue?

Beautiful, buff, hairless chest, a hint of sensitivity in the expression, pretty young white boy fatigue?

Beautiful buff, hairless chest, a hint of sensitivity in the expression, homogenous homoerotics pretty young white boy fatigue?

Beautiful buff, hairless chest, a hint of sensitivity in the expression, homogenous homoerotics, perfectly coiffed, designer stubble, pretty young white boy fatigue?

Because I do.

h/t @homo_superior

These are a few thoughts following Mark Simpson’s recent piece (well recently re-posted) on ‘Hazing’.

Posting this on my own blog made me realise I am totally screwed up about ‘sex and violence’. I think I am pretty fine with homosexuality! But when it comes to violence I am completely confused. Part of me really really hates any kind of violence, even in sports etc. And yet I have willingly ‘voluntarily’ chosen to be hurt by people for the sake of sexual arousal.

I can’t make sense of that in the way some ‘masochists’ do, by saying that ‘consent’ and ‘sexual desire’ make all the difference. Because I have felt quite disturbed by some of my S and M sexual experiences. They have left me feeling frightened, vulnerable, freaked out. Indeed, I have been in ‘violent’ relationships that were not overtly ‘S and M’. There was no spoken ‘consent’ for what happened to me. And one of those relationships led to me being properly assaulted and stalked for months.

Many of the ‘rationales’ for S and M are written by ‘masochists’, and often by masochistic women. The role of the ‘sadist’ (and also of the masochist man) goes largely unexplored and undefended. ‘Sexual Sadism’ is still considered a psychiatric disorder. It is difficult for people, especially men, to be open about the pleasure they get from hurting others.  Partly, I am afraid, because feminists demonise men’s sexuality, and make out that ‘sadists’ are rapists by any other name.  That men are rapists by nature, and they need to learn to curb their ‘sadism’ or else they will be labelled as such and punished.

For me, just as masochism is hard to explain and ‘defend’ solely in terms of consenting sexual relationships between adults, so is sadism difficult to tidy away neatly into the S and M box.

When I read about Hazing rituals, even the ones that don’t involve physical violence but more humiliation or discomfort, I feel conflicted. Part of me is in horror at the thought of being forced, or choosing to participate in such a practice. Another part of me is intrigued and a little turned on.

After I read Mark’s post the last time, I went and looked up ‘hazing’ online. I found some videos. Some of them were pornos and some weren’t. It was all mixed up. I like things mixed up. I find in my own life, pleasure and pain, sex and violence, consent and non-consent are often mixed up.

In The Notebook my first entry read:

‘The line between good violence and bad violence is blurred. I like it like that’.

I think Hazing is part of the blurring of the line between ‘good violence’ and ‘bad violence’. This is what makes it appealing/threatening to many of us if we are honest I should think.

It’s not just about fears around ‘homosexuality’ I believe. It also touches on our ambivalent relationship with sadism (and masochism). I think Mark is brave, not so much for pointing out the inherent homo-ness in all male groups (though he does that so well I’d hate him to stop), but for defending sadism,  even when it is not dressed up in ‘consensual sex’ terminology.

And, like I believe that the best chance we have of dealing with our need for sadism and masochism in a ‘healthy’ way is by openly practising them in our sex lives (or even just our fantasy lives, or our pornography lives, or our talking about sex lives), so I believe that we need to be open and not ashamed about how we enjoy ‘sadism’ and ‘masochism’ in other areas. Like sports. And group dynamics. And work. And voyeurism. Sometimes even looking is painful. And sometimes it is kind of sadistic.

The lines are blurred.

‘QRG is a good example of someone I want to respect because she’s smart and sometimes says interesting things — but her constant grandstanding and insistence on trying to dominate discussions that have nothing to do with what SHE wants to talk about*, always piss me off. She doesn’t listen to moderators, she dismisses attempts at facilitating a calmer discussion, she demands that everyone focus on her at all times, and she refuses to acknowledge that she might ever be at fault when discussions go explodey.

It’s a shame, because I think that if she were more willing to have a real conversation, she might actually be able to do some of what she claims to want to do. I am leaving this comment because there are always tons of lurkers reading these threads, and I want to make it really clear why I think her behavior is bad, because if someone else has the same level of intelligent disagreement she does, she’s a really good example of how NOT to communicate about it.’

-Lady Madame Princess Clarisse Thorn

*This comment was made on a discussion about ‘rape culture’ in which I made comments about ‘rape culture’. It was not ‘nothing to do with’ what I wanted to talk about, it was just that I disagreed with the majority view on the subject.

Against Feminisms

Posted: April 28, 2011 in Blogging, Feminism, Uncategorized

When I make my case against feminism, whether it be in a reasonable, rational manner or an exasperated, angry tone, I am challenging the basis of ALL FEMINIST THEORY. People say to me, ‘you can’t generalise like that’ ‘feminism is not a monolithic group’ ‘there are many branches of feminism’ ‘feminism is a broad church’ ‘feminism is not a  club’.

People such as these bloggers have taken offence at my sweeping generalisations about their precious ideology which apparently I am cariacaturing unfairly and simplistically.

So here is my rationale for why I oppose ALL and EVERY FEMINIST THEORY.  If you are a feminist but do not subscribe to any of these assumptions/beliefs, then let me know. But I expect there is not one feminist who doesn’t broadly speaking accept these tenets:

1) Feminism is based on an assumption that overall, men as a group hold power in society and this power, damages women as a group.

2) The above assumption, no matter what feminists say, relies on a belief in and a reinforcement of the essentialist binary view of gender (i.e. that male v female men v women masculine v feminine are real and important distinctions. That is how feminists justify their belief that ‘men’ hold power over ‘women’)

3) This means that in order to present these assumptions as ‘fact’, men are demonised by feminism as a whole. Feminism is, by its very nature, misandrist. e.g. concepts such as ‘rape culture’  and ‘patriarchy’ and ‘violence against women and girls’ and  ‘the male gaze’ and ‘objectification’ rely on making out men are not decent people, in general, as a group. To be accepted as decent human beings, the onus is placed by feminists onto men to prove their worth, and to prove why they differ from the (socialised or innate) ‘norm’ of dominant masculinity.

4) The focus on men’s power over women in ‘patriarchal’ society ignores other divisions between people and is essentially, ‘heteronormative’. It makes out the division between heterosexual (cis) men and (cis) women is the one that is dominant in society, and the one that is most important for feminist analysis/critique. So feminist theorists such as bell hooks and Julia Serano and Beverly Skeggs, even when they are referring to other divisions such as ethnicity, class and transgender identities, are still relying on the reification of the man v woman binary to support all their arguments about gender.

5) Feminism does not allow for these above challenges to be made to it without it having a hissy fit or banning its critics from websites/fora or saying ‘but you don’t understand’ or ‘feminism is not monolithic’. Feminism cannot stand up to critique.

6) Feminism is based on self-interest. The adoption of a feminist analysis of women in society is presented by feminists as in women’s interests.  This is why feminists are able to look with contempt and/or pity on non-feminist women. As if they are somehow not valuing themselves as women and as people.  But making a whole political ideology out of self-interest of a particular group in society, is, in my opinion, conservative and selfish.  When feminists mock people who ask about men’s discrimination with their ‘whatabouttehmenz’ taunt, they are mocking women who think and care about others, and men who think about and care about each other and themselves. So feminism expects women to be selfish and men to be self-less. And people who do not or will not fit into the binary, to not exist at all.

This spread for Bello Mag as featured in Oh La La, continues that eerie theme shown to be popular in women’s fashion photography in particular at the moment: the corpse look.

I don’t know why this is, apart from the general feeling of ‘end of times’ that pervades our visual culture these days. Vampires, zombies, ghosts,  mannequins, they all convey the ‘post-human’ atmosphere that I think we all experience when we go to the mall, watch television, look at clothes, see films, go to pop concerts.

But also, I wonder if these corpse-like bodies represent the death of women’s fashion in particular, the death of ‘femininity’ as we know it. As the metrosexual man continues his rampage through the (post)modern landscape, isn’t the ‘female body’ just one more thing that he has destroyed and discarded?

I’m looking forwards to a fashion shoot featuring a woman’s carcass being picked at by vultures next.

And you think I’m joking.

‘The scene in the Marabar Caves is a good substitute for violence.’ – E.M. Forster

‘Rape culture is the objectification of women, which is part of a dehumanizing process that renders consent irrelevant.’

When a man was jailed and placed on the sex offenders register for life in America, recently, for ejaculating into a woman’s water bottle, the woman whose water it was said: ‘I feel it was a form of rape.’

(Man jailed for ejaculating into a woman’s water bottle)

This really got me thinking about rape and how it can be ‘subjective’. The woman ‘felt’ his act was ‘a form of rape’ and he got punished as if it were. But what he did does not fit the legal definition of rape, which requires penetration of an orafice by a penis or finger or implement.

I then got into a discussion on the Feministe blog, about ‘rape culture’. I said that I did not feel able to state my views on this matter (i.e. that ‘rape culture’ doesn’t exist) as I would get ejected from the blog and/or called various names/insulted.

The response from the moderator was:

‘Asshole runs all the way across the gender spectrum. So there are plenty of women out there who want to contribute to discussions about sexual assault, and who care deeply about those issues, but who believe really incredibly abhorrent things (perhaps “women are asking for it” or “rape is a biological imperative” or “rape is an individual act and there is no such thing as a culture that enables it” etc etc). It’s each woman’s right to believe whatever it is that she believes, but it is not the right of every single woman in the world to spew those beliefs in any space she pleases. This space focuses on feminism, something that I believe is good for all women, but is not something that all women everywhere agree with or support; a lot of women are outright hostile to feminism and to other women. I don’t think I need to let them say whatever they want in a feminist space just because they identify as women. That is counterproductive to the purpose of this blog, which is to discuss issues at least partially through a feminist lens. It’s one thing to challenge that; it’s another to throw out the same shit we’ve all heard before (“rape culture doesn’t exist,” etc) and expect the entire comment thread to cater to the topic that you want to talk about’

Previously, I had got into a spot of bother discussing with a woman on her blog, about the way she portrayed men who ‘tried it on’ with her in various ways. How she presented the complex issue of  ‘consent’ only and always as predatory men needing consent from women to conduct a range of sexual acts, or else they would be labelled rapists. Like the woman in the water bottle incident, this blogger said some interactions with men had left her ‘feeling abused’. This feeling seemed to take precedent over any measurement of an ‘objective’ reality. In her blog she made this statement:

‘Aside: If you’re thinking, “that bloke had a sexual abuse problem, not a differing understanding of consent,” stick with me, we’ll get to the point. If you’re thinking, “sheesh! Bloody women with her mixed signals, she deserves all she gets,” you’re in the wrong room, you want, Not Becoming a Rapist 101, down the hall.’

All these separate but linked occurrences and discussions reminded me of A Passage To India and the unspecified incident that occurs in the Marabar Caves.

Adela accuses Aziz of raping her in the Marabar caves. He always protests his innocence. At the trial, the run up to which has involved much tension between the Indian and British communities, Adela changes her mind and says he didn’t do anything, though someone, or something did hurt her. The Marabar caves represent, among other things, our inability to be omniscient, to know the cause of everything that happens to us. All we are left with is our feelings, and an echo- ‘ou-boum’.

I hear so much about rape and ‘rape culture’. I am told my perception of the world is wrong, ‘abhorrent’ even. That I need to go to ‘room 101- how not to be a rapist’. I have been likened to a ‘rapist’ on more than one occasion, simply for holding certain views, for uttering certain words.

I don’t know what is going on in this world.

All I can hear is an echo-ouboum.