Feminist Sluts

Posted: May 12, 2011 in Feminism, Gender Violence, Masculinities

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/may/10/slutwalk-hollaback-sexual-assault?INTCMP=SRCH

http://dawnhfoster.co.uk/?p=239#comments

Women are marching again. I feel like I am back in the early 1970s, being pushed around in my pushchair as my Mum and her friends participate in demos calling for ‘women’s liberation’.

But now it is 2011. I think women, in countries like America, Canada and the UK, where these Slutwalks are taking place, are pretty liberated by now. Those who are ‘free’ from severe socio-economic deprivation, I mean. Because poverty is an equal-opportunity killer.

The women in this photo for example, who are white, young, probably middle class (Slutwalks are being publicised via university campuses as well as facebook and twitter etc). They look confident. Confident enough to walk down a main road scantily clad, with the word ‘slut’ written on their bellies. They don’t look very oppressed to me.

The reason for these ‘Slut Walks’ is that a Canadian policeman, involved in a sexual assault case, (by the way they don’t use ‘rape’ as a legal term in Canada) said that women should not ‘dress like sluts’ if they want to avoid being assaulted.  Obviously those were stupid comments.

But the fact that an international ‘movement’ has sprung up in direct response to them seems kind of odd to me. As if the ‘sluts’ were waiting, in their bedrooms, with their doctor martens and their lipstick, ready to graffiti themselves and storm the streets as soon as a man said something out of line. These feminist sluts are scaring me a bit.

My key reasons for being sceptical about the Slutwalks and the messages they are sending are:

1) Most rapes and sexual assaults occur within long term relationships, often in the context of ‘domestic violence’ and are not related to women being accused of ‘asking for it’ in the sense of going out and being seemingly sexually provocative to men. I expect, well I know, that ‘slut shaming’ can be one aspect of sexual/domestic violence but it is very complex how it plays itself out within a relationship. The gender dynamics that lead to rape can’t be reduced to one policeman’s off the cuff remarks, and a unified, angry feminist response to those words.

2) The Slutwalks are suggesting that women are the core ‘victims’ and potential victims of sexual assault, and that usually it is men who are their attackers. Of course, statistics back up this view, but statistics are often misleading. Male rape was not made illegal until 1994 in the UK, later I think in many states in America, and research and stats on it are just not available. This is partly because men are not comfortable about reporting being raped. Even less so than women. And because it makes men look ‘unmasculine’. It is linked to some of our prejudices about homosexuality I think. To be penetrated is still seen as somehow ’emasculating’. Maybe it is!

3) The process of ‘slut shaming’ is complex.  In my view feminism is as guilty of ‘slut shaming’ as any group of people/ideology, with feminists continually campaigning against the rights of women such as sex workers, strippers, Hooters waitresses and porn actors to do their jobs safely and without being labelled as either low-down whores or poor, abused victims. If women want to ‘reclaim’ the word ‘slut’ they might have to examine some of their own preconceived ideas about women’s sexualities and what they do with their bodies. Even with regards to those of us who do use the term ‘slut’ in our sex lives, among other words, and particularly in the context of S and M sexualities, we often find ourselves in a hornets’ nest when it comes to how feminism interacts with us. I have been called ‘sick’ and ‘vile’ for my particular use of language, including the word slut, in written porn, not by Canadian policemen, but by feminist women. The original organisers of the Toronto march cited Dottie Easton’s book ‘The Ethical Slut’ as an influence. It’s an interesting read, but it is telling us how to be ‘good’ sluts. I hate being told what to  do!

4) Feminists, in trying to point out how women ‘are not to blame’ for being sexually assaulted, often tie themselves up in knots around issues of sex, power, consent and gender. Statements get thrown around as if they are fact, such as: ‘rape is about power, not sex’, or, as can be seen on the placard in the photo above: ‘sex is something people do together, not something you do to someone else’ or the chant at one of the marches ‘hey hey, ho ho, patriarchy must go’. I disagree with all these statements. I think sex is about power so ‘rape is about sex is about power’ would be more accurate. I also think it is perfectly possible to ‘do sex’ to someone, with their consent. Some of us like ‘being done to’.  As for patriarchy, well, it’s just a made up thing, isn’t it? The problem is that as soon as something becomes  ‘a movement’ it seems to need a set of beliefs, a ‘mission statement’. And this makes it prescriptive, dogmatic.

5) Slutwalks remind me of the 1970s, not just because of the women marching in the streets, but because they seem to be part of a feminism that has reverted back to the 1970s ‘radical feminism’ where ‘the personal is the political’ and everything is about ‘the body’. The key feminist issues getting the most activity at the moment seem to be rape, sexual assault, reproductive rights, pornography, sex work, ‘women’s objectification’, FGM. And the body given priority is the ‘female body’. Forget men, forget trans women, forget gender queer and gender non-conforming people. Slutwalks are part of a feminism that is in my view reinforcing not challenging the gender binary.

So I am done marching with feminists. I did it without my consent as a child. And now I am old enough and jaded enough I choose not to take part in this ‘movement’. I am still a slut though, albeit an ‘unethical slut’.

Comments
  1. dennis mccann says:

    sadly i think you’re right, redfem is on the rise as a new generation of well educated middlle class women rage against the machine, in the 1980s many of the raging ones got very good jobs in the public sector and academia and became liberal feminists, never noticing of course that the lot of most women in the world, the not so well educated, the third world ones and the working class ones had got considerably worse.

    on twitter many of the radfems are tweeting solidarity with one another, the same ones who boast of silencing working class men in pubs with their skilled use of advanced vocabulary, obfuscation and other middle class tricks; or get overexcited at seeing the latest tome on sale in blackwells. they think they are advancing the cause when all they are doing is advancing themselves.

    they bored me then and they bore me even more now another case of history repeating itself as farce

  2. Sinead says:

    I can’t understand what this walk is expected to do… It’s not like society thinks it is ok to rape a woman because of what she is wearing.

  3. 2020 says:

    I know it’s really bad form to start off with a personal anecdote but this one is fresh in my mind and I think it’s relevant. One of the young women I go to college with yesterday asked if any of the guys would consider being a girl for the day the response from the guys was a resounding no. This then promptedher to say she would totally be a man for the day the reason she gave “because men have more freedom” to which her friends agreed with.

    Whether you believe this is true or not I just want to point out these women haven’t been exposed to any feminist theory or I would argue are big believers in patriarchy they’re 18 and 19 years old yet still feel like their lives are being dictated to them in a way that men’s lives aren’t.

    Now I look at this whole slut walk thing and the message I get from it personaly is it’s about freedom. The freedom to dress and act how they want without having anyone question or belittle them, I don’t see it as a feminist thing even though that’s how it’s being framed and there are a lot of prominent feminists backing it. I feel it’s about women ordinary women standing up and saying “you know what I’m sick of the bullshit”

    I have to say though that yes I agree with you on point 5 do you think there are any ways in which other perspectives might be able to be incoperated into it, or can you think of any issues away from the body that womens rights activists should be focusing on, or do you just want to wash you hands of it all if so thats cool.

    • I like anecdotes. I just dont think men have more freedom than women. I think one of the things men are wary of is the ‘freedom’ women have eg. to dress imaginatively.

      I would love to be a man for a day though, I’d go on a road trip with my buddies!😀

      Yeah I am done with trying to help feminism get its shit together. They never will.

  4. redpesto says:

    QRG:

    5) Slutwalks remind me of the 1970s, not just because of the women marching in the streets, but because they seem to be part of a feminism that has reverted back to the 1970s ‘radical feminism’ where ‘the personal is the political’ and everything is about ‘the body’. The key feminist issues getting the most activity at the moment seem to be rape, sexual assault, reproductive rights, FGM. And the body given priority is the ‘female body’.

    You forgot porn, sex work. and BDSM.

    I’ve had a similar impression for about the last 2-3 years – as if the women too young for ‘Women Against Violence Against Women’ and the heyday of Dworkin/MacKinnon want to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors – or they can’t bothered to read up on why the whole radical feminist agenda imploded (a university usually has a library for that purpose).

  5. I can’t see that the anecdote given is of any use whatsoever, knowing as I do, how much I’d LOVE to be a girl for a day, out of curiosity as much as anything. I’m not saying that girls have it better, because I don’t think they do (no-one can actually know from an existential POV because no-one has experienced being both a birth man and a birth woman) but I’ve noticed plenty of instances where being a woman can be advantages, though I accept it is a disadvantage overall.

    But that isn’t the point. I’d still like to be a girl for a day and I’m sure many other men would too, the fact that the few guys in the anecdote didn’t (probably because admitting to wanting to be a girl for a day would be more stigmatised as effeminate/gay than women wanting to try being men) really isn’t relevant.

    • well it is relevant in that it may, as you say, indicate a reluctance on the part of many men to admit being interested in expressing their ‘feminine’ side… but also many men get to express that anyway!

      • 2020 says:

        I was taking a risk in starting with that, but my basic point in that anecdote was to show that these young women who haven’t got a feminist bone in there body’s still felt under pressure to be perfect all the time and still felt they were being judged constantly based on their appearance.

        It would have been nice if just one of the guys had stood up and said yeah I would be a girl for a day, unfortunately none of them did (probably for the reasons you say) that can’t have felt good for them to know that the guys couldn’t see any positives in being a girl for the day.

    • Schala says:

      I can’t know what it’s like to be treated as a girl at birth and up until being 24, but I can know what it’s like being seen and treated as an adult woman.

      Trans people have insight that most people don’t have regarding gender, even binary and normative trans people.

  6. redpesto says:

    One other point:

    The amusing thing about SlutWalks is watching how it articulates splits within and between self-declared feminists. On the one hand, there’s the whole ‘Women Are on the March!’ enthusiasm for the demo (‘Now with added Twitter!’ – see Jane Martinson in the Guardian). On the other, the likes of Gail Dines (also in the Guardian) arguing that it’s the wrong kind of demo, for the wrong reasons, and that the women shouldn’t dress ‘like that’: ‘real women’ go on ‘Take Back the Night’ demos and dress accordingly (whatever that is, as long as it isn’t ‘like a slut’). They must also somehow manage to create an ‘authentic’ female sexuality (whatever that is), that doesn’t involve anything actually artistic or creative. You know, something that might communicate that feeling or desire to others. You know…porn.

    Then there was the spectacle of Zoe Margolis and Louise Bagshawe going head-to-head on Newsnight last night. Both were in sisterly agreement that a woman shouldn’t be blamed or judged for how she dresses, yet Bagshawe kept trying to link the SlutWalk to an agenda for ‘promiscuity’ which will only lead to women becoming disease-ridden lunatic sex-zombies (I paraphrase, but not by much). It’s ‘Nice Girls Don’t: Reloaded’. No wonder she writes ‘chick lit’. Margolis should have simply said: ‘Some women like to fuck around. I know I do. You got a problem with that?’

    No woman ‘asks for it’ because of her sexual behaviour, any more than for how she dresses, so the SlutWalk is about f***ing as well as dress sense. Trouble is – as Margolis and Bagshawe demonstrated – this won’t play out along the lines of ‘I blame the patriarchy’. (Have I mentioned Gayle Rubin’s ‘Thinking Sex’ on this blog before now? This is another example of why it makes more sense than, say, most articles on sexuality on Comment is Free.) Those feminists with a big (un)conscious investment in ‘normal’ sexual behaviour (especially in monogamy) are either squirming at the way an event such as a SlutWalk calls their bluff, or telling the ‘bad’ girls to go and behave themselves.

    • nice analysis rp

      I think though that feminists like Margolis are into the idea of being ‘ethical sluts’ which comes with its own set of moral judgements. remember she sued the independent for saying she was an ‘ex hooker’ i.e. the ‘wrong’ kind of slut.

  7. arctic_jay says:

    There are already surveys that treat male rape seriously and show near equal rates of victimization between the genders. People believe the woman=victim, man=perpetrator dichotomy because it serves their ideology. Evidence to the contrary is not going to be what sways them.

    Slut walks and slut-shaming are two different strategies meant to accomplish the same thing: inflating female sexual value. Conservative women slut shame because they know that the freer and more available sex is for men, the less valuable it will be and the less they’ll be able to manipulated men by it. Slut walks are feminists’ attempt to turn sluts into a victim class and create a sense of guilt about their treatment. The ultimate goal would be to turn a pump-and-dump of a slut into a hate crime.

    • Do you really believe conservative women slut-shame because they see sex as a weapon/bargaining chip? I’m sure some do, but many might just see sex as valuable without the additional label of being a tool to manipulate men, and don’t appreciate it being de-valued, as they view it.

  8. arctic_jay says:

    Does anyone notice the stark contrast between the men and women in the photos of these marches? The women are flamboyant, brazen, and utterly self-obsessed, and the men are dressed conservatively, have introverted body language, and are always reacting to something a woman is doing.

    So you have attention whores and good-little, sycophantic boys hoping for a pat on the head. It’s the same fucking gender story. When are feminists going to come up with something actually radical?

    • I did notice that a-jay yes! I know ‘feminist men’ are just the most sheepish bunch but then you would be wouldn’t you?

      • elflojo84 says:

        I know the lengths straight men will go to to get laid, the humiliation we’ll put ourselves through, I’m sure I’ve done worse than go on a feminist march.

        But here’s what I don’t get about feminist men. Yes sucking up to women makes sense if it helps you fuck one, granted. Yes the amount of sucking up a man will sometimes do to fuck a good one is shameful (or shameless I suppose). But at the end of all that, you get to fuck … a feminist. I don’t want to fuck a feminist, not the standard type of Guardian-model feminist anyway. I find myself wanting to scream at them, guys, you can get much better sex for much less effort WITHOUT apologising for the rest of your gender the whole time.

        Also, they know. Their entire worldview is built around demonising men’s sexuality – they know you are trying to be feminist to fuck them. Most girls know when you’re trying to fuck them, difference is feminsists feel ‘oppressed’ by it

        • typhonblue says:

          The reason why they do it is because they think feminists are turned on by male self-abasement.

          A grovelling sort of self-loathing is their lure, their game so to speak, and they’re throwing it out where they think they’ll get some interest back.

          Unfortunately even feminists don’t like men who lack confidence. Too bad they embrace an ideology that essentially rapes men of their confidence by the boatload.

      • Harriet R says:

        My experience of feminist men is limited, true, but the ones I’ve met are nothing like you’ve described. They’re just as bolshy and opinionated (maybe even more so) as other men I know. It probably does help them get laid, but it’s certainly not why they hold the views they do.

        • Lucy Cage says:

          Exactly. There are some massive generalisations being made here, both about men who call themselves feminists and women who call themselves feminists; if one of the issues you have with ‘feminists’ is their tendency to generalise perjoratively about the way men are, then why do the same back? It just comes across as petty and poorly reasoned.
          This, for example: “Also, they know. Their entire worldview is built around demonising men’s sexuality – they know you are trying to be feminist to fuck them. Most girls know when you’re trying to fuck them, difference is feminsists feel ‘oppressed’ by it,”
          That is, in my experience and opinion, a load of balls. I’m a feminist and I like men: I certainly don’t base my entire worldview around demonising men or ‘male’ sexuality (whatever that could be pinned down as) or feel oppressed by male sexual attention. What I don’t like is people who have preconceived ideas of who I am and what I think; that would be the same, I’m sure, for all my ‘real life’ feminist friends who also like/love/care about/respect/enjoy the company of men and would be about as turned on by ideological self-abasement as by a mouldy cauliflower (I dunno if it applies to the online radfem community, because some of them baffle me utterly).
          Still a feminist though. Just don’t agree with all of my fellow feminists on everything…

  9. billsnshits says:

    Not all feminist males are trying to get laid, some of them just are bland little brainwashed things. Others may have a girlfriend who happens to be feminist and, I think and I’ve seen it in some others, our lovers of any length of time tend to drag us into their vortex of activities, for better or worse.

    I don’t even see this is quite as a repetition of history, from what I know of feminist history. Some youtube comments about slutwalks in more northerly cities complain about conservative, unslutty dress of the marchers. Well, it’s freaking cold this april in some cities!
    But the 60s 70s 80s 90s brand of radfem didn’t grow up in the level of mass pornography and exhibition that these girls have.
    I really question if the slogans (which are so, so many of them exact copies of banal man hating older feminisms, they’re all the same) and banners are heartfelt.
    They (all the banners and posters) look like cliches they picked because that’s all these chicks know.
    Kids today (and they are kids, inside) have very poor verbal skills and nothing to draw on as a “choice”, just twitter and blogs. I like all that stuff too but it’s been hard getting my friends to read anything else.
    They look like groups of girlfriends, out for some fun, as girls are wont to do. They’re actually really friendly, just totally banal.

    And it’s the banality that gets under my skin. You should see these girls today (they’re a few years younger than I am), in the library and in the cafeterias, they never do or say anything interesting. They don’t care or know anything about politics. They just pick up some hoary old cliches in the wind and go with it. And next month they’ll be back to not questioning anything and not caring about anything.

    Lately, we see oppressed muslims protesting and facing firing squads. Injustice in so many places. And these girls aren’t even offensively self indulgent or self inflated, in their fake courage, compared to that real courage.
    They’re just way ignorant and are responding to a banal general feeling of middle class propriety. For all their dyed hair ‘n’ stockings, when they go home it’s just time to be mom and dad’s good little girl or the teacher’s sycophant. For all it’s comforts, life sucks.
    It just pisses me off when I hear right wingers talking about how they’re all “man haters” and “deserve it”. They don’t know anything about younger people except that we aren’t respectful enough. Or we don’t know enough about reality. As if these dumb old farts know anything about reality, the way they talk.

    Their passivity and ignorance is what keeps them so simplistic. Not an evil, man hating belief.
    But it makes me feel silly to be white. Like, what is white? What is that worth today? “I’m a rebel: I want MY M.T.V. ! The Hills is awesome!”

  10. billsnshits says:

    oh as well I think: they probably come together like glue. Girls can get really weird and jealous and cliquish and I think some more jealous or uglier or just more jealous types feel proud to be with one of their good looking girlfriends in a march and to have the same sex status.

    That might be a bit sexist. Or it might be just perfect.

  11. Clarence says:

    Ok, as the official evil white straight male oppressor here, this must be done:

    From left:
    No Do, Do, Do, Do

    Or :
    6, 6.5,7,6.5

    This has been your official straight male hetero normative male girl rating moment.
    We now send you back to the blog of Quiet Riot Girl.

    • David K says:

      Come on that’s not fair – you’re only basing that 6 you gave to girl on the left on her face – you can’t see her tits, whereas you can see the tits of the other three – now that is an unfair advantage!

      • Clarence says:

        I was basing my ratings on the faces for the most part.

        Studies of attraction in males have shown that the face is considered to have more sexual draw than breasts per-se.

        Still, I suppose I could be fair and put the girl on the left into the “Not rated” category, since if she had huge firm busts it might push her up half a point to a whole point.

        But please remember this is tongue in cheek anyway, and only reflects my own scale, which, according to the Roissy polls, I tend to be about a point more generous than the average that they assign.

        Anyway, they are all nice to stare at , and marvel at both their assets and their naivety.

  12. billnshits says:

    What about the short girl’s head on the green haired girl’s body?

    btw, at no point do any of them say they have a problem with this sort of thing. at least that I read/heard.

  13. billsnshits says:

    What about the short girl’s head on the green haired girl’s body?

    btw, at no point do any of them say they have a problem with this sort of thing. at least that I read/heard.

  14. hahahaha,

    as someone who has spent many hours nude outdoors I think I have the right to say if they had “balls” they’d be stark naked……

  15. Sarah AB says:

    I want to respond to the parallel with Hooters etc, and how some women/feminists don’t like such places. I don’t want to make women who work there feel uncomfortable and I don’t want to ban them or anything – but I think there is a difference between a company which commodifies women in that way and insists on a certain level/type of female looks – and behaviour – on the one hand and, on the other, individual women wanting to express their sexuality or just enjoy dressing up (or down). I know women who like to dress in a rather sexy way – or even wear bondage type gear – for work. Women *do* get criticised for dressing in this way sometimes – Muslim women (I believe) sometimes get ticked off for not dressing modestly – and some of course get ticked off by non-Muslims for being too modest. To sum up, I think women should be able to express themselves through the way they dress – and that’s not quite the same issue as Hooters.

    But (trying to get into Quiet Riot Girl’s vibe here!) I often think women have it easier/nicer when it comes to dress. We have more choice – and if you want to wear masculine suits and no make up that’s fine, and if you want to dress in a very feminine way that’s fine too – where I work anyway. If your office is hot, it’s easier for women to dress skimpily without drawing attention to themselves than it is for men – spaghetti straps etc.

    • thanks for trying to get into my vibe Sarah!

      I know what you mean about Hooters but lots of jobs require women to ‘sell themselves’ and their femininity- eg air hostesses, waitresses etc. I think feminists don’t like Hooters because it is so blatant about it!

      Yes the case of that boy wearing a skirt to school reminded us about restrictions on boys/men in terms of clothing.

      • redpesto says:

        …and Arlie Hochschild covers this point re. nurses and how they professionally manage ‘social’ emotions like caring, hence sex workers ‘performing’ or managing ideas of intimacy re. clients.

  16. redpesto says:

    QRG:

    I think though that feminists like Margolis are into the idea of being ‘ethical sluts’ which comes with its own set of moral judgements. remember she sued the independent for saying she was an ‘ex hooker’ i.e. the ‘wrong’ kind of slut.

    I’m more inclined to support the idea of ‘ethical sluts’ (or whatever), if only because it might be more workable than serial monogamy, and is more ‘open’ than cheating on a partner (people cheat, but maybe talking it through might be better re. multiple partners/casual sex). I see what you’re saying re. Margolis’ legal action (compare the hostility to Belle de Jour?), but she had to sue because the story was false.

    • I dont think she had to sue it wasnt even a story it was a word in a headline that got removed. and she went on and on and on about how ‘damaging’ that word was to her and her career. I thought she was a silly cow about the whole thing! Not because of the libel action per se but because of how she presented it as a slight on her good character.

      • elflojo84 says:

        Inclined to agree re: Margolis (although as a caveat I know very littel abvotu the case) – the fuss she made was totally at odds with her professed views

  17. queersass says:

    You bring up some very valid points to a certain type of feminism, and I definitely agree with many of your criticisms to it. However, I think that these are not the only feminist in the march. I know I will be marching and I am certainly not like the feminist you describe. I think if we want the march to resemble something other than described above, the answer is not to not march, but to march. If you want something to change, you have to be apart of that change. Also, because the march has become so international and thus a movement without a set a beliefs leave an open and unanswered arena for what can be marched about. Sluts, as an ‘gender’/’sexuality’, are a diverse group of people, and that should be celebrated in your march. Make it YOUR Slut Walk- R.E.S.P.E.C.T

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

    • “Sluts, as an ‘gender’/’sexuality’, are a diverse group of people, and that should be celebrated in your march. Make it YOUR Slut Walk- R.E.S.P.E.C.T”

      That’s all well and good, but at the end of the day, “taking back” the word ‘slut’ isn’t going to make them any less angry the next time people use the word to describe someone. It’s a lose-lose!

    • as you can see I have been in feminism since the 1970s. I have tried! It’s over now.

      I do my bit outside of it.

  18. Heresiarch says:

    @Redpesto

    Ah, yes, Louise Bagshawe. I haven’t seen her for years, but I vividly remember the day she lifted up her skirt and showed off her lady parts at a meeting of the Oxford Union’s Edmund Burke Society.

  19. Nico says:

    “…a resounding no.”

    A resounding lie.

  20. Nico says:

    “…Have I mentioned Gayle Rubin’s ‘Thinking Sex’ on this blog before now?”

    If you read only one thing, ever, on sex and gender, you could hardly to better than Gayle Rubin’s ‘Thinking Sex’ – although ‘Sexual Traffic’, a transcript of a convo between Rubin and Butler, is a contender. Better yet: read them both!

  21. P M says:

    This isn’t the first time you’ve repeated the “male rape wasn’t made illegal until 1994” factoid. That is technically true, but also incredibly disingenuous. It’s not as if there were loads of people raping men and getting away with it before then – like, for example, husbands raping wives within marriage, which wasn’t prosecuted before 1991.

    Before 1994, male rape was deemed “buggery”, which first became a crime in, er, 1533. After 1967, when consensual buggery was decriminalised, it was necessary to create a new offence, “non-consensual buggery”. It was this that was replaced by male rape in 1994. The British state may have had a weird and disturbing obsession with man sex, but it did mean that they were very thorough at dealing with it through the law.

    • It is different because traditionally the buggery laws made all participants in the act into criminals there was no ‘victim’ . If you have any research about figures for ‘non-consensual buggery’ between 1967-1994 I’d love to see them. My hunch is this was not considered serious the way ‘rape’ is.

      • P M says:

        Oh I broadly agree with your point, just not in the way you make it. Pre-1994, male rape was even more massively underreported – there was a 50% increase in reported cases 1994 to 1995, and a 400% increase 1995-2000. But the level of reports and prosecutions for non-consensual buggery were not insignificant. 1255 cases reported in 1992, 419 convictions for n-c buggery and related crimes in 1994. (Lees, 1997, Ruling passions: sexual violence, reputations and the law)

        I don’t want to play into the whole “boys’ team vs. girls’ team” framework. The gender neutrality of rape laws was a positive development. The increase in reporting is positive. More research on male rape would be a positive thing. Men (and women) sexually assault men, though the figures at least suggest not on the scale that women are targeted. But it is not true to say that male rape was only criminalised in 1994, and it is not appropriate to say so, given that offences such as rape within marriage were *literally* not crimes until fairly recently.

        • Clarence says:

          I really wish we in the US had the purportedly “Gender neutral” rape laws that you in the UK seem to have, though last I read about rape laws in the UK was maybe five years ago and rape , unless I was misinformed, was solely defined as a male penetrating female act, same as it still is in some US states. On the other hand , an effort I was part of to get UK reporting laws to assure anonymity for both the accused and accuser in your rape cases failed due to opposition by radical feminists.

          America, Britain, and to an only slightly lesser extent Canada, have many fucked up radical feminist and/or religious assumptions built into their sexual assault laws. Sweden, also deserves mention, however, I cut it a little slack because while it might have the most radical sexual assault laws of all, the punishments tend to be far more lenient and the treatment of prisoners far more civilized than in the US or the other two countries. In short, as the Julian Assange case shows it might be extremely easy to indict and maybe even convict someone based on a falsehood and that is extremely troublesome. But you’ll rarely find a Swede spending 10 to 20 plus years in jail for anything let alone a rape he or she didn’t even commit , unlike in the USA. Their typical sentences are less than 5 for everything short of murder.

          • elflojo84 says:

            The rape laws are not actually “gender neutral” though, are they? If memory serves, rape is defined in law as a penetrative act, whether with penis, finger, other appendage or object whatever. While it is not explicitly gender-segregated, a man forcing heterosexual intercourse on a woman without her consent is rape, but a woman forcing heterosexual intercourse on a man withotu his consent is sexual assualt, a lesser crime.

            A may be wrong on details, but I think this is broadly the situation?

    • typhonblue says:

      “It’s not as if there were loads of people raping men and getting away with it before then – like, for example, husbands raping wives within marriage, which wasn’t prosecuted before 1991.”

      How the hell would you know?

      * Almost 3% of men reported forced sex and 22% reported verbal coercion. Almost 2.3% of women reported forced sex and 25% reported verbal coercion. From: Predictors of Sexual Coersion: http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID45-PR45.pdf

  22. I’d imagine that the form of these events varies a great deal across the world. I’m planning to attend the Glasgow one, whose organisers are making it very clear that it’s not a women-only thing and that rape doesn’t only happen to women. I’ll be there as a genderqueer intersex person with my transvestite partner pushing my wheelchair. I’m hoping it’ll be an opportunity to engage in dialogue about a range of gender issues and, as you point out, about the fact that slut-shaming isn’t just done by men. I see it as akin to a Pride march, in that it’s an opportunity to say “we are not ashamed” to the people who do shout terms like ‘slut’ at my partner and me (and no doubt others) on a regular basis; of course we do that just by being ourselves day to day anyway, but they can’t so easily miss the point this time.

  23. elflojo84 says:

    PS No; at a pinch; No; Yes. Blue Hair’s face on Geen Hair’s body would be an improvement on all four.

  24. yes you’re right elflojo the whole concept of ‘rape’ is gendered in my view. and it was only recently they changed it from ‘penetration with a penis’ to penetration with a penis or other thing. not sure which year though.

    • typhonblue says:

      It’ll remain ‘gendered’ as long as they don’t consider envelopment a way of raping people equal to penetration.

  25. Lucy Cage says:

    Quiet Riot Girl says:
    May 14, 2011 at 8:52 am
    “ideological self-abasement does sound kinky”

    Yeah, if you put it like that…

  26. innegative says:

    The thing about middle-class educated white girls, the ones with no creativity, imagination or sexual deviation to speak of, is that they need some form of radical identity. Sexual politics is an easy fix – plus it’s pretty deep pumped now into the spectacle of intelligence. Radical Feminist = Intelligent Independant Woman – like independance was ever a worthwhile aspiration for anyone.

    I wonder about reclaiming ‘the slut’ though. To recliam the slut at the same time desluts the slut, desexualizes her, turns her into a body like any other without illusion. Feminism is the real objectifier of women in that it reinvests them with the sexual significance of an object – say a brick or bag of cement.

    Which brings me to wonder whether or not the cop’s remark that she shouldn’t dress like a slut if she doesn’t want assaulting was all that stupid. If it’s the desire of ‘the slut’ to ‘look hot’, the implication is that she wants to start fires. The cop’s remark contains exactly that spirit, that a fire, which is dangerous, got started. ‘The slut’, if the role is to function, must relate herself to danger or she has entirely misunderstood herself in the world of men and in the world of sex more generally. That rape is not part of sex is an egalitarian consumer myth – consumerism wants to sell sex and so it lies about the nature of sex or forces an agonizing responsibility onto those of us that understand sex. Feminists, in their desire to freely partake in consumerism and in the power of self-sexualization need to disarm sex, neutralize it or this freedom will be restricted. Problem is though, I can’t fuck a brick.

    • Jenn says:

      While I’m reading through the thread,

      “The thing about middle-class educated white girls, the ones with no creativity, imagination or sexual deviation to speak of, is that they need some form of radical identity. Sexual politics is an easy fix – plus it’s pretty deep pumped now into the spectacle of intelligence. Radical Feminist = Intelligent Independant Woman – like independance was ever a worthwhile aspiration for anyone.”

      I don’t agree with you there, because I think it’s a little too easy to ascribe this kind of thing to innate qualities of a category of white middle-class girls with education. Plus, what are creativity or imagination? How can you qualify sexual deviation?
      My experience of the feminist movement is that you’re always too middle-class, too white, too girly and, conversely, this is because you’re never white enough and always too working class. If you are working class to an extent, you’d better hang onto that currency (valid in the feminist movement) and not get educated. There’s a huge bias against higher education. I could talk about the various situations I’ve been in with regards to feminism. For instance, I’ve been called elitist and middle-class by people who knew I was working a near minimum-wage job for a living and they didn’t need to work at all, or were working in higher education and didn’t want any gender-confused office workers attaining that kind of elite cause it would threaten their perception they were there as ‘interesting people’.

      On to the delicate area of gender. There are things you can claim, legitimately, in terms of your gender causing you problems. I can’t claim any of them. This means, in terms of the feminist movement, that I’m a completely regular, feminine, woman-born, everything in its place, chick, and that I can’t claim to be anything else. Why does it have to be a case of being something, though? In fact, gender’s a whole lot more complicated than that. In some ways, I’m straight up a dude and, arguably, get a lot of misandrist shit from feminists on account of being into a lot of dude stuff culturally which they find silly and so like to laugh at the little penis (or cry about the big one). Same with sexuality. I came out to folks who were constantly on about being sensitive to your friends who might want to come out. More fool me, because they were comfortable with me in the role of the straight chick who doesn’t understand queer identity, but got mighty pissed when, as they saw it, I encroached. Same with sexual deviance. How many times have I been told – including, once, by Elly here, who I’m sure meant nothing bad by it – “well *I’m* a pervert”. Heck – nothing I’m into is catalogued in the web 2.0 list of sexual preversions, but that doesn’t mean you can get my particular flavour from Mr Whippy’s. Finally, being “woman-identified”: I had problems because, well, I apparently don’t read many books by women. This isn’t true at all. Only, not any of the women they mention. And, also, lots of guys.

      But, experience and empirical evidence only go so far, in fact they’re largely valueless. What counts here is that, I arrived at the feminist movement somehow. Had I been younger and less confident, I might have ended up on a Slutwalk. I think if I’d been more confident, I could have poured steaming hot piss over the whole deal, set fire to it, and ridden off into the sunset. I sure as shit didn’t get there because I was too white and middle-class and lacking in sexual deviance, or because I was looking for an identity. I don’t think anyone is. I think we arrive at the feminist movement for good reasons, because of enthusiasm and wanting to learn and wanting to do something for equality. In my case, I got there via the library, mainly. I don’t believe identity is something they’re looking for because they’re insipid. I think identity is the bullshit they are confronted with, because it’s what the movement deals in. It’s what corrupts everything you do once you’re in. I blogged for these people – I don’t care how nice they were, or whatever, or what the content of my blogging was, I felt like Norma fucking Desmond. I got exhausted having to justify my reading.

      Actually, I recall one lady at a feminist meeting casting doubts on De Beauvoir’s politics because she was more than a little distraught when Sartre died. She didn’t throw herself on the grave of her lifelong friend and partner, she threw herself on the grave of a man. At the end of the day, if you’re in there, it’s your attachment to humanity itself vs some kind of divine feminine state that you have to constantly justify. It’s your own humanity you’re required to cast off, which, of course, is an impossible task. That’s why you think you’re seeing ‘uncreative, unimaginative, lacking in sexual deviance’ middle-class girls. In fact, I would say they’re definitely the exploited ones, not the perpetrators, in this case.

      “I wonder about reclaiming ‘the slut’ though. To recliam the slut at the same time desluts the slut, desexualizes her, turns her into a body like any other without illusion. Feminism is the real objectifier of women in that it reinvests them with the sexual significance of an object – say a brick or bag of cement.”

      Yes, I was wondering about that too. What the feminist movement does is trade in identity as currency. So, the word “slut” is tautological, in a way, because we know they’re involved in pimping their identities (Schwyzer definitely wants in on that, also), which they would, righfully, be horrified to be told, mainly because they’re not fucking daft and they can tell something’s amiss. Then, calling themselves sluts and wearing slutty signifiers actually liberates them from the obligation to be in any way slutty. They’re saying ‘let’s not and say we did’. But they have been reduced to pimping themselves out in a different way by the situation they find themselves in. Although, having a certain respect for sexual perversion, I don’t like to use sexual terms to describe feminist movement power-shenanigans. Which brings me to…

      “Which brings me to wonder whether or not the cop’s remark that she shouldn’t dress like a slut if she doesn’t want assaulting was all that stupid. If it’s the desire of ‘the slut’ to ‘look hot’, the implication is that she wants to start fires. The cop’s remark contains exactly that spirit, that a fire, which is dangerous, got started. ‘The slut’, if the role is to function, must relate herself to danger or she has entirely misunderstood herself in the world of men and in the world of sex more generally. That rape is not part of sex is an egalitarian consumer myth – consumerism wants to sell sex and so it lies about the nature of sex or forces an agonizing responsibility onto those of us that understand sex. Feminists, in their desire to freely partake in consumerism and in the power of self-sexualization need to disarm sex, neutralize it or this freedom will be restricted. Problem is though, I can’t fuck a brick.”

      Yeah… I partly agree here. This is why I hate good, wholesome feminist porno or gender-correct shit, cause they always look clothed, and not in a ‘spontaneous shag behind the planetarium’ kind of way, in a permanently-clothed way: too many signifiers.

      On the other hand, I agree with part of the motivation for the slutwalk. There is no way, legally, how a victim was clothed should justify the fact that he was assaulted. Also, most crimes are named after what happened to the victim. So, sex isn’t relevant at all in any case of assault.

      On the other hand, are violence, power and humiliation relevant to sex? Definitely. Plenty of people have rape fantasies. Plenty of people even like a bit of spontaneous stranger action. And, I actually think the idea of ‘consent’ is just an update of the idea of marital rape for a post-marital age. Human relations are far more complicated than that. Is there danger involved? Well, let me put it this way: you need to go in there balls-out, whether those balls are outies or innies. But, yes, you’re right, when they take control of their own sexuality, they’re taking control of something they are claiming ownership of – a piece of property. It’s kind of like the blame: you take it on yourself so you can then dispose of it and have it out the way. Taking ownership of sex here is a way of counting and dispelling it. Sex is like language – heck, they’re intimately related. I’m often gobsmacked by how easily feminists can come out with ‘okay, we’ll invent this word and henceforth language shall be thus and we can change it so everyone does it right’. Same with sex. But, also, I think one of the reasons they do this is because it’s always doomed to failure and, thus, because the world will always be naughty, we will always ‘need feminism’.

      You know, but that’s not any feminism I endorse, mainly cause it’s very precisely not feminism. Doesn’t make me any less feminist though. Seriously, equality, fucking, perversion, humanity… hold the same terrors for these chicks as the marital bed did for the 1940s French newlywed women described in The Second Sex.

  27. […] say the slutwalkers are just ruining things for real feminists. There are those who say it is too feminist and those who say it is not feminist enough. Some people think that it isn’t very sophisticated, […]

  28. […] say the slutwalkers are just ruining things for real feminists. There are those who say it is too feminist and those who say it is not feminist enough. Some people think that it isn’t very sophisticated, […]

  29. elissa says:

    That little Asian woman is to petite to be in a slut walk or Hugo’s forgetting he is a man when holding uo the parade sign….best legs by far go to the fellow over Hugo’s right shoulder – shaved nicely for the walk. And Hugo needs to lighten up on the formal attire.

  30. Jenn says:

    Billnshits,

    I really question if the slogans (which are so, so many of them exact copies of banal man hating older feminisms, they’re all the same) and banners are heartfelt.
    They (all the banners and posters) look like cliches they picked because that’s all these chicks know.

    Use of particular slogans is a definite alarm bell for me in nearly all of the high-profile feminist marches I’ve seen lately. They just seem to take slogans directly from older marches that actually, for what they were worth, meant something, and apply them to a completely inappropriate setting. It’s almost like they’re just re-enacting 70s feminism because they want to bring it back, cause they weren’t there at the time. I talked about it at length at the time, but I remember the demonstrations against Anne Widdecombe’s anti-abortion talks back in 2008, when the demonstrators took slogans from the 93 Wichita Falls demonstrations, where anti-abortion demonstrators were actually stopping women getting into abortion clinics, and hurling them at these old ladies who had just come for a bit of an anti-abortion talk. That’s something I find horrific, because you don’t know why a woman of a certain age might be anti-abortion, how much pre-nhs gynaecology she’s gone through, how many kids she’s lost that might make her feel strongly about it… it doesn’t make her right, but on the other hand, she’s going as a private citizen to hear a private citizen talk: why is anyone even demonstrating against that? Let alone, screaming ‘pro-life, that’s a lie, you don’t care if women die’ at her and all but blocking the entrance. There were series of these all across the country and there were equally, I thought, horrific, reports coming from all of them, disabled people getting shoved by demonstrators…

    Yet, most of the reports from the protestors were jubilant, really ‘we showed the anti-abortionists and screamed some good slogans at them and positive steps were taken’. Really? I remember questioning it at the point (I wasn’t alone, a couple of people from my old feminist group went and didn’t like it much either, though I’m not sure if they were just agreeing with me cause I went ahead and posted a steaming rant about it on the website…). High-profile feminists were all ‘but you’re just talking, we need action’. I’m sorry, but, to me, talking and theorising and thinking things through is definitely more action than going to stand some place like a postcard in fancy dress and saying ‘1972: wish we were there’, which is, basically, less than speech, let alone action.

    Although the idea of some scale where ‘action’ is always somehow more effective than ‘words’… bah! Language don’t work that way!! Then again, I have it from books I have read by… men! Gay, German men who like propaganda art and cowboy movies and wrote in short aphorisms, but still. MEN! Get out of here! Not our sister! Brought a potential rapist to the women-only space!

    Funny thing is, you guys mention feminist men, I knew when I was in that group that men were theoretically allowed, but I really never, ever wanted any to show up, because they would’ve just been grovelling and talking about how they tell other men off for being sexist, then getting on all fours and begging for chocolate drops. And, frankly, I didn’t want to be tempted to kick anyone in the teeth. There was a guy in the anarcha-feminist meeting I went to once, he was perfectly charming, but eh.

    Plus, Hugo Schwyzer needs to get out of there, he just seems determined to have a bigger pussy than all the other pussies.

    • well I am not a fan of the term ‘mangina’ but …yes…I know what you mean, Jenn!

      • Jenn says:

        it’s like , first, he thinks there is something to having a pussy (you don’t have “male privilege”) and then he proceeds to have a pussy better than he thinks all the other bitches can do it, seeing as they’re not guys.

        I remember the furore when it was found out he was a pornographer. I don’t mind that so much at all, even though there are doubtlessly sleazy fucks working in pornography as much as in commercial conveyancing. But, in conjunction with his ‘I understand you oppressed girls’ feminism it’s positively sleeeeezetacular.

  31. elissa says:

    Hugo discussing the “myth of male weakness” at the LA rally, and the crowd cheers as he schools them on the concept.

  32. redpesto says:

    Jenn: “It’s almost like they’re just re-enacting 70s feminism because they want to bring it back, cause they weren’t there at the time.” Exactly – and they’ve not bothered to do the reading either. As for Schwyzer, why bother when you can go and read John Stoltenberg (but only if you really, really have to)?

  33. The thing about Schwyzer is he is a good propagandaist….

    First part of his speech I was agreeing with… He mentions that a heterosexual man can see a nude woman and respect her. This is where he is clever, he can say reasonable things, then he slips the misandry in. He seems to be describing men as a WHOLE GROUP. Well, I am not my brother’s keeper. I did not endorse George Soldini or Adolph Hitler for that matter. (Tangental point slipped in) Really bugs me how they feel it is okay to say I speak for all men, they’ve heard it before and I am “mansplainin’.” (End tangent.) The speech tapered off but it seemed like he might go into the rape culture/ schroedinger rapist territory saying that all men are potential rapists…..
    ———–
    On another note…. I wouldn’t call him a mangina- I think he secretly likes that. He claims he is going against traditional masculinity so that would almost be an endorsement that he is. I personally like to save mangina for the macho white power types in the manosphere, seems like they really get upset (haha, butthurt) by that one. Skeezer works better, kinda points out his do as I say, not as I do attitude.

  34. Oh, and I posted a simlar thing over at sofiastry so sorry for any redundance….

    Thaddeus Blanchette had done an interesting critique of him on the Good Men Project website….

    He then posted a link on his site, Thaddeus asked him direct questions…. He had stated that the problem was “hegemonic masculinity.” Others say patriarchy or whatnot. He never bothered to answer it, so that leaves me to think that he doesn’t have an answer or he is being “slippery” by refusing to define it so he can constantly shift positions and never be pinned down….

    http://hugoschwyzer.net/2011/03/14/monday-link-love/

  35. Jenn says:

    redpesto: well, doing the reading would be very inconvenient cause it would lead to finding out the social context and the, hmm, vast amounts of socialism involved in second wave feminism, for all its flaws, since it more or less came out of the New Left in the States, dunno about the UK, though, I think there’s a different history there. Or, in the case of De Beauvoir, you find out she’s totally raising her eyebrow in a quizzical yet bored manner at you across the decades, from her massive height of 4’10 or whatever it was.

    Something else inconvenient is that second-wave feminists read a lot of men (aside from the fact that man is a species way before it is a gender so even Janice fucking Raymond is a man whether she likes it or not). Also – and this is in response to Stonerwithaboner as well – this is where Schwyzer exploits, or is part of, the current emphasis on the value of correct opinion. There’s no such thing as a ‘correct opinion’, and a collection of them do not make a correct dude.

    Going back to the point about reading, if you read De Beauvoir, you should also read Heidegger, in fact you practically can’t understand her stuff without reading him. He wrote this rather great book called Being and Time (I confess, I haven’t read it yet, I’m trying to read a lot about it first). But, he was also a nazi bastard. Not literally: I’m fairly certain his mother and father met socially but, on the other hand, he was an active member of the nazi party. He not only had a slew of completely abhorrent opinions, he lost a lot of professors their jobs and probably worse. But, De Beauvoir being arguably the foundation of modern feminism, Being and Time is definitely a key feminist text. What you have to look at with Schwyzer is: what is he doing? He is essentially two things: a parasite and a mediator between enthusiastic, righteous young women and a bunch of libertarian think tanks. The most you can say about him is that he trades successfully on his identity currency: even then, whether it’s successful or not is very debatable cause he does come off as a douche. Someone like Margaret Sanger, on the other hand, had a whole lot of hideous opinions. But, she did a lot of good and continues to save lives long after her own death.

    Why is it that folks have to be beyond any personal criticism whatsoever before it’s possible to recognise their work? Well, this is in an environment where identity matters more than work. To be honest, any gender identity stuff going on here is a means of exchange, nothing more and nothing less. It’s like what Lori was saying in the Paglia thread, where she drew a distinction between ‘us’ (abuse survivors) and ‘you’ (the rest of the people in the thread) and ‘your sister’ (Paglia). Obviously, she can’t know who has and hasn’t been abused. Equally obviously, she didn’t need to use ‘us’ and ‘you’ and ‘her’, she could have just called things by their names or used any number of pronouns. What was really happening here was that she wasn’t referring to people who have been abused, but people who identify as abuse survivors: that is who is being “despised” here. Effectively, we were being called out either for having zero currency (no abuse) or for failing to see the capital potential of all that wonderful natural resource (survivors of abuse but unwilling to identify as it). The real question isn’t: what are people’s opinions and are they correct, but: what is being exchanged?

  36. elissa says:

    I do not read Paglia in that fashion Jenn, so I don’t see it as either a complete zero, or the complete rejection of the identification. Her criticism is aimed at the manufacturing of identity by a powerful social entity, a powerful political entity that acts like a perverse version of the famed inscription on that lovely New York Lady:

    “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

    It’s a tough go getting such a crowd to come in to the shore during times of heavy Western conspicuous consumption, fat bellies, billion dollar fashion industries and two Volvos in every home. So then, if they don’t come to you, get that New York Lady to chase them down.

    • Jenn says:

      Yeah I don’t read Paglia in that manner either, but I read what Lori said in that thread that way. Although, I don’t think it’s consistent with Lori’s *opinion* either, but that is the effect of her words. When I say ‘she’ in that paragraph I’m referring to Lori, not Paglia (probably unfair to single out Lori as well, but she just happens to have provided a representative example).

      In fact, I’m fairly certain Paglia’s meaning can’t be read that way, since it is a marxist reading of a woman’s relationship to a feminist movement that has been transferred or at least built on the model of online relations and so is founded almost entirely on identity as currency, reguardless of the content of any of the exchanges going on. I seem to recall Paglia disgustedly referring to various feminist organisations’ outlook as “practically socialist”, which I would say were liberal feminist organisations based on profit in terms of personal brand, careers and identity. So, I doubt if she would make a marxist analysis of anything. Actually, with Paglia, I find her relationship to the feminist movement a lot more relevant than anything she actually says or writes, mainly cause she’s in the same business.

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